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Old 10-20-2012, 12:10 AM   #126
Byrd Man
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Previously


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Utopia


Amanda Waller watched the radar operator's display from Utopia's control room. A single dot was flashing across the display. The ID on the jet was BB1.

"Blackbird One to Utopia," Scott Summers' voice came in over the radio. "Requesting permission to land, over."

"Ask them," a voice behind her said. She activated her mic without lookin go back at Admiral Stryker.

"Utopia to Blackbird One, can you confirm that the package is securely on board? Over."

"Negative," Summers said with a sigh. "Coming home empty handed."

"Roger that. Blackbird One, you are cleared to land. Utopia out."

Waller cut the line and turned back to look at Stryker. He nodded and she activated the island's intercom system.

"Now hear this. Agent Waller to all security teams. Muster to the landing pad right now. Targets are en route. Be advised that they are to be taken alive. Waller out."

"I don't think I like your tone, Mrs. Waller," Stryker said, moving to leave the control room. "You seem the lack the passion and zeal I expect from a dedicated and fully committed member of my staff."

"Just do what you have to do... sir."
Stryker narrowed his eyes at her and left the control room. By the time he was at the landing pad, two dozen of Utopia's SEAL security force were gathered around it in defensive positions. Overhead, the hum of the stealth jet filled the sky as it hovered above the pad and landed with a thump.

Stryker motioned and the men moved forward, surrounding the jet as the aft ramp opened up and came down on the tarmac. Stryker pulled a pistol from his Navy dress uniform and cocked it, moving to the front with the SEALs.

"Xavier, kids," he said, turning the corner and stepping up on to the ramp. "I am here to inform you that you are under arr--," he stopped. There was nobody inside the cargo hold of the jet. He aimed his gun at nothing but space.

"The hell?" He asked with a furrowed brow. Stepping forward, he heard a commotion behind him. Xavier and his students appeared in the middle of the SEALs, Summers blasting outwards with his optic blasts as the other mutants pounced on the SEALs. Chaos reigned all around as the mutants took it to the best and brightest soldiers America had to offer.

"Admiral Stryker," Xavier said, stepping through the fight and walking up the ramp towards him. Stryker held his gun up, preparing to shoot. His trigger finger froze, unable to squeeze the trigger.

"I figured it was best if I said this in person, so here it goes."

A scream went out from behind them. A soldier shot into the air as McCoy kicked him up like he was a soccer ball. Summers knocked six men down with a single blast, Mason and Pierce were knocking men down left and right as the girl Grey slung men against each other like rag dolls.

"We quit."

Stryker felt a surge of pain go through his body as his eyes rolled into the back of his head. He was unconscious before his head could hit the floor.



Two Days Later
Washington DC


Henry Gyrich and Amanda Waller stood as the collection of US Senators walked into the closed room. Together, the men and women made up the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Along with Stryker and the Joint Chiefs, these were the people Gyrich and Waller had to answer to.

The senators sat and the two agents followed suit.

"Now," the senator from Arizona said, looking at the two agents. "State your names and titles for the record, please."

"Henry Peter Gyrich, Special Agent, Department of Defense."

"Amanda Blake Waller, Special Agent, Department of Defense."

"Mister Gyrich, Mrs. Waller," the female senator from Georgia said in a slow southern drawl. "The reason y'all are here is because of this Project Darwin. Ten billion dollars worth of funding went into this. And our question is... what is it? There seems to no longer be any record of it at all in the government's files."

Both Waller and Gyrich exchanged uneasy looks. After a long pause, Waller leaned forward and spoke into the mike.

"Madam Senator... we don't know. Nobody knows."

"Explain yourself," said the chairman, a senator from Minnesota, named Kelly. "What do you mean you don't know?"

"Two days ago, Mrs. Waller and I, along with Admiral Stryker and the entire staff at Utopia woke up... and we had no idea how we got there. By our estimation, six months had went by. And we had no memory of anything that happened. Whatever Project Darwin was, whatever happened on that island, we have no record of it."

"We found some DNA samples in a sweep. Hair, skin cells, things like that. It's been confirmed that they're mutant in nature."

"Well," Kelly said, leaning forward. "I think we've heard enough from the two of you. With this latest piece of information, it's clear that you two would be better served elsewhere. Admiral Stryker will now oversee the Utopia and Alcatraz operations. You'll both be reassigned to other positions. You're dismissed."



*****


Utopia
San Francisco Bay




"Admiral on deckt," the commander said, drawing the fifty soldiers in front of him at attention. He was gray-haired and had an eyepatch covering his right eye.

The commander saluted as Stryker came out of the barracks to inspect the men. He returned the salute and turned to the men. "At ease," he said with a nod.

"Welcome to Utopia. I'm sure that you're all wondering why you were called here. I mean, look at you. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. You all come from different branches, but you each have a few things in common. Number one, you're all the best men the armed services have at their disposal. Number two, each and every one of you are religious in some way. Which is important for our upcoming cause."

Stryker began to pace in front of the soldiers, his hands behind his back as he spoke.

"I am a religious man myself. I was originally going to be a naval chaplain, but the powers that be thought I would be better suited elsewhere. While I wear these stars on my shoulder, I am still as committed to God and His teachings today as I was all those years ago. Despite what the scientist and secular heathens say, God is very real. And He is testing us. For the past century, humanity has not given glory to Him. We ignore His word, we praise wickedness and glorify those who would besmirch God and His works. We are being punished. And mutants are our punishment."

Stryker stopped pacing and looked at his men, a glint in his eye. To some, it could be taken as passion. But to the right person, he had the look of a mad man.

"Mutants are born into this world, twisted and deformed by Him. His cruel commentary on what humans have become. Mutants are evil, untrustworthy, and all of them without His love. He is reminding us that we are lost, and that it is only through Him that we can achieve true salvation. Not in science, not in Godless pursuits that mock Him. But only in His glory. We can only be saved in meeting His challenge head on. Salvation -- true salvation -- will not come until each and every last mutant has been wiped off the face of the earth. That is what we strive to do here. We trusted the mutants, and they showed us their true nature. The politicians had their chance, now it is our turn.

I declare that Project Darwin is officially decommissioned. In its place, a new mission. Not a mission, but a crusade. Like our forefathers, we will strike out and wage holy war against a Godless foe, an enemy that will strike without mercy or remorse. Christian, Muslim, or Jew. It doesn't matter. We all united under the banner of humanity. The human races is under attack, and we are its Sentinels. God bless each and every one of you, God bless our holy endeavor, and God bless Project Sentinel."

"Ten-hut,"the commander barked out. All the men stood at attention, saluting Stryker. Each of them impassioned and motivated by his speech.



*****



West Chester County
New York


"Welcome," Charles said to his students.

The six of them were standing at the front steps of a large mansion. The house appeared to have been out of use for several years. The windows were boarded up, the siding in dire need of paint.

"Nice crib," Jefferson said. "You grow up rich or something?"

"Very much so. Up until two days ago, all my accounts had been frozen by the government. So, I now have quite a lot of money to play with thanks to Hank's little computer virus."

"I should thank you, professor," the furry mutant said, taking off his glasses. "That virus wouldn't have been as potent had you not gleaned the good Admiral's password from his mind."

"That's all it took? A couple of clicks of the mouse and we're off the grid?"

"Well, I did have to wipe the minds of everyone on Utopia as well. But yes. As far as the government is concerned, the six of us never worked for them. Nothing on paper, in the computer, or in their minds. Speaking of computers... Hank?"

With a toothy grin, Hank held up a large binder he had nabbed from Gyrich's office. It detailed the exact goings on of Alcatraz, along with a few other "interesting" side projects the government were currently doing with mutants.

"God, I can't wait to get out there and give it back to those government jerks," Rex said, his fist shifting from flesh to iron.

"Who says we'll continue operations? That was the whole reason I left the government. We can't be out there, fighting. You're just children."

"Dude, we kicked the asses of Navy SEALs. We may be lots of things, but we sure as hell aren't kids."

"We need to do something," Jean said. "We can't hide in this big house day and night. People out there... they need to see us. In action. Fighting, not just for mutants, but for humans."

"She's right. We can be a powerful force, that's true. But we can be a powerful force for good. Show them that mutants are willing to fight for everyone's rights. Regardless if they're mutant or not."

"'In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.' The Dalai Lama"

"'Gunga galunga' Bill Murray."

Charles looked around at his students. When he had first started, they had just been kids scared of their own abilities. Now, he saw five confident and eager young adults. Each of them either fully-versed in their powers, or on the way to being that shortly. They had been tested in the fires, they had already seen the way the world work. And still, they wanted more. And, truth be told, so did Charles.

"Alright," he said with a quiet sigh. "We stole that jet, we might as well do something with it." He looked over to the side of the house. The Blackbird was resting on the lawn.

"We need a name. A team name, you know? It's all about the PR, gotta brand ourselves."

"How about the Quixote Crusaders? Our task is indeed a Quixotian one in many ways."

"NEEEERD!"

"What about the Mutant Boyz? With a z."

"Hello? Girl standing right here, can't call me a boy. Even with a z."

"I got it! The Metamorpho Experience Featuring Four Losers!"

"What about the X-Men?"

"The Axe Men? Isn't that a show on History Channel or something?"

"I thought they renamed the History Channel to the Nazi-Alien-Pawn Guys Channel?"

"Not Axe Men. X-Men. Think about it. The X-Gene, X-Force, Xavier. Lots of X's everywhere. I like the symmetry."

"Why X-Men? Why not X-People?"

"We can discuss the details later," Charles said, holding his hands up. "For now, let me give you the tour."

T
he teens followed him up the steps towards the front door. They chatted amongst themselves while Charles opened the door and showed them inside.

Five hundred thousand years ago, the Neanderthal was the dominant life form on the planet. Then, something happened. A new species emerged that threatened the Neanderthal and its way of life. There has been much theory and speculation upon its true origin, but the fact remains that out of the ashes of the Neanderthal, Homo Sapien rose. Homo Sapien did not take over the planet because of spite, or because of anything other than the hard truth. They were better equipped to survive, more evolved.

Now, the cycle has begun to repeat itself. A new species some have called Homo Superior, but I have dubbed Homo Mutata. They -- we -- are the next phase of evolution. And, like the Neanderthal, the Homo Sapien reaction is that of fear and uncertainty. We have it in us to break the cycle of needless violence. There will come a day that mutants will be the majority, but that day has not yet come. We will inherit the Earth, but we must first earn it. We need to show those that would harm us, and even those that would hurt humans, that we are evolved in our compassion, as well as our genes. We may be the Tomorrow People, but tomorrow is still tomorrow. We must stay in the present and strive for tomorrow as we fight the battles of today.

My name is Charles Xavier. I am a mutant. And I am an X-Man.


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Old 10-22-2012, 08:46 PM   #127
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THE DEVIL'S DUE

Part 3


"You're on your own for dinner tonight. I have to step out for a bit", Gwen stated as she sat on the edge of the bed, putting on her shoes.

"Got a hot date"
, Peter asked in jest from the bedroom doorway.

"The hottest"
, Gwen smirked.

"Have to go into the Bugle", Gwen said as she stood and went to the closet, grabbing her coat.
"A friend needs a camera on an investigative piece he's doing for the paper. Said he'll pay me well for the pics he uses."

"Okay. Good luck, babe...and be careful."


"Don't worry"
, Gwen smiled as she leaned in and kissed Peter goodbye, "I'll be fine. I'll try not to be too late. Love you."

"Love you too."

Gwen grabbed her purse and camera and left the apartment. After a few minutes to make sure she was gone, Peter changed into costume and snuck out the window.
He had work of his own to take care of tonight...

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

Hell's Kitchen, 9:01PM...

Spider-Man sat on the side of the building across from the bar/nightclub called LL's, named after the man who owner Lonnie Lincoln, better known as Tombstone.

Okay...seems to be pretty crowded tonight, Peter thought as he watched a near constant flow of civilian traffic coming in and out of the place, as a pair of massive bounces stood outside, checking IDs.

And it's good to hear they have the quintessential ****** bar band playing inside, Peter thought as he swung quickly and quietly over to the club's roof.

Hmm...what to do...

Spider-Man moved around the roof as he tried to figure out a way to sneak in, and then he noticed the vent jutting up on the far side.

"Wunderbar, he exclaimed in great relish!"

Peter tore the cover from the vent and, after a quick inspection, climbed in.

Spider-Man makes his way through the system, eventually coming to rest above a small break room in the back of the club were four gambinos sat.
Spider-Man stayed there as he listened to them talk about trivial things, from how A-Rod is garbage, to the guy one of them kicked the **** out of the other day, to how one of them hates midgets.
Eventually, through all the inane chatter, Peter hears them mention that Tombstone is not here, and that he won't be back for a couple of days.

Dammit! All this ****ing trouble and the big fish isn't even here!


Peter was angry. He wanted to confront Tombstone about trying to have Harry's father murdered and take the crime boss down. But the bastard wasn't even here.

Oh well...doesn't matter. I can still send a message...

Spider-Man busts free from the confines of the vents, and lands in the middle of the shocked men. Not waiting for them the regain their wits, Spidey fires two weblines at the two thugs at his sides, scoring a hit directly center mass.
With a quick yank, Peter pulls the thugs off of their feet and sends them flying towards him.

Spider-Man leaps up and out of the way as the two thugs crash into each other where Peter just was.
Spidey lands hard on the third criminal, pinning him to the ground and knocking him out with a single, hard punch.

His spider-sense blares, and Peter turns and side steps the thrust of the last crook standing's butterfly knife. Spider-Man grabs the man's wrist, squeezing and twisting it, forcing him to drop the blade and yell in pain.
Spider-Man lifts the man off of his feet and headbutts him, splitting his nose.

Spidey pulls the man in close, so he can look him eye to eye.

"I want you tell your boss something for me", Peter says in the most menacing tone he can muster.
"Tell him Spider-Man is coming for him. And when I find him, I'm putting him down."

Peter spun and threw the man threw the room's lone door, breaking it off of it's hinges as the thug flew past a bouncer and into the hall.
The bouncer spun towards the room in time to catch a fist to the face that turned his lights out.

Spider-Man made his way down the hall and calmly entered the main club. The dance floor was pretty packed and the band was blaring some horrible techno-rock.
Peter walked right across the dance floor, slowly being noticed by the drunk patrons.

His spider-sense screams at him, and Spider-Man ducks as a massive fist comes out of the crowd of people aimed at where his head was.
Reaching up with both hands, Spidey grabs the bouncer's arm and lifts him up off of his feet. With relative ease, Spider-Man flips the bouncer over his head, and hard onto the dance floor taking the man out of the fight.

Most of the crowd begins to scatter as two more bouncers attack the web slinger. Peter makes short work of them and walks right out of the front door.

The two door guards try to jump him, but Peter's spider-sense warns him in time. Spider-Man casually dodges their wild punches and one solid uppercut to one bouncer and a back-flipping kick to the other man's jaw takes them down. With no more foes, Spider-Man fires a webline and swings off into the night...


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


Gwen slowly let the camera slide down from her face, which was still in a state of shock. She sat in the passenger seat of Basil Karlo's old Cadillac, and both she and Basil were in silent amazement of what they had just seen.

"Did that really just happen?"

They had been sitting across from LL's for the past two hours as Karlo was getting some personal intel on the place, the supposed headquarters of Lonnie Lincoln's growing criminal organization. One supposedly a part of the much larger operations of New York's criminal kingpin, Warren "The Great White Shark" White.
They had come to gather more data, but what they saw just a couple minutes ago...Spider-Man fighting his way out of Lincoln's club, making short work of the two bouncers, and then quickly leaving.

"Oh yeah..."
, Gwen said, her surprise slowly fading, being replaced by a knowing smile.

"And best of all", she said as she turned to regard Basil, "I got it all on camera."

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Old 10-22-2012, 11:21 PM   #128
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Westchester County
New York



Hank was perched eagerly beside a third floor window. He looked out on the front lawn of the mansion. His ears perked up and he broke out into a toothy grin as soon as he saw the blue sedan pulled into the drive.

Laughing, he leaped from the window and hurried down to the bottom floor. He was waiting outside on the front steps as Jean stepped out the driver's side of the car. She flicked her head and the passenger door opened up seemingly by itself. Jefferson climbed out of the passenger side with a grunt, his hands loaded with mail and packages.

"Is it there?" Hank asked, looking from Jefferson to Jean with an expectant look on his face.

"Help me with some of this crap first! You're strong, and Jean can lift a car with her mind, but you get the skinny brother to carry the mail!"

Hank rushed forward and pulled some of the mail from Jefferson's arm. The three of them walked into the foyer of the house. Hank and Jefferson sat the mail down on a table by the door. Hank started to dig through it as soon as it was down.

"Most of that's for the professor," said Jean, placing the car keys on the rack above the table. "Teaching stuff, some furniture catalogues for the mansion."

"Aha!" Hank said triumphantly. He was holding a rectangular package addressed to Henry McCoy. It was from Standford University. "I finished my studies while we were at Utopia, but I was afraid the number we ran on the government database may not work properly. But it seems to work just fine."

Tearing the cardboard away with his claws, Hank smiled and showed Jean and Jefferson what he had been waiting for. A degree from Stanford. A doctorate.

"It's official. Henry Phillip McCoy Phd. at your services."

"Doctor! Dude, you're like twenty or something, right?"

"Nineteen, actually. I would have had my doctorate at eighteen, but that mess with the government slowed me down."

"Well, all that matters is that you got it. Congrats, Hank. What's you doctorate in?"

"Like the professor, I am a doctor of science. Specifically biology and genetics."

"Speaking of ole X, where is he? Figures he'll be pumped to hear the news."


"He and Scott are in the sub-basement, taking a lay of the land as it were."



*****



Charles and Scott's footsteps echoed against the walls as they walked down the musky corridor beneath the house. A row of naked lightbulbs offered the only light source in the hallway.

"So this was just here when your family moved in?"

"Yes. Apparently, the chap who lived here before us had more money than he had sense. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, he built an extensive network f tunnels beneath the house. The tunnels lead to a group of bomb shelters. It's been years since I was down here, but I believe there were six."

"And this will be where we store the Blackbird?"

"Among other things. I have some ideas. While the top part of the mansion will be where we live, down here is where the X-Men can call home. The largest of the bunkers can easily be turned into a training room. Hank has some schematics and ideas that are pretty amazing."

"Kind of like what we did on Utopia? The dummies and target practice."

"Of sorts. What Hank has in mind will be a bit more... dangerous. I'm meeting with a contractor tomorrow to discuss the renovations. They won't be cheap, but I don't expect them to be."

"You sure that won't get people suspicious? Building all of this down here might make people question."

"Well, as far as they know they'll be paid rather handsomely to put up a gazebo and patio in the backyard. If you understand my meaning?"

Scott nodded his head and followed Charles further down the corridor.



*****



"Welcome in,"
Charles said as the students came through the door into the bomb shelter. They looked around warily at the sparse decor. The only thing inside the room of note was a table, chairs, and a plasma monitor. "I understand it's not much, but the journey of a thousand miles must start with a single step. This is our first step."

"'He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.' - Nietzsche"


"Exactly, Hank. Or should I say Doctor McCoy? Congratulations on your degree, Doctor."

"Thank you, Doctor Xavier."

"Is this gonna turn into the scene from Spies Like Us?" Rex grumbled as he sat. "Doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor!"

"Funny that you mention doctors, Rex. That's why I called you here."

Charles turned and activated the monitor in front of him. The screen blinked on and showed a black and white photograph of an older man in a Nazi officer's uniform.

"This is Burkhard Adler. Veteran of the First World War, high-ranking member of the SS during the Second World War, and wanted Nazi war criminal. He's still believed to be on the run and active... By all estimation, he's one hundred and twenty-one years old."

"No way!"

"Professor, that's impossible."

"I shoot laser beams out of my eyes. In a world where I can do that, nothing's impossible."

"I, for one, am glad to see a senior citizen staying active in their twilight years."

"Logistics aside, Adler was a scientist during the war. He was stationed at Auschwitz with Josef Mengele and another scientists, an SS colonel named Viktor Schultz. I hate to say this but Adler, Mengele, and Schultz are the men responsible for pioneering the study into mutants. Their experiments were ghastly and appalling, but they were able to correctly identify the X-gene and how it is passed. I studied Mengle's papers while at Oxford. It's through his journals that I was able to identify one Jewish mutant and trace his family all the way to his great-grandson. Erik Lensherr. Magneto."

"Magneto's grandad was a Holocaust victim? Damn."

"When the Third Reich collapsed, all three men fled Europe. While Mengele was brought to justice, Schultz and Adler have never been caught. Nobody is even sure what Schultz looks like. All known pictures and information about him was destroyed in allied bombings of Berlin, and by the SS themselves when they fled Auschwitz. Only through Mengle's journals do we even know Schultz existed."


The picture behind Charles changed. What had shown Adler's wartime photo was now a picture of Adler and a large black man. The photo was grainy, taken from long range. Both were dressed in dark suits and exiting a rundown building.

"This popped up on the government's radar yesterday. It's a surveillance photo from a house in Buenos Aires. The Argentine national police were watching a meeting between a militant organization and a weapons dealer. It seems Adler is the weapons dealer."

"But look at the photo. This Adler guy is the same age right here as he was seventy years ago. That's not right."

"You're right, Scott. That's why I believe Adler is a mutant. A mutant who butchered his own kind during the war. And that's why I want us to capture him. I also want to interrogate him, find out what he knows. This man is garbage, but he could also hold the key for explaining mutants and how it all started. Please go get ready. We leave for Argentina in an hour."

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Old 10-24-2012, 10:44 PM   #129
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I walk through the darkened halls of the museum, walking towards the guard room, shifting in my uniform as I do. My footsteps echo lightly off the tall, domed walls and ceilings of the hallways, and I think I can almost hear my heart beating off of them as well.

Saying I'm nervous would be an understatement. Getting a job as a museum guard to rob it? Not the best idea, probably. But it's what the boss wanted. And what the boss wants, the boss gets.

At least that's what they tell me. I haven't met him yet. They tell me no one does until they make a big score. And this is mine.

I can hear Michelle in the back of my head, yelling at me. Telling me that the wages from the guard job and hers would eventually manage enough money to get mom's procedure done. But mom can't wait until "eventually". She needs this money now.

Stepping into the guard room, I greet the other guard on duty tonight with a smile, and place a package down on the center table, "How's it going, Don?"

"Doin' well, Michael," the older man smiles, tipping back his cap. "How are you today?"

"Not bad," I respond. The old man is nice. It's a shame he'll probably get fired after this. "Not happy with working the night shift though."

"Well, we all gotta pay the price sometime. What's this?"

"Not sure. Says it's from management."

And as I say that, a pink gas escapes from the box, filling the room with a knockout gas, which I've already been given the antidote for. But I pretend to choke and pass out with the older guard in order to sell my innocence.

As I do, the lights go out, the EMP in the package knocking out the building's systems for twenty minutes.

I scramble to my feet, and rush towards my goal.

**********

In a car outside, a driver looks back at his passenger and says, "Looks like the systems are down, boss."

The svelte but powerful draped in darkness in the back seat responds, "Indeed they are. Our friend seems to have finished part of his job."

"Let's hope he finishes the rest."

"Oh, I'm sure he will," the boss responds. "Mister Carter will do great things...in time."

**********

I enter the wing of the museum where I'm to finish my mission, and to be honest it takes my breath away, as it always has. At the entrance atrium, a large, marble statue of the greatest heroes of all time stands, gleaming even in the dark.

Representations of Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America, and even Gotham's own Batman stand side by side, as if they're still protecting the world today. It may seem a bit lame at my age, but I've always looked up to these guys. When my dad was a loser and my mom was frail, these guys were the thing I strived to. They were this shining example.

And now I'm here to steal their stuff. Some level I reached, huh?

Scrambling towards the exhibits, I get the keys from my belt and begin unlocking the cases, taking the pieces I was told to acquire by the contact from the boss. It's all pieces of armor, a picture of Iron Man hangs above the display.

I'm not exactly sure what the boss wants with this. It's all antiquated compared to today's tech. Maybe he's just a collector. How should I know.

As I stuff the equipment into a bag, a buzzing is heard above my head, and I look up to see a small, gold robot zipping my way.

"Halt!" the thing buzzes at me. "Halt! Return the items or I will be forced to attack."

"What the hell are you?" I ask, throwing the bag over my shoulder and turning to leave.

"I am a BX9 Security Robot designed and programed to defend this installation in the event of system failure."

"Oh yea? What're you gonna do? Annoy me to death?"

And that's when a bolt of energy slams into the ground next to me. I spin around to find the robot has a blaster protruding from its top, aimed right at me.

"The next one will not miss. Put the items back."

I begin backing away from the robot, my arms raised, "Hey, listen...can't you just let me go? This one time? I got to get this stuff. I gotta get the money for my mom's treatments..."

"I have warned you."

I see the robot's blaster begin to power up, and I accidentally bump into an exhibit behind me, which begins to rattle with the sound of engines powering up. I spin to see a portal opening up beside a sign that says "Rip Hunter's Time Manipulator".

"What have you done?" the robot asks, beginning to panic.

"Nothing! I just touched it!" I respond, as the portal begins growing, and I feel the pull of it. I try to back away, but it's too strong. My feet are whipped out from under me, sucking me through the spinning vortex, the robot not far behind.

Inside, it feels like my insides are trying to escape through my skin, it's light and dark at the same time, and I feel like I'm being squished and stretched in different directions. Whatevers happening, it isn't pleasant.

And then, almost as quickly as it started, I'm on my hands and knees on a filthy floor, retching up what's in my stomach.

"Oh no. Oh no. This is not good," the robot says in a worried voice.

"Ugh...what's your problem?" I say, finally getting my stomach under control.

"Do you not understand what just happened?"

"No, but I feel like I was just turned inside out, and then back again."

"You fool...we've been sent back to the 21st century!"

**********
25th Century

"Boss! What happened!?" the driver asks the man in the back seat, startled by the vast amount of energy radiating from the inside of the museum.

"Our friend is on his way. Move on, driver."

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Old 10-24-2012, 11:02 PM   #130
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17th Precinct
Midtown, Manhattan
7:12 PM


Dick strolled through the 17th's main office space, walking pass cubicles belonging to various detectives and other office workers. With a smirk, he knocked on the cubicle with a larger paper shamrock hanging on it, the name Cassidy on the name plate beside the shamrock.

"Sean?" Dick asked, peeking his head into the cubicle's entrance.

Sitting behind a desk, sipping from a large mug of coffee, was Detective Sean Cassidy. "Come on in, boyo," Cassidy said in his Irish brogue. "Have a seat, proper yer feet up. Whatever makes ya feel at home."

Dick sat down across the desk from Cassidy and looked around. His work space was filled with pictures postcards of his Irish homeland. Juxtaposed with the scenic landscapes of the Irish countryside, were black and white crime scene photos, a map with a detailed layout of the Manhattan drug territories, and even a few shots of dead bodies in the morgue. All in all, it made for an unusual office.

"So, what's a rolly like yerself doing here in the bullpen? Not out there beating shoe leather. Ya ain't turning into a hump, now are ya?"

"Marcus and I came in at seven. Shift's over for me."

"Ah, another blessed day under the care of St. Michael. So, what can I do for ya, Dick?"

"Trying to get up to date on the Manhattan drug game. I don't want to run in some guy I think is a two-bit hustler, but he turns out to be a lieutenant in whatever gang now controls the rackets out there. Figure you Narco boys wouldn't be too pleased if they slipped through the system without you getting your hands on them."

"That, my son, is what makes ya natural police. Better than half the gammy tools that walk the beats out there. Buncha humps, ya ask me. So, what exactly do ya want to know?"

"Probably just who controls the rackets in and around the 17th. Here in Midtown, Hell's Kitchen, even over on the Diamond District."

"That chunk of real estate belongs to one man. Name of Lonnie Lincoln. He runs most of the crime that's in that area. No idea who he works for, or, truth be told, how much he's got his fingers in."

"And he's clean? Nothing to tie him to the stuff he does?"

"He runs a club outta the Kitchen. Figure most of his dirty dealings go on there, but the trouble lies in getting a warrant on it. Lincoln has his rotten hands in the pockets of the judges who cover this part of town. Wire tapes, video surveillance, even a bleedin' search warrant won't get approved. Not enough probable cause he says. He's a right bastard, ya tell me."

"So, Lincoln is the man who seems to do most of the Kitchen's dirty dealings... interesting."

"Ain't it just," Cassidy said with a grumble. "Anything else I can help ya with, o' liege of mine?"

"Nope, I'm good. Thanks for the heads up, Sean. I'll put this info to good use."

"Ya better."

Nodding, Dick stood and quickly made his way out of the offices towards the precincts front door.



*****



Hell's Kitchen
10:54 PM

Dressed in his Daredevil outfit and free falling, Dick pointed one of his sticks up into the air and shot a grapnel line from it, it caught and swung him upwards at a breakneck speed. detaching the line, he tumbled towards the ground before shooting another grapnel line to swing him over the cars and buildings below.Smiling, Dick swung around a building corner and somersaulted over a small building's rooftop in one fluid motion.

Gliding soundlessly over Hell's Kitchen, Dick made a beeline for the club Cassidy said Lincoln did most of his business out of. While the cops had no probable cause to show up, a masked man causing a scene would most certainly give them enough probable cause to arrive on scene and go into the club.

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Old 10-28-2012, 01:40 AM   #131
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"Welcome in,"
Charles said as the students came through the door into the bomb shelter. They looked around warily at the sparse decor. The only thing inside the room of note was a table, chairs, and a plasma monitor. "I understand it's not much, but the journey of a thousand miles must start with a single step. This is our first step."

"'He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.' - Nietzsche"


"Exactly, Hank. Or should I say Doctor McCoy? Congratulations on your degree, Doctor."

"Thank you, Doctor Xavier."

"Is this gonna turn into the scene from Spies Like Us?" Rex grumbled as he sat. "Doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor!"

"Funny that you mention doctors, Rex. That's why I called you here."

Charles turned and activated the monitor in front of him. The screen blinked on and showed a black and white photograph of an older man in a Nazi officer's uniform.

"This is Burkhard Adler. Veteran of the First World War, high-ranking member of the SS during the Second World War, and wanted Nazi war criminal. He's still believed to be on the run and active... By all estimation, he's one hundred and twenty-one years old."

"No way!"

"Professor, that's impossible."

"I shoot laser beams out of my eyes. In a world where I can do that, nothing's impossible."

"I, for one, am glad to see a senior citizen staying active in their twilight years."

"Logistics aside, Adler was a scientist during the war. He was stationed at Auschwitz with Josef Mengele and another scientists, an SS colonel named Viktor Schultz. I hate to say this but Adler, Mengele, and Schultz are the men responsible for pioneering the study into mutants. Their experiments were ghastly and appalling, but they were able to correctly identify the X-gene and how it is passed. I studied Mengle's papers while at Oxford. It's through his journals that I was able to identify one Jewish mutant and trace his family all the way to his great-grandson. Erik Lensherr. Magneto."

"Magneto's grandad was a Holocaust victim? Damn."

"When the Third Reich collapsed, all three men fled Europe. While Mengele was brought to justice, Schultz and Adler have never been caught. Nobody is even sure what Schultz looks like. All known pictures and information about him was destroyed in allied bombings of Berlin, and by the SS themselves when they fled Auschwitz. Only through Mengle's journals do we even know Schultz existed."


The picture behind Charles changed. What had shown Adler's wartime photo was now a picture of Adler and a large black man. The photo was grainy, taken from long range. Both were dressed in dark suits and exiting a rundown building.

"This popped up on the government's radar yesterday. It's a surveillance photo from a house in Buenos Aires. The Argentine national police were watching a meeting between a militant organization and a weapons dealer. It seems Adler is the weapons dealer."

"But look at the photo. This Adler guy is the same age right here as he was seventy years ago. That's not right."

"You're right, Scott. That's why I believe Adler is a mutant. A mutant who butchered his own kind during the war. And that's why I want us to capture him. I also want to interrogate him, find out what he knows. This man is garbage, but he could also hold the key for explaining mutants and how it all started. Please go get ready. We leave for Argentina in an hour."



Buenos Aires
Argentina



Charles looked over at the young woman sitting across from him and smiled. He was sitting outside a cafe in the city's trendy Palmero district. She was at a table next to his. He made eye contact with the woman and smiled as he took a sip from his cappuccino.

"Yes, I would like to buy you a coffee," he said.

"How did you know?" The woman asked, looking at Charles with a confused smile.

"A beautiful woman all by herself on a lovely day, making eye contact with me? I very much doubt that I am the first to offer to buy you a drink."

Picking hiss cappuccino cup up, he motioned towards her table. She nodded and left his table for hers.

"What would you like, my dear? As for me, I think I'll trade my cappuccino in for something else... Perhaps an iced mocha..."

"That's... that's my favorite..."

"Interesting," Charles said with a soft smile. "Mine too."

~Professor,~ a voice said in his head.

~Jean, how goes the hunt? Do you need my assistance?~



*****



~You could say that...,~ she replied.

She and the other X-Men were in the city's slums, chasing after a fleeing man. He ran down the narrow streets past narrow shanties. Hank was on the roofs of the shanties, on all fours chasing after him. On the ground, Scott ran with Jefferson behind him, Jean was behind him and Rex brought up the rear.

"No," the man wheezed as he ran. "Por favor..."

Scott fired a blast from his eyes, striking just a few inches away from the man's feet. He stumbled forward, nearly falling. He quickly corrected himself and kept running, taking a right turn and heading down another long row of house. He was halfway down the street when a blue blur crashed on him. They rolled around the street. Growling, Hank pinned the man against a wall and barred his teeth at him.

"'The time has come," the Walrus said, 'to talk of many things..."

The man struggled against Hank's powerful grip as the rest of the X-Men converged on them. Scott stood over the man, staring him down with his visor-clad eyes. The young man pulled a worn out photo from his pocket and showed it to the pinned man.

"This man, Burkhard Adler. You do business with him, you know where he is. Tell us."

"I don't know who that is...," the man stuttered. "I've never seen him before!" The man stopped his pleading as his eyes glazed over.

~He's lying,~ Charles' voice echoed through his student's heads. ~He met with Adler two days ago. The two are scheduled to meet again tonight. I know where.~

~So do we ambush him?~ Jefferson asked mentally, looking at his teammates with a shrug.

~I like it. He gets there and we come busting in. Knock knock! Who's there? Boom! Us, ya old Nazi douchebag!~


~That makes sense to me. The five of us up against Adler and his bodyguard. Professor?~

~Make it six against two. I'll be there as well.~




*****



Charles was on a rooftop overlooking the city. Below him was a park and the rest of the team, scattered and hidden through the area. Charles turned to look at one of the park entrances as he felt a tingling through his mind.

~Team, be on the lookout. I'm sensing two people coming into the area. Their minds are suspicious and on high alert.~

Charles spotted two figures walked through the dark. They passed by a park bench and lamp. The light threw them into focus and Charles instantly recognized the old man and his large bodyguard.

~That's them. Move in now!~

On cue, the five X-Men sprung from their hiding spots and quickly encircled themselves around Adler and his protector.

"What is this?!" Adler asked in a thick German accent. "Who are you?"

"We're bringing you in," Scott said, his hand resting on the trigger on his visor.

"Yeah! After all, the only good Nazi is a dead Nazi... or is does that saying apply to lawyers? I can never remember."

"I do not think you will be arresting me today, my young friends."

Adler turned to his bodyguard. The large man nodded and flashed a smile. Every tooth in his head was pointed and razor sharp.

"Children, children, children," he said, clicking his tongue. "You have no idea how utterly and completely ****ed you are."

Removing his jacket, the man began to jerk and spasm. His body changed shape before them, his bones and waist twisting and contorting as he slowly began to get short and round. With a loud yell, two extra arms shot from his body.

"You are mutants, yes?" Adler asked over the din. He gave a curious glance towards Hank and Rex before continuing. "This is what this is about? Well, let me tell you something. Mutants are not better than humans, they are not worst. They are to humanity what guns and wrenches are. They are tools for humanity to use. A means to an end. A great man taught me that lesson many years ago. And today, you will learn that lesson. Isn't that right?"

Beside Adler, his bodyguard stood. Drool dripped from his mouth as he eyed the five young X-Men with glee.




"Alright, my babies, who's ready for some sugar?"

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Old 10-29-2012, 01:37 PM   #132
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I sit slumped against the wall of the dirty warehouse I ended up in after being catapulted through time and space. My bearings begin to come to me, but I'm still pretty out of it. Of course, the constant jabbering by the security droid that's floating around the room is still incredibly annoying.

"Would you shut up?" I groan at the droid.

"No, I will not shut up, you cretin!" it yells at me, bumping me in the head. "This is all your fault. If you hadn't tried to steal-"

"Yea, and if you hadn't tried to stop me, we wouldn't be here," I respond, cutting him off.

"I was following my programming. You were the one committing the crime."

"It wasn't crime. It was survival," I spit back at it.

"Sure, a typical excuse used by criminals," the robot responds in a high and mighty tone.

"It was for my mom," I say, standing and staring into the thing's vision module. "It was to get her the medical help she needs. Don't act like you know why everyone turns to crime."

"Oh...I am sorry," the robot says, seemingly meaning it. It's so hard to tell with things like this though. He could just be deflecting the conversation. "I have been given all the crime statistics in history. Forgive me for acting as if I know all about it."

"Yea, well, statistics don't always tell the whole story," I say getting up off the floor. "So...where are we?"

"Gotham of the 21st Century, it seems. The location where the museum now stands. Same exact place where we were when the portal opened."

"So what's our next move? Was there time travel at this time?"

"No...as of now...we're stuck here."

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Old 10-29-2012, 06:07 PM   #133
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"So what is your next move?" Alfred asks as he looks over the list of components in the hallucinogenic compound. "Most of these are fairly common. Could buy them anywhere."

"Except for that," I say pointing to the one near the bottom of the list.

"Quinuclidinyl benzilate?" Alfred says with a furrowed brow. "I'm not familiar with that one."

"The military developed it after the Second World War as a nonlethal way to passify a building, or if need be a small town," I respond. "In a bomb that dispenses a cloud of powder it could put people into a dream-like state for days."

"Days? Anyone that would have been affected in the station would still be out, in that case."

"Right...meaning this guy uses a very small amount in the vapor he uses," I nod. "Keeps people out for an hour or two while also giving them visions, and then they wake up forgetting anything they may have seen of him."

"But where does he get it?" Alfred ponders, sitting down across from me at the table. "It wouldn't be something easy to get a hold of."

"Not at all," I shake my head. "It'd be black market. Very, very high in the black market."

"You have an idea, don't you?"

"I do," I respond, flashing Alfred a smile.

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Old 10-30-2012, 11:33 AM   #134
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Piotr pulled the hood tighter around his face to protect himself from the biting cold as the wind blew in from the East. It was late October in Odessa and it was currently 11 degrees outside, with a wind chill of -15.
Warm for this time of year.

The sun was setting behind him as Piotr walked quietly down the sidewalk of the local ghetto, avoiding the hookers on the corner, and the Serbians on the steps in front of the rundown sky blue painted building dealing in heroin. Piotr knew his destination, and he wasn't going to let anything deter him.

Finally he came to the end of his road, a small dive bar called Cockrum's, which was owned by a displaced Englishman, believe it or not. The Englishman, Peter Wisdom, was one of the few people he actually trusted in this city. Wisdom had helped Illyana out, getting her a job at the bar, and is helping Piotr get her off of the powder, much to Piotr's gratitude.

"Piotr!"

Piotr Rasputin looked across the busy bar at the beautiful smile on his sister, Illyana, as she waved to him from behind the bar.

"Hello, little sister", Piotr smiled as he sat down on an empty bar stool, relaxing on the bar as he is exhausted from a long day working at the mill.
"Pour me a vodka, please. It's been a hard day."

"One vodka for the hardest working man in all the Ukraine", Illyana laughed as she placed a glass in front of her brother and filled it up to the edge with vodka.

"I see you've made it a double."

Piotr regarded Peter Wisdom as he walked up to him on the patron's side of the bar, greeting Piotr with a handshake.

"Always a pleasure, Piotr", Wisdom smiled.

"Peter", Piotr nodded, "how are you, my friend?"

"As the old saying goes, another day, another hryvnia", Wisdom said with a chuckle.

"You seem to be doing all right", Piotr commented as he looked around the half-filled bar, at the menagerie of people sitting around tables, at the bar, and a group of young soldiers playing billiards in the corner.

"Can't complain too much, y'know", Peter shrugged.

"You know the good thing about living in a ****hole...", Peter looked at Piotr with a smirk.
"Makes you want to drink."

Wisdom's face suddenly turned somber as his eyes seemed to focus on something behind Piotr.

"Friends of yours?"

Piotr turned around just as three men in black suits approached them. Illyana calmly walked off to tend to other guests, but Wisdom didn't budge as they looked both he and Piotr up and down.

"Piotr Rasputin?"

"Depends...who the **** are you lot?"

The man in the lead gave a slight sneer to the Peter Wisdom and his confrontational attitude, but turned his attention back to Piotr as he pulled out his wallet.

"My name is Captain Dmitri Pushkin, OMON. We need you to come with us immediately."

"What's this all about?"

"None of your concern...citizen", Pushkin frowned at Wisdom, not hiding his annoyance to the Englishman.

"His question has merit"
, Piotr chimed.
"What does OMON want with me?"

"It's a classified matter of state security, Mr. Rasputin", Pushkin explained.

"It concerns your family"
, Pushkin continued after a brief hesitation, his gaze glancing over at Illyana for a split second before refocusing on Piotr.
"It concerns your brother..."

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Old 10-31-2012, 03:30 AM   #135
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"I'm going to say this one time," I say, touching down in the middle of a traffic intersection on the southern end of Park Ridge, squaring off against the man in a large battle-suit that had just blown open an armored car. "You're putting an awful lot of people in danger, and I don't take too kindly to that. Stop it now, and turn yourself in to the authorities, and that will be the end of it. Keep going, and I'll stop you myself."

The man in the battle-suit turns toward me, tossing aside a handful of twisted metal from the armored car.

"Superman," says the suit's pilot, his voice amplified and changed to a deep synthesized bass by the suit's speakers. "I was really hoping you'd show up. I've been lookin' forward to this little showdown."

He points his arms towards me, which open up to reveal a pair of heavy-duty rotary cannons.

"The name's Firepower," he says as the cannon's barrels start to spin up, "An' you're about to find out why."

"Suit yourself, pal," I say, cracking my knuckles.

Honestly, I've never really been much of a fighter. As much power as I've been given, I'd like to think there are better ways to use it than just throwing punches and breaking things. And while I have on occasion gone on the attack, especially when unearthing LexCorp's various human-testing facilities, I generally make it a rule to work things out peacefully rather than with violence.

When someone shows up with enough weaponry to flatten half of the county and starts shooting up a city block, though, you have to skip negotiating and focus on stopping him before he can hurt anyone else.

"Firepower" opens fire with his twin rotary cannons, letting loose with a barrage of white-hot shells. My senses slow time to a crawl, and the cannon's rounds inch their way towards me, the air rippling in their wake.

It's something of a tricky decision for me to decide whether or not I should move out of the way. On the one hand, those look like APDS rounds, armor-piercing shells, the kind that would probably hurt an awful lot if I stood there and took it at 100 rounds per second.

On the other hand, I can see beams of laser light emitting from the suit's eye-pieces, indicating a tracking system. I can outrun it, yes, but the more he misses, the more this maniac will end up tearing up the streets and buildings around us, possibly killing a lot of the innocent bystanders that are currently scrambling for cover.

Unfortunately, there really isn't any way to avoid collateral damage with this opening volley. So I dig in my heels and just hope that the shrapnel and ricochets don't do as much damage as him wildly firing without a target to hit.....

........and I'm right.

It does hurt an awful lot.

The tank-killer rounds slam into my chest, thighs, and face, peppering me with hundreds of angry darts that could reduce state-of-the-art armor into shredded slag. All around me, I see cars ripped apart by the torrent of heavy ammunition, before the area is enveloped by smoke and dust.

After a few seconds of sustained fire, Firepower relents, either because he thinks that he's finished me off or because the barrels of his guns are overheating. Either way, it's a chance to catch my breath....

....and with that breath, I spew out a powerful gust of wind that blows away the dust and smoke, and shows him that I'm still standing. A few tears on my cape and costume, and a welt or two to show for it, but that's the worst of it.

"That's enough of that," I say, focusing my vision on the barrels of his guns. An intense heat builds up inside my eyes and I let it loose, focusing that heat into a pair of X-Ray Lasers that cut through the steel of his gun barrels like warm butter.

"Wha--that's....that's not supposed to happen!" Firepower says, taking a step back as he sees his guns melt away.

Before he can cut and run, I blitz him, rushing towards the armored suit faster than his targeting laser can register and grabbing him, taking to the air to get us away from the city, away from more collateral damage.

"I'm not really interested in what was supposed to happen," I say as I pull Firepower into the sky. "But I'll tell you what's going to happen: I'm going to put a stop to whatever it is you think you're doing, and--"

I don't get another word out before my muscles start convulsing as a massive surge of electricity runs through me-- Firepower's defense mechanism against getting grabbed, I can only guess.

I start to fall, only to be jerked to a stop when the criminal grabs me by the cape, now hovering in the air via some kind of repulsor jets in his suit's feet.

"Oh, man, that was too easy," he laughs. "Did ya really think those cannons were my best shot?"

Firepower hurls me into the air, and I tumble end-over-end through the sky, before the world around me explodes in bursts of deafening sound, blinding flashes of light, and stabbing waves of pain.

Volley after volley of air-to-air missiles slam into me, leaving a black and orange scar of smoke and fire in the sky as Firepower laughs.

"I can take on a whole army in this baby, Superman," he says. "What chance do you have, one overgrown Boy Scout in tights?"

As I shrug off the pain enough to regain my bearings, I figure out which way is up and blast into the air, leaving a dull POP in my wake as I shatter the sound barrier. Firepower sends another volley of missiles towards me, but I leave them in the dust.

Once I've got enough distance, I pull backwards into a tight loop, arcing steeply as I start speeding back down. The missiles close in on my location, but this time I see them coming......and when you can project beams of incredibly intense heat from your eyes, seeing a missile coming is all you need to intercept them.

The missiles explode in front of me before I speed through them, using the smoke and fire as brief cover before charging down towards Firepower and slamming into him head-on at supersonic speed.

Bits and pieces of Firepower's suit go flying in all directions. I hold onto the main bulk of the suit where the pilot is sitting, but his guns, his limbs, and several plates of armor scatter--most of it into the West River, thankfully, but a few that fall back down towards the city streets.

Even several hundred feet in the air, the sound and shock wave from the impact is enough to break windows and set off car alarms in the streets below.

I focus my vision to see through the layers and layers of titanium, ceramic, and thick plate armor, to see the man inside the suit. The pilot's harness is sturdy enough and the armor thick enough that the impact doesn't kill or permanently hurt him. Still, he's going to be in no condition to keep fighting.

I decrease speed, and if the massive jarring impact from my blow didn't knock 'Firepower' out, the sudden deceleration certainly did.

"Actually," I say, planting a foot on Firepower's fuselage before ripping open the chest plate to expose the unconscious pilot inside, "you'd be surprised what one overgrown Boy Scout in tights can do."

Already, I see firefighters and ambulances converging on the area, as well as a rather large detachment of police cars. I look to the twisted wreckage of the armored car that started this whole mess, and frown.

Firepower's suit must have cost billions of dollars to make. You don't spend billions of dollars on something just so you can rob banks. The armored car hold-up was just a front, something to make noise and cause a scene, to get my attention. This wasn't a robbery; it was a call-out.

The question is: why? How would this guy benefit from challenging me to a fist-fight? And if he isn't the one behind it, then who is? Luthor, maybe, but this doesn't really seem like Lex's style.

Whatever the reason, I don't like it. I want to get some answers from this guy, when he wakes up.

Members of Metropolis SCU swarm on the area, bringing in a large armored van to contain Firepower's suit and a pair of hydraulic Jaws of Life to pry out the pilot.

"Sorry about the mess, guys," I say, looking back at Firepower with a little bit of regret. There had to have been a way to stop him without him ripping up half a city block. "I'll try to keep it a little neater from now on. But as far as I can tell, nobody was hurt, so I'll take it. Anyway, he's all yours now."

Before anyone can ask any questions--or bring up the fact that there's also a warrant for my arrest after the incident in Little Bohemia-- I take to the air and fly away.

As much as I want answers to why Firepower was out here, I have a feeling I'll have an easier time getting those answers as an investigative journalist than I would as a wanted vigilante.

And on that subject, I'm coming up on the deadline for my story on the Bakerline disappearances. I've got until the end of the afternoon to get that on Mr. Taylor's desk, or I'm in for a whole other world of hurt today.


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Old 10-31-2012, 10:39 PM   #136
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Previously


Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
Charles was on a rooftop overlooking the city. Below him was a park and the rest of the team, scattered and hidden through the area. Charles turned to look at one of the park entrances as he felt a tingling through his mind.

~Team, be on the lookout. I'm sensing two people coming into the area. Their minds are suspicious and on high alert.~

Charles spotted two figures walked through the dark. They passed by a park bench and lamp. The light threw them into focus and Charles instantly recognized the old man and his large bodyguard.

~That's them. Move in now!~

On cue, the five X-Men sprung from their hiding spots and quickly encircled themselves around Adler and his protector.

"What is this?!" Adler asked in a thick German accent. "Who are you?"

"We're bringing you in," Scott said, his hand resting on the trigger on his visor.

"Yeah! After all, the only good Nazi is a dead Nazi... or is does that saying apply to lawyers? I can never remember."

"I do not think you will be arresting me today, my young friends."

Adler turned to his bodyguard. The large man nodded and flashed a smile. Every tooth in his head was pointed and razor sharp.

"Children, children, children," he said, clicking his tongue. "You have no idea how utterly and completely ****ed you are."

Removing his jacket, the man began to jerk and spasm. His body changed shape before them, his bones and waist twisting and contorting as he slowly began to get short and round. With a loud yell, two extra arms shot from his body.

"You are mutants, yes?" Adler asked over the din. He gave a curious glance towards Hank and Rex before continuing. "This is what this is about? Well, let me tell you something. Mutants are not better than humans, they are not worst. They are to humanity what guns and wrenches are. They are tools for humanity to use. A means to an end. A great man taught me that lesson many years ago. And today, you will learn that lesson. Isn't that right?"

Beside Adler, his bodyguard stood. Drool dripped from his mouth as he eyed the five young X-Men with glee.




"Alright, my babies, who's ready for some sugar?"



Growling, the large mutant lashed out with his long tongue and jerked Cyclops' visor from his face. Recoling from the sudden attack, Scott shot a weak blast at his tongue and knocked the visor free from the mutant's grasp.

"Take him," Scott shouted, running after his fallen eyepiece.

Jefferson responded to the call, firing an arc of electricity from his palms and striking the mutant with lightning. Jerking, the bulbous man shook it off and laughed, striking Black Lightning with his tongue.

"C'mon, baby, little electricity ain't nothing for the Sugar Man."

"How about steel, ********?!" Metamorpho asked, slamming a steel-covered fist into his jaw. Sugar Man was knocked backwards off his feet and to the ground. To add insult to injury, Beast pounced on him and attempted to pin the rotund Sugar Man to the ground.

While the X-Men gathered around the Sugar Man, his cohort took the temporary distraction as a window of opportunity. Adler, stepping away, ran out of the park towards a nearby street. While his young charges were focused on other things, Charles hurried off the roof and attempted to give chase. Coming out through the park, he saw the elderly Nazi disappearing around the corner down the street.

~For a man that's over 120 years old, you're awfully spry,~
Charles said psychically to Adler.

Hurrying down the busy street, Charles turned the corner in pursuit of Adler and walked into an ambush. A cane flew by his head and struck the side of a building. Adler, his face drawn into a snarl, held the cane firmly in his hands.

"I will not be captured!" Adler screamed. Charles ducked another blow from the cane and reached out into Adler's mind.

~Sleep,~ he commanded.

With a harsh laugh, Adler smacked the end of his stick into Charles' chest.

"Your tricks will not work on me, mutant! I have had the best training around."

He swung again. This time, Charles caught the cane in his palm and reached out. His fingertips touched Adler's forehead and he pushed with forward with as much psychic energy as he could muster. Adler twitched and strained, his nose beginning to drip blood. Charles had the taste of copper in the back of his mouth, his ears ringing as he shattered Adler's mind block and went into the old man's mind...



*****




Auschwitz Concentration Camp
January 27, 1945


The scene in the office was that of panic. High-ranking SS officers, still wearing their prim and proper black "Death's Head" uniforms, hurried through the offices. The few important files they hurriedly shoved into cases and boxes. Everything else, they were hauling out to burn. Time was of the essence. The Red Army had been spotted just fifty miles away. They would be here within hours.

While the rest of the SS fled like rats jumping from a sinking ship, two men were inside the science labs. The sterile and pedestrian gray that painted the walls and floors betrayed the true nature of the laboratory. It was here that the three men in charge of Auschwitz' science division had carried out some of the most brutal and ghastly acts in the whole Second World War. Their atrocities were the worst of a war filled with atrocities. The partner of the two men, Doctor Mengele, had fled with half the SS division earlier this morning. While Mengele fled back to the Fatherland's arms, the two men argued and debated their final fates.

"We have to go," Doctor Burkhard Adler said in German. His expensive suit in 2012 had been traded for a shabby one in the color of olive drab. Other than the wardrobe change, he looked the same as he would sixty-seven years from now. "The Soviets are savages, Schultz. To stay here will mean a fate worse than death."

"Ha," Schultz scoffed in German at Adler's side. "At this point, Burkhard, I long for a fate like that."

The large man stepped away from Adler and paced through the lab. His hands were behind his back as he surveyed the pristine tools and equipment that hung on the walls.

"The data we have collected is too important to fall into the hands of fools like Hitler and Goering. To them, it will just be another list of people to kill. They talk of a thousand year Reich, yet they are so blinded by the here and now that they cannot truly fathom what it truly means to last for a thousand years."

Sighing, Schultz reached into a table and pulled out a thick, leather-bound book. "They will condemn the Nazis, as they should, but this. Our research, will be the lone bright spot in their insanity. We have committed unforgivable evil here, Burkhard, do not attempt to say that it was not. But it was necessary. This journal, this is our testament. We have witnessed the birth of a new species firsthand. Every cut, every dissection, every organ removal and every jolt of electricity was needed. This data, this is proof that the fascists will not win. Their time is over, Burkhard, now is our time. Now is the time for me to ride their backs to my destiny. You go with the Nazis if you wish. As for me? I know a lost cause when I see one. I haven't made it this far without recognizing when to cut my losses. The question is, are you with me or not?"

Before Adler could speak, a sharp whistling noise filled the area. An artillery shell struck the roof of the building, knockingAdler off his feet. He smacked the back of his head against a counter and blacked out.



*****



Charles' eyes snapped open. His forehead was beaded with sweat. He wiped it with the back of his hand and looked around. Bystanders were gaping at him. Adler was on the ground, unconscious and twitching. He reached out into the minds of the bystanders and froze them in place. Hoisting the old man over his shoulder, he started back the way he had came before he unfroze the pedestrians and set up a link with his students.

~Xavier here. I have Adler. How goes the fight?~


~We need help,~ Jefferson said through his head. ~This dude don't play-- AHHH!~

~I'm on my way,~ Charles said, quickening his pace and hurry down the street as fast as he could.

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Old 11-01-2012, 11:32 PM   #137
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THE DEVIL'S DUE

Part 4

Peter sat at his desk in his office inside his apartment. Gwen was at work at the Bugle, so Peter decided to spend some of the spare time he had before going into OsCorp digging up any info he could on Lonnie Lincoln.

The man was massive, and a sight to behold, being an albino. Tombstone, by which Lincoln was known in the criminal underground, was a suspected criminal ringleader, running a large operation based out of Hell's Kitchen, with suspected ties to Warren White.

There was a loud beep coming from elsewhere in the apartment, and it brought a smile to Peter's face, as it signified that the coffee had finished brewing.
Peter got up and headed into the kitchen to make himself a cup as the TV was still on in the living room and on the local news.

-package arrived just ten minutes ago at the Daily Bugle. Is is a grim omen for the masked vigilante, Spider-Man?-

"What the deuce?"

Peter suddenly lost interest in the coffee and moved into the living room, closer to the television.
The news anchor was talking while they played video of a section of the Bugle's news room as the place seemed in a mad rush, but it focused on a single object.

-As you can see, it was a large granite tombstone that arrived by courier not long ago. The name carved into is 'Spider-Man', and, as we zoom in closer, you can make out that the date of death is marked as today's date, with a time of eleven PM carved next to it.-

-Now, we still don't fully understand all the details of this, but does this mean the end of Spider-Man, and his short-lived career as a would-be hero?-


"Invitation excepted", Peter said aloud as he turned off the television and went and gathered his costume and gear.
"And here I was thinking that tonight was going to be boring..."


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


The Daily Bugle is a mad house. Jameson is walking the floor, barking orders. The next major story just fell into their laps, and he'll be damned if he lets this opportunity slip through their fingers.

As people scurry about, Basil Karlo stands silent and still in front of the tombstone, staring intently at in, as though trying to figure out it's hidden message.

A smirk creeps across his face and Basil walks off, making his way to Gwen.

"It's the club."


"What?"

"Spider-Man fought his way out of Lincoln's club the other night. For obvious reasons, that probably pissed him right off. This tombstone is Lincoln calling Spider-Man out, saying he's gonna bury the bug."

"And it's gonna happen at the club, tonight at eleven."


"How do you know it's the club?"

Basil shrugged, "Where else could it be? It makes sense, as Lincoln pretty much lives there, and Spider-Man knows about the place. He's calling Spider-Man out for a showdown that I guarantee you is at the club."

Gwen thought it over a moment then nodded her head in agreement.
"Okay, Basil. I just got off the phone with Peter, and he's got to work late tonight anyway. So, let me grab my camera and then we can get going."


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

Hell's Kitchen
11:05 PM


"Eat Cow!"

Spider-Man's fist smashed into the man's face, splitting his nose along with sunglasses, and causing him to drop the pistol in his hand.

Spider-Man hadn't bothered to sneak into the club this time. No, with a web-swinging kick, he had taken out the bouncer outside, and Peter had simply walked through the front door.
The patrons had scattered already, leaving Spider-Man along against a seeming throng of armed enforcers.

Spidey had already taken down six, and this one made seven. But, while he continuously seemed to be dodging bullets, Spider-Man counted at least a dozen more.

He wasn't threatened by these odds; with his enhanced agility and reflexes, coupled with his spider-sense, Peter could avoid most of what they threw at him.
No, Peter realized this for what it was: a distraction. A ploy meant to push his powers, showing the man that's somewhere behind the scenes what the little-known Spider-Man is capable of before confronting him.

Smart, I'll give him that, Peter thought as he flipped over two thugs, smashing their heads into one another.
But I don't have time for games...

Using his webbing, Spider-Man ensnared the remaining mobsters.

"Game over", Peter said as he fired a blast of webbing, covering the last thug's mouth to shut him up.
"Spider-Man, one! Psychopathic retards, zero!"

Peter's spider-sense suddenly went off and he spun around to see a mountainous figure striding towards him over the unconscious bodies of his fallen soldiers.

"Don't be too quick to declare a win, Spider-Man."



"This bout's just gettin' started."


"You got that right, pal!"

Spider-Man fires a quick webline at the ceiling and launches himself at Lincoln, heels leading the way as they collide with Lincoln's chest...only for Spider-Man to bounce off with barely managing to move his foe back even a foot.

"Jesus Christ", Peter exclaimed as he hopped backwards, rubbing his sore feet.
"What the hell are you made out of, granite!? Now I know why they call you Tombstone."

"Not yet you don't", Tombstone sneered as he waded in, "but I'll show you."

Tombstone grabbed at Spider-Man, but missed him as the Webslinger rolled between Tombstone's legs.

"Too slow, Powder!"

As Spidey rolled safely behind the man, he went for a mule kick, but, much to his surprise, Tombstone had spun around already and blocked the attack. With inhuman quickness, Tombstone grabbed one of Spider-Man's ankles in his giant mitt of a hand.

Tombstone spun Peter around, and tossed him away like a competitor in the hammer throw, sending Spider-Man smashing through the wall of the club and tumbling amid the rubble out onto the street.

"Jeez...", Peter shook his head and slowly got to his feet, "anybody get the number of that short bus?"

"Still with the remarks", Tombstone stated as he casually stepped through the hole in the wall and out onto the street. The villain took off his coat and rolled up his shirt sleeves as he advanced, getting ready to take off the kid's gloves and finish this.

"Let's see how clever you are when I rip your ****ing tongue out."

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Old 11-02-2012, 11:03 PM   #138
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17th Precinct
Midtown, Manhattan
7:12 PM


Dick strolled through the 17th's main office space, walking pass cubicles belonging to various detectives and other office workers. With a smirk, he knocked on the cubicle with a larger paper shamrock hanging on it, the name Cassidy on the name plate beside the shamrock.

"Sean?" Dick asked, peeking his head into the cubicle's entrance.

Sitting behind a desk, sipping from a large mug of coffee, was Detective Sean Cassidy. "Come on in, boyo," Cassidy said in his Irish brogue. "Have a seat, proper yer feet up. Whatever makes ya feel at home."

Dick sat down across the desk from Cassidy and looked around. His work space was filled with pictures postcards of his Irish homeland. Juxtaposed with the scenic landscapes of the Irish countryside, were black and white crime scene photos, a map with a detailed layout of the Manhattan drug territories, and even a few shots of dead bodies in the morgue. All in all, it made for an unusual office.

"So, what's a rolly like yerself doing here in the bullpen? Not out there beating shoe leather. Ya ain't turning into a hump, now are ya?"

"Marcus and I came in at seven. Shift's over for me."

"Ah, another blessed day under the care of St. Michael. So, what can I do for ya, Dick?"

"Trying to get up to date on the Manhattan drug game. I don't want to run in some guy I think is a two-bit hustler, but he turns out to be a lieutenant in whatever gang now controls the rackets out there. Figure you Narco boys wouldn't be too pleased if they slipped through the system without you getting your hands on them."

"That, my son, is what makes ya natural police. Better than half the gammy tools that walk the beats out there. Buncha humps, ya ask me. So, what exactly do ya want to know?"

"Probably just who controls the rackets in and around the 17th. Here in Midtown, Hell's Kitchen, even over on the Diamond District."

"That chunk of real estate belongs to one man. Name of Lonnie Lincoln. He runs most of the crime that's in that area. No idea who he works for, or, truth be told, how much he's got his fingers in."

"And he's clean? Nothing to tie him to the stuff he does?"

"He runs a club outta the Kitchen. Figure most of his dirty dealings go on there, but the trouble lies in getting a warrant on it. Lincoln has his rotten hands in the pockets of the judges who cover this part of town. Wire tapes, video surveillance, even a bleedin' search warrant won't get approved. Not enough probable cause he says. He's a right bastard, ya tell me."

"So, Lincoln is the man who seems to do most of the Kitchen's dirty dealings... interesting."

"Ain't it just," Cassidy said with a grumble. "Anything else I can help ya with, o' liege of mine?"

"Nope, I'm good. Thanks for the heads up, Sean. I'll put this info to good use."

"Ya better."

Nodding, Dick stood and quickly made his way out of the offices towards the precincts front door.



*****



Hell's Kitchen
10:54 PM

Dressed in his Daredevil outfit and free falling, Dick pointed one of his sticks up into the air and shot a grapnel line from it, it caught and swung him upwards at a breakneck speed. detaching the line, he tumbled towards the ground before shooting another grapnel line to swing him over the cars and buildings below.Smiling, Dick swung around a building corner and somersaulted over a small building's rooftop in one fluid motion.

Gliding soundlessly over Hell's Kitchen, Dick made a beeline for the club Cassidy said Lincoln did most of his business out of. While the cops had no probable cause to show up, a masked man causing a scene would most certainly give them enough probable cause to arrive on scene and go into the club.



LL Nightclub
Hell's Kitchen
11:10 PM





The skylight shattered as Daredevil fell from above. He landed in the middle of the club, glass shards falling all around him.

"Look out, 'cause here comes Daredevil, the man without f--," he stopped as he saw the ongoing carnage happening all around him. "Poo."

An armed thug took the chance to take him off, cocking his gun and firing at Dick. He somersaulted backwards, dodging the bullet. He took the stick in his right hand and tossed it at the thug, disarming him in one swift move. He jumped to the side as the other masked man flew past him and through the wall.

"Look, I understand I made this club one over the masked man limit -- a totally gauche move on my part-- but there's no need to get violent."

Rushing forward, Daredevil drop-kicked the thug to the ground and knocked him out cold with a kick to the throat. Grabbing his stick and quickly standing up, he saw the trail of unconscious bodies that led outside where the large man he assumed was Lincoln was standing. Running forward, Dick jumped on Lincoln's back and wrapped his stick around his throat.

"Giddy up!"

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Old 11-03-2012, 08:50 AM   #139
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Growling, the large mutant lashed out with his long tongue and jerked Cyclops' visor from his face. Recoiling from the sudden attack, Scott shot a weak blast at his tongue and knocked the visor free from the mutant's grasp.

"Take him," Scott shouted, running after his fallen eyepiece.

Jefferson responded to the call, firing an arc of electricity from his palms and striking the mutant with lightning. Jerking, the bulbous man shook it off and laughed, striking Black Lightning with his tongue.

"C'mon, baby, little electricity ain't nothing for the Sugar Man."

"How about steel, ********?!" Metamorpho asked, slamming a steel-covered fist into his jaw. Sugar Man was knocked backwards off his feet and to the ground. To add insult to injury, Beast pounced on him and attempted to pin the rotund Sugar Man to the ground.

While the X-Men gathered around the Sugar Man, his cohort took the temporary distraction as a window of opportunity. Adler, stepping away, ran out of the park towards a nearby street. While his young charges were focused on other things, Charles hurried off the roof and attempted to give chase. Coming out through the park, he saw the elderly Nazi disappearing around the corner down the street.

~For a man that's over 120 years old, you're awfully spry,~
Charles said psychically to Adler.

Hurrying down the busy street, Charles turned the corner in pursuit of Adler and walked into an ambush. A cane flew by his head and struck the side of a building. Adler, his face drawn into a snarl, held the cane firmly in his hands.

"I will not be captured!" Adler screamed. Charles ducked another blow from the cane and reached out into Adler's mind.

~Sleep,~ he commanded.

With a harsh laugh, Adler smacked the end of his stick into Charles' chest.

"Your tricks will not work on me, mutant! I have had the best training around."

He swung again. This time, Charles caught the cane in his palm and reached out. His fingertips touched Adler's forehead and he pushed with forward with as much psychic energy as he could muster. Adler twitched and strained, his nose beginning to drip blood. Charles had the taste of copper in the back of his mouth, his ears ringing as he shattered Adler's mind block and went into the old man's mind...



*****



Charles' eyes snapped open. His forehead was beaded with sweat. He wiped it with the back of his hand and looked around. Bystanders were gaping at him. Adler was on the ground, unconscious and twitching. He reached out into the minds of the bystanders and froze them in place. Hoisting the old man over his shoulder, he started back the way he had came before he unfroze the pedestrians and set up a link with his students.

~Xavier here. I have Adler. How goes the fight?~


~We need help,~ Jefferson said through his head. ~This dude don't play-- AHHH!~

~I'm on my way,~ Charles said, quickening his pace and hurry down the street as fast as he could.




Charles arrived back in the park, Adler's unconscious body slung over his shoulder. The scene before him was one of disorder. Black Lightning was down, unconscious on the ground. The Sugar Man was rampaging through the park, Hank and Rex clinging to his shoulders. He snapped his razor-sharp teeth at Jean, missing her hand by mere inches. Scowling, she sent out a telekinetic wave that blasted Sugar Man, and the two X-Men back off their feet.

"Hit the deck!" Cyclops yelled. Hank and Rex fell to the ground while Jean shot Sugar Man further into the air. Scott drew a bead on his bulbous body and hit him with a powerful optic blast. He slammed into the ground, his mutated body smoking and singed.

"That all you got?" Sugar Man asked as he stood up on shaky legs. Scott rushed forward, letting loose with another blast. This time, Sugar Man opened his mouth wide and absorbed the energy with his mouth. Swallowing it, he burped loudly and laughed. "Thanks for the pick me up, sweetheart. Time to return the favor!"

Belching again, he shot Cyclops' optic blast back at him. Scott rolled to his right, dodging the energy blast. The energy struck a nearby shrub, blasting it into pieces.

"Professor," Beast said, leaping over his teacher and springing towards Sugar Man. "Anytime you wish to make your psychic presence known, it would be very appreciated."

"I will try, but I am afraid my encounter with Adler has drained me."

"So we're on our own?" Asked Metamorpho as he passed.

"I will be with you in spirit."

"Let's hope spirit is this guy's one weakness."

Rex and Hank took on Sugar Man head-on. Growling, Hank jumped and flipped through the air to avoid his nimble tongue. While he distracted the rotund mutant, Rex began to shift the make-up of his fists. His chalky white hands had turned the color of amber. Hank jumped over Sugar Man just as Rex ran up and slammed his fist into the mutant's face.

An explosion rocked the park. Both Metamorpho and Sugar Man were knocked backwards. Rex crashed into a tree while Sugar Man landed on a playground, his body rolling and crashing into a swing set. Rex looked at his hands. Smoked curled off his swollen and charred knuckles.

"Nitroglycerin... works like a charm."

On the other side of the park, Sugar Man was brushing aside the swig set and getting to his feet. As he stood, the swings around him began to levitate and twist. He tried to escape, but was snared by the enclosing swings. The chains wrapped around his body, constricting his four arms to his body. Sugar Man looked up and saw Jean walked towards him, her hands outstretched and commanding the swings in which he was now snared.

"You tried to bite my arm off. I have to admit, that made me a bit mad."

Behind her, Cyclops walked with Black Lightning propped against him, Beast behind them. Now conscious, Jefferson had electrical energy crackling in his free hand. The chains tightened around Sugar Man and sent him falling to the ground. The four X-Men stood over the struggling mutant and looked down.

"Soon as I get outta here, I'm gonna flay all of you alive! Best believe that, my lovelies!"

"Stay down," Scott said, his visor glowing. "This will only take a minute..."

~Sleep,~ a voice commanded inside Sugar Man's head. He was sound asleep and snoring within seconds.

"I know the term mutant is kind of an umbrella term and all that," Jefferson said, looking down."...but if that dude isn't the definition of a mutant, I don't know what the hell is..."

"He is most certainly a mutant," Charles said as he joined the others. Rex was beside him, carrying the unconscious Adler in his arms. "I saw it in Adler's mind. Sugar Man was a young boy when Adler abducted him and took him under his wing. He warped his mind and his abilities, turning the boy into his own personal attack dog."

"Professor," Jean said, nodding towards the police cars that were beginning to gather at the park entrance.

"Yes, we have to go. Unfortunately, we must leave the Sugar Man behind. We're taking Adler, though."

"Of course. Why wouldn't the cops let a bunch of freaky looking mutants carry a dude who looks like the Crypt Keeper out of a crime scene?"

"That can't stop what they can't see."
Smirking, Charles tapped his temple. "Your lesson for the day: Did you know that the eye's blind spot is one of many things that can be mentally manipulated?"

Stepped forward with his hand on his temple, Charles led his students and the unconscious war criminal out of the park, walking by police officers and pedestrians that obliviously let them pass.

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Old 11-03-2012, 05:12 PM   #140
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THE DEVIL'S DUE

Part 5

"Huh, maybe Pale Face hit me harder than I thought", Parker questioned aloud a he watched the newcomer leap onto Tombstone's back.

"Oh well", Spider-Man said as he sprinted towards them, front flipping over a parked car and tearing off of the door before continuing on, "hallucination or not, can't pass up this kind of opening."

"Pardon me, Horn Head! Human-arachnid, comin' through!"


Spider-Man charged in with the car door leading the way, holding it like a shield. With all the strength he could muster, Peter tucked down and leaped upward with the door as Daredevil released his hold and flipped out of the way at the last second.
The door connected solidly to Tombstone's chin, sending the villain into the air and crashing down onto the concrete.

"There now...that wasn't so hard, was it"
, Spider-Man asked aloud as he tosses the car door aside after seeing that Tombstone isn't getting back up.

"Thanks for the assist...DD?"

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Old 11-03-2012, 06:57 PM   #141
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"There now...that wasn't so hard, was it"
, Spider-Man asked aloud as he tosses the car door aside after seeing that Tombstone isn't getting back up.

"Thanks for the assist...DD?"
"Dunkin' Donuts," he said with a wink. "What can I say? I'm very brand loyal."

Twirling his sticks, Dick looked to where Lincoln was slowly beginning to recover. "This guy won't stay down. What kind of car door did you hit him with? A Kia?"

"Ha! Shows what you know, it was one of those small electric cars!"

"Blue one?"

"Yeah..."

"With a pet grooming business' number on the side?"

"Good guess..."

"Not a guess. The world's angriest albino over there is getting ready to throw it."

Both Dick and the masked man turned and saw Lincoln, tossing the tiny car like a throwing hammer. Lincoln grunted and let go. The car slammed and rolled across the street, barreling towards the two vigilantes.

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Old 11-03-2012, 07:23 PM   #142
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"Dunkin' Donuts," he said with a wink. "What can I say? I'm very brand loyal."

Twirling his sticks, Dick looked to where Lincoln was slowly beginning to recover. "This guy won't stay down. What kind of car door did you hit him with? A Kia?"

"Ha! Shows what you know, it was one of those small electric cars!"

"Blue one?"

"Yeah..."

"With a pet grooming business' number on the side?"

"Good guess..."

"Not a guess. The world's angriest albino over there is getting ready to throw it."

Both Dick and the masked man turned and saw Lincoln, tossing the tiny car like a throwing hammer. Lincoln grunted and let go. The car slammed and rolled across the street, barreling towards the two vigilantes.
Spider-Man and Daredevil dove out of the way, avoiding the tumbling vehicle as it darted past them...right towards a small group of teens too close to the action.

Spider-Man immediately leaped into action, racing after the car and firing a multitude of weblines at it as he went. With a handful of weblines in each hand, Peter dug in his heels and pulled against the car's momentum.
The vehicle eventually stopped, coming down onto all four, albeit flat and mangled, tires merely a few meters in front of the kids.

"You kids get out of here! NOW!"

The boys ran off to safety as Spider-Man turned back towards Tombstone, who was bull-rushing Daredevil, and nearly on top of the hero...

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Old 11-03-2012, 07:56 PM   #143
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The Joker begins to stroll around his hideout as his 4 henchmen continue adding several of the decorations of his own choosing. Images of blood-shed, car accidents in very graphic detail, Charles Manson, and of course clowns...scaring small children.

He gives a nod here and there as the pictures are going up.

The Joker whistles loudly and all four stop and The Joker says, "Everyone come on over for a just minute."

The four men gather around him and The Joker say, "Boys you all have done a great job getting the place into shape so with that in mind I say you all have earned your night out on the town."

The Joker throw a sizable wad of cash in the air and says, "Have a ball on me guys!"

As the money floats downward he says, "Now now don't spend it all in one place, and don't stay out too late. We got some serious fun to get down to tomorrow! We're gonna liven up the dullest place on the planet! HA HA HA HA!"

The men grab handful of cash out of the air.

One of them asks, "What you doin' tonight boss?"

The Joker replies, "Oh a little of this a little of that maybe even hit our gym tonight. Go on fellas have a good one and stay out of trouble."

The men leave and The Joker stares out on the skyline of New York City.

He begins to sing, "Start Spreading the news...."

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Old 11-03-2012, 07:56 PM   #144
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Spider-Man and Daredevil dove out of the way, avoiding the tumbling vehicle as it darted past them...right towards a small group of teens too close to the action.

Spider-Man immediately leaped into action, racing after the car and firing a multitude of weblines at it as he went. With a handful of weblines in each hand, Peter dug in his heels and pulled against the car's momentum.
The vehicle eventually stopped, coming down onto all four, albeit flat and mangled, tires merely a few meters in front of the kids.

"You kids get out of here! NOW!"

The boys ran off to safety as Spider-Man turned back towards Tombstone, who was bull-rushing Daredevil, and nearly on top of the hero...
"Olé!" Daredevil shouted, flipping over Lincoln and punching him the back of the neck as he flipped. He landed perfectly behind the large crime boss, his stick spinning and striking Lincoln in the back of the legs.

"Toro, toro!" Dick shouted, hand-springing away as Lincoln swung at him with his large tree trunk of an arm. Daredevil avoided the blow, knocking Lincoln's arm away with his stick. "Is that the best you got?"

Growling, Lincoln thrust his head forward and headbutted Dick. A large crack went out as the criminal's hardened forehead shattered Dick's protective cowl. The blow sent him to the ground in a hurry, falling like a sack of potatoes.

"Obviously, that wasn't the best you got...,"
he wheezed from the ground.

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Old 11-04-2012, 01:35 AM   #145
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Previously



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Charles arrived back in the park, Adler's unconscious body slung over his shoulder. The scene before him was one of disorder. Black Lightning was down, unconscious on the ground. The Sugar Man was rampaging through the park, Hank and Rex clinging to his shoulders. He snapped his razor-sharp teeth at Jean, missing her hand by mere inches. Scowling, she sent out a telekinetic wave that blasted Sugar Man, and the two X-Men back off their feet.

"Hit the deck!" Cyclops yelled. Hank and Rex fell to the ground while Jean shot Sugar Man further into the air. Scott drew a bead on his bulbous body and hit him with a powerful optic blast. He slammed into the ground, his mutated body smoking and singed.

"That all you got?" Sugar Man asked as he stood up on shaky legs. Scott rushed forward, letting loose with another blast. This time, Sugar Man opened his mouth wide and absorbed the energy with his mouth. Swallowing it, he burped loudly and laughed. "Thanks for the pick me up, sweetheart. Time to return the favor!"

Belching again, he shot Cyclops' optic blast back at him. Scott rolled to his right, dodging the energy blast. The energy struck a nearby shrub, blasting it into pieces.

"Professor," Beast said, leaping over his teacher and springing towards Sugar Man. "Anytime you wish to make your psychic presence known, it would be very appreciated."

"I will try, but I am afraid my encounter with Adler has drained me."

"So we're on our own?" Asked Metamorpho as he passed.

"I will be with you in spirit."

"Let's hope spirit is this guy's one weakness."

Rex and Hank took on Sugar Man head-on. Growling, Hank jumped and flipped through the air to avoid his nimble tongue. While he distracted the rotund mutant, Rex began to shift the make-up of his fists. His chalky white hands had turned the color of amber. Hank jumped over Sugar Man just as Rex ran up and slammed his fist into the mutant's face.

An explosion rocked the park. Both Metamorpho and Sugar Man were knocked backwards. Rex crashed into a tree while Sugar Man landed on a playground, his body rolling and crashing into a swing set. Rex looked at his hands. Smoked curled off his swollen and charred knuckles.

"Nitroglycerin... works like a charm."

On the other side of the park, Sugar Man was brushing aside the swig set and getting to his feet. As he stood, the swings around him began to levitate and twist. He tried to escape, but was snared by the enclosing swings. The chains wrapped around his body, constricting his four arms to his body. Sugar Man looked up and saw Jean walked towards him, her hands outstretched and commanding the swings in which he was now snared.

"You tried to bite my arm off. I have to admit, that made me a bit mad."

Behind her, Cyclops walked with Black Lightning propped against him, Beast behind them. Now conscious, Jefferson had electrical energy crackling in his free hand. The chains tightened around Sugar Man and sent him falling to the ground. The four X-Men stood over the struggling mutant and looked down.

"Soon as I get outta here, I'm gonna flay all of you alive! Best believe that, my lovelies!"

"Stay down," Scott said, his visor glowing. "This will only take a minute..."

~Sleep,~ a voice commanded inside Sugar Man's head. He was sound asleep and snoring within seconds.

"I know the term mutant is kind of an umbrella term and all that," Jefferson said, looking down."...but if that dude isn't the definition of a mutant, I don't know what the hell is..."

"He is most certainly a mutant," Charles said as he joined the others. Rex was beside him, carrying the unconscious Adler in his arms. "I saw it in Adler's mind. Sugar Man was a young boy when Adler abducted him and took him under his wing. He warped his mind and his abilities, turning the boy into his own personal attack dog."

"Professor," Jean said, nodding towards the police cars that were beginning to gather at the park entrance.

"Yes, we have to go. Unfortunately, we must leave the Sugar Man behind. We're taking Adler, though."

"Of course. Why wouldn't the cops let a bunch of freaky looking mutants carry a dude who looks like the Crypt Keeper out of a crime scene?"

"That can't stop what they can't see."
Smirking, Charles tapped his temple. "Your lesson for the day: Did you know that the eye's blind spot is one of many things that can be mentally manipulated?"

Stepped forward with his hand on his temple, Charles led his students and the unconscious war criminal out of the park, walking by police officers and pedestrians that obliviously let them pass.


Adler's eyes fluttered open. He started to slowly regain consciousness, taking in his surroundings. The old man saw that he was in the inside of some aircraft. The five young mutants that had fought with Sugar Man were sitting in seats in front of him, the blue one piloting the craft. He tried to move, only find his arms and legs were restrained to the chair he was sitting in.

"Good morning," a voice said to Adler's right. He turned and saw the younger man that had knocked him unconscious to start with. "I trust your rest wasn't pleasant. Or at least I hope it wasn't."

"Who are you?" He asked weakly. "Where am I?"

"You're in an aircraft above the Atlantic Ocean. As for who I am? Let's just say I'm a concerned citizen."

"A concerned citizen that would kidnap an old man?"

"An old man who just so happens to be a war criminal, an old man who cut and experimented on defenseless people. An old man who is very old, but hasn't aged a day in nearly seventy years..."

"If you are expecting me to talk, then you severely underestimate my threshold for questioning."

"I don't need to question you. No, you see, your mind is an open book to me. Speaking of open books."

Smiling, the man held up an old notebook with German writing on the cover. "Your personal journal from your time at Auschwitz. The notes you kept on the research you and your fellow monsters did to all those people. After looking into your mind and reading some of your entries, I believe I was mistaken. You see, I was under the impression that you were the man behind the experiments on mutants. I was wrong. It was all Schultz. He was your boss. He was the one that had friends in the Fuhrer's inner circle. He used those contacts to set up the project in Auschwitz. And it is he, not you, that is a mutant. Am I right?"
Adler began to talk, but he was cut off.

"It's all true. Schultz is the one who does not age. Somehow, Schultz was able to create a serum that aped his own mutant abilities. It's all in you journal, do not deny it. That's how you've been able to live this long."

"Well if you know all of this," Adler hissed. "Why ask me anything? Or do you wish to just revel in the glory of defeating an old man?"

"I want to know about Schultz and where he is. As insightful as your journal has been, he is the one who would know even more about the early stages of the mutant phenomenon."

"You think I know where Schultz is?" Adler let out a hollow laugh and shook his head. "I have not seen Schultz since Auschwitz was evacuated. We went down different paths, I have only heard rumors in the decades since the war."

"What have you heard?"

"You can read me like an open book, mutant? Read away."

"I can do more than read minds. I can mentally control the brain. While you may not be able to die, you are most certainly capable of feeling pain. Would you like me to stimulate every never ending in your body with white-hot fire?"

"If you would torture me for just innuendo, then you are more desperate than even you realize. All I have is one word: Savage. In sixty-seven years of searching, that is all I have to show for it."

"Thank you, Herr Docktor."

The man stood up and lingered over Adler. Adler took deep breaths and waited for what he assumed would come next.

"Do it," he said. "Do your worse."

"Oh, violence would be too easy for you. I have something else in mind...."



*****



Tel Aviv, Israel


Adler began to slowly regain consciousness. He wasn't sure when he had passed out, but he felt like he had slept a long time. Adler looked around. He was in a dark room with a collection of angry looking men and women surrounding him, all of them with guns. All of the guns pointed at him.

"Doctor Adler," a man in a suit said, his pistol trained on Adler's body. "I am Agent Ben-Shara of the Mossad. Welcome to Israel."

Unsure of what to do, Adler slowly raised his hands and surrendered to the authorities that had him at gun-point.

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Old 11-04-2012, 01:24 PM   #146
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"Olé!" Daredevil shouted, flipping over Lincoln and punching him the back of the neck as he flipped. He landed perfectly behind the large crime boss, his stick spinning and striking Lincoln in the back of the legs.

"Toro, toro!" Dick shouted, hand-springing away as Lincoln swung at him with his large tree trunk of an arm. Daredevil avoided the blow, knocking Lincoln's arm away with his stick. "Is that the best you got?"

Growling, Lincoln thrust his head forward and headbutted Dick. A large crack went out as the criminal's hardened forehead shattered Dick's protective cowl. The blow sent him to the ground in a hurry, falling like a sack of potatoes.

"Obviously, that wasn't the best you got...,"
he wheezed from the ground.
Tombstone laced his hands together and raised them above his head with the intent to smash Daredevil into the pavement. But a line of webbing shot in from behind him, connecting with Lincoln's hands.

"Hey now, Snowflake, let's play nice, m'kay?"

Spider-Man yanked the webline, stopping Tombstone's attack and sending him crashing down onto his back as Daredevil got to his feet.

"How are you holdin' up there, Dunkin' D", Spider-Man asked as he swung up to Daredevil.

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Old 11-04-2012, 03:43 PM   #147
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Spider-Man yanked the webline, stopping Tombstone's attack and sending him crashing down onto his back as Daredevil got to his feet.

"How are you holdin' up there, Dunkin' D", Spider-Man asked as he swung up to Daredevil.
"Well, my skull's still intact," Daredevil said, feeling the crack in his mask. "Suppose that counts for something."

Standing, he slid another escrima stick from its side holster. The sound of a siren, faraway and distant, was in the air. "Oh, snap. Here come the popo. But before they show up to take all the fun, how about we try and figure out a way to knock Gravelface over there out for the count?"

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Old 11-04-2012, 05:00 PM   #148
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"Well, my skull's still intact," Daredevil said, feeling the crack in his mask. "Suppose that counts for something."

Standing, he slid another escrima stick from its side holster. The sound of a siren, faraway and distant, was in the air. "Oh, snap. Here come the popo. But before they show up to take all the fun, how about we try and figure out a way to knock Gravelface over there out for the count?"
"Sounds like a plan to-", Spider-Man is cut off by his spider-sense blaring in his head.

"Incoming!"

Spider-Man dives, grabbing Daredevil, and rolling just as a metal newspaper stand smashes down where they were once standing.

Peter and Daredevil stand up to see an enraged and snarling Tombstone stalking in.

"Sorry to interrupt the first date", Lincoln says as he wipes some blood off of his chin with the back of his hand, "but I ain't done beating your asses."

"Really? Because from this end looks like you're the one who's gotten his ass kicked."

"That's the part you have a problem with?"

"What? You don't think I'm datable?"


"Whoa! Hold that thought", Peter says as his spider-sense goes off as Tombstone charges him.
Spider-Man flip up over Lincoln, his right knee connecting with the villain's nose as he passes.

Spidey lands on his feet and spins around, unloading a flow of webbing that begins to contain Tombstone. But the villain is struggling against it, spitting obscenities while trying to tear himself free.

"Little help, if you please?"

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Old 11-04-2012, 05:17 PM   #149
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"Whoa! Hold that thought", Peter says as his spider-sense goes off as Tombstone charges him.
Spider-Man flip up over Lincoln, his right knee connecting with the villain's nose as he passes.

Spidey lands on his feet and spins around, unloading a flow of webbing that begins to contain Tombstone. But the villain is struggling against it, spitting obscenities while trying to tear himself free.

"Little help, if you please?"
"On my way!"

Running towards Tombstone's back, Dick jumped into the air did a perfect handspring, twirling in the air towards the crime boss. He jumped over Lincoln's head, grabbing onto his neck as he passed. Dick used his momentum to drive Lincoln down to the ground face first.

"DDT stunner!" He shouted as Lincoln's face smashed into the ground. Dick sprung back up, right beside Spider-Man and ready to fight. "And that's the bottom line."

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Old 11-04-2012, 05:45 PM   #150
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"On my way!"

Running towards Tombstone's back, Dick jumped into the air did a perfect handspring, twirling in the air towards the crime boss. He jumped over Lincoln's head, grabbing onto his neck as he passed. Dick used his momentum to drive Lincoln down to the ground face first.

"DDT stunner!" He shouted as Lincoln's face smashed into the ground. Dick sprung back up, right beside Spider-Man and ready to fight. "And that's the bottom line."
"Wrestling analogy", Spider-Man asked as he webbed up the prone Tombstone?
"Well...we are wearing spandex and have funny names..."

The sounds of sirens got louder and the flashing lights of police vehicles could be seen rushing closer in the distance. Spider-Man looked at Tombstone, who was covered head to toe in webbing, and then at Daredevil.

"What say we make like a tree and get out of here while the getting is good?"

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