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Current You like superheroes? So do we! Check out Absolute Comics at roleplayerguild.com/topics/…
17 days ago
Its been a good day.
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That pun was terrible
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21 days ago
Nobody ever told me friendship would be this hard.
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Bio

My RPs
Pariah Online | Teen Titans | Charity Beach: Paradise Gone | Muv-luv Alternative



Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light




Come on, shoot faster,
Just a little bit of energy!
I wanna try something fun right now,
I guess some people call it anarchy!


Most Recent Posts

B I G B E L L Y B U R G E R

1:28 a.m. | White Plains, Westchester County, New York City

"It was completely assinine, Bobby. I have no idea why you liked that drivel so much." Hank McCoy grunted, his cheek stuffed with the remains of his half-finished Belly Buster. He had the burger clutched in one fist while he used the other one to point an oversized finger at Bobby Drake.

The remains of Bobby's own food was sitting in the little red basket on the table, his face contorted- it didn't know if it was more confused or offended at that. "What?!" He huffed incredulously. "But you saw the sword moment, right?" He asked, miming the motion of pulling a sword off his back and making a wide, exaggerated chopping motion down the center of the table. "Come on! You can't tell me that wasn't the coolest shit you've ever seen!"

Hank just laughed at him and shook his head. "I watched a man walk on the moon. Now that, that was cool. A giant CGI robot cutting the head off a giant CGI alien with a giant CGI sword does not even come remotely close. Honestly, if you spent half the time studying that you do watching movies-"

Drake's head smashed against the table with a sudden and noisy smack that made Hank jump. Not a moment later Bobby began to snore as loudly and obnoxiously as he possibly could. "Booring." He gave a false yawn before sitting back up and finishing off his milkshake. "I'll leave all the Einstein stuff to you. Life's way too short to spend it lookin' through a microscope at nothing-"

"Microorganisms aren't nothing, you dolt-"

"-Anyway, they weren't aliens, they were Kaiju!" Drake corrected. "And they didn't come from space, they came from that hole under the ocean. Maybe you would've liked the movie more if you actually paid attention."

Hank scoffed. "Please. The premise was so ridiculous that I couldn't even be bothered. Giant robots? Honestly. Honestly! I can think of a thousand- no, ten thousand- better ways to spend a global defense budget than robots."

"Mechs. They had pilots, so they're mechs."

"They aren't real. It doesn't matter!"

"Scott," Bobby turned away from McCoy and looked to his fearless leader for help, "Tell Hank he's an idiot for not liking fun."

"I resent that!-"

Scott Summers was busy pouring over notes on his smartphone, jotting down everything he'd learned about the team after today's training regime. He knew Hank was struggling to breach one ton on his deadlift. Bobby was still having trouble hitting his 'icicle bolts,' even while standing still. Kurt refused to even try teleporting passed an object unless he could physically see his destination. Jean was making remarkable progress with her telekinesis, but her telepathy continued to overwhelm her in any kind of stressful environment. They'd been at this for over a year, and though they'd made great strides since their early days, Scott was worried the team had begun to peak far sooner than he and Charles anticipated. How were they supposed to save the world when they couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag?

"Earth to Scott Summers, come in Scott Summers." Bobby plugged up his nose, doing his best impression of a voice over a radio. "Scott Summers please respond."

Cyclops didn't so much as look up from the screen. "I'm working, Bobby, settle it between yourselves."

'Iceman' let out a groan. "You're so boring, Scotty, you know that?"

"I'm not boring," Scott grunted. "Some of us have actual responsibilities around here and don't have time to sit around watching TV all day."

Hank gave a smug, wordless grin in Drake's direction.

"If anyone's boring it's Hank," Scott continued without skipping a beat. "Guy doesn't even like movies."

The pair had broken into another tirade of arguing before Summers had so much as a chance to finish his sentence, but he didn't hear a word of it. His attention had shifted back down to the device in his hand and the notification box that had popped up on the top of the screen. The bronze faceplate and purple helmet of the Sentinel app's mascot stared up at him, accompanied by an address. It took Summers a couple of seconds to recognize it, but the moment he did he felt his heart drop into his stomach.

"We need to go." Summers snapped, shoving out his seat as he stood up. He pulled his wallet from his pocket and tossed a twenty dollar bill and some change down on the table and started for the door, with Hank and Bobby rushing to pick up the remains of their food and make after him.

"What's going on?" McCoy asked in a worried voice.

Scott tapped on the notification to bring up the full app and handed it over to Hank as he stepped out of the fast food restaurant's front door and made for his car. "Police reporting a mutant at Bayville High School. That's twenty-five minutes from here. We need to cut it down to fifteen, so get in the car and start changing."

"I'll call Jean and Kurt-" Bobby began, only for Scott to cut him off.

"No time. They're already reporting potential casualties."

B A Y V I L L E H I G H S C H O O L - 1 7 M I N U T E S L A T E R

1:46 a.m. | Bayville, Westchester County, New York City

The NYPD had already set up a perimeter by the time the X-Men had arrived. Scott, Hank, and Bobby climbed out of the car, clad in their yellow-and-blue spandex uniforms. Cyclops had abandoned his ruby-red glasses for his visor and Iceman had already gone through the trouble of putting on his 'snow armor,' as he had taken to calling it. The three of them made sure to keep a low profile behind the cover of their car as they scanned the area for trouble. There had to be almost a dozen cops here already, and there wasn't any question that more would be there soon. But that wasn't the most troubling thing about the scene before them.

Bayville High School was surrounded by walls of rock and earth. Stone barricades had been erected over every window, door, and vent that Scott could see. Even the windows on the second floor were covered. There wasn't going to be an easy way to get inside. Luckily the NYPD didn't look like they had any clue how to get past the barriers either, so there was still a chance that the X-Men could get inside and defuse the situation. New York's finest weren't known to negotiate in situations like this one.

"Alright, here's the plan," Cyclops muttered, crouching back down beneath the car to speak to both Iceman and Beast. "Iceman, you're the fastest one here. I'll need you to distract these cops here. Make them chase you to the other side of the school if you can. While you're doing that, Beast and I will break through one of those windows on the second floor to get inside. When you come back around I want you to ice up the window once you're in so they can't follow us. Got it?"

Iceman gave an enthusiastic nod of his head. "Got it Scott, can do-"

"Cyclops!" He hissed.

"Right. Cyclops. Sorry. Aight, I'm on my way." Iceman jumped to his feet and launched a spray of frost against the ground several feet in front of him. He gave himself a running start toward it to build up momentum, then hopped atop it and continued to spray a path across the ground. The snow-covered mutant shot across the pavement faster than any human being could run. "Hey! Coppers! Over here!" He shouted, dragging the attention of the police line around to the odd site of a living snowman skating across the pavement in March. It didn't take the NYPD officers long to start shouting back at him and giving chase.

Once the coast was clear Cyclops and Beast bounded across the grass toward the school, Hank running on all fours and managing to beat Scott there by a good eight seconds or so. Cyclops took a few steps back to get a good angle on the stone outcropping and lifted a finger up to his visor. With the press of a button, he caused the front of the visor to pop open, a pair of violently bright and hot beams shooting out of his retinas to blow the stone to chunks. It hurt using the beams for even a few moments- he needed a second or two to readjust to sight once he released the visor's button and it fell back into place.

"Alright, Beast. Toss me." Cyclops ordered. Hank gave him a quizzical look, but he didn't argue, settling down low so that Scott could step onto Beast's cupped hands. Once his fearless leader was in position, Hank gave it his all and flung Summers as high into the air as he possibly could. Cyclops went flying for the second story window, all but smashing right through it when he landed on the ledge upper ledge.

It didn't take long for Scott and Hank to both climb itself, and not more than two minutes later Bobby appeared on the street below.

The sound of shouting voices was distant behind him as Drake constructed a ramp up to the window, his feet clinging unnaturally to the ice pathway as he seemed to counteract gravity itself by skating upwards toward the window. He dove inside with an overly theatrical roll, popping back up with his arms spread wide so he could give a bow. "I gave 'em the slip, boss!" iceman proudly proclaimed. "Won't know I came this way for a good five minutes."

"Good. Ice this up, we don't need them trying to follow us." Scott ordered. "It looks like our mutant can control earth, and quite a bit of it. So we need to do this carefully, but we gotta be quick- I don't know what we're going to find downstairs, but..." He swallowed, his hands shaking ever so slightly. He was praying it wouldn't be as bad as it seemed. "Let's get moving, X-Men. We have a job to do."
B I G B E L L Y B U R G E R

1:28 a.m. | White Plains, Westchester County, New York City

"It was completely assinine, Bobby. I have no idea why you liked that drivel so much." Hank McCoy grunted, his cheek stuffed with the remains of his half-finished Belly Buster. He had the burger clutched in one fist while he used the other one to point an oversized finger at Bobby Drake.

The remains of Bobby's own food was sitting in the little red basket on the table, his face contorted- it didn't know if it was more confused or offended at that. "What?!" He huffed incredulously. "But you saw the sword moment, right?" He asked, miming the motion of pulling a sword off his back and making a wide, exaggerated chopping motion down the center of the table. "Come on! You can't tell me that wasn't the coolest shit you've ever seen!"

Hank just laughed at him and shook his head. "I watched a man walk on the moon. Now that, that was cool. A giant CGI robot cutting the head off a giant CGI alien with a giant CGI sword does not even come remotely close. Honestly, if you spent half the time studying that you do watching movies-"

Drake's head smashed against the table with a sudden and noisy smack that made Hank jump. Not a moment later Bobby began to snore as loudly and obnoxiously as he possibly could. "Booring." He gave a false yawn before sitting back up and finishing off his milkshake. "I'll leave all the Einstein stuff to you. Life's way too short to spend it lookin' through a microscope at nothing-"

"Microorganisms aren't nothing, you dolt-"

"-Anyway, they weren't aliens, they were Kaiju!" Drake corrected. "And they didn't come from space, they came from that hole under the ocean. Maybe you would've liked the movie more if you actually paid attention."

Hank scoffed. "Please. The premise was so ridiculous that I couldn't even be bothered. Giant robots? Honestly. Honestly! I can think of a thousand- no, ten thousand- better ways to spend a global defense budget than robots."

"Mechs. They had pilots, so they're mechs."

"They aren't real. It doesn't matter!"

"Scott," Bobby turned away from McCoy and looked to his fearless leader for help, "Tell Hank he's an idiot for not liking fun."

"I resent that!-"

Scott Summers was busy pouring over notes on his smartphone, jotting down everything he'd learned about the team after today's training regime. He knew Hank was struggling to breach one ton on his deadlift. Bobby was still having trouble hitting his 'icicle bolts,' even while standing still. Kurt refused to even try teleporting passed an object unless he could physically see his destination. Jean was making remarkable progress with her telekinesis, but her telepathy continued to overwhelm her in any kind of stressful environment. They'd been at this for over a year, and though they'd made great strides since their early days, Scott was worried the team had begun to peak far sooner than he and Charles anticipated. How were they supposed to save the world when they couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag?

"Earth to Scott Summers, come in Scott Summers." Bobby plugged up his nose, doing his best impression of a voice over a radio. "Scott Summers please respond."

Cyclops didn't so much as look up from the screen. "I'm working, Bobby, settle it between yourselves."

'Iceman' let out a groan. "You're so boring, Scotty, you know that?"

"I'm not boring," Scott grunted. "Some of us have actual responsibilities around here and don't have time to sit around watching TV all day."

Hank gave a smug, wordless grin in Drake's direction.

"If anyone's boring it's Hank," Scott continued without skipping a beat. "Guy doesn't even like movies."

The pair had broken into another tirade of arguing before Summers had so much as a chance to finish his sentence, but he didn't hear a word of it. His attention had shifted back down to the device in his hand and the notification box that had popped up on the top of the screen. The bronze faceplate and purple helmet of the Sentinel app's mascot stared up at him, accompanied by an address. It took Summers a couple of seconds to recognize it, but the moment he did he felt his heart drop into his stomach.

"We need to go." Summers snapped, shoving out his seat as he stood up. He pulled his wallet from his pocket and tossed a twenty dollar bill and some change down on the table and started for the door, with Hank and Bobby rushing to pick up the remains of their food and make after him.

"What's going on?" McCoy asked in a worried voice.

Scott tapped on the notification to bring up the full app and handed it over to Hank as he stepped out of the fast food restaurant's front door and made for his car. "Police reporting a mutant at Bayville High School. That's twenty-five minutes from here. We need to cut it down to fifteen, so get in the car and start changing."

"I'll call Jean and Kurt-" Bobby began, only for Scott to cut him off.

"No time. They're already reporting potential casualties."

B A Y V I L L E H I G H S C H O O L - 1 7 M I N U T E S L A T E R

1:46 a.m. | Bayville, Westchester County, New York City

The NYPD had already set up a perimeter by the time the X-Men had arrived. Scott, Hank, and Bobby climbed out of the car, clad in their yellow-and-blue spandex uniforms. Cyclops had abandoned his ruby-red glasses for his visor and Iceman had already gone through the trouble of putting on his 'snow armor,' as he had taken to calling it. The three of them made sure to keep a low profile behind the cover of their car as they scanned the area for trouble. There had to be almost a dozen cops here already, and there wasn't any question that more would be there soon. But that wasn't the most troubling thing about the scene before them.

Bayville High School was surrounded by walls of rock and earth. Stone barricades had been erected over every window, door, and vent that Scott could see. Even the windows on the second floor were covered. There wasn't going to be an easy way to get inside. Luckily the NYPD didn't look like they had any clue how to get past the barriers either, so there was still a chance that the X-Men could get inside and defuse the situation. New York's finest weren't known to negotiate in situations like this one.

"Alright, here's the plan," Cyclops muttered, crouching back down beneath the car to speak to both Iceman and Beast. "Iceman, you're the fastest one here. I'll need you to distract these cops here. Make them chase you to the other side of the school if you can. While you're doing that, Beast and I will break through one of those windows on the second floor to get inside. When you come back around I want you to ice up the window once you're in so they can't follow us. Got it?"

Iceman gave an enthusiastic nod of his head. "Got it Scott, can do-"

"Cyclops!" He hissed.

"Right. Cyclops. Sorry. Aight, I'm on my way." Iceman jumped to his feet and launched a spray of frost against the ground several feet in front of him. He gave himself a running start toward it to build up momentum, then hopped atop it and continued to spray a path across the ground. The snow-covered mutant shot across the pavement faster than any human being could run. "Hey! Coppers! Over here!" He shouted, dragging the attention of the police line around to the odd site of a living snowman skating across the pavement in March. It didn't take the NYPD officers long to start shouting back at him and giving chase.

Once the coast was clear Cyclops and Beast bounded across the grass toward the school, Hank running on all fours and managing to beat Scott there by a good eight seconds or so. Cyclops took a few steps back to get a good angle on the stone outcropping and lifted a finger up to his visor. With the press of a button, he caused the front of the visor to pop open, a pair of violently bright and hot beams shooting out of his retinas to blow the stone to chunks. It hurt using the beams for even a few moments- he needed a second or two to readjust to sight once he released the visor's button and it fell back into place.

"Alright, Beast. Toss me." Cyclops ordered. Hank gave him a quizzical look, but he didn't argue, settling down low so that Scott could step onto Beast's cupped hands. Once his fearless leader was in position, Hank gave it his all and flung Summers as high into the air as he possibly could. Cyclops went flying for the second story window, all but smashing right through it when he landed on the ledge upper ledge.

It didn't take long for Scott and Hank to both climb itself, and not more than two minutes later Bobby appeared on the street below.

The sound of shouting voices was distant behind him as Drake constructed a ramp up to the window, his feet clinging unnaturally to the ice pathway as he seemed to counteract gravity itself by skating upwards toward the window. He dove inside with an overly theatrical roll, popping back up with his arms spread wide so he could give a bow. "I gave 'em the slip, boss!" iceman proudly proclaimed. "Won't know I came this way for a good five minutes."

"Good. Ice this up, we don't need them trying to follow us." Scott ordered. "It looks like our mutant can control earth, and quite a bit of it. So we need to do this carefully, but we gotta be quick- I don't know what we're going to find downstairs, but..." He swallowed, his hands shaking ever so slightly. He was praying it wouldn't be as bad as it seemed. "Let's get moving, X-Men. We have a job to do."
J O H N D O Y L E
♫♫♫

Downtown Charity, Charity Beach, Florida
Boardwalk


Detective Rose was gone, sent packing with her tail tucked between her legs. John lowered himself back into his chair, a satisfied grin on his old, rocky face. It'd been a productive conversation- gave him a whole hell of a lot more to work with than he'd had previously. He knew Morgan didn't trust him, and he had the name of a place where Warmonger might'a gotten that case of his. Doyle plucked his notepad from his pocket, scribbling down a few more notes as he mulled it all over. He hadn't a clue what he could'a stolen at a research facility. Certainly wasn't money. First thought was something like plutonium or uranium- might'a been that the case was sealed to keep in the radiation. But what in the hell could a bank robber want with something like that? To sell it on the black market? Was it really worth the extra trouble?

'Could be workin' for somebody...'

He made a note to start looking into criminal organizations active in Charity Beach. Start local and if he couldn't find any leads he could expand his range until he caught something. Wasn't gonna be fast, but these things never were. Might be worth trying to get a meeting with Aldrich...see if he'd be willing to talk. But...

'Don't know how keen he'd be to spill his guts to the guy that made him a Cyclops. More likely to try spillin' mine.'

There was something about this whole thing that didn't sit right with John. He couldn't put his finger on it, but somethin' about the case just didn't add up. There was no way that case should'a gotten open on it's way back to Charity Beach. If the cops did take it then why in the hell would they tell Doyle about it? Were they trying to frame him? That'd be ludicrous. 'Course, it spent most of its time in the care of federal agents- if they were the ones that took it then its contents were long, long gone and everything the sheriff was doing was a massive waste of his time.

And to make matters worse he was apparently bein' followed.

There'd be plenty of time later to stew on all'a this, and there wasn't much work to be done while he was sittin' here. Better to wait 'til tomorrow and enjoy the rest of the day. Normally for a shindig like this, he'd have his wife and daughter around. They'd enjoy it a hell of a lot more than he would, but he'd be happy seein' them havin' a ball. Marcus wouldn't wanna come- he'd stopped caring about going outside ever since his uncle bought him that Gamestation 600 or whatever it was called. John didn't understand it. He could barely sit still when he was his son's age. Spent every waking hour runnin' around the town and rollin' in the dirt and gettin' into trouble. Little too much trouble, to be fair; so maybe it wasn't all bad that Marcus liked that new age stuff.

Without Abi around to decide what to do he felt a little lost. There were a lotta people on the boardwalk. Plenty of, uh, activities set up 'round the place. But none of it really caught his eye. Most'a it looked like it'd been set up for families n' youngsters. An old man out here alone was a bit outta place. John decided to order somethin' he could eat on the go, figuring his chances of running into something interesting would increase if he wasn't just sittin' on his fat ass and chewing down on a taco stuffed with too many ingredients. Rising slow n' steady from the table he adjusted his shirt, making sure the badge on his belt wasn't stabbing him in his belly and that the holster inside his waisteband was still pretty well hidden.

Then he was off, hopin' to God somethin' exciting would come his way.
J O H N D O Y L E
♫♫♫

Downtown Charity, Charity Beach, Florida
Boardwalk


Detective Rose was gone, sent packing with her tail tucked between her legs. John lowered himself back into his chair, a satisfied grin on his old, rocky face. It'd been a productive conversation- gave him a whole hell of a lot more to work with than he'd had previously. He knew Morgan didn't trust him, and he had the name of a place where Warmonger might'a gotten that case of his. Doyle plucked his notepad from his pocket, scribbling down a few more notes as he mulled it all over. He hadn't a clue what he could'a stolen at a research facility. Certainly wasn't money. First thought was something like plutonium or uranium- might'a been that the case was sealed to keep in the radiation. But what in the hell could a bank robber want with something like that? To sell it on the black market? Was it really worth the extra trouble?

'Could be workin' for somebody...'

He made a note to start looking into criminal organizations active in Charity Beach. Start local and if he couldn't find any leads he could expand his range until he caught something. Wasn't gonna be fast, but these things never were. Might be worth trying to get a meeting with Aldrich...see if he'd be willing to talk. But...

'Don't know how keen he'd be to spill his guts to the guy that made him a Cyclops. More likely to try spillin' mine.'

There was something about this whole thing that didn't sit right with John. He couldn't put his finger on it, but somethin' about the case just didn't add up. There was no way that case should'a gotten open on it's way back to Charity Beach. If the cops did take it then why in the hell would they tell Doyle about it? Were they trying to frame him? That'd be ludicrous. 'Course, it spent most of its time in the care of federal agents- if they were the ones that took it then its contents were long, long gone and everything the sheriff was doing was a massive waste of his time.

And to make matters worse he was apparently bein' followed.

There'd be plenty of time later to stew on all'a this, and there wasn't much work to be done while he was sittin' here. Better to wait 'til tomorrow and enjoy the rest of the day. Normally for a shindig like this, he'd have his wife and daughter around. They'd enjoy it a hell of a lot more than he would, but he'd be happy seein' them havin' a ball. Marcus wouldn't wanna come- he'd stopped caring about going outside ever since his uncle bought him that Gamestation 600 or whatever it was called. John didn't understand it. He could barely sit still when he was his son's age. Spent every waking hour runnin' around the town and rollin' in the dirt and gettin' into trouble. Little too much trouble, to be fair; so maybe it wasn't all bad that Marcus liked that new age stuff.

Without Abi around to decide what to do he felt a little lost. There were a lotta people on the boardwalk. Plenty of, uh, activities set up 'round the place. But none of it really caught his eye. Most'a it looked like it'd been set up for families n' youngsters. An old man out here alone was a bit outta place. John decided to order somethin' he could eat on the go, figuring his chances of running into something interesting would increase if he wasn't just sittin' on his fat ass and chewing down on a taco stuffed with too many ingredients. Rising slow n' steady from the table he adjusted his shirt, making sure the badge on his belt wasn't stabbing him in his belly and that the holster inside his waisteband was still pretty well hidden.

Then he was off, hopin' to God somethin' exciting would come his way.
>Mfw [@Star-Lord] posts before the IC is officially open

R O X X O N I V Y B R A N C H H Q - S E V E R A L W E E K S A G O

Midday | Cornell County, Ivy Town, Connecticut

Clayton Burr was an ordinary man with an ordinary life. He met a girl in college and fell in love. Married that girl and found himself a nice house in the suburbs. They'd only been married a year by the time their first son was born. William, a feisty little warrior- reminded Clayton of his own younger brother growing up. The handful that he was, Clayton loved him with all of his heart, and he'd do anything for that boy.

Even stomach working for his father.

Clayton Burr Senior was a company man. Spent his whole life working for the Roxxon Energy Corporation, fighting his way to being the head of the Ivy Branch Headquarters. He didn't care about much in his life. Never much cared for his family, even the ones he'd brought into the world. Didn't much care for his friends, either. But he did love his job- and the piles and piles of cash it brought him. Ruthless, cold and greedy. Clay despised the man, but he needed the job; he needed to leave enough behind when he died so that his own son could be happy and comfortable. So he became a company man, too. For the good of little Will.

He'd worked at Roxxon for fifteen years, and now he had his own office all to himself. Wasn't much to look at. Organized, clean, and bare, save for a single framed photo of everything he cared about. Wasn't much, but it was his. And it was a great deal better than the cubicle he used to work out of. He especially liked how they'd soundproofed the walls so he could work in peace and quiet.

Well. He usually liked it, anyway.

A man had come to visit him during his lunch break. A grim-looking fellow, with gaunt features and sun-kissed skin. Clay could see that age had gotten to him from the laugh lines 'round his eyes and the slightest of wrinkles dotted on his cheeks. No gray in his dark locks yet, though there was no telling how much time he had until then. Handsome, if it weren't for that permanent frown of his.

The stranger had questions for Burr. Questions he couldn't answer. Uncomfortable ones. Ones his bosses had tried to sweep under the rug. No company had clean hands, Clay had learned that a long time ago. But Roxxon's were particularly dirty. He tried to ignore it best he could. Tried to do the straight work and look the other way whenever he could. 'Course, being the son of the executive officer made it hard to blend into a crowd. Burr was an accountant. He dealt in numbers. Numbers that didn't always add up.

Somehow the stranger knew that. And he wanted to know more- but Clay didn't know more. He'd already said everything he could.

So why was he still hurting him?

"I TOLD YOU EVERYTHING!" Burr screamed. He bucked in his chair and flailed his body like a man possessed, desperately fighting against the bent metal wristbands that kept him pinned in place. His face was drenched in sweat, mingling with the tears that flowed freely down his cheeks. The agony was unbearable. It felt like worms had crawled into his veins and started exploring his insides. Every movement brought another whimper from the businessman. "Make it stop! P-please! I'll do wh...whatever you want!"

The stranger sat on the desk in front of him, that same, grim look on his face. "I don't like liars, Mr. Burr." He spoke in a soft voice, touched by an accent Clay didn't recognize. It was thick and beautiful, giving a sharpness to every word the stranger spoke. "You send eight times the oil to South Africa than what actually arrives in their ports. Where does the rest of the shipment go?"

"I told you-" Burr panted. "Their books are the same as ours-"

"I'm sure they are." He interrupted with a click of his tongue. "Books are easy to change. But I've been on those docks, Mr. Burr, I worked in that port and I know those containers weren't there. So I'm going to ask you one last time: where does the rest of the shipment go?"

"I don't kn-" Before he could even finish the stranger had made a flourishing movement with his hand, and the pain had come back with a vengeance. He could feel those things racing through his body, tearing apart the insides of his arms as they moved further inside. He could barely move them anymore. There was no telling what would happen if they reached his torso. "I just- I just handle the books, I swear! I-I write down what they tell me to, I never ask questions, I'm not supposed to know. I sw..swear, I swear I don't."

"Then who does?"

"What?" Burr blinked.

"I need a name." The stranger breathed. He brought his hand upward, palm facing toward Burr. Even the slightest twitch of his fingers made the worms start moving again. Clay had no idea what would happen if he closed his whole fist.

"Wait, wait!" Burr demanded. "My...My father, Clayton Senior. He runs this place. He knows e-everything that happens here. If- if anybody knows, it'd be him. Please, that's all I know, I swear. Don't- don't kill me." He whimpered.

With a flick of his wrist, the stranger pulled the liquid metal out of Burr's body. It exploded from his flesh in a thousand tiny pieces, leaving behind a smattering of red, bloody dots all across Clay's arms. He screamed, but nobody could hear him. "PLEASE!" He pleaded. "I have a family- a son! They need-"

"So did I." His captor whispered. Then he balled his hand into a fist, and the metal in the air tore through Burr's heart like shotgun pellets.

T H E X - M A N S I O N - E A R L I E R T H A T D A Y

8:00 a.m. | Salem Center, Westchester County, New York

Charles Xavier always felt a sense of satisfaction at the sound of chalk moving across a blackboard. Every stroke invigorated him like a shot of dopamine, and he found himself turning away from the board with a content grin on his aging face. "Genosha," the professor stated, tapping the name he'd just writt en in large, bold letters. "Does anyone know who first founded it?"

His question road like a wave across the makeshift classroom, which was little more than a sitting room with the chairs all turned to face forwards and a blackboard rolled in front of it all. Bobby Drake had made sure to occupy the furthest seat from the board, the hood of his jacket drawn down juuust far enough to hide his eyes as he tried to catch up on missing sleep. Movie night with Kurt had run a couple of hours too late. How was Drake supposed to know the marathon lasted that long? He regretted not checking the clock or something, 'cause being reminded by the sun coming up hadn't been very fun.

Kurt, to his credit, hadn't quite passed out yet. His head was resting in his palm, his three fingers running through the blueish fur on his cheek. His eyelids kept trying to clamp shut every few minutes, only for Wagner to lurch awake in a violent and distracting display that would keep him lucid for a couple of minutes before it all repeated again. If he ever tried to answer any questions it came out in unintelligible German.

Two pencils went soaring through the air like a pair of shurikens, one striking Kurt in the forehead and the second bouncing off of Bobby's nose. Both boys were thrown wide awake by the sudden attack, with Bobby nearly leaping out of his chair in surprise and Kurt vanishing and reappearing right back in his seat in a puff of black smoke. They shared a confused glance with one another seconds before realizing where the attack had come from, their heads turning simultaneously to glare in the direction of Scott Summers.

Scott crinkled his nose incredulously at them- even with his eyes hidden behind his crimson visor it wasn't hard to tell he was glaring. Sweat glistened off of the young man's forehead, still clinging to him after his long and exhaustive morning run. After making sure the two troublemakers were thoroughly and silently accosted for sleeping through the lesson he returned to looking in Xavier's direction, unable to muster an answer to the question. This was the first time they'd broached the subject of Genosha, and Scott wasn't too confident he'd be able to even point it out on a map.

The Professor pursed his lips, his eyes slipping between the three of his students as he seemed to contemplate how to deal with the brief interruption. The look lingered on Scott, giving the team's leader his own look of quiet admonishment before Xavier shifted his attention fully back to the lesson at hand. "Anyone?" Charles asked with a raised brow, "Hank?"

It wasn't until he heard his name that Hank McCoy even seemed to notice there was something going on around him. His pencil was rapidly shortening as he ran the tip of the graphite against his notebook full of crazy ideas and half-finished schematics. The current drawing before him was a series of functional upgrades to the team's costumes. Their current suits, aside from being a little tacky, didn't have any kind of temperature control, built-in communications, armor or other crucial parts to any superhero uniform. Hank blinked, pushing his nose up his glasses as he looked up to the Professor and then at the blackboard. "I'm sorry, uh, could you repeat the question?"

"He asked who founded Genosha," Jean Grey cut in before Charles got a chance, speaking in a very matter-of-fact tone as she looked down at her notes, "and you're gonna say the British first declared the colony in 1901, but there was actually activity from various colonial powers going as far back as the 16th century. And..." She stuck her tongue into her cheek, her brows furrowing a little. "Something about making the suits out of a carbon fiber mesh?" Jean leaned over from her seat and attempted to get a look at whatever it was Hank had been doodling on his notebook. "-Are you making us new costumes?" She asked curiously.

"Hey!" Hank practically tore the book off his lap and slapped it up against his sprawling chest. "No mind reading!" He huffed, clearly caught off guard at having his thoughts so casually spoken aloud for everyone to hear.

Bobby was out of his seat and leaning over the back of McCoy's chair as quick as the word 'costumes' had left Jean's mouth. He grabbed both of Hank's shoulders and attempted to drag himself up high enough to see the notebook in his big friend's hands. "We're getting new costumes?!" He inquired with an energetic excitement that had seemingly spawned from thin air. Kurt shared his enthusiasm, popping up on Hank's opposite shoulder in a puff of dark smoke and trying to leer down at the page. Hank didn't take well to the intrusion, trying to buck the duo off and keep the sketches hidden against his chest at the same time.

Jean's face grew beet red the instant she realized what she had done. "I- I didn't- I mean, it wasn't on purpose-" She stumbled and stuttered, retreating behind her red locks as she bent her head low in shame at her actions. Reading minds came to her as easily as actual hearing did. It was hard for her to decipher what were thoughts and what were words, and sometimes it all got so jumbled that she got her own thoughts mixed up with someone else's. "I'm sorry." She muttered.

Hank, still busy wrestling Bobby and Kurt into submission, paused long enough to listen and reply. "It's okay." He assured her. "I'm not- hey!" He started, only to be interrupted by Kurt slipping underneath one of his arms and getting a hold of the notebook.

Nightcrawler slipped right away from the beast of a man's grip, vanishing out of the classroom and appearing in the hallway. He held the picture up in the light, a bright grin spreading across his face. "I look awesome!" He laughed.

"Lemme see!" Drake whined, jumping over chairs and racing over to catch up to Wagner. "When do I get to wear mine?!"

Hank, hot on Bobby's heels and having completely forgotten what he was going to say to Jean, was quick to shout after them. "It's just a drawing! We aren't even in the prototype phase!"

The lesson thoroughly disrupted and Jean left in her silent shame, Charles let out a quiet sigh. Kids, he thought with a shake of his head. No matter what kind of amazing gifts they might have, it was hard to forget that these five were still all children at heart. He placed the chalk back down on the tray and moved his hands onto the wheels of his chair, planning to go to miss Grey, as he had many times before. But he paused, not all that surprised to see that Summers had already moved to her side. He had a hand around her shoulder and he was trying to say something that might've been vaguely wise had the boy any idea how to say it. It brought a smile to Charles's face.

"Come on back, my students, there'll be plenty of time for that later! Our lesson's only just begun." Xavier called out to the wrestling trio in the hallway. They all seemed to look at each other and hold and a wordless conversation for a few seconds before deciding to call a ceasefire and return back to their seats. They spent a little while putting everything back where it was before and getting themselves seated, but their attention was eventually given back to the professor. Even if they bickered, fought or messed up in some fashion, they always seemed to land back on their feet. Always seemed to orientate themselves to point north again, even if it did take a bit of time. Charles let his hands come to rest on his lap as he waited a moment, making sure everyone was ready before he continued. "So, as Jean said, Genosha was founded in..."

B A Y V I L L E H I G H S C H O O L - P R E S E N T

6th hour - 1:24 PM | Bayville County, New York City, New York

Winter was over and life was returning to Bayville. It'd been a cold and harsh winter with plenty of snow and a near constantly overcast sky. But it was over. The people shed their coats and the trees were green again. Birds were singing, children laughing, and the sun was peaking through the clouds, vibrant and warm. It would've made Lance happy if returning to school wasn't part of the deal.

He felt everyone's eyes on him the moment he got into the bus. Never saw them look, but he knew they were- he could feel their stares burning through the back of his Howling Commandos' t-shirt. It was a strange and disturbing sensation, knowing what they were whispering about when they thought he wasn't listening. He liked it so much better when nobody knew he existed.

Lance kept his eyes down and his face hidden behind his long locks. 'Keep your head down.' He ordered himself. Maybe they'd forget after a few hours. Go back to being stupid teenagers.

First hour passed and nobody had stopped looking. They kept whispering. Nobody liked Ms. Harrington's english class. It was boring. Nothing better for them to think about, he guessed. Maybe it'd be better next hour.

Physics. The hardest class of the day. Lance couldn't make head or tails of anything in that textbook, and the teacher wasn't much help. Maybe if he hadn't missed so many days he'd understand half of that bullshit. He was sure everyone else struggled as much as he did. They should'a been paying attention. But they wouldn't stop staring.

Third hour was Spanish. Another boring class. Mr. Rodriguez was ass at teaching, but at least he gave everybody good grades. They were all whispering now. Everybody had heard. Lance had only been there three hours but every single one of them was looking at him now. His face was red and hot. He wished he could just bury his head in the sand and never have to pull it back out.

Fourth hour was the same. Then lunch came. No more whispering. Now they were just talking. Didn't seem to care that he heard any of them. A few of them were even pointing at him. Lance took his lunch outside and ate behind the benches by the Football field. Nobody came back there. It was nice to have some time to himself.

Study hall was right after, so he had even more time to get away from it all. He checked in with the teach and told her he was headed to the library before he walked out the front door. Didn't have time to get far, but he found himself a nice, secluded plot of land a good ways from any of the school's buildings. Lance made sure there were plenty of trees between him and any prying eyes before he plopped down on the grass and let out a heavy, tired sigh.

"Finally," Lance muttered, his eyes snapping shut. He took in a deep, long breath before letting it out just as slowly. He did this six times, each just as long as the last. Careful. Measured. Calm. It took a great deal of concentration to reach out with his mind and feel the earth beneath his feet. Not the grass, or the dirt, but the earth. The stones buried deep. The foundation of everything they strode upon. Nobody ever gave a second thought to the ground. It was just...there. It'd always been there. Dirt to walk on. Stone to hold that up. Nobody really questioned it. Nobody gave it any thought. Not until something went wrong with it. Not until it broke and made a mess of things. That was the only time anyone ever cared- was when it's pain got in their way.

A stone laying at his feet began to shake. He reached out to it, though his hands remained on his knees, and lifted it into the air. He could feel it hovering just a few inches from his face, suspended in the air by his will alone. It gave him an incredible rush every time he did it. Better than any drug he'd ever tried. He let a hand slip from his leg and fall down into the grass, reaching deeper into the ground. It purred and hummed at his touch, welcoming, inviting, obedient. He had heard its hardships. He was the only one that listened to it. He was its friend.

"I been lookin' for you all day, Lance!" Someone called from behind him. The stone dropped to the ground as Lance scampered to get up to his feet. He hadn't so much as turned around before he felt a hand wrap around the collar of his shirt and drag him up the rest of the way.

"Or should I call you mutie now?" The teenager that pulled Lance to his feet snarled, spittle flying from his ugly teeth into the other boy's face. Ryan Griffan- or Griff, as he liked to call himself- was a lifeless douchebag that spent his days picking on the kids that were somehow even less popular than he was. Everybody knew he was an asshole, but nobody ever bothered to get in his way. He was too big for that. Big and stupid and willing to bust your teeth in for even looking at him sideways.

Lance turned his eyes toward his feet, refusing to look Griff in the face. "Don't call me that." He muttered.

"N' why not, mutie?" Griff chuckled, tossing Lance back. He managed to catch himself in a stumble rather than falling right onto his back, but he landed in an awkward stance on his thin and unimpressive frame. He was several inches shorter than Griff, and there was no telling how much lighter. It wouldn't be a fair fight.

"I'm no mutant. Don't matter what they say." He muttered, eyes on the dirt and his chin tucked into chest.

Griff just shook his head. "Naw...Sal's a lotta things but she ain't no liar. Not like you, mutie. You...you're a liar." He laughed again. An ugly, spiteful laugh. Like a Hyena. "And she told evveeryyboodyy, freak, you know that? Whole school's heard about you."

"I know." Lance whispered under his breath. "They won't stop fucking staring."

Griff slipped closer. Two of his dipshit friends stepped out of the treeline. Hovering far enough back that Griff had space to work but close enough that they could pounce if Lance so much as blinked wrong. He'd been on the wrong side of this equation before, but...He knew it'd be different this time.

"What'd you think was gonna happen when you told her?" Griff spoke in a quiet drawl, lowering his mouth toward Lance's ear. "You think she was gonna like you 'cuz you could wiggle your fingers n' make a couple'a rocks float? You think people were gonna start givin' a shit about you 'cuz you're a mutie now?"

"Go away, Griff," Lance muttered, his throat dry and his hands shaking.

"What was that, mutie? Speak up."

"I told you to leave me alone." Lance snarled, turning his eyes up to meet Griff's gaze. The two stared at one another, eyes sharp as spears. They held for precisely three seconds before Griff started to move and the next thing Lance knew he was on his back and blood was running down his face from his nose.

Pain.

It felt his pain.

Like he'd felt it's pain.

"I wanna see it, mutie." Griff declared, hands resting on his hips in a triumphant, arrogant display. He stood over Lance, not even bothering to look at him as he demanded things of the fallen boy. "I wanna see these oh-so-impressive powers you lot are s'posed to have. I mean, I hear about your people hurtin' normal people on the news all the time. So's you've gotta be pretty strong, right? You supposed to be some kinda monster."

Lance rolled over onto his stomach, grass in his teeth. "You wanna see it, huh?"

"Oh yeah, I do. Show me, mutie. Show me." Griff taunted, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. His little friends in the back were whooping and hollering like the morons they were. They thought they'd get to see Griff beat up on a freak. Maybe Griff would even let them in on the fun if they were good enough. They sounded so very excited.

Then the ground began to shift.
<Snipped quote by Saint Maxx>
You didn't know refresh had a hotkey? My god, you yoopers are all in dire need of education.


I'm sorry, I don't speak boomer. Tf is a yooper?
The IC is going up today, by the way.
Waiting for the IC like


wait you can press F5 to reload a page?!

what the fuck how didn't I know this
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