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Location: City Streets -- The City-State of Thorinn, Aetheria

Graves stared down at his hands- at the ghosts of scars he'd given himself. His healing never quite reached the incisions he made to draw his power from. He flinched away from Seele's touch at first, gentle as it was. Though he knew she meant him no harm he reacted on instinct long in the making. He stood stock still, listening. Trying to hear instead of rejecting her words out of hand. He had known men like the ones Seele spoke of: men who used up those around them and threw them away like garbage. Part of him had always wondered if he destined for the same. 'I don't want to be that person anymore.'

He didn't believe he was good, as she said. Not really. But he had it in him to try to be better than he was. Graves kept his eyes on his hands even as Seele let go of his shoulder and moved in front of him. His heart rate spiked when he felt her fingers wrap around his wrists, hiding what lay beneath. It was odd. Her hands looked too small to be as strong as they felt.

'You're allowed to be happy. You're allowed to have friends.'

Graves started to move his arms up slowly, deliberately. He hesitated for only a moment before wrapping Seele in them and dragging her up onto her toes. He squeezed and buried his face in the crook of her neck. "I'm sorry." He croaked. "I'm so sorry."

Location: City Streets -- The City-State of Thorinn, Aetheria

It wasn't a surprise when Seele chased him down. Graves knew the woman well enough to know she wouldn't give up that easily. Usually, he found her stubborn determination admirable. Today? Today it was infuriating. She wouldn't let anything stop her: not pain, not him, not even the truth. What did surprise him, however, was the look on her face when she finally got in front of him. She was angry. Try as she might to hide it, it boiled up in her voice like a fire that wouldn't be doused. Liar.

Graves stopped in his tracks. He wouldn't be able to get by without touching her and he'd never lay his hands on any of them again. Instead he stood, jaw set, eyes wet with tears. He felt a tremble in his hands he couldn't make go away. A thump in his ears like someone was taking a jackhammer to the inside of his head. It was all too much. Andrew wanted nothing more than to find his usual little hole in the dark so he could curl up in it and forget he existed. But that hole wasn't here- it was a world away. And he was trapped on this street with no easy exit.

"I know!" He roared back, throat raw with emotion. Like trying to speak past a gag. "This has been...You all have been the best thing to happen to me in years." Graves turned away, walking a few steps to the side so he might hide his shame. "Runnin' around on my own ain't exactly paradise. Think I know better n' anyone else that I'm not good company. I thought I could make it work. Make some things right that've always been wrong."

He looked down at his hands.

"If I stay I'll just hurt somebody again. S'only a matter'a time."
he's a postie boy
ISSUE #3: Logan Goes to Washington

Greenwich Village New York City

Logan tossed his bullet-ridden, blood-soaked clothes into the dumpster. Every inch of his body burned as his wounds worked to close themselves. Each bullet slowly wormed its way out of his skin, plopping out onto the asphalt with an undignified splat. It hurt damned near as much coming out as it did going in, these days. His healing factor just wasn't as sharp as it used to be half a decade back. Could'a been age, maybe. Or one of those 'mental blocks' Chuck used to drone on about. Maybe he could try sitting cross-legged and contemplating about the universe to slow the bleeding.

He pulled on a grease-stained pair of jeans and a torn up flannel he'd bought off the vagrant sitting on the opposite side of the alley. The old man gave Logan a toothy grin as he lit up one of Logan's cigarettes. He was loathe to be parted with the pack, truth be told, but nicotine withdrawal was better than drawing attention to himself by stumbling around stark naked in the most expensive part of NYC. Logan didn't need SHIELD sniffing at his heels right now. Not with these new players on the scene.

It'd been a long time since he'd seen hardware as advanced as what that shooter was packing. That armor of his was mighty impressive to stand up to Logan's claws for as long as it did. The bitch still went down in the end, of course; but he had a sneaking suspicion he was only the start of a much larger mess. Nobody with that much firepower worked alone. "The hell were they after, though?" He mumbled to himself, buttoning up all but the top two buttons on his new shirt. "Gotta be the politician but-"

He paused, glancing back at the only other person in the alley. The homeless man was staring at him with a look Logan had seen often enough to know it meant 'go the fuck away already.' So with a final wave Logan bid his adieu and jogged back into the street proper. He was maybe three blocks away from the pub where this whole mess began. NYPD goons were crawling through the streets now, searching building by building for anyone who knew anything about what went down. Nobody saw him slip into the alley unless they were watching the rooftops. Not impossible, he reckoned, but unlikely.

If Logan wanted to learn more he needed to go to the woman at the center of it all: Valerie Cooper.


It was three AM. Several hours had gone by since the shooting at the Lion's Head Pub, leaving the heat at only a dull simmer. Logan slipped past the graveyard shift cops guarding the bar. He combed the site for several minutes until he found what he'd come back for: Cooper's trail. It was easy enough to track her movements following the attack. She spent quite awhile at the Pub talking to the authorities and being treated by paramedics. Afterward she hopped in a car and visited the police precinct, likely to give a more complete statement, and finally ended her journey back home.

Representative Valerie Cooper lived in a middle-income apartment building on the edge of her district. Her place was a small, one bedroom unit on the fifth floor. Two cop cars were parked on the street in front of her building. A round-bellied officer with greying whiskers and a retreating hairline leaned against the vehicle, sipping a cup of coffee and stared bleary-eyed into the darkness. His partner was flat-out asleep in the car, earbuds in his ears blaring a superhero interview by WHIH Newsfront. He doubted the cops inside were much better. So much for police protection.

Logan decided to take the indirect approach. He slipped into the alley alongside the apartment building and climbed up the fire escape to the fifth story, silent as a cat despite his weighty metal skeleton. Once he reached Cooper's window he slipped a single claw from between his third and fourth knuckle, jimmying it between the window and its seal. The adamantium cut through the lock with a smooth flick of the wrist. 'Still got it,' he grinned to himself, peeling the window open to get inside.

He was greeted by a baseball bat smashing his nose in.

"Christ-" He started to shout, barely stopping himself from waking the whole damned block with his yelping. Logan grabbed the bat with the hand that wasn't holding his broken nose and tore it from his attacker's hands. Cooper was standing with her back to the wall next to the window, her jaw set in a vicious snarl. She was ready to shout for help right before a look of recognition crossed her face.

"The guy from the bar?!" She gasped, astonished.

"Yeah." Logan coughed, spitting a wad of blood onto the carpet. She'd got him good. "Please don't hit me again." He shoved the bat back into her hands.

Valerie took it, more confused than angry now. Her shoulders were still tensed in preparation for violence. Understandable, given the intruder standing her bedroom in the dead of night. "What the hell are you doing in my house? How are you even alive? You- you were shot half a dozen times before you ran off."

He didn't answer her right away. Instead he paced around the room, waiting for the cartilage in his nose to shift around a little more before grabbing the thing and twisting it back into place with a sickening snap. The pain that shot through his face brought with it a series of curses. After a moment's pause he turned to Cooper. "Death n' me got an understandin'." Logan lifted the hem of his shirt to show the faded remains of a bullet hole in his stomach. "Part'a my mutation, see."

Things started to click into place in Valerie's mind. Her expression shifted as she lowered the bat, finding a seat on the edge of her bed. "You're a mutant. Right. Of course." She took a long, deep breath to calm her nerves.

Logan waited patiently for her to process the situation, finding his own seat on the opposite side of the room- a chair at a small desk shoved up into the corner. He turned the writing lamp on to give them some light. He hoped it made him look less like a wild animal that had barged into her home to piss in her closet and tear up her curtains.

"Considering you saved my life earlier I'm guessing you're not here to kill me." She finally said, looking him directly in the eyes. There was a steely determination there Logan hadn't expected. "And you came through the window instead of the front door because you're avoiding the authorities, right? Those federal agents that questioned me seemed a hell of a lot more interested in you than the gunman."

"SHIELD's been on my ass for a long time. Don't think they like me much." Logan half snarled, half laughed. "You got any idea who's gunning for you? Have many enemies?"

It was Cooper's turn to laugh. "Try the president, the majority party in Congress and half the country." She shook her head, running a hand through her mess of hair. "I knew taking such a strong stance against the MCA would paint a target on my back. You have no idea how many death threats I get. Every time I leave my house or the office I need private security with me so some asshole doesn't get into my face."

"Sounds tough." Logan murmured, scratching his knuckles. "I know what its like 'ta always be lookin' over your shoulder. 'S not an easy way to live."

"Probably wouldn't be so scary if I was immortal." She smirked, glancing down at Logan's hand.

"Yeah." He coughed, looking away. "So let's narrow down our suspects. The guy who shot at ya had kit like I've never seen before. Real tough of the line shit. Ain't the kind of thing a lone radical could put together unless he was a millionaire, n' this guy was a nobody s'far as I can tell."

"Anti-mutant extremism is on the rise again. Hasn't been this bad since the 80s." Cooper leaned forward, elbows resting on her knees. "I had my comms director trace a few of the more credible threats I've received. At least a dozen of them track back to a Neo-Nazi biker gang based in Harlem, the Seven Kings. I put in a report to the NYPD but nothing came of it as far as I know."

"Nazi bikers?" Logan raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah, well, the Venn diagram between white supremacists and anti-mutant radicals is essentially a circle. They might not be responsible for this attack in particular but extremists tend to network. Could be they know something." Cooper shrugged. "Best lead I have for you."

Logan stood up and started for the window. "Guess I'm havin' a word with some bikers."
The following players have not yet replied in the OOC or PMed me directly; thus, they will be moved to inactive status tomorrow. After fourteen additional days of no contact/posts, they will be removed from the roster entirely and their characters will be available for others to apply for: @Supermaxx @Natty @Webboysurf @Redcord

On a cheerier note, @Megsychan is accepted as Flag-Smasher. You can add your sheet to the Character tab and begin posting in the IC at your convenience.

Guy who checks his Guild notifications at work, says he'll reply to them when he gets home and promptly forgets. Oops.

Apologies for the radio silence lately. Been a combination of very busy and distracted by other hobbies so I haven't made much time to post. Entirely my fault, honestly. I'll hopefully have something up this upcoming Sunday- soo three days from now.
<Snipped quote by Supermaxx>

Give me another month. I'll be there.

I believe in us
guy who takes two months to post
ISSUE #1: Legacy

Queensland Park Metropolis

Conner Kent gave the strap around the loveseat a quick tug to make sure it was secure. Satisfied it was snugly in place, he kicked up the dolly with an exaggerated huff. The furniture was barely heavier than a baseball, truth be told, but he had to make a show of it for Tana's grandmother.

Kailani Moon was a short, grey-haired woman with eyes sharper than a hunting knife and little patience for bullshit. She was one of the first people in his life that only knew him as Conner, and keeping it that way had proven...arduous. Prior to his move to Metropolis, 'Conner' was just what his friends called him when they weren't wearing tights. He was a full-time superhero- he didn't have time for the mild-mannered life. Clark had insisted on it, however.

“We live among humanity, Kon-El. Not above it.”

Conner wheeled the dolly down the truck's ramp and up the stairs to Kailani's new apartment. For the last month and a half the old woman had been staying in a sketchy hotel in Suicide Slums while she negotiated the lease with her new landlord. The five decades before that were spent in Hawai'i with her late husband, a man Conner only knew by reputation and the several hundred framed photos he would be unpacking over the weekend. How a man that looked that happy could spend over fifty years with a woman as filled with piss and vinegar as nana the world would never know.

"If you scratch my hardwood floor I'll have your balls in a vice, Kent," Kailani called from the kitchen. She was busy unpacking enough silverware to feed a small army. He had to wonder what it was all for. From what Tana told him no one in her family had met for dinner at nana's in half her lifetime- and it wasn't just the distance from Metropolis to Honolulu that kept them apart.

Sighing, he lowered the love seat to the living room floor in front of the fireplace- just the spot she'd pointed him to earlier. "I wouldn't dream of it, Mrs. Moon.”

“Misses? God be good I didn’t spend a decade of my life earning a PhD to be called misses.”

He closed his eyes tight and took a slow, deliberate breath. ‘Patience, Conner. Don’t go losing your cool the first time you’re around her without Tana to watch your back.’

“I apologize, doctor-“

“Oh Jesus Christ.” Kaliani barked out a disbelieving laugh as she shuffled out of the kitchen, leaning against the doorframe to keep from falling over mid-laughing fit. “I can’t tell if you have the patience of a saint or if you’re just a pussy. I’m ribbing you, darling. Don’t take this old kook so seriously.”

He could feel his face turning dark red as he stood there, mouth half-open and stuttering for a response. Staring down Vandal hadn’t made him a fraction as nervous as this.

“Right,” he finally responded, running a hand through his hair. “You were testing me.”

“Damned right I was.” She grinned, stepping back into the kitchen long enough to retrieve a pair of steaming coffee mugs.

She pushed one into his hands and took a seat in the chair he’d just set down, ushering him to take the couch. Conner did so after a moment’s hesitation. He took a short sip of his coffee and grimaced.

“You have any creamer?”

Kaliani mirrored his grimace. “So you really are a pussy. No, that shit is vile. There’s sugar in a pot on the counter and milk in the refrigerator.”

Conner rolled his eyes as he moved to make the drink actually digestible. “So I take it I failed your test, then?”

“Oh, absolutely. Don’t feel bad about it, though; most people do. No one looks at a sweet old grandma and expects her to have a fucking spine. It throws people off, makes them easier to wrangle.”

“Is that what you got your degree in? People wrangling?” Conner asked, sitting back down.

“That’s an apt description of politics, I’d say.”

“Oh, so that’s where you got all the bullshit.”

“So the dog can bark!” Nana Moon smiled wryly. “Yes, I’ve met plenty of bulls who think they run the ranch just because they shit the hardest and we’re born with a cock between their legs. But my days of working with legislators is long behind me, I’m afraid. These days I’m a glorified Wikipedia search in heels, only they pay me and give me a fancy title like ‘advisor,’ ‘analyst’ or ‘expert.’”

Conner leaned back into the couch, raising an eyebrow. “You do TV interviews, don’t you? Tana’s shown me some of them.”

“Oh, God.” She groaned. “Unfortunately so. Being a talking head pays better than actually working for a living these days. I actually have a debate lined up with one of President Luthor’s goons on Godfrey’s network later today. We’re going to ‘discuss’ Luthor’s policy on the meta-human population. On today of all days!”

Today was the fourth anniversary of the disbanding of the Justice League. Conner felt the weight of that day on his shoulders every day- but it was never heavier than today. He tried to not let the anger show on his face, nodding to show Moon he was still listening.

“It’ll be a damned massacre. I can’t fathom why Luthor’s team would take me on if they’ll done an ounce of research. I’ve been studying meta-humans like you since the president was still pissing his diapers.”

Conner’s face twitched. Had he heard that right? Did she misspeak? He shifted uncomfortably in place, gripping his mug a little harder. “Oh yeah?” He asked as casually as possible.

Kaliani leapt from her loveseat with an athleticism fit for a woman half her age. "Ha, I knew it!" She jammed a finger toward Conner, her smile twisting with a triumphant glee, as if she'd won a game that he didn't even know they were playing. "You've got to work on your poker face, boy. You couldn't have been more obvious if you tried." She cackled.

Confusion and panic warred in his chest as Conner tried to clamp down on his emotions. He had no idea what the hell had given him away. "I'm really not sure what you're talking about," he laughed, failing to keep his nervousness from leaking out of every pore in his body.

Playing dumb didn't do anything to alleviate Moon's jubilant mood. She was practically dancing around the living room, coffee threatening to spill from her mug with every jolt and jump. She was supercharged, now, talking faster than her mouth could keep up. "You really did put quite a lot of work into your alter ego. Most people just forge a birth certificate and an I.D and call it a day. But fabricating a relationship with a former Daily Planet journalist? Getting yourself retroactively enrolled in three different schools? And a C.V as long as my arm- you almost got me."

His heart fell into his stomach. All that work he'd put into covering his tracks and it had already been undone by the first person that went looking. Kent let his anger and disappointment show in his falling posture and deepening frown. "Sounds like you did your research. What tipped you off?"

The old woman shrugged playfully. "I've been around a long time. Made a lot of friends that owe a lot of favors. None of your graduating class knew a Conner Kent, your social media accounts were all bought and edited within the last year and one of your old jobs is an ARGUS front. I'm guessing they helped you set all this up?"

Conner put his head in his hands. "A little, yeah. They told me it was bulletproof."

"ARGUS couldn't bulletproof a fucking kevlar vest if they had three trillion dollars and twenty years to do it." Kaliani said after she finished blowing a raspberry. "It doesn't help that you fly around in your tighty-whities with your whole, actual face showing. I'm honestly impressed nobody's taken a shot at 'Conner Kent' yet."

"Nobody ever goes looking," Conner admitted with a shrug. "Why would an indestructible alien choose to live as a normal person?"

Kaliani finally finished her victory lap and returned to her seat, still positively beaming. "Does Tana know?" She asked, and Conner responded with a hesitant nod. She continued: "She must've found it out for herself, too. I'm not half so good at this sort of thing as that girl. My darling baby practically lives and breathes this spy-detective shit."

"Yeah." He scoffed. "When I finally got around to telling her my big secret she just flicked me on the nose and told me 'I know.'" The two shared a laugh together and the tension finally drained from Conner's stomach. They spent the next half an hour talking about everything: her move from Hawai'i, his choice to take up the Superman mantle, and Conner and Tana's relationship. It didn't take long for Kaliani to interrogate Conner about when they were getting married and giving her great grand children. It was almost strange to hear a woman so...unorthodox as her ask about something so ordinary. There was a lot more to the old, cranky woman than Conner first assumed. Now he understood why Tana liked her so much, and insisted Conner spend time with her.

Just as Kent was standing up to continue unpacking the moving truck he heard something in the distance. He turned his head toward it, his eyes glazing over as he searched through layer after layer of buildings, roads and people for the source of the thunderous noise. An explosion. There was trouble.

"I gotta-" He started, but Kaliani had already waved him off.

"Go, already! If you stop to give me the 'this is a job for' speech I'll spit in your eye."

Location: City Streets -- The City-State of Thorinn, Aetheria

A whirlwind kicked up in Graves’ chest as he watched Seele approach him. There was an easy confidence to the way the woman walked, as if her friends hadn’t just been trying to kill each other a couple minutes ago. It was bizarre to see her smiling like that- like all this was no big deal. It made him angry, confused. If she had an ounce of sense beneath all that empathy she’d leave him in the dirt to rot. But that wasn’t the kind of person she was.

The ghost of a smile possessed Graves’ pale lips. The wind in his chest rose up to his throat, clinging there like a welt. Graves was surprised to find he could talk at all. “Stay the hell away from me,” he hold her, as casually as if he was chatting about the weather. The storm brought with it a clarity he had never known before. It was like he was standing in the eye of a hurricane and saw some profound truth hanging in the sky above him.

‘I tried to kill you, dumbass. Learn a little self-preservation and walk away.’ The words stopped just at the top of his tongue, his eyes tracking over the guards that still stood around them. Graves had no intent of being dragged off to jail right after Seele had bailed him out. It would’ve made her life more complicated than it needed to be.

”Better off on my own. This working was always a long shot. No need to get teary-eyed about it. Good luck, n’ tell Rael…tell her she was right.” Graves pushed himself off the ground and turned, walking away.
@Supermaxx@PatientBean@King Kindred still around/interested?

he do be back home. Will take me some time to go through the IC and catch myself up but I’m still here. If I do get a post out it’ll be Sunday my time, sooo three days from now.
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