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8 mos ago
Current Happy Chinese New Year, RPGuild!
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Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat.

If there was ever a motto to follow, that's the one I believe everyone should follow.

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" What a right little party this is."

Lazlo twirled around, the sabre-thin point of Peaceful Asymmetry broadening into that of a scimitar that curved like a snake's fang. The orange glow of the man's cigar glinted off the whorled surface of the trinket. He lowered Peaceful Assymetry in embarrassment, slowly realising who it was. The Tower. Lazlo remembered that whenever Hex mentioned the British superhero during the time he spent under his care, it was always nostalgia that he saw on his face followed by regret. The Third Rail's intel filled in the gaps. Apparently, rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated in the underground after his disappearance in the 2030s. He inclined his head downwards, slightly bowing , towards the Tower respectfully. Three heroes, four if they were counting the federale. Not a bad st-

“If either of us thought the feds could actually do anything, I highly doubt we would’ve shown up,” Stardust glanced over his shoulder, her lips on the beginnings of a smile. “Case and point.”

Lazlo was wondering what she was talking about, slowly turning his head behind him. He gawked behind his gas mask. Dios mios! How many supers had Reynolds managed to dig out with that communique of hers? The fabled Biomancer, Hex's rival, glanced at him with....was that contempt? He was lucky that the aerators in his mask managed to hide his swear as a figure popped out of the shadows. Spellbound. Lazlo was lost amidst the apparent bad history between the Biomancer and Spellbound that the black garbed protege of Hex decided to drag up. He couldn’t have cared less about the ominous words Spellbound uttered until Biomancer piped up.

“ - terrorist dressing himself as a hero - “

Peaceful Asymmetry clanged onto the syncrete pavement in the form of an ornate zweihander, metal scraping against it like a growling beast.

" Look, viejo.” Lazlo began to walk towards the experienced veteran. “ I didn't risk coming here just to hear you - "

His mouth clammed up just as Reynolds began speaking towards the entire group. How the hell had the old man managed to get underneath his skin? The trinket blade shifted into an unassuming pen-knife, Lazlo hiding it out of sight. He listened closely to Reynolds every word, eyes narrowing once she revealed that Hex’s death was possibly on purpose. The Reality Bringer. Lazlo rolled it between his tongue, muttering the name softly. The Third Rail’s intel hadn’t picked up on anyone who bore that name. To imagine someone who could kill Hex, the most powerful magician of all time, the only man who had cast him from America's shores....It made him shudder. If an entire city was about to be swallowed, he couldn't just stand there and wait for the permission of the Third Rail to intervene. No, this was bigger than the Third Rail. The corps couldn't dream of bringing ruin to an entire city.

Lazlo stared outwards at the entire group of heroes assembled behind him and only saw embers, including himself. What were they supposed to do against something that killed Hex? Were they embers raging futilely against the darkness? A spark was enough to start a fire but he'd seen kindle that had burnt endlessly without purpose. Perhaps, under Reynolds leadership, it would be different. Or maybe, they had gone to Reynolds in search of purpose, like him.

As soon as Reynolds mentioned New Mexico, Lazlo's eyebrows quirked upwards. " New Mexico, eh? It'll be nice revisiting the border again. Hopefully, they won't arrest me." He snorted. Arrest him? More like shoot him on sight after what he did in Tijuana. " Again."

Lazlo went forth and gingerly accepted the archaic piece of tech from Reynolds, murmuring a gracias, before shoving it within a pocket. He scratched the back of his head awkwardly before rasping out loud towards Reynolds, small hisses issuing from the aerators in his gas mask. " You've got some cojones, Reynolds. Asking all of us to come here with no reassurance....." Lazlo tilted his head to the side. " I can respect that. Besides, I can't wait to take that Reality Bringer cabron down."




THE MASS-MURDERER FORMERLY KNOWN AS ARTISTONANCER





Artistonancer should have died in that blast wave. But art always survives, even in the apocalypse. He woke up, smelling the fruity odor of radiation and expired canned spaghetti. The umbrella had managed to protect him from getting blown back to the Stone Age. He stood up, rubbing his slowly melting eyes, as he felt his insides burning from levels of radiation that would have managed to mutate anyone into have extra gonads.

Unfortunately, for the person who had unleashed nuclear hell on Santa Celia, radiation had an odd effect upon a magician's body. Artistonancer would be dying but he would make sure everyone would know about his art. The radiation had given him new insight into the nature of the world, the pigments that had made it, the canvas upon which it dried, the brush that painted and the hand that made.

Giggling, he took a shattered piece of glass and sliced his neck, copious amounts of blood spewing out of his cartoid artery like a geyser. He would die in minutes but it was enough time to make what he needed. He dabbed his finger into the paint and began drawing his final creation messily onto the roadside.

IT MUST END.

THE PAIN. WE ARE TRAPPED WITHIN THIS SHELL OF YOURS.

NO MORE

There. He was done. He only had enough blood within him to fill a ink pen but it was done. His paper-white fingers plunged into the scabbed road painting made of his blood. Magical blood that would be the catalyst for the greatest trinket ever made in the world. Soon, the painter of this reality would see his art. The toll required to manifest the bomb peeled apart his skin into ringlets, made his hair fall out, dissolved his eyeballs into black sockets and made cheese-filled pustules grow in his organs. It was more painful than listening to mumble rap.

But, it was worth it.

The manifested nuclear bomb only briefly existed for a few seconds in the corporeal world like a fresh newborn before it reached critical mass. It wasn't the ear-drum shredding sound or the heat that had reached Moses first. No. It was the light. The ivory purity of it, like the contours of a human skull, made Moses shed tears of joy that evaporated immedietely in the blast-wave. His nerve endings barely had time to register pain as his entire body, from bone to muscle, was atomised into shadow. The already blasted ground of Santa Celia shook and rumbled like a bucking bronco for a millisecond before the blast wave shredded the entire landscape into a apocalyptic hellscape squared. The blast continued onwards past the city borders, enveloping the western coast of the USA in a omnidirectional supersonic, screaming tide of burning shit-fury and malevolence.

Within seconds, Santa Celia, no, the entire United States of America was engulfed within a emerald mushroom cloud, a maw of toxic, noxious black burning smoke. The tainted ash fell upon the remnants of those that had survived the initial detonation and began transforming them, mutating them into horrific multi-limbed monsters that defied all known laws of mankind and reality itself. Cancer-cheese monsters that flopped around uselessly. The only piece of media to have survived Artistonancer's bomb was an old copy of the Teletubbies who became the patron saint of these cancer cheese monsters. Artistonancer's final painting had transformed the entire world into a surrealist's nightmare.

And finally, Moses was at peace.
Can I make a chapter that spreads the Emperor’s words through spreading commodified and cheap human cuisine to subvert all xenos to the glory of the Emperor?


Arc 2: + Power Outage +


STATIC SHOCK



Episode 1.1: - Back With a Bang -


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♦ Topic: Mayoral Election in Dakota City - The Future of Bang Babies Uncertain?

In: Boards ► General Affairs ► East-Coast

Peasant_Ghoul - (Meta Groupie)

http://www.whih.org/news/mayoral-showdown-at-dakota-city

" It's all too easy to mistake them as just monsters when in reality, they're kids. Misguided and lost boys and girls from Paris Island. From Utopia. From Hemingway. From Washington Avenue. Who all need a second chance at life."

This was just one of many choice quotes spoken by Robert Hawkins, head manager of Freeman Community Center and current mayoral nominee for Dakota City spoken during last week's campaign rally.

Today, on September 7th, marks two months since the infamous chemical incident that struck the harbors of Dakota City. The Big Bang, as dubbed by the local civilians living in Dakota City, resulted in the largest recorded artificial boom in metahuman populations in America since experimentation by the SSR in WW2. The status of metahumans as having access to human rights has long been a long contentious issue nation-wide.

His opponent, current incumbent Mayor Morris Jefferson is an active supporter of police militarization, advocating for the occupation of the D.M.A and a hostile policy towards meta-humans........
WHIH NEWS - 7th September 2019 - Christine Everhart


Hopefully, the DMA doesn't get their hands on Dakota City. It's surprising that Dakota's been left unscathed by the Stryfe Attack. My relative says that they're planning to break out mandatory checks for metas in every city....

StainedDuCChess
Replied on 13:24:20, 5th September

What's more surprising is that Static's managed to keep a tight noose on all those metas. Someone at least give this man a pat on the back.

Ram Mette
Replied on 13:42:35, 5th September

Hope that the new mayor puts all those dirty fuckin' mongrels in camps. Police should gas them again and make sure it works this time.

STAFF NOTICE: Honestly, Ram Mette, we are sick of your shit. You can get your anti-meta tirade out of here and off to whatever bridge you lurk under.

SpamLetters
Replied on 13:44:42, 5th September

ugh, crowd were friggin' packed when I went there.

Krimson Angel
Replied on 14:12:29, 5th September

Say, anyone still got footage of Static at NYC? I'm planning on using it for a school project.

HarryMan45
Replied on 14:30:01, 5th September

[@Krimson Angel] PM me and we can work something out.




" YO, META-BREED! ARE YA READY TO ROCK?!"

" YEAH"

" I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

" YEAAAAH!"


“ THEEEENNN, LLLLEEETTT’SSS PARTAAAYY!”

Boom pumped his fists in the midst of his jockeying, the crowd jumping up and down in erratic waves, as another track came on. The sub-woofer growing out of his chest reverbated and vibrated sporadically, electronic bass shaking the air. The music was infectious to the point where Ebon began to tap his feet in time with the beat.

It was a shame that he was late to the event.

Paris Island barren wastes were teeming with wild hoots of celebration and the raucous racket of mix music. Ebon watched from a distance, under the wreckage of a gutted fishing trawler, as the feathered figure of Talon dropped a crate of beer to the frenzied crowd of Bang Babies down below. His crew had managed to set up a circular wall of shipping crates stacked upon one another, technicolor rays of light glowing out of the pit, a rainbow in the night.

Suddenly, there was a muffled sound of gagging that he heard but no one else could. His stomach turned and buckled in nausea.

“Quit being shifty." He growled out. " Your time will come soon, Buchinsky. You've already failed me again. Be grateful I'm granting this chance for you to prove yourself. ”

The nausea ceased. Ebon snorted. Was that all it took to silence the Electrocutioner? It was hard to believe that he once believed this washed up old timer could bring down the Kilowatt Kid. However, it was still annoying that he still hadn’t managed to figure out the problem of containing living beings in his shadow dimension. Transporting Buchinsky all the way from Ryker’s to Dakota probably had a factor in how the criminal had managed to figure out how to affect Ebon from another dimension. He made a note for himself to fix it later. Right now, Buchinsky had other uses than being a thorn in his backside.

Ebon moved through the shadows like a serpent, gliding in between the darkness until he was on top of a shipping container, surveying the chaotic scene below him. Racks of meat and sausages were being cooked over campfires. He looked around at the shadows of corroding shipping containers cast by moonlight. The only other illumination available on the island were bonfires and the lightbulbs that his men had managed to scrounge up. It took only a few moments before one person noticed him. Then, the next. Then, the few other dozen. It was a game of Chinese whispers and shoulder nudges that soon had made him the sole attention of the largest population of Bang Babies on the east coast. There was enough firepower here to topple Dakota PD or hell, even the city if he tried. For anyone else, it would have been suicide. But he wasn’t some normie scrub. He was the Master of Shadows and the boss of the Meta Breed. He was on top of the food chain as far as he was concerned and everyone else that he was staring right now got his scraps.

" How's it hanging, y'all?” Ebon shouted down towards the silent crowd. It was disappointing that they only reaction he got were coughs. Boom’s music was still on, though, it’d now had switched to a reggae track.

“C'mon, guys. Just cause they call me the Shadow Man don't mean you all gotta get cold feet.” He spoke exasperatedly. “ Makes me sound like some sort of pedophile, now that I think about it.”

The levity cut through the tension like a needle popping a balloon. There were giggles and sounds of laughter elicited from every Bang Baby. Boom took it as a signal to continue on, inserting a new track of Europop into the mix, to the cheers of the mob that had formed around his station.

“ Now, that’s what I like to hear! C’mon, Talon, gimme your poison of the day.”

Talon soared overhead and tossed him a bottle from her clawed feet which he caught deftly. He uncapped it and began to chug it down. It was all an act, of course. One of the downsides of his powers were that everyday normal sensations for him were dulled right now. Of course, that had upsides. The cheap beer now tasted faintly of apple juice to him instead of the bitter crap that so many swallowed down their throats.

Ebon hopped down from the metallic crate in a dark blur, looking where exactly to plan his little stunt. Funny. Nightinggale was nowhere to be seen, though, given how skittish the Night Breed were -

“ Look who came crawling back out of their cave again….”

He’d recognised that snide accent anywhere. He narrowed his eyes as he saw a lone individual part out from the crowd, ginger haired with yellow streaks dyed throughout. Hotstreak. The man toed the line so many times that Ebon was considering tossing him out of the Meta-Breed. He decided against it. Having a loose cannon on a leash was better than having a loose cannon on the leash pointed against them. Thankfully, Hotstreak’s brains didn’t match his skills for being a firestarter.

Hotstreak’s stabbed his finger into Ebon’s jacket, the tip glowing like a fire poker. Singe marks peppered the expensive leather. He knew it would make him mad. He wouldn’t let this jumped up chump get to him.

“ Fancy seeing you here, Hotstreak.” Annoyance edged into Ebon’s normally suave baritone. He was almost tempted to drop Hotstreak into a portal and out into Hemingway Harbor.

“ Why are you here, Ebon?” Hotstreak stared at him with barely veiled suspicion.“ I thought you were supposed to be out doing your own business?”

" I’m glad you asked, Francis.” The pyrokinetic bang baby looked as if he’d been slapped. “ Cause I hauled myself a fish I think everyone’s itching to get a piece of.”

A black chasm formed above him, dripping shadows. Hotshot’s arms spread out, pointing towards Ebon, burning orange . Funny. He actually thought he could take him in a fight. A moment later, the prisoner tumbled onto the ground. He hit the ground writhing. Someone screamed and for a moment, the bustling, lively atmosphere of the party had been shattered. Hotstreak lowered his arms, cutting off the flames, his cheeks pale white with fear, as he rubbed the back of his head. He gave him a look that said 'Am I off the hook?'

Ebon stared back and then, slowly nodded. We'll see. Hotstreak’s expression returned back to his arrogant demeanour.

Meanwhile, he had everyone’s attention now. Boom had cut his music off and the entire Meta-Breed was staring at who exactly Ebon had brought uninvited to the party. Ebon cleared his throat and lifted his prisoner up by the shoulders for everyone to see.

" Everyone. May I introduce Larry Buchinsky, the Electrocutioner and the ho-mo sapien who tried to ice our good old friend, Static."

Whispers of 'The Kilowatt Kid?' and 'Shocker?' travelled through the crowd of metahumans, several of them moving closer to see the truth of Ebon's claim. Several of them looked at the Electrocutioner with disgust whilst others remained impassive.

" Now, I know that there are plenty of us here who share a certain...history with Static. We know Talon's sob-story about how he nearly sent her falling from five stories up. The truth is...I don't hate the he-ro.” He drawled out the syllables mockingly. “ I just pity the fool.” He paused to let it sink in. “ Think about it for a moment. Here's a brother who's the same blood as us. He's out there bleeding sweat and tears for those filthy normies, fighting their battles instead of ours. He thinks they're the oppressed instead of the rest of us here on Paris Island.”

He turned his gaze towards the crowd, slithering through the small gaps like quicksliver as he spoke into their ears.

‘All of you know what they call us. Freaks of nature.” he said, his eyes searching through the crowd. Murmurs of anger spread through the crowd. " The muties. Monsters."

" So, I say, if they live in fear of us, then, why not embrace it?"

" I’ve told you all before and I’m gonna tell again. I'mma make sure that Dakota belongs to us. The city is our turf. Our territory. Stick with me, my friends, and ain't nobody gonna mess with us ever again. Not the mayor. Not the government. Not the D.M.A. Not Supergirl. Not Wondie. Not Spider Man. Not anyone!"

Not even the Kilowatt Kid.

" We're the beginning of a new century, my friends! And it only begins when we have the guts to do what's right!" Ebon raised his fist upwards and the entire crowd followed him. " When we bring justice to our corrupt city!"

Ebon then turned his head towards the wide-eyed waiting form of Electrocutioner. Ebon wondered what was on his mind right now as his eyes looked to the crowd pleadingly, waiting for someone to rescue him. He wouldn't find any sympathy here. Ebon pointed towards the trembling form of the super-villain. Well, to be former super-villain.

“ Starting with this Bang-Baby murdering homosapien.” There were shouts of agreement as he hauled Buchinsky's hysterical form over on his shoulder. The man was pulling at his rope bonds, cutting blisters into his skin as his screams of protest were muffled by a gag. " Shiv, would you so kindly do the honours for us?"

The crowd parted to reveal a grinning man, pierced lips stuck in a perpetual smile. He sauntered over towards Ebon, hands loosely hanging by his side, radiating confidence. His arm began to glow pink, shimmering light shaping into a bladed mass that resembled the man’s namesake.

" What are we?" he shouted out.

" A NEW BREED!"

" WHAT ARE WE GONNA BE!?"

" A BETTER BREED!"

All of the crowd was into it now. Ebon dropped the Electrocutioner on the ground and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, dragging him through as Bang Babies spat curses and threw empty bottles and trash towards the convict.

" Who are we?"

" THE META BREED!"

He slammed the Electructioner onto the hood of an old forklifter, positioning his neck so it stuck out over the side.

" And our time starts right here! Right now! We’ve all lived in the shadows long enough! It's time this city stands in ours."

“ EBON! EBON! EBON! EBON!”

The chanting loudened and Ebon in that moment felt that the world was his stage. The Electrocutioner began to struggle, tugging on his restraints, and screaming out from behind his rope gag, looking at Ebon with shocked betrayal.

Shiv’s hand swung down at the peak of the crowd’s roar. Flesh boiled and bubbled away in a hissing slash. The Electrocutioner’s head rolled on the ground, blinking, his mouth frozen in a mortified expression of anger and resignation.

Ebon’s boot then slammed down on his head and crushed it into a red puddle. He watched as the crowd cheered for the brutal display, savouring the feeling of Buchinsky's skull snapping like a twig. The Electrocutioner had been more useful to him in death than he'd been alive.

Tonight was going to be a new beginning and Dakota would be his turf one way or another.

When every player on the streets had a shadow, who couldn't he beat?
Blue. Cerulean. Azure.

That’s the color of betrayal, he figures.

Betrayal smells like sea salt.

He remembers the bitter tang on his tongue when they fought that day. White encrusting his trinkets while Hex’s throat struggles to chant out spells in the stinging air.

Betrayal looks like falling down an endless void.

The worst part of betrayal isn’t the pain but that you don’t know who’s betrayed whom. Maybe you betrayed him. Maybe he betrayed you. Maybe you betrayed yourself.

Betrayal feels like slamming your body against the rocks.

Betrayal is a paradoxical mix of sudden and slow. You wonder whether you remained ignorant of the clues or whether you were aware of it all the time.

Betrayal is like drowning. Helplessly sinking until you can’t -





“ ALL PASSENGERS. BE ADVISED. WE ARE CURRENTLY ARRIVING AT CEDAR FORT! WE SINCERELY HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED YOUR STAY ON THE INTER-ZONE AUTOMATED MASS TRANSPORT SYSTEM,MANUFACTURED AND DISTRIBUTED BY BY….. “

It takes a while for him to fully wake up but the loud scripted din of the announcer makes him crawl back to consciousness. Lazlo decided at that moment interstate public buses were worse than walking through an art gallery. The stench of seven-day old sweat and bio-eth is heavy in the air. Combined with the limited space, it’s almost downright asphyxiating. The auto-bus is filled to the point where he can barely manages to roll his cramped shoulders. Out of his corner of his eye, he notices a canyon of flashing neon in the distance. The windows are still covered in dew from the storm 30 minutes ago but you can’t mistake Cedar Fort. He bristles in impatience for a moment. Being cooped up in an auto-bus from Hayden Port to Cedar Fort is not an experience that he wants to repeat again. 12 hours feels like 12 days inside here. The bus slows down and he has to wait excruciatingly long before he halt. He breathes as the hydraulic doors unfurl open, soaking in the warm, smoky air of Cedar Fort.

“ Where to begin?” He whispers to himself as his mind takes in the sheer size of the city around him. His stomach is growling. There’s a nice looking pho stand to his left. Only problem is that being a wanted fugitive doesn’t exactly leave you with a lot of spare dough to spend. It’s when he notices his hands are shaking. Not from the sub-zero conditioning in the auto-bus or the lack of nutrition. It’s the feeling of being out in the open, feeling like a stranger in new territory, exploring unknown lands, the feeling of a tourist.

And being a tourist can get you killed nowadays if you aren’t careful.

The last passenger exists the bus and it closes, kicking up a gale of asphalt, old wax paper and mouldy adverts. The passengers scatter away from the bus stop, leaving him standing alone. It’s at that moment that Lazlo decides he needs to make himself feel relaxed. He’s been travelling from Brasilia to the United States non-stop without any breaks.

He needs to find somewhere to paint.




Turquoise green. He pauses and then, shakes his head. No, too nauseous. He takes out another cannon, and shakes it before finishing the last touch with a cone of wet pine green. Prying off the gas mask, he stands back and takes a look. A tree isn’t the most unique of symbols but it’s something that everyone can get behind. Besides, growing cages and keys is something everyone can get behind. His tag is a single element of the college that has been smeared over the corporate billboard. The mess of stencils, wild-styles, drunken throw-ups and the odd holo-tag are a mosaic compared to the soulless night-lights of Cedar Fort that he’s overlooking right now.

Making the painting took moments but moments could be eternity for whoever was waiting for him in Cedar Fort. Sure, he could have integrated a paint gun into his wrists like the rest of his contemporaries but there’s something about the human physiology in art that mechanical limbs and articulated joints can’t replicate. He’s stayed clean of the aug trend that’s infected most of the populous for a good reason after all. The idea of having metal jacked up was something he never had the guts for.

His stomach rumbles and reminds him of what he originally drew it for. Right. Food.

“ Not your best work, Lazlo….” He mutters, fanning a rolled up piece of newspaper over his creation to make it dry faster. “ But ...dinner is dinner….”

His hand sinks into the picture like its a pool of tar. The four steps are second-nature to him now. He closes his eyes and focuses.

Conceptualize.

Nature. Growth. Revival.

Visualize.

Uneven. Branch. Bush.

Interpret.

Sustenance. Nourishment. Filling.

Materialize.


In his hand is a gnarled tree branch, a few fresh leaves with the color of white sprouting along the twigs. He takes a sniff. It smells of autumn and roasted almonds. His stomach stops trembling after the first bite and after the third, it feels like he’s eaten an entire banquet. He looks at his wrist-watch. It’s nearly 2 in the morning.

Well, time to get moving to those coordinates, then. He tosses the branch over his shoulders, letting it fall onto the ground, before strapping the gas mask back on and climbing down the billboard sign. The ladder is rusting from years of disrepair but it just barely manages to hold his weight. He finally makes his way down, feet landing on wet back-alley puddles before navigating his way towards the coordinates that Addison gave him. He feels as if the monolithic ruins around him are eyeing him with every step he makes. Ironically, the desolate urban sprawl feels more alive to him than the inner city centers of Cedar Fort. The inundated streets hide patches of grass and moss grows on the decaying walls.

Yet, it never makes him less vigilant. Caution isn’t a feeling for him anymore. It’s a state of existence that he’s had to bear for years. With the looming form of the warehouse in plain sight, he approaches it with quiet footsteps. He wonders for a moment if maybe he should go in armed. The purple streak of fire cutting through the air makes him jump briefly in surprise. Armed, it was then. He creeps through the back, rolling out a canvas binder out of his satchel bag to reveal Peaceful Asymmetry No .12. It’s undergone several reinterpretations throughout the years but cubism has always been a favourite style of his. He pulls out a sword that looks as if its been stitched from severed glass. It gives him a minor migraine by just looking at it. The sword shifts in shape like a chameleon with every slight movement, morphing between a jagged cut-lass, an ancient chipped zweihander and a needle-thin fencing sword. He tightens the hood around his head out of nervousness.

Peeking out from behind a strip of shattered brick walls, he narrows his eyes at the sight of a vehicle that he's seen dozens of times. After all, being pursued by state police gets you acquainted with their style. Getting arrested by the federales was not what he imagined when he traveled to the states. He’s close enough that he can just make out a conversation between what he presumed was the federale and....Stardust? Hex never told him that he knew her out of all people. The once-famed hero's grouchy tone of voice is a far-cry from the old archive videos that he's seen of her. Clearly, she had a change of attitude over the years as well given how flippantly she threatened the federale.

He shuffles a little to the right in order to get closer, not intending to reveal himself yet. It's when he doesn't notice the rotting plan of wood that everything goes south. 130 pounds of himself pressing down with his worn heeled boot is enough to make a loud, sharp crack that's audible enough to be heard by everyone, including both Stardust and the federale.

Well, being conspicuous went out of the window. He slowly stands up out of cover, both hands raised up in the air with Peaceful Assymetry held in his right. His right hand twitches and the fencing sword warps into an oversized butcher's knife.

" Would you believe me if I said I came for an autograph, senora?" He takes one step forward with trepidation. " How about we start off with you promising me you won't blast my head off?" He then nods towards the heavily armoured police officer. " I wouldn't recommend starting off with him first, even though I wouldn't have an issue with it. Given both of our colorful histories, having the federales on our asses is not what we need right now."




Done. Needs some minor touch ups but I'm satisfied the way it is right now.
You know who I am. You've heard of me. You've probably seen my work. I'm quite famous with the federales on the Mexican border after all. But you don't know the man who made the mask.

This is the story of how I painted the Artistomancer.

Chapter 1 - The Pledge

All good things begin with a mother and a father. I was born in a family of five sons and two sisters. My parents married each other out of necessity at first, not love. That was what Mama accidentally told me when she fixed up a scrape I got from attempting to climb the border wall. I guess, things change over time. Mama was a nurse who worked in the slums. Papa, on the other hand, was a travelling bicycle mechanic who tried to escape the 2010 coup de'tat in Sao Paulo. It's hard to believe that the conditions in Sao Paulo were worst than Juarez.

Oh, Juarez? The wall was a constant across. Juarez was a life of living on the margins. What can I say about Juarez that hasn't been blasted and smeared across every news outlet in North America? The only kind thing I can say about Juarez is that if you ignore the corruption, cooperate with the cartels and keep your nose clean of crime; then, you can make a decent living.

When my papa gave me my first set of cheap color pencils as my 10th birthday gift, I was initially angry. Looking back, I wouldn't have traded it for anything else in the world. I began to draw. I drawed instead of doing homework at school. I stained my handprints on the walls. I made chalk drawings on the pavements. I painted the pottery my mom brought home. When I didn't have enough money to buy dollar-store chalk or spray paint, I mashed cactus juices together and mixed crayons with water. My inspirations were not Leonardo Da Vinci or Michaleangelo but the street artists and holo-taggers of Mexico.

Some discover theyNo, it wasn't some freak accident nor was I experimented in one of those corporate laboratories. For me, it was desperation that led me to discovering my powers. One of the waterlines . The corporations barred any news of it getting out to the NGO's, leaving thousands of us to die from dehydration in the slums.

That was my first art-piece. An oasis in my desert.

Eventually, I caught the attention of. I was young, foolish and naive back then. I thought I could outsmart the Los Diablos. However, they were stringing me along, treating me like a tool.

I did the only thing my thirteen year old mine thought was the smart move. I tried to resurrect them, bring them back to life...

Well, there's a reason why no one dares to speak the name of the Los Diablos anymore in Juarez.

That's when I met Hex.

Chapter 2 - The Turn

So, when the corporations tried to silence me, I struck out on my own. I saw that we were always playing into the hands of the corpos, the fat cats, the men who controlled the world and made us play their cops and robbers games.

Chapter 3 - The Prestige

I joined The Third Rail.

Hex says an apocalypse is coming for us all.





STATIC: CRISIS EPILOGUE





An earth-shattering boom rouses him from his dream. Storms are like monsters under the bed. A moment later, rainfall ruins his hopes of trying to sleep again. A yawning Virgil slowly crawls out of his bed. It's dark but navigating the corners of his house is second nature to him. He climbs down the stairs, one step at a time, stomach growling for a bowl of cereal.

By the time he makes it down to the living room, he notices that the front door is open. For a moment, he thinks a thief has broken into their house. He snorts at the thought. A thief tried to break into Black Lightning’s house. The silhouette of a person is standing in the doorway, looking out towards the streets with drenched gutters of rainwater. His dad freezes, caught like a deer in headlights. Worry begins to worm and nestle inside Virgil’s gut. It's not because he’s carrying an overstuffed suitcase, bursting at the seams. It's not the fact that his right cheek is stamped with a red mark that looks suspiciously like a hand.

It's the fact that his dad, the Black Lightning, is scared that makes Virgil so nervous.

Black Lightning shouldn’t be scared. What could a superhero be afraid of anyway?

His face is a muddled mess of anger, sadness and regret. He flinches away from Virgil's confused face and says two words that stick with him forever.

“ I- I’m sorry.”

For what? He doesn’t have the chance to reply back as his dad disappears in a blinding flash of light, leaving him with only the pitter-patter of raindrops for company.

His mom came down a minute later, something strange on her face. Virgil hugs her because that's the only thing he knows how to do. Something wet drops onto his pajamas.

It must be the rain.





Warmth.

Lights overhead.

Where was he?

No, he's not in Dakota City, nor is he five years old anymore. His mind scrambles to remember where he currently is right now. New York. The tower. He blew it up. It’s hard to make out the surrounding details. He tries to move his right leg...and it doesn’t want to budge. Left leg….no luck. Negotiating with his right arm resulted in a spike of pain that makes him shout a few curse words out loud that would have earned him an ear-pinching from his father.

He hears the sounds of graphite snapping against something hard. He looks up and sees an adult woman in white garb, black circles around her shocked eyes. She waves and motions towards someone out of sight. Moments later, a bespectacled sandy-haired man wearing a coat comes into view. He makes out a badge that reads ‘ CAMPBELL’. It’s seeing the stethoscope around his neck that makes Virgil realises that he’s in a hospital.

“ Easy there. You’ve been out for at least several hours and your body’s still recovering.’ The person begins pulling out instruments, poking and prodding at him.

“ Am...am I dead?” His throat feels like waxy sandpaper, gargling out each syllable in a pained grimace.

“ If that’s your first question after waking up, then, I’d be more worried about your choice in career, son.” The doctor replies testily to his question as he flashes a light in front of Virgil’s eyes like an annoying fly. The hazy fog of fatigue disappears over time throughout the impromptu examination. Craning his neck slowly from side to side, he can make out the disinfected white walls of a hospital building, with droves of patients flooding in from all over the city. Doctors and nurses rush to and fro, ushering new arrivals down towards operation rooms and medical bays.

“ W-” His dry throat makes it hard for him to enunciate properly. The doctor offers a paper cup of water in his hand. He takes it and sips it slowly. “ W-where am I?”

“ Columbia Hospital. One of our emergency team found you unconscious on Staten Island. You could imagine the shock we got when you still had a pulse. I’d be more worried about long-term symptomatic damage in your right arm. Third degree electrical burns aren’t exactly something that you can just brush off.”

The doctor stares pointedly towards Virgil’s right arm. He looks down and the sight is enough to make Virgil retch. The EKG on his right briefly fizzes and shakes in spastic seizures. Burned was an understatement to Virgil. Barbecued would be more appropriate. Blisters lined his cherry-red palms, scar-skin zig-zagging all the way up to his elbow like a demented tattoo. His fingerprints had been sanded away by high-voltage current into the texture of baby-skin. The feeling of numbness prickled in his nerves with every tug he forced into his fingers. It was less a question of how he survived and more why he wasn't lying in the morgue right now.

The only silver lining in this whole mess is that at least he didn’t break his right arm again. He notices a mess of papers stacked loosely on top of a tabletop beside him. There are multiple cards by his bedside. Hastily scrawled binder notes of one-word expressions of gratitude in ink. Pastel crayon doodles of him on the bridge. Get well cards. A box of chocolates (He’s allergic to hazelnut, but he doesn’t bother to tell the doctor).

He then looks back at the scene of chaos around him. It feels like a hollow victory.

“ Thank you. For everything." Virgil whispered " But, I just need some time alone to myself.”

" Of course."

Virgil lets his head rest on top of the pillow and lets out a sign of unbearable exhaustion that has been building up within him ever since the start of the attack.

How was he going to explain this to Dad?




It’s a Monday midnight by the time he arrives back at Dakota. His house is located in the outer boroughs of Hemingway. The sound of chirping crickets fill the air as he slowly opens the door and closes it. He hears the click of a light switch. His dad is sitting on his couch, eyes bloodshot and glaring at Virgil with as much anger he can muster.

" Sorry for not calling..." Virgil lifted up a broken phone from his pocket. " I think I still have warranty."

“ Never-mind that!" His dad stands up. " Young man, do you know how much you had me worried - “

He ambushes his dad with a silent hug that says more than a thousand excuses. A moment later, arms wrap around his shoulder in a fatherly embrace. He pushes his face into his chest and exhales slowly.

“ I need to tell you something, Dad.”

" We'll talk about it over on the dinner table." There's a gentle pat on his back. " Now, come on in. There's a plate of ricotta I've been saving for you in the fridge...."


Arc 2: + Power Outage +


STATIC SHOCK



Episode 1.1: - Back With a Bang -


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♦ Topic: Mayoral Election in Dakota City - The Future of Bang Babies Uncertain?

In: Boards ► General Affairs ► East-Coast

Peasant_Ghoul - (Meta Groupie)

http://www.whih.org/news/mayoral-showdown-at-dakota-city

" It's all too easy to mistake them as just monsters when in reality, they're kids. Misguided and lost boys and girls from Paris Island. From Utopia. From Hemingway. From Washington Avenue. Who all need a second chance at life."

This was just one of many choice quotes spoken by Robert Hawkins, head manager of Freeman Community Center and current mayoral nominee for Dakota City spoken during last week's campaign rally.

Today, on September 7th, marks two months since the infamous chemical incident that struck the harbors of Dakota City. The Big Bang, as dubbed by the local civilians living in Dakota City, resulted in the largest recorded artificial boom in metahuman populations in America since experimentation by the SSR in WW2. The status of metahumans as having access to human rights has long been a long contentious issue nation-wide.

His opponent, current incumbent Mayor Morris Jefferson is an active supporter of police militarization, advocating for the occupation of the D.M.A and a hostile policy towards meta-humans........
WHIH NEWS - 7th September 2019 - Christine Everhart


Hopefully, the DMA doesn't get their hands on Dakota City. It's surprising that Dakota's been left unscathed by the Stryfe Attack. My relative says that they're planning to break out mandatory checks for metas in every city....

StainedDuCChess
Replied on 13:24:20, 5th September

What's more surprising is that Static's managed to keep a tight noose on all those metas. Someone at least give this man a pat on the back.

Ram Mette
Replied on 13:42:35, 5th September

Hope that the new mayor puts all those dirty fuckin' mongrels in camps. Police should gas them again and make sure it works this time.

STAFF NOTICE: Honestly, Ram Mette, we are sick of your shit. You can get your anti-meta tirade out of here and off to whatever bridge you lurk under.

SpamLetters
Replied on 13:44:42, 5th September

ugh, crowd were friggin' packed when I went there.

Krimson Angel
Replied on 14:12:29, 5th September

Say, anyone still got footage of Static at NYC? I'm planning on using it for a school project.

HarryMan45
Replied on 14:30:01, 5th September

[@Krimson Angel] PM me and we can work something out.



“ LLLLEEETTT’SSS PARTAAAYY!” Boom pumped his fists in the midst of his jockeying, the crowd jumping up and down in erratic waves, as another track came on. The sub-woofer growing out of his chest reverbated and vibrated sporadically, electronic bass shaking the air. The music was infectious to the point where Ebon began to tap his feet in time with the beat.

It feels good to be king.

Paris Island barren wastes were teeming with wild hoots of celebration and the raucous cacophany of Just the way he liked it. Ebon watched from a corner as Talon dropped a crate of beer to the frenzying crowd of Bang Babies down below. Racks of meat and sausages were being cooked over campfires. He looked around at the shadows of corroding shipping containers cast by moonlight. The only other illumination available on the island were bonfires and the lightbulbs that his men had managed to scrounge up.

There was a muffled sound of gagging that he heard but no one else could. His stomach as his mind began to buzz with headaches. “Quit being shifty. Your time will come soon, Buchinsky.”

The struggles ceased. Ebon snorted. Was that all it took to silence the Electrocutioner? Hard to believe that he once believed this washed up old timer could bring down the Kilowatt Kid. However, it was still annoying that he still hadn’t managed to figure out the problem of containing living beings in his shadow dimension. Transporting Buchinsky all the way from Ryker’s to Dakota probably had a factor in how the criminal had managed to figure out how to affect Ebon from another dimension. He made a note for himself to fix it later. Right now, Buchinsky had other uses than being a thorn in his backside.

Ebon moved through the shadows like a serpent, gliding in between the darkness until he was on top of a shipping container, surveying the scene below him. The moonlight fully illuminated his figure. It took only a few moments before one person noticed him. Then, the next. Then, the few other dozen. It was a game of Chinese whispers and shoulder nudges that soon had made him the sole attention of the largest population of Bang Babies on the east coast. For anyone else, it would have been suicide.

But he wasn’t anyone. He was the Master of Shadows and not some normie chump but the boss of the Meta Breed. He was on top of the food chain as far as he was concerned and everyone else that he was staring right now got his scraps.

" How's it hanging, y'all?” Ebon shouted down towards the silent crowd. It was disappointing that they only reaction he got were coughs. Boom’s music was still on, though, it’d now had switched to a reggae track.

“C'mon, guys. Just cause they call me the Shadow Man don't mean you all gotta get cold feet.” He spoke exasperatedly. “ Makes me sound like some sort of pedophile, now that I think about it.”

The levity cut through the tension like a needle popping a balloon. There were giggles and sounds of laughter elicited from every Bang Baby. Boom took it as a signal to continue on, inserting a new track of Europop into the mix, to the cheers of the mob that had formed around his station.

“ Now, that’s what I like to hear! C’mon, Talon, gimme your poison of the day.”

Talon soared overhead and tossed him a bottle from her clawed feet which he caught deftly. He uncapped it and began to chug it down. It was all an act, of course. One of the downsides of his powers were that everyday normal sensations for him were dulled right now. Of course, that had upsides. The cheap beer now tasted faintly of apple juice to him instead of the bitter crap that so many swallowed down their throats.

Ebon hopped down from the metallic crate in a dark blur, looking where exactly to plan his little stunt. Funny. Nightinggale was nowhere to be seen, though, given how skittish the Night Breed were -

“ Look who came crawling back out of their cave again….”

He’d recognised that snide accent anywhere. He narrowed his eyes as he saw a lone individual part out from the crowd, ginger haired with yellow streaks dyed throughout. Hotstreak. The man toed the line so many times that Ebon was considering tossing him out of the Meta-Breed. He decided against it. Having a loose cannon on a leash was better than having a loose cannon on the leash pointed against them. Thankfully, Hotstreak’s brains didn’t match his skills for being a firestarter.

Hotstreak’s stabbed his finger into Ebon’s jacket, the tip glowing like a fire poker. Singe marks peppered the expensive leather. He knew it would make him mad. He wouldn’t let this jumped up chump get to him.

“ Fancy seeing you here, Hotstreak.” Annoyance edged into Ebon’s normally suave baritone. He was almost tempted to drop Hotstreak into a portal and out into Hemingway Harbor.

“ Why are you here, Ebon?” Hotstreak stared at him with barely veiled suspicion.“ I thought you were supposed to be out doing your own business?”

" I’m glad you asked, Francis.” The pyrokinetic bang baby looked as if he’d been slapped. “ Cause I hauled myself a fish I think everyone’s itching to get a piece of.”

A black chasm formed above him, dripping shadows. Hotshot’s arms spread out, pointing towards Ebon, burning orange . Funny. He actually thought he could take him in a fight. A moment later, the prisoner tumbled onto the ground. He hit the ground writhing. Someone screamed and for a moment, the bustling atmosphere had been shattered. Hotstreak lowered his arms, cutting off the flames, his cheeks pale white, as he rubbed the back of his head. He gave him a look that said 'Am I off the hook?'

Ebon stared back and then, slowly nodded. We'll see. Hotstreak’s expression returned back to his arrogant demeanour.

Meanwhile, he had everyone’s attention now. Boom had thankfully cut his music off. Ebon cleared his throat.

" Everyone. May I introduce Larry Buchinsky, the Electrocutioner and the ho-mo sapien who tried to ice our good old friend, Static."

" Now, I know that there are plenty of us here who share a certain...history with Static. We know Talon's sob-story about how he nearly sent her falling from five stories up. The truth is...I don't hate the he-ro.” He drawled out the syllables mockingly. “ I just pity the fool.” He paused to let it sink in. “ Think about it for a moment. Here's a brother who's the same blood as us. He's out there bleeding sweat and tears for those filthy normies, fighting their battles instead of ours. He thinks they're the oppressed instead of the rest of us here on Paris Island.”

He turned his gaze towards the crowd, slithering through the small gaps like quicksliver as he spoke.

‘All of you know what they call us. Freaks of nature.” he said, his eyes searching through the crowd. Murmurs of anger spread through the crowd. The muties. Monsters."

" So, I say, if they live in fear of us, then, why not embrace it?"

" I’ve told you all before and I’m gonna tell again. I'mma make sure that Dakota belongs to us. The city is our turf. Our territory. Stick with me, my friends, and ain't nobody gonna mess with us ever again. Not the mayor. Not the government. Not the D.M.A. Not Supergirl. Not Wondie. Not Spider Man. Not anyone!"

Not even the Kilowatt Kid.

" We're the beginning of a new century, my friends! And it only begins when we have the guts to do what's right!"

“ Starting with this Bang-Baby murdering homosapien.”

" Shiv, would you so kindly do the honours for us?"

The crowd parted, out of fear and in disgust, to reveal a grinning man, pierced lips stuck in a perpetual smile. He sauntered over towards Ebon, hands loosely hanging by his side, radiating confidence. His arm began to glow pink, shimmering light shaping into a bladed mass that resembled the man’s namesake.

" What are we?" he shouted out.

" A NEW BREED!"

" WHAT ARE WE GONNA BE!?"

" A BETTER BREED!"

All of the crowd was into it now. Ebon grabbed Larry by the scruff of his neck, dragging him through as Bang Babies spat curses and threw empty bottles and trash towards the convict.

" Who are we?"

" THE META BREED!"

He slammed Larry onto the hood of an old forklifter, positioning his neck so it stuck out over the side.

" And our time starts right here! Right now! We’ve all lived in the shadows long enough! It's time this city stands in ours."

“ EBON! EBON! EBON! EBON!”

The chanting loudened and Ebon in that moment felt that the world was his stage.

After all, when every player had a shadow, who couldn’t he beat?

Shiv’s hand swung down at the peak of the crowd’s roar. Flesh boiled and bubbled away in a hissing slash. The Electrocutioner’s head rolled on the ground, blinking, the gag around his mouth missing to reveal a gormless expression.

Ebon’s boot then slammed down on his head and crunched it into a red puddle. Electrocutioner had taken his secret with him to his grave.

And no one would be the wiser.
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