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Old 01-08-2010, 11:09 PM   #1
UltimateRPGs
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Default The All-Star Marvel RPG


Gamemasters & Staff
Andy C. - Gamemaster
Eddie Brock - Assistant Gamemaster
Batman - Founder

Quote:
It all began in the harsh winter of 1940, when a young colonel by the name of Nicolas Fury oversaw the birth of America's last line of defense - The Super Soldier. As a bi-product of the infant organization known as SHIELD, a young patriot was selected for the process that was hoped to generate an army of superhuman warriors that would steer the war out of Germany's hands. But instead of several, they only got one. And he would become the standard for which every follower would be judged upon.

Steve Rogers, the iconic hero during the Last Great War, practically willed the Allies to victory in World War II. Sadly, America lost it's symbol of freedom when their "Captain America" was murdered in his own home in nineteen-sixty-eight. Some suspected anti-war terrorists who opposed the Vietnam War, but the case was never solved. Cap's only family, his wife Gail and son James, were left to grieve and pick up the pieces of a shattered life. After a failed run to keep Roger's memory alive with a squadron called The Invaders, Nick Fury disbanded the team and disappeared, seemingly putting an end to his era of SHIELD.

The death of Captain America, on top of the war slipping away in Vietnam, left much of America weary and at a loss. But some bold visionaries stepped to the forefront to help their country out of it's dire position. Master inventor and business mogul Howard Stark came forward and offered his help. His company, the fast-rising Stark Industries, signed a extremely lucrative military contract to become the country's leading supply in the business of warfare. And the reason Stark Industries was chosen above the multitude of other was the Iron Men - robot soldiers equipped with the highest grade of combat systems that only Howard's genius could create.

In the early 1990's, Professor Charles Xavier was a prominent face on the political frontline in the growing mutant problem. A supporter of the Mutant Registration Act, Xavier was the strongest voice in getting the proposed MRA made into law. Sadly though, the Professor, who had spent his life working with mutants, died before seeing the Act come to pass. Xavier's one-time friend, Erik Lensherr, who was also the acts strongest opposition, went underground. Over the years the act has been enforced, Magneto has provided a safe haven for frightened and hunted mutants, and has been fighting a war with the US government that oppresses his people.

Now, The United States has decided to fight back. At the newly founded Xavier Institute, the government trains and teaches mutants how to use their powers safely and effectively. The mutants that show the most potential are then conscripted into The X-Men, the elite branch of mutant soldiers of the United States military. Among this battle also sees the return of SHIELD's forces, now renamed HAMMER and led by an eager young woman named Sharon Carter - Director 13. Their mission is one of grave importance, and may affect the history of the world itself: To return Captain America, one way or another.

With many heroes and villains on the rise, it is only a matter of time until the world will know how it feels... to look upon Marvels.

Welcome to All-Star Marvel! This RPG is based off of a player-created continuity, similar to Hype's Ultimate DC RPG. Outside of the above, and what the players themselves create, there is no pre-established continuity. As players, it will be your job to take the basic ideas and characters of the Marvel Universe, and accordingly, reinvent them into however you see fit. Though it is your choice of how drastic the alterations should be, you are free to customize everything from a character's origin to motivations, identity, mannerisms, costume, powers, and world. Let your imagination run wild.

To apply for a character, fill out the application supplied below. If your application is rejected, do not despair! Simply rework what the Gamemasters tell you is wrong with it, or in the case of multi-applications, choose another character. All players are welcome, regardless of membership status or postcount.


* You may choose any character appearing in any strictly Marvel Universe (Ranging from 616, Ultimate, MC2, and others), and revamp them for All-Star continuity. Any character appearing outside of Marvel, such as DC or Amalgam characters, will not be applicable. You are allowed a maximum of two characters. Though it is advised that you stick to one, especially at first, you will be allowed a second if you believe you can handle the responsibility.

* In the beginning, each and every character will be up for grabs. Multiple players will be allowed to apply for the same character, leaving the best application to be judged and approved by the Gamemasters. In order to be eligible, you must post your application within 12 hours after the first was submitted.

* You must post at least once every two weeks, though it is preferred you post more, or your character will be up-for-grabs. Failure to post after a month will result in removal from the roster.

* PC's are not to be killed without permission. Nameless NPC's are fine, but PC's or important NPC's will require authorization. Don't do anything random, such as destroying the universe, either. Such behavior is frowned upon.

* Several storylines can be going on at once, in order to interact with other players. If a player's character does not want to be involved in another's storyline, they do not have to. Consultation and communication are the keys to a good PC-to-PC interaction.

* Legacy characters (IE: Sidekicks) will be required to be permitted by the player orchestrating the mentor's role in All-Star. For instance, if you want to play Patriot or Nomad, your acceptance will hinder on the player playing Captain America, and his thoughts.

* You can travel anywhere on Earth or off-planet, provided it is within your character's means. Time-travel is forbidden, unless it is specifically required of your character choice.

* You are your character, so act like them. Create or portray their mannerisms, powers, and ideals to how they have been established in the game. BE the character - do not, under any circumstances, play yourself as the character.

* Respect the Gamemasters. If they make a request of you regarding the game, listen to them. Failure to adhere to GM, AGM, and Hype! Moderator requests will result in expulsion from the game.

* Be creative, and do not be afraid to try new and exciting things with old concepts. This is a new continuity - the laws of the regular Marvel Universe are not set in stone.

* All regular Hype rules apply. And finally, the most important rule of all: Have fun. Never take the game too seriously, or you will have lost the point. Heated arguments between players can result in probations or infractions - do not ruin it for other players. It's only a game, people.

* Do not post OOC comments in this thread. If you have any questions or concerns, post them in the proper thread, located here. Thank you for your time.




Last edited by UltimateRPGs; 08-09-2010 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:10 PM   #2
Eddie Brock
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Default Re: The All-Star Marvel RPG

IRON MAN

FUNERAL FOR MY FATHER: PART 1

Howard Stark. Visionary, businessman, father. At times during my childhood, I wondered which of those designations he held most dear. Now, I have no doubts. If there was one thing in this world that Howard Stark was proud of, it was being a father. Being my father.

I couldn't tell you why. In so many ways, I was a terrible son. I brought disappointment and shame to the Stark name. I took all of my father's hopes and dreams for me, and I pissed them away with cheap booze and cheaper women. After leaving the house for boarding school in my teenage years, I never came back. I never even picked up the phone and called my father. I'm sure he half-expected to pick up the newspaper and read about how I was found dead in a gutter somewhere.

Only when the money ran low did I run home to my father. And, like the prodigal son, he welcomed me with open arms. Within minutes of being home, I knew all was forgiven. I just didn't know why. Then, my father dropped a bombshell of me. He revealed that he was dying, and suddenly it all made sense. He didn't care about the past because he didn't know if there would be a future. I've gotta give the old man credit for making it much longer than the doctors originally said he would.

Like all things, though, the life of Howard Stark came and went, and here I stand at his funeral. Surrounded by a veritable who's-who of the business world - and the top one percent of the economic ladder - I find myself wondering what to say to these people. My father may have forgiven and forgotten all of my transgressions, but these people certainly didn't. I'm sure some of them think I'm just here to collect my inheritance. I don't blame them. That's the Tony Stark I presented to the public, and it's going to be a long time before I can make them see otherwise.

Today will be a good first step.

Clearing my throat, I quickly grab the attention of everyone present. Time for the black sheep of the Stark family to have his say. "My father used to have a saying," I begin, "That a man's worth could be measured by what his friends said about him after he was gone." I look over my shoulder at the casket behind me. "If that's the case, then Howard Stark has nothing to fear."

"When my father first told me about his condition, I didn't know what to make of it. To be honest, I've never really been close with the man - not like a son should have been, anyway - and I really didn't know how to feel," I explain. "That being said, I wanted to make sure I used my remaining time with him to right the many wrongs I've done. Unfortunately, some of those wrongs date back a long time..."

***

"...and I slipped out the next morning before her dad woke up," says a young Tony Stark, finishing yet another story of his exploits with the opposite sex. He's adorned in the Lieber Academy uniform - albeit with the tie loosened and the shirt unbuttoned - as he sits on the windowsill. He pours himself another glass of scotch.

Tony's friend, Ho Yinsen, scoffs loudly. "You're full of crap, you know that, Stark?" he downs his glass of scotch and motions for Tony to hand over the bottle. As he pours himself another glass, he continues, "You're lying to me - just like you lie to Headmaster Granov."

"Yinsen, I swear on my father's company! Seriously, come with me sometime," Tony offers. He elbows his friend in the ribcage and winks. "There's more than enough girls to go around."

Before Yinsen can answer, the door to the room bursts open. Tony's expression changes little, but Yinsen's eyes fill with terror at the sight of the person standing there. "Headmaster Granov!"

The cold-faced headmaster steps through the threshold, staring down the young Tony Stark. To his credit, Tony never flinches. "Mr. Yinsen, report to your room immediately," Headmaster Granov orders emotionlessly. "I'll deal with you later." Without another word, Yinsen scurries off, closing the door behind him. "Mr. Stark. In possession of contraband yet again, I see."

Tony looks down at the half-empty bottle of scotch. "You caught me," he replies flatly. "So what's the punishment this time, Granov? Going to revoke my weekend passes for the rest of the semester?"

Headmaster Granov's lip curls into a smile. "Oh, there certainly won't be weekend passes for you anymore, Mr. Stark. In fact, it gets even better!" The headmaster steps forward and snatches the bottle from Tony's hand. "Given your track record, Mr. Stark, this violation finally gives me the right to kick you out of this school."

Tony swallows a lump in his throat, but his eyes never show any weakness.

Headmaster Granov leans forward and whispers into Tony's ear. "And I don't care how much money your father throws at the Academy this time. You're not Lieber material, Mr. Stark, and expelling you will bring me great joy." Still smiling, Headmaster Granov turns and begins to leave the room.

"Granov?"

The headmaster stops.

"Can you leave the scotch?" Tony asks, clearly unfazed by the news of his impending expulsion. Headmaster Granov leaves the room, taking the scotch with him, causing the young Tony Stark to mutter, "A**hole."

__________________
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:12 PM   #3
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JOHNNY STORM

LIGHTS, CAMERA...: PART 1

"Iris, what do you want from me?" I ask enraged. I glance up at a waiter passing our table before returning my gaze to her piercing blue eyes. I continue in a whisper, "I'm doing the best I can here! You, of all people, know how hard work has been! Okay? The cases just keep piling up, and I don't know what to do."

She takes a moment before leaning back and replying in a whisper of her own, "I don't think I'm asking for a lot here. Once - just once - I'd like for you to show up on time for one of our dates!" She motions to the empty wine bottle on the table. "I'm tired of feeling like I'm an afterthought!"

I reach across the table and take her hand in mine. She looks away from me. "Iris, you are never an afterthought to me. I'm doing all of this for you! I want to be able to marry you someday without thinking of stupid stuff like finances!"

"That'll be the day," she scoffs. "I doubt you'd even be able to show up to the wedding on time!" She pulls her hand away from mine and stands up. "You should order another bottle of the wine. It was very good," she says flatly before walking away.

"And cut!"

The director stands up from his chair and approaches the set. Zooey Deschanel turns around and faces me, smiling. I lean back in my seat and allow myself to smile.

"That was great, you two," the director praises. "I'm really feeling the chemistry. Keep it up!" I exchange quick glances with Zooey. "Alright, that's a wrap for today. Tomorrow, we shoot the accident scene - as long as we can get all the visual effects ready." He pats me on the shoulder and says, "You're gonna be a hit, kid."

As the director walks away, Zooey moves closer. "Hey, he's not kidding," she assures me. "You're doing really well." She looks around the set. "It's gonna be a lot of fun, huh?"

"I certainly hope so." Standing up, I offer, "Hey, if you weren't doing anything, I was going to grab a drink right after this." I put my hands in my pockets and stare at the floor.

"I can't. I've got to meet Brian," she explains. Right. Brian. The husband. How do I keep - conveniently - forgetting about him? "Maybe some other time," she adds, patting me on the shoulder as she walks away.

I sigh. "Maybe."

__________________
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"Dear DC, if Marvel gets Rocket Raccoon in a movie before you make either Wonder Woman or Justice League, you have f***ing failed."
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:45 PM   #4
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Two Years Ago


"I believe in America," the Chinese man said as he stood in the large room's dim light.

His name was Shang Chi. A Chinese immigrant, he had come to New York in search of a better life and had become a successful businessman, owning and operating the three Shang-Chi Karate Studio locations in Manhattan. He now stood here before the two men hidden in the shadows because they could do what needed to be done.

"America has made my fortune, and I have raised my family in the American fashion. Three years ago, my son was killed. A drunk driver struck him as he walked home from school. He was my heart and soul, I wept for days after he died," Chi said as he swallowed the massive lump in his throat.

"The police took it from there. The man had a slick lawyer who talked circles around the defense. Instead of murder, my son's murderer was charged with 3rd degree manslaughter and received two years probation. Probation! He went free that very day! And as he left the court....the bastard smiled at me."

The two men watched as Chi's face became a mask of rage and sadness. They gave the mourning father time to compose himself.

"So...that's when I decided to seek your help. I need justice, and I know you are the ones to do it."

It was true. The two men had put surveillance on Chi for the past week, a week and a half after he hung the red rag out his apartment window.

"You say you want justice," one of the men said. His name was Luke Cage, and the debt he owed the man at his side was enormous. It had only been a few months ago that they had beaten a rapist half to death, and then did something that made him wish he were dead.

"Are you prepared to personally seek justice?"

"Yes," Chi hissed. He was a sixth level black belt, but this was the first time he ever felt the murderous rage that ate at his heart. He wanted revenge and justice. The kind of justice the courts would never let him have.

"Let it be know, Chi," the man to Cage's right said as he finally spoke up.

"That if you are prepared to take that path, then you will become one of us. A damned soul, a devil."

Chi felt his flesh break out into goosebumps as the man had spoke. He could not see his face, but he knew this man was the legendary Devil of Hell's Kitchen.

"Shang Chi....are you willing to give up everything for justice?"

Chi bit his lip and swallowed hard.

"Yes."

"Meet us at two a.m. at the place where your son's killer lives. You know where that is. You've walked by there six times in the last week."



*********



Shang Chi's heart was racing wildly as he stood outside the apartment door. He was early by ten minutes. Although he wasn't surprised as the door swung open and a large black man greeted him.

"Enter," he said as he motioned for Chi to follow him inside.

The candle light was the first thing that caught Shang Chi's attention as he entered the apartment - dozens of candles were lit and scattered around the apartment - the second thing that caught his eye was the man who was tied to the chair.

This was him. The drunk driver that had killed Jeff. He was bound by his hands and legs, a gag tied around his mouth. A bottle of whiskey stood on a nearby table.

"Shang Chi," the devil said as he stood by the apartment window, his face obscured by shadow.

"This man is accused of killing your son, Jeffery Chi. How do you find him?"

"Guilty."

"Very well. The whiskey bottle to your left is this man's brand, it was the same liquor on his breath as he struck down your son. Undo his gag and drown him in his own sin."

Chi moved quickly, grabbing the bottle and ripping off the man's gag. Before he had time to scream, the bottle of whiskey was in his mouth and Chi shoved it further down his gullet.

The man struggled as the burning alcohol went down his throat. He coughed and sputtered as blood tinted booze blew out of his nose. He shook as the liquor slowly drained into his lungs. He flinched and gave out a yelp as the alcohol in his lungs slowly killed him.

Within two minutes, he slumped forward in the chair. Dead.

"Shang Chi, has your son received justice?"

"Yes," Chi muttered as he stood over the dead drunk driver.

"You are still broken, but we can heal you...Shan Chi, welcome to the Devils."

His name had been Shang Chi. But to Matt Murdock, he was now Devil Three.

__________________
"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."
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:47 PM   #5
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“No, no, no, you don’t understand. My internet, digital cable, and telephone are all out of service and I’ve already made my payment weeks ago.”

“I see…”

Click clack clack clack click click clack

“Hmm…they’re all showing up on the system. Nothing appears to be out of order.”

“Well, I don’t know what to tell ya, none of them are working.”

“Alright, sir. Do you use a router?”

“Yes.”

“Alright, go ahead and unplug the router, please.”

Sigh, ok.”

“Alright, now plug the router back in please.”

“…Ok.”

“Give it a minute.”

“…Ok.”

“Ok, can you try and access the internet, please?”

“Yeah…nope, still nothing.”

“I see…”

Click clack clack clack click click clack

“Alright, what we’re going to have to do his schedule an appointment with a technician…uh…I’m afraid the soonest he have is Wednesday from seven to eleven a.m.”

Sigh, no, I don’t have ‘til Wednesday. I have some work I need to do right now. This is like the fifth time this has happened this month and every time I schedule an appointment with a technician, I go out of my way to change my schedule and the guy never shows up on time. This is totally unacceptable!”

“I see…”

Click clack clack clack click click clack

“Alright, I’m going to go ahead and transfer your call over to technical support. Please hold.”

“Ok.”

Beep



‘Cause you’re my laaaay-deh...of the moor-ning...Looove shines...in your eeeyyee-eyes

Beep

"HOWARD THE DUCK?!!"

“…Yes?”

"THIS IS THOG THE NETHER-SPAWN, OVERMASTER OF SOMINUS!"

“…H-hello?”

"HELLO."

“…”

". . . HOWARD!!!"

“Yes?”

"THE CELESTIAL ONES HAVE CHOSEN YOU TO TRAVEL THROUGH THE NEXUS OF ALL REALITIES, CONQUER SPACE AND TIME, AND FACE THE GREAT INTERDIMENSIONAL CHALLENGES OF DOOM!!!"

“…Um…is this…is this gonna fix the cable, or…?”

"NO."

“Oh…Is this technical support?”

"SILENCE! NOW PREPARED TO BE TORN APART, MOLECULE BY MOLECULE, AND HURTLED THROUGH THE INFINITE REALMS OF SPACE AND TIME!!!"

“That…doesn’t even sound…remotely pleasant…”

"I CAN ASSURE YOU IT IS NOT!!!"

I drop the telephone as my body is suddenly overcome with the maddeningly unpleasant sensation of being torn apart, molecule by molecule, and hurtled through the infinite realms of space and time.

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Old 01-09-2010, 04:43 PM   #6
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The Manhattan Apartment of Kevin Marlow, 1 AM,

So this is life, eh?

Marlow was in his 5th hour of drinking. He sat in on his couch drinking cheap beer in his bathrobe feet propped up on his dirty table. Beer cans and gun/porn magazine littered the room. Black and white photos lined the walls along with army medals and nostalgia of the old days line the walls. A few pictures of him shaking hands with presidents.

He couldn't complain though. He was in his late seventies but he felt so much younger, thank you Dr. Schmitt. Sure his life was not as fun or glamorous anymore, the day of punching Nazis and communists were far gone.

People often wondered, how do you live in such a nice place with the job you do. Working as a Mall rent-a-cop chasing punk kids and shoplifters around all day surely could not afford this place. Well this is the thanks he gets for killing and when they didn't need him anymore, when he became old and useless the put him here. They gave him a place to live but he had to provide for himself.

He was switching between late night talk shows some new hip music that he hasn't heard before, skinemax, and some old monster movie. There was a knock at the door.

"Who the hell could it be?" He got up and shuffled through his trash, picking up a silence handgun along the way, old habits die hard. He got to the door and opened it, the chain lock stop it from opening it all the way. He placed the handgun out of sight.

"Mr. Marlow?" It was a girl, couldn't have been more than twenty one. She wore a black tank top that read "Never Mind the Bollocks" in odd type, camo pants, army boots, black fingerless gloves and a black jacket. The jacket had an odd pin. A smile face with swastikas for eyes and it's tongue out. What the hell were wrong with kids today? She brushed her fire red hair out of her face.

"What do you want?" She was going for something. The gun clicked.

"Your food. Steak hoagie, bacon with bleu cheese and onion rings. That will be $9.50." He placed the gun down.

"Right," he got out his wallet, "here's twenty. Keep the change"

"Thanks man," he closed the door and dropped down back on the couch. He opened up the bag and found there was no onion rings.

"God damn it," he muttered. There was another knock on the door. He took a swig of his beer and got up, "better be my onion rings."

VIDEO-CLick to Watch!:


He opened the door. The chain lock once again stopping it. The light in the hall was out. There stood the outline of a man. The only thing he could see was a badge: a red skull.

He went for the gun he left but the stranger kicked the door open sending Kevin flying. Kevin quicking got up and threw a punch. The man caught it. Kevin punch the man in the chest, it felt like a brick wall. The stranger punched Kevin in the gut twice before hurling him across the room. He crashed through the coffee table.

"It was only a matter of time?" The stranger tilted his head to the side. "After all these years you decided to come back?" He slashed at him but the stranger back away with ease and continued to do so after each strike. He caught the hand and twisted it. There was a crack.

"Argh!" Kevin dropped the knife. The man threw a punch and broke Kevin's nose.

"Stop...please...stop," after those words Kevin just wanted to die. The stranger picked him up and tossed him at the window. He smashed against it causing the window to crack. He lifted Kevin back up again. Kevin grabbed on to the guy's coat. Kevin was thrown and took the badge with him. Kevin smashed through the glass and fell to the street below. The man took a cigerette out and put it in his mouth. A flame appeared at his side.

"That was beautiful, baby." It was the girl. She snapped the lighter back. "Please don't we're not just going to go around killing geezers. It's fun and all but I want some real action."

"Don't worry," he kissed her, "this is only one little step one. Now do me a favor and mess his apartment up."

"Why?"

"The people who I want to know will get the message." His cellphone rang, "yes? I will be their in the morning. Duty calls," he said and left.

__________________
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Old 01-09-2010, 06:17 PM   #7
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SHADOWS OF THE PAST

Don’t pretend to know me, because I hardly know myself. The only thing I’m certain of is, I’m not a nice person. That isn’t to say I’m not a good person. I believe in justice. I believe in a greater good. I believe in the American Dream. I just don’t always believe in playing by the rules to protect that greater good, or preserve that Dream. The @$$h*les trying to kill that dream don’t play by our rules. If they’re willing to kill thousands of our innocents for they’re great religious war, why can’t I slit a couple of their throats. My father died fighting these b@st@rds. Disemboweled in some disease ridden, god forsaken third world jungle, by a pack of mutant terrorist pr*cks he was trying to stop from killing another pack of mutant pr*cks. He died an American hero at the dawn of this “Marvel Age”, and he got jacks**t for it, because he was just human. He wasn’t special. My mother was a saint until his death. She slipped into a downward spiral, and died a drunken whore less than a year later. I was 13. And suddenly, I was on the run. And I ran, until the old soldier found me. The man who had helped make this country great, only to be s**t on and thrown out into the cold, like my father. So for the next 10 years, the Old Soldier trained me; 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 356 days a year. It was grueling, but I thrived on it. I almost seemed to be born for it. Most Olympic athletes would have been hard pressed to best me since I turned 12. Good genes, is what The Old Soldier tells me. Exceptional lineage. And every time he says it, I feel he’s speaking of a life I know nothing about. But why should I? I’ve suffered through hell and chaos my entire life. But it’s made me who I am. It’s prepared me for what’s next. Because now it’s my turn to unleash hell, and I won’t stop until the broken, bloody bodies of the criminals, the terrorists, the super-human scum that has destroyed the world my father and The Old Soldier built and swore to protect form a path of death and carnage across the world that points straight to me.

-

I wonder why cops get so pissed off when a perp runs. I love the thrill of the hunt. I love the challenge of lining up the perfect shot on a moving target. Which is why I’m a little more agitated than usual. Sure, the guy ran, but he was no challenge at all. Didn’t try to zig zag, ran past a ton of trash cans without creating one single obstacle. Why go through the effort of running and not follow through? If you’re going to do something, do it right and finish the job.

"You've got two choices. You tell me who brought in HYDRA's shipments last month, or I cut your d*** off and shove it so far up your @$# you'll end up giving yourself a blowj*&. And then you'll still tell me who brought the shipment in. And then, I'll kill you."

The scum in front of me is Rusty Shwartz, small time drug dealer and wanna be gun runner. Two of my arrows are stuck through either palm, pinning him the the wall behind us. I watch as a small trickle of blood runs down his neck from the small hole I poked into his neck with the tip of my blade.

"F*&$ you."

I press harder. Smart mouthed mother--

"Oh, Rusty, I'd talk now before I put this through your voice box. Because a mute can't talk, and then I'd have no choice but to kill you."

"S-some fat guy. Looks like a suit. Deals with some company downtown. Omar, Osmand, uh, uh, OSBORN! Fat guy who deals with Osborn."

"See, now was that so hard."

Rusty shakes his head. I smile, and then finish shoving my blade into Rusty's neck. The hood gurgles once, and his head rolls to the side. Do it right, and finish the job.

"Yeah, neither was that."

I sheath my knife, and pull out my cell.

"Yeah. No name, but a description, and a possible partner. Fat guy, works for some guy named Osborn. Yeah, pull any intel you can find. I'm heading in, thirty five minute ETA."

__________________
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:48 PM   #8
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BECOMING A WEAPON: PART 1
Normal, most people that take it for granted don’t even really know how much of a pleasure it is to be…normal. But then you have me and others who are like me but not really like me. Who would give anything just to be normal so they do their best to put up a good performance. They try so hard to fit in that they almost forget that they’re different. I wish I could do the same but I can’t. Every time I’m around them I get reminded of just how unordinary they are and myself. Just like them I too put up an act but one that has true importance. The few that are like me in school are more normal than they would even believe. So to protect them and myself I have to be flawless making sure to take every caution to not lose control and to help them as well to keep up the charade because with one error the gig is up. Sure I could just say forget these other people and worry about myself. If I did who would blame me for it? But an action like that it not good for my character. None of us asked to be different we just are and it’s not fair for others to decide what we will be doing with our lives. That simple fact is the reason I do what I do to help others like me, pretend they are the same as every other student that walks these halls and sits in these classrooms. Just because I can’t live a normal life doesn’t mean I can’t help my fellow mutants do so.

But then again who am I kidding? I’m just one boy, one mutant boy who doesn’t truly understand what kind of predicament he’s really in. This world is divided up by so many different variables. I don’t even know what’s up and what’s down. I only know what I’m told. I’m post to believe that what I do is better for mankind as a whole but its not how I feel. I want just run away and live my own life. If I did run away I really wouldn’t be living to much of a life. They would find me and bring me in and change me to become the real weapon they really want. I guess it pays to be the God son of a powerful man.

“Mr. Rankin, is my class boring you?” Sitting here thinking about my life I seem to have forgot that I’m in class right now.

“No your class is not boring me, I was just thinking of something else.”

Not so much as boring me as to putting me to sleep but I’m not going to say that. If I did I would get some kick-ass cool points but my job is to be the guy who sits in the classroom and day dreams and get interrupted by his teacher.

“Well Mr. Rankin you need to pay attention or how would like to be with me and the other teachers of Bayville high after school?”

“I wouldn’t like that at all.” Neither would Feral if I was late for another training exercise, she’d cut my chest open literally.

“Then you should pay attention then.”

If she only knew how much I’m really paying attention. There are three kids in this class room who are just like me and two of them are on the brink of losing control of their powers. But I won’t let that happen. A girl name Annalee in the class room has the power of projecting empathy. She is capable of converting her own emotions into a radiant psychic effect that would manipulate the feeling of others. Now to some this wouldn’t seem like a great power to have but in this situation it is. Anaalee seems to be in control of her powers but the other two are new to their powers there emotions is they’re down fault. Being angry or upset or even scared could trigger them to unleash their power. But I’ll stop them from doing that by using Anna’s power and make them calm cool and collected as myself. As i use her power i see first hand how its begins to work. The looks on their faces tells me everything I need to know. Like always it works, the more and more I use it I think about mimicking her power permanently but the truth is her power is not one that can help me in the field. When it comes down to it no one in this school really has any power that can do me some real amount of good.

As the cloak finally struck 2:45pm everyone in the class including myself got up from our seats and exited the classroom to actually go and do something with our lives instead of listing to boring teachers speak all day. As I made my way to the schools front entrance doors I pick up on a recognizable scent. It was a scent that meant one of two things. One I’m either going to do some training or two I’m going on a mission. Dear God I hope it is the first thing, I’m not in no kind of mood to take away anyone’s life how they took mine.

As I approach Feral next to her vehicle she keeps her eyes on me with a dissatisfied appearance on her face.

“What you did it not allowed Calvin.” Her voice is very stern and she doesn’t even break eye contact with me, yup she’s pissed.

“I did what I had to do to protect my cover. If those kids would have lost it there is a great chance I would be force to display my own powers to protect myself.” Some times i think she can see the future, she always seems to know when i have done something.

The way she’s staring at me I can tell that she believes my reply to be a lot of bull and it is. Feral then makes her way from the passenger side of the car over to the driver’s side and while walking she began to speak.

“Do not take me as a fool Calvin I’ve trained you well enough so if a situation like that would happen you could do what you need to do so you would come out unharmed and your cover intact. It is obvious to me that teaching survival skills is not enough you have to try and play hero and save these other mutants. Maybe I should tell Malcolm that you being here is not good for you and you should be with the others.”

“That is not needed I won’t do it again I promise.”

Before she gets in the car she gives me one last look.

“We will see, now get in the car we have a lot of things to go over.”

The truth is I know she wouldn’t report me. She may not say anything but I know she sees me like a son. This is her way of telling me I need to be more careful and she is right that’s exactly what I'll be.

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Old 01-09-2010, 10:37 PM   #9
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Matt Murdock listened from the shadows as the sounds of struggle filtered through the darkened room.

The warehouse had been condemned for over ten years before Matt had purchased it through a dummy front three years. The place stayed free of gangbangers and horny teenagers due to its reputation as a haunted warehouse, and the fact that the mysterious Devil of Hell's Kitchen had been seen here on numerous occasions helped that reputation.

The papers always called the vigilante "The Devil of Hell's Kitchen". Implying there was one man protecting the neighborhood. The truth of the matter was that the Devil was not just one man, but many others. Including Matt, Cage, and Shang Chi, there ranks were at seven. They all had different stories, but with one common link. Matt had helped right wrongs in all their lives and had brought them down the path of justice. It was the same path he had taken almost three years ago, when had strangled the man who killed his mother and had left the scars on Matt's back.

They always met at the building as soon as the sun started to set. Matt was always there waiting as they came in order. Cage, followed by Chi, and so on. They would spar and train until ten that night, when their leader finally spoke and told them of their mission that night. By Cage's clock, it was now thirty seconds until ten.

"Alright, listen up," he proclaimed as he commanded attention.

"Thank you, Two," Matt replied as the training halted and they all turned towards their leader hidden in the shadows.

No names, just numbers. If you ever met a fellow Devil on the street, you never acknowledged them. As far as the seven people in the room were aware, this group never existed until they met.

"Six, Seven. Step forward."

The redheaded woman and the skinny man with the goatee stepped forward in the warehouse's dim light. She was Dakota North, known now as Seven. Matt had stood by while Dakota had beaten her son and husband's murderer to death with a claw hammer. Six was known as Frank Brubaker elsewhere. As a young child, he had been molested by a priest. With Matt's help, Frank had beaten the elderly priest so bad that the man had been confined to a wheelchair until he died from his injuries a year later.

"Someone is in need of our help. A man named Ben Urich has a gambling problem and owes a substantial amount of money to a local bookie named Morgan."

As Matt's right hand man, Cage had made a visit to Urich that afternoon. The reporter from the Daily Bugle owed Morgan almost five thousand dollars. Urich, unable to pay, had his arm broken by Morgan's thugs. They promised they would be back if Urich did not pay his debt in three days time. Desperate, like most of those who needed his help, Urich had turned to the Devils.

"Morgan lives on 110th street. He has not killed," Matt stated. That was all he needed to say. They knew their mission. They were to "persuade" Morgan without killing him. He have been a lowlife bookie, but he was not a murderer. For their part in assisting the reporter, the group would have another person in their back pocket.

Cage had promised to have Urich's debt erased, but not without a price. Like that famous crime movie, there would be a time when the Devils would need Urich's help. A favor for another favor, one hand washing the other. That was all that they required in turn for this service. Urich readily agreed. In the two and a half years since Matt had become the Devil, he had performed favors for two dozen people in Hell's Kitchen. A grocery store owner, a police sergeant, even a city councilman. They had all been desperate and needed his help, and he had agreed. When the time was right, they would return their favor. They owed him their lives and, in many ways, their souls. Matt's moniker as the Devil was not so much a nickname, as it seemed to be a job description.

"As for the rest of you," Matt said as he turned his attention back to the rest of the group.

"Go about your business tonight. You know your neighborhoods and what needs to be done. Go do it."

The five Devils in front of Matt silently nodded at their leader and turned towards the nearby wall. Five suits were hung perfectly on hangers adjoined by staffs, knives, swords, and nunchuku.

They dressed quickly and quietly. Within five minutes, the five heavily armed men and woman had disappeared through the building's shadows, all of them in the guise of the devil. Only Luke Cage had remained at Matt's side.

"Are they gone?" He asked Cage.

"Yes."

"Good. You can leave now."

"But-"

"Go, Two. Begin your patrol."

Cage followed Matt's instructions and began to dress in the devil garb. He grabbed his weapons and left.

Matt waited until his footsteps died down before he began to dress, removing a billy club from the wall as he slipped he devil mask over his face.

The reason Cage had been doubtful to leave Matt's side, and the main reason he chose to remain hidden to his followers was because of his secret.

Matt Murdock, the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, had been blind since birth. And tonight, he was going out into the sight capable world, to fight criminals who could see just fine.

For Matt Murdock, this was he penance. This was what he did for his sins and for his mother's memory.

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Old 01-10-2010, 12:39 AM   #10
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IRON MAN

FUNERAL FOR MY FATHER: PART 2

The champagne room of the Indulgences Gentlemen's Club is well-stocked and well-decorated. Tony Stark stands at the minibar, pouring himself a drink. As he does so, a scantily-clad dancer enters. Tony immediately smiles. "Hello there, darling. You must be Traci." Tony picks up his drink, nearly spilling it. "You come very highly recommended."

"Oh?" Traci replies, grabbing Tony by his loosened tie. She leads him over to the leather couch and pushes him down on it. As she places a knee on either side of Tony's lap, she says, "Well, I'll try not to disappoint."

"Believe me, honey, you're off to a great start," Tony announces as she begins her lapdance. He takes his eyes off her only for a moment, so he can make sure that his drink reaches his lips. "Hey, you're not bad at this. You should try doing it for a living," Tony jokes.

Half-smiling, Traci continues to perform in front of Tony. She has her back turned when she feels fingers running down her side. Immediately spinning around, Traci masks her anger by waving a finger. "Look, but don't touch, baby."

Tony merely blinks. "What? Does that cost extra?" He ignores the outraged look on her face at this suggestion. Reaching into his shirt pocket, Tony pulls out a thick wad of money. "Trust me. I've got more than enough. Now, come on." He wraps an arm around her back and pulls her in close.

As her face draws closer to his, Traci smells the familiar scent of alcohol heavy on his breath. "Stop it!" she orders, pushing away from Tony. "You're f***ing drunk!" She begins backing away.

Tony gets to his feet. "Of course I'm f***ing drunk. I'd have to be to find a skank like you attractive." He moves closer to Traci, once again putting his hands on her. "But I'm willing to put that aside if you are," he offers, grinning drunkenly. He doesn't even see the slap coming.

Traci runs out of the room and comes back moments later with the bouncer. "There a problem here?" the bouncer asks in a deep voice, eyeing Tony suspiciously.

"There won't be once you leave," Tony hiccups.

The bouncer shakes his head as he grabs Tony by the front of his shirt. "Oh no, my friend. You'll be the one leaving." And with Traci watching, the bouncer drags Tony through the stripclub to the front door. Once there, the bouncer tosses Tony out.

"She's still a skank, you know!" Tony yells at the building. In the distance, the sun is beginning to rise. Tony does his best to try and pull himself together so he can make the long walk home.

***

"I've been granted a rare opportunity," I continue, still commanding my audience's attention. Although, frankly, they aren't my real audience. I doubt they understand me, and I don't expect them to. Howard Stark, my father, is my audience. And I know he hears me loud and clear. "I was able to say everything I wanted to my father before he died. And while I'll miss him greatly, I don't have to live with the regret of not knowing if he understood how I felt."

I turn back to my father's casket, running my fingers along the polished wood.

"I know you understood, Dad," I whisper.

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Old 01-10-2010, 01:18 AM   #11
Andy C.
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Picture you’re on a roller coaster, the best roller coaster you’ve ever ridden in your life. It dips, it dives, it corkscrews and loops the loop, it has you screaming your lungs out and begging for more. Now picture that there’s no track. Now picture that you and you alone are pointing where the roller coaster goes, and that the slightest mistake will see you splattered on the ground a few stories below.

That’s about the best way I can describe what it’s like to hurdle from building to building through the streets of Brooklyn, wheeling through the air like a human cannonball, before tumbling onto the next rooftop or snagging onto a nearby wall. I always wished I was athletic enough to do that free-running stuff that I used to look up on YouTube, but this….this makes those guys look like a bunch of old folks on walkers. It’s all I can do to not whoop and wail like a moron as I get in a really good leap that sends me sailing clear across the street and almost all the way over the next building as well. I grew up reading comics about guys who can fly, or who can run really fast, but I’ll take this any day. It’s like my own little extreme sport than only I can do.

And frankly, I need this. Long day at school. Fell asleep in class because I was out all last night doing…well, this. Flash was nice enough to wake me up with a football to the back of the head, and the teacher decided that detention was just too cruel a punishment for him--I’m sure the fact that the homecoming game is this weekend had nothing to do with the fact that the golden QB got off scot-free.

There’s a scream about half a block away, and I high-tail it to the source. Two hoods holding a woman at gunpoint. I really don’t like hoods with guns. I leap down behind one of them, unnoticed, then jump onto his back. Rather than do the embarrassing thing where you wrap your arms and legs around the guy and hold on for dear life, I clamp both of my hands on his shoulders, placing both of my knees into his lower back. Off-balance, the hood falls back, and there’s a noticeable crack as my knees drive right into his spine. Now it’s not the woman who’s screaming.

I roll the would-be robber off, then focus on his friend, who’s shaking like a leaf.

"Y’know, I’m starting to think these Do-it-Yourself Chiropractic books I ordered aren’t all they’re cracked up to be," I say, motioning to the crippled thug on the ground. "But I guess you don’t really get all that good at it unless you do it a lot. So whaddya say? Wanna help me practice?"

Underneath my mask, I start to grin. Like I said, I really need this.

The mugger fires his gun wildly, and that's when I start to move. You know how they do that ridiculous slow-motion effect in every action movie since the Matrix came out, where everything suddenly gets frozen in place while the camera pans around dramatically, before the hero kicks the bad guy and then everything goes back to normal speed? Yeah, I can actually do that. Well, not slow things down, but when I'm in danger, my brain processes things so quickly that it has the same effect for me.

I'm at least twenty feet away from the guy when he first pulls the trigger.

By the time he gets off his third shot, I'm sailing over his head in a picture-perfect front flip.

Then I slam both of my feet as hard as I can into the back of his head.

I catch myself into a front roll, then spin around and leap back onto the downed mugger's back.

"So," I say, putting some pressure on his spine with my elbow, "feel like joining your friend in a touching journey of self-discovery and friendship, while you both learn how to walk again? It'll make for a great Lifetime movie!"

"Aww, go to hell, Spider!"

The mugger's voice sounds a little familiar, so I flip him over to get a look at him.

"Waitaminute...Marko? Flint Marko? Jeez, what is this, like, the fifth time I've taken you in this month?"

"Ya can't keep me locked up! The Big Man'll just spring me again!"

"Heh, y'know, aside from the fact that you just gave me a really good reason to permanently injure you so you don't keep pulling this crap, I gotta wonder how long it's going to be before the Big Man gets tired of paying your bail. And for something as small-time as purse snatching? Really, Marko, I expected better from you. You and your buddy O'Hirn should be knocking over a jewelry store or something, right?"

Marko starts grinning. I don't like it when people I'm beating up start grinning.

"Speaking of, where exactly is O'Hirn tonight?"

The world goes all slow-mo on me again, and I juuuussst barely manage to leap up out of the path of a spray of buckshot. One of the lead pellets does manage to catch me in the lower calf, and I go spinning back down to the asphalt.

O'Hirn steps out from behind the corner, already cocking his shotgun for another blast.

"Right here, Spider," he says, tossing a second shotgun to Marko as he gets to his feet. "You've been gettin' in our way for too long. That don't make the Big Man happy. So we're gonna make the Big Man happy, by gettin' you out of our way."

A handful of other thugs come around the corner behind me, blocking off the alleyway. Great, this wasn't a mugging at all--it was an ambush.

I check the wound on my leg--it's painful, but not serious. And considering how quickly my other cuts and scrapes have been healing lately, I doubt there'll even be a scar left by the end of the week.

I pull myself to my feet, and check back and forth at the half-dozen or so armed thugs surrounding me.

"You morons," I say as they aim their guns, "shooting at a solitary fast-moving target from opposing angles? You're just going to create a crossfire and end up blowing each other away. I mean, really, don't you guys know how guns work?"

Marko sneers, then fires a blast from his shotgun. I pancake myself onto the ground as the buckshot whizzes over me, and clips one of the thugs on the other end of the alley. He goes down, screaming and bleeding.

"See what I mean?" I say, trying to project my voice over the guy's wails. "I think I'd better take those things away from you before you hurt yourselves!"

I dart for the guys at the end of the alley first, bouncing from wall to ground to wall to throw off their aim, before corkscrewing through a hail of pistol-fire and landing a nasty axe-handle blow that comes down on the first thug's forehead. As he crumples to the ground, I lunge right past the second, grabbing his arm at the last moment, and throw him head-first into the third, snapping his arm in two places as I wrench it to get him airborne.

That just leaves Marko, O'Hirn, and their shotguns. And I've just given them a clear range of fire. Whoops.

Both fire off a pair of shells, and I duck around the corner towards the street to avoid the lethal spray of lead. Before they can pursue me, I scramble up the wall of the building--a fortunately short two-story shop--and take my position up on the roof.

Marko and O'Hirn come to the end of the alley, each one pointing their weapons around the corner.

"Where'd he go?!"

I drop down behind Marko, then slam his head into the wall, knocking him unconscious. As he drops, I pull the shotgun out of his hands, and swing it like a baseball bat into O'Hirn's face.

"I see you forgot about the whole 'wall-crawling' thing arleady...which I guess is a good thing, since that means I can keep surprising you with it when--oh wait, you guys are unconscious. So I'm just talking to myself now, like a doofus."

I hear oncoming sirens, and quickly gather up the thugs' guns far out of their reach.

"I'd love to sit and chat, but it looks like New York's finest are on their way to pick you guys up. I'd love to know how you're going to explain to the Big Man how--let's see, onetwothreefourfivesixseven of his men all ended up getting taken down by the same guy in less than a minute. Lemme know how that conversation goes!"

The woman who they had held up at the beginning of all this gets up, dusts herself off, and approaches me.

"Who...who are you?" she asks.

"I'm no one to be trifled with," I say, before leaping as hard as I can onto the rooftop, cursing through gritted teeth as I land on my wounded leg. By the time the cops are on the scene, I'm long gone.

Welcome to an average night in the life of Peter Parker--a little bit of thrill-seeking, some unnecessary violence at the expense of some scumbag criminals, maybe the odd Princess Bride quote, and then I'm off again. It's been like this ever since I lost Uncle Ben and Aunt May, ever since I swore to do everything I can to make the criminals of this city pay for it.

I've been given great power. And I intend to keep using it.

But right now, it's almost two in the morning, I'm nearly fifty blocks away from bed, and it's a school night.

I high-tail it from rooftop to rooftop until I've put enough distance between myself and the scene of the action, then I hop down to ground level, take off the black ski mask covering my face, unzip the black hoodie with the white spider logo on it, and make my way to the nearest subway station.

Norman is going to be so pissed that I missed curfew again this week.


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Old 01-10-2010, 01:52 PM   #12
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Wolverine: Weapon X

I finish my bench press set and put the bar back in its place, perspiration dripping down my face. I breathe heavily and look around my quarters.

"Heh...quarters...," I mumble to myself. I basically live in a Government prison room, masquerading as home base for the special forces team known as the X-Men. A team which I am a part of, yet a team that merely two years ago I was attempting to destroy.

My name is Logan, but I'm better known as my mutant name. I'm sure you've heard it on the news, or on America's Most Wanted.

Wolverine

I've been a hunted man throughout my life, never stopping in one place for more than a few weeks, never letting anyone penetrate my loner persona, until her.

Her name was Silver Fox, and indirectly because of her, I'm here now. She was the one shining light in this world full of crap. She made the savage animal inside of me purr like a tabby cat. We still ran every day of our lives together, but we were happy.

Until the day she was gunned down in cold blood. The thought of it makes my blood boil. At the time anti-mutant sentiments were at their peak, and the bastard who shot her thought he'd make a name for himself by taking down one of the biggest "mutie" fugitives out there.

"Raaaaaaggghhhh!" I slam my fists into the wall of my room, denting the metal. I never wanted to live this life again. I'm merely a weapon in a war of supremacy. A war I foresee having no end but oblivion for one of the sides. But this is a war I have a personal stake in.

The man responsible for Silver Fox's death leads the other side. A man who I used to serve under. The man who gave me the indestructible metal that now covers my bones, making me the force of destruction I am today: Magneto, the Master of Magnetism.

A small, rotating, red light above the door in my room turns on, alerting me that the door will be opening. They treat me like a rat in a cage here. They think I'm going to go AWOL, not realizing they're my best shot at revenge. The heavy door slides open and in walks Colonel David Haller, the director of the X-Men Initiative, strolls confidently into the room, two guards armed with tranquilizer guns following close behind.

"How many times do I have to tell ya, bub? The damn tranq guns aren't necessary," I growl.

"I'll stop bringing them in when you stop breaking your quarters," he sneers back. The guy hates me. He never, nor could he, say it publicly, but I see it in his eyes. I see the disdain he has for me, just like his little *** kisser Summers. "We're sending you and your...team on another assignment."

The team he speaks of isn't the X-Men, but Weapon X, a covert ops team made especially when I came on board with the feds. A team made up of members hand picked by me. A team made for tracking Magneto and his Brotherhood cells all over the country.

"Where we headed on tax payers' money this time?" I smile as I light up a Cuban cigar and puff the smoke towards the Colonel. Sometimes it's nice to being the US Governement's pet weapon.

"The Canadian Rockies," he smiles. "That's right, Wolverine. We're sending you home. HAMMER intelligence has picked up a blip that they believe is a Brotherhood cell working out of the mountains. We want you to find them, neutralize them, and bring us the leader."

"Why don't you send Summers and the boy scouts on this one?" I laugh, taking another long drag off my stogy.

"We don't want a lot of publicity on this one. We're sending you over an international border. We want this to be quick and quiet, Logan."

I smile, the cigar still pointing out of the corner of my mouth, "Come on now Colonel...That's what we do best."

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Old 01-10-2010, 06:36 PM   #13
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SHADOWS OF THE PAST


My story begins with Captain America. My father idealized the man. And truthfully, what true blooded American didn’t. He was a true hero, an everyman who became a symbol against hate. It was this inspiration and this symbolism that drove my father to join the military, and enroll in the Meta-Human Special Forces, a battalion that was just a shadow of what S.H.I.E.L.D. once was and the blueprint for HAMMER. These forces were tasked with keeping the rising radical mutant force in check. And so it was, on one of these mission, that my father was murdered by those mutie b@$t@rd$. It was his death that drove my mother to the bottle. It was the bottle that murdered my mother, and left me in the care of The Old Soldier. And now it’s my turn to take center stage, and make sure the story that started back in the earliest days of World War II, the greatest American story, lives on.

No pressure.

-

I lift my shades and look into the retinal scanner to the side of the huge blast door. After a second of humming, it beeps, and the two sets of massive doors slide open, and I’m suddenly assaulted with the sights and sounds of thousands of computers buzzing, the flickering of hundreds of huge observation screens, and about 3 dozen special ops soldiers working all the stations. The main hub of Hydro Base. The unofficial official story is that it’s a top secret military base built into a small island in the middle of the Husdon River. The conspiracy theorist say it’s the old S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, now anchored to the bottom of the river and disguised as an island. I couldn’t say. I’ve never seen the outside of the place. I kind of have a thing about going out swimming in the Hudson River.

The official story, as far as the world at large, is that this base doesn’t even exist.

“Clint. Your files.”

I pull down my face mask and acknowledge Clay Quartermaine, third in command of Hydro Base.


“Lets see. Norman Osborn. Industrialist and scientist. More money than Bill Gates. Everything from household cleaners to military weaponry. Worked a lot of back door deals, questionable but not illegal, to open his first laboratory and hasn’t looked back. Not very loved by his board of directors, but what C.E.O. is. Everything looks in order.”

“Dead end?”

“Oh hell no. The cleanest are always hiding the most, Clay. You know that.”

I shove the files under his arm and do an about face back out the door. I take the elevator at the end of the hall down to the bottom level, The Old Soldier’s quarters. After the years of service he’s given to the country, he deserves a lot more than a single level of an underwater Special Ops base.

The first thing I hear, just like every time I enter the main living quarters, is the sound of the respirator.

“Hawkeye reporting in sir.”

I place the files on the table in front of his wheelchair.

“I’ve got a possible lead on our first connection to the new HYDRA. Flimsy at best, but better than nothing. First follow up is on for oh-six-hundred tomorrow.”

The Old Soldier says nothing, like usual, but I can read his eyes. It’s all the approval I need.

“Sleep well sir. I’ll check in before leaving in the morning.”

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Old 01-10-2010, 07:07 PM   #14
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I wake up in an alleyway somewhere. I have no idea where I am or how I got here, which, I must admit, is not the first time this has happened. The last thing I remember was that I was at home and on the phone. This was especially weird because when you find yourself in these situations, the last thing you usually remember is going into a bar, or party, or feeling up some swan who happens to have an eagle boyfriend that ends up kicking your ass because she didn’t tell you she had a boyfriend and she sure as hell didn’t tell you stop and you keep trying to tell that to the guy but that just seems to piss him off more and before you know it he pulls out this lead pipe he kept in his Durango for some reason and you really wonder why but don’t ask him about it because you’re too busy soiling yourself over thoughts about the impending face smashing…

Aaanywho…I’m in this alley. I slowly rise to my feet and look around. It looks like I’m still in New Stork (Get it? ‘Cuz it’s like New York but instead of—nevermind, you get it). What exactly happened, then? I seem to remember some horrible demonic voice…and a lack of cable…

Ah, that’s right. Thong or Thug or whatever his name was. Something about…nexus’s…and molecules…did that actually happen? I step out of the alley and glance around. Cars drive by, neon signs are flashing, hairless bipedial ape-monsters are walkin’ around. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except that last one. That one scared the **** out of me.

“WAAAAAUGH!!!!” I screamed as I ran back into the alley. What in God’s name were those things?! I sat against a wall and curled up tight, rocking back and forth. My heart was racing, my mind was numb, and I couldn’t stop whimpering.

“Where the hell am I?” I say to nobody.

Suddenly, I see a tiny ball of light floats around my head, like a firefly. As it circles me, it grows larger and larger. I’m terrified at this point and want nothing more than to get the hell out of that alley. But I can’t risk being seen and subsequently torn apart and eaten by the ape monsters. So I just sit there and whimper like a punk b**** as this mega-firefly stops circling me and begins to change shape as it grows. The orb of light is now bigger than I am and has taken the shape of a person. The light fades and I’m now left facing a strange cloaked figure. Needless to say, I am ****ing bricks.

“Do not be afraid, dear creature. I am here to assist you.”

“W-what’s going on?” I said, my voice trembling.

“Where am I? Who are you?!”

“I am Oja’Mahndysa, Baron of sub-space. And you, dear creature…are in a different universe,” said the cloaked figure in a hushed, soothing voice.

What? What are you talking about?? I don’t wanna be in another universe! I just wanna go home!”

“Calm yourself. As I said, I am here to assist. You have been chosen by the Celestial Ones—incredibly powerful, cosmic beings –to travel to this realm.”

“Wha—Why? Why me? Why this world?”

“This world, this universe…it is in grave danger. And you are the only one who can save it. The beings who inhabit it have no idea that their very existence is doomed. The Celestial Ones have foreseen that you and only you, can change that.”

“Damn…”

This was a lot to digest. I was terrified but at the same time, fascinated by all of this.

“What do I have to do, exactly?”

“For millennia there has been an invisible war waged against the Forces of Darkness. Only the few chosen ones, from all reaches of the universe, know of it. It is your job to help them conquer the forces of evil. You will travel from galaxy to galaxy, starting here, destroying the Dark Cosmic Overlords who pollute the cosmos with their evil.”

“But…how?

“You have a great power that you are not aware. I will teach you to wield it. It is the key to defeating the Dark Lords. You are destined to become a great warrior, Robert, and soon you—“

“—Howard.”

“What?”

“It’s Howard.”

Howard?

Oja reached into his pocket and pulled out a small scroll. He unraveled it and quickly glanced it over.

“Oh. Sorry ‘bout that, bro. Wrong person.”

“What?”

“I’m supposed to train some guy named Robert. Probably confused the **** outta ya, sorry. Well, have a good one,” he said as he began to fade away.

WAIT!!! I need help—where the hell am I? How do I get home?! How am I supposed to survive here?!”

“Uh…”

Oja dug around in his pocket again.

“Here’s…five bucks aaaaand…a Snickers bar. It’s been in there for a while so it’s probably kinda melted. I dunno if that bothers you or anything...well, see ya.”

“THAT’S IT?!!”

Oja shrugged as he finally vanished.

Well. **** me.

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Old 01-10-2010, 09:25 PM   #15
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Hell's Kitchen

The seven Devils had all gone their separate ways, but their mission remained the same.

Devils Four and Five, men named Brian and Bill, were patrolling Hell's Kitchen. Brian had already broken the arm of a mugger, while had shattered the knee of a burglar prying open an apartment building skylight.

Shang Chi - Devil Three - stalked the apartment of a drug addict who was pimping out his stepdaughter for rent money. Luke Cage, known as Devil Two, was preparing to make his move on a local heroin dealer. Before the night ended, both the stepfather and drug dealer would be severely beaten. Both men would be place in the hospital, the stepfather having permanent brain damage from his injuries.

As the two senior Devils prepared their move, the group's two newest members were racing across the rooftops of Hell's Kitchen, moving North towards 110th street.

"This man is named Morgan, right,"
Dakota North asked as she and Frank Brubaker. Neither knew one knew the others name. To them, Frank was Six, and Dakota was Seven.

"That's his name," Brubaker replied as they he leapt over a gap between two buildings.

"I think I've heard of his guy,"
Dakota said as she kept pace with Brubaker's long strides.

"He's a notable gangster in Manhattan. He runs numbers and all kinds of sports lines."

Back before the Devil had changed his life, Frank had been a pretty regular customer of Morgan's service. He had once owed the man two hundred dollars and had gotten a dislocated knuckle for his debt. What he and Seven did tonight would be savored by Frank.

While the six members of the group carried out their nightly rituals, Devil One himself was busy in the heart of Hell's Kitchen.

WHAM!

A man's crumpled body crashed against the alley's brick wall. His name was Cyrus Jones. Six years go, he had murdered a family of four in cold blood. Pleading insanity, Jones spent six years in Bellevue and was released just this week. He had convinced everyone in the courtroom to believe he was insane except for one man. That man had been a blind law school student who had been in the court room to observe the trial.

The Thompson Family, the ones Jones had murdered with a knife as they slept, would have justice.

"P-p-p-p-p-please, don't kill me," Jones begged. Matt remained silent as he quietly approached the sobbing man.

"You want mercy, but you don't deserve it," Matt said as he hoisted Jones to his feet and slammed the killer into the brick wall.

"Give me a chance!"

"Just like you gave the Thompson family a chance?"

Jones shook his head as Matt held him against the wall.

"You don't understand! My dad u-u-u-used to hit me when I was a k-k-kid. I got proof."

"That justifies you murdering four people?"

"I was sick! I wasn't right in the head," he cried out. Tears flowed freely from his face.

"I know very well about the sins of the father," Matt said with a touch of sympathy in his voice. Jones shuddered, praying that this demon would finally show him mercy.

"But unfortunately, I'm here for your sins."

Jones started to struggle as Matt pinned him against the wall and pulled out his scarlet billy club. Jones reeled as the club's first blow smacked hm hard in the forehead. Matt replied again, smacking him hard in the forehead and cracking his skull. He hit him again, and again. He only stopped when Jones' blood had run down the man's face and coated Matt's hands. If he could see, Matt would have stopped as soon as he saw Jones' brains splatter against the wall after the third blow.

He let the murderer fall against the wall, holstering his billy club as he turned to leave the alley.

"Justice has been served. May God have mercy on your soul."

That was always Matt's parting words, even though he wasn't sure that he still believed in God. His mother had raised him to be a good Catholic but, like so many other things in his life, his faith had changed when he heard his mother's dead body fall to the floor.

A nearby clock tower struck one as Matt Murdock climbed a fire escape up towards the Hell's Kitchen rooftop.

The night was growing older, and there was still work to do.

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:53 PM   #16
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IRON MAN

FUNERAL FOR MY FATHER: PART 3

The Stark Mansion is located in upstate New York. Serving as the home for three generations of the Stark family, it became Howard Stark's private residence upon his father's death. It was also the childhood home of Tony Stark, though very little time was actually spent there. Howard often took his boy along for business trips, wanting to train him in the ways of the family business from a young age. Tony eventually came to resent him for it.

Now, Tony Stark stands before the mansion. His hair, usually neatly-cropped, is long and unwieldy. His eyes are sunken, hollow-looking. His clothes are dirty and disheveled. He carries a small duffel bag which contains all of his remaining possessions. The rest have been sold or repossessed. He has the look of a man who's at his end, and yet he's only in his mid-twenties.

Tony sighs as he approaches the mansion. He hasn't spoken to his father - or anyone from his old life - since leaving so many years ago. He's sure that his father has heard of Tony's infamous exploits: the drunken debacles, the arrests, the highly-publicized meltdowns. He can only imagine what his father will say to him. Yet, Tony has no choice. He has nowhere else to go.

Upon entering the mansion - much to his surprise, his key still works - he is greeted by an electronic voice with a British accent. "Welcome home, sir." The voice resonates in the foyer, bouncing off the marble floor and rebounding into the vaulted ceiling. Tony accidentally drops his bag as he jumps back.

"Who's there?" a familiar voice calls from upstairs. Tony knows that voice all too well. It is the voice of Howard Stark, his father. Tony wants to answer, but his voice is caught in his throat. Howard appears at the top of the stairs, and he suddenly looks as though he's seen a ghost. "T-Tony?"

Tony swallows the lump in his throat. His father looks just as Tony remembers him - albeit with a little more gray hair. Tony fights the burning sensation of forming tears. "It's me, Dad. I'm home," he answers in a croak.

Howard flies down the stairs quicker than seems humanly possible. He throws his arms around his son without another word. Unlike Tony, he allows his tears to flow. "Son, you're finally home," he whispers, tears dripping from his mustache. "I knew you'd come back. I just knew it."

Tony returns his father's embrace, but he offers no words of comfort. Somehow, in that moment, Tony knows that the past is past. His father - the man who brought Tony into this world - has forgiven his son, and no words had to be exchanged. After a moment, Tony asks, "What was that voice I heard?"

Breaking the hug, Howard smiles. "How did he sound? It's a little project I've been working on," he explains. He points to the sophisticated control panel on the sidewall. It looks almost like a burglar alarm. "His name's Jarvis. He's the first breakthrough in artificial intelligence in years!"

"Sir, I do hate when you describe me that way," Jarvis announces. His voice echoes through the home, as if he's speaking from everywhere. "'Artificial intelligence' makes it sound like I'm faking it."

Howard laughs. "Don't take it personal, Jarvis." He turns back to Tony, still smiling. "What do you think about the accent? Jarvis is actually an acronym: Just A Really Very Intelligent System. Jarvis sounded British to me."

Tony shrugs.

"He's been very helpful," Howard continues. "My productivity has increased tenfold with Jarvis around. Plus, he can manage the house for me, and I always have someone to talk to." At this, Howard's smile fades. The implication in his last statement is clear. Howard hasn't been the same man since losing touch with Tony. "Come on. There's a lot I need to show you."

***

I look around the mansion, wanting any excuse to get away from the casket and the crowd for a moment. Three generations of Starks have lived in here, and I would be the fourth. But I can't bring myself to live in this house. I can't seem to divorce my father's memory from these walls. This mansion is still my father's mansion in my mind, and I'm content to keep it that way. Besides, I hardly need a place this big all to myself.

"Mr. Stark?"

I turn to see a uniformed man with a bushy, red mustache.

"I'm Colonel Dugan, United States Army," he announces, extending a large hand in my direction. As I shake it, I notice how firm his grip is. "Your father was a genius and a valuable ally to the Armed Services. He will be missed." I nod. "I trust that Stark Industries will continue to pave the way in modern warfare, under your leadership."

I smile. "I wouldn't want to disappoint my boys in uniform, Colonel."

***

Camp Quesada is a military training base located in the desert. The conditions there are meant to mimick the conditions found in Iraq and Afghanistan. The days are long and hot, and there is little reprieve for the recruits. Here, recruits are turned into soldiers, and the process is neither easy nor fun.

For these reasons - and many more - Tony Stark finds himself wondering why he's standing here. As he runs a hand along his freshly-shaven scalp, Tony starts to have second thoughts. But it's too late to turn back now. Tony made a promise to his father. He was going to prove his responsibility the hard way, and he wasn't going to disappoint.

"FALL IN!" a booming voice commands, instantly grabbing the attention of Tony and his fellow recruits. They scramble to form a straight line of men, each standing as still as humanly possible. "Welcome to Camp Quesada. My name is Sergeant Hampton. You will call me 'Sergeant' or 'sir.'" The sergeant begins to pace up and down the line, eyeing up all of the recruits. "The next few weeks will be Hell. If you survive it, you will emerge as soldiers. If you don't, well, then God have mercy on your souls."

Tony's eyes follow the sergeant as he passes.

"As for living arrangements," the sergeant continues, "turn to the person next to you." The group does so in unison. "Congratulations. You've just found your new bunkmate."

"Hey. I'm Tony Stark," Tony says, reaching out to shake his new bunkmate's hand.

"James Rhodes," the man responds, shaking Tony's hand. "Good to meet you."

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Old 01-11-2010, 01:41 AM   #17
Andy C.
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Glancing around, it's not hard to see who's who.

The flocks of sheep.

The alpha leaders.

The predators.

And the weak to be preyed upon.

Welcome to the jungle...or as it's more commonly known, Midtown High School.

I make my way towards my locker, a slight limp from last night's shotgun pellet slowing me down just a little as I weave through the teeming masses. This isn't exactly friendly territory--in the wilderness of high school social interaction, I'm pretty low on the food chain. It's best for my kind--the endangered North American Freckle-Faced Geek--to keep a low profile.

I manage to slink past Sally Avril and her pack of cheerleaders without incident--normally, if one of them so much as makes eye contact with me, I'll spend the rest of the day hearing about how much of a perv I am for 'checking them out.'

I completely avoid Kenny 'Kong' McFarlane, who spent all last week telling me he was gonna stuff me in a trash can at today's pep rally.

So far, so good.

I get to my locker without any trouble, begin to work on my combination--

"Mornin', Puny Parker. Got my biology homework for today?"

Flash Thompson. Of course.

"Sorry, Flash, I was out late last night. Didn't have time to do my homework, let alone--whuff!"

Flash grabs me by the collar.

"Look, geek, you don't get to go out at night until you've done what the QB tells you to do. Got it?"

"Jeez! Okay, okay, take it easy! I can work on it for you in homeroom!"

"No dice, Parker. That's the third time this month you've skipped out on doing my homework. I can't afford another zero!"

"Heh, if you're so worried about your grades, then why don't you do your homework yourself?"

"Ooooh, is that sass I hear? Did Peter Parker actually grow himself a backbone?"

Of course. It wouldn't be a typical morning bully-session with Flash if Mary Jane Watson wasn't there to join in.

"Y'know, you're always so cute when you try to stand up for yourself. Of course, you know what always happens when you do that, right?"

I roll my eyes and nod, and Flash, ever the alpha-male, can't help but grin. I could fold this idiot up like origami right now, if it weren't for the fact that doing so would have those HAMMER guys from the news knocking on my door by the end of the day. So instead, I have to just take it.

"Know what I'm thinking, Mary Jane?"

"I don't know, what are you thinking, Flash?"

"I'm thinking Puny Parker needs to practice being shoved in a trash can for today's rally!"

"HEY! Do we have a problem here?"

Oh, thank God. Good old Eddie Brock is here to save the day.

"What exactly do you think you're doing with my good friend Pete, Flash?"

"Just giving the little creep what he deserves. He's got three strikes for failing to deliver the QB's homework, and that means he's going to go dumpster diving."

Eddie stares a hole through Flash and MJ for a few seconds, his arms crossed. Ever since he joined the football team, he hasn't been around as much to keep these hyenas off my back. Still, I know he's on the right side.

...then Eddie grins.

"Sorry, Pete, but it looks like you've got a date with the trash!"

"Hey, Eddie! Think fast!"

Eddie turns, then gets a blast of shaving cream right in his face.

Flash drops me to the ground, and then a jet of the creamy goop arcs through the air and coats him head to toe.

"Just what do you think you're--AAAHHHH!"

Before she can finish her sentence, she gets a glob of shaving cream in the face as well.

Gwen Stacy to the rescue.

"Don't you idiots have something better to do with your time than pick on us? Like, say, clean yourselves off before you have to go to homeroom looking like that?"

Mary Jane stares daggers at Gwen, before skulking off towards the girls' bathroom in a huff. Flash follows right behind her, just going to show who the real alpha personality is in their relationship.

Eddie wipes the shaving cream off his face, and gives Gwen a guilty look.

"Aww, c'mon, Gwen! We were just having some fun with--"

Gwen cuts him off with her legendary stink-eye, and Eddie backs off like a hurt dog.

"Hey, thanks," I finally manage, getting only my books out of my locker since I apparently left my dignity at home. "You're gonna get in trouble, though. MJ is probably going to blab to the principal, and they'll find those cans of shaving cream in your backpack, won't they?"

"No they won't," she says with a sly grin. It's just now that I realize I didn't actually see her holding any spray cans or anything.

"Wait--where did...how did you...?"

The grin on her face gets a little wider, and she rolls up the sleeve of her pink hoodie to show the contraption strapped to her wrist.

"I've been tinkering around with these in my garage for like a week," she says proudly. "Portable high-pressure spraying devices, with multiple settings for all kinds of stuff. The nozzle has a dual-action trigger preventing it from going off accidentally; it'll only spray if you cock your wrist back and press down with your middle two fingers at the same time. I made them for my dad as a self-defense gadget, meant to house pepper spray and stuff...or in this case, a few sprays of humility for Flash and his idiots."

"Heh. Gwen Stacy: Girl Genius," I say. She blushes for some reason, and I take her hand to get a closer look at her wrist-sprayers. "I cannot tell you how cool these things are. You oughta get them patented or something, have that Slap-Chop guy selling them on late-night TV!"

"I'll think about it," she says, pulling her hand back a little awkwardly. "You know...if you want, I could....I could make you a pair of them, maybe?"

"Really? That'd be great! Gwen, you rule so hard!"

"Well...hey, what are friends for, right?"

The bell rings, letting us know class is about to start.

"Well, anyway, that's class. This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

"Yeah, I--wait, did you just Hitchhiker's Guide me?"

"You know you love it."

I leave Gwen with a parting smile, and head to class, still limping from last night.

Ugh. I don't even want to think about that right now. Apparently the Big Man is stepping up in his efforts to have me killed, and I don't even know his real name yet. And I'm just positive that all the morons I trounced are already back out on the streets...those that aren't still in the hospital, at least.

But that's something to worry about later. I've still got a full day of classes ahead of me...

...and let's not forget that appointment with Kong and a trash can.

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Old 01-11-2010, 02:56 AM   #18
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Re: The All-Star Marvel RPG

Norman Osborn believed in having a morning routine. One that was organized, pragmatic, but left room for deviations as the situation required. He believed that it gone one's mind prepared for the rigors of both corporate america and science. That it strengthened ones ability to separate a problem into the individual necessary steps, deal with what needed to be dealt with first, and change plans as unpredicted variables arose. Of course, in one's morning routine, unpredicted variables tended to come in the form of his son eating the last poppy seed bagel before he got town for breakfast, but the scope was unimportant. It flexed the mental muscles still drowsy from sleep.

He awoke at 7:00 AM, as he did every morning, and immediately did his morning calisthenics. Quick stretches, followed by one hundred sit ups and one hundred push ups, and then a quick run on the treadmill. He brushed his teeth showered, shaved, and picked out a green suit from his wardrobe to wear to work. He always wore green suits, all of the same design, to work. He considered them to be his work uniform, and they helped him to focus his mind on the tasks at hand. He called for the car to be brought around as he walked downstairs into the kitchen to fix himself a bagel and a travel mug of coffee to have on his way to work. He noticed immediately that Harry and Peter had left the kitchen in a slight mess when they went to school. They had already left before he'd come downstairs. They usually did.

Norman pushed in the chairs, swept up the crumbs on the counter, and cleaned the two dirty plates in the sink before making his breakfast and heading downstairs.

Bernard was waiting for him with the car in front of the building.

"Good morning, sir," the valet said with a smile and a nod.

"Good morning Bernard."

Norman climbed into the back seat and began to sip his coffee. Bernard got into the front and started the ignition. There was a slight lurch as the car moved forward, and Norman almost splashed coffee into his face.

"Careful, Bernard."

"Sorry, sir."

Norman reached over to the newspaper on the seat next to him.

"Sir," said Bernard, "Mr. Menkin called while you were in the shower. He told me to remind you that there is a board meeting this afternoon at four."

"Thank you, Bernard," said Norman as he scanned the copy of The Daily Bugle in his hands.

One story, on the third page, was about the "Spider-Man" who's been sighted performing stunts and intervening in petty crimes in the late hours of the night. Norman read he whole article. It offered nothing conclusive. Only that the Spider-Man had been sighted a handful of times, never photographed, and seemed to follow no patterns of movement that can yet be discerned.

The article troubled Norman.

Still, he thought, today is going to be a good day.

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Old 01-11-2010, 03:21 AM   #19
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EDIT: Starting over.


Last edited by Batman; 01-23-2010 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:13 PM   #20
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The first place Norman went to upon arriving at work was the lab. He missed working there. Corporate matters kept him away from there more than he liked. It was rare that he got a change to do some research, to work with chemicals and bits of machinery. He took to business very well, but there was a peace it lacked. A peace he could only find in the dull hum of laboratory busywork.

Doctor Curt Connors looked up from his papers with a surprised smile as Norman walked in the room.

"Doctor Osborn," he said. "Good to see you, sir. To what do we owe the pleasure?"

"Just looking for a status report, Doctor Connors."

"Well, I don't know what to tell you. If we'd made any breakthroughs with the SSM-AF15 problem, you'd be the first person we called."

"So there hasn't been any progress? Not even the slightest change?"

"Unfortunately, no. As of right now, the world's most powerful performance enhancer still has the combined psychological side effects of every other performance enhancer on the planet. Good news is it won't give you a heart attack or shrink your testicles."

"Small comfort."

"Still, DNAReflux shows promise. It's a bit of a crapshoot, but we're hoping to work around that."

Norman glanced to the side, and noticed Doctor Miles Warren studying something under a microscope.

"Doctor Warren." he said.

Miles continued to study his sample, oblivious to his employer's presence.

"Doctor Warren!"

Miles looked up from his studies and turned to Norman, a look of anger on his face.

"What?!" he shouted, before noticing who it was who had been calling his name. His expression quickly became very anxious.

"Mr. Osborn. I'm sorry. I was... yes?"

"How goes the DNAReflux research?"

Miles smiled.

"Yes. As you know, while the psychological side effects of SSM-AF15 (increased aggression, manic depression, vivid auditory and visual hallucinations, and paranoia) made it unusable in practical settings, the DNAReflux side effect has a great deal of potential. It's offered us new insights into gene splicing, and we've begun to develop methods of inserting traits of one species into another with..."

"Doctor Warren. I know all of this."

Miles grimaced.

"Sorry."

Norman rolled his eyes.

"Just get to the point."

"... the trial results look promising. While... ah, we've been able to predict, in some cases, what gene types will have what effects. There's still an element of randomness, but I'm confident that the problem will be solved with more... practice, I suppose."

"Not too much practice," said Norman. "Lab animals and gene splicing are both expensive."

"Yes, Mr. Osborn," Miles said with just a hint of venom. Norman noticed, and considered saying something, but decided against it. He turned to Doctor Connors.

"I've decided that all research in this department is going to shift toward DNAReflux. I don't think SSM-AF15 is a dead end, but right now DNAReflux has more immediate and practical potential. We'll open up full research on SSM-AF15 at a later date. In the meantime, I will be making it my personal project."

"Any particular reason?" Doctor Connors asked, suspicious. Norman Osborn wasn't known to take on other people's R&D projects for himself.

"It'll give me something to do with my free time. Is there a problem with that?"

"Not at all, sir."

"Good. Keep me updated on your work. I'll be in meetings all day if you need me."

Norman walked out of the lab, on his way up to his office. Miles Warren smirked as the doors closed.

"Hmph! There he goes. The mighty Norman Osborn."

Doctor Connors, not wanting to listen to yet another of Miles' rants about their employer, cut him off by addressing the lab.

"Okay people," he said while rubbing the bridge of his nose. Miles was feeling uppity, and he could feel a headache coming on. "Let's get back to work."

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Old 01-11-2010, 04:41 PM   #21
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SHADOWS OF THE PAST

The Oscorp Board of Directors met at a swank, state of the art office building at the far end of the industrial complex; a 10 story steel and glass building that, when viewed from the air, looled like a giant intertwined “O” and “C”.

The homeless man had parked himself outside the main gate at 6:30 in the morning, bundled up in a cocoon of heavy blankets, and building a makeshift lean-to with a tattered blue tarp along the main wall of the complex. Nobody gave him a second look or a second thought. The site wasn’t uncommon, after all. Of course, the fact that no one could see the high tech receiver and recorder underneath helped as well.

Hawkeye adjusted the shades on his head, making sure he could get a clear view and snapshot of any board member that fit the description he had obtained the day before. Employees began rolling in around 7:15, and it hadn’t taken long to pick his mark. He could have been able to see the mountain of a man, even inside his what was surely armored Rolls, coming a mile away, even without his glasses. As it was, he got a perfect view through the car, and as it approached the gate, he turned up the earpiece.

“Good morning, Mr. Fisk.”

“Fisk,” Hawkeye noted to himself, as he sent the picture and sound bite back to Hydro Base.

-

I don’t know why the Old Soldier took me in. The explanation I got was that my old man was a friend, and he felt guilty. But like so much in my life and my line of work, I feel like there’s more. I know he had plenty of friends die in the line of duty, leaving family behind, but they fended for themselves. The training was a little extensive to for just being an orphan kid who needed a roof over his head. It’s the kinda training that tells me I’m being groomed for a lot more than a special op soldier, even one who’s been thrown into the superhero game. I guess that’s why I’m here, though. I don’t accept things at face value. I delve into the story, and I don’t stop until I find the real story, no matter the cost. That’s a trait that I was born with, a trait that no level of training could have ever provided.

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Old 01-11-2010, 09:30 PM   #22
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The young man gasps for air as he continues down the rain soaked streets of New York. Hearing the footfalls of his purser drawing nearer pushes the man to run faster. He swiftly darts into traffic barely missing getting hit by a taxi. Ignoring the angered taxi driver's curses the young man never slows his stride as he cuts into an alley hoping to get to the next street over.

The stream of fire ignites with a sudden flash of heat that instantly evaporates the gentle downfall. The almost sentient stream of fire races past the fleeing man and strikes the entrance of the alley flaring up into a wall of flame that completely blocks the man's escape.

"AH! No! Dammit dammit!"

The man tenses as he hears the approaching footsteps. As he tenses thin razor sharp quills start to sprout from every exposed part of his skin. The young man grits his teeth and raises his arms at the new arrival.

"Ah ah..."

The figure raises his hand and with a sudden spark a fireball ignites in his hand. The orb of flame glows a beautiful blue as it slowly revolves around this stranger's hand.

"I wouldn't do tha if I was you mate. Trus' me you'll get off the worst for wear."

"What the **** is this!? Who sent you?! Silvermane? Fisk? That *****ucker Tombstone?"

Behind him new life stirs within the flame wall as two shapes emerge. The shapes starts to show feline features as they enlarge and the fire that consists them becomes a brilliant blue.

"Ah!"

The young man staggers back from the heat and new arrivals.

"Look I'm sure we can work something out. I have two grand is my pocket. I can get another six within the hour. Just let me walk away."

"I'm afraid tha ain't gonna happen kid."

"But....."

"Sick 'em"

With a deafening roar the fire lions finish forming and attacks tearing into the young man. His screams mingle with the creatures growls. The screams finally cease and the smell of burning flesh fills the alley. The lions finally release the charred corpse and approaches their master. The creatures purr as their master runs his hands against their flaming manes.

"Good boys. Papas real proud...."

With that the lions degenerate back into small insignificant flames before finally extinguishing. A satisfied grin spreads across the fire wielder's burned face.

"Easiest grand I ever made. If I didn't like the smell of burning flesh I might've taken him up on his offer."

Pulling a cell from his coat pocket he flips it open and hits the first preset.

"Its done. Heh oh yeah he suffered. You wanna picture? Wow you are a sick puppy."

Taking aim he clicks a few shots of the smoking corpse.

"The money better be in my account. Uh-huh pleasure doing business with ya."

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Old 01-11-2010, 11:26 PM   #23
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I stroll through the halls of the Xavier Institute, beer in hand. As I walk the halls, the students, teachers, and X-Men give me sideways looks, some even stand aside. It's been like this since I got here. I can't say I blame them though.

Hell I probably tried to kill some of them at somepoint.

I stop out from of one of my teammate's quarters and give a quick knock, "Hank, you there?"

"Come in," the voice answers from the other side. "Ah, Logan, nice to see you."

I enter the room and find my second in command, Lieutenant Hank McCoy codenamed Beast, hanging from a bar on his ceiling, his blue fur seemingly reaching for the floor, a book in his hands. Leave it to Hank to be reading.

"Yea, how ya doing, fuzzball?" I ask looking around his room. The guy looks like he's bunked up at the Hilton, and I've got something more akin to a college dorm room. "Seriously, who do I have to talk to to get a room upgrade?"

Beast chuckles and dismounts from the ceiling, taking a seat next to me, "I believe Colonel Haller would be the one. Although I don't know if he'd be so happy to help. Maybe you could ask Captain Summers?"

"Ha! Yea that'd be great. Another reprimand from our fearless leader," I scoff. As much as I hate being here, I do like my teammates. They're the closest I've ever had to friends. "I stopped by to tell you we've got another mission. We ship out at 0800 tomorrow. Get the team ready."

"I will, sir," he nods, before raising his hand to stop me from leaving. "Oh! I forgot to tell you. We'll be receiving a new recruit for the team."

I spin around, "Excuse me? I didn't authorize a new member."

"Yes well the Colonel decided we could use some fresh blood."

I don't even respond to Hank, speeding directly towards Haller's office.

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Old 01-12-2010, 05:07 AM   #24
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Anbar,
Northern Iraq

"Gimme some of your water." Mortimer Toynbee groaned, his tongue protruding out of his mouth and hanging well past his belly. His forehead was stained with sweat, giving him an appearance of being even filthier than he actually was.

"It ain't my problem you downed your entire canteen on the flight over." the man walking a few steps ahead of Toynbee explained, not a hint of compassion for his gasping, wheezing compatriot.

"Both of you, quiet." Alexander Summers, Havok, called back. "I'd like to delay getting shot at for as long as possible."

"How long to this base, anyway?" Toynbee asked, lowering his voice but still obnoxiously loud.

"According to Magneto's coordinates we should be there soon so keep. Quiet."

The three men marched on with only the occasional complaint from Toynbee. "I'm just saying, I feel like Mags could've gotten me an outfit that breathes a bit more, you know, down there."

"Shhh,"
Havok ordered, not hearing a single word. "We're here."

They each knelt behind an aggregation of large rocks that stood on the edge of a small cliff. Peering down below they saw what they had come here for.
The mutant slave camp was worse than the photographs Erik had shown them. Dilapidated tents were scattered over a large field. All around the area were people, mutants. Hardly dressed, covered in ragged cloths with a metallic collar around their neck, they worked with bloodied bodies, cuts and bruises. Looming over their shoulders were men screaming obscenities at them, waving their automatic rifles in their faces and, if they should stop their work to wipe blood or sweat from their eyes, beating them mercilessly.

"Jesus Christ..what the hell kind of place is this?"

"I'm seeing 13 gunmen,"
Havok spoke through gritted teeth, ignoring Toynbee and focusing on containing his emotions. "maybe more inside the tents. 19 civilians by my count."

"I'm guessing those things around their necks dampen their powers, keep them from fighting back?" Havok nodded. "They're not that lucky with us."

-------

The first spray of gunfire blasted across the field and soon chaos had consumed the camp. The mutant slaves cried and screamed in fear and dropped to the ground, their slavers pointing weapons to their faces. "*Stay down! Don't move you freaks!"

The assault had started with Havok. Jumping down to the camp he had sent a wave of concussive energy to the two nearest guards. Their guns discharged as they went sailing across the camp and crashed into separate tents. Grabbing the guard closest to him Havok grabbed the man's gun and reeled it down, slamming his fist into the man's face and spinning him down to the ground. Removing a small dagger from his boot Havok slammed it into the guard's neck.

"Whoopsie-daisy!" Toynbee shrieked as he landed on one of the gunman's shoulders, dislocating them as he slammed his hands onto each side of the man's face and twisting his head 180 degrees. As the lifeless body crumpled to the ground he grabbed the rifle and let loose with a hail of gunfire and cut down three oncoming guards.

"*AH! HELP ME!" a cry came from one of the tents that, by now, was barely standing. Letting loose with a single blast from the length of his arm, Havok blew the tent away and revealed a slaver mercilessly beating a young mutant with the butt of his gun. With surgeon-like precision Alexander sent a torrent of concussive energy at the man, breaking almost everything that could be broken inside his torso. Havok couldn't help but smile as the slaver's body was thrown like a ragdoll across the camp.

*click* *click*

"*****!"

*click* *click* *click*

Spinning around Alexander saw one of the gunmen with a rifle leveled to his head. The man was frantic, terror in his eyes as he desperately squeezed the trigger of his rifle. Smiling, Alexander moved to attack but before he could do anything a set of four small daggers hit the slaver's face.

"That is some bad luck," Longshot remarked as he ran up to Havok. "his gun jamming like that."

"I appreciate the save. Now let's go. Longshot, you and I take out the rest of the guards. Toad, you go get the civilians and get them the hell out of here, we'll meet you at the extraction point."

"Babysitting duty, awesome." Toynbee wiped blood from his goggles and sped away to a group of mutants who looked on in awe.

----------

"I'm sure Erik will find this interesting." Havok remarked, more to himself than anyone around him, as he turned the device over in his hands.

The blades of the helicopter whirred outside as the team of Brotherhood mutants soared over Iraq, on their way back home with a cargo hold full of terrified mutants. "The mutant power dampener?" Toynbee reached over and inspected the device through his goggles. "I ain't no expert or nothing, but that looks like it's made in the good old US of A."

"Exactly."

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Old 01-12-2010, 10:19 AM   #25
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MEXICO CITY

Natalia waited patiently, sipping her tea as she watched the office building across from the small café she was sitting in intently. She wore a long, ankle length skirt and conservative blouse covered by a business jacket.

“<Another refill, ma’am?>”

Natalia peered up through her sunglasses at the smiling waitress. She moved to hand her the cup before movement across the street caught her eye. A well dressed man strutted out of the office building. Caucasian, carrying himself with a great deal of swagger, and looking as if he had the world in the palm of his hand.

“No, gracias.”

Natalia placed the money for her bill on the table and handed her server a generous tip, never taking her eyes off the man across the street, who was now stepping into his car that had been driven around to him by the valet.

Natalia disappeared into a nearby alley, losing her jacket, skirt, and blouse as she did and depositing them into a dumpster. The small black leather dress she was left wearing was far less conservative, and left little to the imagination.

Natalia walked out the far side of the alley and, with and extra sway in her step, took her place on the street corner.

For a woman of her mid-sixties, Natalia’s body had not aged a day past 20, thanks to the experiments done on her by her handlers in The Red Room. And, if need be, with a little makeup and the right clothing, Natalia could look even younger, which was necessary now to attract her mark.

Victor Pulasky; High powered US business man, on the run from the FBI for kidnapping and statutory rape. He was seeking asylum here in Mexico, and had amassed quite the harem of local girls at his very large, very pricy villa.

Right on time, Pulasky’s car came around the corner, and he began to rev the engine when the beautiful young redhead flaunting her body on the sidewalk caught his eye. He pulled the car over and motioned for the young woman.

“How much, sweetheart?”

“Depends on how good it is. The more pleasure I get, the cheaper the price,” Natalia cooed in his best American accent.

“Baby, with all the pleasure I can offer you, you’ll owe me money.”

The doors to the car unlocked, and Natalia walked around the side, taking her time getting in, giving Pulasky a good long look at her leather clad rear-end.

“Oh, I promise sir,” she giggled, “you’ll get what’s coming to you.”

-

Pulasky’s villa rivaled the most elaborate palaces Natalia had ever seen. For a man of his wealth, it wasn’t too hard to imagine why, and Natalia quickly discovered his means of daily upkeep. Dozens of young girls, the oldest barely 16, milled around the estate, taking care of animals, cooking meals, gardening, cleaning, and so much more. You didn’t have to be a spy to guess what their night time duties were.

“They’re cute, yes? I would be willing to pay extra for several of them to join us.”

Natalia had to fight to keep her rage from showing.

“No, darling,” she said, her hand moving up his leg. “I like to work alone.”

-

Pulasky sat up in his bed, lighting a cigarette with extreme satisfaction as Natalia pulled her dress back on.

“I don’t think any girl has ever been quite that…animated. Perhaps that means my bill is on the house.”

Natalia chuckled.

“It was good, Mr. Pulasky, but some of the things I let you do, especially that little trick…back there, well there is definitely a price for that.”

Natalia turned and let him watch as she pulled her dress up over her bustline.

“But, it is definitely worth a discount. Fifteen-hundred.”

Pulasky thought for a moment, smiled, and turned to the nightstand beside him as Natalia seductively crawled up to him, sitting on his chest. Pulasky’s satisfaction turned to horror as he turned back around.



Before he could make a move, Natalia shoved the needle into his neck. Almost instantly, he felt his limbs become like lead, and it took all he could do to keep his head upright.

“I think you are the worst lay I’ve ever had,” Natalia goaded in her natural, Russian accent. “That’s what happens whe you don’t have a true woman to teach you how it’s done.”

Pulasky tried to talk, but found his mouth unwilling to cooperate. He was feeling extremely groggy as he looked to the syringe.

“You’re wonder what this is? If it is going to kill you? No, it is a powerful muscle relaxant. It will leave you temporarily unable to move, or speak, and will slow your heart rate. The heart rate is what I was worried about. That way, when I slit your throat with this,”



Natalia flashed her knife, “it will take longer for you to bleed out and die, so you can feel the pain and suffering you inflicted on all of these girls. I must admit though, it’s still too lenient of a fate for you. But I also wonder, how does it feel? How does it feel to know that something who brought someone else so much pleasure, something that was supposed to offer you the same pleasure, has been used to hurt you, to rob you of something precious, the case here being your life?”
Natalia pushed the edge of the blade against Pulasky’s neck.

“Farewell, comrade.”

-

Natalia had to wipe a small amount of blood splatter from the cell phone as she turned it on. She took several picture of the body and sent them to her contact number. She waited a moment before her phone began to vibrate.

“Yes, it is done. Yes, I imagine he suffered a great deal. He lived for nearly five full minutes after the initial cut. My money will be at the drop in the morning? Excellent. Yes, a tip will be left for the FBI tonight. You will have your daughter back by week’s end.”

Natalia flipped the phone shut.

There had to be a better way of life than this. Was that way this much fun, was the true question.

__________________
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