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Old 08-17-2012, 03:05 PM   #1
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Gamemasters: Johnny Blaze; Byrd Man; Batman


This RPG is based off of a player-created continuity dealing with a modern revision of the One Universe concept that combines the DC and Marvel comics universes into one, cohesive reality. There is no pre-established continuity. As players, it will be your job to take the basic ideas and characters of DC and Marvel comics, and reinvent them into however you see fit. Though it is your choice of how drastic the alterations should be, you are free to customize everything from a character's origin to motivations, identity, mannerisms, costume, powers, and world. Let your imagination run wild.

To apply for a character, go to the OOC Thread and fill out character application found in the opening post. If your application is rejected, do not despair! Simply rework what the Gamemasters tell you is wrong with it, or in the case of multiple applications, choose another character. All players are welcome, regardless of membership status or post count.


BASIC PREMISE

The past age of the "superhero" began and ended with Captain America and the JSA. In World War 2, America's super-soldier, Steve Rogers, led a small group of heroes against the Axis Powers and helped the Allied Forces win the war. But Captain America was lost in covert mission, and presumed dead. Not long after the war, the rest of the surviving JSA retired from heroics leaving the world to fend for itself.

In the decades that have passed, humanity has seen the rise of an offshoot, Homo Superior, Mutants. Humans born with natural "gifts" that manifest around puberty, mutants are shunned by society and feared by normal humans, called "monsters" and worse.

The year is now 2012, and the world has seemingly forgotten all about their former protectors. But reports are starting to come in from across the globe of costumed vigilantes appearing in major cities, fighting the corrupt and the criminals, and helping the people in need.

Citizen reaction has been mixed, some praising the new costumed crime-fighters for their good deeds and intent, but most keeping quiet mistrust about the new capes. Some citizens even fear the new arrival of these "heroes" is nothing more than a mutant plot.
Whatever the case may be, the world governments have taken notice, and are paying close attention to what is being heralded as the New Age of Marvels.


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Old 08-17-2012, 04:17 PM   #2
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With Great Power...
Part 1

It was a cool 70 degrees outside, and the nice breeze that brushed past them and through the trees.

*sigh* "I could die happy right now..."

Peter just smiled as he sat back in the swing, his arm around Gwen Stacy, who rested her head comfortably on his shoulder. The young couple were relaxing in the backyard of Peter's Aunt's and Uncle's, May and Ben Parker, house. The sun was setting under the white wooden fence that enclosed the Parker's backyard.
And there was just a wide enough gap between the two large oaks in the neighbor's yard to give them a clear view of the sunset.

"Yeah", Peter sighed the word, almost too at ease to talk.
"This is the life...I almost dread having to go in to the lab in the morning."

"What time do you have to be in there?"

"About sevenish"
, Peter answered.
Both never took their eyes off of the sunset while they talked.

"Hmm, that's going to be ruff a day for you then, because...", Gwen smirked mischievously she nestled in close to Peter, "you won't be getting much sleep tonight."

Peter laughed and grinned like the devil as he leaned in to kiss the love of his life.
"Giggitty..."

"I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"


"No, Uncle Ben", Peter replied, "we're just watching the sunset."

"It is nice out today, isn't it?"

"It sure is, Mrs. Parker"
, Gwen answered as May and Ben both walked out back to join the pair.

"Gwen, I told you a thousand times, Mrs. Parker is what they call me at work. You're family, my dear"
, May smiled.

"I'm sorry", Gwen tried to hide her blushing cheeks via her long blond hair.
"May and Ben. It's just...I had gotten so used to calling you Mr. and Mrs. Parker...still feels weird."

Ben laughed, "Weird to you?"

"Being called 'Mr.' and 'Mrs' makes us feel damn old"
, he scoffed and laughed. And then all three joined Uncle Ben, laughing along with him.

"Yeah, well...you are getting up there", Peter stated, matter-of-factually.
"Tell me...what was Jesus like?"

"You better watch it"
, Uncle Ben said with a chuckle.
"You may be twenty years younger, but I can still whip your ass."

Peter laughed out loud and shook his head, "Ah, I do so miss our conversations."

Ben smiled, "So do I."

"I know I sound like a broken record saying it, but I really am proud of you, Peter."

Thanks, Uncle Ben."


"And we're all proud of you as well"
, Uncle Ben exclaimed as he turned his attention to Gwen.
"Full time photographer for the Daily Bugle! Congratulations again, Gwen!"

"Yeah, good job!"

"Thank you, Ben...May. Thanks again for the dinner. It was really-"


Peter's pocket suddenly began to vibrate, loudly enough to get the attention of everyone.
"Great...it's the office", Peter said as he looked at the caller ID.
"Sorry, guys, I gotta take this..."

"Hello...what? Otto, slow down...what do you mean a break-in?...no, just...just hold on! I'm on my way."

Peter ended the call and shoved it back into his pocket.
"Dammit!"

"What is it, baby"
, a worried Gwen asked.

"There was a break-in at OsCorp...the lab, MY lab, was the one broken into."

"Oh my Lord", Aunt May said in surprise.
"Peter, I'm so sorry. What did they take?"

"I don't know", Peter answered as he stood up from the swing.
"But I'm going to go find out..."

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Old 08-20-2012, 10:31 AM   #3
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With Great Power...
Part 2

Peter stepped through the door and into his laboratory in OsCorp. The lab was bustling with OsCorp security and a handful of detectives going over the entire scene.

"Hey-a, Pete."


Parker looked to his left to see his one-time high school nemesis, Flash Thompson standing there.
Even after high school, Peter carried a grudge against the man, but the two had patched up their relationship over the past couple years. They were by no means "buddies", but they were on good terms. Hell, it was Peter who helped Flash get the job as OsCorp security when Thompson was unemployed and penniless.
And Flash had made the most of the opportunity, moving up in the ranks of OsCorp's Public Eye private security division, currently holding a lieutenant rank.

"I'm sorry about this, Pete. It's all my fault."


"I appreciate your concern, but you didn't do this, Flash."

"No", Flash said firmly as he stopped Peter by putting his hand on his shoulder.
"This happened on my watch, so it's just as bad. I will make this up to you, I promise."

"Okay, Flash", Peter said after a short pause.
"Thanks..."

Gotta hand it to the guy...he definitely takes his work seriously. For the life of me I can't decide whether Flash "owing me one" is a good thing or a bad thing?

Peter looked around the lab as he walked deeper into it, noticing that nothing seemed to have been touched.

"Strange...", Peter quietly uttered.

"I don't know if I'd call it that..."



"I'm detective Sawyer"
, the women introduced herself to Peter.
"And you must be Dr. Parker. Nice little laboratory you got here, kid."

"Um...thanks. And why wouldn't you call it 'strange', detective?"

"Pretty clear the perp knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it. There was no forced entry, so whoever did this knew how to get past security..."

"And"
, Sawyer continued as she led Peter to a small room in the back of the lab marked "Cold Storage."
"Whoever did this came straight back here..."

Detective Sawyer pointed to an open wall safe.

"Whatever you had in here, Mr. Parker, is what this person was after. And, again, there's no signs of tampering with the safe. Whoever did this knew how to get past the safe's locks."

Peter's heart sunk in his chest. This was the safe that held the irradiated base for his genetic manipulations. It was a substance created originally by Ivo, that Peter was trying to perfect.
All test subjects in Peter's genetic experiments were injected with it prior to attempted splicing. It helped speed up the bonding process and made the gene splicing permanent.
Of course, up until now Peter had just been testing it on lab rats, but the animals weren't surviving the process. It was a work in progress for Peter, to say the least.

"Mind telling me what was in that safe, Mr. Parker?"

"I...I'm sorry, detective, but any questions like that have to be directed through Mr. Osborn's office."

"Ha! Take you long to rehearse that line?"


Peter noticed somebody standing out in the hallway watching the happenings inside the lab.
"I'm sorry, detective Sawyer, but I have to step out for a minute..."

"Don't go too far, Mr. Parker. I've still got questions for you..."

Peter walked back out past security, making sure to avoid eye contact with Flash, and back into the hall to where a short, pudgy man with glasses stood.

"Otto..."




"Hello, Peter. Sorry about the lab. Such a shame."

"I think I've heard people tell me 'sorry' more in the past hour than I have my entire life", Peter sighed with frustration.

"I'm sorry, Otto...didn't mean to be a jerk."

"Understandable...I'd say I would be fairly angry as well if it had been my work that had been tampered with. Do they have any leads?"

"Not really", Peter frowned.
"Seems they're thinking it was an inside job, as whoever did this knew how OsCorp security works and was able to bypass everything."

"Reeeally", Otto puckered his lips, thoughts racing through his mind.
"Hmmm...interesting..."

"What is it, Otto? I've known you long enough to tell when you know something..."


"Well"
, Otto began, "it's just a theory, mind you, but...I think I have a pretty good idea of who's behind this."

"What!? Who, Otto? Tell me which employee would be stupid enough to rip off Norman Osborn?"


"Not an employee"
, Octavius corrected, "but, rather, former employee."

That definitely piqued Peter's interest.
"...explain..."

"Well, I can't really go into detail here, but if you wish to get to the bottom of this, I suggest having a little chat with your former boss, Professor Ivo."

"A 'chat' about what exactly?"

"About the man you replaced, Peter."


Before Otto could delve further, the pair is interrupted by the sudden appearance of the man himself, Norman Osborn.

"Doctor Parker...Doctor Octavius..."




"What an unfortunate mess this is"
, Osborn said with his trademark unreadable visage. But Peter had known the man since he was a teenager. His son, Harry, was Peter's best friend.
Peter could tell Norman was simmering with anger, but he hid it well.

"Don't worry about this, Peter", Osborn spoke, though his gaze never came away from the crime scene.
"We'll handle things here. Whoever did this will be caught and punished for their crime, I assure you that."

Osborn turned now to regard Peter.
"You seem to be under a lot of stress, son", Norman stated, attempting to sound sincere.
"Why don't you take the next few days off? Clear your head while we fix this mess. When you come back, you'll find everything back the way it was."

Peter knew there was no arguing with the man. And it wasn't often Peter saw this side of Norman in public, so he just nodded his head in agreement.

Peter said his goodbyes and parted ways with Osborn and Octavius, but he didn't head home. Otto's words had sparked a desire in Peter to get to the bottom of just what happened. And Peter's first stop was three floors above, the office of one of his mentors, Professor Anthony Ivo.
It was time Ivo gave Peter a history lesson about just who Peter had replaced...

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Old 08-20-2012, 10:07 PM   #4
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With Great Power...
Part 3

"So, Peter", Professor Ivo said as he leaned back on the desk in his office, clutching the cup of coffee with both hands.
"What brings you to my door at nine-o'clock at night?"



Peter took a sip from the hot mug of coffee, the liquid warming him up as it worked it's way down.
Peter notices the man, one of the people he has looked up to in the scientific world, looks exhausted. Seems like whatever project Osborn has Ivo working on, it's been keeping him busy. Peter almost felt bad bothering the Professor, but he had to know what Otto was talking about.

"I suppose you already have heard about the break-in in genetics today?"

"I have", Ivo nodded in recognition.
"I know you've no doubt heard this quite a bit already, but I'm sorry to hear about it, Peter."

"Thanks", Peter sighed before taking another sip of the hot liquid.
"They took the compound, Professor. The compound you originally created to help with the splicing process."

This bit of news made Ivo pause.
"This is definitely concerning news..."

"To say the least"
, Peter exclaimed.
"Whoever did this had inside info on how OsCorp security works, and was able to bypass the electronic locks on both the door and the safe that contained the compound."

"Otto seems to think it might be a former employee...specifically the man whom I replaced."


Peter noticed that the mention of this definitely took Ivo by surprise, causing the professor to fumble his coffee mug, nearly spilling it's contents all over the floor.

"Professor...what can you tell me about him?"

A hushed silence falls on the room, as Ivo calmly places the coffee mug on the coaster resting on his desk and stares blankly at the floor, as if replaying some distant memories in his mind.

"His name was Miles Warren...", Ivo finally breaks the silence, answering Peter's question.
"Like you, he was a brilliant geneticist. He was the one who helped me conceive the base idea for the compound in the first place. Yes, Warren was a genius, like you. But, unlike you, he had a supreme arrogance about him."

"And he was also a madman"
, Ivo explained, seemingly coming back to reality, turning his attention back onto Peter.
"He was caught using OsCorp equipment and materials to perform his own personal experiments. Experiments that were as illegal as they were twisted. So, Osborn shut him down and confiscated all of his work before having him arrested."

"Warren's reputation was tarnished, and his pride injured. He did swear he'd get Osborn back one day. If he's out of prison...maybe..."


Again another silence fell on the pair as Ivo seemed lost in his thoughts once again.

"Peter...if it was Miles who stole the serum, then there is no doubt he is continuing his experiments. If that is the case, he has to be stopped before he causes any harm."

"Don't worry, I'll go let the cops know. Thanks, Professor", Peter smiled as he stood up to leave the office.
"You've been a big help."

"It was my pleasure, Peter. I just wish our first chat in weeks was on more...cheery of subjects."

"Yeah, me too, Professor. Good night."

Peter headed out the door of Ivo's office and left the OsCorp building, taking a cab to the NYPD's main office and the desk of Detective Maggie Sawyer...

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Old 08-21-2012, 06:27 AM   #5
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Late night. NYU School of Sciences, Main Physics Lab


"How's the current looking Bob?" Professor Imes asks from across the lab. The professor is dressed down, in a golf shirt and khakis but he wears safety goggles. He peers into a safety glass display at what appears to be a simple piece of black stone. The stone is held up by three thin metal arms at the base and has electrical wiring wrapped around the top of it.

"Steady Professor." Bob replies after checking the electrical readout.

"Good." The Professor nods "Any reaction from the sample yet?"

A pause, then Bob shakes his head "No. Nothing yet."

"Nothing?" The Professor presses, giving Bob a somewhat disappointed, but almost hopeful look.

"Afraid not." Bob confirms.

"Hmph." The professor huffs in defeat before allowing himself to drop into his chair. He keeps his eyes on the strange black stone as he absentmindedly reaches for a ball point pen on his desk and sticks the non writing end in his mouth. Its something Bob has seen him do many times and he knows it to mean to that the Professor is fresh out of ideas.


"Should I discontinue the current?" Bob asks

"Hmm? Oh yes, yes my boy thank you." The professor says before turning his attention back to the object of his curiosity. "I just can't figure it out Bob. The sample is clearly emanating some kind of unknown radiation in small quantities but I can't for the life of me figure out how or why."

He leans back in his chair, the pen still in his mouth.

"8 months of study and all we've been able to conclude is that the radiation is non harmful, beyond that, well its a curiosity." He says while Bob listens in silence "Maybe its time we gave this puppy up after all eh? The Dean won't be happy about it but those boys at Metropolis University have been on my case about getting a chance to study it since March and I'm running out reasons not to let them have it."

"Don't give up yet Professor." Bob says reassuringly "You'll figure it out."

Bob had no idea if the Professor actually would, but he had grown quite fond of Professor Imes in the years he had been working for him. In fact the Professor was probably the closest thing he had to family in the world and couldn't just let the older man's defeatist remarks pass without offering some kind of support.

The Professor smiles at Bob, the action accentuating the wrinkles on his face. "Yes. I'm sure you're right my boy-"

BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING
BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING
BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING


The sudden and unexpected alarm cuts the Professor off mid sentence and makes both men jump.

"The fire alarm!" Bob shouts over the din of the still ringing bell.

"Come on!" Imes instructs as he gets up and heads towards the exit to to the lab. In the hall beyond a few faculty and students are already making their way out in a hurried but orderly fashion.

Bob follows the Professor out of the building and into the open courtyard that is the heart of the campus grounds where they join hundreds of others in gasping at the terrible sight of an on campus housing structure ablaze with students trapped inside.

From the panicked snippets of conversation around them the pair quickly realize that the sprinkler system in the dorm did not activate automatically as it should. Both the the base of the structure and the fire escape, are now awash in flames, preventing any escape for those trapped inside and the fire department is still minutes away.

"How did it spread so fast?" The Professor asks out loud. He's not really expecting an answer but when he gets no response at all he looks over his shoulder in surprise "Bob?"

***

Inside the dorm, students in various states of undress, some wide awake, others obviously having just been roused from sleep, are moving in a state of panic. A few try to fight the rapidly spreading blaze with little success. Many are coughing or crying. Some are on cell phones. Everywhere there is fear. Most students, realizing they have no other options, make their way to the roof of the burning structure.

On one floor, a third year political science student named Jane helps a younger colleague to her feet and orders her to head up the stairs. "Come on! We need to get to the roof!"

Jane is keenly aware that they have fallen well behind the others as she takes her dorm mate by the hand, and leads her through the smoke towards a staircase. They've nearly reached it when part of the roof in front of them collapses, blocking their path. Now the girls find themselves trapped on all sides by flames and though Jane strains her ears she still can't hear sirens approaching.

The girls huddle together, getting as low as possible and crying when one side of one of the flaming walls simply falls away to reveal the night sky beyond.

"Whu? What?" Jane blurts out in disbelief as she throws her head up, then her eyes widen as her feeling of disbelief grows stronger still. Its night out, but she has to squint and cover her eyes from the glare of a light so bright it practically dulls the flame.

"Its ok."Their savior says "You're going to be ok."



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Old 08-21-2012, 12:13 PM   #6
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The girl couldn't be older than 18. She's dressed in all black and has multiple face piercings. William had spotted her from some distance away, sitting in the dirt by the bus stop on a dusty road just outside LA proper. The city's smog engulfed sky line dominates in the distance behind her.

She notices his approach out of the corner of her eye and looks up at him while holding her hand up to her brow to shield her eyes from the sun. Her eyes linger for a moment, no doubt, because of his worn clothing, then she turns away.

By the time William has reached her the girl has lit up a cigarette and is taking a long drag. As he get closer, he cannot help but notice the Egyptian ankh tattooed on the inside of her slender wrist

"Hey." William says when he gets close enough. The sun is behind him and he's casting a shadow across her upper body and face.

She gives him a look custom made to discourage further conversation, then takes another drag of her smoke.

"You waiting for the bus?" He asks, ignoring the hint, as he lowers himself onto the dust beside her.

This prompts another incredulous look. "What are you high?"

William grins "If only."

She actually grins back, surprising him somewhat. There's no fear in her, no concern for who this man might be. This girl had either been through a lot or was too naive to know any better. Whatever the case his response had seemingly shifted his perception of him from to potentially worth talking to.

"Got one of those for me?"
William asks, gesturing towards her cigarette. He's gotten a grin out of her and he's not about to let that pass without at least getting a smoke.

"Sure thing man." She says as she reaches into a small leather bag sitting at her left and pulls a pack of Black Death brand cigarettes.

Now both of them are smoking on the side of the road.

"So what are you doing out here?"
She asks him

"You first." He says

"Just..."
She begins then pauses as if she's not sure what to say "Just on my to LA. To start a new life." She looks away from him and towards the city. She doesn't offer anymore information.

"Yeah..." William nods "Me too." He takes another drag. It suddenly occurs to him that he hasn't been around a female who wasn't a prison guard in years and he realizes that he's in no hurry for the interaction to come to an end.

"So..uh...you wanna head in together?" He asks somewhat casually, as if he doesn't care what the answer is.

"You planning on trying to rape me or something?" She replies.

"What?" William appears genuinely shocked "No. No. You've got it all wrong!" He says as he shakes his head and moves his hands back and forth in a 'no way' motion. In truth it had never occurred to him. William had been many terrible things in his black life, but never a sexual predator.

He needn't have been concerned because she responds by giving him a playful punch on the shoulder "Just kidding man!" she half laughs "Goddamn are you up tight?"

William seems momentarily stunned by this but he quickly recovers and relaxes once more. He extends an open hand "I'm Bill." He doesn't think to use a fake name.

She shakes his hand in an exaggerated manner "Tara. Nice to meet you Bill."

A bus appears on the horizon, speeding towards them. For William it has arrived too early and he looks at it and keeps his eyes on it when he talks.

"Well Tara. I had hoped to have the opportunity to get to know each better before telling you this, but I've gotta be honest with you." He turns his head and looks her in the eyes. "I don't have any bus fare."

"Great." she mutters "I just friended a homeless guy."

"Hey!"
He snaps before catching himself. He doesn't know why but he doesn't want to scare her off and when he continues his tone is back to friendly "I'm no bum. I just don't have anything on me right now but I can take care of myself. Spot me till we get into town and I'll take care of the rest."

It was true enough. William had no doubt that he'd be able to get his hands on a decent amount of cash in short order. Tara give no indication of what she's thinking as she climbs to her feet and dusts off her black pants.

"Just so we're clear, you'll owe me bus fair and a smoke." She finally says.

"You got it."
William replies.

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Last edited by bkhedr; 08-21-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:39 AM   #7
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Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkhedr View Post



Late night. NYU School of Sciences, Main Physics Lab


"How's the current looking Bob?" Professor Imes asks from across the lab. The professor is dressed down, in a golf shirt and khakis but he wears safety goggles. He peers into a safety glass display at what appears to be a simple piece of black stone. The stone is held up by three thin metal arms at the base and has electrical wiring wrapped around the top of it.

"Steady Professor." Bob replies after checking the electrical readout.

"Good." The Professor nods "Any reaction from the sample yet?"

A pause, then Bob shakes his head "No. Nothing yet."

"Nothing?" The Professor presses, giving Bob a somewhat disappointed, but almost hopeful look.

"Afraid not." Bob confirms.

"Hmph." The professor huffs in defeat before allowing himself to drop into his chair. He keeps his eyes on the strange black stone as he absentmindedly reaches for a ball point pen on his desk and sticks the non writing end in his mouth. Its something Bob has seen him do many times and he knows it to mean to that the Professor is fresh out of ideas.


"Should I discontinue the current?" Bob asks

"Hmm? Oh yes, yes my boy thank you." The professor says before turning his attention back to the object of his curiosity. "I just can't figure it out Bob. The sample is clearly emanating some kind of unknown radiation in small quantities but I can't for the life of me figure out how or why."

He leans back in his chair, the pen still in his mouth.

"8 months of study and all we've been able to conclude is that the radiation is non harmful, beyond that, well its a curiosity." He says while Bob listens in silence "Maybe its time we gave this puppy up after all eh? The Dean won't be happy about it but those boys at Metropolis University have been on my case about getting a chance to study it since March and I'm running out reasons not to let them have it."

"Don't give up yet Professor." Bob says reassuringly "You'll figure it out."

Bob had no idea if the Professor actually would, but he had grown quite fond of Professor Imes in the years he had been working for him. In fact the Professor was probably the closest thing he had to family in the world and couldn't just let the older man's defeatist remarks pass without offering some kind of support.

The Professor smiles at Bob, the action accentuating the wrinkles on his face. "Yes. I'm sure you're right my boy-"

BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING
BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING
BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING


The sudden and unexpected alarm cuts the Professor off mid sentence and makes both men jump.

"The fire alarm!" Bob shouts over the din of the still ringing bell.

"Come on!" Imes instructs as he gets up and heads towards the exit to to the lab. In the hall beyond a few faculty and students are already making their way out in a hurried but orderly fashion.

Bob follows the Professor out of the building and into the open courtyard that is the heart of the campus grounds where they join hundreds of others in gasping at the terrible sight of an on campus housing structure ablaze with students trapped inside.

From the panicked snippets of conversation around them the pair quickly realize that the sprinkler system in the dorm did not activate automatically as it should. Both the the base of the structure and the fire escape, are now awash in flames, preventing any escape for those trapped inside and the fire department is still minutes away.

"How did it spread so fast?" The Professor asks out loud. He's not really expecting an answer but when he gets no response at all he looks over his shoulder in surprise "Bob?"

***

Inside the dorm, students in various states of undress, some wide awake, others obviously having just been roused from sleep, are moving in a state of panic. A few try to fight the rapidly spreading blaze with little success. Many are coughing or crying. Some are on cell phones. Everywhere there is fear. Most students, realizing they have no other options, make their way to the roof of the burning structure.

On one floor, a third year political science student named Jane helps a younger colleague to her feet and orders her to head up the stairs. "Come on! We need to get to the roof!"

Jane is keenly aware that they have fallen well behind the others as she takes her dorm mate by the hand, and leads her through the smoke towards a staircase. They've nearly reached it when part of the roof in front of them collapses, blocking their path. Now the girls find themselves trapped on all sides by flames and though Jane strains her ears she still can't hear sirens approaching.

The girls huddle together, getting as low as possible and crying when one side of one of the flaming walls simply falls away to reveal the night sky beyond.

"Whu? What?" Jane blurts out in disbelief as she throws her head up, then her eyes widen as her feeling of disbelief grows stronger still. Its night out, but she has to squint and cover her eyes from the glare of a light so bright it practically dulls the flame.

"Its ok."Their savior says "You're going to be ok."








It is not long before the unexplained blaze is brought under control. The parking lot opposite the now ruined dorm is buzzing with activity, from reporters to family and friends to the obvious presence of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances.

Jane Olsen, the Political science student who, along with a younger dorm mate, were the first people on the scene saved by Golden Guardian, sits in the back of one of the ambulances with a blanket wrapped around her slender shoulders and a now cold and forgotten cup of coffee cupped between her hands and resting on her lap. Earlier she had been terrified, certain that she was moments away from death. Now she is calm, at peace, her attention almost entirely focused on bright hero who stands across the parking lot listening intently to the fire chief.

***

"The boys wanted me to tell you that they really appreciate your help tonight uh...Sentry..." Fire Chief Mathewson fumbles with the name. He reminds himself that he would have to get used to the ridiculous and colorful names of the heroes and villains that were starting to pop all over the place. He is certain that they would not be going anywhere.

"No problem Chief." The Sentry says with an easy smile, ignoring the apparent awkwardness the Chief was experiencing in having to deal with him. "I'm glad I could help."

The Chief nods, then turns his attention to a clip board being handed to him by a subordinate. He glances at it then sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose. Despite the Sentry's welcome efforts, it is obvious that Fire Chief Drew Mathewson is not having a good night.

"Something wrong?"

The Chief glances at the Sentry, as if contemplating whether or not he should share the information with him, then seems to decide that it can't hurt.

"Maybe." He begins "Fires out and nobody got hurt but we can't seem to figure out how it started or how it spread so damn fast."

The Sentry starts to consider this new information in the instant before radios begin squawking all around them.

"Trouble?"

"Yeah." Chief Mathewson replies with sudden vigor. The man had appeared bone weary a moment ago, now he was bursting with energy and barking instructions to his men. That done he turns back to the Sentry.

"We've got another fire. Same scenario, but this one's at an apartment complex by the water front. Fire crews are on their way but my best men and gear are tied up here. It'll be a few minutes..." The Chief's unfinished sentence hints at his request and Bob nods reassuringly. He's been listening intently to the radios and he already knows as much as the Chief.

"I'll meet you there." He says as he takes to the air, leaving a gust of wind in his wake mere moments before a serious looking man with a buzzed head of blonde hair rush towards their direction. The man, who is wearing a smart black suit is being followed closely by a blonde woman in pant suit.



"Hey!" The man calls after the rapidly departing Sentry."Dammit. We needed to talk to him."He says to Chief Mathewson.

The Chief gives the new comers an inquisitive look, then turns his attention to the task at hand. "Sorry but I've gotta get moving too If I'm going to catch up with him." The Chief answers as he heads towards the front of his truck with the pair following close behind.

"Then we're coming with you Chief." The woman says, speaking for the first time. Her voice is full of authority and it prompts the Chief to stop in his tracks and turn to face the newcomers

"And you are?"

"Special Agent Lindy Lee. FBI" She replies as she pulls her credentials from her coat pocket and shows them to the Chief. Her partner does the same and she adds"This is my partner Special Agent William Turner"

The serious man nods at the Chief and the two agents put their credentials away, but not before the Chief has gotten a good look. He cocks an eye brow at the agents "D.C. office huh? You guys are a long way from home."

"Special Assignment" Turner answers matter of factly. He's obviously not going to to volunteer anymore information.

"Alright then." Chief Mathewson says after a short pause "You're welcome to tag along but don't get in any of my boys' ways." He instructs as he climbs into the truck.

"Wouldn't dream of it Chief." Lee says before she and Turner climb in behind the Chief.


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Old 08-22-2012, 06:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread



With Great Power...
Part 4

The 104th NYPD precinct was normally bustling with activity, but now, in the late evening hour, it was fairly quiet. There were still close to a dozen cops in the main office area, and the only female officer there sat behind her desk as she entertained a special guest.

"Thank you, Mr. Parker", said Detective Sawyer as she typed away on her computer.

"That all you needed?"

"We have your statement, we'll check it out, and if you're not ********ting us then you're good."

"Great"
, Peter smiled weakly, preoccupied with trying to decide how to lead in questions about Miles Warren.

"Something bothering you, kid", Sawyer questioned.

"Tell me, detective...you ever hear of a man named Miles Warren."

"Not off the top of my head."

"Well, he was the guy I replaced at OsCorp-"

"So, you think this could've been him? That he has some sort of misplaced vendetta against you?"

"Not exactly"
, Peter sighed with mild frustration.
"Anyway...he was fired from OsCorp for performing illegal genetic experiments. Not before Norman Osborn seized all of his research and patents."

"...Continue..."

"I did some research and apparently Warren was released from prison a few months ago. He could be trying to start his experiments again...which is why he'd need to break in to OsCorp."

"Just what was in that safe, Mr. Parker"
, Detective Sawyer states with hushed force as she slowly folds her arms and leans forward on the desk.

"...This has to be off the record...I could lose my job, get sued..."

"Okay...off the record..."

Peter took a deep breath, "It's a compound that prepares the subject for genetic manipulation. To put it simply, under normal circumstances two radically different DNA strands cannot be intertwined. This compound, in theory, will allow the subject's genetic structure to accept and even adapt the foreign genetic sequences into it's own."

Maggie Sawyer looked at Peter for what seemed like forever to him. She just stared at him, quizzically before, "Okay...wow. That's definitely something."

"Why would you want to mess with the human genome? Which is why I assume you all are doing what you're doing...to screw with us?"


"I know it's cliche, but I'm trying to better mankind", Peter answered, getting in return the expected chuckle from the detective.
"Seriously...with this research we can eliminate disease, birth defects...we can increase human health and longevity...there's no limit to the benefits this technology could bring."

The enthusiasm was evident in Peter's face, but Maggie didn't see things the same way.

"If it's as limitless as you say it is, that also means that's there's no limit to the harm it could cause too."

The statement definitely sobered Peter up a bit.
"This is true, unfortunately...which is why I'm coming to you about Warren. If he's conducting his experiments again, he's a danger to the entire city. He's got to be found and stopped."

"Okay", Maggie finally said after a brief moment of silence.
"Thanks for everything, Peter. You did the right thing. Warren will surface eventually, and we'll pick him up."

"But-", Peter was about to object and reiterate the importance of hunting Warren down now, but he stopped himself.

"What was that?"

"Nothing...good night, Detective Sawyer..."

"Night, Peter."

"I'll contact you as soon as the investigation is complete", Maggie shouted out to Peter as he was leaving. But Peter didn't really hear it. His mind was else where.

Maggie seems like a good cop, but she's definitely not taking the threat Miles Warren poses serious enough. So I guess it's as the old saying goes...if you want something done right, do it yourself!

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Old 08-25-2012, 05:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread



With Great Power...
Part 5

Peter sat by his workbench in his office at his apartment. It was nearly eleven and Peter sat staring blankly at his laptop's screen, which displayed a large grid of the city.

With a little know-how and a whole lot of skills, Peter had hacked into the city's power grid. The machine Warren would be using would command a lot of juice, and Peter would see it immediately show up as a power spike in the city's grid.
But he had been sitting here for an hour already to no avail.

Peter yawned and looked at the clock on his phone, which read 11:02PM. He rubbed his eyes with his thumb and index finger, trying to stay awake through the sheer boredom of his "stakeout."

But, as if by some chance of Fate, his laptop beeped, signifying a power spike has occurred. Peter snapped too his senses immediately, and began tapping away at the keyboard, pin-pointing the location.

"Gotcha, *****."

----------------------------------------------

Parker arrives to stand in front of a large, condemned WayneTech factory, an old relic symbolizing the company's glory days.

Cautiously, Peter crept up to the factory, trying to peek through one of the grim covered windows.

Can't see a damn thing.

Peter was frustrated; he didn't like not knowing what was inside. But he had no choice. It was his lab and his formula that got stolen. Inadvertently as it may be, he has contributed to Warren's madness.
If somebody got hurt it would be his fault as well, and that was something Peter could not allow.

So, without other options, Peter crept inside the nearest door. It was pitch black inside, so Peter grabbed his phone from his pocket and turned on his flashlight app.

As the light shined out, Peter saw that he was in an empty hallway, lined with three doors on each side. The doors were labeled store rooms and offices, and Peter passed them by. He continued down the hallway, until it ended in a large double door, labeled "Factory Floor."

Peter took a deep breath and pushed on in. He immediately turned off his flashlight as the center of the large, otherwise empty, room was illuminated and filled with computer and lab equipment. Peter didn't notice anyone, but he still stayed in the shadows and circled the scene just to be safe.

Nothing. Looks like Warren must have stepped out for a bit. Which, hopefully, gives me enough time to shut Dr. Frankenstein down.


Peter walked into the lab and immediately saw it, an exact replica of the device that Peter designed, and a device that they were still trying to complete.



The chamber that would house the first human test subject for splicing.

"Incredible"
, Peter whispered softly to himself as he walked up to the thing.
"Son of a ***** stole my work...and he finished it... what an extraordinarily gifted *******..."

Peter was so captivated by seeing his work's completion sitting before him, he didn't even notice the small creature that gently slide down from the above rafters to land on the base of Peter's neck.



And Peter is so transfixed that he also does not notice the shadow of his attacker as it comes up from behind him and as the attacker shoves him into the machine.

"What the hell!? Get me out of here!"

Peter began to panick, beating on the circular glass window of the pod.

"Warren!? Do you hear me, god dammit!? Let me out of hear you crazy bastard!"


The chamber suddenly started filling with a thick green gas, almost like a cloud. Peter continued to shout and curse and beat on the glass until his hands began to bleed, but he could not escape. Eventually, the gas began to take hold and Peter felt a warmth overtake him.

He stopped screaming and pounding on his cage and the darkness began to close in. And as Peter collapsed to the floor, his eyes shut as his reality faded to black...

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Old 08-17-2012, 05:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread





San Francisco Bay

The black chopper roared overhead Alcatraz, flying past the former prison to the tiny island half a mile south of the landmark. Inside the helicopter was the pilot and a man in a dark suit and sunglasses.

"Utopia this is Alameda One," the pilot said into his headset as he aimed for the island's helipad. "Preparing my final approach now."

"Utopia," the man in the passenger seat said into his own headset. "I guess it's like a fat guy being called slim."

"Fun fact," the pilot said as the chopper lowered closer and closer to the island. "The name Utopia comes from the prisoners of Alcatraz. From many of their cell windows, the only they could see was the island. To ease the pain of being in prison for the rest of their lives, they'd make up stories about what was on that island. They took to calling the island Utopia. Many men would try to swim off the Rock for it. All of them died."

"Fascinating," the man said in a flat tone. Once the chopper was sat down, he and the pilot climbed out and were greeted by a heavyset middle aged black woman.

"Mister Gyrich? I'm Special Agent Amanda Waller. Welcome to Utopia."

"Mrs. Waller,"
Gyrich said with a nod. "Your reputation proceeds you."

"As does yours. Are you ready for the tour?"

"Why not? Let's go see what the government has been spending a billion dollars on."

Gyrich followed Waller across the helipad and into the facility. They walked down metallic hallways, their heels echoing off the floor.

"It's only been six months since Project Darwin was initiated. It's only been two weeks since the builders finished the facilities here at Utopia."

"Project Darwin?"
Gyrich asked with an arched eyebrow. "Cute."

"Blame all those paper pushers in the DoD. They seem to get off on that kind of humor. Here we are."

They came to a stop at a metallic door. There was a keypad at the side of the door that Waller tapped on, punching in her code rapidly. The door slid open with a hiss and they stepped out onto a balcony. Below them, six people were gathered in a large open, space filled with paper targets and dummys.

"Mister Gyrich, meet our team."

Waller pointed to a large, furry looking animal with blue fur. He was dressed in nothing but shorts as he leaped over a dummy and sliced it in half with a razor-sharp claw.

"That's Henry McCoy. His mutation? Well, you got eyes."

"He was born... like that?"

"Yep. Over there, we got a young man named Jefferson Pierce."

They turned and watched as a skinny, black teenager shot a jagged bolt of lightning from his right palm and ignited a paper target with the lightning.

"As far as we can tell, Jeff's mutation is that he can manipulate his electrical bio-field and discharge it as pure lightning. He has his limitations, but he can kick some major ass when he gets going. And right there is Rex Mason."

A multi-colored young man ran towards a dummy, his fist out and aimed at the dummy. His arm shifted as he ran, turning from flesh to pure iron. The dummy split in half as he tore through it.

"Rex's mutation appears to be elemental. He can change his body's chemical makeup to anything that's on the periodic table."

"Anything?"
Gyrich asked with a worried look. "Even stuff like Uranium?"

"In theory. He's still limited, though. He just mostly sticks to the easy solid stuff like iron, titanium, and gold."

Waller nodded and the two of them watched as a young man with a red visor on his face blasted targets and dummies with powerful red blasts from the visor.

"Scott Summers. He can shoot optic blasts from his eyes that can cut steel plating in half."

"Why the visor?"

Summers pulled the visor from his face... revealing a pair of brown eyes that had a reddish tint to them.

"The visor is made of a mineral, ruby quartz, that helps his optical blast concentrate. On their own, they can only really knock the wind out of you, but the visor is what takes it to a whole new level."

"What about those two?"
Gyrich asked with a nod to two people to the far left of the group. A red haired girl was levitating a large block in front of her before she sent it flying through the room. It sailed through the air before it decapitated a dummy. The older man beside her clapped her shoulder and nodded.

"The girl is Jean Grey. She's a telekinetic with some minor telepathic abilities. The man beside her is the man who got this whole ball rolling."

"That's him? The man that brought the planet to its knees for a whole minute? Not much to look at, is he?"

~Come now, Mister Gyrich~ a voice reverberated all around Gyrich. ~Very rude to judge a book by its cover.~

Gyrich looked around to find the voice's owner before turning to Waller with a confused look.

"What the hell was that?"

"Look down there,"
Waller said.
Gyrich looked down and saw the man beside Grey looking up at them. The man had a smirk on his face.

~Hello, I'm Charles Xavier.~

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Last edited by Byrd Man; 08-17-2012 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:01 AM   #11
Byrd Man
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread






Previously

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
San Francisco Bay

The black chopper roared overhead Alcatraz, flying past the former prison to the tiny island half a mile south of the landmark. Inside the helicopter was the pilot and a man in a dark suit and sunglasses.

"Utopia this is Alameda One," the pilot said into his headset as he aimed for the island's helipad. "Preparing my final approach now."

"Utopia," the man in the passenger seat said into his own headset. "I guess it's like a fat guy being called slim."

"Fun fact," the pilot said as the chopper lowered closer and closer to the island. "The name Utopia comes from the prisoners of Alcatraz. From many of their cell windows, the only they could see was the island. To ease the pain of being in prison for the rest of their lives, they'd make up stories about what was on that island. They took to calling the island Utopia. Many men would try to swim off the Rock for it. All of them died."

"Fascinating," the man said in a flat tone. Once the chopper was sat down, he and the pilot climbed out and were greeted by a heavyset middle aged black woman.

"Mister Gyrich? I'm Special Agent Amanda Waller. Welcome to Utopia."

"Mrs. Waller,"
Gyrich said with a nod. "Your reputation proceeds you."

"As does yours. Are you ready for the tour?"

"Why not? Let's go see what the government has been spending a billion dollars on."

Gyrich followed Waller across the helipad and into the facility. They walked down metallic hallways, their heels echoing off the floor.

"It's only been six months since Project Darwin was initiated. It's only been two weeks since the builders finished the facilities here at Utopia."

"Project Darwin?"
Gyrich asked with an arched eyebrow. "Cute."

"Blame all those paper pushers in the DoD. They seem to get off on that kind of humor. Here we are."

They came to a stop at a metallic door. There was a keypad at the side of the door that Waller tapped on, punching in her code rapidly. The door slid open with a hiss and they stepped out onto a balcony. Below them, six people were gathered in a large open, space filled with paper targets and dummys.

"Mister Gyrich, meet our team."

Waller pointed to a large, furry looking animal with blue fur. He was dressed in nothing but shorts as he leaped over a dummy and sliced it in half with a razor-sharp claw.

"That's Henry McCoy. His mutation? Well, you got eyes."

"He was born... like that?"

"Yep. Over there, we got a young man named Jefferson Pierce."

They turned and watched as a skinny, black teenager shot a jagged bolt of lightning from his right palm and ignited a paper target with the lightning.

"As far as we can tell, Jeff's mutation is that he can manipulate his electrical bio-field and discharge it as pure lightning. He has his limitations, but he can kick some major ass when he gets going. And right there is Rex Mason."

A multi-colored young man ran towards a dummy, his fist out and aimed at the dummy. His arm shifted as he ran, turning from flesh to pure iron. The dummy split in half as he tore through it.

"Rex's mutation appears to be elemental. He can change his body's chemical makeup to anything that's on the periodic table."

"Anything?"
Gyrich asked with a worried look. "Even stuff like Uranium?"

"In theory. He's still limited, though. He just mostly sticks to the easy solid stuff like iron, titanium, and gold."

Waller nodded and the two of them watched as a young man with a red visor on his face blasted targets and dummies with powerful red blasts from the visor.

"Scott Summers. He can shoot optic blasts from his eyes that can cut steel plating in half."

"Why the visor?"

Summers pulled the visor from his face... revealing a pair of brown eyes that had a reddish tint to them.

"The visor is made of a mineral, ruby quartz, that helps his optical blast concentrate. On their own, they can only really knock the wind out of you, but the visor is what takes it to a whole new level."

"What about those two?"
Gyrich asked with a nod to two people to the far left of the group. A red haired girl was levitating a large block in front of her before she sent it flying through the room. It sailed through the air before it decapitated a dummy. The older man beside her clapped her shoulder and nodded.

"The girl is Jean Grey. She's a telekinetic with some minor telepathic abilities. The man beside her is the man who got this whole ball rolling."

"That's him? The man that brought the planet to its knees for a whole minute? Not much to look at, is he?"

~Come now, Mister Gyrich~ a voice reverberated all around Gyrich. ~Very rude to judge a book by its cover.~

Gyrich looked around to find the voice's owner before turning to Waller with a confused look.

"What the hell was that?"

"Look down there,"
Waller said.
Gyrich looked down and saw the man beside Grey looking up at them. The man had a smirk on his face.

~Hello, I'm Charles Xavier.~



Utopia


Xavier walked through the halls of the mutant facility with Waller and Gyrich, answering any and all questions the man had.

"I'm a mutant, yes. A telepath, I can read people's thoughts and mentally communicate."

"And what's to stop you from reading my mind or Mrs. Waller's mind right now?"

"The goodness of my heart," Charles deadpanned.

"Manners, and the fact that all our non-mutant staff members are fitted with psychic blocks. Doctor Xavier is a powerful telepath, but he's not the only one the government has at its disposal."

"I'll make a note of that. Now about your strike team. How far away are they from field action?"

"Strike team? Here I was thinking they were teenagers."

"Don't be a smartass," Waller said sternly. "The whole reason this program was started was to create the next wave of soldiers for the army. You knew this going in"

"I have to say that my outlook going into this was colored by the threats of life imprisonment. Yes, they are going to be soldiers...but they're still all teenagers. I thought this was America, not Uganda."

"Answer my question," Gryrich said. "Without political and moral debate this time. How close is the team to seeing action?"

"Close. They've been training for six months now. With Xavier's guidance, the control they have over their powers has grown by leaps and bound."

Waller stopped short as the bluetooth in her ear rang.

"Excuse me," she said, walking off to take the call.

"They said you had a bit of an independence streak," Gryrich said once Waller was out of earshot. "Mrs. Waller probably hasn't laid it out for you, but I will. Stop thinking of these mutants as children and think of them as soldiers. Combatants. That's how the government intends to use them, and that's how they are to be used."

Xavier stared at Gyrich for several moments. Gyrich's shoulder flinched involuntary and he felt an odd cold sensation going down his spine.

"Your wife. She drinks too much, doesn't she? You wish she wouldn't, but she doesn't listen. Your wife is what we would call a boozehound."

"You son of a--"

"See? That doesn't feel good, now does it? Having someone you love, someone you care about boiled down to just one word. One word that an ignorant person uses to sum up a complex and multi-layered person. You use words like 'soldiers', 'combatants', and 'mutants.' But my students are more. Much, much more. Hank and Rex? They've faced persecution and ostracization their whole life because of how they were born. When Jean's powers first manifested, her mother thought she was possessed and tried to have an exorcism. Scott was an orphan who was never adopted. The first time his powers activated, he blew the roof off his orphanage. Jefferson accidentally electrocuted his grandmother when his mutant gene activated. So, while they all may be mutants, they are more than pawns on your chess board. Remember that."

Gyrich started to reply, but was cut off by Waller before he could talk.

"Well, looks like we spoke too soon. Something's come up and we need to activate the team for field work now."


*****


"Now," Tina McGee said as she walked around the classroom. "Who here can tell me exactly why the Roman Republic suffered turmoil when it came to power hungry rulers and consuls?"

A furry blue hand shot up into the air. McGee chuckled and shook her head. "Someone other than Hank, please. Jefferson?"

"Because they were corrupt," Pierce said with a shrug.

"More in-depth answer, please. Scott?

"Umm... because of the way the Republic was set up?"

"Explain."

"Because it was encouraged to be a power hungry douche bag?"

The class broke out in a small fit of giggle. McGee scowled but nodded. "Explain."

"Well, the way they set it up, the man who was the most ambitious and the most talented rose to the top of the pile. Each new guy who showed up was more ambitious and better than the other. Eventually, it got to a dude like Ceasar who was power hungry and crazy good at being a politician and general. He beat the system at its own game."

"Excellent," she said with a smile before turning away.

"I was going to say that," Hank grumbled at his desk.

"Dude, let it go," Rex said with a bored look. "We get it, you're smart. No need to answer every question right all the time."

"Sorry that I don't fit into the preconceived notions that all teenaged students must be unwilling to learn and disrespectful to their teachers by not learning."

"Neeerd."

~Attention, this is Xavier. I need the students to report to the briefing room in five minutes. This is not a drill. We're needed in the field.~


The five students all sat upright and shared looks while McGee looked at them with a worried look on her face.

"You heard him. I guess class is dismissed. Please, all of you be safe."

"I guess death and dismemberment isn't any excuse for not doing homework," Jefferson said as the five teenagers hurried out the classroom.

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Old 08-20-2012, 12:30 PM   #12
Byrd Man
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread






Previously


Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
Utopia


Xavier walked through the halls of the mutant facility with Waller and Gyrich, answering any and all questions the man had.

"I'm a mutant, yes. A telepath, I can read people's thoughts and mentally communicate."

"And what's to stop you from reading my mind or Mrs. Waller's mind right now?"

"The goodness of my heart," Charles deadpanned.

"Manners, and the fact that all our non-mutant staff members are fitted with psychic blocks. Doctor Xavier is a powerful telepath, but he's not the only one the government has at its disposal."

"I'll make a note of that. Now about your strike team. How far away are they from field action?"

"Strike team? Here I was thinking they were teenagers."

"Don't be a smartass," Waller said sternly. "The whole reason this program was started was to create the next wave of soldiers for the army. You knew this going in"

"I have to say that my outlook going into this was colored by the threats of life imprisonment. Yes, they are going to be soldiers...but they're still all teenagers. I thought this was America, not Uganda."

"Answer my question," Gryrich said. "Without political and moral debate this time. How close is the team to seeing action?"

"Close. They've been training for six months now. With Xavier's guidance, the control they have over their powers has grown by leaps and bound."

Waller stopped short as the bluetooth in her ear rang.

"Excuse me," she said, walking off to take the call.

"They said you had a bit of an independence streak," Gryrich said once Waller was out of earshot. "Mrs. Waller probably hasn't laid it out for you, but I will. Stop thinking of these mutants as children and think of them as soldiers. Combatants. That's how the government intends to use them, and that's how they are to be used."

Xavier stared at Gyrich for several moments. Gyrich's shoulder flinched involuntary and he felt an odd cold sensation going down his spine.

"Your wife. She drinks too much, doesn't she? You wish she wouldn't, but she doesn't listen. Your wife is what we would call a boozehound."

"You son of a--"

"See? That doesn't feel good, now does it? Having someone you love, someone you care about boiled down to just one word. One word that an ignorant person uses to sum up a complex and multi-layered person. You use words like 'soldiers', 'combatants', and 'mutants.' But my students are more. Much, much more. Hank and Rex? They've faced persecution and ostracization their whole life because of how they were born. When Jean's powers first manifested, her mother thought she was possessed and tried to have an exorcism. Scott was an orphan who was never adopted. The first time his powers activated, he blew the roof off his orphanage. Jefferson accidentally electrocuted his grandmother when his mutant gene activated. So, while they all may be mutants, they are more than pawns on your chess board. Remember that."

Gyrich started to reply, but was cut off by Waller before he could talk.

"Well, looks like we spoke too soon. Something's come up and we need to activate the team for field work now."


*****


"Now," Tina McGee said as she walked around the classroom. "Who here can tell me exactly why the Roman Republic suffered turmoil when it came to power hungry rulers and consuls?"

A furry blue hand shot up into the air. McGee chuckled and shook her head. "Someone other than Hank, please. Jefferson?"

"Because they were corrupt," Pierce said with a shrug.

"More in-depth answer, please. Scott?

"Umm... because of the way the Republic was set up?"

"Explain."

"Because it was encouraged to be a power hungry douche bag?"

The class broke out in a small fit of giggle. McGee scowled but nodded. "Explain."

"Well, the way they set it up, the man who was the most ambitious and the most talented rose to the top of the pile. Each new guy who showed up was more ambitious and better than the other. Eventually, it got to a dude like Ceasar who was power hungry and crazy good at being a politician and general. He beat the system at its own game."

"Excellent," she said with a smile before turning away.

"I was going to say that," Hank grumbled at his desk.

"Dude, let it go," Rex said with a bored look. "We get it, you're smart. No need to answer every question right all the time."

"Sorry that I don't fit into the preconceived notions that all teenaged students must be unwilling to learn and disrespectful to their teachers by not learning."

"Neeerd."

~Attention, this is Xavier. I need the students to report to the briefing room in five minutes. This is not a drill. We're needed in the field.~


The five students all sat upright and shared looks while McGee looked at them with a worried look on her face.

"You heard him. I guess class is dismissed. Please, all of you be safe."

"I guess death and dismemberment isn't any excuse for not doing homework," Jefferson said as the five teenagers hurried out the classroom.



Utopia


"We have our first mission," Waller said to the six mutants sitting around the conference table. "And it's a priority one at that. ten minutes ago, word came in of an attack on the naval base in San Diego. Currently, half the Pacific Fleet is docked there. Eyewitnesses are saying the five attackers have some unique abilities."

"And Cerebro confirmed there are five mutant presences at work on the base. Unfortunately, that was all I could glean. There was something there that shielded them from further examination."

"So far we haven't gotten any footage on what they look like, but that doesn't matter. The mission is to get to San Diego and help the Navy and whoever is on scene subdue the mutant threats."

"And I would like to note that I will be there on scene with you. Both Mrs. Waller and I feel it would be best to have me with you on your first official outing."

"Yes. So, the six of you suit up and get to the hangar now."


*****


Charles and his five students walked through the vast hangar towards the stealth jet parked on the runway. They were all dressed in yellow and blue suits. They were special impact suits made by the military.

"Now, Scott and Hank, if you're unable to fly tell me."

"We should be fine, Professor," Scott said. "All that time in the simulator, we've got this."

"A simulator is one thing. Real life is entirely different."

"Put your fears and lamentations to rest, sir. We can do the job."

"Fine. Now, on to the topic of the codenames. Are we set on them?"

"You kidding?" Rex asked with a smirk. "Metamorpho is like the coolest nickname ever."

"I'm fine with Cyclops, I guess," Scott said with a shrug.

"Marvel Girl's okay," Jean murmured. "Not that PC."

"Speaking of PC, Hank, Jefferson?"

"Despite what you may think, I actually like the codename of Beast. I rather enjoy the juxtaposition of my name and looks suggesting savage behavior, only to find such behavior in me is non-existent."

"Neeerd!"

"And Jefferson... Black Lightning? Really?"

"Yes, really. I may have just recently become a mutant, but I been black all my life. I've lived with one mutation and managed to be proud of it, so let's do that with my other mutation."

"Funny that you say that your skin color is a mutation. Technically, all human life is said to have started in Africa. So, if anything it is us Caucasians who are the mutants in that regard."

"Neeerd!"

"Yeah, Professor, do you have like an off switch, man?"

They stopped as they came to the plane. It was a retired SR-71 Blackbird that had been renovated and fit to carry many passengers, and had a few offensive and defensive capabilities.

"Alright, team. Let's board and get ready to move out... I guess."


*****


Naval Base San Diego


The dozen Navy SEALs were crouched in front of the chain-link fence. Heavy assault rifles were in their hands and pointed outwards towards the gatehouse. The reports coming in was that the attackers were moving towards their location, headed towards the ships.

"Here we go," the Chief Petty Officer said. "They'll be here in a few seconds. Do what needs to be done."

Suddenly, the gatehouse in front of them was ripped from its foundation. The building spun in the air and remained hovering about twelve feet in the air. A figure was underneath the building and the SEALs opened fire. The bullets stopped before they could reach the figure. Like the house, they were suspended in the air. The bullets clattered harmlessly to the ground and the gatehouse was tossed up into the air.

The SEALs, stunned by what they had seen, prepared to fire again.

"I think not," the figure said to them. On cue, their guns were yanked from their hands. The levitated in the air in front of them before they were crushed into metallic balls. The balls shot outwards, hitting the SEALs int he chest and dropping them to the ground.

"You see?" The figure said, looking over his shoulder at the four people behind him. "For all their technology, for all their training, you take their toys away from them and they're defenseless."



"Let's go."

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Old 08-22-2012, 08:07 AM   #13
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Previously



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Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
Utopia


"We have our first mission," Waller said to the six mutants sitting around the conference table. "And it's a priority one at that. ten minutes ago, word came in of an attack on the naval base in San Diego. Currently, half the Pacific Fleet is docked there. Eyewitnesses are saying the five attackers have some unique abilities."

"And Cerebro confirmed there are five mutant presences at work on the base. Unfortunately, that was all I could glean. There was something there that shielded them from further examination."

"So far we haven't gotten any footage on what they look like, but that doesn't matter. The mission is to get to San Diego and help the Navy and whoever is on scene subdue the mutant threats."

"And I would like to note that I will be there on scene with you. Both Mrs. Waller and I feel it would be best to have me with you on your first official outing."

"Yes. So, the six of you suit up and get to the hangar now."


*****


Charles and his five students walked through the vast hangar towards the stealth jet parked on the runway. They were all dressed in yellow and blue suits. They were special impact suits made by the military.

"Now, Scott and Hank, if you're unable to fly tell me."

"We should be fine, Professor," Scott said. "All that time in the simulator, we've got this."

"A simulator is one thing. Real life is entirely different."

"Put your fears and lamentations to rest, sir. We can do the job."

"Fine. Now, on to the topic of the codenames. Are we set on them?"

"You kidding?" Rex asked with a smirk. "Metamorpho is like the coolest nickname ever."

"I'm fine with Cyclops, I guess," Scott said with a shrug.

"Marvel Girl's okay," Jean murmured. "Not that PC."

"Speaking of PC, Hank, Jefferson?"

"Despite what you may think, I actually like the codename of Beast. I rather enjoy the juxtaposition of my name and looks suggesting savage behavior, only to find such behavior in me is non-existent."

"Neeerd!"

"And Jefferson... Black Lightning? Really?"

"Yes, really. I may have just recently become a mutant, but I been black all my life. I've lived with one mutation and managed to be proud of it, so let's do that with my other mutation."

"Funny that you say that your skin color is a mutation. Technically, all human life is said to have started in Africa. So, if anything it is us Caucasians who are the mutants in that regard."

"Neeerd!"

"Yeah, Professor, do you have like an off switch, man?"

They stopped as they came to the plane. It was a retired SR-71 Blackbird that had been renovated and fit to carry many passengers, and had a few offensive and defensive capabilities.

"Alright, team. Let's board and get ready to move out... I guess."


*****


Naval Base San Diego


The dozen Navy SEALs were crouched in front of the chain-link fence. Heavy assault rifles were in their hands and pointed outwards towards the gatehouse. The reports coming in was that the attackers were moving towards their location, headed towards the ships.

"Here we go," the Chief Petty Officer said. "They'll be here in a few seconds. Do what needs to be done."

Suddenly, the gatehouse in front of them was ripped from its foundation. The building spun in the air and remained hovering about twelve feet in the air. A figure was underneath the building and the SEALs opened fire. The bullets stopped before they could reach the figure. Like the house, they were suspended in the air. The bullets clattered harmlessly to the ground and the gatehouse was tossed up into the air.

The SEALs, stunned by what they had seen, prepared to fire again.

"I think not," the figure said to them. On cue, their guns were yanked from their hands. The levitated in the air in front of them before they were crushed into metallic balls. The balls shot outwards, hitting the SEALs int he chest and dropping them to the ground.

"You see?" The figure said, looking over his shoulder at the four people behind him. "For all their technology, for all their training, you take their toys away from them and they're defenseless."



"Let's go."



Over California


The Blackbird tore through the skies at Mach 3. Inside the jet's cockpit, Cyclops was at the helm, his visor resting on the top of his head. Beast in the co-pilot's chair and listening to the radio.

"We should be in San Diego in a few minutes," he announced to the back of the jet.

"Then comes the hard part. The landing."

"We'll do fine. This piece of equipment only cost three quarters of a billion dollars to buy and renovate. And their first move upon spending so much money was to turn the controls over to two young men who have yet to get their driver's licenses."

"Yeah, if you're trying to inspire confidence in me... it's not working."

"When it comes to flying, I like to think of the words a wise man once said: 'It's not the fall that kills you, just the sudden stop.'"

In the jet's cargo area, Charles sat across from Jean while Rex and Jefferson chatted with each other.

~Are you alright?~ Xavier mentally asked his student. ~You've been awfully quiet ever since we left Utopia.~

~I'm nervous, Professor. Not sure what we're up against, or what we're supposed to do.~

~I understand how you would be frightened. We all are, I know this for a fact. I can read everyone's outer thoughts and mood and we're all nervous and unsure. Jitters are to be expected. If you want, I can go into your mind and ease you.~


~No, I'd like to go in clear-headed if possible.~

~As you wish. Just remember your training and what you've been taught. Also, I'll be there with you on the ground. I'll protect you, Jean. I promise.~


"We're here," Scott announced. "Preparing to land."

The jet's thrusters rotated upwards and the plane began to hove over the naval base. While the four mutants in the back stood, Scott and Hank looked at the devastation in front of them with awe.

"Oh, my stars and garters," Hank murmured.

Jeeps were on their sides and split apart, the fuselages of jets were scattered across the ground and covered in ice. In the distance, a destroyer was capsized and floating away from shore. The jet's hydraulic landing gear hissedas it set down on the ground. Scott killed the engine and stood, sliding his visor down on his face.

"We've landed," Cyclops said as he and Beast came into the cargo hold. "Ready to move out on your orders."

"Well, then let's go."

The cargo ramp opened up and Charles and his five students stepped out on to the base. There were low whistles as they surveyed the damage.

"Is it, uhh... Is it too late to give up this whole government soldier thing?"

"I'm getting psychic readings from up the way. Five minds, all of them mutants... but I'm still being blocked... Let's head that way, but be--"

Xavier was cut off as a flash of light popped before them. A man in a dark outfit appeared in front of them and floored Beast with a punch before disappearing in another flash.

"What the hell was that?" Rex asked, shifting his hands into blades.

"A mutant," Charles said. "One of theirs."

"CANNONBALL!" A voice roared above them. They looked up and saw a huge man falling from high above.

Xavier and his students scattered as the large man slammed into the ground. The shockwave he created shook the ground underneath them. As they ran away, a blanket of ice appeared on the ground in front of them and slowed them down.

"Going somewhere?" A blue-skinned woman asked from a vantage point above them.

"Professor," Cyclops said, looking around as the woman and fat man began to walk towards them. "Plan of attack?"

"Wait. I'm sure we can talk to them first."

"That was always your problem," a voice said from behind them. A man dressed in red and wearing a helmet was floating above the ground. At his side was a teenager dressed in blue with silver hair.

"I was wondering when the government's pet mutant would show. I must admit, I am a bit surprised you brought others... but not too surprised, as you can see."

"Wait," Charles said, looking at the man floating in front of him. "Erik?"

"Yes, Charles. It's me. Although, some have taken to calling me Magneto. The name does agree with me, I will admit that. You know me, and you've met Bolt, Blob, and Killer Frost. But this young man at my side is Quicksilver."

"So, this is the start of your glorious mutant army?"

"Not an army, no. A brotherhood. A group of like minded mutants willing to change the world."

"With fear and violence?"

"If need be, yes. But, my friend, it's hard to talk the moral high ground when you're working for the government to fight your own kind, is it not?"

"I've said this before, Erik, and I will say it again: There can be a better way."

"Yes, you told me that... and then you proceeded to cripple me."

Magneto snapped his finger and the four mutants began to close in around Xavier and his students.

"Enough talk. You have your pawns, Charles. I have mine. Let's start."

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Old 08-19-2012, 01:16 AM   #14
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The hot stink of a Gotham summer stings my nostrils as I walk the streets of the Narrows with my hands in my pocket. Big cities always stink in the summer, but Gotham has its own kind of stench. It's like the metaphorical slow death the city has been going through since I left is becoming real in the worst smelling way possible.

And it's the worst here in the Narrows. The Narrows was always the poorer part of the city. Section 8 housing was set up here long ago, but ever since I left the place is like a criminal training ground. The mobs use the poor to fuel their drug trade. Meth labs run 24/7 trying to keep up with the demand in this place. Gang wars and shoot outs are common here, and the people that aren't involved with organized crime cower like civilians in a war zone.

But that's what happens when you have a mayor like Oswald Cobblepot. A mayor who's as deep in the pocket of the mob as you can get. He turns a blind eye to the rampant corruption in the police department and the back alley deals and drug trade. He keeps the right people happy, and the right people keep him in office.

He's on my list. He was a middling nightclub owner until my parents' death. Now he rules the city.

I bump into a drug dealers standing on the corner, pretending I'm drunk, "Hey wino! Watch it man."

"S-s-orry *burp* Won't happen again pal," I fake as I continue on my way, putting the product I just nabbed from him in my pocket. He'll be back for that soon.

The Narrows is like the Wild West, where anything goes. But the rest of the city is split evenly between the mob bosses. Maroni, Falcone, and Zucco have all given each other a fair piece of the pie, only coming into conflict when some mid-level made man gets too big for his britches. I know the bosses, but I need to figure out the mid levelers if I'm going to bring them down.

I'm pushed hard into an alley, and the drug dealer kicks me deeper in, assuring no one will see what's about to happen. "Man, you are really dumb. Stealin' product. You think you're gonna get away with that?"

He pulls a gun and points it at me, and I back away pathetically, keeping up my act, "Come on man...I just...I just need some. I can't...can't wait."

"Well, if you're not gonna pay, you're gonna die."

He goes to pull the hammer back on the gun, and I react like lightning. My foot kicks the gun out of his hand, and I use that momentum to spin to my feet. He pulls a knife from his pocket and slices at me wildly. I duck underneath the strike, then grab his wrist, twisting and breaking it. My other hand muffles his scream, and then I drive his head into the dumpster in the alley, knocking him out.

I toss the product back into his pocket, and take all the cash he as on him. As I go to exit the alley, I pull of the fake mustache and beard, discarding them.

But I know I can't change this city alone with my body guard. Alfred's capable, but he's older now. And I'm not going to throw him into this slop. There are a few good cops, from what I've seen the few weeks I've been back. They keep their head down and can help where they can. But they know they don't have the power to really change anything.

And then there's Harvey Dent. My oldest, and really only, friend, Harvey has become a successful assistant DA. But he's an idealist, and won't move up to be a shaker. At least not until the climate changes.

And I certainly plan on changing it.

I head a few blocks out of the Narrows, and unlock the gate to the unassuming apartment complex I now live in. Heading up to the fourth story, I unlock apartment D-3 and head in, flopping down onto the old recliner in the living room, tossing the cash onto the coffee table.

"Another modest haul, I see," Alfred says, thumbing through the cash. "Honestly, Bruce. We need to find a better source of income than this. This is reckless. Continuing to go out with fake facial hair will lead to you being identified, which leads to retribution."

"Well, I need some sort of cash to fund the mask and armor project, Alfred," I respond. "Last time I checked we don't have all that much."

"Which is why you need to get a real job," he pleads.

Alfred has been my protector and teacher for decades now. As long as I've been alive, really. He's posed as my grandfather since we ran from Gotham all those years ago, and in reality he's basically been my father since the day my biological one was cut down by this city. And I love him like he is.

"I don't have a degree, Alfred," I chuckle. "Who's gonna hire me in this market?"

"You're bloody smart, you figure it out," he says heading to the kitchen. "All I'm here to do is cook, remember? But I did leave an interesting site up on the laptop."

I flip it open, and smile at what I see.



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Old 08-19-2012, 01:45 PM   #15
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“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
I


“… You have got to be kidding me?”

This is so humiliating.

“What seems to be the problem, Mr. Rand?”

My new boss watches on with his arms crossed and a smug smile on his face. Buck Mitty is the CEO of Mitty & Co., the largest cycle courier company in New York, he also happens to harbor a lifelong crush on my girlfriend. Something tells me he’s enjoying humiliating me like this a little too much.

“Green and yellow spandex? You want me to wear green and yellow spandex? I’m going to look like a fa-”

“I wouldn’t use that word if I were you..."

In my hands is my new uniform. It’s bright green with yellow trim and a popped collar that wouldn’t look out of place in Grease. On my way in a saw a few of the other employees wearing the newer uniforms which are a much darker green and are collar-less. But of course, surprise surprise, they have run out of those and so I have to wear the old uniform. If I didn’t need this job more than Mitty needed me, I’d ram this crappy uniform down his throat and tell him where to go. Since I do need it, though, I try my best to keep my temper under control. Which is no mean feat around Buck.

“Especially since you’re already on a non-verbal warning.”

“A non-verbal warning? It’s my first day, give me a break…”

Mitty smiles and bears his pearly white teeth in my direction before rolling up his sleeve and exposing the expensive watch that adorns his wrist. He thrusts the watch in my direction and taps on the face of it a few times. I can’t figure out whether he’s simply showing off his Rolex, which I’m inclined to attempt to take off him, or whether he’s making a grander point. I decided against stealing it, at least for now.

“You were half an hour late, Mr. Rand. If you weren’t Colleen’s boyfriend I’d have fired you on the spot.”

It boils my blood to hear him even speak her name. We both know the only reason I’m here is because he still holds a flame for Colleen. She thinks he’s a disgusting, smug, arrogant piece of work and I can’t say that I’m inclined to disagree with her. From what I’ve seen of him so far, she was spot on. I pray to every single deity that might be out there that she did not sleep with him. She wouldn’t have, would she? I mean, he’s not her type at all… It would explain why she hates him so much. No, no, I’m not thinking about this. Nothing good can come of thinking about this.

“… Uh, fine. Where’s my first stop?”

Please not Harlem. Absolutely anywhere but Harlem.

“Harlem.”

He smiles broadly, clearly aware of what I’m about to say next.

“But, I live in Harlem…”

Buck shrugs his shoulders nonchalantly, as if I were completely unimportant, whilst tapping on the buttons of his cell phone. He doesn’t even stop to look up as he addresses me. God, I hate this guy so much…

“That’s good. I won’t be expecting a phone call from you in twenty minutes asking for directions then.”

“I can’t ride around my hometown dressed in spandex. You cannot do this to me.”

Mitty begins to make his way towards the stairs of the basement with a look of contentment on his face. There’s no way I’m getting out of this, that much is clear, he’s going to make me humiliate myself and then, worst of all, he’s going to try to make a move on my girlfriend. If I weren’t dead broke, I’d have cleaned this guy’s clock by now. I promised Colleen I’d be on my best behavior though, that I wouldn’t punch someone on my first day at work this time around. Bide your time, Danny, it’s only a matter of time before this guy gets his. Hopefully you’ll be there when he does.

“Consider it your penance for showing up late. Now quit complaining, put your uniform on and start delivering some packages, would you? I don’t pay you to stand around.”

He leaves the basement and I reluctantly make my way over to the locker marked with my name and change into the spandex. It really does leave nothing to the imagination. People are going to chase me through the streets with pitchforks and torches. That or some gang-banger is going to take offence at me flying the rival gang’s colors and that’ll be the end of Danny Rand. The list of stops I’ll be making is in my locker and I immediately turn through the pages to the first page to find the name of the SOB making me ride through the streets I grew up on dressed like an artist’s rendition of a clown. The name stands out from the rest on the list, it’s awfully old-fashioned compared to the rest of them.

See you soon, Mr. Orson Randall.


Last edited by Belvedere; 08-19-2012 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:25 AM   #16
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“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
II


“… Aren’t you a little old to be a delivery boy?”

Uh. My day keeps getting better and better with every passing second. Not even off the bike and the old man is giving me stick.

So, goes without saying that this is Mr. Randall then. He looks exactly like you might expect a man with a name like “Orson Randall” to look like. He’s a walking anachronism, a man out of time. Looks like he’s in his seventies, maybe seventy-five, but moves pretty well for a man of his age. His thinning hair is neatly combed and side parted like a character out of Mad Men. I’m not sure which one, the one with the combed hair and the drinking habit, though maybe that’s all of them.

As I dismount from my bike and approach him I realize that I’ve still not replied to the quip he made earlier and out of the corner of my eye I spot a pile of empty beer cans at the bottom of his steps. Quick, think of something breezy and endearing to fire back with.

“… Isn’t it a little early to be drinking?”

Breezy and endearing isn’t exactly one of my strengths.

He finishes the beer in his hand with several loud glugs and throws the can aside, landing perfectly atop the pile of the rest of its discarded colleagues at the bottom of the steps. He approaches me, the smell of beer heavy on his breath, before placing a hand over his heart and pointing towards the flag that hangs defiantly from his home. Something tells me this guy votes Republican.

“I fought for this country, kid. If I want to sit on my steps and have a six-pack at nine o’clock in the morning, I’ll sit on my goddamn steps and have a six-pack. Remind me, where was it exactly that you served?”

This exchange hasn’t exactly gone like I planned. All those fifteen minutes of training as to how to deal with members of the public seem to have been for nothing. The good, personable customer service that the Mitty & Co. commercials guarantee hasn’t really materialized itself this morning. It dawns on me that there’s next to nothing that I can say to save the situation, in fact I probably would have been better off nothing saying anything to start with. So, if I’m going to crash and burn I might as well get it over and done with.

“Look, my morning’s been crap enough already without you making it any more difficult than it has to be. Sign for the damn package and let me be on my way, would you?”

He takes the package from me and daubs what appears to be a completely unintelligible signature into the digital reader, which takes him several minutes to figure out. As I’m about to leave a fat Golden Retriever appears from inside the Randall household and waddles to Orson’s side, squatting uncomfortably on his feet. He strokes it lovingly and in complete contrast to his otherwise gruff character begins to talk to it in baby language.

I’ve always hated the things. A couple of years back when I was fifteen a dog bit through my Achilles tendon and they’ve made me nervous ever since. In fairness, I was trying to steal its owner’s car at the time. Still can’t stand the things though. They’re nothing more than domesticated wolves.

“If Wendell were a couple of years younger you’d be in real trouble, kid… Believe me, back in his day he’d have had two of you for breakfast and still had space for seconds.”

I think it’s time I take my leave. It’s not like I’m in with a chance of getting a tip anytime soon.

He smiles at me as I walk back down towards my bike and begin unchaining it from the signpost I’d left it at. As I mount my bike and begin to pedal down the street, I take a look back at Randall stood on his steps with his overweight dog at his side. He lifts his right hand into the air and points his index finger in my direction, squinting slightly as he does so, before pulling his thumb down in a shooting motion. From in front of me comes a loud honk and I manage to swerve out of the way of an oncoming pickup truck at the last moment.

When I look back Orson’s gone. Something tells me that won’t be the last I’ll see of him.

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Old 08-21-2012, 07:29 AM   #17
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“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
III


Well, that’s my first day over and done with. My legs are so sore that I can barely stand, my calves feel like they’re about to drop off and I am in desperate need of a shower. When I signed up for this I didn’t realize it was going to involve so much exercise. The human body is not meant to go through the torture I’ve put it through this evening. If God wanted human beings to cycle, he’d have given us wheels. Or something.

There is still one more stop for me to make though. If anything, it’s my most important one.

“What’s going on, Carl?”

We bump fists and he leads me into his bedroom. It was my bedroom up until three years ago. He hasn’t change things around too much. Heck, he’s even left my Springsteen poster on the wall above the desk. There are a lot more books in here than I ever had though, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that knows either of us. He was always the bright spark, the brains, despite the fact he’s four years younger than I am. Carl Lucas is more than a friend to me, more than a best friend, I consider him to be my brother. Perhaps our bond is even closer because we aren’t actually blood related. All those years spent protecting one another, watching one another’s backs in group-homes up and down New York paid off in the end. We found Jeryn. We found a home here in Hell’s Kitchen.

I lean against the edge of my old desk. Carl pushes a few of the books strewn on top of his bed aside and dumps himself onto it.

“Not much, man. You know how it is. Jeryn’s been on my back these past couple of weeks to start getting some work done ahead of the SAT.”

I’d love to say that I know how he feels but I’ve never been in his position. I was a little too busy chasing after girls to concentrate on studying. Not to mention that, at the time, college didn’t seem like the type of place people like Carl and I went. Turns out I was wrong. Dead wrong.

“Yeah, well… He knows what he’s talking about. You don’t want to end up like me, do you? Having to ride through the city for eight hours a day wearing spandex is not where you want to be with your life, believe me.”

I would never wish green and yellow spandex on anyone. Not even my worst enemy.

“Guess so. Could be worse though, man. You remember that time you stole old man Richards’ truck and we got halfway to New Jersey in it before we realized he was passed out drunk in the back seat?”

We both smile in silence for a moment. There are plenty more stories like that one. It feels like so long ago for me, even though I can tell from the look on Carl’s face that a part of him still longs for the days that we would roam the streets for hours on end without focus, without purpose, without a care in the world. Those days are long gone.

Old man Richards tracked me down a week afterwards. He broke three of my ribs and dislocated my shoulder. Turns out old man Richards was spryer than anyone gave him credit for and more importantly, he was pretty good with a baseball bat too.

“Those were the days. Those were the days, indeed…”

Do I remember those days? Of course I do. Just not through the rose-tinted spectacles that Carl remembers them. There were things he was too young to know, too young to understand then and so, as anyone would do, I kept them from him. He deserved a childhood. Everyone does. God knows it’s plucked away from you quickly enough these days.

We talk for about half an hour more until I realize how late it’s getting and decide to head home. On my way down the stairs I hear a familiar shuffle of feet from behind me, Jeryn Hogarth, the closest thing I have to a father appears from the kitchen. He stands in the doorway and though we haven’t spoken for months gives me a smile completely devoid of condemnation or mistrust.

“It’s good to see you, Dan.”

I hate it when he calls me that.

I nod cordially in his direction and shut the door behind me without a word. As I make my way down the street, I feel a set of paternal eyes resting upon me, hoping that I arrive home safe. Ever the paternalist, the over-protective parent. It's only with his guidance that Carl stayed safe on these streets. He arrived too late to save me.

These streets are in my blood. Some of us weren't made to play the son.

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Old 08-19-2012, 02:10 PM   #18
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A swift Himalayan breeze sweeps through the open window by my bed, sweeping the simple curtains away and allowing the sun to flood the room, waking me from a deep sleep. I sit up in my bed, and stretch out, producing a few sickening sounds as the metal on my bones shifts and squeezes in my body.

I get up out of bed, and throw the curtains open, showing the grand vista that is right outside of the small Tibetan village I now live. The beauty of the place is unmatched, as is the isolation and tranquility. Just what I need after all these years.

Walking away from the window, I cross my small, one roomed home to the cupboard, and make myself a simple breakfast of oatmeal with a bit of goat milk, sitting outside and eating it.

My neighbors and the other denizens of the small village are also stirring, and they wave or nod to me as they leave their huts to begin their daily work.

It's been three years since I came here, hunting a madman and his cronies before they could unlock the great power that lies within the mountain path that is entered from this place. I succeeded in guarding it with some help, and haven't left since.

I've fought my whole life. For almost two hundred years I've gone from war to war, being used by this government or organization or another to destroy their enemies. But no more. Now I'm here, protecting this place, and not getting involved with anything else.

A friend from the village comes by and tells me the scouts spotted a herd of sheep moving through the meadows. I nod to him and head back behind my house, where a beautiful whit horse is grazing in a small meadow.

"Come on, Ghost," I say to him, grabbing the saddle lying on the ground and toss it on his back. "Time for another hunt."

Once he's been saddled, I gather a bit of water and a small snack, before saddling up myself, and lightly kicking into Ghost's side, speeding off towards the hunting grounds.

Sure, it's a quiet, simple life. But it's my life. The first time it's truly been mine in two hundred years.

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Old 08-20-2012, 07:23 AM   #19
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Street-scum doubled over, bloodied and bruised on a bitumen mattress. The city of my birth, Hub City, is a well of filth and despair. The rains have been heavy this year and the well has overflowed, the filth floats on the surface as the level of despair rises. That’s how it spreads.

Of Questionable Origin

I’ve been doing my best to clean up this mess all night. My way of celebrating, I suppose. Although the jubilance doesn’t show on my face, but then if you knew me then you’d know that’s not too surprising. Stupid question...

It’s a good job; whole lot more money, whole lot more fame. I’m not going to pretend I wouldn’t appreciate both. It’s been a long, long and winding path to get to this point, New York should be a break from Hub City. Corruption’s nowhere near as bad (not non-existant of course, but let’s face it, corruption’s a part of the human condition) and I’ll be out. Finally, I’ll be out. It’s what I always wanted, just like Tot said. But he used that damn tone of his... But it is what I’ve always wanted... Isn’t it?

A trash can lid makes short work of a fleeing would-be rapist, the victim’s long gone. Even she pulled a switch-blade on me. Not to be unexpected, of course. She’s looking at a faceless man with violent tendencies in a trenchcoat, probably figured I took him out because I wanted her for myself... This city’s eating itself, has been for a long time, longer than I’ve been alive. It’s the biggest cess-pool in the good ol’ U.S. of A, hell even Gotham with its high crime rate has difference-makers in that Commissioner Gordon of theirs, and young D.A. Harvey Dent.

Not here.

Hub City is the land where hope went to die... Mayor Myra Fermin means well (she does a lot of things well…), but a fat load of difference that makes when every other layer of structure is corrupt to the core.

Well, Tot. I guess we got our answer...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

3 Years Ago

A knock on the door resonates through Vic Sage’s small one bedroom studio apartment, the stone-faced reporter answers it and is greeted by an old friend, his former Professor Aristotle Rodor. This was not an unexpected house call, he had made frequent stops in the past few weeks relating to a specific line of discussion. Pseudoderm, Rodor’s invention made in collaboration with another wise man – Doctor Arby Twain, was central to the discussion. It had been a sticking point lately as Twain had recently disappeared, apparently he owed significant amounts of money to the mob out of desperation in the development of the product. Before any patents could be secured he was gone without a trace. The Professor asked a few questions to some people who don’t like questions and was lucky to escape with his life.

He’d been trying to get the younger investigative reporter to look into the disappearance without much luck.

“Even if I went in there and found enough to bring the cops in on this one the evidence would mysteriously disappear, or Twain would be dead well before anything good came out of it.”

This was an answer that Rodor could not accept. Would not accept.

He threw a small bundle into Sage’s mid-section and stormed out. “You’ve just got the whole world figured out already, Charlie. Cover your own ass and move on. ‘Not my problem. It’s a cold, dark world and if you can’t handle your own life will run you down and then rifle through your pockets looking for change.’ Yes sir, you’ve just got all of the answers, don’t you? But the real question’s this: Your cold harsh world, could you fix it if you wanted to?”

The last sentence hanging in the cold Hub City air, Vic Sage looked down and inspected the small bundle of cloth left in his hands. There was an odd hard lump in the roll. What was it in his hands? Pseudoderm. Easy question. But incomplete. The wad of pseudoderm took the form of… a shield shaped patch, contoured in parts, less than a foot in length thin enough to be breathable and transparent when pressed close, but too thick to see through from a distance. The contours… had been carefully placed. It could be only one thing; a mask, and the hard roll that was with it an aerosol can. Presumably containing the prototype adhesive gas compound that largely formed Tot’s part of the pseudoderm project.

Tot always knew just how to handle him. If he attempted to go point and counter point in argument with Sage he’d have only been butting heads with a stubborn bull of a man. But the professor had always known how best to pose the question.

He piqued his curiosity.

And out of the darkness of Charlie Szasz’s world, The Question finally pointed him in the direction of the light.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------


But that was years ago, before I got given his chance to get out. Hub City doesn’t let many people in my situation free. You get born in Hub City, you live here a while… if you’re lucky… and then it eats you. Just like it eats everything and everyone else.

I still have one more show to do before my flight. One more show to do here too though, I think, excuse me while I spray lighter fluid around the two laid out… well, I suppose society calls them “men”… Gotta be quick, see, because the cops could be here any minute.

“Hey! You! Stop!”

Speak of the devil… or possibly one of his minions. Damn near all the cops in this hellhole are crooked, anyway… Wish I had another 5 or 10 seconds to make this comfortable, but I suppose that’s out of the question…

Shielding it from the elements in my trench-coat, I snap at a lighter as I start to run. After two clicks the flint sparks on the third, the beautiful flame ignites. I hold it to the accelerant and let the flame grow, appreciating fully how rare anything gets to grow in this dirt-water burgh. It bursts with life and makes the most of its opportunity, running at breakneck speed. Taking only one more second to appreciate it, I throw the still lit lighter into the remaining puddle of fluid and take my leave.

The officer looks on in horror, and then inquisitive relief as he sees that the flame has merely encircled the unconscious dirtbags and not taken their lives to fuel its own.

The question is; who would do such a thing? The Question is who would do such a thing...

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Old 08-20-2012, 07:09 PM   #20
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PROLOGUE

Athens, Greece

There is a seaside café just outside of the capital where two individuals are seen to meet at sunset. Every five years, they spend precisely ten minutes in eachother's company, then after sharing a drink, they both depart without so much as a formal goodbye. A man and a woman. They trade laughs, but share no love. They seek eachother's company for that instant, yet have no affection to give. It is an unspeakably cold, mysterious pairing that some of the locals have began to notice. Both are physically beautiful beyond words, so the confusion is natural. They've even got stories made up. Maybe they're divorced, one theorizes. Or perhaps they're just old, distant relatives who've managed to sideline petty differences for the sake of one tradition worth upholding. Whatever the case may be, the local shopowners somehow always manage to spot them coming. They're that distinguished.

The truth of the matter is, none of the theories are correct. The man and the woman share nothing in common. Nothing except a particular goal, made in secret from prying eyes and upheld to the strictest sense. It has lasted for years, many more than any could ever guess. And today, inevitably, marks the fifth since they had last saw eachother. Several eyes wander to the back of that cafe now, seeing that the redheaded woman is already there. Sipping on some wine, gazing at nothing in particular. It isn't until a slender elderly gentlemen in a dark green suit enters that they realize what is happening. So quietly, the café's spectators turn back to their business, left to wonder...

"I have often questioned why you insist on making it here."

The woman looks up, acknowledging the gentleman and smiles, lifting the glass.

"Well, it is my sister's place. And I thought that if there were any better way to be discreet than that, I had not found it."

Curious at such a notion, the man pulls up the seat opposite and sits down.

"You have a troubling sense of discretion."

"Perhaps. But then again,"

She takes another sip.

"You would know. I ordered some of this for you, aswell, should you want to sample some of the local delicacies."

The man grabs the now emptied bottle and scans it.

"1875. It could be a bit more vintage, for my tastes."

"You just love to complain, don't you?"

"I suppose I do. But then again,"

He places the bottle down. Firmly.

"Isn't that why we're here?"

They face eachother, tensity only rising, before the man finally smiles.

"I'd heard that you've grown irritated as of late. Are such rumors to be trusted?"

The woman scoffs.

"Irritated? Perhaps a better way to put it would be tired."

The man leans forward, intrigued. "Oh?"

"The twenty-first. That was when we were to meet last, and you never showed..."

"Ah, but that would have broken tradition."

The woman places her emptied glass on the table aswell, far more firmly.

"The twenty-first had already broken it. And now it is the twenty-third. What I had asked of you all those years ago has not come to pass, and with every passing day, yes. I grow tired of waiting."

Leaning back in his chair, the man looks up into the sky and sighs.

"So you do. So you have. But you fail to see it from my end, don't you?"

She raises an eyebrow.

"To break such a tradition is to show that neither of us can be trusted with even the most sacred of vows. And in these days ahead, what we need more than anything is trust. Of fate itself, of the prophecies, and most importantly of ourselves. I could not break the arrangement because I knew that when the time came, we would need eachother to survive. And now it has."

The woman shifts the shades on her face downward, exposing radiant blue eyes. Perhaps the most striking in all the world.

"Yes, and that is why I cannot allow this to continue any longer. I will not be here for a twenty-forth, you know this. So what is it you intend to do in order to appease me?"

"Me? Oh, I've really no intention of doing anything..."

The man smirks.

"You're aware of how I work. And should you be worried, fear not, for I've come with news. The Queen of the Amazons has grown similarly tired as you, but possesses nothing similar to your discipline."

In a move that surprises even him, the woman has a genuine reaction to this.

"Circe?"

"She vys for absolute power, as mystics' often have. And you know better than most that one cannot be content with the spoils they're given. Circe seeks to contact an old acquaintance of your's in order to achieve this."

With realization, the woman leers.

"Hecate."

"She will call to her in thirteen hours. Five days, to them. And should the prophecies be accurate, Hecate will gladly grant the Queen her precious power. She will become one of the most powerful sorceress' in all the land."

With a smirk of her own, the woman merely waves off the news.

"Be that as it may, and as traitorous of a witch as I've allowed Circe to become, I would ask. How does any of that pertain to my specific problem?"

"I'm very glad that you asked."

The man leans forward once again, this time even closer. His eyes wild as he speaks, his words filled with opprotunity.

"What if, in her bid for power, the Queen of the Amazons is told she cannot have it? And what if..."

Suddenly, it hits her.

"What if her anger at such a slight were focused elsewhere?"

The man nods. "You're beginning to see. All it requires is some mere redirection, and both problems will be solved instantly. Do I have your permission?"

With a wicked grin, the redheaded woman's attention is turned to the waiter, who delivers the order of wine. Watching as he pours the glass for both of them, the man and woman remain silent, despite their evidently shared anticipation, until he leaves.

"Oh, this would be marvelous. Of course you have my blessing. The Queen of the Amazons, set to destroy the..."

The man retracts the glass, after taking a sip.

"As I said, it is a delicacy."

Displeased, he places the glass down.

"But I've tasted better."

Getting up from his seat, he bows his head slightly. A wordless gesture between two old souls.

"And where have you tasted better?"

"I believe you've already guessed. Until the next night, your highness."

Beginning to leave, the man is stopped as the woman stands herself.

"And you assure me that you can deliver on this promise, Loki?"

The Lord of Chaos gives pause. Then turns, with a smile of his own.

"You have my word."

As he leaves, the woman watches from afar as two men begin to physically engage in a fistfight. Sunset has now grown into a full moon, light irradiates from the waters, and the violence only escalates as it's originator crosses the street. Several people flee as an out-of-control vehicle swerves to the side and collides with a fruit stand, and the woman can only chuckle, raising her newly refilled glass to her lips.

"Glorious."

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Old 08-21-2012, 10:22 PM   #21
Eddie Brock
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Prologue

Dasht-e Kavir
Central Iran
0945 Hours

The burlap sack over Jasham's head was heavy and uncomfortable. It restricted his breath, causing the space around his face to become hot and humid. With every breath, he felt as though he was inhaling sand. It was dirty and reeked of body odor - no doubt from the countless other souls subjected to this kind of treatment. And, of course, he could see nothing but the occasional ray of light which peeked through the fabric, but that was the point. He was not allowed to see where they were taking him. He wasn't initiated. But that was about to change.

Jasham was squeezed between two men, each with a fully-automatic rifle around their neck. Jasham knew all too well that they wouldn't hesitate to shoot him if something went wrong today. Each time the Jeep hit a bump in the road, one of the two men slammed into Jasham's side. Still, he held his tongue and endured his treatment. Soon, he would be one of the brotherhood, and this kind of handling wouldn't be necessary.

They had been driving for a while now, though admittedly it was hard to keep track of time with the sack over his head. They must be in the heart of the desert now. If these men wanted, they could pull over, throw Jasham out of the Jeep, and drive away. Lost and alone, Jasham would die of exposure before he could ever find his way home. It was an unsettling thought. He forced himself to put it aside.

Jasham settled himself and said a silent prayer. Today would need to go smoothly, or else all would be lost. He was confident, yet understandably nervous. So much rode on his success. He could not afford to fail. He would not fail. At least, that's what he told himself as the Jeep slowed to a stop.

A door opened, and the man to Jasham's right hopped out of the Jeep. There were voices now, speaking in unfamiliar tongues. They were all speaking too fast for Jasham to understand, but he tried to identify the languages nonetheless. Bialyan? Kurdish? He honestly couldn't tell. Jasham received an elbow to his ribs from the man to his left, which he took as an order to move. Sliding across the backseat of the Jeep, Jasham felt a hand reach up and guide him to the ground. They still didn't remove the sack.

The desert sun was unbearable as it beat down on Jasham's back and shoulders. The light cotton shirt he wore helped keep his body heat down, but it gave very little in the way of protection from the sun. Hands grabbed at Jasham and pulled him across the sand. Eventually, he was unceremoniously tossed inside a room. He was thankful to be out of the sun - even if the building didn't seem to have air conditioning. The small relief was more than enough.

After being forced into a chair, Jasham was finally relieved of the burlap sack. The light was blinding, and Jasham was forced to squint. When his eyes had finally adjusted, he got his first good look at the room. It was unassuming, to say the absolute least. Other than the chair in which Jasham was currently sitting, the room was sparsely decorated. In fact, there was little else besides another chair, a table, and a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling.

The men who escorted Jasham here said not a word. They all slipped off into different corners of the room, occupying spots along the wall. Waiting. For what, Jasham could only imagine. He needn't imagine long, however. Moments later, the dingy door at the other end of the room thrust open. In stepped a massive figure, more force of nature than man. The new entrant strode across the room with all the pride which befit a man of his size and stature. The men were silent. Though, out of fear or reverence? Jasham did not know.

<"Friend! I hear you have requested to treat with me,"> the man announced with a voice which filled the empty room. He threw his arms wide and laughed pleasantly. Jasham judged him to be about six foot three inches tall, and no less than two hundred and fifty pounds of solid muscle. The man slid out the unoccupied chair and sat himself in it. <"Well, here I am!">

Jasham lowered his head respectfully. <"Colonel,"> he said simply, honoring the man's rank and importance.

<"You are a man of few words!"> the Colonel replied with a distinct charm and charisma. Jasham saw why these men followed this one so proudly. Clapping his hands together, the Colonel said, <"Tell me: why do you want to serve under me? You wish to commit Jihad against the western menace?">

<"Yes, Colonel,"> Jasham responded.

<"This one is so formal!"> the Colonel joked with his men. A few of them cracked smiles, yet none laughed. The Colonel turned his attention back to Jasham. <"Tell me your name, son.">

<"Jasham.">

The Colonel smiled. <"Jasham? A lovely name."> He stood, sliding his chair out of the way and turning his back to Jasham. <"You know its meaning, I assume?"> the Colonel said over his shoulder. He turned back to Jasham. "Eagle."

Jasham furrowed his brow. The Colonel's last word had been English. He became nervous. Judging from the look on the Colonel's face, he had sensed it as well.

"A fitting name, I would think," the Colonel continued in English, "for an American."

Arms grabbed Jasham from behind. He began to thrash in his chair, all too aware that the gig was up. But the man behind him was too strong.

"A clever game you played, American." The Colonel was pacing now. "But I am much too careful to fall for such trickery." He turned and regarded Jasham with a smile. It sent chills down the American's spine. "It took me longer than I would have liked to find out who you really were. I suspected you from the beginning, but I thought you were with NSA or CIA."

The man behind Jasham put him in a headlock, leaving his head unable to move.

"Imagine my surprise to learn that you were one of the infamous Nick Fury's men," the Colonel announced. "But I suppose it should be expected. There's little going on that SHIELD does not know about." He knelt at Jasham's feet, yet was still eye level. "I want you to send your boss a message for me."

The Colonel reached across the space between the two men. Jasham struggled against the arms which restrained him, but he could not budge an inch. The Colonel placed his palm against Jasham's cheek. Jasham slammed his eyes shut, but it served him no good. Forcefully, the Colonel pressed his thumb into the American's eye socket until his face ran red with blood.

The Colonel's men remained perfectly still as the American's screams filled the room.

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Old 08-22-2012, 08:29 PM   #22
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“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
IV


“Aren’t you going to tell me about your first day at work?”

I’ve been through the door for fifteen seconds, in which time I managed to take my sneakers off and sit down, and Colleen is already bubbling with excitement to hear about the monotony of my working life. Sometimes I envy her endless enthusiasm. Here I am, exhausted, almost incapable of sitting up despite being enveloped by my doughy couch. She on the other hand sits upright with her legs crossed facing me as I flick through channels on the television.

“There really isn’t much to it. I ride around in a uniform that’s ridiculous on a number of levels and deliver packages to people. They sign for them. Then I do it all over again until I run out of packages.”

She takes the remote control out of my hand, turns the television off and then throws it onto the other couch and out of my reach.

“So, no one opened the door in women’s underwear then?”

No. But one middle-aged woman did invite me inside to do something that I’m pretty sure is illegal in at least thirty states. Better not mention that.

“Nope. Hate to disappoint you.”

Colleen pretends to gasp, shaking her head in disappointment before wiping a mock tear away from her cheek. For the first time since I got on that goddamn bike this morning I muster a smile, leaning over to kiss her on the head and placing a supporting arm around her.

“It’s not you I’m disappointed in, it’s New York… What sort of city do we live in where people collect their deliveries in gender-appropriate underwear?”

She kisses me on the cheek. I get a strong waft of apricots as her hair passes by my face. She washes her hair with apricot-scented shampoo because she knows I love them. It’s the little things like that she does that make me appreciate her so much.

Colleen and I have been dating for about eighteen months. Her car broke down outside of my apartment one day and, being the gentleman that I am, I offered her some assistance. Of course, I probably could have fixed the problem there and then but I let it drag out for a while. At least until she’d laughed enough at my stupid jokes that I felt confident enough to ask her on a date. It’s not every day a redheaded Japanese-American girl with a body to die for falls into your lap. How could I have forgiven myself if I hadn’t taken that opportunity?

We talk for a while about her day and then make our way to bed. Once we’re there she seems subdued all of a sudden.

“What did you think of Buck?”

Oh god, she did sleep with him. Please tell me this is not happening...

“The man is a gaping anus.”

She scrunches her face up into an adorable scowl.

“… Whilst we’re on the topic, I should probably mention that I’m going for a coffee with him this time next week.”

My face drops completely.

“Oh, don’t give me that look. Since he’s been so kind as to help you out whilst you’re in your time of need, I thought it’d be rude to decline.”

“Weren’t you the one that called him a disgusting, arrogant, smug piece of work? Am I missing something here?”

Colleen rests her chin on her crossed arms, placing her pillow underneath them. She looks me with her piercing green eyes and I feel my insides begin to melt. I can’t stay angry at a face like this. She is genuinely trying to do the right thing. If it were anyone else other than that creep Buck Mitty I wouldn’t hesitant for a second. She has every ounce of my unadulterated trust. It’s him I’m worried about.

“It’s a coffee. What’s the worst that can happen?”

This is a thoroughly bad idea.

She smiles then places a tender kiss on my forehead. With that, what might have been an awkward conversation for another couple is over and done with. I feel my tired eyes begin to close and I wish for dreams about anything about bikes; elephants that can sing, dragons that direct films, mythical cities in the clouds. Anything but bikes.

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Old 08-24-2012, 12:04 PM   #23
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“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
V

It’s week two. By now I’m used to the soreness that sitting on an uncomfortable bike seat for the best part of eight hours a day brings. Still haven’t gotten over the whole spandex thing though. Today’s the day of Colleen and Buck’s little coffee date and unsurprisingly I’m feeling a little uncomfortable about it all. If only because I’m the one that’s going to have to do something about it when he makes his move. Still, I’ve got work to do and thankfully that helps take my mind off of things. I thumb my way through the list of stops I have to make today and groan as I reach the bottom and read a familiar name.

Randall again. Always Randall. I’m not in the mood for his “I served in some war that no one even remembers, so I can do whatever I like” talk again.

I put on my helmet and head down to the basement, grabbing ahold of my bike and walking it towards the exit. Victor Alvarez, whose older brother I used to skip math class with, buzzes me out and I raise a thumb to him in recognition as I push off and begin to cycle. Victor’s the closest thing I’ve got to a friend in this place and, seeing as we barely ever talk, that’s saying something. The morning air has a crispness to it that almost feels like it clears my sinuses, it almost forcefully knocks me out of my wakened slumber and I realize that thing’s aren’t so bad. When I’m on the bike, the wind blowing in my face, I feel free for a couple of hours; there’s no worrying about Colleen, no fretting over whether Carl’s keeping his noise clean, there’s only the road and me. The way it should be.

The hours seem to fly pass. With a bit of experience under my belt I don’t make the same mistakes I made this time last week. Almost manage to cut my journey time in half in doing so. Eventually the only name left on the list is the old man’s and, reluctantly, I make my way through Harlem on the way to his house. It’s only a few blocks from mine, I actually have to pass my own apartment on the way there, but it seems like a world apart. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t live above a Chinese restaurant.

He waits expectantly on his steps, his aging and overweight golden retriever Wendell at his side, with a beer in his hand. He’d made his way through most of a six-pack a little after nine in the morning last week. I glance at the watch on my handlebars as I chain my bike to a signpost a couple of feet from his house and find his package. It’s nearly five o’clock now, I don’t even try to work out how many beers he’d have been able to drink in that time.

As I make my way towards his owner Wendell attempts to fight to his feet. The elderly dog manages to support its own weight for a few moments before yawning loudly and then, after spotting me, lazily resting back on the floor at Orson’s feet. For a second I feel a smile appear on my face, before the memories of my Achilles tendon being bitten in two by a pit-bull wipes it from my face.

“I see you’re still prancing around in tights delivering birthday cards to elderly women for a living. How's that going for you, kid?”

Again with the delivery boy thing.

I throw the package towards the old man who, despite having necked his own weight in alcohol, catches it without having so much as to readjust his feet. Naturally he places a painful amount of effort into not spilling a single drop of beer.

“I’m surprised you can even remember me, old man. Heck, if the Alzheimer’s hadn’t seen to that, I thought the booze might have. Guess I was wrong.”

Orson smiles defiantly at me. He takes a slow and deliberate sip of his beer before shrugging his shoulders at me.

“Got two options. Sit on my steps and drink beer from sun up to sun down or go play bingo with a bunch of women who last saw action was Nixon was president. Pretty easy choice, if you ask me.”

He signs for the package and we continue to shoot the breeze for a couple of minutes. From my bike my phone sounds and I nip away for a couple of seconds to answer it. “Colleen” it reads. My heart jumps into my throat as I hear her distressed voice from the other side of the phone. Before she even has a chance to explain what’s happened, I know.

“... Please don’t overreact. It was all a misunderstanding, that’s all. When I got up to lean I lent in to hug him goodbye and he must have thought that I-”

I feel the anger in the pit of my stomach rising up. I’m so angry that I can barely hear a word Colleen’s saying. Bottling it up for a few moments, I signal to Orson that I’m leaving and begin to unchain my bike whilst Colleen pleads with me from the other side of the phone. She knows, as well as I do, that’s it too late for what’s going to have to happen next to be stopped. I put the phone down, climb onto my bike and pedal as fast as I can in the direction of Mitty & Co., Buck will be on his way back there now and if I’m lucky I’ll be able to head him off before he heads home.

And to think, I was actually starting to like this gig. Oh well.

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Old 08-25-2012, 05:41 PM   #24
Belvedere
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread

“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
VI

“Xao Industries, have we heard of it? No, I didn’t think you would have. They’re a Chinese manufacturing company that specializes in transportation; bikes, cars, planes, boats, trains, you name it. There’s not going to be a single bike, car, plane, boat or train in the world that doesn’t have a part made by Xao Industries by the next decade. Mr. Xao has been kind enough to reach out to us and he has some very exc-”

A bicycle tears through the pane of glass behind Buck Mitty, knocking him clean off his feet and sliding him sliding across the room. Half a second afterwards I step through the broken window and walk towards him, struggling to climb out from underneath the bike that pins him to the ground. Most of the executives that had assembled for Buck’s meeting scatter, some picking small pieces of glass out of their skin, whilst others watch on in shock. Maybe I ought to have thought through the collateral damage of the whole bike through the window thing a little more, but I can’t say that I’m thinking a whole lot at the moment.

Buck pushes the bike away from him and fights to his feet, holding a small gash on his head that he sustained from the fall. There’s a look of confusion on his face as he looks up at me, I bear down upon him with my fists raised and a scowl etched into my face.

“Rand? What on Earth has got into you?”

Without so much as I response I land a heavy punch into his gut. He crumples to the ground, clutching at his stomach.

“… Someone call security! Quickly!”

The two remaining executives in the room look at one another and I can see in their eyes that they contemplate trying to restrain me. With one look, I disarm any hopes that they might have had at doing so and both of them make their way out of the room quietly. Security will be here soon. Better make the most of what little time Buck and I have left alone.

“People like you are what’s wrong with the world, Buck.”

Mitty wipes some blood away from his temple before steeling himself and attempting to fight to his feet. He holds the edge of his desk tightly and manages to steady himself somewhat. I could have ended this by now, I could have ended it straight away, but I’m going to make every second of this count. Give Buck a lesson that he’ll never, ever forget. He swings a wild punch at me, which I dodge with ease and then goad him into throwing another one. He sneers and reaches for a folder hanging off the edge of his table, throwing at me and attempting to tackle me. I move out of the way and watch him fall to the ground.

He’s never been in a fight in his life. You can tell by the way he moves. He’s never had to struggle, never had to worry about where his next meal was coming from. This was over before it started.

“You think because you have money, because you have influence, because you have power that means you can do and take whatever takes your fancy…”

Again he climbs to his feet and this time when he swings, I allow his arm to travel through the gap between my arm and body, trapping it between them. In the next few seconds I jab him in his torso what seems to be two dozen times, holding his body aloft so that he can’t fall the floor and, finally landing a heavy punch on his nose. There’s a loud crack. I release his arm and allow him to slump back onto the carpet, blood running freely from his nose.

I crouch beside him, whispering into his ear with as much menace as I can muster.

“What you fail to realise though, is that some people aren’t afraid to push back.”

There’s a click from behind me and Victor Alvarez brandishes his weapon in my direction. There’s a look of reluctance in his eyes. I can tell that he doesn’t want to be doing this, he knows enough about me to know that I wouldn’t have done this without provocation. Can’t begrudge a man for doing his job. And it’s not like I can dodge bullets.

“Step away from Mr. Buck.”

I stand up and smile.

“Sure. I was leaving anyway.”

The sounds of sirens making their way towards the offices of Mitty & Co. grow ever closer as Vic leads me out of the office. My colleagues watch on as I’m marched through the corridor, each avoiding eye contact with me as I pass them.

They’re afraid of me. I don't blame them.


Last edited by Belvedere; 08-25-2012 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:03 AM   #25
Belvedere
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread

“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
VII


“That was one hell of a beating you put on Mr. Mitty, Daniel. You don’t mind if I call you Daniel, do you?”

You don’t spend close to a decade around a lawyer without picking up a couple of things. If she thinks I’m going to answer any of her questions, she’s got another thing coming. Seen enough TV in my lifetime to know to keep my mouth shut in this situation. Heck, I’ve been here for a couple of hours now and Jeryn still hasn’t arrived, something tells me they’re stalling him. Trying to get me to crack before he arrives. That’s not going to happen.

My wrist is shackled tightly to the metal bar connected to the table in the interview room. It doesn’t leave much space for me to do much, other than rap my fingers against the table impatiently whilst I stare at the clock and wait for Jeryn to arrive. It’s only a matter of time.

“Knock yourself out.”

I wince. Pretty poor choice of words all things considered. The smile on her face tells me that she realizes this too and, rather than mentioning it, thankfully she pushes on and continues probing. It’s all in vain of course, but as was the case with Vic earlier you can’t begrudge a person for doing their job. Heck, for a cop she’s actually not too bad to look at either.

“What was it that Mr. Mitty had done that made you so angry, Daniel? You don’t seem like the type of guy that loses his temper like that often. What was it all about?”

This was the problem with the police. They thought they knew everything about you because of a couple of lines in a folder tucked away in a filing cabinet somewhere. She’s read my folder and because of that she thinks she has some great insight into who I am or how I think. That’s not how the world works.

“It’s the twenty-first century and you still have an Afro. What’s that about, Misty?”

She looks visibly shocked for a moment. One of her colleagues called her by her first name, as I was being lead into the interview room a couple of minutes ago. It’s a harmless slip, but one I exploit to show her that even though she might have all the authority in the world in this situation… Authority is nothing without power.

“You don’t mind if I call you Misty, do you?”

I smile wryly and watch as she desperately tries to find a way to claw back the power she had over me in her mind. She comes up blank.

“Out of my way! Where the hell are you keeping him?”

Jeryn’s voice grows louder and eventually he arrives outside of the interview room door. Officer Knight looks at me and exhales impatiently before standing up and opening the door. A rather scruffy Jeryn wanders in and places his briefcase on the table that separates Officer Knight and I, looking at me with disappointment in my eyes before directing his ire towards the seated detective.

“Good evening, Office Knight. My name is Jeryn Hogarth and I am Mr. Rand’s attorney. If you don’t mind, I’d like a moment alone with my client.”

Without saying a word she stands up and leaves Jeryn and I alone. He pulls up a seat and leans towards me, shaking his head as he undoes his briefcase. If there’s anyone in the world that I hate to disappoint, it’s him. Jeryn’s the only stable male role model I’ve ever had, every time I got in trouble over the years I know he felt partly responsible and that made me feel even worse about it.

“You’ve really done it this time, Dan. I’m not sure if I can get you out of this one.”

We sit in silence for a moment before Jeryn leads me through my options. He bandies about several pieces of paper and throws around terms that I don’t know the meaning of every other sentence, but I try my best to keep up and nod along. Part of me wants to believe that there’s something in Jeryn’s legal arsenal that will be potent enough to get me off, but I know there’s no running away this time. There’ll be no community service, no restraining order, I’m going to prison for a long time.

And that’s when something unexpected happens.

The door opens and Officer Knight sticks her head around it. Her tone of voice is low, disappointed, she’s unable to maintain eye contact with me. I fear the worst; maybe internal bleeding or a punctured lung, something like that, maybe Buck kicked the bucket and I’m going to be looking at life. But, weirdly, the words that come out of her mouth are the complete antithesis of my fears.

“You’re a very lucky man, Mr. Rand. Mr. Mitty has regained consciousness and decided, for whatever reason, not to press charges. You’re free to go.”

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