Location: NYC, Cerberus HQ | Interaction: Open
The glow of the computer screen danced upon the curves and crevices of his face. Of Max's
face. He stared blankly at a revolving assortment of images and words, absorbing the information like a sponge. His supernatural garb was back in its metal case mere feet away from where he currently sat. With his elbows resting on the table, hands clasped around themselves in a manner that almost looked as if he were praying, Max sat in silence in his work uniform at the center of his dimly lit office that sat thirteen stories up in a building just outside of the heart of New York.
After The Hood had brought those world-be victims down to safety, it was time for him to change tactics. Hood was strong, powerful even, but only when compared to normal humans. Against these mutants and government sanctioned super powered maniacs, The Hood could only accurately describe himself as a small fish in a great sea. While he was deficient in godly might, he was confident he could make up for it in tactical expertise.
Earlier, The Hood had made his way back to his parked vehicle just outside the dock, figuratively tip-toeing under the noses of sentinel and MRD agents alike as he employed various measures of stealth to traverse the distance without incident. Is was only when he was back safely in his car that he dared to remove his cloak and boots, becoming Max Robbins once more. From there, his next moves were clear; Retreat and regroup.
His stomach had churned at the mention of calamity at the Oscorp building and it took everything in him not to throw on the cloak once more and charge into the fray, but that would be a fool's errand. Instead, he kept his wits about him. He needed to do more research if he was planning to inject himself into this ongoing hostility.
"He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight."
Video footage continued to play on Max's computer screen. Overhead shots of various mutant terroristic incidents (as they were labelled in the media) displayed some familiar faces and showcased some of the powers they possessed. With each demonstration, Max made a mental note. That one seems to be able to shoot blasts from their eyes. That other one healed from nearly being decapitated in what seemed like mere seconds...
He continued taking it all in silently as the images shifted from mutant to Ultimates. He looked for even the most minute tells, anything that could indicate a weakness or irritant. His first-hand experience told him all he needed to know about Venom and his particular limitations. As he continued compiling his mental notes, he began pondering on how he could exploit those vulnerabilities. What upgrades and alterations could he make to force gods to falter?
"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."
Suddenly the phone upon Max's desk chirped to life. The display screen illuminated the name 'Derek Eastwind'. Max took hold of the mouse just long enough to pause the digital footage on the computer before pressing a button on the phone.
"Derek." His tone was solemn, matter of fact.
"Mr. Robbins, sorry to bother. We've got a problem," announced the deep, raspy voice on the other end of line. Max's heart sank just a bit. No one officially knew he was The Hood, not even the people he employed. If 'we have a problem,' then it was a Max problem. Just icing on the cake of chaos that was already entangling his super hero alter ego.
"Speak on it," Max demanded stoically.
"It's Mr. Li, sir." The Roxxon millionaire that Max had escorted to work just that morning.
"What about him?" Emotion was slowly creeping out of Max's throat. Mr. Li was one of Cerberus' whale accounts. Max made his life a priority and would even personally dedicate his own time to making sure Mr. Li was untouchable.
"I'm sure you heard about that battle royale," Derek began to explain, referring to the afternoon's super powered spectacle. "Well Murphy received Mr. Li after his meeting this morning was was taking him back to his penthouse. Murphy's GPS showed steady movement for the majority of the travel duration, but then the signal went dark."
did it go dark?"
"The GPS stopped transmitting in Midtown."
"Manhattan." The word seethed out from Max's teeth as he skin began to flush with warmth.
"Yes, sir. Right around-"
"-where the Ultimates took on the Phoenix Order," Max finished, his voice increasingly louder with each word. "FUCK!
" He grabbed hold of the phone and threw it against the wall, letting the dark plastic shatter into fragments. He could feel the tempo of his heartbeat racing. Was his most prized client still alive? Did those super powered homicidal maniacs just turn him into another casualty? Max forced himself to breath slower as he leaned over his desk in defeat. It was all just too much...No.
His eyebrows raised as an epiphany began settling in. You're not defeated. You're just getting started.
With his breathing back under control, he pulled his chair out for himself and sat back down before hitting the play button on the footage again. Hopefully Mr. Li was still alive, but running back out into the storm right now would be a fruitless effort. It was time to prepare. If the tyrannical 'heroes' and the chaotic mutants insisted on having their war at the expense of everyone else, then it was high time Max got off the sideline.
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”