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Old 09-30-2012, 10:42 PM   #926
Byrd Man
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Default Re: One Earth: The Marvel/DC RPG

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Doom sighed, "So be it."

With a gesture soldiers rushed out to surround Reed.

"Take him to the dungeon with the rest of his troupe", Doom commanded as he strode up to Reed, looking him in the eyes.
"He and his family are to be executed at dawn."

With a final glare, burning with contempt, Doom stormed off, as Reed was bound and collared with a device designed to suppress super powers, and led away by the armed escort heading to the dungeons of Castle Doom.
"Well, ain't this another fine mess you've gotten us into!" Ben grumbled at Reed. Inside the dungeon, Ben stomped around and pawed at the collar around his neck. "Damn tinker toy sapped my strength. Same for you guys?"

"Yep," said Johnny. He was leaning against the far wall and staring off blankly.

Sue crouched on her haunches, watching Reed as he muttered to himself and ran his hand along the walls of the dungeon.

"Penny for your thoughts," she said to Reed.

"Yeah, I'd like to know what that big head of yours is doing. We only got a few hours until they kill us, so get to it."

"Fun fact," Reed said without looking away from the bricks of their cell. "Victor now calls this castle home, but this castle has been part of Latveria for hundreds of years. What's even more interesting is the material this wall is made out of: limestone. It wouldn't be so bad, if not for the fact that this particular wall faces one of the more drafty parts of the castle."

"You know about the how the castle is ventilated? I thought Doom was the obsessed one..."

"'So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.'-- Sun Tzu. Ben, come help me..."

Ben padded over and Reed directed him to push his shoulder into the wall. Grunting, he did so and watched as the wall began to give way.

"You may not have your strength, but you still have your density. That pressure, plus the already weak nature of the wall leads to..."

With a crunch, part of the wall collapsed outwards and Ben stumbled through the hole into the corridor.

"A door."

Ben collected himself and stood up as the rest of the Four came through the hole and out into the corridor. "Follow me, and be quiet..."

A few minutes later, they came out of the hallway to the lower levels of the castle. While the rest of the team kept watch, Reed ducked into a utility closet and came back out with a pair of pliers.

"This won't take the collars off, but this should short them out. You can do the rest."

One by one, Reed disabled Victor's collars and returned their powers to them. Ben ripped his collar from his throat and did the same for Sue. Johnny burned his to a cinder, while Reed contorted his whole body and let it slide down to the ground.

"Alright, Stretcho, where's Doom keep his planes? We gotta get outta here now."

"Right. Follow me..."

Nearly ten minutes later, Ben crashed through the doorway leading into the castle's hangar. In his hands were a pair of Victor's soldiers. Growling, he tossed them across the hangar and watched as they landed into a group of their fellow soldiers.

The rest of the Four followed behind and joined the fight against the forces of Doom.

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:19 PM   #927
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Default Re: One Earth: The Marvel/DC RPG

Bruce is resting on a bed in a private room on the base. It's much like his spartan holding cell at LexCorp, but this one at least has a TV & a window.

Betty enters the room with a folder and an expression that is trying to be neutal but is hiding something.

Bruce says, "I know that look. It's the same one that you had the day you told me that you were happy for me, but I knew that it was over between us because I opted to sign on with LexCorp."

Betty sits down at a table and motions for him to sit across from her. Bruce sits down and Betty pushes the folder in front of him.

Bruce reads through the paper work and when he is done he closes the folder and rests his head in his hands.

Betty says, "I'm sorry Bruce, but we ran every tests that we could and all basically state the same thing. There is no way to seperate you from The Hulk. Your DNA and his DNA are now linked. If we were to try and seperate the two you both would be dead in under 10 minutes."

Bruce asks, "What if we decided to surpress The Hulk portion of me?"

Betty replies, "Promising someday, but with the equipment and resources here and our limited understanding of Gamma Studies who knows how long that'll take."

Bruce tilts is head back and rolls his eyes.

Betty says, "You're the only one who can save you Bruce. The rest of us are novices in this arena, but who knows what kind toll those experiments will take on you."

Bruce says, "If I don't try then what does it matter? I can't live my life like this Betty. Luthor and others like him they'll never leave me in peace. I can't do it."

Betty asks, "Have you considered the final solution?"

Bruce replies, "Yeah, but I'm not gonna take that way out. Not yet at least."

Betty says, "If you did it. I would miss you but I wouldn't blame you either."

Bruce says, "You're the reason I won't."

Betty is somewhat surprised because Bruce has never been one to express how he felt about anyone.

He says to her, "I love you Betty. You're the reason I want to fight this why I won't give up because as much as I love my work and everything that goes with it you give my life a measure of humanity. It keeps me whole and reminds me that there is still some good in this world."

Bruce moves towards Betty and the two kiss and embrace one another.

CADMUS Command Center

Fury recieves a text message from a friend of his at Homeland.

He reads it and says in a low growl, "Damn you Lex Luthor!"

Fury shows the text to Ross and Ross says, "According to this Lex pulled some strings to make this one happen. How reliable is this source of yours?"

Fury replies, "She's the director's secretary and my God-Daughter."

Ross says, "Yeah that goes under the heading of reliable source. We have less than three hours to come up with something before they get here and kill Banner on sight. Not to mention they've said collaterial damage, including loss of other lives, is acceptable."

Fury says, "Yeah and if they try to take him out even if Banner lets him I'll bet a year's pay The Hulk will have something to say about it all, and when it's over there'll be a lot of dead bodies and a green skinned monster on the run."

Ross says, "As much as I don't care for Banner, his politics, or his work he saved my daughter more than once recently."

He looks at Fury and says, "I owe him. I owe him the chance to live life on his terms I've fought for that right for everyone in this country and he deserves that same fighting spirit."

Fury asks, "What do you suggest we do?"

Ross dials his daughter's cell-phone which goes to voice-mail.

Ross hangs up his phone and says, "Let's get over to Banner's quarters a-s-a-p."

Fury says, "There's a couple of things we need to do first."

Fury and Ross put several files on a CADMUS tablet and grab a syringe with a "cocktail" and head over to Banner's quarters.

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Old 10-04-2012, 12:11 AM   #928
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Need to get to higher ground.

It must take me at least ten minutes to fully recover from the magnitude of the blows that the Hulk dealt out. Both the physical and mental toll that the fight took on is almost too much for me to handle at first, rendering me grounded as I sit amongst the wreckage of where the I thought to be the monster - now definitely confirmed to be the man - once stood, stuck in a deep contemplation over what exactly went wrong. A giant footprint symbolizing everything that I may have very well helped to prevent, but simultaneously reminding me of the fact that I failed to prevent a complete loss of life. Staring at my hands, I can see a faint trace of what I believe to be bruising. Hitting him that hard took more effort than I was used to, and it still wasn't enough. My strength, my speed, flight. Everything felt as if it were energy running on it's lowest possible output. And today only brought home the fact that I haven't been 100% in weeks. Ever since that struggle in the Artic, where me and the others fought off the forces of The Gorgon.

Could it be possible that I've lost some of my power? I never really knew what to expect, in terms of it's longevity. Didn't start developing any of them until I was 11. Ma and Pa initially believed it to be a mutation when I started lifting tractors with one hand - that is, until the other abilities began to manifest. Then they knew the truth. They knew it was the product of my being from another world, they had just never imagined it would affect me in such a way that I'd start doing what I did. And now that it could possibly be running on empty, I'm starting to wonder... am I going to miss that, or will I finally get the chance to never feel like an outcast anymore? I don't know.

And right now, I can't bring myself to dwell on it. Choppers are already circling the surrounding areas, National Guard's closing in. It'll only be a matter of time before the Metropolis PD realizes that I'm still in the area and attempt to capture me again. Pushing myself off of the slab of concrete that I was resting on, I take one final look at the faraway EMTs stationed blocks away. I see alot of people on stretchers, but more than that, I see the sheer amount of bodybags. And my heart sinks at the implication.

There's no skirting around it. I failed those people. And worse, in my haste to get him to calm down, I let The Hulk escape without answering for what he's done. Even if Lex Luthor is somehow involved in all of this, I should've asked more of the woman he was with. They've got alot to answer for. But maybe I shouldn't chance it, on the chance that I'd only stir up more of his anger. After all, he did refer to me as his "friend"...

CLKK

Realizing I'm not alone here, my eyes divert over to the outer edges of the sizeable crater that Hulk and I were standing in whenever he left. And I notice that standing above me, their weapons drawn and all wearing bodyarmor, is an entire SWAT Unit armed with those same energy rifles and canons that were used to take me down the first time. Part of me instinctively wants to drop to my knees and surrender, but I breathe in heavily, knowing that I can't. I'm wanted for a murder I didn't commit. I won't take that lying down while a jury of people who are all likely frightened of me decide my innocence.

"THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING, SUPERMAN! STAND DOWN!"

I wish I could. But the moment that it's said, my hand clasps into a fist and I stand up straight.

"No. I can't. Not today."

Don't know what I was expecting, but what happens next assures me that taking a stand against a fleet of heavily armed police was never going to be my brightest course of action. All that I can see is a building flash of light. Then the pain starts to hit me in waves.



Stupid, Clark. Very stupid.

Feeling the white hot blasts of energy strike hard into my body, raining down from all sides, it's soon become enough to force me on my hands and knees. Which is making things worse as they begin readjusting their aim towards my back, knocking me onto the ground. But I'm still so winded by the fight with The Hulk that even with pain being a new experience for me, I find a serenity with it. For a moment, I can stare out unafflicted by the pain, my weakened state of consciousness wandering off towards the surrounding area.

Which is where I spot a nearby propane truck, uninhabited and far away from any civillians. But close enough to the crater that I start to come up with an idea. With grit teeth and newfound reserve, I lift my head, feeling it jerk back as another stray hit of energy nearly forces it back down again. At first, I feel little more than a sting behind my pupils begin to build up. But in seconds, it forms a small focused ray of heat vision that I use to strike out at the massive tank. The SWAT are probably too busy trying to subdue me to notice as it hits.

F-WOOM!

They're all caught off guard by the sudden explosion. All of them turn in the direction of the tank, fearful for their lives in thinking that it might be closer than it actually is. They might even believe it's The Hulk returned. I don't care either way. What it buys me is enough time to muster up the strength to levitate out of the crater and into the air. They turn and realize what I've done and begin to chase and fire, striking me with a few stray shots. My attempt to ascend turns into a descent, and I float to the ground. Guess I'm gonna have to run for it.

"He's trying to get away again! After him, dammit, before he flies off!"



My limited bursts of speed can only take me so far, but I wind up distancing myself by at least a block, darting into an alleyway. Hurriedly running, fighting off exhaustion, I take a glance down at my chest and arms. Deep red patches, what I discover to stains growing underneath my costume are beginning to form. My power loss is alot worse than I thought. I'm actually bleeding from this, from something that would never have even phased me before. Haven't seen my own blood in a very long time, maybe even since before my abilities. I can't remember.

All I know is that by the time I make it to the end, my knees are beginning to buckle. I'm weak. Too weak to carry on, strong enough to be tortured by the continued determination to avoid capture. I lean against a wall and slide down, hearing the oncoming SWAT team as they mount an attack that's only moments away from being carried out. It's over. I can't avoid them any longer.

SCREEEE!

Doesn't even hit me, at first, that a car just pulled up beside me and came to an immediate halt. I don't know what to make of it at first, but my curiosity is piqued whenever I spot the face of the owner, sticking her head out of the driver's side window. Her face in evident horror at the sight of me. At first, I believe her to be another random pedestrian. But looking close, I realize that she's anything but.

"Superman! Superman, can you hear me?! Oh my god..."

Opening the door, she exits the vehicle and runs over to me, frantically observing my injuries. Surprised that they're even there. It's the woman from before. The one that I saved from the fire, months ago. Then saved again from the Humanite's attack. I know her name, I just can't place it at the moment. Trying not to black out.

"Y-You?"

She glances over as she hears the coming SWAT team, aswell.

"Yeah, me. Nice to see that you remember. I've only been your biggest vocal supporter for the last six months. Now c'mon..."

Grabbing my hand, she throws my arm over her shoulder and attempts to lift me with great difficulty. Realizing what she's trying to do, I give her some assistance, rising to my feet long enough to lean on her. She strains under guiding my weight, but it soon becomes clear that she's guiding me towards the car.

"You're... making a mistake. They'll arrest you too."

She ignores my warning and opens the back seat door, practically shoving me in.

"They can try. I've probably got a laundry list of a record as it is. Comes with the territory of being a reporter. I'm more worried about you right now."

"Don't..."

She places a hand on mine as I settle into the seats, lying on my back.

"Stop talking for a second. Just lay low and keep your head down. You're gonna be alright."

I finally comply and listen as she hurries to the front seat, start the engine and begin to drive us out of here at a speed that's probably beyond illegal, just before I start to remember her name in full. Don't know how I could've possibly forgotten it, given how much of a fan of her editorials that I've become in recent months. Lois Lane.

Good thing I recalled that, because I'm going to need it to express my gratitude.

It's not every day that somebody saves me.

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Old 10-06-2012, 01:38 AM   #929
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Wayne Tower
3:06 PM


With a pneumatic hiss, the lift dropped open and revealed the dark exit. I was seated on a black Ducati Streetfighter. Sliding my helmet on, I started the bike and rode through the blackness on an incline.

The bike came out of the incline and out into a side alley six blocks away from Wayne Tower. Seventeen blocks away from City Hall. I'm dressed in jeans and a leather jacket, a helmet hiding my face. This is what I wear in the day, when the colors and symbol of Batman won't be as effective.

"Status report, Alfred."

"GCPD is on the scene, sir. The Joker has armed men around the perimeter. I can patch you through to the radio."

"Go ahead."

There was a crackle of static, followed by the smoker's wheeze of Major Jim Gordon.

"With all due respect, Commissioner. We have to go in."

"What?" The Commissioner spat. "We go in and we give that goddamn lunatic what he wants. A reason to kill those people."

"The Joker doesn't need a reason, sir. He'll blow it up regardless."

"Well, in that case, I say we cut our losses..."

I switched the channel off and focused on the task ahead. Cutting through a side street, I came out just a block away from City Hall. While Gordon plays politics, I can go in.

I parked my bike down the street from the building. While Joker's men have all entrances and exits guarded, there's one that they don't know about. Only few people know about.

City Hall was commissioned to be built in 1965 by Mayor O'Neil. The project manager positioned was shared by two men. James Stephens and Patrick Wayne. My grandfather. The building was halfway completed in 1968. O'Neil, a corrupt and paranoid politician in the 60's, was afraid of his enemies and would-be assassins. He employed Patrick to secretly build an escape route through his office in case the worse ever happened. O'Neil died before it was completed -- a lifetime of smoking and fatty foods turned out to be his assassin -- and took his secret to the grave. As far as I know, my father was the only one who my grandfather told.

And it was in Mayor O'Neil's old office that I came out of. I slowly inched through the room towards the doorway. Opening up the door slightly, I saw an armed gunman with his back to me. Thirty seconds later he was on the floor, unconscious with his assault rifle disassembled at his feet.

Creeping through the building, I could hear the sounds of hostages murmuring amongst themselves, trying to engage their hostage takers in conversation. I quietly took down two more goons before sneaking into the dim lobby of City Hall.

The mayor and his staff, along with the rest of the city workers, were gathered in a large group in the center. Armed men encircled them. Crouching and hiding in the rafters, I took a quick inventory of all I could see.

"Alfred, patch me through to Gordon."

"Yes, sir..."


There was a moment of silence, then the sound of a ringtone.

"This is Gordon."

"Jim,"
I said, my voice dropping a few octaves. "I'm inside City Hall right now."

"What's the status on the hostages? Where's the bomb?"

"The hostages appear to be safe. As for the bomb, it's not in the lower levels of the building, and it's not inside the lobby."

"Well, where the hell is it?'

"I... don't know."

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Old 10-06-2012, 12:44 PM   #930
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Sometime later General Ross & Nick Fury arrive at Banner's room. General Ross's expression lets them know he is not exactly impressed that the two of them have been left alone, but there are more pressing matters that he is concerned with.

He says to Banner, "There is no nice way of saying this. The U-S Government has covertly ordered your sanction."


Banner asks, "What's a sanction?"

Fury replies, "Your authorized assassination."

Betty is visibly shaken as she says, "That's insane they can't do that! How did it happen?"

Ross looks at her and says, "They can and they did. Apparently Lex called Homeland and made a case that Dr. Banner here was too dangerous to the public to be allowed to live."

Banner asks, "Couldn't they allow me time to try and find a cure?"

Fury replies, "In most cases I would push for that, but this came directly from the Directory of Homeland and The State Department. They want this dealt with before it gets any further out of control. Our hands are tied. If Lex can't have you Dr. Banner then no one will."

Banner asks, "What if I go to Lex directly? Let him win."

Betty shakes her head and says, "No you can't do that Bruce. You do that you'll cause more problems than you'll fix."

Bruce looks at her and she continues, "We all know Lex has plans for The Hulk. What those plans look like we have no clue, but you can bet they aren't in the best interest of humanity."

Ross says, "She's right" with a twinge of sympathy in his voice, "Bruce, Lex is going to destroy you to get to The Hulk. Maybe construct an army of Hulks can you imagine that. I can and I assure you reality will be far worse than imagination in this situation."

Banner sits on his bed and runs his fingers through his hair. He looks up at the assembled group and asks, "So where do I go from here?"

Fury says, "The team will be here any minute. Sad part is we don't when that will be we aren't supposed to know about this. They'll slip in as say either a delivery crew, a media crew, take your pick and they'll take you out and slip out just as indiscreet as when they got here."


Ross continues, "However we do have an option and it's very risky."

Betty asks, "What is it? Anything at this point has gotta be better than waiting for the hit squad to open fire."


Ross looks at her and replies, "Don't be so sure."

Fury pulls out the syringe and says, "I've made enough suicide capsules in my day to know how these work. You'll be injected with this and instantly you'll go out it'll slow your vitals down to virtually undetectable. It acts too fast for your green friend to show up. We'll announce that you're dead and the squad will come to verify and once you're declared dead we inject you with the antidote."

Banner says, "Sound easy enough."

Fury shakes his head and says, "No it's not that easy. There is a one hour window place. After two hours the chemicals in your blood stream will become toxic. You'll never wake up and your faked death becomes reality."


Banner asks, "What if this does work? Then what?"

Ross replies, "We get you off the base and you fade out of the scene. Start your life over."

Ross shows him the tablet and says, "This tablet is untraceable for 3 days after 3days if you go online then you can be found. It has information on it on how to hide in plain sight, how to avoid being captured, and reestablishing your identity. Things of that nature."


Fury says, "You can register your new name on the database app. Just say your new name and it will register on one of our covert servers. It'll give you a family history, job history, it will send you copies of fake ids to a hidden location, all of that. What we call a clean slate program. Be careful though you turn green one time...the game is up."


Ross says, "You need to decide now Banner."

Bruce looks at Betty and she nods.

Bruce says, "There really is no other option. Is there?"

Betty shakes her head and Bruce says, "All-right then let's do this."

Ross takes the syringe and Betty says, "I'll do it. If anyone is gonna do this I will."

Fury and Ross look at one another and nod. He gives her the syringe and he says, "We'll be outside."

Fury and Ross leave the room and Betty applies an alcohol wipe to Bruce's arm and says, "You might feel a slight pinch."

Bruce smiles and chuckles.

Betty says, "No matter how this works out. I'm glad I got to see you again and I love you."


Bruce says, "I love you too Betty."

They lean in and case and as they do Betty injects him with the drug.

Bruce falls back and twitches twice and then is unconscious.

Soon word spreads throughout the base and the country that Dr. Banner has suffered a massive pulmonary embolism due to gamma radiation poisoning.

The leader of the death squad Floyd Lawton comes to see the body and is convinced that Dr. Bruce Banner is dead.

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Old 10-08-2012, 10:23 AM   #931
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Default Re: One Earth: The Marvel/DC RPG

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[/B][/FONT][/COLOR]Nearly ten minutes later, Ben crashed through the doorway leading into the castle's hangar. In his hands were a pair of Victor's soldiers. Growling, he tossed them across the hangar and watched as they landed into a group of their fellow soldiers.

The rest of the Four followed behind and joined the fight against the forces of Doom.
Doom watched from a monitor, the events unfolding in one of his castle's hangers. Doom's soldiers were engaging Richard and his family, but they would do nothing more than slow them down.
He needed to end this, now.

"Go", Doom stated to the imposing figure who stood silently next to his Lord.
"Kill them all."

With a nod, the man disappears in a blur, heading off to carry out his master's orders.

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

It was a long struggle, but the Fantastic Four have battled their way to a serviceable plane, as dozens of unconscious soldier lay in their wake. The headsets of the remaining soldiers crackle to life, and they immediately fall back, collecting their fallen and leaving the hanger.

As the Four are left to wonder why the sudden withdrawal, two thin beams of crimson energy shoot in at the plane, causing it to explode in a ball of fire.

Sue brings up a force field in time to protect the Four from the blast, and the heroes turn to the attack's origin to see a figure calmly floating in through the flame and smoke.

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:


"Your little rebellion attempt ends now, Dr. Richards."


Superman's eyes shine a bright red and a blast of heat vision fires out towards Reed.

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Old 10-08-2012, 11:37 PM   #932
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Quote:
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It was a long struggle, but the Fantastic Four have battled their way to a serviceable plane, as dozens of unconscious soldier lay in their wake. The headsets of the remaining soldiers crackle to life, and they immediately fall back, collecting their fallen and leaving the hanger.

As the Four are left to wonder why the sudden withdrawal, two thin beams of crimson energy shoot in at the plane, causing it to explode in a ball of fire.

Sue brings up a force field in time to protect the Four from the blast, and the heroes turn to the attack's origin to see a figure calmly floating in through the flame and smoke.

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:


"Your little rebellion attempt ends now, Dr. Richards."


Superman's eyes shine a bright red and a blast of heat vision fires out towards Reed.
Twisting and bending his entire body into a corkscrew shape, Reed dodge the heat ray from Superman's eyes.

"Guys, the crap has literally been scared out of me...," Johnny said in disbelief.

"Distract him," said Reed as he turned away from Superman and ran back through the hangar. "I have a plan!"

"Oh, joy," Ben grumbled.

Before he could do anything else, he was knocked back as Superman's powerful fist connected with his face. Twirling through the air, Ben crashed into a parked jet and slid across the floor until he came to a solid stop against the hangar wall.

"Resistance is futile," the hovering Superman said calmly. "Bow to Doom."

Flaming on, Johnny burst forward with a spiral of fire. The Man of Steel ignored the flames threatening to consume him, and instead opened his mouth slightly. An ice cold blast of air shot from his mouth, extinguishing Johnny's flames to smoke.

His flames out, Johnny was defenseless from Superman's attack. Johnny gurgled as he felt Superman's hand wrap around his throat. Sneering, the Man of Steel began to tighten his grip on Johnny. He unsuccessfully fought against the vise grip-like hold of Superman. Just before he blacked out, Superman's grip was freed as an invisible construct crashed into his side and threw him off balance.

"Get away from him, you bastard," Sue said, tossing another construct towards the Man of Steel.

Quickly recovering, Superman struck out and smashed the construct with his fist. The backlash from the blow made Sue's knees buckle. Crying out in pain, she fell to her knees as Superman charged. Sue threw up a barrier in a last-ditch effort, but it was shredded by Superman's flying charge.

"Remember, I gave you a chance!"

"So did I," Reed said, appearing in front of Sue in a flash of light. He wrapped his arms around her and they both disappeared a fraction of a second before Superman crashed through them.

Reed and Sue appeared beside Johnny. With one arm around Sue, Reed stretched out and grabbed Johnny's wrist. The three of them disappeared, and then reappeared where Ben was recovering from being tossed by Superman. Reed elongated an arm and touched Ben. Together, the four of them disappeared in a flash of light again.



*****



Germany


With a large flare, the Fantastic Four all fell to the ground. They were on a hill inside the Black Forest.

"Where the hell are we?" Ben asked as he picked himself up.

"Safe," said Reed. He helped Sue to her feet and made sure Johnny was okay. "I was able to make a makeshift teleporter. It may have a few jumps in it, but that's it."

"So, what's our next move?"
"Maybe we can be mountain men? Uhh, or the more PC mountain people?"

"We need to find safety and refuge. I'm sure Victor has his share of enemies out there. We need to find them and work with them."

"To what end?"

"We need to go back in time, Ben. Go back in time and erase all this that Victor created."

"Well," Sue said, her hands on her hips. "What are we waiting for?"

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Old 10-11-2012, 01:23 PM   #933
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Darkness is all around Dr. Banner as he slowly comes to. He opens his eyes and he sees he is in the back of a van.

He starts to sit up while trying to shake the mental fog around him but then feels a familiar touch across his chest and the voice of Betty Ross say, "Shhh relax you're safe. It's okay."

Bruce lays back down and looks up to see Betty Ross sitting next to him.

He asks, "What's the story?"

Betty replies, "It worked. The U-S Government has signed your Death Certificate. As of right now Dr. Bruce Banner is dead."

Banner asks, "What about a funeral and all that?"

Betty replies, "Col. Fury is taking care of that and saying your body was cremated. It's all over. You even have $500 travel money."

Banner asks, "Where are we going?"

Betty replies, "Not sure we've been driving for about an hour and a half."

Bruce focuses a little more and sees Fury & General Ross sitting in the front seats.

Fury pulls the van over and says, "This is as a good a spot as any."

Ross looks at Betty and says, "Better help him up and get ready."

Betty hands Bruce a duffel bag with the Electronic Tablet in it.

She says, "While you were 'dead' I did some clothes shopping for you."

Bruce exits the van and sees that they're in a railroad yard.

Fury says, "This railroad yard is in the heart of the bad lands. We're about 100 miles from Metropolis and Gotham is a little over 250 miles that way. I suggest you avoid Metropolis."

Ross says, "Just so you know Banner. This help that you're getting is a one time deal. If you ever show up in Metropolis again or The Hulk shows up again the Government will be coming after you with everything they got, and I won't be able to stop them. You need to know that not everyone will be fooled by your death. They will continue to look for you."

Banner nods and says, "They can try to find me."

Ross is somewhat surprised by this response and gives a smirk.

Bruce sticks his hand out and says to Fury, "Thank you Colonel."

Fury is hesitant at first but then shakes hands with Banner and says, "You're welcome. Good luck. You're gonna need it."

Banner turns to General Ross and says, "Thank you too General. Thank you for everything."

Ross too is hesitant but then shakes hands with Banner and says, "The burden you must now bear I wouldn't wish on anyone even Lex Luthor. I admit I've never been a fan of your politics, your attitude, or your beliefs. All that being said you've always acted ethically and you are a brilliant scientist. One that I feel can make a positive impact on our world, and I'm sorry about all of this."

Ross breaks the grip and embraces Banner. He says in Banner's ear, " Believe it or not I was in-favor of you and Betty. You made her feel safe and treasured that's all I could've asked for."


Banner is shocked by this display of emotion but returns the embrace.

Ross breaks the embrace and says, "God Speed Dr. Banner."

Bruce turns to Betty and they turn to Fury & Ross. Fury says, "You got 5 minutes."

The two gentlemen leave and Betty & Bruce face each other.

She says, "I could come with you."

Bruce nods and says, "You could."

Betty says, "But then even if you change your appearance if I'm nearby you'll be that much easier to find."

Bruce says, "I know."

The two star-crossed lovers kiss one more time.

When they finally break apart Betty says, "I love you"

Bruce replies, "I love you too."

Banner bows his head and takes a step back and closes his eyes.

He says in an almost whisper, "You need to go."

Banner looks back up and sees that Betty is already gone.

Banner peeks out from a rail car and sees the van already heading away. He stands there as the sky slowly struggles to light and watches the van disappear from sight.

Well looks like I'm on my own.

Bruce begins walking on the deserted highway to Gotham. A 1990 Honda passes him but pulls over a couple yards away.

He jogs up to the car and driver rolls down the passenger-side window.

The driver says, "Where you off to?"

Banner replies, "Headin' to Gotham."

The driver says, "I'm headin' that way too. It's a long walk. You want a lift? I could use the company."

Banner says, "Sounds good to me."

Bruce gets in the car and they drive off.

The driver asks, "Going to Gotham for any particular reason?"

Bruce replies, "Just lookin' to start over. My name is Randall Stevens."

The driver looks at him for a second and says, "Hello there Mr. Stevens." He sticks his hand out and says, "Jean-Paul Valley."

"Stevens" says, "Good to meet you Jean-Paul."

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Old 10-14-2012, 01:22 AM   #934
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Germany


With a large flare, the Fantastic Four all fell to the ground. They were on a hill inside the Black Forest.

"Where the hell are we?" Ben asked as he picked himself up.

"Safe," said Reed. He helped Sue to her feet and made sure Johnny was okay. "I was able to make a makeshift teleporter. It may have a few jumps in it, but that's it."

"So, what's our next move?"
"Maybe we can be mountain men? Uhh, or the more PC mountain people?"

"We need to find safety and refuge. I'm sure Victor has his share of enemies out there. We need to find them and work with them."

"To what end?"

"We need to go back in time, Ben. Go back in time and erase all this that Victor created."

"Well," Sue said, her hands on her hips. "What are we waiting for?"


Berlin
Two Days Later


Sue walked down the busy London sidewalk with casual glances to her left and right. She was wearing a thick jacket, her blonde hair put up and hidden by a red-haired wig. She had on a pair of sunglasses in an attempt to hide her face.

The street she walked down had visible cameras at every intersection. Sue was sure that there had to be at least two or three hidden ones in between those intersections. A large mural of Doom adorned the wall to her left side. She kept her head down as a police car with the Latverian flag passed by her on the street.

Taking a corner, Sue walked down the street as a video screen above the street started the bi-hourly newscast. She looked up and saw the newscaster begin her broadcast. To her right were blurry and black and white photos of herself and the rest of the Fantastic Four. English subtitles accompanied the story.

"Alle deutschen volkes sind auf der Suche nach gesuchten terroristen Doktor Reed Richards, seine Frau Doktor Susan Storm-Richards, Major Benjamin Grimm und Jonathan Sturm sein. Zusammen bilden sie die terroristische Gruppe wie die Fantastischen Vier bekannt."

All German people are to be on the look out for wanted terrorists Doctor Reed Richards, his wife Doctor Susan Storm-Richards, Major Benjamin Grimm, and Jonathan Storm. Together, they make up the terrorist group known as the Fantastic Four.

"Sie sind extrem gefährlich und werden von König Von Doom für Verbrechen gegen die Europäische Reich Latveria wollte. Wenn Sie sie sehen, rufen Sie sofort die Polizei. Gott segne Deutschland, und Gott segne König Von Doom."

They are extremely dangerous and are wanted by King Von Doom for crimes against the European Kingdom of Latveria. If you see them, call the police immediately. May God bless Germany, and may God bless King Von Doom.

Sue turned away from the report as it ended and kept her head down the rest of the way to her destination. She arrived there a half hour later. A half-burnt building in Berlin's industrial sector. With a wave of her hand, Sue brushed burnt debris from the floor with an invisible construct. Where the debris had been, there was a trapdoor. She reach down and opened the steel door, revealing a stairway that descended down under the ground. With a final look over her shoulder, Sue stepped down into the stairs and closed the door shut with another construct.

Sue walked through the dark corridor until she came to a steel door. Sue knocked on it twice in a rhythm and waited for a response. She felt a chill run down her spine and a deep voice from far off, whispering softly to her. The door swung open suddenly and she was pulled inside. She was face to face with a blonde man with a scraggly beard. He had an assault rifle in his hands.

"Stay right there," he barked. "You move, I'll open fire. Take off the wig and the glasses. Understand?"

Sue nodded slowly and pulled off her disguise. The man motioned for her to follow him down the hallway. He walked backwards, the gun trained on her as they walked. The corridor led to a larger opening where several people were gathered around an elderly man in a chair.

"This is her, sir," the man said with a look over his shoulder. "One of the ones Doom's been looking for."

"J'onn?" The old man asked with a glance to the dark corner of the room.

"She checks out," a voice, very similar to the one Sue heard inside her head, said from the darkness. "There are no gaps in her memory that would imply Doom's brainwashing or conditioning." Sue saw a pair of red eyes glowing in the darkness before she turned her attention back to the old man.

"Adrian, drop you weapon and bring her forward."

The blonde-haired man, Adrian, nodded and escorted Sue into the center of the room. The old man stood and smiled at Sue, holding his hand out.

"Sorry about all the security, ma'am, but we've been burned by Doom's sleeper agents before. People who will kill without even knowing how and why they're doing it. We've lost a lot of good people that way. I'm glad to meet you. Anyone who grinds Doom's gears like you and your friends seem to do, that's someone we want to be in business with."

Sue shook his hand and looked at him with a curious look.

"Who are you, exactly?"



"Colonel Steve Rogers, ma'am. Leader of the global resistance against Doom."

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Old 10-14-2012, 02:19 AM   #935
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Wayne Tower
3:06 PM


With a pneumatic hiss, the lift dropped open and revealed the dark exit. I was seated on a black Ducati Streetfighter. Sliding my helmet on, I started the bike and rode through the blackness on an incline.

The bike came out of the incline and out into a side alley six blocks away from Wayne Tower. Seventeen blocks away from City Hall. I'm dressed in jeans and a leather jacket, a helmet hiding my face. This is what I wear in the day, when the colors and symbol of Batman won't be as effective.

"Status report, Alfred."

"GCPD is on the scene, sir. The Joker has armed men around the perimeter. I can patch you through to the radio."

"Go ahead."

There was a crackle of static, followed by the smoker's wheeze of Major Jim Gordon.

"With all due respect, Commissioner. We have to go in."

"What?" The Commissioner spat. "We go in and we give that goddamn lunatic what he wants. A reason to kill those people."

"The Joker doesn't need a reason, sir. He'll blow it up regardless."

"Well, in that case, I say we cut our losses..."

I switched the channel off and focused on the task ahead. Cutting through a side street, I came out just a block away from City Hall. While Gordon plays politics, I can go in.

I parked my bike down the street from the building. While Joker's men have all entrances and exits guarded, there's one that they don't know about. Only few people know about.

City Hall was commissioned to be built in 1965 by Mayor O'Neil. The project manager positioned was shared by two men. James Stephens and Patrick Wayne. My grandfather. The building was halfway completed in 1968. O'Neil, a corrupt and paranoid politician in the 60's, was afraid of his enemies and would-be assassins. He employed Patrick to secretly build an escape route through his office in case the worse ever happened. O'Neil died before it was completed -- a lifetime of smoking and fatty foods turned out to be his assassin -- and took his secret to the grave. As far as I know, my father was the only one who my grandfather told.

And it was in Mayor O'Neil's old office that I came out of. I slowly inched through the room towards the doorway. Opening up the door slightly, I saw an armed gunman with his back to me. Thirty seconds later he was on the floor, unconscious with his assault rifle disassembled at his feet.

Creeping through the building, I could hear the sounds of hostages murmuring amongst themselves, trying to engage their hostage takers in conversation. I quietly took down two more goons before sneaking into the dim lobby of City Hall.

The mayor and his staff, along with the rest of the city workers, were gathered in a large group in the center. Armed men encircled them. Crouching and hiding in the rafters, I took a quick inventory of all I could see.

"Alfred, patch me through to Gordon."

"Yes, sir..."


There was a moment of silence, then the sound of a ringtone.

"This is Gordon."

"Jim,"
I said, my voice dropping a few octaves. "I'm inside City Hall right now."

"What's the status on the hostages? Where's the bomb?"

"The hostages appear to be safe. As for the bomb, it's not in the lower levels of the building, and it's not inside the lobby."

"Well, where the hell is it?'

"I... don't know."


Bludhaven


"God damn freak shows," said Mayor Harold Warsaw, shaking his head as he read the news updates from Gotham City. Some nut in a clown costume was threatening to blow up city hall and kill the Mayor and everyone else with him. "Just what we need; more of our neighbors making a stink for us."

Bludhaven had every bit the reputation for corruption and organized crime as the neighboring Gotham, but at least the criminals and mobsters who infested this city were normal criminals and mobsters. Men in the Bludhaven Police Department, men in City Hall....even Harold Himself.....all were known to have taken a little taste of the various syndicates' profits in exchange for looking the other way when needed. It was dirty business, sure, but at least you didn't have to worry about a Bludhaven crook blowing you sky-high for a laugh.

Unfortunately, being right next door to the psychotic capital of the world means a lot of people associate the one city with the other. Ever since that Joker maniac and others started cropping up in Gotham, business had been flocking out of Bludhaven, the once bustling shipping and fishing industries drying up out of fear that Gotham's problems would start bleeding over.

As far as Mayor Warsaw was concerned, Gotham could keep its freaks and monsters to itself, thank you very much. Like he didn't have enough problems to deal with.

"Sadie," the Mayor said into his intercom to his receptionist, "Get my speech-writer on the line-- Wheeler, that's the one. Tell him to write me something about how Bludhaven's community is 'standing in solidarity with the people of Gotham in these troubled times,' or how 'we'll restore hope in the face of tragedy.' Some fluff that I can say with a--.....a straight face....."

The Mayor trailed off as he saw something out of his window. On the face of a building across the street, a large banner was unfolding. It covered nearly the entire face of the building, and was written in purple paint.


HEY BATMAN,

I SAID I'D BLOW UP CITY HALL

I JUST NEVER SAID WHICH CITY

HA - HA- HA


"What the--"


That was all Mayor Harold Warsaw was able to say before a truck packed with twenty 55-gallon drums of ammonium nitrate/nitromethane detonated in Bludhaven City Hall's parking garage, ripping the building apart in a maelstrom of fire and debris.


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Old 10-16-2012, 10:02 PM   #936
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The jet we took from the hangar touches down at the Keystone City, and Alan, Agent 13, and I exit. We couldn't risk taking the Quinjet on what we told Fury was a social visit to a friend. He doesn't know that Jay has been abducted, and he doesn't know we're going to find him.

We slide into a car Agent 13 requisitioned for us before we left, and speed off onto the city streets.

As we traverse the city, and I marvel at how much has changed here since the war, I notice an anit-mutant protest going on in a large, wodded park in the middle of the city. We pull over, and I step out, shaking my head, "Why do I feel like things never change? Once one group of people get their rights, the general public moves onto the next group to hate."

"We've made a lot of progress, though, Cap," Alan assures me.

"I mean look at this group," I say angrily as they start shouting about Islamic people as well. "They can't even decide who they're against."



"We've lost our way," 13 adds in. "Vietnam, the Middle East, 9/11. They all kept knocking down America's morale. Now we've lost that spark we used to have. We just need to find that again. We need something to inspire us to greatness."

"How though?" I ask, still looking at the chanting, angry mob in the park. "With everything that's happened in the world, with super humans and super villains clashing almost daily, how can these people learn to accept that they aren't on top of the food chain?"

"They just need people to show them the way. To show them that super humans aren't all bad. And that we all need to work together to move forward."

"We did it in WWII, Cap. We can do it again."

Without another word, we continue on our way to Jay Garrick's residence, which we find in a nice apartment highrise in the downtown section. Taking the elevator up, I begin to feel a growing concern in the pit of my stomach. I have never met Jay's wife, and now meeting here now, in this sort of situation...well, it's not what I would have preferred.

I also have to kick myself for coming out here this late. Jay was one of my best friends, and I haven't made any attempt to contact him until now. And now, I may never be able to see him again.

Alan knocks on the door, and on the other side, a woman in her sixties opens the door, and tears stream down her face at the site of Green Lantern, "Oh, Alan. Thank goodness you've come."

As she goes to hug him, her eyes lock onto mine and get as big as dinner plates. She moves past Alan and puts a hand on my face, "It's you. It's really you. Captain America. Jay and I didn't believe it when you were on the news...but there you are. Standing in front of me like I'm staring into one of Jay's old photos."

"It's me, ma'am," I smile warmly at her. "Now, shall we talk about Jay and who took him?"

"I can tell you who took him, Captain. It was the man with the red skull."

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Old 10-18-2012, 11:50 AM   #937
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Lex reads over the front pages of The Daily Planet, The Daily Bugle, The Metropolis Post, and The Gotham Times. All four of them go into great detail of The Hulk's violent rampage through Metropolis and how Superman was a factor in trying to stop The Hulk.

His eyes though are more interested in the sidebar story at the bottom of each paper. They have various ways of saying it but they all mean the same thing...Dr. Bruce Banner was dead. Died of an apparent heart issue from his various gamma experiments.

Mercy pages him and Lex responds, "Yes."

She replies, "Sir Mr. Talbot is here to see you."

Lex says, "Send him in."

Talbot enters and stands before Lex who doesn't even look up from the papers as he says, "I trust Dr. Starnes is now in Denver locked away."

Talbot replies, "Just as you ordered sir."

Lex looks up and says, "Good. About time we had some sort of good news here."

He hands Talbot one of the papers and says, "Take a look at the latest famous corpse."

Talbot takes the paper and says, "So the strike team got to him."

Lex looks at him for a moment and Talbot says, "Me either sir."

Lex says, "Now the question is do I tie up my time and resources chasing after a possible ghost, or do I just move on to the next challenge?"

Lex turns his chair and looks out over the Metropolis Skyline and says, "To be honest at this time I don't know."

Lex pauses for a moment and says, "The towers will be reopened for business in 2 weeks. You're in charge Glenn. Make it happen."


Talbot says, "But sir the damage it'll take months or...."

Lex turns and just looks at him.

Talbot says, "I'll take care of it."

Lex nods and says, "See to it."

Talbot leaves and Lex opens his desk drawer. He pulls out a sizable file and looks at the name Bruce Banner on the file for a moment.

Lex then lights a Cuban cigar and holds up the file.

Lex takes two drags off of it and says, "So be it Banner. You want to be dead..."

Lex holds the file to his cigar and the file begins to burn. Lex drops the file in the trash can and says, "Bang you're dead."

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Old 10-18-2012, 07:47 PM   #938
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Previously


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Berlin
Two Days Later


Sue walked down the busy London sidewalk with casual glances to her left and right. She was wearing a thick jacket, her blonde hair put up and hidden by a red-haired wig. She had on a pair of sunglasses in an attempt to hide her face.

The street she walked down had visible cameras at every intersection. Sue was sure that there had to be at least two or three hidden ones in between those intersections. A large mural of Doom adorned the wall to her left side. She kept her head down as a police car with the Latverian flag passed by her on the street.

Taking a corner, Sue walked down the street as a video screen above the street started the bi-hourly newscast. She looked up and saw the newscaster begin her broadcast. To her right were blurry and black and white photos of herself and the rest of the Fantastic Four. English subtitles accompanied the story.

"Alle deutschen volkes sind auf der Suche nach gesuchten terroristen Doktor Reed Richards, seine Frau Doktor Susan Storm-Richards, Major Benjamin Grimm und Jonathan Sturm sein. Zusammen bilden sie die terroristische Gruppe wie die Fantastischen Vier bekannt."

All German people are to be on the look out for wanted terrorists Doctor Reed Richards, his wife Doctor Susan Storm-Richards, Major Benjamin Grimm, and Jonathan Storm. Together, they make up the terrorist group known as the Fantastic Four.

"Sie sind extrem gefährlich und werden von König Von Doom für Verbrechen gegen die Europäische Reich Latveria wollte. Wenn Sie sie sehen, rufen Sie sofort die Polizei. Gott segne Deutschland, und Gott segne König Von Doom."

They are extremely dangerous and are wanted by King Von Doom for crimes against the European Kingdom of Latveria. If you see them, call the police immediately. May God bless Germany, and may God bless King Von Doom.

Sue turned away from the report as it ended and kept her head down the rest of the way to her destination. She arrived there a half hour later. A half-burnt building in Berlin's industrial sector. With a wave of her hand, Sue brushed burnt debris from the floor with an invisible construct. Where the debris had been, there was a trapdoor. She reach down and opened the steel door, revealing a stairway that descended down under the ground. With a final look over her shoulder, Sue stepped down into the stairs and closed the door shut with another construct.

Sue walked through the dark corridor until she came to a steel door. Sue knocked on it twice in a rhythm and waited for a response. She felt a chill run down her spine and a deep voice from far off, whispering softly to her. The door swung open suddenly and she was pulled inside. She was face to face with a blonde man with a scraggly beard. He had an assault rifle in his hands.

"Stay right there," he barked. "You move, I'll open fire. Take off the wig and the glasses. Understand?"

Sue nodded slowly and pulled off her disguise. The man motioned for her to follow him down the hallway. He walked backwards, the gun trained on her as they walked. The corridor led to a larger opening where several people were gathered around an elderly man in a chair.

"This is her, sir," the man said with a look over his shoulder. "One of the ones Doom's been looking for."

"J'onn?" The old man asked with a glance to the dark corner of the room.

"She checks out," a voice, very similar to the one Sue heard inside her head, said from the darkness. "There are no gaps in her memory that would imply Doom's brainwashing or conditioning." Sue saw a pair of red eyes glowing in the darkness before she turned her attention back to the old man.

"Adrian, drop you weapon and bring her forward."

The blonde-haired man, Adrian, nodded and escorted Sue into the center of the room. The old man stood and smiled at Sue, holding his hand out.

"Sorry about all the security, ma'am, but we've been burned by Doom's sleeper agents before. People who will kill without even knowing how and why they're doing it. We've lost a lot of good people that way. I'm glad to meet you. Anyone who grinds Doom's gears like you and your friends seem to do, that's someone we want to be in business with."

Sue shook his hand and looked at him with a curious look.

"Who are you, exactly?"



"Colonel Steve Rogers, ma'am. Leader of the global resistance against Doom."



Berlin


The Fantastic Four were gathered around the table with the members of the worldwide resistance. Laid out in front of them was a holographic display of a global map. The old man -- who had once called himself Captain America -- was showing the group points of interest along the world.

"Doom now controls about 98% of the world. The only two countries not under his influence and control are Kahndaq and Genosha. Although Genosha has been under siege for nearly three years now. We expect Magneto to attempt to break the blockade any day now."

"What about the United States?" Reed asked, pointing at a group of gray spots that broke up the solid green that covered most of North America.

"That's rebel territory," Rogers said. "What little sanctuary we find, it's there. Gotham City and Metropolis are the last free cities in America. The Batman heads up the government and military in Gotham, Lex Luthor does the same in Metropolis. But every day they lose more and more ground to Doom."

"What can the resistance do to stop it?" Sue asked, looking up from the map at Rogers.

"Realistically? Next to nothing. We're outnumbered almost 100 to 1, and we lose more every passing day. The only thing we can do is hold on, fight where we can, and maybe one day we'll get lucky. Regardless if we win or not, we'll prove to that bastard that we're not pushovers."

"What is your plan, Doctor Richards?" The man next to Rogers asked. He was light-skinned, with salt and pepper hair. He wore a black trenchcoat over a black shirt. Rogers had introduced him as John Jones, or something that sounded like John Jones. "You've come to the resistance with a purpose. I can feel it in your mind, the way the cogs are turning and spinning. You have something in mind."

"I do, indeed," he said with a smirk. "And it involves Egypt."

"Egypt? That's Kahndaq territory. At least for now. It's always switching hands between Adam and Doom back and forth, back and forth. It won't be easy, but it's easier than smuggling ourselves into Latveria. What do you need?"

"Tools and materials. I plan on building a time machine..."

Reed smiled as he watched the skeptical faces looking at him. Well, most of the faces were skeptical. Three faces in particular were impassive. To them, it wasn't the first time he had announced something like that.

"To what end, Doctor?" Rogers asked with an arched eyebrow.

"To stop Victor from changing the past and thereby erasing this alternate timeline altogether. Nip it in the bud, as it were."

"Steven-," John said urgently. "Five minds incoming. It's them--"

The side of the wall burst open, a giant red blast cutting the bricks and mortar apart like a hot knife through butter. A lone figure stepped through the hole and sneered at the group gathered in front of him.

"It's the X-Men..."



"By order of King Von Doom," Scott Summers said, his one remaining eye glowing red behind its monocle visor. "You are all under arrest for terrorism. Resist, and you will be liquidated on the spot."

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Old 10-18-2012, 10:23 PM   #939
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The raccoon takes us into a back room at the bar, that seems to double as an armory. The walls are lined with every energy weapon I've ever seen, and some I don't even recognize. Plasma grenades and what seem to be small nuclear devices are locked up in a secure case. This guy doesn't mess around.

He tosses his gun belt onto what I assume is his bed, and takes a seat at the small desk in the corner. He kicks his small feet up on the desk and lights a cigar, "You two have a death wish, dontcha?"

"Ask him, I never wanted to be here," Guy mutters, and I shoot him a reprimanding look.

"More like we have a job to do," I respond, pulling up a chair of my own. "We were told you knew about Thanos."

"Yea, I know about Thanos," he responds. "As much as anyone could, I guess. My people were the first in his way."

"I'm sorry," I respond.

"Yea, rough," Gardner adds in, though he's too busy looking around the room to really care.

"Yea, I'm sorry too," he says, stopping to think for a few moments before continuing. "I've been tracking his movements and attacks ever since. We all know what he's going after, so I'm not going to bother explaining. What I want to know is what you're gonna do about it after you just got your asses kicked?"

The question, and its delivery sting. We did just get walloped on our home turf and at Rann. Without our full numbers and our complete power, we can't hope to put up a fight against Thanos by ourselves.

"We need to know where he is. Where his base is."

The raccoon laughs at this, "You think I'd be here if I knew where his base was? Hell no. I'd be out there finding a way in. Finding away to take his power from out from under him."

"You were the one that was supposed to know about this clown," Guy seethes, turning back from a bare tree in the corner of the room.

"Yea, but not everything," Rocket Raccoon shakes his head. "I've been trying to find it for months now. No luck so far."

"So where do we go from here?"

"Well, I've got an idea, but we're going to need some of your Lanterns."

Gardner continues examining the tree in the corner with great intensity, "Man, I have never seen a tree like this."

As he reaches out to touch it, eyes and a mouth spring open and it bellows, "Groot is no normal tree. I am the monarch of Planet X. I am the mightiest warrior in the galaxy."

Guy falls backwards in surprise, landing on his behind. Raccoon laughs and explains, "This is Groot. My partner in crime and destruction. Great in a pinch, and can rip an enemy in half if he wants."

"As for my plan, Lantern, we need to capture someone. Ever hear of a guy named Lobo?"

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Old 10-21-2012, 12:55 AM   #940
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"Peter? Hello? Are you still in there?"

Mary Jane snaps her fingers in front of my face, and I blink, realizing that I've been completely dumbstruck for the last ten seconds.

"Wha--? Oh, um, yeah, sorry, right," I stammer, blushing so hard that I'm halfway worried my head might explode from all the blood rushing to my head. "I, um....I'm still not really used to this. Y'know, the whole 'blind date' thing, I mean."

Especially when said blind date is not only the single prettiest girl I've ever laid eyes on, but the same girl that I saved from a rampaging monster-woman not too long ago. It's hard to say which one caught me off-guard more, but together, I'm still having a hard time convincing myself that this is even real.

"Well, we'll take it one step at a time, then," she says. "How about we go to the pizza place down the street? I hear it's really good, and they've got a dance floor in the middle of the restaurant."

"Romita's? Yeah, that, uh, that sounds great," I sputter. "I haven't been to Romita's in a really long time. They've got some of the best pizza there. I, uh, I don't really know about the dancing, though--that's, um, that's where a lot of the other kids from my school hang out, and...."

"Oh, cool, then you can introduce me to them," she says, and before I can even register a response, she grabs me by the hand and we're on our way.


It's about twenty minutes later when we've sat down with our menus that I finally remember why I haven't been to this particular pizza place in a long time.

Over in the corner, Sally Avril and her pack of jackals (better known as the Midtown High cheerleading squad) are picking apart the carcass of today's gossip, chittering and occasionally giving out waves of laughter like hyenas.

At one of the nearby tables, Glory Grant and a couple of the other kids from the school paper are discussing what stories to make the headline.

Towards the back, Hobie Brown is destroying Kenny 'Kong' MacFarlane in an old game of Street Fighter 2.

And in the booth right across from ours, Flash Thompson is eating with Liz Allan.

And since I walked into the restaurant, every one of them has been staring at me.

This is why I don't come to Romita's anymore. It's 'cool kid' territory......which means I'm on enemy turf right now.

"So is it just me," MJ asks, "Or is everyone staring at us like we've done something wrong?"

"Oh, um, yeah, that would probably be my fault," I say with an embarrassed cough. "I, um.......I kinda have a reputation around the school, and it's.....not flattering."

"Ooooh, a bad boy, huh?" she says with a teasing grin. "Do tell."

"Well, no, it's, um, it's nothing like that," I start to say. "It's just that I'm....."

....I'm what, exactly? Am I really about to tell this painfully beautiful girl that I'm the biggest loser in my school? That I'm a freaking Mathlete, the former terror of the Chess Club, and spent half of freshman year stuffed in my locker?

"I'm just kind of a loner, y'know? Like, an outsider, I guess."

"Interesting," she says, sipping her drink. "So tell me, Mister Mysterious Outsider, what precisely makes you such an outcast? What dark secrets are hiding behind that boyish grin?"

You mean aside from the fact that I'm a mutant freak who, until recently, ran around in spider-themed tights and got the crap beaten out of me by the criminal underworld?

"Oh, well, you know," I say, hoping to God I burst into flames so we can at least change the subject. "Sneaking out at night, causing trouble--do not tell Aunt May about that, by the way. I don't wanna give her more to worry about after losing Uncle Ben."

"Ah, the troublemaker with a heart of gold," she says. "So now that we've established the broad strokes, how about we move on to the specifics? For starters, what kind of music do you like?"

Oh God, don't say Weird Al Yankovic, don't say Weird Al Yankovic, don't say Weird Al Yankovic.....

"A little bit of everything, I guess," I say, trying to stay as vague as possible. "Mostly local stuff, the more underground sorta stuff, y'know?"

"Ever hear of the Mercy Killers?" she asks.

"Oh, yeah, I've heard them," I say. If I can BS my way around Gwen and Aunt May about the fact that I'm Spider-Man, then I'm positive that I can BS through some no-name indie band. "I saw them not too long ago; it was a pretty good show."

"Well, that's pretty impressive, considering I just made them up."

"Ah.............so.........I'm busted."

"Yup," she says, folding her arms.

Wow, way to go, Parker. You couldn't even keep her fooled for the pizza to get here. And now she's going to chew me out and humiliate me, right in front of Flash and Liz and the rest of the popular kids just for a little more salt on this particular open wound.

"I, um, I'm sorry," I say, hanging my head. "I was just trying to....I dunno, look cool, I guess."

"Well, that right there is your problem, Tiger," she says, reaching across the table to pat my arm. "This whole time you've been dodging questions, being as vague as possible, maybe even just outright lying, because you want to fit into what you think my perception of 'cool' is. You're just assuming that I'm not going to like you for who you really are, so you're trying to pretend to be what you think I like. And trust me, if you keep handicapping yourself by living your life on someone else's terms, you're never going to be as cool or as happy as you want to be."

Mary Jane starts to get up. I blew it. I completely and utterly blew it. I mean, I know I have no business with a girl like her, but I could have at least made it to the end of the night.

"Thanks for the effort," she says as she puts on her jacket. "If you run into Peter Parker, tell him he was supposed to take me out tonight, and I was disappointed that he didn't show."

She turns and starts to walk away. From across the room, I see Flash Thompson snicker. He can see that I completely struck out, and soon everyone's going to know it.

Puny Parker fails again.

"Mary Jane, hold up!"

Before I even realize what I'm doing, I'm standing up and going after her. My brain is screaming to stop, but my heart is compelling me.

"I'm a nerd," I say, out loud, for everyone to hear. "I'm probably the biggest nerd in my whole school. I have precisely two friends, one of which is just as big of a geek as I am, and the other only started hanging out with me because he needed help with his homework. I play videogames that were 'classic' before I was even born, I watch movies where model spaceships blow each other up, and I have more comic books than a lot of stores I've visited. Pretty much everyone in my class loathes me, partly because I'm a weird dork, but mostly because I accidentally broke our star quarterback's arm and cost the team their whole season. So.....yeah. I wanted you to think I was cooler than I am because I didn't want you to think that your mom set you up with the biggest loser in Manhattan. Which, I guess, I am."


.....dear God, I actually said that out loud. Right in front of the football team, the cheer squad, and the school paper. Every vein of gossip at Midtown Manhattan High is going to hear about this, and until I graduate, I'll never live it down.

Mary Jane blinks for a second, caught off-guard.......and then she smiles.

"Okay, there you are," she says, smiling warmly. "It's nice to finally meet you, Peter Parker."

I swear Flash Thompson just spat out his soda.

"Um, everyone's staring," I say, suddenly becoming incredibly self-conscious.

"Then let's give them something to stare at," she says, her smile turning into a mischievous grin as she takes me by the hand and pulls me out onto the dance floor.

I'm not really sure how that even worked. I mean, I just outed myself as a pathetic dweeb, and she wants to dance?! What bizarre backwards-universe is she from?!

Well, whatever it is, it's all the more reason to like her. Mary Jane isn't just the hottest girl I've ever met, but she also just might be the coolest.

As the music hits and she starts to dance, and I do my best to not accidentally injure her or myself with my vaguely-rhythmic spasms that only someone who has never seen how human beings are supposed to move might mistake for 'dancing,' I stop caring about the look on Flash Thompson's face.

I stop caring about how many people are staring at us.

I don't even care about how much I look like a total idiot.

All I care about is that I'm in love. And it's the greatest feeling in the world.


*****


"Love....something that was once so beautiful......the greatest feeling I had ever known.......it is now a cold blade thrust into my heart."

The 'accident' in the Oscorp laboratory had left Victor Fries nearly dead, having inhaled ingested dangerous amounts of cryogenic liquid and fumes in the explosion that destroyed his life's work. Were it not for a pressure-sealed environmental hazard suit in the lab, he would have surely died.

Were it not for his brilliance in mechanical engineering that allowed him to modify that suit to sustain the sub-zero temperatures he needed now, he would not have lived long enough to see his plan through.

"Nora......I still see your face, in my nightmares. My last hope for saving you, dashed into shards by that monster Osborn........my love, my hate, my every feeling.....frozen dead inside of me now."

Since the incident, Victor had been creating a compact version of the cryogenic stasis generator that had allowed him to keep his wife alive in suspended animation. The generator could rapidly lower the air to nearly absolute zero, freezing a body instantaneously without the destructive expansion of ice. The stasis tube, however, needed even exposure from all sides in a precisely controlled environment; a single compact cryo-projector could still freeze instantly, but not in any way that would preserve the tissues inside.

That flaw was perfectly fine with Victor Fries; he had no intention of keeping the target of this weapon alive.

"Norman Osborn destroyed the one person I loved," he said, powering up the cryogenic projector. "And he will suffer for it. He will learn that revenge...."



"....is a dish best served cold."

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Old 10-21-2012, 02:35 AM   #941
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Bludhaven


Since its founding in 1904, the city of Bludhaven had always been in the shadow of the larger and more famous Gotham City. While Gotham supplied jobs with a wide variety of careers, there were only three jobs a Bludhavenite could pursue. The first option was to get job at one of the large industrial plants around town making things like rope, brakepads, and fiberglass. Another option was work on the docks as a stevedore, loading and unloading the break bulk and ro-ro cargo that, for one reason or another, skipped Gotham and unloaded in Bludhaven. The third career path was that of a criminal. You could break legs or run numbers for a living. It was lucrative, to be sure, but it came with its own set of problems and headaches. But to ask those involved, it sure as hell beat the other options.

Blue collar workers and criminals. That's pretty much Bludhaven's history in a nutshell. It's never been as loud or as large and its metropolitan neighbor. But now, the city had been thrust into the spotlight by a madman from the Gotham.

Two days ago, the Joker destroyed city hall. In the process, the mayor, half of his staff, and the city's top judges were all murdered. While he was in Gotham, on live TV, the Joker managed to escape and flee. All information points to him holding up in Bludhaven somewhere.

Like earlier stated, there are only three main job opportunities for the citizens of the city. So, when it comes to finding out where the Joker is hiding, you don't ask the longshoremen. You don't ask the brick makers or the assembly line workers.




I talk to the scum. Two days in town, and already I have a half-complete list of all the major players inside the city. The man I had shoved against the wall with a bloody nose and broken collarbone was Mikael Grozni. Leader of the local Red Mafiya outfit. Though, but nothing like what I was used to.

"The Joker," I growled, twisting his arm behind his back.

"I don't know," he sputtered out.

"Liar," I said without any inflection. Instead of seething rage or disgust, I went with cold and calculating. Without any hint of hestitation, I drove my palm into his broken collarbone. Grozni squealed, his body squirming against my iron grip. "Where is he?" I asked again, totally calm. "You lie again, I pull the arm out the socket."

"Please, no!... 105th. Third apartment on the east side of the street. Apartment 3C. That's all I know. I swear!"

Without a word, I smacked Grozni's head against the wall and knocked him unconscious. Reaching into my belt, I pulled the grapnel gun from my belt and shot off into the night, riding the cable over the streets and buildings.



*****



I looked in on the apartment building from the other side of the street. My thermal lenses confirmed that there was one body inside the apartment, moving around. I was too close away to confirm that it was the Joker. I jumped from the ledge, my cape catching and going rigid. I glided silently over to the building and landed on a ledge leading into the apartment window. I began to pry open the window when I saw a shadowy figure bolt across the apartment.

Swearing under my breath, I tossed subtly aside and jumped through the window. I crashed though the glass and rolled across the apartment floor, springing up to meet the person in flight.



"Who the hell are you?" She asked, striking out with a claw-tipped glove. I backed out of the way, countering her attack with a move that spun her backwards against the wall.

"Where's the Joker?" I asked, pinning the woman to the wall. She struggled against me, trying to claw through my body armor.

"I don't know!" She said, shaking her head. "A fence I did business with sent me here because he said it was going to be an easy mark, okay?! I don't know where that freak is!"

That was when my cowl chimed, data going across my right lense.

Warning: Trace amounts of ammonium nitrate/nitromethane detected in atmosphere.

With the intruder struggling against me, I grabbed her wrist and shoved her towards the window. I put my arms around her and jumped through the window just as the bomb inside went off.

A massive explosion rocked the building, the concussive blast knocking us farther away. I held on to the woman with one arm as we fell. With my free hand, I pulled out my grapnel gun and shot a line up into the air. It caught, and we swung away from the fire to a nearby building.

"I don't know who sent you to that building," I said as we landed. "But whoever it was, they set you up."

"Just my luck," she said, shaking her head."Who's your fence?"

"That's for me to know, and for you to find out."

"Whoever it is, they're in bed with the Joker. We sooner I know the name, the sooner I know where Joker is, the sooner this madness can all stop."

"I'll take you to them."

"No."

"Yes. This Joker tried to kill me, too. I know you're that Batguy from Gotham, right? Well, I want to help. I want to get back at that bastard for trying to kill me."

"You go as far as taking me to your fence."

She smiled and turned away.

"We'll see. For now, follow me, Batsy. Just remember what they say about crossing paths with a Black Cat."

With that, she jumped from the building and into the night.

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Old 10-30-2012, 11:38 PM   #942
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Previously


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Berlin


The Fantastic Four were gathered around the table with the members of the worldwide resistance. Laid out in front of them was a holographic display of a global map. The old man -- who had once called himself Captain America -- was showing the group points of interest along the world.

"Doom now controls about 98% of the world. The only two countries not under his influence and control are Kahndaq and Genosha. Although Genosha has been under siege for nearly three years now. We expect Magneto to attempt to break the blockade any day now."

"What about the United States?" Reed asked, pointing at a group of gray spots that broke up the solid green that covered most of North America.

"That's rebel territory," Rogers said. "What little sanctuary we find, it's there. Gotham City and Metropolis are the last free cities in America. The Batman heads up the government and military in Gotham, Lex Luthor does the same in Metropolis. But every day they lose more and more ground to Doom."

"What can the resistance do to stop it?" Sue asked, looking up from the map at Rogers.

"Realistically? Next to nothing. We're outnumbered almost 100 to 1, and we lose more every passing day. The only thing we can do is hold on, fight where we can, and maybe one day we'll get lucky. Regardless if we win or not, we'll prove to that bastard that we're not pushovers."

"What is your plan, Doctor Richards?" The man next to Rogers asked. He was light-skinned, with salt and pepper hair. He wore a black trenchcoat over a black shirt. Rogers had introduced him as John Jones, or something that sounded like John Jones. "You've come to the resistance with a purpose. I can feel it in your mind, the way the cogs are turning and spinning. You have something in mind."

"I do, indeed," he said with a smirk. "And it involves Egypt."

"Egypt? That's Kahndaq territory. At least for now. It's always switching hands between Adam and Doom back and forth, back and forth. It won't be easy, but it's easier than smuggling ourselves into Latveria. What do you need?"

"Tools and materials. I plan on building a time machine..."

Reed smiled as he watched the skeptical faces looking at him. Well, most of the faces were skeptical. Three faces in particular were impassive. To them, it wasn't the first time he had announced something like that.

"To what end, Doctor?" Rogers asked with an arched eyebrow.

"To stop Victor from changing the past and thereby erasing this alternate timeline altogether. Nip it in the bud, as it were."

"Steven-," John said urgently. "Five minds incoming. It's them--"

The side of the wall burst open, a giant red blast cutting the bricks and mortar apart like a hot knife through butter. A lone figure stepped through the hole and sneered at the group gathered in front of him.

"It's the X-Men..."



"By order of King Von Doom," Scott Summers said, his one remaining eye glowing red behind its monocle visor. "You are all under arrest for terrorism. Resist, and you will be liquidated on the spot."



With a growl, Ben drove his rocky fist into the metal man's chest. The large, metallic covered mutant flew backwards and smashed into a wall. Behind Ben, Johnny laid down a layer of flames onto a man covered in ice. Shrugging the intense heat off, he blew freezing wind from his mouth and snuffed out the flames on Johnny's hands.

Scott Summers shot an optic blast at Reed. He contorted his body flat and fell to the floor to avoid the shot. All around him and Sue, Rogers' soldiers went into action, attacking the mutant combatants furiously and without remorse.

"C'mon," Rogers said, tugging at Reed's prone leg. "Get your friends. My men can hold the X-Men back long enough for us to escape."

Rogers looked at the man who called himself John Jones and nodded. The man returned the gesture before he turned to the gang of mutants. His form shifted, from a middle-aged man to that of a large and ferocious dragon. He shot a column of fire at the attacking mutants and sent them scattering.

While Jones distracted the mutants, Rogers led the Fantastic Four through the back of the underground chamber. They walked through corridors so narrow, Ben's shoulders scraped against the brick.

"These tunnels down here were built by the Nazis. They used them as escape routes when the allies burst through their lines and bum-rushed Berlin. What's that the kids call that? Irony?"


"What was the deal back there, anyway? Figures the X-Men wouldn't throw their lot in with a bum like Doom..."

"Forceful mutant equality was one of the first things Von Doom did when he took over. The absolute first thing he did was try and kill Charles Xavier and Magneto. He got one out of the two. With Xavier dead, most of mutantkind were eating out of his hand. Only a few thousand followed Magneto to Genosha."

They came to an end of the corridor and into an open space. There was a staircase that led down to a dock. Tied to the dock was a small submarine.

"Should be plenty of room for the five of us, the Major back there included. Let's hurry."

They quickly went down the steps towards the sub. They reached the dock when men emerged from the waters on all sides. They were clad in scuba gear, weapons in their hands.

"By the order of King Von Doom," one of the men said, "you are ordered to stand down."

Chuckling, Ben grabbed the weapon of the closest soldier. He grabbed the barrel, bending it with ease.

"Guns. Ain't that cute..."

The Fantastic Four, with Rogers at their side, made quick work of the soldiers. In just a minute, they were all unconscious or incapacitated. Johnny and Ben high-fived while Rogers attempted to catch his breath.

"Sorry you had to carry me. I'm a bit slower than I used to be."

"Considering you're what, a hundred, and you still took out six? If anything, I should be ashamed I didn't kick more asses."

"Thanks for the compliment?"

"Don't mention it, dude. No, wait, people your age don't say dude. Don't mention it, pal."

"C'mon, we need to get into the sub, now."

They followed Rogers into the sub. Ben detached the rope from the craft before he squeezed inside.
"Can this get us to Egypt?"

"Nope, but this can get us to the North Sea. From there, we can get to London. I got some people in England that can get us to the Middle East lickity split. Here we go."

Rogers activated the sub and began to dive. Up above, they could hear shouts approaching. The sub disappeared under the waters of river Spree just as the X-Men and Doom's soldiers burst through the entrance into the space.

"Dammit," Summer said, wiping blood and ash from his shoulder. "Checkpoints, people. At every bridge on the Spree heading north. I want eyes on the waters at all times, every psychic and precog on the bridges, looking for thoughts. Any unusual movement is to be reported to the Latverian Intelligence Bureau."

"What is your plan?" The large metal man at Summers' side asked.

"We find them. You know the price for failure," he said, thinking of the empty socket where his left eye had been. "We either come back with Rogers and the terrorist, or we don't come back at all."

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Old 11-02-2012, 09:17 PM   #943
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Luthor studies the video of the two battles of Superman and The Hulk on 4 floating screens in his penthous suite overlooking Metropolis. He paces around like a lion sizing up his prey and slowly shakes his head in frustration.

Alexis says, "We have been working on the studying of Superman in these videos for the last 12 hours might I suggest a break to refresh yourself."

Luthor replies, "Suggestion received and ignored Alexis. There has to be something we are missing here. He deprived me of The Hulk and he has the capablilty of becoming the most powerful man on the planet. A title I alone deserve not some meta-human in tights."

Alexis says, "Be that as it may Mr. Luthor we are no closer to any of the answers than we were 12 hours ago."

Luthor sits on a couch made of fine leather and stares at the ceiling for the moment.

After a few moments in silence he says, "Alexis contact General Samuel Lane at the Defense Department."

A few moments later Luthor hears a voice, "General Lane."

Luthor says, "General Lane this is Lex Luthor."

Lane replies, "What do you want Luthor? I've got a paperwork to finish filling out before...."

Luthor says, "Your retirement next year I know..."

Lane replies, "How did you know? Those plans are not public knowledge."

Luthor says, "Really General do you think I got to my position without having sources in very high places."

Lane replies, "Looks like I need to have a review of my staff before I go."

Luthor says, "Really General by the time you do a complete review like you need you'll be retired. Let me cut to the chase I happen to know that you're very interested in a career in politics after you retire. Possibly a run for the U-S Senate. Correct?"

The line is silent and Luthor says, "By your silence I'll take that as yes. That being said how would like for your path to the U-S Senate to be free and clear of all obstructions?"

Lane replies, "I'm listening."

Luthor says, "I am heavliy invovled with the Tomorrow Party. I also bank-roll about 75% of the Power to the Future superpac, and my endorsement has proven to sufficent enough to get Senators Edwards, Winslow, Loomis, Myers, Russell, and Couline elected. I can do the same for you sir."

Lane asks, "And what do I have to do to earn these gifts?"

Luthor replies, "Simple General. You've been collecting a file on Superman. I know this about you. You're not very trusting of him I see it on your face everytime you hear his name. I want that file General. That's all I want. Once I have that your ticket to the U-S Senate will be punched personally by me."

Lane says, "Mr. Luthor if that file did exist it is Government property."

Luthor replies, "Under the freedom of information of act I can have my lawyers pick it up in two hours. Not to mention I can make it very public and that could open up a Pandora's Box the Government may not want to have opened."

Lane says, "Luthor, what is in that file is theory, rumors, very shaky eyewitness reports, and supposition. Nothing of great fact."

Luthor replies, "General as a military man you know as well as I do that even in the wildest rumor there is always a grain of truth."

Lane is silent but Lex can hear a drawer opening and then a pen writing.

Lane says, "I am sending you the file by certifed mail."

Luthor replies, "Thank you General, or should I say Senator."

Lane chuckles and says, "General will work for now Luthor. Just one thing I want to know. Why do you want the file?"

Luthor replies, "I'm curious about possibly dealing with him, and I would like to know about him."

Lane asks, "Dealing with him? Would that possibly include combat?"

Luthor replies, "At this point sir I think it's best you don't know anymore for now."

Lane says, "Fair enough. Thank you Mr. Luthor I look forward to serving you and the people of Metropolis in the next election."

Luthor says, "No no General I thank you sir. Once your Senate exploritory committee is assembled let me know and I'll get to work on your behalf."

The two make some more idle small talk and eventually hang up.

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Old 11-03-2012, 12:54 PM   #944
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Bruce sits on a bench just outside of Wayne Towers. Close enough to see what is going on but far enough away to avoid being seen by the security cameras.

He peers over the top of a newspaper and sees a tall brunette leave the towers and he begins to follow her while trying to keep his distance but knowing if she gets too far he'll lose her.

I really need to review that section on tailing people again. It looks so easy in the movies.


The brunette is within a block of her offices at Wayne Enterprises and Banner knows if she reaches the doors he'll lose her.

Banner catches up with her just steps away from the entrance and says in a hushed voice, "Gotham been good to you so far Jen?"

Jennifer Walters glances over and visibly shaken to see her "late" cousin Bruce Banner very much alive, with a goatee and a new black hair look.

She says, "Bruce...you're..."

Bruce says, "Sporting a new hairdo? Yeah it's taking me sometime to get used to."

Jen stops and just looks at her cousin. Bruce says, "Can we go someplace private? I really hate being in the public view for too long."

Jen still shocked asks, "What's going on? I was at your funeral I saw the casket get lowered. How?"

Bruce replies, "I'll explain it all but we gotta get off the streets."


Jen replies, "Come on follow me"

The two make their way to a coffee shop 3 blocks away from Wayne Enterprises.

Jen orders them each a bagel and a mocha. She brings them to Bruce who sitting at a table in the corner.

She says, "Let me preface what I am about to say with I'm glad you're alive. Now what the hell is going on?"

Bruce explains the situation to Jen and when he is done she takes it all in and says, "If all this is true why are you here and not some place else? Bruce the Government is bound to be looking in all the major cities like this one."

Bruce replies, "Because I need your help."

Jen says, "With what legal representation? It's an uphill climb but I might be able to..."

Bruce shakes his head and says, "No no not that. The people we are dealing with here want to kill me and they can make it look like an accident. I need your help in getting a job at Wayne Enterprises."


Jen says, "In the lab? Bruce you'd stick out like a sore thumb!"

Bruce replies, "No not there. I figure as a night-time janitor. I can get to the lab and do some work there. I've seen the equipment that they have there. They gotta have something that can cure me."

Jen says, "I don't know this is a very dangerous game you're playing here cuz."

Bruce says, "You think?"

Jen sighs and shakes her head and says, "Sorry."

Bruce replies, "It's okay this is a lot to take in, but I have no other choice Jen. Come on what good is it being the lawyer to one of the most powerful men on the planet if you can't use a little nepotism for your favorite cuz?"

Jen says, "You're my only cousin so that makes you my favorite by default."

Jen collects her thoughts for a moment and says, "Okay I'll see what I can do. You can stay with me for now...."

Bruce shakes his head and says, "No if I'm with you you're a target. I'm staying in a boarding house between here and the narrows with a guy named Jean Paul Valley I'm registered under the name of Randall Stevens. The place is called the Harkness Place."

Jen asks, "Isn't that the name of the guy in the Shawshank Redemption?"

Bruce replies, "They don't own that name."

Jen looks at watch and says, "Okay I gotta run I got a merger proposal to review for Mr. Wayne and I'll do what I can to help once I'm done with that. I'll be by to see you tonight when I get off work."

Bruce nods and says, "That'll do Jen. Thank you cuz."

Jen says, "Don't thank me yet. We still gotta long way to go."

Bruce nods and as Jen stands to leave she says, "Just keep your temper in check. Things can get crazy in Gotham last thing we need is 9 feet tall rage monster running around."

Bruce chuckles a bit as Jen leaves.

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Old 11-03-2012, 07:43 PM   #945
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Default Re: One Earth: The Marvel/DC RPG

Doom stood over the charred corpse of what was once a man that was curled up at his feet, still smoking. The Doombots came and removed what remained of the man who had the misfortune of being the bearer of the bad news to Doom.

Doom quietly strode across the chamber, making his way to his throne, which was flanked by a man decorated in military garb.

"General Eiling..."
, Doom uttered as the man saluted his King.

"Sir...the mutants are still in pursuit, and we have Baron Orin of Atlantis following the sub's trail...it won't be long until they're captured. Shall I summon the Kryptonian, my Lord?"

Doom remained silent...his mind was working on figuring out what Reed's plan was, and he had a good idea.

"No...have Superman meet me in Egypt. I shall leave for there immediately. The X-Men and Orin should suffice to keep them occupied long enough so that I may prepare a proper welcome for Richards and his family", Doom commanded before he turned around and departed towards his personal hanger, leaving the saluting Eiling to carry out his orders.

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Old 11-09-2012, 01:31 AM   #946
Andy C.
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Conrad Downs was a peaceful enough neighborhood, in the closest approximation the city of Blüdhaven had to a suburb. While there wasn't much white-collar work to be found in the city, there were enough well-off people to maintain a few havens of domestic bliss, detached from the grime of Blüdhaven itself and far enough from Gotham City to pretend that it didn't really exist. If you worked hard enough and saved your money, just about anyone could get their own little slice of the American Dream in 'burbs like Conrad Downs.

Craig Fitzsimmons was one of the 'just about anybody' who had recently taken up residence in the Downs, a banker who bought a nice split-level home that was a little too '70s for his personal tastes but had exactly the right price. He and his wife Carol had worked and saved and scrounged for five years to buy their own house, out of the tumble-down apartments of Blüdhaven's less-than-ideal neighborhoods so they could start a family.

Six months ago, they had moved into their dream home.

That dream had recently become a nightmare.

The Fitzsimmons' neighbors barely noticed that Craig's car hadn't left the driveway in several days. They didn't remark on the fact that the yard, Craig's never-ending pet project, was starting to look a bit ragged. Even in the nicer neighborhoods, Blüdhavenites weren't really the kind to look out for each other.

So it wouldn't be much of a surprise to say that none of the neighbors had any idea that Craig Fitzsimmons was chained to the radiator in his own basement, covered in bruises and lacerations, living off of nothing but a bucket of dog food.

"Feelin' okay down there, Stinky?" the Joker called down to the basement from upstairs-- the clown had been calling him 'Stinky' due to the smell of Craig's waste, having to relieve himself on the floor next to him.

Having been left in the dark by himself for days, Fitzsimmons had to shield his eyes from the almost blinding light from the kitchen as the Joker flung the door wide open and made his way down the stairs.

"I gotta thank you again for letting me crash here a few days," he said, a mockingly warm smile on his face. "There are only so many places a guy can go in Gotham before people find him, and when you're planning the kinda gag that I had in mind, you want a little privacy, y'know?"

Fitzsimmons looked up, and began to sputter.

"Please.....please lemme go....I won't tell anyone, I swear, just.....just lemme go....."

"Oh, come on, Craig, don't be like that," the Joker said, acting hurt. "This was just starting to get entertaining! And besides, I won't be staying here much longer. I just wanted to explain myself a little bit."

Grabbing a folding chair from the corner, the Joker calmly sat down, just outside of Fitzsimmons' reach.

"See, when you're a guy like me," the clown began, "You tend to run with some really seedy people. Gangsters, drug dealers, murderers, rapists, real scum of the Earth folks, y'know? But the worst part about people like that.....is that they're such intolerable gossips."

Craig stared blankly at the killer, not really understanding what this had to do with him.

"So when I blew up City Hall and killed the Mayor of Blüdhaven-- oh, I forgot to tell you, I blew up City Hall and killed the Mayor of Blüdhaven and about a hundred or so other people-- I knew the Batman was going to come looking for me. I also knew about a naughty little cat burglar you people have got running around in your city. And I knew about a safe-house that some of the black-hats in this city use to hide from the cops."

The Joker's smile began to twitch, like he was coming up on the best part of a particularly bad joke.

"So I arranged a little meeting. Now the Batman knows about me, he knows about the Black Cat, and he knows about the safe-house........but he doesn't know that the whole place is rigged to blow! HA!"

The killer fought hard to keep his chuckles under control, if only so he could finish explaining himself to Fitzsimmons.

"I mean, yeah, it probably won't kill him," he said. "At least, not the first one. But Blüdhaven's got an awful lot of easily-scared fences and wannabe mobsters who know a lot of hideouts throughout the city. I've been leaving little surprises for the Bat and the Cat in each one of them--explosives, big guys with big guns, canisters of my killer laughing gas, you name it! He's gonna go through hell looking for me tonight....."

He leaned back in his chair, clasping his hands together behind his head.

"While I get to kick back and enjoy a few more hours of suburban paradise," he said. "A nice fully-stocked kitchen, tasteful cedar furniture,digital cable, high-speed internet--you would not believe the things I've been using your identity online for, by the way--a nice big bed with that space-age memory foam stuff for the mattress........oh, and of course, that lovely wife of yours."

The Joker's smile made Craig's skin crawl.

"Carol.......oh God......"

"'Oh God' is right, Stinky, my friend," he said, his grin growing more sickening than usual. "You sure knew how to pick 'em, didn't you, you sly dog you? Those big blue eyes, those pouting lips, a pair of legs that just won't quit........I have to admit.......I just couldn't resist.......and neither could she...."

The clown gave him a knowing look, and Craig finally broke.

"You sick bastard," he wailed, his voice cracking with both horror and anger. "I'll ****ing kill you, I swear to God, ****ing kill you!"

As Fitzsimmons swore and cursed and sputtered with awful rage, the Joker began to roar with laughter.

"BAAAAAAAAAAAA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA-HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

He shrieked and howled and chuckled, and chortled, and snorted, before calming down.

"Haha.....heeheeheee......heh......oh, man............nah, I'm just messin' with ya."

Craig stared, dumbfounded in disbelief.

"You.......you didn't--"

"No, no, no, wouldn't dream of it," he said, waving his hands in disgust. "I was just yanking your chain a little bit there, buddy. I mean, I killed her days ago."

The wave of relief that washed over Fitzsimmons was dashed apart against a swelling of abject horror.

"Wha--....no, you......you're lying!"

The Joker shrugged.

"Maybe," he said, getting up from his chair. "Maybe she's just tied up in another room of the house. Maybe I bashed her brains in with a pipe wrench as soon as I got you down here. Maybe a lot of things. It doesn't really matter, though--you're probably not going to live long enough to find out."

The madman walked over to his quivering victim, and patted him on the shoulder.

"But hey......you should've seen the look on your face," he said, smiling from ear to ear.

The Joker turned and began to head up the stairs.

"Anyway, Batman should be here in a few hours if he doesn't get himself killed," he said over his shoulder. "In the meantime, I'm gonna order some Chinese, maybe come back down and cut your throat. I'm thinkin' chicken lo mein. Chicken lo mein sound good to you?"

Craig Fitzsimmons just stared back up at the killer, confused and enraged and terrified beyond the capacity to speak.

"Suit yourself; more for me, then!" he said before slamming the door, leaving the man chained up in the dark again.


Last edited by Andy C.; 11-09-2012 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:47 PM   #947
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Default Re: One Earth: The Marvel/DC RPG


Bruce lays on his bed in his apartment reading over his I-Pad information when there is a knock at the door.

He answers and sees Jen standing there and he says, "Hey Jen come on in."

Jen enters and Bruce asks, "Can I get you anything?"

Jen replies, "No I can't stay but so long."

She looks around at the apartment and to say it is Spartan is to be kind.

Jen asks, "Are you sure you don't wanna stay at my place?"

Bruce shakes his head and replies, "No I can't Jen. You're a high-powered lawyer working for one of the most powerful men in the world. Too high-profile and too risky."


Jen nods and says, "Fair enough" She hands him some forms and says, "Here sign where I've indicated and fill in the blank areas. There are a couple of night-time positions opened in Security and House Keeping."

Bruce begins filling out the information and says, "House keeping perfect low-profile job."

Jen says, "You should hear something in 24 hours."


Bruce looks up as he finishes and says, "That fast? Wow. Thanks cousin."

Jen nods and says, "I have some connections. You're a friend of the family relocating and needing a job is the story."

She looks around and asks, "Where's your roomie?"


Bruce hands her the forms and says, "He works on the night shift at the docks won't be back here until about 4am."

Jen nods and looking over the forms says, "All-right then."

Bruce says, "Jen thank you. For everything."

She puts her hand on his cheek and says, "Family takes care of family Bruce."

Jen leaves and Bruce goes back to his I-Pad studying time.

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Old 11-09-2012, 01:07 PM   #948
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Lex begins to study the file sent to him by General Lane when Alexis says, "Excuse me Mr. Luthor. You need to begin getting ready for the LexCorp Towers reopening, and also Dr. Hank Pym is on line 214."

Luthor closes the file and says, "Thank you Alexis please contact Miss Grave and have her get my Tux ready. Also patch Dr. Pym through on a secure alpha video line."

Alexis replies, "At once sir. By the way has the file been an interesting read you've been studying it all day?"

Lex replies, "Some interesting nuggets here and there. The one that captures my mind is the possible theory that Superman is not from this world. Just a theory but an interesting one none the less."

Alexis says, "Of course sir. Dr. Pym is ready patching him through now."

Lex looks at the monitor and says, "Dr. Pym how go things in Ethiopia? Well I hope."

Pym replies, "We found something sir. Several somethings to be exact."

Pym holds out the camera and there are several glowing colorful fragments of meteorite in a field.

Lex says, "Meteorites? Okay Pym you got 30 seconds to keep my interest."

Pym replies, "Sir look at these readings. These are really time."

Lex pulls up the information and raises an eyebrow slightly.

He says, "Very interesting indeed Dr. Pym. That green one is giving off some fantastic energy signatures and low level radiation. Most interesting."

Pym nods and says, "These meteorites sir are so fascinating. I can't wait to study them further."

Lex smiles and says, "Your enthusiasm is well founded Dr. Pym. A job well done to you and your team. I'll dispatch a containment team to you within the next two hours. Once they arrive I want you and your team to come home at once, so you can begin your work on them in more suitable surroundings. Again a job well done to you and your team Dr. Pym "

Pym nods and says, "Thank you sir."

Lex ends the call and has Alexis dispatch a containment unit while he prepares for the evening's party.

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:01 PM   #949
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"Why do you think he took Jay, Steve?" Alan asks form the couch across from me in the first Flash's home, which pulls me away from staring at a picture of the Invaders from the war.

"Who knows why the Skull does anything, Alan," I respond, putting the picture back on the coffee table. "He's alive, which means he's dangerous. Whatever he has planned for Jay isn't good. That's for sure. And we need to find him before that goes down."

"But how do we track him down? We didn't even know he was in the states, let alone going after one of our friends."

"We have the most powerful intelligence organization in the world behind us," I say, standing and walking towards the window. "A guy with a red skull for a face won't be able to stay hidden for long."

**********

"You haven't told him dear?" Joan asks Agent 13.

"Of course not. He's got enough on his plate," she responds. "There's no need for me to dump that on him as well."

"But he needs to know," Joan says, putting her hand on the spy's shoulder. "I mean...why wouldn't he want to know?"

"We have to save Jay," she responds. "And then I'll tell him."

And that's when they hear a call from the living room.

"Ted just called in! Skull's been sighted in Los Angeles! We're heading there now!"

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Old 11-10-2012, 09:34 PM   #950
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Previously


Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
With a growl, Ben drove his rocky fist into the metal man's chest. The large, metallic covered mutant flew backwards and smashed into a wall. Behind Ben, Johnny laid down a layer of flames onto a man covered in ice. Shrugging the intense heat off, he blew freezing wind from his mouth and snuffed out the flames on Johnny's hands.

Scott Summers shot an optic blast at Reed. He contorted his body flat and fell to the floor to avoid the shot. All around him and Sue, Rogers' soldiers went into action, attacking the mutant combatants furiously and without remorse.

"C'mon," Rogers said, tugging at Reed's prone leg. "Get your friends. My men can hold the X-Men back long enough for us to escape."

Rogers looked at the man who called himself John Jones and nodded. The man returned the gesture before he turned to the gang of mutants. His form shifted, from a middle-aged man to that of a large and ferocious dragon. He shot a column of fire at the attacking mutants and sent them scattering.

While Jones distracted the mutants, Rogers led the Fantastic Four through the back of the underground chamber. They walked through corridors so narrow, Ben's shoulders scraped against the brick.

"These tunnels down here were built by the Nazis. They used them as escape routes when the allies burst through their lines and bum-rushed Berlin. What's that the kids call that? Irony?"


"What was the deal back there, anyway? Figures the X-Men wouldn't throw their lot in with a bum like Doom..."

"Forceful mutant equality was one of the first things Von Doom did when he took over. The absolute first thing he did was try and kill Charles Xavier and Magneto. He got one out of the two. With Xavier dead, most of mutantkind were eating out of his hand. Only a few thousand followed Magneto to Genosha."

They came to an end of the corridor and into an open space. There was a staircase that led down to a dock. Tied to the dock was a small submarine.

"Should be plenty of room for the five of us, the Major back there included. Let's hurry."

They quickly went down the steps towards the sub. They reached the dock when men emerged from the waters on all sides. They were clad in scuba gear, weapons in their hands.

"By the order of King Von Doom," one of the men said, "you are ordered to stand down."

Chuckling, Ben grabbed the weapon of the closest soldier. He grabbed the barrel, bending it with ease.

"Guns. Ain't that cute..."

The Fantastic Four, with Rogers at their side, made quick work of the soldiers. In just a minute, they were all unconscious or incapacitated. Johnny and Ben high-fived while Rogers attempted to catch his breath.

"Sorry you had to carry me. I'm a bit slower than I used to be."

"Considering you're what, a hundred, and you still took out six? If anything, I should be ashamed I didn't kick more asses."

"Thanks for the compliment?"

"Don't mention it, dude. No, wait, people your age don't say dude. Don't mention it, pal."

"C'mon, we need to get into the sub, now."

They followed Rogers into the sub. Ben detached the rope from the craft before he squeezed inside.
"Can this get us to Egypt?"

"Nope, but this can get us to the North Sea. From there, we can get to London. I got some people in England that can get us to the Middle East lickity split. Here we go."

Rogers activated the sub and began to dive. Up above, they could hear shouts approaching. The sub disappeared under the waters of river Spree just as the X-Men and Doom's soldiers burst through the entrance into the space.

"Dammit," Summer said, wiping blood and ash from his shoulder. "Checkpoints, people. At every bridge on the Spree heading north. I want eyes on the waters at all times, every psychic and precog on the bridges, looking for thoughts. Any unusual movement is to be reported to the Latverian Intelligence Bureau."

"What is your plan?" The large metal man at Summers' side asked.

"We find them. You know the price for failure," he said, thinking of the empty socket where his left eye had been. "We either come back with Rogers and the terrorist, or we don't come back at all."



Two Days Later
Egypt/Kahndaq Border



The moon shone brightly over the desert, illuminating the seemingly endless rolling sands for miles. A small caravan navigated through the wastes towards their destination. Most of the people in the caravan rode camels. A reinforced cart pulled by four horses carried the one person too big for a camel.

At the forefront, Colonel Rogers rode with a scarf around his neck and face. He rode closely beside their guide while Reed, Sue, and Johnny rode in front of the cart carrying Ben. Behind them were a whole platoon of freedom fighters, on loan from the King of Kahndaq, Teth-Adam. The past 48 hours had been surreal for them, to say the least. They had fought off Doombots in London, sea monsters and the kind of Atlantis in the Mediterranean, and now they were only a few miles from their goal.

"How certain are you that this will work?" Sue asked, looking at Reed in the moonlight.

"I'm not certain at all. There's no telling what Victor may have done to this time machine after he was finished with it. Best case scenario is he may have boobytrapped it. Worst case scenario, he blew it up when he was done."

"If it is disabled? What then?"

"We run again. We run until I can build one from scratch. Although that might take awhile."

"What if you can't build one?" Ben asked from the cart.

"We invest heavily in lube,"
Johnny said casually. "Because Doom is gonna shoving that armored boot of his so far up our asses, we'll be tasting metal on our tongues."

Reed urged his camel on and sped up, riding alongside Rogers.

"How far are we out from the pyramids?" He asked the colonel.

Rogers and the guide had a brief conversation in Arabic before he replied to Reed.

"He says a few miles away. We should see them as we come up over the ridge."

The camels began up a dune and came over it. The Giza Necropolis came into sight. In the middle was the centerpiece, the Great Pyramid of Giza. In front of the pyramids, shining in the moonlight, was the mighty Sphinx. The statue was surrounded by fences and spotlights. Outside the fences were a half dozen tanks.

"This won't be easy."

"Nothing worth a damn ever is, son."

"He knew we were coming."


"Without a doubt."

They rode in silence for another few minutes before Rogers spoke again.

"Whatever happens here tonight, whether we beat Doom or he beats us, we need to end it. I been fighting depots, dictators, and megalomaniacs since I was twenty-seven. Everyone else in the resistance has been rounded up and sent to Doom's camps. I send pawns into harm's way and watch them get chewed up. I'm tired of it, Reed. I'm tired of watching good people die. This cycle needs to end. For better or worse, the war against Doom ends tonight. This is where the global resistance makes its last stand."

"You know, only you can be totally defeated but yet give a speech like that."

"'The victor is not victorious if the vanquished does not consider himself so.'"

"If we're swapping quotes, let me add: 'Into the valley of Death, rode the six hundred.'"


Rogers nodded at Reed and looked forward as the caravan rode down towards the pyramids.

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