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Old 06-10-2012, 01:43 AM   #101
Eddie Brock
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Default Re: The "Nuff Said" Marvel Universe RPG

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"Fine," Sharon said, crossing her arms. "Take my car. I'll get a transport back to the Helicarrier."

"Right," Cap said, sliding his shield on to his back. "We'll be in touch."

Steve walked towards the car and climbed behind the wheel. "Let's go, Spider-Man."

"This car's nice," Spider-Man said as he jumped in. "I love that new car smell. Smells like Magenta."
No sooner have I buckled my seatbelt - which I half-expect to have a SHIELD logo emblazoned on it - than Cap pushes the throttle and the car takes off. And I'm not using that phrase figuratively. The car literally takes off. Within seconds, we're high above most buildings in Manhattan and still rising. As the skyscrapers disappear beneath us, I lean over the edge and look down.

"Nice ride! Reminds me of the Fantasti-Car." I turn back to Cap. I consider asking him a little bit more about how the flying car works, but I doubt he'll know the answer and I wouldn't want to bore him anyway. Judging from the fact that it rides so silently, I'm going to rule out any sort of turbine or fan based propulsion system, which really only leaves anti-magnets as the solution. The car must create a self-contained magnetic field which repels the force from the Earth's magnetic poles, giving it lift and thrust.

"So, look. If we're going to do this team-up thing, we have to lay down some ground rules," I begin. "First of all, I have to be 'good cop,' 'cause, I mean, look at me. Now, let me hear your best Christian Bale Batman voice."

"My what?"

"You haven't seen the Christopher Nolan Batman movies?!"

"I've been busy," Cap replies.

I shake my head. "Alright, if we wrap up this Shocker thing by tomorrow night, I'm making you watch those." I turn my attention forward. "Speaking of which, how are we going to wrap up this Shocker thing?"

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Old 06-10-2012, 02:28 AM   #102
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"So, look. If we're going to do this team-up thing, we have to lay down some ground rules," I begin. "First of all, I have to be 'good cop,' 'cause, I mean, look at me. Now, let me hear your best Christian Bale Batman voice."

"My what?"

"You haven't seen the Christopher Nolan Batman movies?!"

"I've been busy," Cap replies.

I shake my head. "Alright, if we wrap up this Shocker thing by tomorrow night, I'm making you watch those." I turn my attention forward. "Speaking of which, how are we going to wrap up this Shocker thing?"
"Ever heard of Black Spectre? They're a criminal organization, they primarily deal in moving weapons. Unlike HYDRA or AIM, Black Spectre is in it just for the money. Selling Shocker suits to the highest bidder is right up their alley."

The flying car over Midtown, heading north over Harlem. Cap began to slow the car down and lower it as they approached Washington Heights.

"A SHIELD informant told us Black Spectre has a safehouse in this part of the city. Until Agent 13 reports back, we won't know for sure where they're running their business out of. Until now, we can take this safehouse and rattle their cages."

The car hovered over a rooftop and slowly lowered itself down onto the roof. It landed with a soft thump and the two heroes got out.

"The safehouse is across the street. Come on, son, let's drop in for a visit."

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Old 06-10-2012, 02:48 AM   #103
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"Ever heard of Black Spectre? They're a criminal organization, they primarily deal in moving weapons. Unlike HYDRA or AIM, Black Spectre is in it just for the money. Selling Shocker suits to the highest bidder is right up their alley."

The flying car over Midtown, heading north over Harlem. Cap began to slow the car down and lower it as they approached Washington Heights.

"A SHIELD informant told us Black Spectre has a safehouse in this part of the city. Until Agent 13 reports back, we won't know for sure where they're running their business out of. Until now, we can take this safehouse and rattle their cages."

The car hovered over a rooftop and slowly lowered itself down onto the roof. It landed with a soft thump and the two heroes got out.

"The safehouse is across the street. Come on, son, let's drop in for a visit."
"Rattle their cages? Oh my God, Batman says that! You have to see these... aaaaand he's gone." I look around. "Still just talking to yourself, Spidey." Shaking my head, I take off after Cap.

I catch up to Cap on the rooftop of the Black Spectre safehouse. He's crouched down next to a dingy skylight. He motions for me to get down. I peer through the skylight, seeing a bunch of generic henchmen moving crates of what I can only assume are weapons - maybe even more Shocker suits. Cap looks at me. "We need a plan."

"Isn't the plan to bust in, knock some heads together, and leave someone conscious to interrogate?" I suggest.

Cap stares at me for a moment. "Decent plan."

"I thought so." I stand up straight. "If there are any more 'Shockers' down there, I'll try and deal with them first. You get the other guys because, well, you've got the shield."

Cap nods.

"See ya on the other side, Captain."



"Special Spider-Telegram service! Here with a message for you guys!"

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Old 06-10-2012, 03:18 AM   #104
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"I thought so." I stand up straight. "If there are any more 'Shockers' down there, I'll try and deal with them first. You get the other guys because, well, you've got the shield."

Cap nods.

"See ya on the other side, Captain."



"Special Spider-Telegram service! Here with a message for you guys!"
Spider-Man lead, leaping over a pair of Black Spectre goons and attacking two other ones. The two goons turned and watched Spider-Man take on their cohorts. They both wondered why he had spared them. At least, until they turned around and saw the metal object whizzing towards them.

CLANG!

The shield slammed into one of the thugs face, bouncing off his head and striking the other Black Spectre member in the face too. The shield bounced off the floor and the side of the wall before Cap snagged it out of the air and slammed it into a nearby goons stomach.

"No sign of a Shocker yet," he yelled over the battle.

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Old 06-10-2012, 12:19 PM   #105
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Spider-Man lead, leaping over a pair of Black Spectre goons and attacking two other ones. The two goons turned and watched Spider-Man take on their cohorts. They both wondered why he had spared them. At least, until they turned around and saw the metal object whizzing towards them.

CLANG!

The shield slammed into one of the thugs face, bouncing off his head and striking the other Black Spectre member in the face too. The shield bounced off the floor and the side of the wall before Cap snagged it out of the air and slammed it into a nearby goons stomach.

"No sign of a Shocker yet," he yelled over the battle.
I cringe as Cap says that. "Shouldn't say something like that!" I yell back while webbing up the muzzles of two rifles aimed right at me. "Something bad always happens when you say something like that!"

Suddenly, I'm grabbed from behind by a very large goon. He squeezes with his tree-trunk arms, trying to crush me. I throw my head back, and it connects with his chin. The hit jars him loose, so I drive an elbow into his stomach. Another thug has raced up to hit me. I leap into the air, and he connects with the large goon's chest.

VVVVVVMMMMMM!

The vibro-blast blindsides me, throwing me through a wall of crates. I know what you're thinking: why didn't my Spider-Sense warn me? Well, when you're in a warehouse full of armed thugs trying to kill you, it's like trying to hear a ticking clock in a crowded room. Too much white noise, just have to react on instinct. And, unfortunately, I didn't anticipate that one coming.

I climb out of the crates and turn my full attention to the Shocker. "If you're still upset about the broken skylight, I think you're blowing it way out of proportion." I fire a net of webbing over the Shocker, but he blasts his way out of it with those gauntlets. In the time it took him to do that, though, I've closed the gap between us. As soon as he's free, I greet him with a sharp kick to the face.

"More greetings like this one, and I'll start to feel unwelcome."

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Old 06-10-2012, 03:40 PM   #106
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"I had that one time,"
I say swopping in and slamming my fist into Venom's side. "That food is god awful, dawg. You gotta treat yourself to something good."

Venom swipes at me and I manage to avoid it for a change, jumping back and pulling something out my pants pocket. "I got an idea. Colleen, do that thing we talked about."

"Here and now?" She asks as she, Misty, and Danny jump out the car.

"Not that!"

Venom lands a solid blow to my chest, dropping me to the ground. "The other thing," I wheeze out.

She catches on and leaps into action. She drives her katana into the side of the overturned SUV's gas tank. Gas squirts out and covers both Venom and I in the liquid. I hold the item in my hand up, a zippo lighter. "Everybody run!"

I strike the lighter, and Venom and I go up in a bright ball of fire and smoke.

"GYYYEEEEEAAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGHHH!!!!"

My other shrieks in agony, its substance boiling and blistering, as we're engulfed in flames. We can withstand bullets, we can shrug off lasers, we can take hits from some of the strongest people on Earth. Fire, though, will kill us.

The pain is blinding, but even with the flames and smoke and crippling agony, we stagger out of the fire towards the curb. There's a fire hydrant. Forget the heroes, forget the cops, forget chasing after Sin-Eater come back from the dead, we have to get the fire out now.

"Nnngh.....come on.....come on," we say through gritted teeth, forcing ourselves to inch our way towards the curb. With all of our strength, we slash at the cast iron hydrant, ripping open one of the valves.

FWWWWSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

A jet of pressurized water punches us hard, knocking us back down into the street. The water peels off some of my other and gets in my mouth, and I start coughing and sputtering to get it out of my windpipe. More importantly, though, it douses the fire and washes off the gas. It's humiliating, lying in a puddle gasping for air while my other tries to regain shape. But we'll live.

Slowly, painfully, I pull myself up to all fours, while my other regains its strength and crawls across my body again. The other heroes are moving in to finish us off. In a straight fight, we could take all four of them without any real trouble. But they're fighting dirty.

Which means it's time for us to fight dirty too.

When Power Man approaches, we lash out, my other throwing a glob into his face, plugging up his nose and mouth.

"Tough guy...." we say in ragged breaths. "Still.....need to.....breathe, though....."

We get to our feet, looking at Iron Fist and his two lady friends.

"And you.....you three," we continue, staggering forward. "You're supposed.....supposed to be heroes......right?"

My other whips out a tendril towards the ground, picking up a manhole cover. We pick it up, and with as much strength as we can muster, we fling it as hard as we can--not at the superheroes, but up at the police helicopter circling above us. The cover strikes the chopper's tail rotor, and with a shower of sparks, the chopper starts to careen wildly.

"Go be heroic," we sneer as the helicopter spins out of control. "Go ahead......impress us."

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Old 06-10-2012, 04:50 PM   #107
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We get to our feet, looking at Iron Fist and his two lady friends.

"And you.....you three," we continue, staggering forward. "You're supposed.....supposed to be heroes......right?"

My other whips out a tendril towards the ground, picking up a manhole cover. We pick it up, and with as much strength as we can muster, we fling it as hard as we can--not at the superheroes, but up at the police helicopter circling above us. The cover strikes the chopper's tail rotor, and with a shower of sparks, the chopper starts to careen wildly.

"Go be heroic," we sneer as the helicopter spins out of control. "Go ahead......impress us."
"Colleen, help Luke. Misty, with me."

I would never admit it to Venom, but maybe we are out of our league. The fighting, the detective work, all that Heroes for Hire can handle. But I'm not Iron Man. I can't swoop down from the skies and catch that falling helicopter. Misty isn't Ms. Marvel. She can't grab the pilot and co-pilot and fly them to safety. But that doesn't mean we're useless, and it certainly doesn't mean we can't try.

Misty and I bound up the fire escape towards the roof. I'm a touch faster, reaching it first and observing the spiraling helicopter. It's no more than twenty feet off the rooftops, but it's moving all over the place. I take off after it, trying desperately to get beneath it. Misty catches up and runs alongside me.

"What's the plan?"

I glance at her. "How's your arm?"

Misty positions herself underneath the helicopter. I run to the other edge of the rooftop. We've seen Wolverine and Colossus pull this move a couple of times. This is our variation. I run full-speed at Misty and jump feet-first at her. She catches my feet with her hands, and the combination of my momentum and her bionic arm springboards me into the air. I just manage to catch the helicopter's skid.

Trying my best to ignore the chopper's wild spinning, I pull myself up. The two police officers manning the cockpit appear amazed. I'm a little amazed myself. Unfortunately, I still have to figure out how to get down.

"Can you land this thing?" I ask hopefully.

The pilot looks at me. "Not anymore."

Frowning, I say, "Okay, then here's the plan: try and direct us towards those rooftops." I point to the nearby buildings with gravel roofs. Should soften the blow. "When we get close, jump out. Tuck and roll!"

"What about the chopper?"

"There's a park a few blocks from here. Think it'll stay airborne until then?"

"Maybe," the pilot responds uncertainly.

"Well, that's the best hope we've got," I reply. "I'll take the controls once you guys are clear."

"You know how to fly one of these?"

I shake my head. "No, but I won't be flying it for long." When we're close to the rooftops, the pilot hands over the controls to me. I watch over my shoulder as the two police officers make their jumps and hit the roof hard. It's gonna hurt, but at least they'll survive.

I bank the helicopter towards the park by pulling on the control stick. I only hope the park's empty this time of night. As the green trees approach on the horizon, I start dipping the chopper down. Here goes...

At the last moment, I jump out of the helicopter and aim for the nearest treetop. I've just landed among the branches when the chopper hits solid ground. The park is lit up by a blazing fireball, and a massive "BOOOM!" shakes all the leaves on the trees.

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Old 06-10-2012, 06:51 PM   #108
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While Iron Fist goes to save the crashing helicopter and Power Man struggles for air, we look at the two women and shrug.

"Screw this," we say, swatting them aside as we stumble towards the open manhole and crawl away into the sewers. Once we're underground, my other blends in with the darkened tunnels, and we slink away to lick our wounds.

We know the sewers better than we'd like to admit, and can sneak around without being detected. If the heroes get stupid and try to follow us down here, we'll find them long before they're able to find us. But we're not interested in that.

Right now we need to get away, and think for a bit. About Sin-Eater, and the murders tonight. About how and why he came back to torment us again.

About Ann coming back from the dead.

Forget the superheroes, we need a little 'us' time.

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:12 AM   #109
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VVVVVVMMMMMM!

The vibro-blast blindsides me, throwing me through a wall of crates. I know what you're thinking: why didn't my Spider-Sense warn me? Well, when you're in a warehouse full of armed thugs trying to kill you, it's like trying to hear a ticking clock in a crowded room. Too much white noise, just have to react on instinct. And, unfortunately, I didn't anticipate that one coming.

I climb out of the crates and turn my full attention to the Shocker. "If you're still upset about the broken skylight, I think you're blowing it way out of proportion." I fire a net of webbing over the Shocker, but he blasts his way out of it with those gauntlets. In the time it took him to do that, though, I've closed the gap between us. As soon as he's free, I greet him with a sharp kick to the face.

"More greetings like this one, and I'll start to feel unwelcome."
"Make way!" Steve shouted over the carnage. Like a freight train, he sped passed Spider-Man and Shocker with a large Black Spectre member gripping his shield. The thug tried to hold on to the shield and strike at Captain America at the same time. Unable to land a blow, the Black Spectre could only hold on for dear life as Cap drove him back-first into the wall.

The two men went crashing through the wall, tearing through the building and landing outside. Both Steve and the man stood, both slightly dazed from the trip through the wall. Before the Black Spectre could fully recover, he was struck in the head by Cap's fist. Steve hit the man with a uppercut and knocked him to the ground, unconscious.

His bearings back, Cap stepped through the hole in the wall and tossed his shield at the Shocker, just as he was backhanding Spider-Man with his gauntlet.

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


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


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Old 06-11-2012, 12:23 AM   #110
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"GYYYEEEEEAAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGHHH!!!!"

My other shrieks in agony, its substance boiling and blistering, as we're engulfed in flames. We can withstand bullets, we can shrug off lasers, we can take hits from some of the strongest people on Earth. Fire, though, will kill us.

The pain is blinding, but even with the flames and smoke and crippling agony, we stagger out of the fire towards the curb. There's a fire hydrant. Forget the heroes, forget the cops, forget chasing after Sin-Eater come back from the dead, we have to get the fire out now.

"Nnngh.....come on.....come on," we say through gritted teeth, forcing ourselves to inch our way towards the curb. With all of our strength, we slash at the cast iron hydrant, ripping open one of the valves.

FWWWWSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

A jet of pressurized water punches us hard, knocking us back down into the street. The water peels off some of my other and gets in my mouth, and I start coughing and sputtering to get it out of my windpipe. More importantly, though, it douses the fire and washes off the gas. It's humiliating, lying in a puddle gasping for air while my other tries to regain shape. But we'll live.

Slowly, painfully, I pull myself up to all fours, while my other regains its strength and crawls across my body again. The other heroes are moving in to finish us off. In a straight fight, we could take all four of them without any real trouble. But they're fighting dirty.

Which means it's time for us to fight dirty too.

When Power Man approaches, we lash out, my other throwing a glob into his face, plugging up his nose and mouth.

"Tough guy...." we say in ragged breaths. "Still.....need to.....breathe, though....."
I fall to the ground, gripping at the tentacle around my face. My hands can't find purchase to pull it off. While I struggle, sounds of violence fill the air. A loud crash, a whine of an engine, more fighting, and then...

KSSSSH!

The blob pops from my face. I cough violently as fresh air fills my lungs. Standing over me is Colleen, his sword in hand.

"Venom?" I wheeze out.

"Gone. He turned tail and ran. Misty tried to follow his trail, but she lost him."

"Danny?"

"He's currently crashing a chopper into the park."

"So, business as usual. I think... I'm just gonna lay here."

"Naked?"

I look down and notice the fire that I lit burnt all the clothes from my body.

"I'm tired, hurting, and I feel like I been inside an oven. I'm spent and I don't give a damn."

"I'll see if I can rustle you up something."

"Thanks," I say with a long sigh.

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


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


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Old 06-11-2012, 12:59 AM   #111
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"Make way!" Steve shouted over the carnage. Like a freight train, he sped passed Spider-Man and Shocker with a large Black Spectre member gripping his shield. The thug tried to hold on to the shield and strike at Captain America at the same time. Unable to land a blow, the Black Spectre could only hold on for dear life as Cap drove him back-first into the wall.

The two men went crashing through the wall, tearing through the building and landing outside. Both Steve and the man stood, both slightly dazed from the trip through the wall. Before the Black Spectre could fully recover, he was struck in the head by Cap's fist. Steve hit the man with a uppercut and knocked him to the ground, unconscious.

His bearings back, Cap stepped through the hole in the wall and tossed his shield at the Shocker, just as he was backhanding Spider-Man with his gauntlet.
Cap's shield meets the Shocker's chin at the precise moment that the Shocker's gauntlet meets mine. We both drop like a sack of bricks. The difference is that I pull myself back up, whereas the would-be Shocker doesn't. When Captain America wants you to stay down, you stay down.

Cap's there as I get back up, giving me a helping hand. I nod appreciatively to the iconic hero. We both glance at the assembled crowd of hoods, thugs, and goons. They're weary of us, having seen first-hand what we're capable of. Together, we should be able to finish them with one last good push.

"I have an idea, but it's a little unorthodox," I say.

Cap looks at me knowingly. "With you, they often are."

I put a hand on his shield, and Cap stares at me uncertainly. "Trust me." Cap releases his grip on the shield. With my free hand, I attach a webline to the edge of it. "You ever been to Coney Island, Cap?"

"Many times," he nods.

"You know those spinning cup rides?"

I let out a good length of webline and then start spinning. As I spin, the line goes taut, and the shield swings dangerously around my body. When I'm up to speed, I throw myself at the remaining goons. The shield pulls along its vicious arc, knocking them all for a loop. I come to an abrupt stop and release the webline. The shield crashes into a stack of crates and boxes, which subsequently come crashing down onto the thugs.

"I don't... feel... so good," I say while doubling-over. It takes a lot to get me dizzy, but that little stunt certainly did it.

Cap drags the Shocker to the center of the warehouse and flips him over. After unmasking him, Cap slaps him to rouse him back to alertness. "He's conscious," he reports.

Still doubled-over, I twirl a finger in the air. "Yay, us!"

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Old 06-11-2012, 01:07 AM   #112
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I look down and notice the fire that I lit burnt all the clothes from my body.

"I'm tired, hurting, and I feel like I been inside an oven. I'm spent and I don't give a damn."

"I'll see if I can rustle you up something."

"Thanks," I say with a long sigh.
By the time I get back to the scene of the fight, Misty and Colleen are standing around while Luke sits on the ground, covering himself with what looks like Colleen's jacket. "You look like Hell," Luke remarks.

"You should see the park," I reply, pointing over my shoulder with my thumb. Noticing the conspicuous absence, I say, "Venom got away?"

Colleen nods.

"Somebody else's problem now," Luke grunts.

Spider-Man's, more than likely, I think to myself. How does the guy do it? How do any of those guys do it? For us, a fight like this is a rarity. For the big guys, it's a daily routine. I give them a lot of credit. We barely survived this one. "Sorry about your car."

Luke looks in the direction of the mangled wreck which was once the Heroes for Hire Escalade. "Aw, s***." In the commotion, the reality of the damage to the car must not have hit him yet. Now that it has, I can see the disappointment on his face. "Sorry, girl. You deserved better."

I look at our team. We're ragged, but we're alive. "Tell you what... let's all come in late tomorrow. I think we've earned it."

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Old 06-11-2012, 02:35 AM   #113
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"Oh, god, they're everywhere!"

David Masterson was a very powerful man. As one of New York's premiere stockholders, owning a large percentage of Manhattan's Big Apple Bank and all of it's accompanied properties, he had held the very rare position of beating a nationwide economical crisis on the amount of authority that his position had bought alone. For fifteen years, he had consecutively ran as chairman of the board of directors of a small subsidiary company, gaining substantial profit throughout the decade and a half that he had spent turning it from a third-rate small business to a chain of speciality shops around Brooklyn. To say that Masterson was financially well-off would be an insult to those who considered him a peer, watching as he rose among the ranks to become one of the richest men in the state, only following the likes Tony Stark and Wilson Fisk, among others.

But over the past few months, something in his life had changed. No longer was Masterson seeing the same share of the profits that he was used to. At first he thought of it as nothing, but as the rate of a clear depletion only increased, he grew more suspicious and had decided to investigate. His findings led him to discover that every cut of his percentage of the gross was addressed to his wife, and after doing some further digging into her accounts, he had slowly began to discover that the money was all there, accounted for and split up over a series of months.

There was only one real problem with that discovery. His wife had been dead for three years. A tragic car accident while she had been vacationing in Brazil. And even though he loved her dearly and mourned the loss with a heavy bout of drinking, Masterson had never been given reason to suspect foul play in the accident. Until he found those accounts. Soon after, he had recieved threatening emails. Dozens and dozens of messages promising death and humiliation were sent his way, and even a few choice details of a potential scandal that no one was supposed to know about - the fact that he had briefly had an affair with an employee's wife, never brought to light in the midst of everything. The theft of the money was simply part of much larger blackmail.

Whenever Masterson had finally asked his aggressors what they wanted in exchange of the evidence, offering ludicrous amounts of money in order to keep things private, the private party had only requested one thing - his soul. Of course, he had naturally thought they were joking, and made that much very clear. But that was until he had witnessed half of his staff slaughtered infront of him by forces unseen, sneaking into the building in the midst of a sudden blackout. Following this, he did the only logical thing he could think to do and quickly barricaded himself within his top-floor office.

Whoever was after him, they were here to collect.

"Please! Stay back, I... I don't have whatever you're looking for! I'm telling you the truth!"

What responded to his pleas was a series of loud, obscenely powerful strikes against the locked twin doors that seperated him between an almost certain life or death. Even though the doors were reinforced with solid steel as an anti-theft measure, Masterson went wide-eyed and stepped back as the door began to outwardly cave. After a few animalistic snarls, the door was shattered with a final strike, brought down to reveal the prescence just beyond the hall.

Standing at nearly seven-feet tall was a large and muscular man that stood on hooves for feet, covered in dark brown fur and brandishing a large nose piercing with thick, blood red eyes. But what was most noticeable about the monstrosity were the large, sharp black horns that protuded from both sides of his head.

Masterson nearly tumbled over his desk, in complete shock and horror of the beast that was slowly moving towards him, growling as he advanced even closer.

"Oh lord... Oh, lord, please... Don't..."

The beast man grabbed his desk as he tumbled away, overturning it with great strength. He turned to face the cowering Masterson, but by the time he could think to move, his handler stood ready on the other side of the door, waving a finger at him.

"That'll be quite enough, Bull."

'Bull' looked over to the slender figure in the darkness, dressed in a dark trenchcoat and fedora, hiding his features. The beast seemed to oblige immediately, giving a small bow as he treaded over like a wounded puppy. Masterson could only look with surprise, still clinging to himself while huddled in the corner of the room. The slender figure stepped in, walking with a cane.

"After all, we don't want to spook our new friend into a heart attack, do we?"

What followed the slender man was a series of other creatures, similar to one another and absolutely terrifying in their physical makeup, brandishing large claws, partially deformed skin, and rows of teeth. Masterson stood up and pressed himself against the wall, only growing more concerned as the slender man glanced towards him and smiled. Not in a friendly way, but in a way that conveyed menace.

"Why don't we make up for that rude intrusion by showing you a good time, David. It is David, isn't it?"

Indicating the others, he motioned them ahead.

"Grab him."

What followed were the screams of David Masterson, followed by silence.

By the time the police would make it to the scene, they would find traces of nothing.

"Hey, buddy. Got a light?"

I always hated the sound of a subway car.

It isn't the loud, ear-splitting screech that the brakes make as the car reaches it's next stop, or the noise that the passengers make while getting on, departing, or talking amongst themselves. No, what many would be surprised to learn is that it's actually the continuous hum of the electrical circuitry that runs beneath the car. That's because to anyone else, it's insignificant. The traditional human ear can't hear a sound with such a low frequency as that, and even if they could, the ambience of the tunnels and the often-crowded nature of the cars makes it virtually impossible.

But to a guy with an inner-radar and an amplified sense of hearing? Like nails on a chalkboard.

So it's any wonder that the man standing beside me as I sit on the edge of a vacant seat gets my attention at all by the time that he raises his voice to repeat himself. He was nervous at first, probably anxious about his lack of nicotene. That's not so much a guess as a generous assumption. I can taste it in the air. He was also talking to his wife or girlfriend before he approached me, unsure of whether or not he wanted to trouble the lowly blind man for a lighter. For that amount of consideration, I suppose I should be grateful.

"Sorry, but I don't smoke.", I explain. "Bad on the senses."

"Ah. Damn. Well, sorry to disturb ya."

As he turns to walk away, I feel him already preparing to pause. And I try to hide the fact that I roll my eyes as he does. When I thought to myself that I should be grateful, what I left out was the fact that he didn't just ask his companion about whether or not he should ask me for a lighter. That was only the "in" that he needed to ask me the real question. Because out of about a population of eight million people, I get stuck on the subway with the guy that immediately recognizes me. Not as Matt Murdock, the crusading defense attorney of former Nelson & Murock that made the headlines with his numerous clients and high-publicity cases.

But as the other guy. The one that I was outed by the tabloids to being a few short years ago.

"Say, I was wonderin'. You remind me of somebody."

Smiling, to hide my disdain for the question, I clutch at my cane.

"Yeah, I'll bet. I get that alot."

For a moment, he doesn't say anything.

"Wait. You mean you're not..."

"Wish I was."

Instead of simply apologizing for the disturbance or explaining to me who he thought I was, he quietly just walks back to his spouse, clearly embarassed, especially once she laughs after he tells her what happened. A few minutes later and the car has made it to my stop, to which he stays behind. I feel relieved, politely getting up and tapping at the ground with my cane, readjusting my bags of clothes and other belongings around my chest before advancing through the crowd.

For the first time in a year, I feel the bottom of my shoe step onto the pavement of Hell's Kitchen.

It's been too long. And it's been a hell of a journey getting here. But I've made it.

I'm finally home.

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Old 06-11-2012, 02:52 AM   #114
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Cap drags the Shocker to the center of the warehouse and flips him over. After unmasking him, Cap slaps him to rouse him back to alertness. "He's conscious," he reports.

Still doubled-over, I twirl a finger in the air. "Yay, us!"
"Focus," Steve said to the surly looking man dressed in the Shocker suit. He was crouched beside the criminal while Spider-Man was on the other side. "Talk to us. Where'd you get the suit from?"

"**** you, man!" The Shocker spat out.

With a scowl, Cap reached out and grabbed his jaw. He applied enough pressure to cause pain, but not enough to do damage. "Language. Talk like that again, and I will wash your mouth out."

He released the Shocker and looked him in the eye. "Talk. Who gave you the suit."

"Fu-... No! I ain't talking!"

"You're going to prison. On that, there is no debate. This is a turning point of your life, a chance to make yourself better. When you were a little boy, this wasn't where you pictured yourself. This isn't where your mother pictured you, either. Think about that. Your mother, spending sleepless nights wondering if her son will live to see the morning. The pain you probably put that woman through, the shame, the disappointment. Help us make a difference. Not for our sake, but for your sake. For your mother's sake."

The crook sniffled, his eyes on the verge of tears. "There's this facility in Brooklyn," he said, tears beginning to run down his face. "A lab. They're making the Shocker suits."

"Thank you. Stay where you are, the police should be here soon. When you get to jail, call your mom."

Steve and Spider-Man rose, heading for the exit.

"Cap?" The man called to him. The two heroes turned and saw the weeping criminal sitting in place. "I'm sorry. So sorry."

"That's okay," he said with a nod. "We've all made mistakes, we'll all continue to make mistakes. But today can be the day you go about fixing those mistakes. I'm not asking you to be perfect, I'm just asking that you try."

Together, the two men turned away from the bawling criminal and out the door. "Sorry about that, Spider-Man. I think you were supposed to be the good cop."

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Old 06-11-2012, 05:11 PM   #115
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"Cap?" The man called to him. The two heroes turned and saw the weeping criminal sitting in place. "I'm sorry. So sorry."

"That's okay," he said with a nod. "We've all made mistakes, we'll all continue to make mistakes. But today can be the day you go about fixing those mistakes. I'm not asking you to be perfect, I'm just asking that you try."

Together, the two men turned away from the bawling criminal and out the door. "Sorry about that, Spider-Man. I think you were supposed to be the good cop."
"*sniffle* What? Oh. Um, yeah. No, that's cool."

"Son, are you--?"

"Me? No, I'm fine. I just... some debris, from the fight, it, uh... got in my eyes," I reply. "Can't, uh, get it out because of... mask. That's all."

As we step outside, we can hear the sirens echoing in the distance. Once again, we're a few steps ahead of New York's finest. One last stop in Brooklyn, one last beat 'em up with the Super-Soldier, and this Shocker-for-sale nightmare can finally be behind me. I wonder what ol' Hermie's gonna think when he finds out someone reverse-engineered his tech, turned it into a lucrative business strategy.

Cap and I clamber back into SHIELD flying car and take off before the police arrive. They'd probably throw me in shackles and hand Captain America a medal for his bravery in apprehending the menace Spider-Man. Heh, what a laugh.

"If this place in Brooklyn is really Shocker central, then we're in for a fight." I turn to Cap. "Probably best we take it together this time."

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Old 06-12-2012, 02:38 PM   #116
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Cap and I clamber back into SHIELD flying car and take off before the police arrive. They'd probably throw me in shackles and hand Captain America a medal for his bravery in apprehending the menace Spider-Man. Heh, what a laugh.

"If this place in Brooklyn is really Shocker central, then we're in for a fight." I turn to Cap. "Probably best we take it together this time."
The car hovered over the area before it takes off, heading across the river towards Brooklyn.

"Uncle Sam to Agent 13," Steve said into his radio.

"I'm here," Sharon replied back. "I'm back on the Helicarrier."

"Spider-Man and I managed to glean some information from a Black Spectre safehouse. It's a Brooklyn address where Black Spectre is building Shocker suits. What's the status on the Shockers from the bank?"
"We just managed to break one of them. He's giving us a similar story."

"Scramble a SHIELD quick response team and have them rendezvous with us a block to the south."

"I'm leading the team. Any complaints?"

"Does it matter if I objected?"

"No."

"Roger that. Uncle Sam out."

The line went dead and Cap turned to Spider-Man as the car flew over the Hudson. "Don't worry about the SHIELD agents when we get there. They'll follow my lead and leave you alone."

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


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Old 06-12-2012, 03:42 PM   #117
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Unknown Location, Middle East

The carnage was unimaginable, the planning precise to cause as much death and suffering as humanly possible, if the people who committed this atrocity could even be considered humans.

Animals, perhaps even monsters. Monsters, like the man who now tended to what living souls he could find had so long been called. Now, as Bruce Banner tended to a young child who had done nothing more than tag along with his family as they traveled to the local market to buy what food they could with the few trinkets they all carried in their pockets, he wondered if anyone who came along this site would dare lump him into that category.

The roadside bomb had probably been meant for any number of military vehicles that patroled this isolated route. It had no doubt been tripped by what looked to be the youngest child, or what was left of her, out of curiousity. The image of her tiny body, mangled, mutilated, only half there...

He pushed the image from his mind, less he vomit what food he had been able to scrounge up that morning.

The tiny boy in his arms, no more than 10 years old, looked a Bruce and even though the language barrier kept them from communicating, his tiny eyes said it all as he watched this stranger mend up the stump where his left arm once had been.

Why?

It was a question Bruce had asked many times in his life, for many different reasons. At this moment, he was almost glad he couldn't talk to the boy, offer him an answer. Because there was no answer. No reason.

"This will hold until we get you to town," Bruce whispered. He knew his words meant nothing, but perhaps the soft, gentle tone and the smile he offered would calm the boy.

"Monsters," Bruce thought, picking the child up. It seemed wherever he went, monsters followed.

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Old 06-12-2012, 04:27 PM   #118
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Afghanistan/Pakistan Border

The duality of the landscape that stretched for hundreds of miles all around the tiny makeshift shack was not lost on Bruce. It was beautiful, majestic, unspoiled land in it’s purest form. And yet, get caught without the proper supplies, turned around in the vast landscape and mountains, and it was a terrible, ugly, even deadly place. It was home to the most innocent of peasants and nomads, as well as the most brutal killers and terrorists. A single world that hid two faces.

Maybe that’s why he enjoyed it here so much. While the rest of the world looked upon this place as a war zone, a haven of murders nestled somewhere in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Bruce saw past the politics and enjoyed it for the remoteness, the cover, the serenity.

And yet, even as he marveled at the sunset that bathed the land in a warm red glow, the tragedy that played out before him that afternoon still burned fresh in his mind. He just wish he could have done more…

“Puny Banner…”

“Not now.”

“Hulk could kill them all. Hulk wipe them out, and no more innocents die. But Banner afraid of Hulk…”

“I said shut up. What good would it do. More like them would follow. We can’t destroy all the evil in the world. An eye for and eye leaves everyone blind. So we show them we’re better. We help. We build, not destroy. We give life back instead of taking it.”

“Haha, Banner funny. Hulk has life, but Banner selfish. Banner keep Hulk locked away. Banner afraid of Hulk.”

“I used to. But I control you now. And the best thing I ever did in my life was lock you up.”

“Hulk’s power doesn’t scare Banner. Hulk know. Hulk hear your thoughts. Banner fear Hulk because Banner LIKES Hulk’s power.”

Bruce shook his head, trying to silence the thoughts.

“Hulk not bad guy. Banner bad guy. Banner let people get hurt, won’t let Hulk be hero.”

“Monster’s like us don’t get to be heroes. Monsters like us get to die alone, with nobody ever caring.”

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Old 06-12-2012, 11:30 PM   #119
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"I'm leading the team. Any complaints?"

"Does it matter if I objected?"

"No."

"Roger that. Uncle Sam out."

The line went dead and Cap turned to Spider-Man as the car flew over the Hudson. "Don't worry about the SHIELD agents when we get there. They'll follow my lead and leave you alone."
I cringe at the mention of a SHIELD response team palling around and diluting this team-up. Typically, governmental types - be they police, FBI, or higher - and I rarely get along. It certainly helps having Captain America's seal of approval, but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. Still, it's probably wise to bring backup. We're hitting Black Spectre where it hurts, and you can bet they'll hit back.

Cap lands the flying car at the designated rendezvous point, one block to the south of the Black Spectre's Shocker factory. A team of heavily-armed SHIELD agents forms up around us as a sort-of welcoming party. They remain at attention for Cap, but don't seem to extend me the same level of respect. I pace in front of them, eying them suspiciously.

"Touch a web on my head, and I'll sue," I warn, poking one of the SHIELD agents in the chest lightly.

"Spider-Man."

There's something about Captain America's voice. He rarely raises it in anger, yet he still manages to exude the kind of power which makes you instantly straighten up around him. I leave the SHIELD agents alone and stand at Cap's side.

"That the place?" I ask. "I was expecting something more sinister."

The Black Spectre facility could pass for any kind of factory or warehouse, if only a bit more modern. Two tall smokestacks, a brick exterior, and large windows running the length of the main building.

"We get on the roof, repel down, breach and clear through those windows."

"Well, what are we waiting for?"

His answer comes at the same time that the last SHIELD agent finally arrives. "Agent 13."

"Sorry I'm late, but you borrowed my car. Are we ready?"

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Old 06-13-2012, 12:59 AM   #120
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Cap lands the flying car at the designated rendezvous point, one block to the south of the Black Spectre's Shocker factory. A team of heavily-armed SHIELD agents forms up around us as a sort-of welcoming party. They remain at attention for Cap, but don't seem to extend me the same level of respect. I pace in front of them, eying them suspiciously.

"Touch a web on my head, and I'll sue," I warn, poking one of the SHIELD agents in the chest lightly.

"Spider-Man."

There's something about Captain America's voice. He rarely raises it in anger, yet he still manages to exude the kind of power which makes you instantly straighten up around him. I leave the SHIELD agents alone and stand at Cap's side.

"That the place?" I ask. "I was expecting something more sinister."

The Black Spectre facility could pass for any kind of factory or warehouse, if only a bit more modern. Two tall smokestacks, a brick exterior, and large windows running the length of the main building.

"We get on the roof, repel down, breach and clear through those windows."

"Well, what are we waiting for?"

His answer comes at the same time that the last SHIELD agent finally arrives. "Agent 13."

"Sorry I'm late, but you borrowed my car. Are we ready?"
"Pretty much. Like I told Spider-Man, we'll come up over the roof and breach through the windows first. Distract them while your team is comes in from the front."

"Alright," Carter said with a nod. "Be careful."

"I always am. Listen for the green light."


*****
Captain America and Spider-Man were on the roof of the Black Spectre factory. Cap had a rope in his hands and was securing it to a smokestack while Spider-Man was perched on the edge of the roof.

"... And then the bear looks down at the hunter, smiles, and says 'You don't come here for the hunting, do you?'"

"Funny,"
Steve said, tightly tying the rope to the smokestack. "A bit blue for my taste, but I see the humor."

Cap walked to the edge of the roof, the rope in his free hand.

"Alright, how about this one... A super-soldier and a mutated spider nerd crash into a criminal stronghold..."

"Save the punchline," Steve said, pushing off the roof. He fell towards the ground until the rope caught. The taunt rope sent him swinging towards the window with Spider-Man right behind him.

The two crashed through the window and came down on a catwalk, a pair of Black Spectres between them. Cap took the one on the right, slamming him to the ground with his shield while Spider-Man swiftly spun and knocked his target unconscious with a powerful kick.

The two heroes leaped from the catwalk and landed on the factory floor, nearly ten Black Spectre members in partial Shocker gear greeted them.

"Uncle Sam to Agent 13, you got the green light."

The door to the factory burst open, Sharon Carter leading a dozen SHIELD agents came through the door with their weapons drawn. Two of the Shocker units peeled away towards the SHIELD agents while the rest encircled the two superheroes.

"Now would be a good time for that punchline, Spider-Man."

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-- Thomas Paine


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Old 06-13-2012, 02:54 AM   #121
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Vampire's Nest under Greenwich Park
London, England


Dane's eyes swept the darkened recesses of the tunnel as he cautiously made his way deeper into the vampires' nest. He and Faiza edged forward, almost back-to-back in the small pool of light the electric lantern hanging from Dane's belt afforded them. Red dots pierced the gloom to Dane's right, but he made no move to deal with them. Instead, a high-pitched shriek erupted from below the dots as the vampire--a female, as it turned out--recoiled at Excalibur; Faiza drove the beast back until she could go no further before neatly severing her head from her neck. The vampire's now-limp body crumbled into ash, making Dane's eyes sting.

"Eat that, toothy!" Faiza coughed. "That's pure pagan holy symbol in your stupid, ashy face!" Another cough--this time she pulled a fold of her hijab over her nose and mouth. "Ugh, these things could at least have the bloody decency to stay in one piece when they're slain," she mumbled through the fabric. "This can't be sanitary."

"Ever the doctor, eh?" Dane joked as the Ebony Blade sent another vampire's head rolling and a disconcerting pulse of pleasure swept through his subconscious.

"I'm serious." Another vampire recoiled from Excalibur into the hungry blade of Dane's sword. "Who knows what kind of germs might be swarming about right now?"

The vampires were massing now, pinpricks of red appearing in the darkness before Dane and Faiza. The female's screams must've caught their attention, Dane thought, but it's nothing we can't handle. Out loud, he said: "I don't think vamps are exactly hospitable to foreign bodies, Faz. I mean, they're basically walking corpses, right?"

"That's--" another stroke, another pile of ash "--a good point, actually."

"No need to sound so shocked," he chided her with feigned indignation. "I'll have you know I was an engineer and a scientist before my life became all about," he waved his hand around, indicating their ash-choked surroundings, "this."

"Aww, poor baby. If I ever get published for my in-depth study of pathogens on vampiric immune systems, I'll be sure you get a co-author credit."

"That's more like it." Dane stopped walking and noticed the sudden lack of fanged aggression. The air felt less choked here--a wider part of the nest, Dane thought. Faiza unhooked a flashlight from her belt and surveyed the area with its light. This was no longer a cramped tunnel, but a spacious underground cave; the tunnel through which Faiza and Dane had entered loomed shadowy behind them, and another vanished into darkness on the wall opposite it. It was impossible for Dane to tell whether the cave was natural or the vampires had dug it out for themselves, but one thing was obvious: it was empty. "Hey, where'd all the guys trying to kill us go?"

"I called them off," said a disembodied voice from the darkness of the tunnel ahead. A figure strolled leisurely into the light of Dane's lantern. Black boots with too many buckles cast blacker shadows in the light. A striped pink and black bandana flowed out from the top of the right boot and Dane could just make out a pair of rolled-up jeans underneath the long black robes flowing over them. By this point, Dane could tell the mysterious newcomer was tall--his head nearly brushed the ceiling of the tunnel he emerged from--and gaunt. Multicolored sashes wound tightly around his thin waist, over which sat a black belt covered in triangular silver studs. A long, beaded silver chain fell from the right side of the belt, sharply contrasting with the black of the stranger's robes. Under an ornate hussar's doublet bursting with gold buttons and elaborate pale gold threading sat a chest-sized union jack. The stranger's hands, clothed in fingerless gloves, ended in long, wickedly sharp nails. None of these seemingly contradictory elements were quite as shocking as the stranger's face, however, wrapped as it was in a long turban that looped around and under a prodigious, bushy beard to become a neck scarf. A single white line of warpaint adorned the stranger's dark, leathery skin from one cheek over his nose to the other. Above it shone the now-familiar glow of vampiric red eyes. "Are they not, after all, my loyal soldiers?" His eyes narrowed and his lips split into a thin, toothy grin. "A foreign concept to you, of course, sirrah Knight."

"Whoa, insults already? Do we know each other? Because, I gotta tell you, I think I'd remember that whole punk/Jedi/God-save-the-Queen look you got going on there, yet I'm coming up blank."

"Ah, but when last we met, I--and, I think, you yourself--looked quite different. But to answer your question, sirrah, no, you do not know me. At least, not personally. But I recognize you by that blood-soaked crest you bear. The Black Knight, scourge of Allah's faithful. I think, though, that recognition will come when I speak my master's name."

"Who, Dracula? Yeah, I made his acquaintance at the pointy end of his sword not too long ago, but my gal Friday here sent him packing. Thought we'd gotten rid of all his hangers-on too but, apparently, no such luck."

"You are mistaken, false hero. I counted myself amongst Dracula's hordes, yes, but I refer now to another--my true master. I can understand if your memory is a bit foggy, though; you--or one like you--met him, oh, about 800 years ago now.

"His name was Chandu."


"Chandu?" Faiza repeated. "Dane, wasn't that--?"

"The wizard who got in bed with Prince John and Mordred to try and turn the Third Crusade to their advantage. Merlin's spell zapped me and the Defenders there to deal with it. But we never encountered any sorcerer other than Chandu himself."

"My master had deployed me to the front. I was Kaseem Farouq Abd as-Salam, Chandu's strong right arm, a holy fist in service of almighty Allah against the infidel invaders. Imagine my surprise, then, to return to my master--victorious, as always--only to find him in chains alongside vainglorious English fools, at the mercy of still more bastard English! I fled, for even I was no match for the entire infidel horde, and used my master's teachings to plot my revenge. Saladin turned a deaf ear to my pleas for aid, however; the faithless false king actually believed that Prussian whoreson Prester John when he claimed that my good and honorable master was some pissant conspirator in service to the Lionheart's idiot brother, Prince John!

"Alas, when I pressed the issue, I was cast out. The months turned to years, your heathen fleets sailed for home, and I stowed away aboard one of the rickety English death-traps your ancestors passed off as warships. Even my mystic power could not stave off the years forever, though, so I sought out even darker means of survival."


"Survey says... vampirism," Dane guessed, "right, Kas?"

"Don't call me Kas, English dog!"

"American, actually--"

"Bastard son of an English dog, then; it matters not! But you are correct, the thirst of the damned was more than a fair trade for the opportunity to continue revenging my people upon your pox-ridden English forebears, and their children, and their children's children.

"And then came the Impaler. Dracula. An infidel himself who once served your false Christ, destined most certainly for Hell--but by then, weren't we all? Regardless, he afforded me the most plausible prospect yet for making you English devils pay for your sins against Allah's chosen. But you and your so-called 'heroes,'"
Kaseem practically spat the word, "defeated even mighty Dracula, king of all vampires, scattering his subjects like pests shrinking from the light. But like the pests infesting the filthy mutts you give your godless children as companions in lieu of doing any actual parenting, I have gathered the remnants of Dracula's army together to infest your floating dung-heap of a land. Soon all of England will drown in the desiccated corpses of its bastard children!"

"I'm sensing a bit of an anti-English trend here," Faiza said out of the corner of her mouth. Dane chuckled.

"Aye, laugh with your pet traitor, oppressor."

"Oi!"

"Save your objections for the day you burn in the deepest pit of Hell for your hypocrisy, you who have turned your back on Allah by serving this purveyor of sacrilege. Do you think me unfamiliar with the telltale signs of stewardship? I learned much about the infidels as I cut them down by the dozens."

"Look, you: I was born long after you and your stupid holy war were relegated to the history books. Dane's told me all about his time there and I consider his actions just and honorable--even more now if all of Saladin's soldiers were obnoxious ponces like you! You want to talk hypocrisy? Try looking in the mirror!"

"Well, um, technically that wouldn't do much," Dane cut in. "Vampire, remem--"

"Shut it, Whitman! Now is so unbelievably not the time!"

"Right, right."

"And you! If you're so bloody righteous and keen to slaughter the infidels, why've you got their--no, our symbol plastered across your flippin' chest?! Eh, KAS?!" The vampire snarled at her taunt.

"Seriously, what is the deal with the whole punk thing? Did immortality get boring sometime in the '80s for you?"

"What can I say? I'm a fan of Adam Ant and irony. But enough talk. I merely wanted you to know the instrument of your end. Now, you die!"

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Old 06-13-2012, 03:51 PM   #122
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The two crashed through the window and came down on a catwalk, a pair of Black Spectres between them. Cap took the one on the right, slamming him to the ground with his shield while Spider-Man swiftly spun and knocked his target unconscious with a powerful kick.

The two heroes leaped from the catwalk and landed on the factory floor, nearly ten Black Spectre members in partial Shocker gear greeted them.

"Uncle Sam to Agent 13, you got the green light."

The door to the factory burst open, Sharon Carter leading a dozen SHIELD agents came through the door with their weapons drawn. Two of the Shocker units peeled away towards the SHIELD agents while the rest encircled the two superheroes.

"Now would be a good time for that punchline, Spider-Man."
"You know, it was just on the tip of my tongue, too."

I throw out my hand, press my middle and ring fingers against the hidden switch on my palm, and-- nothing happens. I try it with the other hand: nothing. I look down nervously at my wrists. Uh-oh. Didn't realize my webbing was that low.

"Cap, what's your opinion on slapstick?"

"Always did get a laugh out of the Stooges," he replies.

"Then this should be a riot."

The Shockers take aim and open fire. Captain America and I take different defensive strategies. For him, it's all about that shield: blocking, deflection, redirection. For me, it's all about mobility: ducking, weaving, dodging. Remember when I was talking about Spider-Sense earlier? Well, now it's like trying to hear a ringing bell in the middle of a rock concert. With four Shockers trying to pulverize me, I don't have time to think. It's all react, react, react.

Moreover, without webbing I don't have a ranged component to my attack. That means if I want to disable these guys, I'm going to have to get close. Lucky for me, these guys are only partially equipped. They all have gauntlets, which sucks, but without the full knitted-by-grandma vibration absorbent suits, they're much more vulnerable to attack. Of course, that all means diddly if I can't get close enough to attack.

... and did I just say "diddly?" Spending too much time around the Captain.

I get within arms' reach of one of the Shockers. He throws a wild haymaker to try and keep me off-balance. I merely bend backwards, ducking away from the blow. I then throw a punch of my own - right at the exposed area by his ribcage. The "CRACK!" lets me know it landed well. Spider-Sense! Felt it that time. I leap into the air, planting my heels on the Shocker's shoulders and springing into a backflip. Meanwhile, a vibro-blast from another Shocker knocks him off his feet.

Well, no one ever accused these guys of being geniuses.

Moments after I land, the spot I was standing on is obliterated by a vibro-blast. Luckily, I happened to not be standing there anymore when it happened. Instead, I'm bounding towards my next target, feeling the air ripple around me as blast after blast narrowly misses. "This will only hurt a lo--!"



The Shocker throws up his hands at the last moment, and I take the full force of a vibro-blast right to the gut. My limp body - which suddenly feels suspiciously like Jell-O - is thrown across the factory floor. A steel turbine ever-so-gently cushions my fall as all the wind is knocked out of me.

"Okay... that hurt," I wheeze.

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:11 PM   #123
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Moments after I land, the spot I was standing on is obliterated by a vibro-blast. Luckily, I happened to not be standing there anymore when it happened. Instead, I'm bounding towards my next target, feeling the air ripple around me as blast after blast narrowly misses. "This will only hurt a lo--!"



The Shocker throws up his hands at the last moment, and I take the full force of a vibro-blast right to the gut. My limp body - which suddenly feels suspiciously like Jell-O - is thrown across the factory floor. A steel turbine ever-so-gently cushions my fall as all the wind is knocked out of me.

"Okay... that hurt," I wheeze.
Gritting his teeth, Cap tossed his shield through the air. The metallic disc cut through the air, bouncing off the skulls of two Shockers, clipping one Shocker in the throat, and finally striking one of the criminal's in the shins. The shield bounced away further into the factory.

Unprotected, Steve leaped into the air, twirling to avoid the vibro-blasts. He landed right in front of a Shocker and quickly grabbed his wrist, spinning him into the air and ripping the gauntlets from his hands. Cap tossed one of the gauntlets away, sliding the other on to his right wrist. He spun around, opening fire two Shockers that were rushing towards him.

VVVVVVMMMMMM!

The blast knocked the two Shockers off their feet. They flew through the air before they smacked hard against the concrete floor. "Gimme a sit-rep, Spidey," Steve said, clotheslining a Black Spectre with his forearm. "How are you doing?"

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Old 06-14-2012, 07:00 AM   #124
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MODOK's modulated laughter fills the room as the Wrecker's face reddens with anger.

"The hell is so funny?"He demands to know as he jumps to his feet and shakes his wrecking bar at the screen.

"Apologies" MODOK says "That was unprofessional of me."

"Damn right it was." The Wrecker huffs "I came here to do business not be insulted."

"Of course." MODOK says congenially "Please, return to your seat."

"Fine." The Wrecker lets himself drop into the chair and folds his arms across his chest "But you're on thin ice pal."

"Understood." MODOK replies "Please understand that AIM is grateful for your business and pleased to be of assistance in your criminal endeavors."

"But?"

"But what you ask for is not possible. AIM cannot simply create Cosmic Cubes at will. Even if it could I doubt very much that you have the means to reimburse for one. Regardless of the how or why, AIM will not be able to satisfy that particular request."

"Figures." The Wrecker grumbles

"We can however offer you something else. Something we are sure you be able to make great use of." MODOK continues

"Yeah?" The Wrecker leans forward in his chair "What's that?"

"This." MODOK says as a trio of AIM scientists enter the room pushing a metal cart with what appears to be a gold colored belt on it.

"I ask for a Cosmic Cube and you offer me somethin' to hold my pants up with?" The Wrecker asks, annoyed now "This some kinda joke?"

"That is no mere belt Mr. Garthwaite."
MODOK says "And it will do far more than 'hold up your pants' as you put it."

"Oh yeah?" The Wrecker says as he walks over and eyes the belt. Now that's he's closer he can see that it seems to be made of several interconnecting rectangular panels "Like what?"

"The Kineti-grav modulater beltuses a portable iso-metric blackhole generator built into its lattice framework to generate a skin tight field around its wearer which shields him from the effects of kinetic or gravitational forces directed against him. It also allows the wearer to direct those forces through the belt for a variety of effects" One of the AIM scientists says proudly.

"Which means what?"

"Ahem. It means, Mr. Garthwaite, that wearing this belt will increase your strength three fold, double your speed, allow you to fly and generate an impenetrable force field around you."

"Yeah?" The Wrecker eyes the scientist "And what happens when Iron Man finds a way to short circuit it? Or when the Black Panther's fancy daggers cut through your oh so impenetrable force field?"

"I assure you that-"

"Save it pipsqueek." The Wrecker says as he puts a huge palm around the scientist's helmet and pushes him away "I've been doin' this for a long time and I know better than to hand over my hard earned cash for some cheap power boost that ain't really gonna change anything."

The Wrecker turns to MODOK

"I came here for power. Real power. Something that will make the heroes quake in their shiny boots. Do you have something for me or not?"

For a moment MODOK simply stares at the Wrecker.

"AIM does have something for you Mr. Garthwaite. But it will not be cheap and you will have to come to New York for it."

"It better not be another stupid belt." The Wrecker sneers

"It is not." MODOK assures him "What I have in mind is a hammer. Something I am sure, you, of all people, can appreciate."



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Old 06-14-2012, 07:25 AM   #125
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Later

"If I may make a suggestion Sir, why not just go in and talk to her?" Samuels asks from the driver's seat.

The Lexus has parked on the side of the street for about twenty minutes. It is fairly unassuming for a luxury sedan and its tinted windows keep the early morning passers by from seeing inside.

"I just want to see her Samuels, not be a part of her life again." Marc replies from the backseat where he has been peering out the window at the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Center across the street. "I've put her through enough already."

"If you say so Sir." Samuels says with a voice full of weary resignation.

Marc ignores the tone and continues to look through the window, excitedly now, as the object of his desires appears around a corner with a hand bag slung over one shoulder and a steaming cup of coffee in another. She walks briskly, full of confidence. Her blue eyes are sharp and alert and her shoulder length blonde hair is tied back in a tight pony tail.

"Marlene" Marc whispers under his breath as he watches her walk by. He's leaning closer to the window now, his nose practically touching the glass.

He can feel the urge growing inside him and he's sorely tempted to just open the door and rush towards her, but Marc Spector and the Moon Knight have never brought Marlene Alraune happiness. Not happiness that lasted anyway and Marc was determined to do what was right by her even if it meant denying his own desires.

He watches for a few more moments before she disappears into the Center to start her work day before he lets out a sigh and leans back in his seat. Only then does he see Samuels' accusing eyes looking at him from the driver's rear view mirror.

"Go on then" He says "I know you're dying to say what's on your mind."

Samuels turns in his seat so that he's facing Marc

"Its obvious you miss her Sir and while you've only been back a short time its also obvious, at least to me, that you're...." he pauses, looking for the right words "...state of mind is better than it ever has been. I understand that you're looking for redemption from past sins, that you have decided to dedicate yourself to that admirable goal, but surely there is room in your life for love as well as responsibility."

"Well look at you."
Marc says wryly.

"Don't be so surprised Sir." Samuels says "You let me into your life, shared the good and bad with me. Did you really think I wouldn't have opinions of my own? That I'd be content to function as a mute butler?"

"Obviously not." Marc smiles "Looks like I'll have to hire another, more professional, man servant."

Samuels dismisses the joke "Hide it with humor all you want, but you can't deny that you still have strong feelings for Miss Alraune and I have no doubt that she still has feelings for you. You may think you're doing her some kind of service by keeping your distance but from what I can tell you're just punishing her and yourself, and that, if I may be so bold, is not exactly the behavior of a sane man."

This illicits a wide eyed look of shock from Marc "Did you just question my-"

"Indeed I did Sir." Samuels says "And I'll continue to do so for as long as you give me reason to."

There's a pause before Marc's smile returns. He leans forward and put a hand on Samuels forearm

"Thank you Samuels. I really mean that." he says "But I can't hurt her, not again."

Samuels smiles back. It is a knowing, fatherly smile "Have it your way Sir. After all its only a matter of time before she finds out that Moon Knight is back and comes looking for you herself."

"Speaking of - "
Marc says, his attention suddenly focused on the small display panel built into the back of the seat infront of him. "Looks like there's a situation developing uptown."

He turns in his seat and opens a hidden panel in the back of the car revealing a white briefcase which he pulls out and opens. The briefcase contains his Moon Knight armor.

"Take us somewhere more secluded will you."








Moon Knight leaps from roof top to roof top whenever he is able. When the gap between buildings is too large he fires a grappling line. The urgency with which he moves is so obvious than an onlooker could be forgiven for thinking that the white clad hero is running from something.

The reality of course, is that he rushing towards something. The urgency, which is very real, is not the result of fear, rather it is due to the calls coming in on the police scanner built into his cowl. That situation which had been developing uptown had, by the sound of it, quickly grown out of control and if the scanner was to be believed, the police were in trouble and there were no heroes on the scene.

At least not until Moon Knight stops on the edge of a rooftop sixty seconds later to take in the chaos below.

Three punks, he couldn't think of another more appropriate name for them were in the middle of giving the police all they could handle while a stunned crowd of New Yorkers on their way to work stood well back in an ever widening circle. Some of the citizens were screaming, other stared in silence. The majority were holding up portable devices to capture what they were seeing.

The crowd is a concern, and a cause of annoyance, but they seem safe enough for now as long as they stay back and Moon Knight shifts his focus away from them just in time to see one of the punks lift a mail box over his head and hurl it one of the cops.

"Dammit." Moon Knight hisses as he realizes that the cop is not going to get out of the way in time.

The crowd gasps in horror as the mailbox slams into the officer and sends him flying across the street. More gasps and a few cheers follow a split second later when Moon Knight reaches street level via zipline and kicks the punk who threw the box in the chest with both feet.

The punk more or less holds his ground and the redirected force causes Moon Knight to have to flip backwards away from the punk. The hero manages to land on his feet, smoothly as far as the onlookers are concerned, though the truth is that he could have just as easily landed on his rear end rather than his feet. At least all three punks are now focused exclusively on him, which means that no one else is in immediate danger.

"This ends now." He growls in his most intimidating tone as he moves into a fighting stance with fists clenched tight. He wasn't sure what they were capable of, but he had to keep their attention on him.

"I don't think so hero!" One of the punks, not the one who threw the mail box says. He then takes a deep breath and exhales a tight stream of flame at Moon Knight as more screams fill the air.


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