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Old 12-06-2011, 06:37 PM   #101
Byrd Man
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"Pepper, please."

The rest of the car ride was silent, and once the vehicle stopped Tony exited with a smile no more natural than his suit of armor. An old friend walked down the steps to meet him, and the two men shook hands.

"Bruce! You're getting fat."
I laugh at Tony and pat him on the shoulder.

"Not everybody can get away with drinking all their meals."

I've known Tony Stark since I was ten. We were the two richest children at Brushywood Academy, both of us outcast in our own way. I was still dealing with my parents death and Tony...he was himself. I talked too little, and he talked to much. But somehow, we became friends. I left school at 16 and began my journey around the world, I heard Tony left soon after. Rumors ere that he was kicked out, something involving a bottle of scotch, a riding lawnmower, and Mrs. Roberts, the French teacher. Things have changed since we were children, we're not the same people we were back then, but I like to think that our basic friendship still remains.

I shake Pepper's hand and smile.

"Good to see you as well, Pepper. Let's head up to the boardroom. Lucius is waiting for us, I always found it's best to keep the guy who controls the money happy."

I lead the two of them through Wayne Tower and into the elevator.

"So, Tony, when are you going to let me take a ride in that Iron Man armor of yours? I've been working on my parallel parking. I shouldn't dent it too bad."

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Old 12-06-2011, 07:09 PM   #102
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I shake Pepper's hand and smile.

"Good to see you as well, Pepper. Let's head up to the boardroom. Lucius is waiting for us, I always found it's best to keep the guy who controls the money happy."

I lead the two of them through Wayne Tower and into the elevator.

"So, Tony, when are you going to let me take a ride in that Iron Man armor of yours? I've been working on my parallel parking. I shouldn't dent it too bad."
"Turn on the news and you'll see Tony's doing a pretty good job denting it for himself." Pepper mutters under her breath, her face buried in notes.

Tony turns to his assistant, gives her a condescending smile and turns back to Bruce. "Sorry Bruce, but I'm trying to keep a low profile, and the last time you borrowed one of my rides it was in the news for a week straight."

"Although I do want to get your input on my new JARVIS A.I., I modeled it after your delightful butler."

The elevator comes to a halt and the door slides open, the two men exiting as Pepper follows. "So, what was it that couldn't wait? Did you finally get that Russian gymnast's number for me?"

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Old 12-06-2011, 07:25 PM   #103
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"Although I do want to get your input on my new JARVIS A.I., I modeled it after your delightful butler."

The elevator comes to a halt and the door slides open, the two men exiting as Pepper follows. "So, what was it that couldn't wait? Did you finally get that Russian gymnast's number for me?"
I hold up a scrap of paper with a number scribbled on it.

"Her name's Svetlana, make sure you remember it when you call or text."

He yanks the card from my hand as the elevator doors ding open. Lucius Fox and the board of directors for Waynetech are waiting for us. The joint nanotech project is a big win for both of companies. The research and development could lead to untold amounts of contracts and jobs.

"I just wanted to hurry up and get this deal done....that, and I'm planning a European excursion with a lady friend on mine. I don't want any of your dead weight messing up my game."

It's a lie, but not totally unbelievable. As much as I would to talk to Tony about my run in last night, it's not Bruce Wayne that needs to have that conversation. It's better suited for Batman.

"What do you say we sign the paperwork for the joint project, do a little grip and grin for the cameras, and then I buy you dinner?"

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Old 12-06-2011, 07:52 PM   #104
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It's a lie, but not totally unbelievable. As much as I would to talk to Tony about my run in last night, it's not Bruce Wayne that needs to have that conversation. It's better suited for Batman.

"What do you say we sign the paperwork for the joint project, do a little grip and grin for the cameras, and then I buy you dinner?"
Tony takes the piece of paper from Bruce's hand, immediately forgets the name and hands it to Pepper. With a sigh, Pepper enters the digits onto her iPad. Much to her dismay, she realizes that the phone numbers of various women has taken up most of the device's memory.

"Sounds good, buddy." Tony pats Bruce on the shoulders as the two men enter the board room.

A tall man with graying hair stands up to greet the two, and Tony reaches and takes his hand. "Lucius, always a pleasure. I understand you have something for me to sign."

Within seconds, Tony is sitting across from Bruce, jotting his name down on a contract. "I trust you'll be spending my money wisely, Bruce." he says with a grin, sliding the piece of paper across the table.

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Old 12-06-2011, 08:23 PM   #105
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A tall man with graying hair stands up to greet the two, and Tony reaches and takes his hand. "Lucius, always a pleasure. I understand you have something for me to sign."

Within seconds, Tony is sitting across from Bruce, jotting his name down on a contract. "I trust you'll be spending my money wisely, Bruce." he says with a grin, sliding the piece of paper across the table.
"About as wisely as I spend my own."

I reach down and sign underneath Tony's name before handing it to Lucius. I walk across the table and grip Tony's hands as cameras flash. We both smile.

"We've already got a press release in the works, it'll be released tomorrow. But for now, let's celebrate!"



******



Tony and I go to dinner, then a nightclub...and another one...and then an after party or three. It's two in the morning before I manage to get away from him, saying I have a woman coming over. About 3 AM he finally comes back to Wayne Tower, Alfred set him and Pepper up in the guest section of the penthouse.

I silently land on the balcony outside Tony's room and listen. He's with two women. I come through the entrance and kill the lights. One of the women screams as moonlight filters in from the balcony and illuminates my silhouette.

"Stark."



"We need to talk."

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Old 12-06-2011, 11:44 PM   #106
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Black Bolt

Terrigenesis.

The very foundation, and in all honesty responsible for the birthing of, the Inhuman Society. In the present, the Terrigen Crystals that emit the Terrigen Mists are understood. Had been thoroughly studied and observed. To where the Inhumans have been able to become masters of Terrigensis instead of the other way around. There was a time, however, where the crystals that expose these mists were unknown to the Inhuman Society. What exactly these mists could do and why were a conundrum.

Plain and simple...at one point, Terrigenesis could have been looked at as being suicidal. One never did know what to expect when putting themselves at the mercy of the Terrigen Mists. The mists they...can bring about such a wide variety of mutations. And these mutations vary greatly in not just function but level of power. When the wife of Agon was first tested and exposed to this phenomenon, Rynda was in fact pregnant. And the child in which she would soon bear, to this day, had arose to becoming the most powerful Inhuman alive. A son that...sadly, had to be shunned from Society because of it. Only to soon arise, in young adulthood, when he could finally control and master what many thought a curse of his uncanny abilities due to his exposure to the Terrigen Mists as an embryo.



And so, the current King of the Inhumans, of the great city Attilan, sits upon his throne as the newest young member of the Inhuman Society is brought before him. Brought before him, and the Royal Family and Genetic Council...and the lovable Lockjaw as he plays with his toy.

The young boy is tense. It is sacred, as one's exposure to the Terrigen Mists is a rite of passage. A coming of age. So it can be a pretty intense feeling for one to go through the process as all eyes seem to be on oneself. However, the boy had just gone through the Terrigen Mists and it had gone swimmingly.

Why does he then become tense?

The King checks the data once more. He is a mute, like Black Bolt but unlike him at the same time. Just to be sure, as he notices the young boy's state. He is a mute because his vocal chords literally do not work. Not because he is sworn to should he utter a whisper and shatter a mountain; a burden the King carries himself. The process of Terrigen is too recent for the Genetic Council to yet figure out what abilities the young boy has developed. So as others do with Black Bolt, he reads the body language as well to try to further study the expression of the young Inhuman boy. Blackagar doesn't believe it to be anything as simple and foolish as being struck with awe and fear at the same time for the first time being in the presence of his King directly. No. Something else must be amiss.

The young boy suddenly jerks, looking up at the grand window in the Royal Palace. All attention suddenly jolts forth in the same direction. Bursting through the glass, almost like flaming balls of fire, projectiles crash land into the center of the throne room.

"Hell Spores! Protect the Council! Protect the King!"

Medusa exclaims such words, as she runs towards the throne, and Black Bolt simply stands up from the seat. Lockjaw teleports, reappearing with the Genetic Council, and teleports away. On pure instinct Gorgon charges towards the three Hell Spores, his sworn duty to protect the King at all costs, but as he runs he sees the gesture of his King. Blackagar Boltagon yearns him to halt, and gestures in a way that calls for his cousin to instead run.

Medusa, refusing to leave her husband, runs forth but with the stern look of the King, halts. In between her and Black Bolt, are the Hell Spores. And in between where the Hell Spores have landed, lies the child. The scared little Inhuman boy who had come to the Royal Palace for the first time to embrace his heritage.

Lockjaw cannot teleport in to save the boy. There is no room between where the Hell Spores have landed, and at that moment Medusa and Black Bolt know what is about to come.

He will not have that. These Hell Spores, these...strange concoctions that hail from a planet where an old and evil God holds reign...Black Boltwill not surrender to such cowardly acts of war. The King charges forth, his wife cries out a loud 'NO!', and as the King moves to save the day, it is the boy who does the saving. For a moment, the boy and Black Bolt's eyes meet in a way unlike before, and the King understands.

The boy touches one of the Hell Spores, and just before gives Blackagar a nod as tears run down his young face, and the explosions commence forth. Both Medusa and Black Bolt are shot back from the blast.

Smoke clears and the Palace is in ruin. Rubble and wreckage everywhere, Medusa runs to the where the center of the blast was. She lifts up debris after debris and the soft touch of her King's hand on her shoulder is the moment where she accepts what has been done.

"Th-those Hell Spores hail from...those damn Apokoliptians."

Terrigensis. Most sacred of Inhuman customs. This was a day in which an Inhuman boy, would become a man.

Moments before the ceremony was to start, the young boy knew what was going to happen. Moments before this part of the ceremony of being brought before the King...the young boy developed powers of foresight that he saw for every second of this day. He saw King Black Bolt die.

Save the King, the boy thought.

"You shall pay, monsters..."



"...and you shall pay in blood!"

Sacrifice yourself, to save the King, the boy thought. As the wife of Black Bolt cries out for the deaths and those injured of what was supposed to be a joyous afternoon...he makes himself a silent vow.

This boy's death will not be in vain.

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Old 12-07-2011, 12:53 AM   #107
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Along Came A Spider
Part II


"Here at STAR Labs, we strive to push the very boundaries of the known sciences,"
boasts Dr. Hamilton as he leads us down a pristine white corridor, various technicians and lab assistants scurrying past us as we make our way. "And just as importantly, here we put theory to practice, taking the best of human imagination and making it reality, for the benefit of humankind. Everything from the next generation of robotics, genetic engineering, and space travel, to applied quantum mechanics and advanced dimensional string theory, all are researched and tested here and in our sister facilities around the world."

"Isn't this amazing?" Gwen says as we walk past a large plexiglass window; inside, a technician with an AR headset and force-feedback gloves manipulates what appears to be an enormous puddle of silvery liquid, which at his command solidifies into Rodin's Thinker. "It's like taking a tour of the future."

"I guess it ought to be,"
I say, "since this is where they're making it." The tour group stops for a moment to see the shape-shifting material--what Dr. Hamilton says is a demonstration of 'claytronics,' or malleable nanomachines that can be molded into any shape. I pull out my camera, gesturing to Dr. Hamilton to ask if it's okay to take a photo. He nods politely, and I snap a few good shots of it before we move on.

"And over here," he says at the next stop, as we look out another set of windows to the next point of interest: a massive warehouse-sized room housing an enormous piece of machinery, the entire room crammed with criss-crossing labyrinths of tubes and pipes, "we have an experimental compact particle accelerator, designed by Doctors Albert Michaels and Otto Octavius. Together, they have created the most powerful accelerator in the Western Hemisphere, nearly equal to the famous LHC, and taking up roughly one percent of the space. Here, we hope to unlock the secrets of cold fusion, and may very well end the world's energy crises with the next breakthrough."

Inside, a stocky man with a terrible haircut puts on a pair of goggles, and straps on some kind of harness attached to four cables in the ground. Everyone gasps in amazement when the cables rise up from the ground, not cables at all, but actually cybernetic arms that reach out to operate the particle accelerator's controls with the ease and dexterity of typing on a keyboard.

"Now that's cool," I say, snapping some more photos. "If Tony Stark or Lex Luthor had designed that robotic harness, they'd be marketing it to the military. Here, it's a fancy controller. These guys see the big picture."

"Oh my God," Flash groans. "We've already got one super-geek playing up the science-fair stuff, and he's a professional. We don't need you going all gooey over it too, Parker."

Dr. Hamilton shoots Flash an icy look.

"Perhaps you would find the visitor's lobby more entertaining, young man," he says, and to my surprise, Flash actually shuts up. I so have to learn how to do that.

"Anyway, as I am sure many of you have guessed, most of what we have shown you so far has been working demonstrations, showing projects we already know work perfectly well for your sake," he says as we approach a large set of double-doors. "However, now we'll show you the proverbial 'main event,' a completely unrehearsed and unprecedented experiment, in the theoretical field of morphogenetics."

The doors slide open to reveal a large laboratory. Stepping in, we see a few rows of seats towards the wall, and in the center of the lab, a long device laid along a raised platform, with what appeared to be two antennae pointed horizontally at each other, looking kind of like an oversized lathe. Between the antennae was an empty stand, with two compartments meant to hold vials of some kind.

We head to the rows of chairs and take our seats; I make sure to get a spot in the front row to get some good shots with my camera, and Gwen sits next to me, with Harry on my other side and Liz next to him. To my surprise, I see that Daily Planet reporter Jim Olsen slip in through the door as well, before another man in a lab coat walks in. He has a kind face, just advancing enough into middle age to have some clear smile-lines, but what catches the eye the most is the fact that he's missing his right arm.

"Good morning, everyone!" he says enthusiastically. "My name is Doctor Curt Connors, and I'll be conducting this experiment along with Doctor Hamilton, as part of a joint venture between STAR Labs and New York City's Oscorp, my employers, and one of the leading scientific firms in the country."

"Sure," says Harry with a smirk. Harry told me the reason his dad pushed so hard to get this joint venture with STAR Labs was to attract new investors by taking attention away from the joint project between Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark; new investors that were desperately needed after losing several important contracts to Lexcorp.

"As you may have heard, today's experiment involves a theoretical phenomenon we're referring to as the morphogenetic field. However, the name hardly does the concept justice. Picture being able to combine the most incredible elements produced by the entire animal kingdom, and give them to a human being. Picture a world where at a moment's notice, a normal man or woman could possess the eyes of a hawk, or the strength of an elephant, the endurance of a gazelle, the reflexes of a fly, even the regenerative properties of, say, a reptile," Doctor Connors says, glancing down at the folded sleeve where his arm should be. "It's a concept that I have to admit, I think about quite a bit. And that, in a nutshell, is what tapping into the morphogenetic field would allow us to do."

"Those of you familiar with the work in quantum mechanics by the likes of Ray Palmer or Henry Pym will know that theoretically, on a subatomic level, matter and energy are in fact two different states of the same thing," Dr. Hamilton elaborates. "Matter can be converted into energy, and energy into matter. And in accordance to the Copenhagen Interpretation, all matter exists as both particles and waves. According to our own theories, this can be carried over into more complex structures, up to a cellular level. The sequences of genes in a strand of DNA, then, could theoretically exist as energy under the right conditions, and pass like waves through each other. When put in the proper state of quantum instability, genetic information between two different species of animal could be exchanged."

Dr. Hamilton gestures to the machine in the center of the room.

"This is the device we will use to put that theory to the test," he says. "The Morphogenetic Field Amplifier generates intense beams of various ionizing and non-ionizing forms of radiation, as well as alternating electromagnetic currents, in order to destabilize the quantum state of organic matter within the beam. In theory, this will allow an exchange of genetic information, wherein sequences that lead to certain traits in one kind of animal will be essentially written into the DNA of another."

"And that is where I come in,"
Dr. Connors interjects. "Oscorp has provided the organic material required for this project, specially engineered by yours truly."

He opens a locked container on the platform housing the machine, and produces two vials.

"These are two vials of genetic material--plasma, to be precise-- one of a gecko, the other a domestic pig. I have genetically altered the DNA of the gecko in order to make its traits of limb regeneration as prominent and potent as possible, while engineering the DNA of the pig in order to make it as 'receptive' to these traits as possible. If the theory is correct and the Morphogenetic Field Amplifier works, then we should see that the pig DNA receives the genetic sequences allowing it to regrow lost tissue."

"Bear in mind, these are merely plasma samples, not live test subjects," Dr. Hamilton says, "as we are still years away from attempting such a thing. However, if this experiment provides an effective proof of concept, then we may very well be witnessing mankind's first step towards taking hold of the keys to evolution itself."

"Please locate the safety goggles under your seats," Doctor Connors says. "We're about to begin."

A thick transparent panel slides up from the floor and seals off at the ceiling, effectively closing us off from any potential mishaps inside the lab while still allowing us to see the experiment. There's a low humming that reverberates through the lab and begins to grow louder as the device powers up. Dr. Connors places the test tubes in the rack in the center of the device, and Dr. Hamilton mans a control panel.

Gwen leans forward, watching the experiment eagerly. Harry leans back, trying to look disaffected by it while putting his arm around Liz.

Jim Olsen readies his camera to take a photo. Seeing that, I take my own camera out as well.

This ought to be amazing.


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Old 12-07-2011, 08:38 AM   #108
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I silently land on the balcony outside Tony's room and listen. He's with two women. I come through the entrance and kill the lights. One of the women screams as moonlight filters in from the balcony and illuminates my silhouette.

"Stark."



"We need to talk."
With a piercing scream, the two women in Tony's company cover up and run out of the room, the door slamming behind them. Tony shuffles out of the bed and faces the living mass of darkness towering in front of him.

"You." he nods, having long since heard of Gotham City's mysterious Batman, and, having on more than one occasion made fun of him to Bruce.

"Nice suit." Tony smiled nervously, his body tensing. "I'll warn you though, I've already had my ass handed to me today."

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Old 12-07-2011, 11:28 AM   #109
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With a piercing scream, the two women in Tony's company cover up and run out of the room, the door slamming behind them. Tony shuffles out of the bed and faces the living mass of darkness towering in front of him.

"You." he nods, having long since heard of Gotham City's mysterious Batman, and, having on more than one occasion made fun of him to Bruce.

"Nice suit." Tony smiled nervously, his body tensing. "I'll warn you though, I've already had my ass handed to me today."
I toss Stark photos. They're crime scene photos of the dead man from last night. The last photo is of the sonic weapon.

"Alan Goren, your Vice President of R&D was murdered last night by two domestic terrorists. He was selling them one of your prototype weapons, a sonic destabilizer.He was working for someone."

I hold out the card with the symbol on it, the white H with a black pitchfork.

"What is this symbol?"

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Old 12-07-2011, 05:16 PM   #110
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And that wasn't the last of them. Bullets fly around me, and one strikes me in the leg, but it's just a grazing shot. I slide behind a destroyed humvee with my other two team members, "You know, I beginning to think they knew we were coming."

They had a trap set up halfway between their main base and where we landed. That's the only way they would have been ready for this. If they knew we were coming. So either there's a leak in Checkmate or this was a trap.

"Usually I'd gloat about being right," Hawkeye says from beside me before firing an arrow blindly around the car. "But I don't think it'll do too good when I'm about to die a horrible painful death."

"We're not going to die," Sasha says from beside me. "Check on Widow and Flag."

I patch through to Flag on my communicator, "Flag, where the hell are you? We're pinned down here."

"Working on it, Cap" he replies over the firing of his weapon. "We're in a data center. Widow is picking up all we can, then we'll pick you up with the jet."

"Hurry," I respond as I notice the angle of fire changing on the car giving us cover. I look at my comrades, "They're coming around. We're gonna be toast."

But as the soldiers come around and flank us, a commanding voice yells, "ENOUGH!"

They stop firing , and I motion for my teammates to do the same. Stepping out from behind cover, I see a man clad in green and gold. He's an imposing man, obviously strong and confident, "I assume you're Kobra."



"You're very perceptive, Captain America," he chuckles. "Oh yes, I know who you are. I was surprised to hear that you had indeed been found. But I'm glad to see it. Your name is legend across the world, whether or not people admire you or not. Me? I see you as the poster boy for America's birth as a super power and the beginning of their view that they are the police of the world."

So...he heard we were coming. That means there is a hole in Checkmate. That's another thing to put on my plate in my new life.

"If they're stopping someone like you, they deserve that role," I respond. "I know what you've done. Killed civilians for no reason that to further your own goals."

"And your country hasn't?" he asks with a smile. "You haven't been unfrozen long, have you? If you survive today, go back and watch what has happened in America since you've gone. See what they've become. See what you now fight for. I think it may shock you. And I hope you know the end is near. We are but just a finger of the entire fist that is about to smash you and your shield."

I don't have time to respond. The Quinjet swoops down towards us and drops a trio of ropes. My team grabs onto them, and we're quickly hoisted towards the safety of the jet. Once I'm inside, I look up at Flag, "We have a mole inside Checkmate."

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Old 12-07-2011, 06:12 PM   #111
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As I push my way towards Mystique, I sense an attack coming from my side. I throw up a telekinetic barrier, which protects me from damage. But the force from the strike of the massive mutant on the other side shakes me to the core, dropping me to one knee.

"Well well, ain't you a pretty one?" the brute smiles at me.



He continually smashes against the barrier, and I struggle mightily to keep it in place. Unfortunately, he breaks through and backhands me across the face, sending me flying. I land hard on the concrete, and spit the blood that's quickly accumulated in my mouth. But before I can get up and collect myself, the brute is on me, grasping me by the neck and holding me in the air, "Sorry I had to do that, sweetheart. But Blackbuster follows orders."

As the edges of my vision begin to blur I send out a telepathic call.

~Somebody...help...~

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Old 12-07-2011, 07:26 PM   #112
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I toss Stark photos. They're crime scene photos of the dead man from last night. The last photo is of the sonic weapon.

"Alan Goren, your Vice President of R&D was murdered last night by two domestic terrorists. He was selling them one of your prototype weapons, a sonic destabilizer.He was working for someone."

I hold out the card with the symbol on it, the white H with a black pitchfork.

"What is this symbol?"
Tony winces slightly as he looks down at the photos of the dead man; a man he had only met a few times, but had always liked. Alan had been a relatively reserved man (then again, few men were ever labeled otherwise while standing next to Tony Stark), but Tony respected him as much for his business savvy as his taste in women.

As the Batman pulls something out from his cape, Tony instinctively takes a few steps back. A gloved hand holds out a card, decorated with a white H, a black pitchfork running up its middle.

"I...have no idea, actually." Tony cocks his head slightly, curiosity overcoming his reluctance as he walks over to Batman and takes the card from his hand.

Tony studies the symbol further, and a feeling of familiarity rises. As if he has seen it somewhere before, but the 'when' and 'where' of it is hidden behind a thick fog.

That, in and of itself, would have been enough for Tony to delve headfirst into the matter, searching madly for an answer. But Alan Goren, a trusted, powerful member of Tony's company had been killed while selling Stark Industries weapons to terrorists. And Tony Stark wants to know why.

"But I can find out." Tony concludes, his confidence returning to him. "Now, I don't know what kind of resources you have at your disposal, but you obviously know who I am and what I can do."

Tony turns, not even allowing the masked vigilante to respond, and walks over to a nightstand occupied by a bottle of scotch and three empty glasses. "I'm also very discreet, which I assume is a bonus for you. Hell, I'd be twice as rich as I already am if I shared half the things I've seen Bruce Wayne do intoxicated. You'll excuse me for not pouring you a glass." Tony motions to the filled up glass in his hand, swirling the bronze liquid. "You don't quite strike me as the drinking type."

Taking a sip that would floor most men, Tony gestures towards Batman. "I'll even throw in some free upgrades to your suit. The tech on that thing looks ancient."

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Old 12-07-2011, 07:42 PM   #113
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"I...have no idea, actually." Tony cocks his head slightly, curiosity overcoming his reluctance as he walks over to Batman and takes the card from his hand.

Tony studies the symbol further, and a feeling of familiarity rises. As if he has seen it somewhere before, but the 'when' and 'where' of it is hidden behind a thick fog.

That, in and of itself, would have been enough for Tony to delve headfirst into the matter, searching madly for an answer. But Alan Goren, a trusted, powerful member of Tony's company had been killed while selling Stark Industries weapons to terrorists. And Tony Stark wants to know why.

"But I can find out." Tony concludes, his confidence returning to him. "Now, I don't know what kind of resources you have at your disposal, but you obviously know who I am and what I can do."

Tony turns, not even allowing the masked vigilante to respond, and walks over to a nightstand occupied by a bottle of scotch and three empty glasses. "I'm also very discreet, which I assume is a bonus for you. Hell, I'd be twice as rich as I already am if I shared half the things I've seen Bruce Wayne do intoxicated. You'll excuse me for not pouring you a glass." Tony motions to the filled up glass in his hand, swirling the bronze liquid. "You don't quite strike me as the drinking type."

Taking a sip that would floor most men, Tony gestures towards Batman. "I'll even throw in some free upgrades to your suit. The tech on that thing looks ancient."
"Master Bruce," Alfred says into my earpiece. "I think I may have an update on your search. Believe it or not, it involves both you and Mister Stark..."

"Actually, Stark. I need you to come with me."

I casually pull a dart gun from my belt and fire it at Tony, striking him in the neck with a tranq. He collapses to the floor and I walk over to his limp body.

"Kill the cameras in the tower, Alfred. I'm on my way down."



*******



Down in the bunker, Tony snores on the cot while I stand in front of the computer. Alfred managed to uncover some...interesting information. I turn as Tony begins to stir. I walk over to him and lean over as his eyes open.

"Wake up. I have something to show you."

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Old 12-07-2011, 08:54 PM   #114
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Down in the bunker, Tony snores on the cot while I stand in front of the computer. Alfred managed to uncover some...interesting information. I turn as Tony begins to stir. I walk over to him and lean over as his eyes open.

"Wake up. I have something to show you."
"Hngghhh."

Tony pushes himself off the table, running his hands across his face as a headache threatens to split his brain in half.

His feet find solid ground as the spots fade from his eyes and he turns to take in his surroundings. He realizes he's standing in a cave, deep and sprawling, before his eyes fall upon the man who brought him here. Slowly walking over to Batman, who is standing in front of a wall covered in monitors, Tony muses to himself that he's woken up in worse places, with worse headaches.

"Nice place." he grunts. "Bit dank, but I've seen worse."

He moves forward so that he's standing by Batman's side. "You could have just asked me to come along. But then, that's not nearly as dramatic."

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Old 12-07-2011, 09:10 PM   #115
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"Nice place." he grunts. "Bit dank, but I've seen worse."

He moves forward so that he's standing by Batman's side. "You could have just asked me to come along. But then, that's not nearly as dramatic."
"I had to keep the location a secret. But, I admit, I enjoyed the quiet."

I type on the keyboard, bringing up the image on the screen. The H and the pitchfork.

"While you were out, I was busy. The symbol I found belongs to an organization known as the Hellfire Club. They're an old organization that dates back to 18th century London. That's still their main headquarters, but they have branches all over the world. The closest one is in New York."

I bring up a manifest on the screen full of names and ranks.

"They model themselves after the pieces on a chessboard. The four highest ranking members are the royal family, where as pawns are just random members. One name you might recognize..."

I zoom in on the bottom of the list, the last name listed.

"Alan Goren was inducted into the group as a pawn a week ago. Look at the names on the list. Corporate and political ties. Vice presidents for your company, Kord Industries, Waynetech, Oscorp, along with senators and representatives. High ranking members of the military, as far up as the Chief of Staff of the Navy, are also members. Wall Street, Congress, the Pentagon, and the White House...all of them are connected to this group."

I tap a few buttons and bring up a picture of the group from the 50's. A mustachio man stands in the middle smiling.

"As was your father..."

I zoom in on a gray haired man to Stark's left.

"As was my grandfather, Robert Wayne."

I turn to Tony and slide off my cowl, revealing my face.

"Whoever these people are, they have their hooks into my company as well as yours. I want to know how, why, and to what end. And I need your help."

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Old 12-07-2011, 11:15 PM   #116
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As I push my way towards Mystique, I sense an attack coming from my side. I throw up a telekinetic barrier, which protects me from damage. But the force from the strike of the massive mutant on the other side shakes me to the core, dropping me to one knee.

"Well well, ain't you a pretty one?" the brute smiles at me.



He continually smashes against the barrier, and I struggle mightily to keep it in place. Unfortunately, he breaks through and backhands me across the face, sending me flying. I land hard on the concrete, and spit the blood that's quickly accumulated in my mouth. But before I can get up and collect myself, the brute is on me, grasping me by the neck and holding me in the air, "Sorry I had to do that, sweetheart. But Blackbuster follows orders."

As the edges of my vision begin to blur I send out a telepathic call.

~Somebody...help...~
The large man gets knocked sideways and lets go of Jean as he tumbles to the ground and rolls for a few feet.

"You alright, Jean?" I ask as I walk over to her and help her up. A bolt of energy whizzes by my face, compliments of Plastique. Off to the side, Blockbuster starts to get up and recover.

"Go after Mystique, I can hold these two back."

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Old 12-08-2011, 05:57 AM   #117
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"Now Arriving At - Swan District. STAR Labs. If This Is Your Destination, Please Vacate The Monorail In An Orderly Fashion. If You Have Personal Belongings Onboard, Please Be Sure To..."

The voice of the automated speaker system catches my attention as I'm lost in thought, staring down at the shimmering crystal in my hands. Thankfully, the other passengers aren't paying even the slightest bit of attention to me as they go about their daily lives, some seeming to be stressed, others looking to be lost. I'm not quite sure as to what I qualify as, but I know that if I don't move now, I'm going to miss my stop. Placing the crystal into my jacket, I stuff my hands in my jeans and casually begin to walk out behind the rest. The monorail doors close behind me and the morning sun sets on my head, revealing the massive city infront of me. It takes me a moment to remember what I was thinking about, as I stare up, wide-eyed at the glistening skyline of Metropolis.

Wow. I know it's strange to be that taken aback by it when you've lived here for as many months as I have, but I really can't help myself. It's just all so much bigger than I grew up with. Most buildings in Smallville didn't have any more than three floors. And in that town, I knew every business and every street corner without even having to think. But there's just so much here to consider - it's all a little overwhelming for a guy who used to maintain a barn. Probably doesn't help that I also live on the least populated area of town, a place that I've actually heard referred to as "Suicide Slums".

I guess I just prefer simplicity. As Lana used to tell me, you can take the boy out of Kansas, but you can never...

Well. That'll just have to wait for another time. I have an appointment to make - or rather, one to start. The woman on the phone told me that it'd probably be best to come down to the central labratories to set up a meeting with Doctor Hamilton, mostly because she didn't understand my purpose of wanting to see him. I guess it's not that often that someone claims to have found a piece of genuine extraterrestrial artifact. Even told me I could always wait to speak to him by phone. But I'm here, and I have nowhere else to go today. Might aswell see what exactly I'm presenting the crystal to before I decide to part ways with it.

Treading down the walkway leading over to the street level, my eyes focus on the bright yellow school bus that comes to a stop infront of the building. A quick glance at the side tells me that they're from Manhattan. I can't help but smile, as I continue towards the public access entrance of the main gate. From what I understood about the article in The Planet, these kids are in for quite a show. Maybe I'll check it out myself, if it's open to outside spectators.

Or I could just look through the wall.

But where's the fun in that?

Even as two who are destined to impact the world in ways they cannot yet comprehend begin to cross eachother's path for the very first time, something on the other side of The City of Tomorrow begins to unravel from beneath it's streets. Something that is not of nature's creation, a mindless creature that is fueled only by a desire to seek and encapsulate absolute power. It feeds on it to sustain life, and was infact created to nuture it's very essence through power that nothing else could ever hope to contain. It is a marvel of scientific creation. But most would consider it a monster.

As this monster tunnels through the dirt and grime, it's massive size proving to be more than beneficial at easily breaking the creature's way through several hundred tons of ground, it feels something stir in it's own core. A feeling of an amazing ultrasensory accuracy, locking itself onto energy that it cannot see or hear - but definitely feel. And it's resolve only strengthens, using it's giant hands to claw through the pockets of dirt that seperates it from the surface.

Feel.

Feel power.

Must have it.

Need... power...


"What did you say your name was?"

Realizing that I might not have spoken as loudly as I should have for the woman in the lobby to hear, I clear my throat and adjust my collar. Truth be told, I've never been very good at speaking to anyone in public. I was always the quiet one in class. Ma and Pa used to tell me it was because I had too much hay in my throat, their joke of us living on a farm. Guess this is just one of those times.

"Uh... Clark. Clark Kent."

"Uh-huh. And you're here to see Professor Hamilton?"

"I was hoping to, anyway. I know he's in the middle of a seminar, but it's important. Do you know when he'll be availible after that?"

I can tell that she's feigning a look of interest, probably more fascinated by the gum that she's chewing in the middle of every sentence, but I manage to keep my patience in check as she begins to look into Dr. Hamilton's schedule on the computer. As she does, I look back, hoping that no one else notices me here. I've come to terms with the fact that if I'm right, and that these people can help me unlock the secrets of the crystal and learn about where it came from - where I] came from - that I'll probably lose any chance of being able to live a normal life. I can play the act of a bystander that found it on the road, but I just know that if it all comes down to it, I'll be forced to reveal the truth. That it was sent here, with me, on a rocket that landed in a field in Kansas.

So there'll be questions. Alot of them. And most that I'm not even sure that I can answer, at this point.

But all things considered, it still beats a life of never knowing. Never having the answers of why you're so different from everyone else. At least with mutants, there's an explaination. My day of discovery involved a spaceship that Pa kept underneath the barn. How am I supposed to live with never knowing how or why that ship had to land here, on this planet? What made it so special?

What made me so special?

"Right. Professor Hamilton doesn't any appointments after the Midtown kids leave, so I can squeeze you in sometime between now and lunch. But the seminar isn't gonna be over for another hour. You planning on sticking around that long?"

I shrug.

"I don't have any plans today."

The creature feels the heat of the sun. That's what tells it that it's beginning to draw nearer to the surface. Tunneling with innate desperation, it begins to see the cracks of something that isn't dirt break through the soil. Something solid. Something very hard. Frustrated, it begins to smash it's fist against the hard surface. It only takes a few moments before it cracks, rupturing under the creature's mighty strength.

Power.

Must have power.

Power will please the master.

Power will make me whole.


It's own words serving as a consistent mantra to drive it further upwards, the creature finally feels the heat of the sun bask down upon it's own skin as it bursts through the many layers of an incredibly hard surface. Air that it doesn't recognize begins to feel it's lungs, as it breathes in a considerable amount of it, staring at it's surroundings. And ignoring them, realizing that the source of the power isn't there.

"Must have..."



"...POWER..."

It sees a destination infront of it. Something that giant words. "STAR" and "LABS". The creature does not know these words at first, but he knows that they are words nevertheless. What catches it's attention most is the fact that it can feel the power beginning to take shape from within. Like a glowing beacon only growing brighter. It's eyes rest upon this "STAR" "LABS", and narrow with determination.

"There. There is power."

And without a second's thought, were it even capable of processing one, the creature leaps directly from the broken street that served as it's prison and into the skies, flying towards a wall that cannot hope to withstand the impact of the creature's massive girth.

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Old 12-08-2011, 08:20 AM   #118
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"As was your father..."

I zoom in on a gray haired man to Stark's left.

"As was my grandfather, Robert Wayne."

I turn to Tony and slide off my cowl, revealing my face.

"Whoever these people are, they have their hooks into my company as well as yours. I want to know how, why, and to what end. And I need your help."
Tony's eyes go wide as Bruce slides the cowl off his head. A million things go through his mind at once, seemingly random incidents that have had a connection revealed in an instant.

For a rare, fleeting moment, Tony is speechless.

He smiles. "At least now I know why your tech is so outdated." he punches Bruce's shoulder lightly. "Batman."

Turning to the monitors, Tony's eyes scan over the old photograph. After a few seconds he comes to the conclusion that, aside from his father and Robert Wayne, he does not recognize anyone in the picture.

"I don't know what makes me angrier. The fact that my father has ties to a club connected to domestic terrorists....or that I haven't been invited to join."

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Old 12-08-2011, 10:49 AM   #119
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Turning to the monitors, Tony's eyes scan over the old photograph. After a few seconds he comes to the conclusion that, aside from his father and Robert Wayne, he does not recognize anyone in the picture.

"I don't know what makes me angrier. The fact that my father has ties to a club connected to domestic terrorists....or that I haven't been invited to join."
"I talked to Alfred, and my was never invited as well. We haven't been invited because they don't need us. They have the other men who male decisions around us, the people who advise us on our corporate policy. They try to manipulate us through them."

I bring up another picture, this one of a man in army fatigues.

"Ex-general Thomas Kreigkopf, head of the Righteous Aryan Army. That's the group Goren was selling the weapon to. If we want to get down to the bottom of what the Hellfire Club is up to, I think we need to split up. Iron Man goes to Tennessee mountains and pays the General a visit while Bruce Wayne goes to New York and attempts to join the Hellfire Club."

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Old 12-08-2011, 11:14 AM   #120
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Lex puts on a pair of his finest silk pajamas and fixes himself a glass of cognac.

He sits down and says, "Just because I'm supposed to be waiting for the troops to storm the tower doesn't mean I've got to suffer."

Lex opens up the Wall Street Journal to the financial section and begins reading, He then says, "Alexis."

A soft computerized voice says, "Yes Mr. Luthor."

Lex replies without taking his attention from the paper, "Mozart Concerto No. 21."

Alexis replies, "As you wish Mr. Luthor."

The concerto begins to fill the air and Lex hums quietly along with it.

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Old 12-08-2011, 12:05 PM   #121
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I bring up another picture, this one of a man in army fatigues.

"Ex-general Thomas Kreigkopf, head of the Righteous Aryan Army. That's the group Goren was selling the weapon to. If we want to get down to the bottom of what the Hellfire Club is up to, I think we need to split up. Iron Man goes to Tennessee mountains and pays the General a visit while Bruce Wayne goes to New York and attempts to join the Hellfire Club."
Tony turns to Bruce. "As much as I love paying militant nut-jobs in forest shacks unexpected visits, you of all people know Iron Man can't be seen doing anything even remotely illegal."

The two men share a disappointed silence, before a grin appears on Tony's face. "Can't be seen doing anything illegal."

"When this whole thing is over, Bruce, you and I are going to have a talk."
Tony smiles, tapping the emblem emblazoned on Bruce's chest.

---

Tennessee Mountains

"You're where?!"

Pepper's voice comes through the comm, and Tony winces slightly. He'll pay for this one.

"Something came up, Pepper. Just cancel all my appointments."

"And what do you want me to tell the press about Alan?"

"You'll think of something, you always do. Send his wife some flowers."

"Tony, I--"

"Gotta go, Pep. Smooches."



"I really am brilliant."

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Old 12-08-2011, 01:12 PM   #122
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Sal Maroni fumed, pacing back and forth impatiently along the line of folding tables arranged to form one makeshift conference table, in the back kitchen of Morelli's Italian Bistro. His lieutenants watched him nervously, as he hadn't spoken in nearly two minutes.

Finally, the Boss spoke.

"Anton's got hit tonight," he finally said. "Same thing that happened to Fat Ricky Fat's. Place was burned to the ground, everyone in it's dead. It was a goddamn bloodbath. And we lost another third of my goddamn product!"

At that, Maroni grabbed an end of one of the tables and threw it over, sending it crashing to the floor while his men scrambled out of the way.

"Son of a ***** didn't even take the drugs," he growled. "Just burned them right there with everyone he'd already killed. I will not have this happen a third time, you hear me?!"

His men nodded.

"I don't care if it's Falcone," he said, just barely keeping a lid on his temper, "or if it's Hammerhead, or some cowboy from GCPD who isn't on the take, or that Bat-freak they're talking about. I want this guy found, and I want him put in a ****ing pine box! Am I clear?!"

*KNOCK-KNOCK!*

All eyes turned to the kitchen's back door.

"Vinnie, the door," Maroni gestured to one of his enforcers. The big man drew a pistol and moved to the doorway.

*KNOCK-KNOCK!* it repeated.

"Who's there?!" Vinnie asked.

"The interrupting psycho-killer," said a voice from behind the door.

Vinnie paused.

".....the interru--"

*BLAM!*

Vinnie fell to the floor, a gaping bullet-wound in his head, and a foot kicked in the door. Attached to that foot was spindly, scrawny leg, and attached to that leg was a spindly, scrawny man, with chalky white skin, a tattered purple suit that appeared to be lightly charred, and a revolver that looked big enough to put down a grizzly bear.

"I hear you're all feeling a little down in the dumps," he said, leveling his hand-cannon at anyone who looked like they might pull a gun on him. "Lucky for you, the Joker's in town, and here to turn your frown upside-down! So let's see what we can do about getting you boys to put on a happy face, eh?"

Sal Maroni eyed the clown with outrage and contempt.

"I don't know who you think you are, pal," he snarled, "but if you think you can just walk in here and--"

"A man walks into a bar,"
the Joker cut him off. "He chats with a few men over at one of the corner tables for a bit, then walks up to the bartender, and gestures to an empty beer mug. 'Hey barkeep!' the man says, 'I'll bet you a hundred bucks that I can piss into that mug and not spill a drop on your bar!'"

Maroni stared daggers at him, but the Joker continued.

"The bartender says 'I'll take that bet,' and the man steps up onto the bar. He unzips his fly, pulls out his willy, and lets loose with a stream of whizz all over the bar. It gets everywhere, and not even a drop touches the beer mug!"

The Boss nodded impatiently, waiting for him to get to the point.

"The bartender laughs and says 'that was the easiest hundred bucks I ever made!' but the man is grinning ear to ear. 'Why are you smiling?' the bartender asks."

The Joker's grin grew wider.

"'See those guys in the corner table?' he points to them. 'I just bet them a thousand bucks I could piss all over your bar and you wouldn't care!' HAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!!"

Once again, the clown was the only one in the room laughing.

"Tell me what your game is or you don't walk outta this room alive," Maroni said simply.

"Oh, you're no fun," the Joker said. "Anyway, I'm here because you've got a rather unconventional problem, as I understand it. And me? Well, I'm an unconventional problem-solver."

The Joker brandished his gun, looking down the barrel with admiration.

"You want this guy dead? Sal, baby, I'm the man to do it."

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Old 12-08-2011, 01:41 PM   #123
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Hellfire Club
Manhattan

Alfred pulls the limo up to the Brownstone and looks into the rearview mirror at me. "I suggest you approach the situation with caution, sir. You may be an expert when it comes to street criminals, but the stakes are so much higher."

"Don't worry, I'm ready. I'll call you when I'm done."

I get out the car and walk up the steps as Alfred pulls away. I give the doorman my name and he lets me into the foyer. The symbol on the business card is hanging on the walls, along with pictures of the club's history. My eye is drawn to one picture in particular. There's Tony's father, my grandad, and President Kennedy.

"That was shortly before he announced his candidacy for presidency."

I turn around to see the man waiting for me.

"Mister Wayne, allow me to be the first to welcome you to our headquarters."



"Welcome to the Hellfire Club. I'm Sebastian Shaw, Black King of the New York Chapter."


I walk over and shake Shaw's hand, giving his wardrobe choice a curious glance.

"We like to keep the standards of the Victorian dress here at the club. The Masons have their aprons and rings, we have our whalebone corsets and cravates."

"Now suddenly, I may be changing my mind..."

Shaw laughs and begins to walk down the hallway with me following closely behind.

"I am curious, Mister Wayne, why do you reach out to us now?"

"I had never heard of the club until I stumbled upon some of my grandfather's belongings. I got curious after I searched the internet and found out who you actually are."

"I searched our records and, while your grandfather was a member, you father was never interested even though we approached him as a legacy member."

"My father was always more interested in medicine and his practice than playing the role of a billionaire socialite."

"Well, like him, you are a legacy. All you need to do is ask and you're a full-fledged member above the rank of pawn. A Knight."

Suddenly, I feel a chill run up my spin and into my head. There's a numbness in my brain, almost like brain freeze. The image of a pair of bright blue eyes is inside my head. The eyes look inside of my mind, probing, trying to find my deepest thoughts.

I know what's going on. Someone is trying to read my mind. They're an expert at it. Unfortunately for them, it was an expert that trained me as well.

I focus my thoughts on the cover story, imagining everything that I've told Shaw. Picturing made up conversations with Alfred about my grandfather. All my thoughts about Tony, the weapons deal, and Batman are pushed way down inside my subconscious. Within a few seconds, the eyes disappear and I turn to look at Shaw.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, just felt a chill. Kinda weird."

"Well, this is where I leave you. Miss Frost is just down the hall. Once you're in her capable hands, she'll start the induction process."

"Thank you for your help, I appreciate it."

I smile and hold out my hand for Shaw. He shakes it and I pat him on the back, quickly slipping a small pad underneath his collar. It's barely the size of a head of a pin, but the microphone should pick up all of Shaw's conversations clearly.

"Thank you for joining us, Mister Wayne. I look forward to seeing you at meetings."

Shaw walks down the hallway and I watch him go. I still don't know who these people are, or what they're after, but I do know that they have a telepath in their midst. I have to keep my mind clear and free of my secrets, always be on my guard.. Just like I was taught.

Suddenly, running down terrorists in the Smokey Mountains doesn't seem like a bad idea.

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Old 12-08-2011, 07:37 PM   #124
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Strange continues to stand with the rest of the group in the coffee shop area watching the news. From what he can tell, things aren't looking up for anyone especially mutants in general.

"This is Michael Creighton for Fox 22 in Washington DC. This was supposed to been a news conference about the Mutant Registration Act but now looks like a battle ground. The FBI and DC SWAT patrols are here with the National Guard on stand by to keep a safe 50 foot perimeter. From unconfirmed reports, the two SWAT teams are prepared to use almost any means possible to keep this brawl from expanding into the streets of DC. Here is one of the people who was here to listen to the conference. What do you think is going on?"

"It is those blasted mutants. They all need to be banned and locked up with the key thrown away."

A guy in old 70's fashion with tie dye shirt and head band with long hair down to his back walks up to the reporter.

"All they need is love, dude. Mutants are people too. They are just misunderstood."

The first guy turns around and punches the hippie and then tackles them as they get into a wrestling match. A couple of the closer DC officers pull them apart with them still trying to kick each other.

"As you can tell, people are split on this idea even those supporting the Act outweighing those who are opposed from others we've talked to. Who or whatever is fighting around the stage are not helping the mutant cause."

Hate and misunderstanding can be some of the hardest things to overcome. Human history has shown time and again that to be the case. Sometimes they are overcome but after many attempts by many people over several years if not decades. I'll have to be careful on my own display because humans in general have a tendency to lump things into categories without giving too much thought into the individual. They may assume I'm a mutant which as far as I know I am not.

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Old 12-08-2011, 07:43 PM   #125
sumowrestler
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Default Re: One Earth: The Marvel/DC RPG

"I honestly can't tell you, GA. You are the one who is usually with a plan. I just improvise or roll with the punches. The only thing I can say is use whoever is in there with you as a distraction and not get caught. If you are real lucky, they will be so caught up with the others that you'll be able to walk right in and get whatever you wanted and be out before anyone notices."

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