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Old 07-22-2016, 09:08 PM   #1
Andy C.
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Default Ultimate DC: Rebirth


Ten years ago, the world changed forever, when mankind was introduced to the Superman.

Making his presence known to mankind in response to a world-threatening crisis, the Kryptonian who had lived in secret among humanity emerged from shadows and by his actions declared himself their protector. While the cataclysmic circumstances that forced his debut cast him in controversy, over time Superman became not just a champion of the defenseless, but an exemplar for others who wielded incredible power such as his.

Less than a year after the Black Zero event, researchers in a branch of STAR Labs in Central City accidentally unleashed a cascade wave of extradimensional energy that swept across the world, causing unexpected mutations in an unknown percentage of the population. These people, dubbed Metahumans by the scientific community, gave birth to a new and extremely powerful generation of protectors such as the Flash, and dangerous criminals and terrorists like the Rogues.

Years before the events that thrust Kal-El of Krypton and the Metahuman Race onto the world stage, there were stories of garish vigilantes who tackled the forces of evil, half-believed folk tales of 'mystery men' who worked in the shadows. A mythical 'Wonder Woman' who fought for freedom and justice when Europe descended into madness and war. The powerful but elusive 'Justice Society of America' who kept the peace back home when the United States went to war again. The 'Bat-Man' who was the stuff of nightmares for the criminal underworld of Gotham City and beyond.

The legacy of these vigilantes and 'mystery men,' brought into the light of day by the arrival of Superman and the Metahumans, were the foundation of a new idea, something that would guide the course of events in the years to come: the Superhero. Not merely a crimefighter or a monster-hunter, a Superhero was a bringer of hope in a world fraught with danger and uncertainty, a light in the dark for all to see.

With the eyes of the world upon them at all times, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest would slowly but surely define what being a Superhero was.....and their opposites-- Lex Luthor, the Joker, the Cheetah, and countless more--would provide the response in the form of the Supervillain. Conflict between the two ideals was inevitable, and over the years the clashes have been too numerous to count.

It has been ten years since Superman's arrival and the Battle of Metropolis.

Nine since the advent of the Metahumans.

Eight since the creation of the Justice League.

Seven since the First Crisis.

Six since Superman's death at the hands of the monster Doomsday.

Five since the forming of the Titans and the War of the Light.

Four since the reign of the Justice Lords and the resurrection of Superman.

Three since the schism that split the Outsiders away from the Titans.

Two since the Flashpoint Crisis.

One year since the Earthquake that rendered Gotham City a No Man's Land.

The world has indeed changed.....and it is far from done changing.......

Ultimate DC Universe: REBIRTH


Sign-Up/OOC Thread Here

RULES:

1: Players are allowed a maximum of three characters, from within the DC Universe. Continuity is player-created, so please check the approved character roster to make sure there are no conflicts in the agreed-upon 'canon.'

2: Players are expected to post at least once every two weeks with each of their characters. Failure to do so will result in being removed from the active roster, and their character goes up for grabs.

3: Player-controlled characters are not to be killed without explicit permission from the player. This extends to high-profile NPCs such as Lois Lane or Jim Gordon.

4: You can travel anywhere you like, on Earth or even off-planet if it is within your character's means. Time travel, however, is prohibited without special permission from the GameMaster.

5: Several storylines are expected to go on at once, and participation in them is strictly voluntary. If someone doesn't want to be involved in your story arc, they don't have to be. Conversely, it is considered a breach of etiquette to 'butt in' on an existing story without permission from the other players involved. Communication and respect are paramount to good role-playing.

6: Respect the GameMaster and the other players. If the GM makes a request of you, it is expected for you to either comply or to politely attempt to convince the GM otherwise. Being uncooperative or disrespectful will result in your expulsion from the game.

7: Superman would totally kick Goku's ass in a fair fight. Pretending otherwise will result in your expulsion from the game.

8: Stop looking at my butt. Seriously. Don't think I haven't noticed. It's creepy and weird.

9: I don't care if it's physically impossible to look at my butt from a computer screen halfway across the country, I know you're looking at it in you mind. Don't give me that; you're all a bunch of freaks.

10: Ummm......have fun and enjoy the game?


Last edited by Andy C.; 07-23-2016 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:07 PM   #2
Byrd Man
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Default Re: Ultimate dc: Rebirth

Prologue
Criminal Darwinism

"Vengeance is the cheapest of motivations, it’s a tin star on a shabby coat. I want answers. It's all that I want."
-- Ben H. Winters


The Cheetah Lounge
Opal City, PA
11:14 PM



Anthony Di Pasqua looked at the stubby cigar smoldering in the glass ashtray on his desk. It was a thin Panamanian Cigar with weak tobacco and loose wrapping. They were made to look like Cubans on the surface, but closer inspection revealed them to be poor imitators. That could sum up the mob in Opal City these days, sum up America as a whole as far as he was concerned. Everyone was just passing on the surface, nothing underneath. The criminals included. When Anthony came into the Life, always with a capital L, forty years ago the mafia either owned or had a healthy stake in every criminal enterprise going on in the city and surrounding area. Years of FBI investigations and arrests put plenty of wiseguys behind bars.

Then there were the killings. Dozens of small conflicts with Eastern European gangs over the years culled plenty from both sides, but those Slavic heathens always had more. Kill one Croat, two more popped up to take his place. Worse than that was their own short-sighted stupidity that led to whacks for all kinds of piddly ****. Anthony knew a guy who had another guy whacked just because he spilled a drink on his shoes. The Slavs were meaner, hungrier, and they just plain wanted it more. Generations of Italians running the show had made the mob soft and complacent. The same thing happened to the Irish in Opal City back in the 40's. Like the Irish, the Mafia was no longer at the top of the food chain and they learned that fact way too late to change course. Years of attrition meant that Di Pasqua had just twenty made men working in the city. Anthony was head of the Family now, for whatever that was worth. Saying you were the mob boss of Opal City was like saying you was the world's tallest midget.

And now this new bull**** on top of all of that. Grief he did not need.

Anthony looked up at the sound of the door opening. His bodyguard Pete nodded at him through a small crack in the door. On the other side of the door, Anthony could hear the rhythmic dance music from the strip club. The Lounge was one of the wiseguy's few remaining assets in the city, a good front for money laundering as well as pushing drugs and women. The club, the drug corners on the northside, and the bookie joints in the city were the biggest money makers the mob had left after the Truce of '02.

"Ready?" Anthony asked as he stood, making sure the cheap cigar was out for good.

"They're coming in now, sir."

Three of Anthony's guys came into the room, one of them with a pistol in his hand and pushing two unwilling captives towards the desk in the middle of the room. One of them was a woman. She had straight brown hair cut short and a navy blue dress and matching flats. To her side was the other captive, several feet shorter and infinitely hairier than his companion. To those who didn't know any better, he appeared to be a chimp dressed in a t-shirt and plaid coat. Any illusions that he was an ordinary primate were dispelled the second his opened his mouth.

"Anthony Di Pasqua," the chimp said in a clear, non-regional American accent. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"

Anthony shook his head. He'd met this little guy many times over the years, but he still couldn't get over it. He was a talking chimp! Not only did he talk, but he was smarter than probably everyone in this room, at least smarter than Anthony's guys.

"Can I call you Detective Chimp?" Anthony asked with a hint of a grin. "Or does that insult you?"

The chimp shrugged and looked at Rocco, the goon with the pistol. "You've got a gun on me, so I imagine it doesn't matter if it insults me or not."

Anthony sat down behind his desk and motioned for the chimp and his companion to do the same in the chairs facing the desk. He looked towards the girl and winked. She had a nice figure. With a little silicone she could be out there on the pole earning the real bucks.

"What's your name, sweetheart?"

"Not sweetheart," she said curtly. "That's for damn sure."

Di Pasqua chuckled. "Well, sweetie, you ever get tired of the chimp there and want to hang out with a real man you let me know."

"Don't like Italians," she said. "Too much hair."

Anthony's men tightened at the crack, but he just laughed it off. He waved them away and instead turned back to the chimp, plucking the cigar stub from the ashtray.

"I brought you here because I need some help recovering something that was stolen from me."

Di Pasqua reached into his sports coat and pulled out a folded up photo of a bald, fat man with a beard on his face. He was standing between two topless women, his chubby arms wrapped around the women's waist.

"This son of a ***** here did the books for the Family. Three days ago he disappears, ups and vanishes with my money and other important... things. I want him found and I want him dead. I don't have the manpower to comb the city like I used to, so I'm getting contracted help from the outside."

"No," said the chimp. He flashed a set of razor sharp teeth at Di Pasqua. "Hell no. I am not helping you murder someone."

"Noble sentiment," said Anthony. "Unfortunately, it doesn't matter. You're helping me..."

Di Pasqua snapped his fingers and his gunman moved quickly, putting the barrel of the pistol against Effie's back. She let out a small yelp and the chimp barred his sharp teeth at the gunman. He tried to go for the gun, but the three other men in the room held him back. He was small, but surprisingly strong.

"Like I said, Chimp Boy, you're helping me or you're both dead. Your lives for the life of a double-crossing scum."

Di Pasqua stood up and walked around the desk. The girl flinched as he brought the smoldering cigar end towards her face. The chimp shrieked and tried to throw the three men away, but to no avail.

"Or maybe I just ugly up your little girlfriend's face," Anthony asked over the screams of the chimp. "What's your choice?"

The chimp went silent and stared at Anthony with rage in his eyes. His pointy white teeth glared against the office's artificial lighting.

"Okay, you bastard! Okay! I'll do it! Just don't hurt her."

"That's what I thought," Di Pasqua said with a deep chuckle. "Three days, monkey man--"

"Ape," said the chimp. "I'm an ape."

"Three days, ape man. Either that ****sucker dies, or you."



Heart of Glass
A Detective Chimp Mystery

__________________
"These are the times that try men's souls... Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
-- Thomas Paine


"People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election."
-- Otto von Bismarck


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Old 07-23-2016, 09:40 PM   #3
Sentarous
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Default Green Arrow: Change


==================================================

Star City, CA, United States of America
Streets of Star City, 10:22 PM

In all of his years as Green Arrow, Oliver Queen had seen a lot of things that were categorically insane. Serial killers with stupid motifs, fanatics who absorbed garishly cartoonish concepts, terrorists who seemed to only exist to make the next great punchline, abominations and accidents designed to kill superheroes; hell, he had even dealt with a literal circus a few years back— but none of that was as crazy as what had just happened in Star City.

Star City had elected their first conservative mayor since 1966.

Reverend William Miggs, a “for the people, by the people” member of the religious right had somehow overtaken all other options and got to sit the seat that could setup a whole new socio-political climate in Star City. It most certainly didn’t help that Miggs hid his fanatical racism quite well, so well that the majority of Star City thought he was the best man for the job— a sentiment that Oliver didn’t agree on in the slightest. If his opinion was worth any salt he would’ve hoped the people would’ve looked at the actually sane option in Raymond Begay, who compared to Miggs had actually done things for Star City as one of the main proponents of youth welfare, racial equality, and economic stability for the last fifty plus years of his life. Beggay had been nicknamed “Brave Bow” by the press and pretty much had all the right looks in the political polls; he could’ve very well been a force of positive change following Thomas Bolt’s shifty political career as Mayor. But unfortunately, that’s not how the cards fell.

And so here Oliver was on patrol, taking out his political angst out on some punks who were preparing to rob his favorite Credit Union.

How unlucky for them.

“You know, it’s not cool to steal.”

The sound of yelling, the screeching of tires, and gunfire followed Oliver’s quip— and it all seemed to go as it usually did. He fired some of his trick arrows, did some flips that he used to do better five years ago, and threw some kicks into the robbers who were a little less on the intelligent side of things. It almost made Oliver dealing with psychopaths… almost.

Considering what had happened over in Gotham and what he had personally dealt with in juggling Star City and the Justice League he was generally happy that things in Star City that were “exciting” were limited to a religious nutjob mayor getting elected. Star City had been through a lot— and not just with surviving extranormal situations, either. Oliver had spent several months, if not years, trying to get to the bottom of the whole “Prometheus” guy who was apparently running a lot of the big criminal activities out of the Coast Cities. He knew Wonder Woman was too busy with “mythological bullcrap” as he liked to call it than help him play detective, and he had no idea if Hal was occupied playing space cop or space lawyer at the time. All he knew is he hadn’t seen them outside of Justice League ops for several months; thus when it came to this criminal boogeyman it was up to him and his motley crew of archers and martial artists to figure it out.

Dinah was the first to actually take the fight to Prometheus and as far as he knew had traveled to Coast City to try to infiltrate things like she did when they first met. He had faith in her and she didn’t need a tagalong, so it was him and the “arrowclan” to try to get involved with the angle in Star City. But he wasn’t exactly eager to rush out to get his friends and family into deep cover if he could help it. Connor wasn’t even in high school yet, Roy was off doing his own thing, and Emiko was too impulsive and brash for undercover work. Honestly, he didn’t know how Batman did it all. Even with the consideration that Oliver was ex-military he still couldn’t get a pulse on the investigative work that Batman was capable of and it didn’t help that every time Batman entered the same room as him he felt completely stupid and incapable of doing his job.

Some things people are just better at.

Oliver sighed as he strung up the last of the thugs before pressing a fixture on his bow that shot out a grappling hook as it zipped him back towards the rooftops as the police sirens blared in the distance.

Prometheus was out there and he knew he had to figure something out before he got the better of him.

Oliver didn’t want Star City to be the sequel to the Gotham incident; and he had a feeling if he let someone shady like Prometheus to scheme all the way to the bank then the only payout will be the innocent lives of Star City’s citizens. He wouldn’t let that happen.

Perhaps it was time to try the detective thing again.

{ “This is Arrow Man to Green Team. I’m coming in.” }


Last edited by Sentarous; 07-24-2016 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 07-24-2016, 12:41 AM   #4
Byrd Man
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Default Re: Ultimate dc: Rebirth

Heart of Glass Part I
Three-Card Stud

"After you've gone and left me crying, after you've gone there's no denying you'll feel blue, you'll feel sad, and you'll miss the best lover you've ever had."
-- Marion Harris


Opal City, PA
12:20 AM


Detective Chimp's hands were still shaking over an hour after the run-in with Di Pasqua and his goons. They weren't shaking out of fear or trepidation, but rage. He sat in the passenger seat of Effie's car while his assistant stared blankly out the window. The two of them were in the little office space he rented out below his apartment when the mobsters showed up. Effie had her purse and was heading out the door when they pushed her back and showed both of them their guns. They tried to protest, but the guns were effective at silencing any such disagreements, as guns always are. The two mobsters shoved them into the back of Effie's car and drove them to Di Pasqua's strip club.

Now they were back outside his apartment. DC had a manila folder in his lap. Inside the folder were all the details the mob could give DC and Effie about their target. Johnny "Two Hands" Carbonerri, a mob accountant out in the wind with close to fifty grand of the Boy's cash. Di Pasqua's ultimatum was clear: Just a few days to find the Johnny Two Hands or he and Effie were headed for the bottom of the river.

"I'm sorry, Effie," DC said to break the silence. "I'm sorry to get you mixed up in all this crap."

"It's not your fault," she said softly. "You can't help them busting in on us like that. They're a bunch of monsters, DC."

"They're not monsters," he said, thinking back to a long time ago. "I've seen monsters and what monsters do. These men are animals. They'd get along famously with all my old friends back in the jungle."

DC opened the folder and browsed the information Di Pasqua had on Johnny Two Hands. It was thorough, part of it cribbed from an Opal City PD intelligence file the PD's mob squad compiled. That confirmed the fact that the Boys at least had their hooks into the PD. It also made DC wonder why they kidnapped him and forced him and Effie to work at gunpoint instead of getting an honest to god cop to do the legwork.

Several OPD, FBI, and IRS probes into Carbonerri's finances revealed a picture of a byzantine system that the man used to keep his personal finances, along with those of the Opal City Mafia, afloat. DC skipped past all that and go back to the start, when the numbers man was a strongarm specialist. DC lit up a cigarette as he scanned the file.

"What's the first move?" Effie asked with raised eyebrows.

"Carbonerri's file says he ran a hijacking crew out of the Eastside," he replied, flicking cigarette ash out the cracked window. "If that's his base, and he's a player then Jake is going to know all about him."

"Jake," Effie said, rolling her eyes. "The Three Card Stud himself."


*****


The tall, skinny black man stood in front of a small crowd of people in the alleyway. He had in front of him a makeshift table made from a cardboard box and his long, thin fingers shuffled three cards overturned cards with lightning speed. For his part, the man looked straight ahead at the crowd while his hands did the work, moving so fast it seemed that they were blurring.

"One, two, three, keep your eyes on the cards and not me."

He stopped just as quickly as he started and looked at the half dozen people in front of him, grinning wildly.

"It's two bucks to play, winner triples their money. Find the ace and you can put me in my place. Even shove it in my face!"

Titters went out from the crowd. A few threw down their money, a total of eight dollars.

"Teamwork, y'all," the man said with a wink. "You gotta pick the winner as a team."

The bettors argued and debated on which card was the one hiding the ace. After a few minutes of back and forth disagreement, one man put a hand down on the middle card of the three.

"This one," the man said, flipping it over and revealing a three of clubs.

"No such luck," the dealer said with another grin.

He flipped over the card on the far right, revealing a red ace. He laughed and scooped up their money amidst the grumbles. He stopped and looked deadly serious.

"Look... I like y'all, I do. What about double or nothing?"

The men threw down their money and he went back to work, shuffling and spinning the cards. Across the street from the scene, DC and Effie watched from Effie's car. DC looked amused while his assistant just looked annoyed.

"It's not fair," she said. "Do you know how many people Jake Lonnegan has conned out of food and rent money?"

"People are dumb when it comes to money, Effie," DC said as he lit up another cigarette. "This is coming from someone who isn't even a person, but you're all the same when it comes to the prospect of easy money. If they're weak willed enough to believe money is that easy to get, then they deserved to be swindled. There!"

He gestured with his cigarette while Jake continued to shuffle the cards.

"Did you see it? You almost have to have a slow motion camera to see it. He made a slight twitch that last shuffle, palming the ace and hiding it in his hands. That ace they're looking for is never one of the three. He always wins."

Five minutes later, Jake was up a significant amount of money and folding up his table, making up a quick excuse to get out of there before the people became wise to his antics. He was scuttling down the block when DC stepped out of the shadows, blowing smoke from his mouth.

"What do you say, Jake?"

"DC?! Long time no see," he said with a smile. He looked towards Effie and winked, smiling when she frowned at him. "What are you and the lovely Miss Effie doing in the Three Card Stud's neighborhood?"

"Looking for a guy you might know," said DC. "He's reputed to be a thief."

"Now, why would an upstanding citizen like myself know a shady character such as that?"

"He's a mobster, Jake," said Effie. "Goes by the name Johnny Two Hands."

Jake laughed and shook his head.

"Gotta love them mob nicknames. Brother goes by Johnny Two Hands because, when he joined the Mafia, there was another Johnny, 'cept he only had one hand, so your boy becomes Johnny Two Hands."

DC blew smoke and flashed a grin. "Nom de guerre aside, Jake, what else is there to know about him?"

"Just what I hear on the street," the conman said with a shrug. "Keeping my ear to the ground, you know how it is, apparently your boy has a lot of people talking. He's been using them two hands to feel up on them nice little numbers who works for the Russians."

"Hooker?" asked DC.

"I'm sure the Russians use her in their HR department," Effie said sardonically. "Staffing for a criminal enterprise is a full-time job, I'm sure."

Jake laughed again and pointed at Effie.

"I like you. You picked a winner, DC. But yeah, I just know this girl he has the hots for works for the Dragos. Causing a lot of friction between the Russians and the Italians. A real Romeo and Juliet story, you know? Star-crossed lovers and all that crap"

"Yeah," DC said, flicking the butt of his cigarette into the street. "A hairy dago and an anorexic Ruskie hooker. Warms the cockles of ones heart."

__________________
"These are the times that try men's souls... Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
-- Thomas Paine


"People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election."
-- Otto von Bismarck


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Old 07-27-2016, 12:04 AM   #5
Andy C.
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Default Re: Ultimate dc: Rebirth



People look at me and they think that what I do comes easy. Of course it's easy, they say, he's Superman. He can do anything, nothing can hurt him, he's everything we wish we could be. Doing the right thing, saying the right words, coming up with perfect solutions to the world's problems, all of that comes naturally when you're the Man of Tomorrow.

That, of course, couldn't be further from the truth.

This morning I stopped a passenger train from derailing in Russia, saving about four hundred on board. Trains are always tricky; not enough force and you don't stop it in time, too much force and the cars jackknife into each other, to say nothing of how difficult it can be to pick sections of it off the rails without turning cars over in the process. No fatalities thankfully, but it was a bumpy stop, causing a few broken bones, at least one concussion, and bumps and bruises for everyone on board.

Most people will take that as a win, but the Russian government has been extremely vocal about their displeasure with the Justice League for 'imposing on national sovereignty' lately, which means I'll be expected to make an appearance before their president and show that I'm not secretly working for the CIA, and that the League isn't using disaster-relief as an excuse to perform reconaissance for an upcoming invasion. Between people like G. Godron Godfrey spreading fear in the news and the bad memories the world has of the Justice Lords, not to mention my own reckless handling of things in my early days, gaining the world's trust and keeping it is harder than ever.

That's not to say I'm complaining-- all things considered I think it's going quite well-- but it's never easy to--

"Kent! Are you still alive over there?"

Perry snaps me out of my contemplation, back to the newsroom of the Planet and the half-finished article on my laptop.

"You've got my piece on the Queensland Boardwalk re-opening?"

"....I, erm, yes sir, it's.....it's almost done, Perry."

The Boardwalk was a long-standing tourist attraction, Metropolis's answer to New York's Coney Island and Gotham's Amusement Mile. For over 80 years, people would take their families to the carnival attractions, teenagers would bring their first dates to the Ferris wheel, and swimmers and sunbathers would spend the day away at the beach. Six months ago, a "prank" from the interdimensional imp Mxyzptlk brought a monster from the vintage movie theater to life--namely the 100-foot-tall gorilla 'Titano'-- and resulted in most of the boardwalk being trampled or crushed before myself, Kara, and Krypto could subdue it.

Perry's never openly stated that he knows who I am, but I don't think it's a coincidence that so many of the "look at what a mess Superman made" stories come across my desk.

"You've got til I'm back from lunch, Kent, or it's your ass," he says, clapping me on the shoulder as he passes.

"Mister White," I say, getting up from my chair. "My story on Schott...."

Perry stops and turns back to me, an impatient look on his face.

"...isn't front-page material, Kent. How am I supposed to sell a feel-good story about a former terrorist?"

"It's not just a feel-good story," I say, "it's showing that people can still be brought back even after going over the edge. Winslow Schott did terrible things as part of the Toymen, yes, but if he's really turning a new page..."

Perry waves his hands dismissively.

"Get me your piece on the Boardwalk," he says. "Then we'll talk about bad guys going good."

Perry walks away, and I can't help but feel a sting of frustration. If people could see that even someone as damaged and disturbed as Winslow Schott can turn their lives around and become a force for good, who knows? Maybe I could make a breakthrough with Rudy Jones. Or John Corben. Hell, I might even finally get through to Lex Luthor.

And maybe after that miracle, I'd part the Red Sea and turn water into wine.

There's a buzzing in my pocket, and I pull out my phone to see I've got a text from Lois.

-Perry got you on a leash? Not letting you see the news feed?

I quickly tap out a response.

-I'm up against a hard deadline. What's up?

There isn't a long wait before I get my answer.

-Take a bathroom break. I'm in DC, and there's a big flying skull over the White House.

A cold chill runs down my spine. A flying skull.....that sounds like Brainiac. If he's returned, everyone on Earth could be in danger.

-I'll be there soon, Lo, I type. Stay safe.

Nobody seems to respond when I loudly cough and grunt as I stand up and excuse myself. Not even Lombard cracks a joke as I head in the direction of the janitor's closet instead of the restroom. I guess at this point it's all a bit of a charade, like your parents telling you your Christmas presents are from Santa, but everyone still plays along. In a way, it's the most earnest way they could accept both aspects of who and what I am, by simply not acknowledging it and going about with their day.

After all, even when it isn't easy, when you've been at the Daily Planet for long enough, this sort of thing is all in a day's work.



"Superman to all points," I say into my comm-link to the other members of the Justice League as the air cracks behind me like a rifle, "I'm en route to a situation in Washington. We're looking at a potentially world-level threat, so keep the channels open. I'll let you know immediately if I need backup."

By the time I've finished the last sentence, I'm already in DC-- I can't go fast enough to warp time and space like Barry, but I can still cover a lot of ground in a hurry. The streets below are clogged with traffic, terrified drivers all trying to get out of the city, jamming up every intersection in the chaos and panic. As I get closer to the Capitol Hill, the blaring of car horns gives way to police sirens, and past that the black-and-white police cruisers give way to the olive drab and camouflage paint of Hum-Vees and tanks.

The sky, on the other hand, is dominated by a single, imposing object.




That's him, all right. Brainiac. An ancient, malevolent artificial intelligence from a long-dead world called Colu, it's traveled the cosmos for millions of years, seeking out inhabited worlds, collecting those worlds' knowledge, abducting entire population centers in dimensional 'bottles,' then destroying entire planets. For eons, this entity slaughtered its way across galaxies unopposed....before being brought to a halt at Earth.

The first time Brainiac appeared, it took the combined efforts of myself, Bruce, and Diana to drive him off. He adapted, altered his tactics, upgraded his technology, and when he returned I had to fly through the heart of the sun just to get enough power to crack through his outer defenses. Heaven only knows what this monster has up his sleeve this time....

.....except as I approach, nothing happens. The mile-long tendrils of modified Kryptonian liquid-geo don't whip out to ensnare me. The bristling particle projector cannons don't draw a bead and open fire. The nearly impenetrable nanite field doesn't swarm out as a translucent green honeycomb. The ship's glowing death's-head eyes just stare at me, as if transfixed.

"Brainiac," I call out to the enormous ship, "I know you can hear me. I'm giving you fair warning: this planet and its people are under the protection of myself and the Justice League. If you don't leave peacefully, we won't hesitate to make you leave."

"Kal-El of Krypton," the AI's voice booms from inside the ship. "I have not come with hostility in mind. I extend an open invitation to you so that we may converse, and negotiate a peace between us."

"......what?"

Brainiac is one of the most dangerous entities in the entire universe. The number of dead in his wake is beyond counting, whole civilizations lost forever. The idea of such a being wanting to make peace is.....it's incomprehensible.

And yet.....

When I was young, I used to have vivid dreams about having adventures in the future. There were boys and girls my age, who could do all the things I could do and more, and we would travel to the farthest edges of time and space and fight the forces of evil together. Years later, I learned these 'dreams' were suppressed memories, experiences I'd had with a group of time-travelers called the Legion of Super-Heroes, who had come from the distant future to help me and other members of the League in times of crisis. And one of the leaders of the Legion was a hyper-intelligent cybernetic organism...named Brainiac-5.

Could this be where that line turns a corner? Is something I say and do here, now, what turns one of the universe's most feared monsters into a force for good?

Or is this a trap? Thanks to the complexities of time travel and the amazing predictive power of the AI's advanced intellect, Brainiac knows about his successor; it's entirely possible that he's using my knowledge of the Legion and B-5 to lure me into an ambush.

Lois would probably say I'm being overly paranoid for thinking like that. Bruce would probably say I'm not being paranoid enough.

Either way, if I can resolve this without turning the nation's capital into a war zone, it's worth the risk. The rest of the League should be able to act quickly in case things go sour.

The skull-ship opens its cavernous mouth open, a landing platform extending like a cold metallic tongue. I touch down and step inside.

The inside of the ship has an architecture that is almost organic in nature, support struts like ribs and spinal columns holding up the arches of the corridors, sickly green light pulsing through diode-strings like veins as I pass. And yet it also feels sterile, clinical, as if someone had built an operating room inside of one's cardiovascular system. The previous times I had been inside the ship, I hadn't had the chance to take in the scenery; usually I wouldn't be able to get this far without being swarmed by lethal guardian drones and clouds of lethal nanites.

The pulsing green light guides me towards the center chamber, a circular, almost arena-like room lined with glowing jars-- more of Brainiac's "bottle cities" like the ones I'd liberated from him the last two times. And in the center, sitting on a techno-organic throne and plugged into the neural network of the ship itself, is one of my most powerful and terrifying enemies.



"Hello, Kal-El," he says in a flat, monotone voice. "Now that you have arrived, I would like to begin negotiating the terms of my surrender to you."



Stryker's Island
Maximum Security Wing



Music was playing.

It echoed through the solitary confinement wing, perking the ears of hardened criminals and self-styled 'super-villains' as haunting low strings and angelic woodwinds let out a somber tune none of them could recognize.

No one was sure who had gotten a music player into their cell or how, but security was not going to wait for the confusion to become bedlam. Weapons could be next, a jailbreak, a riot. And considering the amount of extremely dangerous people on this island, that was not an option.

Less than thirty seconds passed between the beginning of the song and the heavy stomping of armored guards charging down the cell block in full riot gear, shield and batons at the ready. As they approached the end of the cell block, the music grew louder, and the guards became more hesitant.

At the end of the hall was a monster of the highest degree, a remorseless killer and manipulator who had delusions of grandeur matched only by his boundless intelligence. This was a man who had once brought nations to their knees without anyone knowing he had even the slightest hand in it, a man who bankrolled mass-murderers and engineered wars to put himself in positions of power. Even after being exposed and imprisoned, he delighted in exerting the sheer force of his intellect on others, whispering subversive thoughts to guards until they cracked and found themselves in cells like his. There were few even among the most experienced veterans who wanted to spend time around the man who had orchestrated the death of the greatest hero the world had ever known.

And now blood was beginning to seep from beneath his cell door.

Cautiously, one of the guards placed a key-card in the slot to the cell door, the others putting their batons aside and drawing pistols. The door swung open, revealing a sight at once horrifying and pitiable.

"We need help, get some help here!" The guard shouted into his radio. "Medical attention to Maximum Security wing, NOW!"

Sprawled across the floor, a thinning bald man in an orange jumpsuit lay in a growing pool of red. The greatest criminal mastermind of all time was bleeding out on the floor.

Lex Luthor had slashed open his wrists.... and he seemed to be smiling.

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Old 07-29-2016, 09:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ultimate DC: Rebirth

Gotham City
211 Hours


Dick Grayson stood on a rooftop overlooking the ruins of Gotham City. Rubble dotted the landscape as far as the eye could see. Behind him, across the river, were government checkpoints at the only bridge still standing. It was the only lifeline to the city, even if the government sent in only the bare minimum of supplies. They were hoping to starve the undesirables out. But the government didn't understand Gotham. They barely understood the world they found themselves in. There's no way they could understand Gotham. It bred insanity, and a simple strategies would never change that.

It had been too long since he had been back. Considering everything that had happened in Gotham in recent years, Dick felt a twinge of regret at not being here to help more. Gotham had been torn apart by an earthquake, and the criminals of the city were fighting over the scraps like rats on a sinking ship. Bruce and Barbara had been doing their best to continue the fight, but they weren't enough. The Gotham citizens that could afford to do so had fled the No Man's Land, while those that remained were nothing more than cannon fodder in a war they had no escape from. Gotham had always been a nightmare, but now it was hell on Earth, and Dick was running around with his own team trying to stop a cataclysm he felt was inevitable more and more every day. Was he wasting his time? Were they all wasting their time?

"You can't blame yourself, Dick," Starfire said from beside him.

"I know," he responded with steel in his voice. "But that doesn't mean it doesn't get to me."

The two of them had come to Gotham to find and interrogate Oswald Cobblepot. New, and dangerous, weapons had been appearing across the country. Even if Cobblepot wasn’t selling them, the Penguin would know something. Nothing happened in the arms dealing world without him getting a wiff through his pointy nose.

“You think we’ll see him?” Koriand’r asked.

Dick sighed, “I wouldn’t doubt it. The Batman always shows up. Even if you don’t want him to. Let’s go.”

The two members of the Outsiders descended into Gotham proper, a disaster zone if there ever was one. Rubble, glass, and shattered cars lined the streets, and barely any lights in this part of the city were illuminated. Those that were on were hidden behind blinds. No one left in the city wanted to be seen. No one wanted to be a target.

Even as they traversed the rooftops and upper perches of Gotham, the effects of the earthquake could be seen with the naked eye. Gotham was a ruin. Dick thought it should just be left as such.

“It’s quiet,” Kori mused. “I’ve never heard Gotham so quiet.”

“It’s a break in the storm,” Nightwing responded. “It’s quiet now. Just wait until one of the gangs decide they want some more territory or a rival has something they want. Then it won’t be so quiet.”

The two heroes fell silent after that as they made their way towards the brightest illuminated building in the neighborhood. Its garish neon blue shone like a beacon calling an alien race or something. The Iceberg Lounge had always been gaudy. The Penguin wasn’t a subtle man, at least when it came to showing off his substantial wealth. Bruce may have been the richest man in Gotham, but Oswald Cobblepot showed it off a lot more.

“Pride can be used against the vain.”

Batman’s voice rolled through Dick’s brain as he overlooked the nightclub. No matter how long it had been since he had been a student of Bruce Wayne, the teachings of the Bat stayed close to the top of his mind.

The Iceberg’s art deco facade looked like it had been through war, but Penguin was keeping it up. The neon lights had been replaced recently, and the chipped granite and marble had been hastily reinforced. Guards patrolled the roof and the fire escapes. On the street below, roadblocks had been set up to ensure only the people Penguin wanted could get near him.

At least that’s what he thought.

“You need to take care of the guards,” Nightwing looked at Starfire. “I can take care of some of them, but I’ll need a diversion to keep most of them off me. But don’t do anything too hasty. I’m worried that if we kick this hornet’s nest too hard, we’re gonna draw more than the Penguin’s men our way.”

“Understood,” she nodded. “You will then go inside?”

“Yea,” he chuckled. “It’s been too long since Oswald and I had a chat. I really miss the short bastard.”

Dick pulled his grapnel off his belt and prepared to fire. Before he did, however, Koriand’r pulled him in and delivered a passionate kiss.

“Be careful,” she sighed.

“You too.”

Nightwing composed himself and fired a line to the Iceberg Lounge’s roof, while Starfire powered up and took off towards the nearest roadblock below.

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Old 08-03-2016, 09:10 PM   #7
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The Martian Manhunter
The Watchtower, Orbital Satellite


I've had a lot on my mind lately, to be concise. I am several centuries old and, without interruption, I will live many more. It has only been a few decades since everything I ever cared about crumbled. A few lonely years, followed by an incomparable period of development following my abduction. I may have only been on Earth ten years, but these have been the longest and most dynamic ten years of my life.

Under a blanket of shadow that entraps half of the globe, mankind sleeps. They are sedentary. They are still. But they are not inactive. Their imaginations are as violent and restless as any invention of Nikola Tesla. Altogether, the synapses, the miniature lightning strikes, firing within their brains could simultaneously power every battleship they've ever manufactured. Mankind takes on a second life after dark. Exploring new worlds, with endless possibilities. Their grandest ambitions. Their most sobering fears. Elysium and Tartarus alike. Their dreams.

Dreams of marmalade and sunflowers. Dreams transcending the centuries and accelerating the hours. Dreams of creating paradise by fixing their errors. Dreams of their most depraved night terrors. I could continue discussing them all night. At some point I will, I'm sure. I take great pleasure indulging myself in their dreams. After all, it's been quite some time since I've allowed myself to have any.

For me, tapping into the human mind is no different than surfing television channels. It's exactly what I'm doing right now. The frequency that the human brain operates on is 7 Hertz, in case you care to try for yourself.

This one. It speaks to me.

I see bedsheets, with the view widening to include the chest of a man. A muscular man with a slender hand on his chest. A hand that leads to a woman, fair skin with a distinctly Russian appearance. She cocks her head, pinching her eyelids together like a pair of tweezers. And she digs her nails into her husbands chest before burying them in his lungs. They extend like syringes and begin to suck the life out of him.

"Ma.. ria" the husband croaks, visibly disturbed. "Wh.. y?"

"Because I detest you, John! You massive hipocrite! You do all this talk about letting me do what I want, until the second you don't like it. Well I've had it with you."


This individual's dream was uncannily disturbing. But it was, what I consider to be, within the range of what I could expect from a human's morbid imagination. If it weren't for the fact that the woman was breaking the fourth wall and staring into my mind's eye during her announcement, I would've paid it no mind. That is no longer a viable option.

<That was an amusing attempt at subtlety. You have my attention.>

Within the dream, the woman withdrew her nails from the man's chest and stared into the depth's of my soul with a gaze I'd come to know well, after decades of intimacy. The fluffy padding of facial fat on top of her artificial bone structure dissolved, as the dream became saturated with color. It would be mild to describe her blazing red eyes as piercing my consciousness, those eyes consumed my entire being. I felt myself being compressed to the size of a gluon before being stretched back to the scale of my usual form.

"I'm coming back for you, J'ohnn. You may have forgotten, but I haven't. In fact, you've inspired me and my friends to become the most effective versions of ourselves we can be."

<I'm unsure exactly what you are, but I can say with confidence that you are not her.>

Silence. Both telepathic and material.

The dream ended abruptly after stagnating for a brief eternity. And I am left in my post at the Watchtower on Monitor Duty. But it would seem I have failed to acknowledge something important.

"Superman to all points," Clark announces to us all over our private transmission channel. "I'm en route to a situation in Washington. We're looking at a potentially world-level threat, so keep the channels open. I'll let you know immediately if I need backup."

<Received, Superman. Martian Manhunter standing by.>

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Old 08-04-2016, 06:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ultimate DC: Rebirth

One Year Ago

"Finished the sweep like you said, boss. Ice Bucket Challenge isn't going anywhere."



Robin greets me with an expectant smugness as he lands next to where I'm perched, batarang at the ready. We've been surveying this building for the last fifteen minutes, but I needed a way to listen in on the radio chatter between Freeze's hired mercenaries. Jason offered to place the audio transceivers across the top floor windows so that my cowl's internal sensors could key in on their conversation while I stayed and kept an eye on their movements. It was a risk I'd normally take myself, given the job requires both an immense amount of patience and the very high likelihood of discovery, but I decided to let the boy try and prove himself. We've been working together for three months, and in that time, tackled a number of cases that should have been too much for someone this new. Despite the odds, he's helped me put away alot of bad people following Hugo Strange's attempt to rally the inmates of Arkham against me. And even though we've yet to put away all of Strange's "Monster Men", Gotham can at least breathe a sigh of relief knowing that most of them are behind bars.

Mr. Freeze is simply one more notch to check off of the list. And given that Jason managed to not only complete his task, but do it with a few more minutes to spare, I'm feeling rather confident that we can close the gap by mid-week. And it couldn't come sooner. Whatever the hell he's planning to do with the technology Strange provided him with, Victor's too dangerous to be allowed to walk the streets any longer. Judging from the amount of guards he's brought under his employ tonight, I'd say his obsession has finally gotten the better of him. He's paranoid - and that's exactly the time to fear the worst from him.

"Good work, Robin. Now stay close.", I warn, zooming in on the balcony's current occupants. "We don't want to get spotted before Freeze makes himself visible."

"Oh, c'mon. He's not gonna spot us.", Robin replies with a scoff. "This is a dude the kids in my school used to make fun of for making ice puns. 'You'ah not sending me to da coolah', and all that. The guy's a joke."

I raise an eyebrow. Admittedly, Jason's abrasiveness still takes me off guard, even after all this time. But I guess that should be expected, given that despite the uncanny resemblance while in costume, he's barely anything like Dick was as Robin. There was a free spirit about him, but Dick still knew when to take things seriously and never allowed himself to get too overconfident. Came with being the product of show business - he knew when to put on an act, but he also knew when to drop it.

I found Jason on the streets, and even then, he was cocky enough to think that he could steal the tires off of a three-hundred and fifty million dollar armored vehicle installed with the latest in state-of-the-art security measures. Bottom line is that if he hadn't been a kid who took risks, he would've never found his way to me. That's going to be half of the job in training him, if I want to see him become as good as his predecessor. He can get cocky all that he wants - but he'll have to learn the difference between spotting the danger and spotting where it can be overcome.

"Never underestimate your opponent.", I warn, shooting him a glare. "You don't have the scars to prove that he's anything but a joke. I've fought him too many times to count, and he's responsible for several deaths that should have been avoided. No matter what Victor's reputation is, he's mentally unstable and driven solely by vengeance."

Robin goes quiet for a minute, weighing on what I've told him.

"That's a combination that should never be treated lightly. Do you understand?"

He finally shrugs.

"Yeah, I guess. Still, though. What's his deal? You said he was driven by vengeance. How does that translate to using a robot suit and an ice gun to steal diamonds?"

Making sure that my eyes never leave his goons, and that I pay particularly close attention to any pertinent information relating to Freeze's location within the building, I move closer to Robin and show him my gauntlet's holographic computer terminal. It took me until now to realize that I never briefed Jason on the proper intel he needed to understand how to approach this. I was too preoccupied knocking the nessescary heads together just to get the Gotham underworld to betray his location to me.

"HARDAC, access Batcomputer. Pull up GCPD profile on Victor Fries."

My Artificial Intelligence system responds in kind, and before Robin's eyes, a multitude of mugshots, crime scene photographs, transcribed sessions from Arkham, and handwritten notes from Jim and every other arresting officer that's brought Victor in over the years appear on the screen. His skepticism quickly drops as he reads over the cliff-notes I've made of the details.

"Whoah. I... I didn't know all of that. His wife was killed?"

"By a corrupt member of the GCPD. Back when they were in the pocket of the mob.", I solemnly reveal, shutting off the screen. "Victor used to work as a research assistant for Gothcorp Medical. He was a genius cryogenicist, and graduated with top honors. His wife, Nora, was terminally ill. He couldn't save her."

I spare Robin the more gruesome details, but it all flashes back to me in an instant. Out of all the enemies that I've made over the years, Victor's case has always given me a particular pause. He's never been a chaotic force like Joker and Scarecrow or an opportunistic career criminal like Nygma and Cobblepot. More than most, he was just... severely taken off the beaten path. I've listened in on most of his therapy sessions at Arkham personally, and I won't hesitate to admit that I pity him. He didn't ask to have the only thing he ever cared about ripped away from him, and his only crime before the accident was trying to find a cure for the disease that would've.

Needless to say, I can relate. But that didn't matter to a member of Carmine Falcone's personal task force, Lieutenant Ferris Boyle, who only forced his way into Gothcorp's laboratories that night to seek out a hidden weapons' cache offered to Falcone by an employee looking to score big. Victor's wife was placed in an incubation tank for a delicate experiment, and the last thing either she or her husband expected was to be interrupted by a group of dirty cops waving guns where they shouldn't have. In his panicked state, Victor even tried to negotiate mercy with Boyle, worried for Nora's safety if the machines were turned off to accommodate their search.

It didn't get him anywhere. Boyle's men trashed the facility, accidentally cut off Nora's supply of fresh oxygen, and knocked a hysterical Victor into the tank's highly contaminated open fumes. The mutagen used to counteract the experimental chemicals being used to treat Nora's condition permanently altered Victor's DNA, and now, he can't live in conditions outside of zero degrees.

This city's corruption ruined his life, but he blames the GCPD most of all. Most of our encounters have been the result of attempts on Boyle's life, which he finally took in the midst of a prison transport shortly after his last arrest. And even though I was sorry to see him cross that line, I had hoped that with rehabilitation and his vengeance fully enacted, he'd be able to move on. No such luck. His escape from Arkham resulted in the deaths of four officers - good men with families, each - aswell as half of the security guards that I employed to keep him contained.

Robin looks at me with sorrowful eyes, realizing the futility of his earlier comments. He understands, now, why this needs to be done. Hopefully he doesn't make the mistake I did by pitying Victor long enough to lead to the death of more innocents.

"I guess he's not like the kids at school thought. I didn't mean anything by what I said, Batman."

His regret is replaced by a look of sheer determination. I'd smile, if we weren't about to head into battle.

"So what's the play? How do we send him on his way back to Arkham?"

Pulling the grapnel gun from the back of my belt, I motion towards Jason to do the same. I can see Victor emerging from the top floor elevator now, and his mercenaries are distracted. Now's the perfect time for us to strike.

"We play it simple, but cautious. Avoid his line of sight, focus on taking down our surrounding opposition. Then we try and appeal to the man beneath the monster."

As we both fire out grapples, Robin smiles, taking position to swing towards the nearest balcony window.

"I know it's in bad taste, but can I still make the ice puns? I had a few planned."

Even though I don't let him see it, I allow myself to smirk. Maybe he's more like Dick than I realized.

"You can make one. It keeps him distracted."

As Jason and I launch into battle, I can't help but feel as though Gotham is about to see a brighter tomorrow. Despite all of Hugo Strange's demented plans to tear the city apart, the lasting effects of his attack are about to be permanently undone. And with Freeze back in custody, our job will be alot easier from here on out. As Bruce Wayne, I've been working on alot of countermeasures to put in place at the new Maximum Security Wing of the Asylum. And as Batman, I may finally be able to claim the night again with a little help from my partner.

Who knows. Maybe Alfred's hopes of my early retirement may finally be within reach.

Today



Frozen, brittle glass shatters underneath my heels as two of Freeze's newest hires go down under the force of a pre-meditated precision sweep. Oracle's intel was on the money, as predicted, and Victor's ploy to take control of City Hall has gone without so much as a hitch until this point. Jim's secured a perimeter around the building, but his men can't move in without endangering the lives of his tactical squad. Three more rush me, but I waste little time in taking out their weapons with batarangs. Due to the range of my throw, the blades slice deep into their hands, cutting deep enough to expose raw nerve endings in splashes of blood. They all scream as I lay into the first with a hard rising knee to the jaw.

"WHERE THE HELL IS FREEZE?!", I demand, grabbing the second by the throat and firing my grapnel gun into the third's shoulder. "I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR GAMES! TALK, OR SO HELP ME, I'LL MAKE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU PRAY FOR DEATH!"


The sight of blood hitting the floor as the two not in my grasp drop to their knees barely even registers with me, as I peer into the eyes of the man I do, looking down at me with inconceivable terror. There was a time when I wouldn't have hit this hard, or this fast, and would have been more than a little hesitant to shed even a drop of blood of my enemies. But I don't care anymore. Alfred walked out on me whenever he pointed that out, and Barbara can barely look me in the eye anymore, but I don't regret any of this for a second.

Mercy is what let Freeze escape the last time. I underestimated just how cruel he had become, and as a result, he's been allowed to roam free long enough to take advantage of the Cataclysm. He used to take only a few lives at a time, but now scores of bodies have been found encased in ice ever since "No Man's Land" began. He's finally become the inhuman scourge I always feared he was driven to become.

"Holy ****! Don't... Don't kill us! W-We'll tell you everything, we swear!", he belts out, pleading. "He hired us to keep the cops busy while he tortured the ones he's got downstairs! That's all! This is a distraction, man! Honest, we weren't gonna hurt anybody!"

I grit my teeth and feel my grip tighten around his throat. Capturing Freeze was one of the last missions Jason and I worked together on whenever he was still alive. When we were still a team. A week after Freeze escaped us, he found Joker. A week after that, I found his corpse.

"You sure as hell aren't going to now,", I growl back, reeling back my fist for a knockout blow.

But before I can deliver it, a warning shot of pure light encapsulates the room, leaving yet another freshly frozen corpse in it's wake. I drop Freeze's man and turn to one of the others, now dead and encapsulated in a tomb that's quite possibly even colder than the grave. His final look of shock captured for the rest of time.

"Predictable, to the last."

Beyond him stands the man himself, his crimson goggles peering out from the darkness. Freeze takes a step forward and aims his ice cannon, hoping to intimidate me. I make it a point to turn to him just to prove that he failed.



"I would advise that you actually stand your ground this time, Batman. I am not in a forgiving mood."

At last, after a year of chasing down dead leads, Freeze and I are once again face-to-face. I assume a defensive stance and wait for him to move. The second he does, there's more batarangs waiting for him. With the lives of the cops downstairs hanging in the balance, I'm not taking any chances.

"Neither am I."

His eyes as void of emotion as ever, he simply stares back.

"You and I both know that this newfound bravado won't secure the lives of the corrupt men and women you've made it a point to protect."

If I have to, I'll end this madness by any means nessescary.

"Those people you've taken hostage are innocent.", I angrily tout back. "But I'm sure you don't care about that."

"Even if they were as innocent as you proclaim, I've moved far beyond the point of caring.", his modulated voice replies. "Where were they when my Nora choked on her final breaths? Nowhere to be found. Did they offer assistance or comfort to the grieving husband left and forgotten about in an ICU? None at all. They simply wished to protect the sanctity of their 'policeman's code' and look after one of their murderous own."

The ice canon glows to life, signaling another shot.

"They, and your friend The Commissioner, will pay dearly for that mistake."

My fingers dance along the selection of batarangs in my belt, my grip on them tensing.

"I tried to reason with you. I tried it for too damn long... but no more."

I think of Jason, and then I think of the people downstairs. And the thought of slicing open the life preserving cryogenic tubes that he needs to vent oxygen becomes all too easy. I know Alfred and Barbara would never forgive me. Dick, even less than he already would have before he left. But I'm tired of relying on them to tell me what the right thing to do even is anymore.

This is my fight. And it's time I took control of it.

"This is the last chance I'm giving you, Victor. Stand down... or I will put you down for good."


Last edited by Batman; 08-04-2016 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 08-05-2016, 11:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ultimate DC: Rebirth


Undisclosed location, Qurac

A bitter wind blows through a cold desert night, Flag covered up to keep his chest warm and his face clear of the sand such a breeze would surely carry. They’d make their move soon, while guards were weary. They had more than enough man-power for this mission, but there was no such thing as a sure thing. Flag knew that as well as anyone, particularly with this team.

Ben Turner gave a hand gesture indicating he was ready, confusing Flag’s self-preservation from the elements with the final check before the go-signal.

“Now’s as good a time as any, I guess…” the Field Commander muttered to himself.

“STRIKE Team is ready. Cover team, sound off.”

Werner Vertigo lay in cover behind another overlooking sand dune with an expression of deep focus on his face. This kind of exertion of his powers would take some effort. “Strike! Knowing that not only I, but all of your comrades await with concentrated focus, to—“

From his own perch, Digger Harkness gave a gesture not entirely unlike using an invisible shake-weight at his teammates extended answer. It did not take concentrated focus.

“Geez Vertie… Yeah, Flag. Cover team ready.”

“Ms Frost, I told you before. It’s Count Vertigo, or Werner. Not ‘Vertie’.”

“That’s great…” Flag said, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. “Fantastic. Omega Team.”

Cheshire and Killer Shark were Omega Team on this mission. That was the polite term for it.

Colloquially, this team had come to be known as anything from FUBAR Team, “The B Team”, Reserve Unit and several other disparaging names not fit for mentioning here. Suffice to say, neither member was particularly happy with their station.

“Yeah, whatever. We’re here. Go.” Killer Shark grunted back through the comm-link.

Not for the first time Rick Flag wondered how he was still alive, taking missions like these in a unit like this one.

“Eagle-Eye Team.”

“Dug in and ready on your move.” Responded Floyd Lawton.

At least he could count on Deadshot’s precision, even in the chaos of this squad. He and Bronze Tiger had bailed him out of a number of hot-spots in the past and held an otherwise unpredictable unit afloat.

“Eagle-Eye?” Repeated Flag waiting for the other member.

“Harkness!”

Digger Harkness was picking his teeth with a small, flick-bladed boomerang. He palmed it and smirked, considering his response.

The thick Australian drawl came through the group’s comm link. “In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a series of courts for crimes they AB-SO-LUTELY did commit…”

“F*** it. Move! Tiger! Go! Go! Go!”

Flag and Turner sprinted across the sand to a chain-link fence. Two guards called out into the night sensing the movement, but before either got a bead on a target both were dropped by precision gunfire – a single bullet in each man’s forehead – courtesy of Floyd Lawton.

Ben Turner slashed through the chain link fence in a single motion and the Squad was on site.

“…These men promptly – well, strolled out - of a maximum security stockade to the Quraci underground…”

“Boomer! Shut the f*** up!” Flag called. The pair ran for the east side of the compound where the mission objective awaited them. A group of kidnapped U.S. engineers. While the U.S. government refused to be seen negotiating with terrorists… they wouldn’t hesitate in pumping them full of gunfire if they were fool enough to let them know where they were.

Guards rounded a corner and strafed the compound pouring on automatic fire. Turner acrobatically flipped away to take cover behind a building, whilst Flag returned fire and took his own less dramatic evasive action.

“…Today, still – somewhat unconstitutionally – used by the Government they survive as soldiers of… lesser sentences. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them… maybe you can hire…”

“BOOMER! GOD DAMN IT!” Flag flicked open a pocket and pulled out a small remote.

“Wait a bloody minute…! THE A-TEAM!”

Suddenly a red flickering boomerang crossed the night’s sky and wedged itself into a crate behind the enemy, exploding after a slight pause.

Men screamed. Some were on fire.

“Nup. You’ve gone and bloody ruined it. Impatient bloody Yanks.” He grumbled through the comm link.

“Dun-dun-dun-DUN! Der-du-dun-dun-dun! Dun-dun-dun-DUN! Der-du-dun-dun-dun!”

“Great. Now he’s doing the theme music...” Muttered Deadshot glibly as he re-loaded.

Over in Cover team, Werner Vertigo was perplexed.

“I don’t understand. What is Captain Boomerang doing?”

“Ugh!” Sighed Killer Frost. “Don’t worry about it. He’s going on about some dinosaur show from the ‘70s.”

“It’s from the Eighties! Bloody millenials! No respect for the classics!” Shouted Digger angrily before going back to his theme music.

“With George Peppard, as Rick “Hannibal” Flag…”

Bullets and boomerangs kept soaring into the compound and bodies flew left and right in varying degrees of lifelessness and pain.

“Dwight Schulz, as Floyd “Howling Mad” Deadshot…”

Field Commander Flag dug deeper behind the stack of crates he’d chosen for cover. Loose debris from exploding boomerangs were cutting it a little close for comfort.

“Dirk Benedict, as George “Face” Harkness.”

Looking on with boredom at the carnage that was unfurling at the terrorist compound were Cheshire and King Shark.

“Now I know he’s crazy, if he thinks HE’S Face…” said King Shark. Then a thought occurred to him. “Wait… there were only four cast members in the A-Team. So what does that make us?”

The massive humanoid shark looked almost comically dejected at the diminutive woman in the cat mask.

“Don’t take it so personally, Shark. It’s not about us. He’s just trying to get at—“

“Covering! Tiger! Go!”

Suddenly the Strike team had found their path had been purged clear by explosive boomerangs and precision gunfire.

“…And Mr T as Ben “Bad Attitude Baracus” Turner!”

“Get to the engineers! Get them to the extraction point!”

“I AIN’T GETTIN’ ON NO PLANE!” came the shoddy Mr T impression in a thick Australian drawl.

A guttural growl could be heard over Bronze Tiger’s comm link. Ben Turner could only take so much.

“At the objective. Requesting extraction.”

“Vertigo! Can you spare Frost?!”

“Yes, Commander. The numbers have thinned out significantly. I should be able to provide adequate covera—“

“Great.” Flag cut him off . “Frost. Ice slide in to Turner and out with the engineers. Lawton, move to Nest 2 so you’re in a better place for extraction as well.”

“Get that Fool Deadshot to Nest 2! Shut up fool, you ain’t no fish!”

Boomerang kept hammering repeated atrocious Mr T impressions and failing at stifling his laughter over the comm link.

“Flag, the engineers are clear and under Tiger’s watch at point 3. Coming back around for the team now.”

“One second…”

“You pancaked ma van! I’m gonna kill you, foo—” Digger Harkness looked up from his sand dune to see Rick Flag standing over him. “Oh… g’day Cob’ didn’t see you there. So… how we doi—”

THUMP!

Captain Boomerang’s face was met with the solid butt of Commander Flag’s rifle.

“I’m over with Harkness now. We’re awaiting pickup. Someone’s going to need to carry Boomerang back to the extraction point though. His stand-up bit seems to have left him tired...”

Ben Turner laughed knowingly as he listened in, to the engineers’ collective confusion.

Rick Flag looked around to make sure no one was around before pulling a cigar from his pocket and covering his comm link.

“I love it when a plan comes together…”

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Old 08-08-2016, 10:51 PM   #10
Andy C.
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Default Re: Ultimate DC: Rebirth







"There is a saying among the indigenous creatures of this planet," Brainiac says, almost absent-mindedly observing one of the captured 'Bottle Cities' in his collection, "one with which I strongly identify: 'knowledge is power.'"

Inside the bottle--or rather, inside the warped bubble of extra-dimensional space contained by the bottle-- millions of sentient creatures have been forced to endure Brainiac's nightmarish experiments, their home world long gone and the rest of their people destroyed with it. Some of those bottles have been part of his collection for thousands, even millions, of years; Heaven knows what civilization becomes after so long being subjected to such horror. So many lives lost, so many societies brought to ruin. To him, it's little more than a data mine.

"I know things, Kal-El of Krypton, Clark Kent of Earth," he continues, "Things that no other being in the entirety of the universe will ever know. I hold ancient secrets long forgotten, can confirm hypotheses our distant descendants will barely conceive, can speak in tongues no one has spoken since before this planet had even formed. I have stared for eons into the abyss, deciphering pattern in the chaos of infinity. I have probed and dissected the sulf-sustaining chemical reaction of life on every scale, from single cells to interstellar empires. There is no being that has ever lived, or will ever live, that contains as much knowledge as myself. And yet....I lack the power to defeat you, Kal-El."

"You've butchered worlds, Brainiac, killed more than I can imagine," I say, still cautiously scanning the chamber for any sign of what this monster has planned. "You shouldn't be that surprised that my friends and I keep fighting you."

"Indeed," he nods. "When I first came to this world, I found it an odd curiosity. A Level-2 world, barely worth the attention of higher species, hiding away the last Kryptonian. Apes with atom bombs, attempting to raise the survivor of a Level-10 civilization. Teaching it to think like them, to uphold their cultural mores and values. Unthinkable. Practically obscene. And so you rose to prominence as their 'Superman,' the thought patterns of a half-evolved primate controlling a body engineered over thousands of generations for infinite possibilities. Your people would have approached the threats facing this planet with patience and eloquence, whereas you act brashly and with a force unparalleled by virtually all."

I'm not sure where this is going, so I let the Coluan AI continue. In my mind, I hear J'onn's telepathic voice responding to my earlier call.

<Received, Superman. Martian Manhunter standing by.>

<Brainiac says he's surrendering,> I think as clearly as I can, hoping J'onn is scanning for my response. <I think I have the situation under control now. Still, be ready in case things turn south.>

"Your eyes unfocused briefly, and you momentarily clenched your teeth," Brainiac notes, "indicating that you are attempting to contact your Martian ally."

I involuntarily flinch at the realization that I've been caught-- Bruce tells me I have the worst poker face of anyone in the League. Still, I quickly regain my composure.

"The rest of the League is on standby in case you try anything," I say with a stern edge.

"As I have said," the Coluan responds, meeting my eyes with what might be annoyance, "I have no intention of engaging in hostilities."

There is a long, cold pause as we glare at each other.

I've been told by Hal, the space-traveler Adam Strange, and others that Brainiac is one of the most feared monsters in the universe. My experience fighting him says he is all of that and more. But of all the many horrible things Brainiac is, a liar is not one of them.

"Fine," I say, conceding, "So why surrender now? Why not do what you've done before, adapt your technology and tactics to attack us from a different angle?"

"Because I have decided I do not want you as an enemy, Kal-El," he answers bluntly. "I first thought of your mingling with the crude and inferior humans to be a weakness on your part. However, in every encounter we have had, you have shown an unpredictability as a result of this perceived flaw, a strength which, by its very nature, I cannot plan to counter. This world is slowly beginning to share that unpredictability with you, as humans are beginning to play host to Martians, Tamaranians, Thanagarians, Rannians, even other Kryptonians thought long lost. My calculations predict Earth to be the future hub of an alliance that spans galaxies, with your bizarre, unforeseen influence at its heart. You are a curiosity, Kal-El, and I no longer want you to be my enemy. Instead, I want you to become my equal."

".....I'm sorry?"

"In time, you will become powerful enough that your influence will spread far beyond this planet," he says. "You will be able to push the boundaries of possibility farther than any other being ever could. But the limited knowledge of this world will prevent you from reaching your true potential, from ever being truly worthy of traversing the stars like myself. To that end, while we have discussed my surrender, I have been hacking into the computer banks of your Fortress."

"You what?!" I say, clenching my fists. "You said you weren't here for a fight, then you tell me you're taking over my--"

"No," he interrupts. "I am uploading every available piece of data from my memory storage to those of your Fortress. I am giving you every fact, every secret, every footnote of lost history, every syllable of dead languages, that I know. Knowledge may not be power, as I had thought, but knowledge and power together may be a truly intriguing sight to see."

"I....I don't understand...." I shake my head, confused. "You expect me to just read everything you know and, what, help you destroy more worlds?"

"I expect you to learn, and to apply what you learn as you see fit," he states. "It will not be a quick or simple undertaking; given the speed at which you are capable of processing information, were you to devote your focus to studying what I am giving you non-stop, it would still take you nearly a hundred thousand of your years. It will take considerably longer if you continue your interventionist practices with the indigenous creatures of this planet. However, once you attain this level of knowledge, you will have everything you need to combat the far greater problems and threats this universe holds."

"...a hundred thousand years...."

"Unfathomable to you now in your relative infancy, but an insignificant amount of time on the scale you will eventually experience," he says, turning his eyes back towards his Bottle Cities. "I can only speculate what you will become in the intervening time. However, I will not be able to see your transformation myself."

"And why's that?"

"Because, Kal-El of Krypton," he says, not even looking back at me, "you are about to kill me."

"What?! I....no, I--"

I feel it, but can't do anything about it. Heat, unbearable heat, building up behind my eyes, burning and blinding hotter than the core of the sun itself. I can't hold it. Either I let it out and it vaporizes him, or it explodes inside me and kills us both.

I don't understand what's happening. I want to yell to him, to beg him to run, to get away before it's too late. I want to pray to any deity that might listen, please, don't let me do this.

Everything is redness and pain as I try in vain to hold it back. Brainiac finally looks back at me, and unbelievably, he smiles.

"Lex Luthor sends his regards," he says before everything goes red.




Then it all burns into nothing, and the world goes black.


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Old 08-15-2016, 06:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: Ultimate DC: Rebirth



"--years ago! Everyone knows Brainiac was a monster, who's to say he wasn't going to try again to kill us all?"

"That's not the point; the point is the precedent Superman's actions set for the other members of the super-hero community. I mean, if we're going to be okay with Superman simply deciding to terminate his enemies, what's to stop Wonder Woman from doing the same? Or the Flash? Why doesn't the Justice League just vaporize Belle Reve and Arkham Asylum and Stryker's Island with everyone inside?"

"Well, why not? You're seriously going to tell me that if you had the chance to put down, say, the Joker, you wouldn't do it?"

"I wouldn't say that, but I'm not the one who put a symbol on my chest saying I bring hope and optimism. Superman's always held himself to a higher standard than that--"

"And because of that, people like Lex Luthor and the Toymen were able to take advantage of him and ruin thousands of innocent lives. I had two good friends of mine who died in the Doomsday incident, which Luthor orchestrated. If Superman had acted then the way he acted in Washington, they'd still be here!"

"I've lost friends too, but you can't use tragedy as an excuse to throw your ideals away! Even now, polls show the American people are against the Justice League using lethal force."

"A majority that's growing smaller every time another alien conqueror or costumed lunatic comes along and the day ends with parents having to bury their children! The number of people in support of the League putting these monsters down for good is up to 37%, up from just 19% back when the Flash--"



"Someone turn the volume down on those two morons," Lois Lane half-yelled across the newsroom of the Daily Planet, drowning out the talking heads on G-Factor, the sensationalist pseudo-news show hosted by the insufferable G. Gordon Godfrey. It was all Lois could do to keep from grabbing the paperweight from her desk and throwing it at the screen.

Clark didn't return to his apartment after the incident in Washington. He hadn't answered any of her calls or texts. Even his mother in Kansas hadn't seen him. There had been a few sightings of him making the occasional save in various places around the world, but even the ones that could be verified all said he was only there for a few seconds at a time.

And if he's not at his place or getting advice from good old Ma, Lois thought to herself, That means Smallville's retreated up North to sulk in his clubhouse. And I've got no way to reach him. Something's wrong, and he doesn't want me to--

"Here you go, Miss Lane," an obnoxiously bright, somewhat nasal voice said from right next to her, causing Lois to flinch. "Caramel machiatto with two sugars."

Lois blinked a few times, then her thoughts returned to the present. "You know you don't still have to get me coffee anymore, Jimmy. Rookie chores are reserved for rookie employees-- pretty sure you stopped qualifying after your Pulitzer."

"Well, according to Perry, I only move up in rank once my awards outnumber my lawsuits," Jimmy Olsen said with a self-deprecating smirk. "Besides, it's good luck-- I get some of my best shots when I get roped into one of your stories, and a cup of coffee is a small price to pay to stay on your short list."

"You're all heart, Olsen," Lois said, rolling her eyes. "Anyway, I don't think you're going to get more Pulitzer material from my next job; I'm supposed to cover the Mayor's response to Superman--"

"You think he did it?" Jimmy interrupted.

"You mean Superman?" she asked. "I mean, I was there in Washington when Brainiac showed up. I saw Superman go into the ship. Then it all just.....went to hell."

"Well, I mean....maybe it wasn't really him, right?" he said, shifting uncomfortably. "Maybe someone was mind-controlling him--you know the big gorilla in the Legion of Doom can do that? Maybe that Mixellpixel guy put the whammy on him, or he got infected with some kind of nano-virus or warped Kryptonite, and he just wasn't in control of himself."

"....would that make it any better?"

"....I don't know...." Jimmy sighed.

"Something stinks about the whole thing, Jimmy," she said, shaking her head. "I know Superman better than anyone apart from his parents. Those idiots on the news talking about what he 'should' and 'shouldn't' do, what he 'stands for,' what they'd do if they were him, they're talking out of their asses. I know what he's like, and even if he did decide to put Brainiac away, doing it without warning or provocation? That's not him-- never has been, never will be. And the timing of this? First Winslow Schott comes out and says he wants to turn over a new leaf. Then Brainiac rolls into Washington saying he wants to surrender. And then...."

Lois's voice trailed off as her eyes caught the headline on her laptop's browser.

Lex Luthor Attempt Suicide
Criminal Mastermind Concsious, Refuses to Answer Questions


".....on second thought, Jimmy, you might want to come along with me today after all," she said, her voice growing cold. "We're going to Stryker's Island."


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Old 08-17-2016, 02:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Ultimate DC: Rebirth

Years ago (Number varies based on who you ask):

BOOM

Just like that Steppenwolf and his invaders were gone. Superman, Supergirl and the Justice League had pushed them back, and a hole in space had opened, swallowed them, and closed with that loud boom.

BOOM

The same sound echoes through the city again, Kara looks around for the source. She sees no Parademons, no Steppenwolf, just two dots of white light. The two dots rapidly stretch into lines. Kara sees it in slow motion, knowing it's moving much faster as the lines of light dart around objects making an obvious beeline at her cousin.

"KAL! MOVE!"

Her cousin heard her, but had not seen the beams, and Kara acts. At the last possible second she shoves Superman out of the way and is hit by the full force of the beams. And then she is gone.

Ten Years Ago, but 990 Years In The Future:




Kara's ears are ringing and she's seeing nothing but bright white spots as she hears a voice in a language she's never heard on Earth or Krypton. As her vision clears she sees the man speaking to her.



The man's face looked friendly, but curious. But as Kara's eyes darted to the right of him, her own confusion turned to utter terror.



Next to the man speaking was another man, with a skin tone she had seen once before, in an enemy of hers and Kal's that was known the universe over only as the tyrant Brainiac.



Immediately, without thinking, Kara's arm bolted out and grasped the green skinned man by the neck. The fear that could be seen in Kara's eyes transferred to the man in her grasp.

"WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?!"

<Kara Zor-El, please be calm. I can see your thoughts, and nobody here is out to harm you. Querl can be sprocker, but he's OUR sprocker. Please let him go.>

Kara's grip released as she heard the gentle voice in her head. She looked again, and saw that to the first man's left were two others. The first, who she could only assume the telepathic request came, was a blonde woman in a red uniformwith an image of Saturn on the front. To her left, was a long haired ginger man who seemed to be sparking from the finger tips.




<My name is Imra Ardeen. Some call me Saturn Girl. My companions and I are members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The man who spoke to you is Rokk Krinn, our leader, though it seems you did not understand the words he asked. Querl Dox is the one who you attacked. I saw your fears, and can assure you he is not responsible for anything that has happened to you. Nor is he the man you think he is. He is but an ancestor of the man in your thoughts, and doing his best to rid his family name of the stink of the tyrant who was the first Brainiac.>

"Wait. First?" Kara asks aloud, not caring to keep the conversation private."

<Yes, first. Querl is the fifth Brainiac of his family line, and a valued Legionaire. To continue my introductions, to my left is my some times hot tempered paramour Garth.>

"Wait. I'm still hung up on this ancestor thing."

<Brainy is from the planet Colu. One thousand years ago, they were ruled by one of the worst tyrants the universe has ever known, a member of the Dox line known to history only as Brainiac. Legend has it that he was ultimately stopped by Superman.>

"Wait. What? One thousand years ago? Kal and I stopped him much more recently than that. What year do you guys think it is?"

"I can answer that inquiry, now that the translators in these confounded rings have started functioning again. I need to devote some time to work out the kinks in that software. Perhaps I need to optimize the ancient language dictionary subfiles to maximize retrieval subroutines..."

As he trailed off, he was interrupted by Rokk. "Brainy. The girl's question. Answer it, so that she may answer ours."

"Hmm? Oh. Yes. The year. We do not think, it is established fact that the planetary year of the Earth is 3006."

"The beams sent me to the future?"

"That may have answered parts of my original question. If you think you are in the past it may help to explain why you are wearing Superman's uniform. Who are you, Miss?"

"Huh? You know Superman?"

Growing impatient, Rokk answers. "Of course we know Superman. Everybody knows Superman. He's the greatest hero to ever grace the universe. He's the inspiration behind Garth, Imra and I founding the Legion of Super-Heroes! Now. WHY. ARE. YOU. WEARING. HIS. UNIFORM?!"

"This is MY uniform. I'm Supergirl. Superman is my cousin."

Querl touches his ring, and suddenly Kara can no longer understand him as he speaks to Rokk.



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