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Old 08-24-2012, 04:26 PM   #26
Byrd Man
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread





Previously



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Over California


The Blackbird tore through the skies at Mach 3. Inside the jet's cockpit, Cyclops was at the helm, his visor resting on the top of his head. Beast in the co-pilot's chair and listening to the radio.

"We should be in San Diego in a few minutes," he announced to the back of the jet.

"Then comes the hard part. The landing."

"We'll do fine. This piece of equipment only cost three quarters of a billion dollars to buy and renovate. And their first move upon spending so much money was to turn the controls over to two young men who have yet to get their driver's licenses."

"Yeah, if you're trying to inspire confidence in me... it's not working."

"When it comes to flying, I like to think of the words a wise man once said: 'It's not the fall that kills you, just the sudden stop.'"

In the jet's cargo area, Charles sat across from Jean while Rex and Jefferson chatted with each other.

~Are you alright?~ Xavier mentally asked his student. ~You've been awfully quiet ever since we left Utopia.~

~I'm nervous, Professor. Not sure what we're up against, or what we're supposed to do.~

~I understand how you would be frightened. We all are, I know this for a fact. I can read everyone's outer thoughts and mood and we're all nervous and unsure. Jitters are to be expected. If you want, I can go into your mind and ease you.~


~No, I'd like to go in clear-headed if possible.~

~As you wish. Just remember your training and what you've been taught. Also, I'll be there with you on the ground. I'll protect you, Jean. I promise.~


"We're here," Scott announced. "Preparing to land."

The jet's thrusters rotated upwards and the plane began to hove over the naval base. While the four mutants in the back stood, Scott and Hank looked at the devastation in front of them with awe.

"Oh, my stars and garters," Hank murmured.

Jeeps were on their sides and split apart, the fuselages of jets were scattered across the ground and covered in ice. In the distance, a destroyer was capsized and floating away from shore. The jet's hydraulic landing gear hissedas it set down on the ground. Scott killed the engine and stood, sliding his visor down on his face.

"We've landed," Cyclops said as he and Beast came into the cargo hold. "Ready to move out on your orders."

"Well, then let's go."

The cargo ramp opened up and Charles and his five students stepped out on to the base. There were low whistles as they surveyed the damage.

"Is it, uhh... Is it too late to give up this whole government soldier thing?"

"I'm getting psychic readings from up the way. Five minds, all of them mutants... but I'm still being blocked... Let's head that way, but be--"

Xavier was cut off as a flash of light popped before them. A man in a dark outfit appeared in front of them and floored Beast with a punch before disappearing in another flash.

"What the hell was that?" Rex asked, shifting his hands into blades.

"A mutant," Charles said. "One of theirs."

"CANNONBALL!" A voice roared above them. They looked up and saw a huge man falling from high above.

Xavier and his students scattered as the large man slammed into the ground. The shockwave he created shook the ground underneath them. As they ran away, a blanket of ice appeared on the ground in front of them and slowed them down.

"Going somewhere?" A blue-skinned woman asked from a vantage point above them.

"Professor," Cyclops said, looking around as the woman and fat man began to walk towards them. "Plan of attack?"

"Wait. I'm sure we can talk to them first."

"That was always your problem," a voice said from behind them. A man dressed in red and wearing a helmet was floating above the ground. At his side was a teenager dressed in blue with silver hair.

"I was wondering when the government's pet mutant would show. I must admit, I am a bit surprised you brought others... but not too surprised, as you can see."

"Wait," Charles said, looking at the man floating in front of him. "Erik?"

"Yes, Charles. It's me. Although, some have taken to calling me Magneto. The name does agree with me, I will admit that. You know me, and you've met Bolt, Blob, and Killer Frost. But this young man at my side is Quicksilver."

"So, this is the start of your glorious mutant army?"

"Not an army, no. A brotherhood. A group of like minded mutants willing to change the world."

"With fear and violence?"

"If need be, yes. But, my friend, it's hard to talk the moral high ground when you're working for the government to fight your own kind, is it not?"

"I've said this before, Erik, and I will say it again: There can be a better way."

"Yes, you told me that... and then you proceeded to cripple me."

Magneto snapped his finger and the four mutants began to close in around Xavier and his students.

"Enough talk. You have your pawns, Charles. I have mine. Let's start."



Naval Base San Diego


Grunting, Hank jumped from the ground on to an overturned jeep. With another grunt, he leaped from the jeep on to a roof of a small office building. In front of him, there was a flash of light and Bolt appeared to face him.

Growling, Beast jumped and prepared to pounce on his foe. The mutant teleported away just at the last second, and Hank fell on his face. Bolt then reappeared above him, landing on Hank's chest feet-first. Hank let out a gasp as all the air rushed out his lungs.

Smiling from behind his mask, Bolt delivered a swift kick to Beast's ribs. He was preparing for another stomp when Hank blindly lashed out, slicing one long claw down Bolt's thigh and cutting him open. Bolt fell backwards, teleporting away from danger as Hank tried to charge him yet again.


*****


A short distance away, Cyclops was backpedaling, blasting away the snow and ice that shot from Killer Frost's hands. The blue-skinned girl smiled as she began to back Scott into a corner between two shipping containers. On the inside of his visor, Scott watched as the device's tactical computer flashed data across his screen. The screen's targeting reticle pointed at a spot to Killer Frost's right. He cocked his head to the right and shot a blast. The red beam bounced off the side of container and nicked Killer Frost in the back of her thighs.

"Ow," she said as her knees buckled and she fell. "You dick!"

Gritting her teeth, the mutant shot out a line of frost on Cyclops' feet and ankles. Scott tried to move, but was stuck by the ice encasing around his feet. He looked down and blasted the ice away, turning his gaze back to Killer Frost and blasting at her just as she let loose with a blast of ice energy. His searing hot optic blast met her below zero ice energy and exploded outwards, knocking both mutants to the ground.


*****


The Blob lurched forward at Jean. She stepped back before focusing on a chuck of debris at her feet. The rock levitated in front of her and shot forward, slamming into Blob's face. The humongous man laughed and wiped the crumbling concrete from his face.

"That the best you got, girly?"

"Actually," she said, ducking as a jeep flew over her head. "I'm just getting started!"

The jeep crashed into Blob's body, exploding in a ball of fire. The flames quickly died down, revealing that the large man barely had a scratch on him. "Like I said," he chuckled. "Is that the best you got?"


*****


Quicksilver raced through the base, just one step ahead of the bolts of lightning that crashed around him. On a nearby rooftop, Black Lightning was taking potshots at the speedster. Jefferson focused and let loose a volley of lightning. Down below, Quicksilver dipped, dived, ducked, and dodged out of harm's way.

Cursing under his breath, Jefferson turned as Beast landed on the rooftop beside him. Bolt teleported in front of them "How are you faring?" Hank asked as he leaped into the air just as Bolt disappeared. Hank jumped off the root after Bolt without waiting on Jefferson's reply.

"About as good as you are," Black Lighting said. He turned back to Quicksilver and didn't see him. "What the--"

A fist moving at incredible speeds came in and slammed into Jefferson's stomach. He crumpled to the ground as Quicksilver stood above him. Holding his stomach in pain with one hand, he put his other hand on the roof of the building and smiled up at the mutant.

"Might wanna slow down and look at things more carefully, man. You did that, you'd notice this building has a metal roof..."

Jefferson ran a current through the metal. Quicksilver's body jerked and spasmed as the electricity ran through him. After a few seconds, Black Lightning let his hand up and Quicksilver fell to the roof, smoke curling from his body.


*****


"You really are a fool," Magneto said as he floated above Xavier and Metamorpho. "This is exactly what the humans want, Charles. Mutant against mutant, squabbling amongst ourselves and never uniting against the real threat. Them.

"You're always the victim. That was true once, but not anymore. But you will keep making yourself out to be the victim, even if you have to create these threats."

"You're right. I was a victim once, but no more."

Around both Xavier and Rex, the ground began to shake. Charles closed his eyes and focused on entering his former friend's mind.

"These threats are very real, but I will not bow down to them. Never again. If you could read my mind, Charles, you could see that."

"What have you done?" Xavier asked, furrowing his brow. "Why can't I read you?"

"Remember that alloy we discovered when we were building Cerebro? The copper-zinc that prevented you from getting psychic backlash?" Smiling, Erik tapped his helmet. "It works both ways. Keeps you out of here."

Underneath Charles and Metamorpho's feet, the ground cracked and water pipes shot out from beneath. The pipes constricted around Charles while Rex shifted his form to steel, forming his hands into swords that sliced the pipes in half before they could wrap around him.

"What now?" He asked Magneto with a smirk.

"Rex, change form," Charles said quickly. "Change now!"

"Steel?" Magneto asked. "How unfortunate."

With a flick of his wrist, Erik shot Metamorpho into the sky Rex screamed as he disappeared from sight, climbing higher and higher into the sky.

"Let's hope he can change into something a bit more durable on the trip back down."

Turning his attention to Charles, Magneto commanded the pipes wrapped around Xavier to tighten. Gritting his teeth in pain, Xavier tried to struggle against the pipes. He could feel his consciousness beginning to go. The pain was too much.

~Xavier to all points,~ he said psychically to his students. ~Regroup and work together. You're all separated and ineffective. Together, you can be more. I'm not going to last long, but Erik -- Magneto-- needs to be stopped. You stop him, the rest will fall. ~
With a groan, Xavier lost consciousness and passed out. Above him Magneto smiled and tossed his old friend to the side.

"Apologies," he said to Charles' unconscious body. "But it has to be this way. This is the only way we can show them. Your dream dies here today."

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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."
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:41 PM   #27
Carnage27
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread



"We're still sure this is a good idea?" I ask Alfred as I adjust the suit I'm wearing again, and make sure the tie knot looks neat and tight. "I mean my name is on the building. There's always the chance-"

"Enough, Bruce," Alfred sighs, as he pulls the car up in front of the building. "No one knows who you are. You go in there and you get a job. Listen...I know you've never had a true job before. You've been spendin' your life training and learning. Something like this would seem trivial. But it's necessary. Now go."

I nod and get out of the car. What can I say? The man always knows exactly what to say at exactly the right time. And maybe he's right. I'm a rich boy that's never worked a day in his life. That is, if you don't count combat training a job.

Alfred pulls away, leaving me in the building's entrance plaza. It's modest compared to what my family's name used to mean and stand for, but WayneTech has been a successful defense engineering firm in the decades since I left. No big contracts, but the things that fall between the cracks, they eat up. Body armor, light munitions, and alternative weapons are their specialty.

All things that are right up my alley for design work.

Stepping through the front doors, I approach the secretary with a suave smile. She returns it, and asks, "May I help you, sir?"

"Yes I, uh, know this is a bit unorthodox, but I was wondering if I could speak to Mr. Fox about a job."

"Well I'm not really sure that's possible, sir. Mr. Fox is incredibly busy and I don't think he has time for random people that walk off the street and ask for a job. Usually CEOs aren't the type."

"Oh I know, but I think he's going to want to speak to me."

"And why is that?" a voice asks from behind me. I turn to find a middle aged black man in a power suit standing behind me with an amused smile on his face. Fox is an imposing man. Not large, or even particularly muscular. But his intelligence radiates off of him. He was one of my father's best engineers before he was promoted.

But as smart as I can tell he is, he's not threatening. This man would be your friend and stick by you. There's a warmth to him he tries to hide.

"Mr. Fox, I presume?" I smile and offer my hand. He takes it, and his grip is firm. A good business man's handshake. But it also betrays an interest in my crazy ramblings about him wanting to talk to me. "You're going to want to talk to me because I'm a scientific genius."

He laughs, clearly amused, but eyes me up trying to get a read on me, "Are you now? Well, I'll notify NASA you'll be coming to them next."

But I keep my eyes locked on his in a serious, but nonthreatening way, "I'm serious, sir. I can help this company."

Fox is a terrific business man that's managed to keep this company in the black the whole time. He's shrewd and willing to take risks. Other, bigger companies have wanted him to move on from Wayne, but his loyalty keeps him here. I appreciate that in the bottom of my heart, though I wish I could tell him that now.

He was a good friend of my father's as well. Thomas Wayne trusted this man completely with business deals, so I figure I can trust him as well. He's kept my family's name alive in this city.

"Can you?" he asks, rubbing his chin. "Well then, you won't have a problem proving it will you? Follow me mister...?"

"Malone," I respond using the fake name that was set up from me long ago. "Michael Malone. My friends have always called me Matches, though."

"Matches?" Fox asks with raised eyebrows as we head deeper into the building. He swipes a key card that gets us into an R&D lab.

"I smoked at a young age. Always had a match hidden on my somewhere."

Another lie perfectly recited through years of practice. I've never smoked in my life.

"Oh, that'll kill ya." he says with a half sarcastic, half concerned tone in his voice.

"Don't worry, I quit."

"Well good. Wouldn't want that brain to go to waste," he slides a drawer open in an R&D lab and slaps a gun-looking object down on the table in the middle of the room. "This is a grapple gun. At least it's supposed to be. So far the only thing it's grabbed a hold of is its budget and then the shelf. You get it working at the end of the week, and you get a job. The labs should have anything you need. You don't get it working at the end of the week, and you're out. Understood?"

I smile and nod, "Understood."

**********

After a few hours of work, I hear the door slide open behind me. I turn to find a preoccupied woman walk in, studying something on an IronPad, one of Tony Stark's tablet computers. Her fiery red hair is pulled tight back on her head, and as she concentrates, her glasses begin to slip down her nose. She goes to adjust them, and finally notices me, "Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were here. Some more funding came in for that money pit?"

"Uh, no," I shake my head. "I'm actually kind of trying out for a job. Got until the end of the week to finish it."

"We're doing tryouts now?" she laughs and extends her hand. "Glad I got in before that. Dunno if I'd be able to handle the pressure. My name's Barbara Gordon. I'm with the computer programming division."

Interesting.

Taking her hand and shaking it firmly, "Nice to meet you. Michael Malone."

"Nice to meet you, Mike," she replies, before heading to grab something from one of the equipment chests. "And I hope you get that working. We need some young blood in here."

She leaves with a smile, which I return, before shaking my head.

I can almost hear Alfred's voice in my head, "Be careful, Bruce. You might actually make a friend if you keep going this way."

Laughing to myself and going back to work, I realize that maybe a friend or two wouldn't hurt.

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Old 08-25-2012, 05:13 PM   #28
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With Great Power...
Part 5

Peter sat by his workbench in his office at his apartment. It was nearly eleven and Peter sat staring blankly at his laptop's screen, which displayed a large grid of the city.

With a little know-how and a whole lot of skills, Peter had hacked into the city's power grid. The machine Warren would be using would command a lot of juice, and Peter would see it immediately show up as a power spike in the city's grid.
But he had been sitting here for an hour already to no avail.

Peter yawned and looked at the clock on his phone, which read 11:02PM. He rubbed his eyes with his thumb and index finger, trying to stay awake through the sheer boredom of his "stakeout."

But, as if by some chance of Fate, his laptop beeped, signifying a power spike has occurred. Peter snapped too his senses immediately, and began tapping away at the keyboard, pin-pointing the location.

"Gotcha, *****."

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

Parker arrives to stand in front of a large, condemned WayneTech factory, an old relic symbolizing the company's glory days.

Cautiously, Peter crept up to the factory, trying to peek through one of the grim covered windows.

Can't see a damn thing.

Peter was frustrated; he didn't like not knowing what was inside. But he had no choice. It was his lab and his formula that got stolen. Inadvertently as it may be, he has contributed to Warren's madness.
If somebody got hurt it would be his fault as well, and that was something Peter could not allow.

So, without other options, Peter crept inside the nearest door. It was pitch black inside, so Peter grabbed his phone from his pocket and turned on his flashlight app.

As the light shined out, Peter saw that he was in an empty hallway, lined with three doors on each side. The doors were labeled store rooms and offices, and Peter passed them by. He continued down the hallway, until it ended in a large double door, labeled "Factory Floor."

Peter took a deep breath and pushed on in. He immediately turned off his flashlight as the center of the large, otherwise empty, room was illuminated and filled with computer and lab equipment. Peter didn't notice anyone, but he still stayed in the shadows and circled the scene just to be safe.

Nothing. Looks like Warren must have stepped out for a bit. Which, hopefully, gives me enough time to shut Dr. Frankenstein down.


Peter walked into the lab and immediately saw it, an exact replica of the device that Peter designed, and a device that they were still trying to complete.



The chamber that would house the first human test subject for splicing.

"Incredible"
, Peter whispered softly to himself as he walked up to the thing.
"Son of a ***** stole my work...and he finished it... what an extraordinarily gifted *******..."

Peter was so captivated by seeing his work's completion sitting before him, he didn't even notice the small creature that gently slide down from the above rafters to land on the base of Peter's neck.



And Peter is so transfixed that he also does not notice the shadow of his attacker as it comes up from behind him and as the attacker shoves him into the machine.

"What the hell!? Get me out of here!"

Peter began to panick, beating on the circular glass window of the pod.

"Warren!? Do you hear me, god dammit!? Let me out of hear you crazy bastard!"


The chamber suddenly started filling with a thick green gas, almost like a cloud. Peter continued to shout and curse and beat on the glass until his hands began to bleed, but he could not escape. Eventually, the gas began to take hold and Peter felt a warmth overtake him.

He stopped screaming and pounding on his cage and the darkness began to close in. And as Peter collapsed to the floor, his eyes shut as his reality faded to black...

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Old 08-25-2012, 05:41 PM   #29
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“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
VI

“Xao Industries, have we heard of it? No, I didn’t think you would have. They’re a Chinese manufacturing company that specializes in transportation; bikes, cars, planes, boats, trains, you name it. There’s not going to be a single bike, car, plane, boat or train in the world that doesn’t have a part made by Xao Industries by the next decade. Mr. Xao has been kind enough to reach out to us and he has some very exc-”

A bicycle tears through the pane of glass behind Buck Mitty, knocking him clean off his feet and sliding him sliding across the room. Half a second afterwards I step through the broken window and walk towards him, struggling to climb out from underneath the bike that pins him to the ground. Most of the executives that had assembled for Buck’s meeting scatter, some picking small pieces of glass out of their skin, whilst others watch on in shock. Maybe I ought to have thought through the collateral damage of the whole bike through the window thing a little more, but I can’t say that I’m thinking a whole lot at the moment.

Buck pushes the bike away from him and fights to his feet, holding a small gash on his head that he sustained from the fall. There’s a look of confusion on his face as he looks up at me, I bear down upon him with my fists raised and a scowl etched into my face.

“Rand? What on Earth has got into you?”

Without so much as I response I land a heavy punch into his gut. He crumples to the ground, clutching at his stomach.

“… Someone call security! Quickly!”

The two remaining executives in the room look at one another and I can see in their eyes that they contemplate trying to restrain me. With one look, I disarm any hopes that they might have had at doing so and both of them make their way out of the room quietly. Security will be here soon. Better make the most of what little time Buck and I have left alone.

“People like you are what’s wrong with the world, Buck.”

Mitty wipes some blood away from his temple before steeling himself and attempting to fight to his feet. He holds the edge of his desk tightly and manages to steady himself somewhat. I could have ended this by now, I could have ended it straight away, but I’m going to make every second of this count. Give Buck a lesson that he’ll never, ever forget. He swings a wild punch at me, which I dodge with ease and then goad him into throwing another one. He sneers and reaches for a folder hanging off the edge of his table, throwing at me and attempting to tackle me. I move out of the way and watch him fall to the ground.

He’s never been in a fight in his life. You can tell by the way he moves. He’s never had to struggle, never had to worry about where his next meal was coming from. This was over before it started.

“You think because you have money, because you have influence, because you have power that means you can do and take whatever takes your fancy…”

Again he climbs to his feet and this time when he swings, I allow his arm to travel through the gap between my arm and body, trapping it between them. In the next few seconds I jab him in his torso what seems to be two dozen times, holding his body aloft so that he can’t fall the floor and, finally landing a heavy punch on his nose. There’s a loud crack. I release his arm and allow him to slump back onto the carpet, blood running freely from his nose.

I crouch beside him, whispering into his ear with as much menace as I can muster.

“What you fail to realise though, is that some people aren’t afraid to push back.”

There’s a click from behind me and Victor Alvarez brandishes his weapon in my direction. There’s a look of reluctance in his eyes. I can tell that he doesn’t want to be doing this, he knows enough about me to know that I wouldn’t have done this without provocation. Can’t begrudge a man for doing his job. And it’s not like I can dodge bullets.

“Step away from Mr. Buck.”

I stand up and smile.

“Sure. I was leaving anyway.”

The sounds of sirens making their way towards the offices of Mitty & Co. grow ever closer as Vic leads me out of the office. My colleagues watch on as I’m marched through the corridor, each avoiding eye contact with me as I pass them.

They’re afraid of me. I don't blame them.


Last edited by Belvedere; 08-25-2012 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:15 PM   #30
Byrd Man
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Previously

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Hell's Kitchen
10:24 PM


His boots crunched on the gravel of the rooftop as he gingerly walked towards the edge of the building. A summer breeze wafted up through the buildings of the Kitchen. Even though the sun had set hours ago, the humidity of the New York summer was thick and chocking in the Dog Days.

Even in the thick air, the sound of a gunshot still carried far. He turned his head and looked in the direction of the shot. No time to do anything but act, he jumped from the building and prepared to leap into action.




Reaching into the small of his back, he pulled out an escrima stick that shot a grapnel line into the air. He pivoted his body and absorbed the shock of the sudden stop, using his momentum to swing him forward through the streets. On the street below, a man was running out of an alley while two armed men gave chase.

He detached the line and spun through the air, landing between the fleeing man and his two attackers. Another escrima stick was in his other hand. "Gentlemen. Nice night for a public flogging, eh?"

The two thugs turned their guns on him and opened fire. He was in the air and spinning as soon as they aimed. The bullets missed and by the time they moved to correct their aim, he was between them and disarming them quickly with his sticks.

"Most guys like to kick back on a hot summer night with a beer, watch the Mets get their heads kick in like usual."

He drove the sticks into the men's ribcages. They both groaned in pain. The thug on the right attempted to swing at him, but he swooped in time to dodge the blow. The fist intended for him hit the thug's cohort in the face. "But see, guys like me and you, we like to enjoy a nice August night by kicking other people's heads in while onlookers gape and rubberneck."

He shoved his sticks upwards and struck both men in the face, spinning them to the ground hard. One of the thugs curled up in a ball while the other began to slowly crawl towards his gun. He was a few inches away when a bootheel slammed on to his fingers.

"Sorry, Charlie."

He bent down over man with the crushed fingers and looked him over. He was thin, wearing a white tanktop smeared with stains and a pair of jeans that he had to have been wearing at least a week. On his arms were scars and track marks.

"You need to get a fix? Get your money elsewhere. Robbing people, especially people here in the Kitchen, is unwise. You got me? This neighborhood is off-limits."

"**** you,"the man groaned. "You ****ing nutball."

"Says the man robbing people for dope money."

He looked up and saw the other thug crawling towards his gun. With a flick of his wrist, the escrima stick went twirling through the air and hit the crawling criminal square in the forehead. The thug rolled on to his back, holding his forehead and moaning.

"I swear, you guys just can't take the hint. So, tell me who you're getting your stuff from."

"I said **** you!"

"Just tell me," he said with a smile. "Tell me and I'll leave you alone. Promise. You hurry up, you may get away for the cops come."

"Stinkman," the thug groaned. "He stays over on 54th street. Runs a stash house there. That's who I buy from."

"Good."

Standing, he looked down at the two injured criminals. Off in the distance, he could hear a cop car getting closer and closer. "I want you boys to spread the word for me. The Devil is back in the Kitchen. It's off-limits to you and anyone else who thinks he can get away with this kind of stuff."

He walked over to his stick and picked it up. Looking at the junkie he had pumped for intel, he smirked and nodded. "You guys have a pleasant night now."

He shot a line into the air and zipped away as a police car was turning the corner on to the street. He landed on a roof and perched on it as he watched the two cops collect the criminals. Suddenly, his right gauntlet vibrated. Opening up a compartment in his gauntlet, he pulled out a cellphone and cleared his throat as he answered it.

"This is Dick."

"Dick, this is Marcus. The captain's calling us in."

"Why? Our shift doesn't start until three."

"He's calling in all patrolmen and detectives from the precinct in."

"Damn. A red ball?"

"Yep. There's been another murder."

"Alright," Dick said, looking down at the two junkies been arrested. "I'm on my way."



Lower East Side
11:02 PM


Patrol cars and an ambulance were parked outside the eight story walk-up by the time Dick and his partner arrived. The older black man driving the car was Officer Marcus Stone. Both he and Dick were dressed in their patrol uniforms.

"How many does this make now?" Stone asked as he parked the car.

"The fifth since June 21st. Are we sure this is the same guy?"

"Rollins was the first on the scene," Stone said as he killed the engine. "He said it all matched the previous victims. a Red headed, white female, all cut and sewn up in the same way."

Dick and Stone climbed out the car and walked to the stoop of the apartment building. A uniformed officer was outside, standing guard.

"Stone, Grayson," he said with a nod.

"Hey, Phil," Stone replied. "Where we needed?"

"The Lieutenant's inside monitoring the lab techs. He's got most the uniforms and detectives canvassing the neighbors and the rest of the block. A detective from downtown Homicide is on the way. Lieutenant told me he wanted you to come inside and take a look at things, given your past and all that."

"Yeah," Stone said with a sigh. "That past and all that. I'll head inside and see what I see."

Stone nodded and Dick and climbed the steps, disappearing into the building.

"Where do you need me?" Dick asked the officer.

He smiled and pointed over to the closest parked patrol car. A roll of crime scene tape was laying on the trunk. "Set up a perimeter around the building and help direct any traffic that comes down the street. Anybody wants to come in, they need to be a detective, a coroner, or higher than sergeant."

"Alright," Dick said, picking the tape up off the car's trunk. He went about his business, setting up a radius with the tape. While Stone was inside, he continued to direct traffic, letting in a short, chubby woman who was from the coroner's office.

"'Scuse me," a blonde hair woman with glasses said as she approached the tape. "Mind letting me in?"

"Mind showing me some ID?"

"Sure thing," she said, pulling out a crisp $50 bill. "That's the bad thing about being named Ulysses S. Grant. Picture IDs are a bit pricey."

"You're really going to do this?" Dick asked with an arched eyebrow. "Bribe a police officer?"

"One man's bribe is another man's 'extra incentive tax.' New York's Finest work too hard for too little. Just want to help out."

Dick stared at the woman impassively. After a few seconds, she shrugged and tucked the money back into her pocket. She then reached into another pocket and pulled out a business card.

"Well, Officer...," she looked down at Dick's nametag and then back up at them. "Uhh, Grayson, you feel like getting chatty about this murder, or any other sort of police business, you call me. I'm always willing to lend an ear."

She handed Dick the business card and turned to leave. Dick looked down at the card and then back up as the woman walked off. She stopped and looked over her shoulder, smiling and winking at Dick before she continued walking.

"Norah Winters," Dick said under his breath, tucking the card into his pocket.

Dick looked up as an old muscle car roared down the road before coming to a stop just outside the barricade. Out stepped a burly man with a thick mustache and wearing a suit and tie.

He walked towards Dick, pulling out a badge as he approached. "Tork, CID Homicide."

He walked under the tape and kept walking towards the house. The uniform outside the apartment conceded and let Tork pass. Dick continued to stand guard for a few more hours until finally, the coroner and a few officers, Stone among them, came out pushing a gurney that had a tarp over it.

"Okay," the corner said to the collection of office around her. "I need a cop to come with me to the morgue to preserve the chain of custody. Who's up?"

"Rookie," Stone said, nodding towards Dick. "It's on you."

"Alright," Dick said, following the coroner to her car. She went to the front while Dick loaded the body up in the back. He watched to make sure nobody was looking before he slowly pulled back the tarp to look at the face below.

He had seen the crime scene photos of the other victims, but it was nothing like seeing it up close and personal. The young woman's face was frozen in a look of pain and terror, her eyes still wide open. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises covered her face. But the most disturbing thing was where her mouth was. For all the talk about the woman fitting the victim profile, this is where the fact was confirmed she had become another victim to New York's latest predator.



She was the fifth woman to fall victim to the Murmur Killer.

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Old 08-26-2012, 04:00 AM   #31
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"Good morning, Central City University! It's time for your Wake-Up Call with me, Iris West, as I play all the best hits to get you up and going in the morning! If you've got AC, today's the day to blast it. It's gonna be a scorcher: ninety-five and humid into the late afternoon. Here's "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry to get you moving as you get ready for another fine day of classes at our great institution."

Barry Allen rolled out of bed laboriously. Mornings had never been his strong suit. Still, the sweet voice of Iris West was enough to make Barry's heart and mind stir. Barry had been unabashedly infatuated with the Communications-major-turned-disc-jockey ever since they shared a Sociology seminar their freshman year. In truth, he hated modern pop music, but it was more than worth it to wake up to Iris every morning. He only wished he could concoct some clever way to garner Ms. West's attention. Until such divine intervention struck, he was content to admire from a distance.

It was Barry's birthday, though he saw no reason to broadcast that information. The people closest to him knew, and that was enough. If only there were some kind of exemption from class for birthdays, Barry would be set. Sadly, however, no such practice existed. Instead, Barry would endure the day's classes, make a brief appearance at Professor Thawne's lab, and then head home for a subdued family dinner. When the weekend came, he would hit the bars with friends and enjoy all the free drinks that his twenty-and-two years had earned him. It was a simple plan, but Barry was a simple guy.

Showering and getting ready took longer than Barry had anticipated, so he once again found himself in a familiar position: running late. Of all of Barry's virtues and strengths, punctuality was not one of them. As his father often liked to say, Barry would be late to his own funeral. He didn't mean to keep people waiting, of course. It just seemed to happen as a result of being too lazy, too deliberate, and too fussy about getting anything done. His hair had to be just right. He had to wear the right outfit. In the lab, he had to triple-check every equation. Barry made a habit of letting time slip through his fingers.

When, at last, Barry did arrive at Infantino Hall, in the heart of CCU's campus, his longtime friend and fellow science geek, Debra Whitman, was waiting impatiently.



"I was beginning to wonder if you'd show up at all," Deb sighed.

Barry gave a smile, hoping that would alleviate the tension. "I don't even get a pass on my birthday?" To his relief, this made Deb smile. He really did feel bad when he let her down. Deb was a bit neurotic at times, and Barry knew his unpredictability and unreliability didn't help. Still, Deb was a trooper, and she always managed to look past Barry's flaws. He knew he was lucky to have a friend like her.

"Come on, birthday boy," Deb said with a shake of her head. "Professor Kanigher waits for no man."

Following class, Barry said his goodbyes to Deb and wandered over to the Kubert Hall of Science. It was a relatively new building on campus, financed by a group of rich alumni whom Barry had never heard of. Apparently, this "Kubert" donated the bulk of the funds and earned his name on the building. Either way, Barry was thankful for them all. The Hall of Science made CCU one of the top research institutions in the continental United States.

Barry took the elevator down to the basement and followed the winding corridor to the laboratory of one Edward Thawne. Barry's mentor and advisor, Thawne was one of the premier names in particle physics. Here at CCU, he had been given access to a top-of-the-line particle accelerator with which to perform his experiments. As one of Thawne's student assistants, Barry had been permitted to run the machine as well. It was exhilarating, to say the least.



"Afternoon, Professor," Barry announced as he entered.

Professor Thawne, an aging yet lively man, was standing at a nearby computer terminal, punching in numbers. His once strawberry blonde hair was giving way to gray, yet he was in incredible shape despite being over-the-hill. Many attributed this to Thawne's tendency to pace energetically during every one of his lectures. Barry had once been a student in those lectures, and he was drawn in by Thawne's passion. In many ways, Thawne was responsible for where Barry was today.

Finally taking his attention off his work, Thawne looked over his shoulder and smiled at Barry. "Good morning, Mr. Allen. I was of the understanding that you weren't coming in today?"

Barry shrugged. "Got some time to kill," he explained. "Wanted to see if there was anything I could do the help."

Thawne grinned. "As always, your enthusiasm is noted," he replied, "but I must insist that my students enjoy their birthdays while they can. I think you'll find this date to be a dreadful one when you're my age." With a laugh, Thawne entered the final numbers into the computer and turned to Barry. "As I understand it, you'll be making the trek home to have dinner with the family?"

Barry nodded.

Thawne pulled back his lab coat and checked his watch. "It'll be rush hour soon. Getting out of the city will be a real hassle. Were I you, I'd leave now to beat the rush," Thawne advised. He gave a smile. "Wouldn't want to be late, would you?"

"Of course not," Barry conceded with a knowing laugh. His reputation was known among friends and colleagues alike. As Thawne turned back around to continue working, Barry called out, "See you tomorrow, Professor!"

"I expect I shall, Mr. Allen. Happy birthday."

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Old 08-26-2012, 06:39 PM   #32
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Previously





Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
Naval Base San Diego


Grunting, Hank jumped from the ground on to an overturned jeep. With another grunt, he leaped from the jeep on to a roof of a small office building. In front of him, there was a flash of light and Bolt appeared to face him.

Growling, Beast jumped and prepared to pounce on his foe. The mutant teleported away just at the last second, and Hank fell on his face. Bolt then reappeared above him, landing on Hank's chest feet-first. Hank let out a gasp as all the air rushed out his lungs.

Smiling from behind his mask, Bolt delivered a swift kick to Beast's ribs. He was preparing for another stomp when Hank blindly lashed out, slicing one long claw down Bolt's thigh and cutting him open. Bolt fell backwards, teleporting away from danger as Hank tried to charge him yet again.


*****


A short distance away, Cyclops was backpedaling, blasting away the snow and ice that shot from Killer Frost's hands. The blue-skinned girl smiled as she began to back Scott into a corner between two shipping containers. On the inside of his visor, Scott watched as the device's tactical computer flashed data across his screen. The screen's targeting reticle pointed at a spot to Killer Frost's right. He cocked his head to the right and shot a blast. The red beam bounced off the side of container and nicked Killer Frost in the back of her thighs.

"Ow," she said as her knees buckled and she fell. "You dick!"

Gritting her teeth, the mutant shot out a line of frost on Cyclops' feet and ankles. Scott tried to move, but was stuck by the ice encasing around his feet. He looked down and blasted the ice away, turning his gaze back to Killer Frost and blasting at her just as she let loose with a blast of ice energy. His searing hot optic blast met her below zero ice energy and exploded outwards, knocking both mutants to the ground.


*****


The Blob lurched forward at Jean. She stepped back before focusing on a chuck of debris at her feet. The rock levitated in front of her and shot forward, slamming into Blob's face. The humongous man laughed and wiped the crumbling concrete from his face.

"That the best you got, girly?"

"Actually," she said, ducking as a jeep flew over her head. "I'm just getting started!"

The jeep crashed into Blob's body, exploding in a ball of fire. The flames quickly died down, revealing that the large man barely had a scratch on him. "Like I said," he chuckled. "Is that the best you got?"


*****


Quicksilver raced through the base, just one step ahead of the bolts of lightning that crashed around him. On a nearby rooftop, Black Lightning was taking potshots at the speedster. Jefferson focused and let loose a volley of lightning. Down below, Quicksilver dipped, dived, ducked, and dodged out of harm's way.

Cursing under his breath, Jefferson turned as Beast landed on the rooftop beside him. Bolt teleported in front of them "How are you faring?" Hank asked as he leaped into the air just as Bolt disappeared. Hank jumped off the root after Bolt without waiting on Jefferson's reply.

"About as good as you are," Black Lighting said. He turned back to Quicksilver and didn't see him. "What the--"

A fist moving at incredible speeds came in and slammed into Jefferson's stomach. He crumpled to the ground as Quicksilver stood above him. Holding his stomach in pain with one hand, he put his other hand on the roof of the building and smiled up at the mutant.

"Might wanna slow down and look at things more carefully, man. You did that, you'd notice this building has a metal roof..."

Jefferson ran a current through the metal. Quicksilver's body jerked and spasmed as the electricity ran through him. After a few seconds, Black Lightning let his hand up and Quicksilver fell to the roof, smoke curling from his body.


*****


"You really are a fool," Magneto said as he floated above Xavier and Metamorpho. "This is exactly what the humans want, Charles. Mutant against mutant, squabbling amongst ourselves and never uniting against the real threat. Them.

"You're always the victim. That was true once, but not anymore. But you will keep making yourself out to be the victim, even if you have to create these threats."

"You're right. I was a victim once, but no more."

Around both Xavier and Rex, the ground began to shake. Charles closed his eyes and focused on entering his former friend's mind.

"These threats are very real, but I will not bow down to them. Never again. If you could read my mind, Charles, you could see that."

"What have you done?" Xavier asked, furrowing his brow. "Why can't I read you?"

"Remember that alloy we discovered when we were building Cerebro? The copper-zinc that prevented you from getting psychic backlash?" Smiling, Erik tapped his helmet. "It works both ways. Keeps you out of here."

Underneath Charles and Metamorpho's feet, the ground cracked and water pipes shot out from beneath. The pipes constricted around Charles while Rex shifted his form to steel, forming his hands into swords that sliced the pipes in half before they could wrap around him.

"What now?" He asked Magneto with a smirk.

"Rex, change form," Charles said quickly. "Change now!"

"Steel?" Magneto asked. "How unfortunate."

With a flick of his wrist, Erik shot Metamorpho into the sky Rex screamed as he disappeared from sight, climbing higher and higher into the sky.

"Let's hope he can change into something a bit more durable on the trip back down."

Turning his attention to Charles, Magneto commanded the pipes wrapped around Xavier to tighten. Gritting his teeth in pain, Xavier tried to struggle against the pipes. He could feel his consciousness beginning to go. The pain was too much.

~Xavier to all points,~ he said psychically to his students. ~Regroup and work together. You're all separated and ineffective. Together, you can be more. I'm not going to last long, but Erik -- Magneto-- needs to be stopped. You stop him, the rest will fall. ~
With a groan, Xavier lost consciousness and passed out. Above him Magneto smiled and tossed his old friend to the side.

"Apologies," he said to Charles' unconscious body. "But it has to be this way. This is the only way we can show them. Your dream dies here today."



Magneto hovered over the battlefield, his atrophied legs dangling beneath him. Below were a five Navy jet fighters. With a flick of his wrist, he sent the jets tumbling across the ground and crashing into each other. Smiling, he floated back towards the ground as Quicksilver came to a skidding stop.

"Where are Xavier's children?"

"Headed to your location now, sir. Blob and Killer Frost are funneling them towards us. Without their leader, they seem to be helpless."

"Good,"
he said, patting the young man's shoulder. "Go help them out, Pietro."

Quicksilver nodded and sped away.


*****


"What's the plan, guys?" Black Lightning asked, back peddling away with the rest of the team. He shot out a bolt of lightning at the Blob. The huge mutant absorbed the electricity and just laughed as he kept walking towards them.

"Hank?" Jean asked. "You're the smart guy, the oldest. You're the Professor's second in command. What's the plan."

Beside her the large, furry mutant looked at her and then back at where Blob and Killer Frost continued to encroached.

"Perhaps we can...," he mumbled. "We can... We can..."

In a flash of light, Bolt appeared in the middle of the team and swung wildly, knocking Beast to the ground and disappearing again.

"I don't know," he said. "So many choices, so many options. I don't know what to do."

Killer Frost prepared a blast of ice, but an optic blast to her chest knocked her down. Turning his head to the right, Cyclops bounced a beam off the ground that hit Blob in the eyes. The heavyset mutant yelled in pain and held his eyes.

"That should buy us enough time to get out their trap," he said. "Regardless of what they're trying to do, we need to keep moving."

"Towards Magneto?" Metamorpho asked with a skeptical look. "He'll tear us apart."

"Individually? Yes. But if we do like the Professor said--"

Cyclops turned as Quicksilver ran towards them. "Jean, can you get a lock on him?"

"I'm trying," she said, trying to aim for the silver-haired mutant as he zig-zagged towards them."He's too fast."

"I know how to slow him down. Wait until he's in the air and grab him."

Scott let out an optic blast right at Quciksilver's feet. He jumped into the air to avoid the beam. Instead of falling back down, he levitated about the ground, his moving legs a blur as he stayed in place.

"Jeff, let's light him up."
Both Cyclops and Black Lightning let out blasts. The optic blast hit the young mutant's chest at the same time the lightning bolt struck him. Jean disengaged her telekinesis and Quicksilver fell to the ground, unconscious.

"One down,"
Rex said.

Just then, Bolt appeared in front of them as both Killer Frost and Blob rejoined the battle.

"Three more to go," Scott said, his visor glowing red. "Let's do it."

__________________
"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 08-26-2012, 09:34 PM   #33
Carnage27
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Old Man Logan
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Ghost trots a bit slower on the way back from the meadows with the two sheep and me on his back. I could have killed a few more for the village, but a storm looks like it's rolling in, and getting stuck in one here would mean Ghost would be as good as dead.

The long grass brushes against the bottom of my feet in the saddle, and the wildflower pollen gets to my sinuses a bit, resulting in a mighty sneeze. It's the one thing I haven't been able to adjust to here. Or maybe it's just that I'm getting old.

Who knows.

I dig my heels into his side as the wind begins to whip through the valley, signaling the storm isn't far from where we are now. The mountain is only a few minutes from here, and I'll need all the time I possibly can to traverse the path up to the village.

Reaching the beginning of said path, I have to give Ghost a little extra push to start up the ascent, as always. It's a narrow path, and one slip from me or the trusty horse would mean death for him, and a week of bruises and blood for me.

A few pebbles fall from the path and echo as they careen down the mountain side, and a soft rain begins to fall on us, "Alright boy. Let's take it a little bit faster, huh?"

He breaks into a brisk trot, and we manage to make it to the top of the mountain before the rain becomes heavy. I drop the wild sheep off at the village's butcher, before heading home to batten down the hatches.

Once Ghost is in his barn, I head inside to tie my shutters and make a meal before the worst hits. I go over to the pantry, and as I begin to make my meal, I acknowledge the person standing in the shadows of my room, "What do you want, Wraith?"

A skinny black man in a beat up cowboy hat and leather jacket steps out with his hands on his hips. A scraggly beard hangs on his face "I see the nose hasn't gotten weaker over the years."

"I asked what you wanted, Wraith," I respond without looking back at him.

"Always the gracious host," he grumbles before taking a seat on the rickety chair in the corner. "I'm here to bring you back to the real world Logan. The mutant world needs you."

"Last time I heard that I ended up being a mercenary slave along with you and the others. Why should I listen to that now?" I sigh. Weapon X gave me the same exact excuse. That my kind needed me. That I would be doing my people a great service. Instead I probably put mutant rights back decades by myself.

"Because you'd be fighting Weapon X," he says, and I can feel his eyes intensely focused on me.

I spin and lock his gaze, "What? Weapon X is dead. We made sure of that. We tore them apart and never looked back. How can they be back?"

"Dunno. But I think it's them. Word round the streets is that mutant kids are being picked up. No trace of them after that. What else can it be?"

"Could be a whole slew of things," I respond. "Kids get taken all the time."

"Not mutant kids, Logan," Wraith says, approaching me. "Not without evidence. Who ever they are they're good. You're the only one that can track these kids. Find them. You can make up for the past."

The rain begins to pound on the roof and the shingles, small droplets making it through.

"That's what I'm doing here."

"What? Protecting some ancient power from a bunch of thugs? Yea, I know what you've been doing here. And I know about your little adventure in Wakanda. And in Kahndaq. You've been busy."

A distant roll of thunder can be heard outside.

"That power is more important than you think. The pits could-"

"Yea, I know what they do."

"And those thugs are the greatest assassins in the world. And their leader could bring countries to their knees. I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen."

A flash of lightning and a loud boom echo through the valley. That was close. May have even hit inside the village.

"While your people waste away and are used by the evils of this world. You messed up once and now you feel like you have to hide. You're a coward, Logan. You won't face your past. Instead you hide away in the mountains, pretending you're doing the good work. Instead it's just an excuse to run from where you're really needed. We all need you, Logan. More than you can ever know."

The storm rages outside, and I'm left speechless. Wraith is right. All these years of running have been just that. A way to escape. There is no higher purpose in what I'm doing here. It's just a way to run from my demons. A cowards way of trying to repair my fractured soul.

"When can we leave?" I finally ask between thunder claps. "If I'm doing this, I don't want to wait."

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Old 08-27-2012, 01:57 AM   #34
Andy C.
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"Tomorrow. It's something that everyone thinks about, isn't it? Everyone has dreams and fears for tomorrow, everyone looks forward to the dawning of a new day with anticipation or anxiety."

A young girl sits in a wheelchair, gazing out the window at a dark horizon. The reflection in the glass pictures the wide-eyed look on her face as the first rays of dawn break through the darkness.

"Yet to many, tomorrow is something that is simply too big for them to affect. The future is inevitable, and in the minds of so many people, there is little they can do to affect what future awaits them."

The young girl smiles, and leans toward the window......and cautiously steps out onto her feet as she pushes the window open.

"I am not one of those people. And neither, I hope, are you."

As the golden rays of the sun pour into the room, the girl not only leaves the wheelchair behind, but begins to climb out the window, reaching out into the sky.

"I know that everything we do today, every decision we make, every word we speak, every action we take, affects the shape of tomorrow. And so in order to create the best possible future, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our fellow man to make the very most out of the present."

The girl leaps out into the dawn, and takes flight, soaring up into the shining dawn.

"Mankind has dreamed of better days, of brighter futures, since the day we first became capable of conscious thought. Now, however, the time for wishing and dreaming has passed. Now, it's time we make those shining dreams a reality."

Flying through the sky, the little girl reaches up towards the sun, and plucks it out of the sky. Holding a globe of golden light in the palm of her hand, she holds it out, like an offering.

"My name is Lex Luthor. And I believe it's time to make Tomorrow happen today."

The golden ball of light flashes, expanding through the entire field of view, growing brighter until everything goes white.

On the massive holographic display screen hovering above Glenmorgan Square in downtown Metropolis, the white screen then displays a large letter L, followed by a single word:



LEXCORP



"Making Tomorrow Happen Today," scoffs a voice behind me. "Just as long as everyone knows whose tomorrow it is, right, Smallville?"

I glance away from the holo-screen to see her, a slim brunette with her hair pulled back into a loose ponytail. She's got a sarcastic smirk on her face, her nose scrunched in disgust the same way she does every time she sees or hears mention of Lexcorp--which, in Metropolis, is pretty much all the time.

"Good morning to you too, Lois," I say with a grin as I step forward in line to get my morning coffee.

"Fun fact," she says, gesturing up to the holo-screen. "Did you know that from any point here on the Square, that big Lexcorp holo-screen obscures your view of City Hall? Like we don't already have enough reminders of who's really in charge in this town."

"Hm," is all I say, but she's right. You can barely turn your head in Metropolis without seeing Lex Luthor's signature on something. The holographic billboards, of course, the high-speed mag-lev trains that replaced the old subway system, the old yellow taxis replaced with automated L-Cab cars with thousand-year batteries, the teeming masses equipped with next-gen smartphones coupled with augmented-reality HUDs.

Just a few years ago, Metropolis was just another East Coast city being pulled down by the recession, rife with corrupt politicians and organized crime. Now, it's the technology, media, entertainment, and fashion capital of the world.

All thanks to Lex Luthor and the marvels that come out of the Lexcorp Tower....

....and the dozens of unmarked and undisclosed laboratory complexes in the Third World, where the desperate and the dying become unwilling test subjects, pumped full of drugs or grafted with experimental cybernetic augmentations.....and that's barely getting started.

I've been hitting those labs ever since I first found one while covering the civil war in Pokolistan, when I heard about Poko-Nat soldiers hauling off rebel fighters to some kind of prison camp that no one had heard of before. When I found the camp, it wasn't just rebel fighters there, but civilians. Elderly people. Children.

The Pokolostani Nationalist leadership eventually was brought before a UN tribunal on war crimes thanks to the story I took to the AP, but I was never able to find enough evidence to conclusively tie Lexcorp to the camp. Or to the seven other facilities like it that I've found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Pacific.

As far as I know, Luthor doesn't know who or what I am, but his security has been getting tighter each time. Last time, I spent so long avoiding an array of some kind of electromagnetic cannons that I nearly showed up on surveillance footage. Even if he doesn't know what I am, we both know that the conflict is only going to get worse.

And to think, we used to be in the Astronomy Club together.

"So anyway," I say to Lois, "I hear the Planet's got you covering the Excelsior launch today."

"And I hear that Jimmy Olsen is a blabbermouth who gossips worse than an old lady at a sewing circle," Lois says, shooting a dirty look at the skinny red-haired photographer in front of me in line. "Just because you two are geek buddies doesn't mean you don't work for rival papers. Show a little loyalty, Jimmy."

Jimmy visibly shrinks at that remark, and quickly pays for his latte before stepping out of line.

"Look, I'm sorry, Miss Lane," he stammers, "but Clark and I--"

"It's Lois."

"Huh?"

"It's just Lois, Jimmy," she corrects him. "Don't call me 'Miss Lane;' I'm not your boss."

"Right. Um. Sorry, Mi--....Lois," Jimmy says, nervously sipping his drink, the caffeine doing nothing for his jitters. "Anyway, I was just saying, Clark and I were talking the other night, saying that maybe during the launch, we might be able to finally get some pictures of, y'know.....our guy."

Lois's expression changes from annoyance to astonishment.

"You told him about that?!" Lois turns back to me, her usual cool composure dropping. "Look, Smallville, whatever Jimmy told you--and I know it sounds crazy-- but I've been looking into this story for years, and--"

"I, erm, I don't think it's crazy," I say. "I mean, there were the Invaders back during the War, and we've all heard stories about mutants, and--"

"Yeah, but nothing like this guy!" Jimmy interrupts me. "The 'angel in blue jeans' that saved those people from a tornado in Kansas seven years ago? The volcanic eruption in Relaysia three years ago, changing course because a trench suddenly appeared for the lava to flow into the ocean? The Olmec Dawn encampment disarmed by a 'living wind' the night before they were going to attack a Roxxon Oil pipeline? And according to the eyewitness reports, it's all the same guy!"

"Thank you, Jimmy, yes," Lois says. "Okay, yes, I've been researching this story for a while now. I haven't been able to take the story to Perry since I don't have evidence, but I've gone through hundreds of reports from each incident, and they all lead to pretty much the same thing: a mysterious 'flying strong-man' who shows up, stops disasters, and then flies away before anyone can get a good look at him."

"And Jimmy thinks that the Excelsior launch might be an opportunity to see him," I say.

"Well, yeah," says Jimmy. "I mean, like I said the other day, there's like a thousand different ways that thing could go wrong."

Jimmy's not wrong there. The Excelsior is an experimental new spacecraft, designed to usher in a new era of manned space travel. Operating with a radical antimatter drive, it would propel the ship at roughly two-thirds the speed of light, taking the ship out past Pluto and back in less than a day. If it works, it could open up the world of space exploration in ways we can't even imagine.

The drive was one of two concepts competing for the same contract with NASA. One was created by Lexcorp, but Luthor's spacecraft won't be ready for at least another month. This one is designed by possibly the only man in the world who can match Luthor's genius: Doctor Reed Richards.

Considering the success of the Excelsior could put Richards in the history books and be a major embarrassment for Lexcorp, well, Jimmy's right.....

.....there are a lot of ways the launch could go wrong.

"Well, good luck with that, both of you," I say as I finally get my coffee. "I've got to finish my story on the Bakerline disappearances. Mister Taylor wants it done by noon, so I've gotta get moving."

"Have fun with that, Smallville," Lois says before giving Jimmy an earful about gossiping with rival reporters.

As I walk down the sidewalk to the nearest L-Line station, I look up to the sky.

Years ago, I learned that I can see things no one else can see. When I was young, my folks thought I just had an active imagination, or worse, that I was hallucinating. I'd see colors that there aren't names for, waves and beams that wash across the sky and crisscross through the air. It was a long time before I learned what I was really seeing:

Radio waves. Television, satellite, and cell phone signals. Wireless internet, when that really took off. I could actually see the beams and waves being transmitted through the air.

And right now, I'm seeing all kinds of signals coming out of the top of the Lexcorp Tower.

In just a few short hours, the eyes of the world are going to be on Doctor Reed Richards and the Excelsior. And I'll bet good money that Lex Luthor is going to have something to say about that.

As I climb the stairway up to the train line, I see another sign, like the thousands of others all over the city.

LEXCORP: MAKING TOMORROW HAPPEN TODAY

"We'll see about that," I say as I adjust my glasses, before allowing some big construction worker to push me aside as he boards the train. "We'll see."


Last edited by Andy C.; 08-27-2012 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:00 AM   #35
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Wind River Range
Western Wyoming
1415 Hours


"Scout, here," Rogers commanded. The chocolate Labrador, previously concerned only with snarling at Fury's men outside, heeded his master's command and plodded across the hardwood cabin floor. Rogers led the dog into the kitchen while Fury remained in the doorway.

In the ensuing silence, Fury took the time to inspect his surroundings. Rogers had been living modestly for the past few years, but he wasn't without comforts. A decent-sized television, an open fireplace, some worn armchairs. Rogers was a man of simple taste, and his living quarters spoke to that. Fury wandered over to a nearby desk, where a dormant laptop lay half-covered in newspapers and books.

"I'd ask you not to touch anything," Rogers announced.

Fury spun. "Of course not, Steve. I said I was here to talk, didn't I?" he countered.

"So talk," Rogers replied. "I'm giving you your five minutes."

Fury gave a curt nod. Rogers had always been a business-first kind of man, even before his falling out with the United States government. Fury respected that about him. It made him easy to work with. "His name's Abdul al-Rahman," Fury explained, "and he's a former Colonel of the Iranian Army. Al-Rahman had a bit of an extremist slant to him, however. He believed that Iran should open hostilities with the United States, and he strongly pushed for nuclear arms to achieve that end."

Rogers' face was unreadable, but Fury knew he was listening. There had been so few successful Super-Soldiers. To hear of one with a serious grudge against America surely peaked Rogers' interest. Or, at least, that's what Fury hoped. So much had changed since he last saw his old friend that Fury wasn't even sure what to expect.

"Naturally, al-Rahman's views got him in trouble, and he was discharged," Fury continued. "That's how he found himself in bed with a splinter group called 'al-Mherreyn.'"

"The Liberators," Rogers translated.

With a nod, Fury said, "They're radicals who believe that al-Qaeda is too small-scale. The followers of al-Mherreyn believe that instead of Jihad against US civilians, the Arab world should pursue all-out war against Western civilization."

"And you believe they turned al-Rahman into a Super-Soldier?"

"We know they have," Fury assured him, "even if we're not sure how."

Rogers folded his arms and stood straight. "So why bring this to me?" he asked. "You have all the resources of SHIELD behind you. Surely, you can handle one extremist group. You've done it before."

"Fighting fire with fire," Fury answered bluntly. "If al-Mherreyn plans to throw a Super-Soldier at us, I want to have one in our corner."

"Why not Isaiah?"

Fury shook his head. "When Bradley received the Super-Soldier serum, he got an imperfect batch. While his body has remained in top form, his mental faculties have frayed. He's a ninety year-old Alzheimer's patient in the body of a twenty-two year-old."

Rogers frowned. Fury knew that he and Bradley were once close through Korea and 'Nam. The news was surely unwelcome. "And what about your new boy? U.S.Agent, was it?" Rogers countered.

"Agent Walker went missing-in-action three months ago on a mission in Scandinavia," Fury answered truthfully and bluntly. "Look, Steve, do I have men who I could put on this? Yes. But I want the genuine article. There's never been a soldier like you, Super or not."

"Flattery isn't the right tactic with me, Nick," Rogers replied. "I hung up the stars and stripes for a reason. I refuse to be part of a system which lies to the American people while sending them overseas to die."

"You feel betrayed, and I get that, but you need to listen to me," Fury insisted. He was growing tired of the games. Whatever Rogers' problems with the United States, Fury knew that he could never turn his back on the American people. This self-imposed exile had gone on long enough. "If you sit on the sidelines for this one, innocent people will die. And the man I knew would never let that happen, all political misgivings aside."

Rogers scowled. Fury knew he had struck a chord.

"I'm not asking you for an endorsement of the last twenty years of policy and administrations. I'm asking you to help save lives."

Rogers hung his head. He was defeated, and he knew it. When he looked up, his eyes were set with determination. "Tell me what I can do."

Minutes later, Rogers was sitting in the back of the unmarked Cadillac with Agent Sasha Bordeaux. Fury rode shotgun. Rogers had needed to make a quick call to ensure that his neighbor would come look after Scout, but they had gotten on their way shortly after that. Fury had made the introductions between Rogers and Bordeaux before bringing the former up to speed on al-Mherreyn.

"Unfortunately, our attempt to infiltrate the organization failed," Fury explained. "Our man in the region, Jasham, was sloppy and got himself blown. We found him in the middle of the desert with a gouged eye and a broken neck."

"Subtle."

"Yeah. These guys are good at that," Bordeaux said sardonically.

"Through other channels, however, we've learned al-Mherreyn's next move. There's a transport leaving Tehran and crossing the Dasht-e Kavir in sixteen days. Colonel al-Rahman and his men plan on robbing it."

"What's the cargo?" Rogers asked.

"A high-power microwave device built by Stark Industries," Fury answered. "With just a few simple modifications, the device can be converted into a nonnuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon capable of blacking out an entire city."

Rogers rubbed his chin. "And you said we have sixteen days?"

Fury nodded.

"Better get to work."

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Old 08-27-2012, 05:17 AM   #36
Byrd Man
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Previously


Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post

Lower East Side
11:02 PM


Patrol cars and an ambulance were parked outside the eight story walk-up by the time Dick and his partner arrived. The older black man driving the car was Officer Marcus Stone. Both he and Dick were dressed in their patrol uniforms.

"How many does this make now?" Stone asked as he parked the car.

"The fifth since June 21st. Are we sure this is the same guy?"

"Rollins was the first on the scene," Stone said as he killed the engine. "He said it all matched the previous victims. a Red headed, white female, all cut and sewn up in the same way."

Dick and Stone climbed out the car and walked to the stoop of the apartment building. A uniformed officer was outside, standing guard.

"Stone, Grayson," he said with a nod.

"Hey, Phil," Stone replied. "Where we needed?"

"The Lieutenant's inside monitoring the lab techs. He's got most the uniforms and detectives canvassing the neighbors and the rest of the block. A detective from downtown Homicide is on the way. Lieutenant told me he wanted you to come inside and take a look at things, given your past and all that."

"Yeah," Stone said with a sigh. "That past and all that. I'll head inside and see what I see."

Stone nodded and Dick and climbed the steps, disappearing into the building.

"Where do you need me?" Dick asked the officer.

He smiled and pointed over to the closest parked patrol car. A roll of crime scene tape was laying on the trunk. "Set up a perimeter around the building and help direct any traffic that comes down the street. Anybody wants to come in, they need to be a detective, a coroner, or higher than sergeant."

"Alright," Dick said, picking the tape up off the car's trunk. He went about his business, setting up a radius with the tape. While Stone was inside, he continued to direct traffic, letting in a short, chubby woman who was from the coroner's office.

"'Scuse me," a blonde hair woman with glasses said as she approached the tape. "Mind letting me in?"

"Mind showing me some ID?"

"Sure thing," she said, pulling out a crisp $50 bill. "That's the bad thing about being named Ulysses S. Grant. Picture IDs are a bit pricey."

"You're really going to do this?" Dick asked with an arched eyebrow. "Bribe a police officer?"

"One man's bribe is another man's 'extra incentive tax.' New York's Finest work too hard for too little. Just want to help out."

Dick stared at the woman impassively. After a few seconds, she shrugged and tucked the money back into her pocket. She then reached into another pocket and pulled out a business card.

"Well, Officer...," she looked down at Dick's nametag and then back up at them. "Uhh, Grayson, you feel like getting chatty about this murder, or any other sort of police business, you call me. I'm always willing to lend an ear."

She handed Dick the business card and turned to leave. Dick looked down at the card and then back up as the woman walked off. She stopped and looked over her shoulder, smiling and winking at Dick before she continued walking.

"Norah Winters," Dick said under his breath, tucking the card into his pocket.

Dick looked up as an old muscle car roared down the road before coming to a stop just outside the barricade. Out stepped a burly man with a thick mustache and wearing a suit and tie.

He walked towards Dick, pulling out a badge as he approached. "Tork, CID Homicide."

He walked under the tape and kept walking towards the house. The uniform outside the apartment conceded and let Tork pass. Dick continued to stand guard for a few more hours until finally, the coroner and a few officers, Stone among them, came out pushing a gurney that had a tarp over it.

"Okay," the corner said to the collection of office around her. "I need a cop to come with me to the morgue to preserve the chain of custody. Who's up?"

"Rookie," Stone said, nodding towards Dick. "It's on you."

"Alright," Dick said, following the coroner to her car. She went to the front while Dick loaded the body up in the back. He watched to make sure nobody was looking before he slowly pulled back the tarp to look at the face below.

He had seen the crime scene photos of the other victims, but it was nothing like seeing it up close and personal. The young woman's face was frozen in a look of pain and terror, her eyes still wide open. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises covered her face. But the most disturbing thing was where her mouth was. For all the talk about the woman fitting the victim profile, this is where the fact was confirmed she had become another victim to New York's latest predator.



She was the fifth woman to fall victim to the Murmur Killer.




Law Offices of Nelson & Murdock
12:04 PM



Dick was walking through the busy Midtown office building's lobby just as a pack of people were coming off the elevators. He walked through the exiting lunch crowd and into one of the elevators. Dick pressed for the twelfth floor and stepped back as the doors slid shut. Dick looked at his reflection in the metallic doors as the elevator went up. He was still wearing his patrolman's uniform, his cap in his hands.

With a ding, the elevator opened up on the twelfth floor. Just off the elevator was a receptionist behind a desk. Behind her was a large sign advertising the Nelson & Murdock law firm took up this entire floor.

"Hey, Dick," the receptionist said as soon as she saw him. "Here for Matt?"

"As always, Berta," Dick said with a smile. "How is the old man today?"

"Same as always, as far as I can tell. Head on in and find out for yourself."

Dick walked passed Berta and through the glass doors into the offices. Cubicles took up much of the office space. Most of the cubicles were empty at present, but a few had paralegals and investigators hard at work.

"Hey hey," Dick said as he spotted a familiar face walking across the floor.

"Watch out everybody," Foggy Nelson said. "The fuzz is here!"

Dick came up to Foggy and the tall, blonde man at his side. He and Foggy shook hands while Dick gave a polite nod to Foggy's companion.

"How are you, Mr. Nelson?"

"I told you a long time ago to cut out that 'Mr. Nelson' talk. It's Foggy." Then, turning to the blonde man, Foggy began the introductions. "Uhh, Dick, this is Adrian Chase. He's our junior partner. Adrian, this is Dick Grayson. He's Matt's son."

"Adopted son. Just in case you were wondering about the last name difference."

"Whatever the case, it's nice to meet you."

Dick and Chase shook hands before Chase turned to Foggy. "If that's all you need from me, I'm going to lunch."

"Just make sure it's billable," Foggy joked. Chase nodded at both men before walking away. "So, let me take you back to see Matt."

"I know the way," Dick said as they started to walk.

"Oh, I know. I just want to talk to you. I haven't seen you since... oh, last year? Whenever it was you graduated from the academy?"

"That was early this year."

"Right. Well, you look good in uniform. Yep, a young up and coming man like you must be beating the girls away with a stick."

"Oh, boy, here it comes..."

"What? You don't think my daughter is attractive? She's pretty, and smart, too. She's scheduled to be valedictorian at Columbia Law."

"It's not that, Foggy. It's just, we kind of grew up together. It'd be like dating my sister."

"I been saying since Matt took you in that you two would make a good couple."

"Still as creepy now as it was back then."

Dick let out a small sigh of relief as he and Foggy came to the corner office they had been walking to.

"Well, I'll leave you to it," Foggy said, beginning to turn away. "Just think about it. That's all I ask."

"If it'll get you to shut up, fine. I'll think about."

Smiling, Foggy turned around and walked away. Dick watched him go, shaking his head and laughing before turning to the office door and preparing to knock.

"Come on in," a voice said on the other side of the door.

Dick opened the door and stepped into the office. The office's decorations were spartan in comparison to Foggy's lavishly decorated office. There was a Jack Murdock boxing poster hanging on one wall, a framed newspaper headline from the 80's announcing the exoneration of a death row inmate. Dick had heard that story more than once in the years since he had been adopted.

"So," the gray haired man said from behind the desk. He was leaning back in his chair, his sunglasses creating a bit of a glare. Even though he couldn't see him, Matt Murdock could tell Dick had come here as soon as his shift was done. And he knew why. "I read the paper this morning. Were you there at the scene?"

"Yeah," Dick said, moving to sit down in one of the chairs across from the desk. "The victim was a white redhead, like the rest. Her wounds were a match like the rest. He's killed a fifth victim."

"You say he, but are you convinced it's a man?"

"I mean, this type of crime and this type of brutality. It can only be a man."

"Don't be so sure. I have a scar on the small of my back that's proof that a woman can be just as ruthless and deadly as any man."

"I don't know what Homicide has, but just from looking at the killer's pattern, we have maybe another two weeks before another victim is found."

"You think," Matt corrected. "Truth is, most of these guys aren't like the movies portray them. They can be methodical, but they're not slaves to it. Son of Sam really had no set timeframe. And that sent the entire city into a panic."

"Yep, but you ended up catching him."

"But not before it was too late. Five victims have been killed so far. That's five too many. We need make sure that number doesn't get any higher."

"Well, good news is that I'm off tonight. I can spend all night on patrol and chase down some leads."


"Good. One lead we need to look at it is coroner reports on all the victims. Think you can get them as an officer affiliated with the case?"

"Please. With the attention this case is getting? They probably have all the information under lock and key. Only authorized people can get close to it."

"Well, that's unfortunate. Looks like we'll need to break in to the coroner's office."

"Wait,"
Dick said, furrowing his brow. "You're suggesting I break in and steal files?"

"Not you," Matt said with a smirk. "Daredevil."

__________________
"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 08-27-2012, 09:03 AM   #37
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“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
VII


“That was one hell of a beating you put on Mr. Mitty, Daniel. You don’t mind if I call you Daniel, do you?”

You don’t spend close to a decade around a lawyer without picking up a couple of things. If she thinks I’m going to answer any of her questions, she’s got another thing coming. Seen enough TV in my lifetime to know to keep my mouth shut in this situation. Heck, I’ve been here for a couple of hours now and Jeryn still hasn’t arrived, something tells me they’re stalling him. Trying to get me to crack before he arrives. That’s not going to happen.

My wrist is shackled tightly to the metal bar connected to the table in the interview room. It doesn’t leave much space for me to do much, other than rap my fingers against the table impatiently whilst I stare at the clock and wait for Jeryn to arrive. It’s only a matter of time.

“Knock yourself out.”

I wince. Pretty poor choice of words all things considered. The smile on her face tells me that she realizes this too and, rather than mentioning it, thankfully she pushes on and continues probing. It’s all in vain of course, but as was the case with Vic earlier you can’t begrudge a person for doing their job. Heck, for a cop she’s actually not too bad to look at either.

“What was it that Mr. Mitty had done that made you so angry, Daniel? You don’t seem like the type of guy that loses his temper like that often. What was it all about?”

This was the problem with the police. They thought they knew everything about you because of a couple of lines in a folder tucked away in a filing cabinet somewhere. She’s read my folder and because of that she thinks she has some great insight into who I am or how I think. That’s not how the world works.

“It’s the twenty-first century and you still have an Afro. What’s that about, Misty?”

She looks visibly shocked for a moment. One of her colleagues called her by her first name, as I was being lead into the interview room a couple of minutes ago. It’s a harmless slip, but one I exploit to show her that even though she might have all the authority in the world in this situation… Authority is nothing without power.

“You don’t mind if I call you Misty, do you?”

I smile wryly and watch as she desperately tries to find a way to claw back the power she had over me in her mind. She comes up blank.

“Out of my way! Where the hell are you keeping him?”

Jeryn’s voice grows louder and eventually he arrives outside of the interview room door. Officer Knight looks at me and exhales impatiently before standing up and opening the door. A rather scruffy Jeryn wanders in and places his briefcase on the table that separates Officer Knight and I, looking at me with disappointment in my eyes before directing his ire towards the seated detective.

“Good evening, Office Knight. My name is Jeryn Hogarth and I am Mr. Rand’s attorney. If you don’t mind, I’d like a moment alone with my client.”

Without saying a word she stands up and leaves Jeryn and I alone. He pulls up a seat and leans towards me, shaking his head as he undoes his briefcase. If there’s anyone in the world that I hate to disappoint, it’s him. Jeryn’s the only stable male role model I’ve ever had, every time I got in trouble over the years I know he felt partly responsible and that made me feel even worse about it.

“You’ve really done it this time, Dan. I’m not sure if I can get you out of this one.”

We sit in silence for a moment before Jeryn leads me through my options. He bandies about several pieces of paper and throws around terms that I don’t know the meaning of every other sentence, but I try my best to keep up and nod along. Part of me wants to believe that there’s something in Jeryn’s legal arsenal that will be potent enough to get me off, but I know there’s no running away this time. There’ll be no community service, no restraining order, I’m going to prison for a long time.

And that’s when something unexpected happens.

The door opens and Officer Knight sticks her head around it. Her tone of voice is low, disappointed, she’s unable to maintain eye contact with me. I fear the worst; maybe internal bleeding or a punctured lung, something like that, maybe Buck kicked the bucket and I’m going to be looking at life. But, weirdly, the words that come out of her mouth are the complete antithesis of my fears.

“You’re a very lucky man, Mr. Rand. Mr. Mitty has regained consciousness and decided, for whatever reason, not to press charges. You’re free to go.”

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Old 08-27-2012, 09:08 AM   #38
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A trenchcoat filled with a man cut a path through the sea of malcontents known as KBEL Studio 4. Sneers bounced off of him, as did their gestures, more than one person showed him which little piggy had roast beef, and…

“Hey Sage! Go f*** yourself!”

Well… so much for subtlety…

A Question of Ethics.

Vic Sage slipped out of his trenchcoat revealing a suit and tie ensemble which belonged in the ‘50s. He sat himself down at his solo desk by Camera 5 and began to fit his mic, a vague smirk at the reception he’d received on his final show.

“So, Sage… Not going to adorn us with your grace anymore, are you? Moving to the Big Smoke to become Rupert Murdoch’s problem, huh?”

That was Martin Campbell, the lead anchor ever since Sage vacated the position with his move to the Sage Words desk.

“How very gracious, Campbell. You wouldn’t even have a job if it weren’t for me…” Sage thought to himself, but he could come up with better.

“Apples, Campbell.”

“What?”

“As in ’The Big Apple.’ As in ‘How do you like dem app--..?’”

Campbell shot him a dark glare.

“Seven, Six, Five…” Camera one rolled.

“…Four…” Camera 4’s operator rolled, following it with three fingers, then a two fingered salute and finally the big middle digit. Sage chuckled, and shuffled papers to cover for the situation.

Martin Campbell’s face lit up with a saccharine warm grin straight down the pipe to Hub City’s viewers.

“Good evening, Hub City, I’m Martin Campbell. Tonight, a gas main explosion in downtown Hub City kills 15, many more injured…”

A wry smile crossed Vic’s face as he marvelled at the transformation in Campbell, before turning to Camera 4 to wait for his cross.

“Everything’s going to go off without a hitch.” Sage told himself, looking at the camera and awaiting the Big Red Light.


9 Months Earlier

Red lights hang in windows, a faceless form walks these streets. Trenchcoat and fedora reflect the crimson lanterns which advertise the occupying women’s trade. Word of mouth was the only way to reach him and it had taken a week to do so. As a result more lives had been lost, and the ladies sense of urgency and anxiety had skyrocketed, the pimps were troubled too... some with genuine concern, others despairing the loss on the bottom line. A killer ‘customer’, unknown identity. Can’t really call him a customer since no money ever changes hands. A deadbeat John who’ll beat you dead. Pimps couldn’t protect them, he struck when they were alone. There was no answer. So they sought The Question…

Present Day

“...and I’m Denny “The D-Train” Ditko and later in sports we’ll be having a closer look at THAT PASS and last night’s Hub City Rollers game. Oh! Boom! Make ‘em pay, Rocket Robinson!”

The Red Light on camera 4 burst into life.

“And later, on Sage Words we’ll be putting the magnifying glass on the sex worker industry and its cancerous impact on this glorious city.”

Denny and Martin make wanking gestures off camera, he stops just in time but the camera cut back to Martin earlier than he expected leaving him flushed and making a silent prayer that his actions didn’t go to air.

“And that’s what’s coming up tonight on KBEL News – Your best source for the news.”

Last Month

The phone rings. Destiny calling.

“Hello, Vic Sage.”

The first thing he noticed was her voice. A prim, proper voice, the voice of someone who had experienced a well-to-do polished education at a school which could afford its own rowing team. Sage recognised it and screwed his nose up slightly.

“Hello, Mr Sage. We were given this phone number by the office. I’m calling on behalf of FOX News. I trust we can talk?”

“Fo-- FOX News..?”

__________________
[/JOKE]

16,18, not much difference mentally or physically. It's a number over there. Here however it's the difference between mid life crisis with hot chicks with daddy issues and pound me in the ass prison. - Anubis

More Anubis' greatest hits:
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:11 AM   #39
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Present Day

“And in boxing, Mickey Grant took out a 12 round blood bath over Alberto Cruz... As you can see, the fight started on even footing, but then completely changed as Mickey Grant caught him with this lead hook in the 3rd… Ouch! And here comes Grant with the combo… and… BOOM! That was the first of two knockdowns in the round, then with another two knockdowns including this one in the 9th… Whoa boy! What a shot! As the bell rang for the tenth this one was looking less like a fight and more like a…”


9 Months Ago


A massacre. That’s what I’m looking at. This guy’s got some balls on him. He’s no longer looking to pick off individual hookers, that much is clear as I inspect the bloody scene of 5 of Hub City’s finest streetwalkers that you can buy for a Grant… or do less for a Jackson. Not to mention the old guy. Old bastard in his pyjamas, presumedly heard the screams and was coming out of his house to tell “those damned hoo-ers to shut the f*** up”. Not too worried about cops, they’ll be a while if they come by at all. Dead hookers are hardly a concern, unless they’re paying forward to someone who has a high-up on payroll. So pretty unlikely. HCPD officers’ integrity is hardly worth such an investment.


“Hrmm…”


It’s a hack and slash job. Nothing overly professional about it. Blood’s everywhere. Blade’s en scene. Signs of a struggle with skin flakes under fingernails. Amateur. The guy’s an absolute f***ing amateur. He left clear footprints in the blood, hell a guy like this probably didn’t even wear gloves… I bend over the old man and carefully pull the blade clear to take a look at the knife.


“Hrmm…”


Expensive blade. Antique. Checking the handle I see no prints. So the guy’s smart enough to wear gloved, but dumb enough to leave countless other basic forms of evidence, and yet plans enough to… “Oh no…”

Spotlight falls on my face. “FREEZE POLICE!”


“Stupid… Stupid…”


Does an innocent man run? Misleading Question…


One month ago – phone call


“What was that?”


“I asked you how you are liking it at KBEL? How well are they taking care of you, Mr Sage?”


“Err… well, you caught me quite off guard there… KBEL, I mean, the people love me here…” Sage baldly lied.


“I apologise, Mr Sage. My question may have been a little too vague… Your co-workers? Would you say they love you to the extent of paying you 7 million dollars a year NET salary whilst broadcasting you coast-to-coast on cable news..?”


“That’s a whole lotta love…”


Present Day


“...Over one hundred thousand arrests for prostitution in the past year across America, so it’s fair to say the actual number of sex workers in the country is considerably higher.” Sage opined. “Spreading disease and adding to the criminal element of our beloved Hub City. What many liberals claim to be a victimless minor crime draws greater felonies into the fold. Sexual assaults, domestic violence, serious drug charges, assault and battery and even murder and manslaughter from “pimps” attempting to curb the “ho’s” in their stable.” The words spat from his mouth in contempt as though he were far above their usage.

“The stain of prostitution smearing our fine Christian community in ways that a quick wash could not hope to clean, and it grows and sets its imprint further every day…”


9 Months Ago


A man sips brandy from an appropriate glass, he sinks into his suede recliner by the fireplace, content in his abode high above the streets and the filth that dwells therein. Jeremiah Hatch, the man they call “The Pope” lives in luxury off of others misery.


That contentment ends now…


“POPE!” Sage steps out from the shadows


“Wha-- Who..? How?!?”


“Pick a Question and stick with it.” A gloved fist tattoos an imprint of my knuckles onto his forehead. I don’t knock him out. I don’t want that yet.


“How did you know..?”


“…that you paid a crackhead to set me up for a fall? All the pieces fit, and you were one of the ones who wanted me out of the way most of all. I’ve gotten in the way too many times, haven’t I? And you were willing to lose out on the income a few two-bit street-pimps bring you in on their girls to take me out.”


“No! You couldn’t know..!” He flounders, still reeling from the first punch.


“No? you’re right… I didn’t KNOW it until I came in here. My intention was only to pressure you. Hope you’d either slip up and either give me a lead or stumble out some self-confession… which is exactly what you just did.”


“But the cops?!”


“Didn’t have a hope, and neither do you.”


Jeremiah Hatch picked up the fire stoker in desperation, and stepping back towards the window he swung wildly, trying to escape. His uncontrolled swing caught naught but air… and the window he stood behind shattering the top half of the pane. Unbalanced he fell over backwards onto the broken glass, and howled in pain.


Do I have it in me to take a life? That is the question…


The streetwalkers below howl in shocked reverence at the answer as the

Pope crashes down to the filth he always felt above.


Present Day


“...prostitution brings us all down as a society. It attacks the moral fibre of our community, it attacks the health industry’ both in wasting resources in treating communicable disease, assaulted and battered prostitutes and pregnancies – both unwanted and begrudged. And the Democrats want to provide benefits for these people to increase the burden even further! People of Hub City, we find ourselves at a crossroads..!”


9 Months Ago


Back on the street level a flash-dressed pimp approaches the drab-dressed Sage with the non-descriptive face.


“Thanks, man. With all the kickbacks Hatch was asking for we could barely keep a decent living for ourselves, let alone the girls. Now we hadn’t discussed payment before. We don’t have much of a cash base built up yet. The Pope asked for too much for that. But I think we can work something out...”


The pimp gestured towards a group of streetwalkers.


Present Day


“...we can wallow in the filth that is accepting prostitution, debasing our wives, our daughters, our sisters...”


9 Months Ago


Gloved hands brushed against soft, heavily perfumed skin. The gloves stayed on and so did the mask.


Present Day


“...and the truly disgusting people behind the sex industry, these “pimps” who degrade women by shilling their bodies for profit like blood sucking leeches, who will often poison these women with drugs to keep them in their thrall.” After the show, Vic wondered to himself how he managed to keep the smirk off of his face as he segued smoothly from pimping with no one seeming to notice. “Oh, and if you’ve enjoyed Sage Words, tune in weeknights on FOX News where I’ll be bringing you the straight truth, just as I always have. This has been Vic Sage. We’ll be right back after this break with Denys and the weather.” A big smile beaming across his face.


The camera panned out quickly as if in anticipation of what came next.


“You *******! I throw to the weather!” Campbell yelled.


“...and I threw you a bone to let you do that for all these years.” Sage calmly replied.


“And you advertise your show on a rival network?! Whatever happened to professionalism?”


“I’ll be plenty professional when I’m no longer working with a bunch of amateurs.” Vic smirked.


Last Month – Phone call


“...well regardless of how much they worship me over at KBEL, I suppose they’ll just have to manage. This opportunity, to go Coast-to-Coast on cable news is pretty much a dream opportunity for anyone in our field. Of course I accept.”


“That’s excellent news, Mr Sage. We welcome you to the FOX News team, we’ll send out a representative with the paperwork to sign tomorrow and it should all be official.”


“Thank you very much for the call, Mrs...”


“Athulla. MISS Gail Athulla.”

__________________
[/JOKE]

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Old 08-29-2012, 01:49 PM   #40
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Previously



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Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
Magneto hovered over the battlefield, his atrophied legs dangling beneath him. Below were a five Navy jet fighters. With a flick of his wrist, he sent the jets tumbling across the ground and crashing into each other. Smiling, he floated back towards the ground as Quicksilver came to a skidding stop.

"Where are Xavier's children?"

"Headed to your location now, sir. Blob and Killer Frost are funneling them towards us. Without their leader, they seem to be helpless."

"Good,"
he said, patting the young man's shoulder. "Go help them out, Pietro."

Quicksilver nodded and sped away.


*****


"What's the plan, guys?" Black Lightning asked, back peddling away with the rest of the team. He shot out a bolt of lightning at the Blob. The huge mutant absorbed the electricity and just laughed as he kept walking towards them.

"Hank?" Jean asked. "You're the smart guy, the oldest. You're the Professor's second in command. What's the plan."

Beside her the large, furry mutant looked at her and then back at where Blob and Killer Frost continued to encroached.

"Perhaps we can...," he mumbled. "We can... We can..."

In a flash of light, Bolt appeared in the middle of the team and swung wildly, knocking Beast to the ground and disappearing again.

"I don't know," he said. "So many choices, so many options. I don't know what to do."

Killer Frost prepared a blast of ice, but an optic blast to her chest knocked her down. Turning his head to the right, Cyclops bounced a beam off the ground that hit Blob in the eyes. The heavyset mutant yelled in pain and held his eyes.

"That should buy us enough time to get out their trap," he said. "Regardless of what they're trying to do, we need to keep moving."

"Towards Magneto?" Metamorpho asked with a skeptical look. "He'll tear us apart."

"Individually? Yes. But if we do like the Professor said--"

Cyclops turned as Quicksilver ran towards them. "Jean, can you get a lock on him?"

"I'm trying," she said, trying to aim for the silver-haired mutant as he zig-zagged towards them."He's too fast."

"I know how to slow him down. Wait until he's in the air and grab him."

Scott let out an optic blast right at Quciksilver's feet. He jumped into the air to avoid the beam. Instead of falling back down, he levitated about the ground, his moving legs a blur as he stayed in place.

"Jeff, let's light him up."
Both Cyclops and Black Lightning let out blasts. The optic blast hit the young mutant's chest at the same time the lightning bolt struck him. Jean disengaged her telekinesis and Quicksilver fell to the ground, unconscious.

"One down,"
Rex said.

Just then, Bolt appeared in front of them as both Killer Frost and Blob rejoined the battle.

"Three more to go," Scott said, his visor glowing red. "Let's do it."



Killer Frost stepped backwards as Jean continued to charge towards her. Each icy blast from her hands bounced away from Jean before it could even get close.

"Are projectiles all you have?"

"Watch this, *****," she growled, slamming her fist into the ground. A trail of frost shot from her hands and began to freeze the ground around her fist. The frost covered the distance between her and Jean. It was a few feet away from touching her before Jean lifted up off the ground. The ice passed harmlessly beneath her feet.

Yelling, Killer Frost let loose on Jean with a full volley of ice. Holding her hands up, Jean stopped the ice and began to push forward with her telekinesis. The ice started to slowly inch back. Gritting her teeth, Frost tried to push forward and break the hold Jean had on her powers. Slowly, the ice energy began to get closer and closer to her. With a final push, Jean shoved the ice back and it hit Killer Frost. With a loud poof and a shower of snow, the mutant became encased in a shell of her own ice.

"One down," Jean said into her commlink as she landed back on the ground.

"And we are steadfastly working on the others," Hank said as he leaped by. He was jumping and running while Bolt teleported after him.
"It's no use," Scott said over the commlink. He was on a rooftop, following Beast and Bolt as they ran. "Every time I get close to getting a shot lined up, he teleports away."

"If I may offer a theory?" He asked as he scaled a the top of a navy barrack. "After acting as bait for this long, I have noticed a pattern. It seems as as if there is some method to his madness. Every time he jumps, it appears to be at least twelve feet in any given direction."

"Set me up with a window, and I'll close it."

"Roger that," Hank said, leaping on to the roof of the barracks. In a flash of light, Bolt appeared in front of him. Hank flipped backwards and kicked out at the mutant feet-first. In another flash of light, Bolt disappeared and then reappeared out of harm's way. Exactly twelve feet away from Hank.

"Fire in the hole..."

A bright red optic blast shot through the air and slammed into Bolt's back. He fell down and slammed his head against the roof. "Ouch," Hank said in mock pity.

"Two down. Metamorpho, Black Lightning? How's it coming on Blob?"

"Not too good," Rex said. He and Jefferson were fifty yards away from Scott and Hank. Rex as pounding into Blob's leg with fists made of steel while Jefferson tried in vain to pull his arm from the fat man's stomach fat roll.

"Keep going," Blob said, laughing and taking a swipe at Black Lightning. "I can take it."

Turning his attention away from Blob, Metamorpho instead wrapped arms around Jefferson's waist and pulled the teenager from Blob's fatness. The two fell backwards as Blob walked towards them.

"Now comes my favorite type of attack. The bellyflop. All 600 pounds of sexiness on top of you all at once. Too much to handle, I know. That's the point."

Blob's shadow loomed large over the two mutants as he prepared to jump and crush them. Straining he jumped as high as he could, all of a foot and a half, and spread his arms and legs out for the bellyflop...

"Wait," he said to himself. He still hadn't fallen on the two mutants below. In fact, he was still suspended just a few inches above them. "What's going on? I can't be moved! I'm the Blob!"

He looked up and saw the rest of the team standing in front of him. Both Jefferson and Rex quickly crawled out from under Blob and joined the rest of their teammates.

"Apparently," Jean said, her hand stretched out and holding Blob in place. "Your whole thing about being unmovable, that's moot as soon as you leave the ground."

"Metamorpho, would you do the honors?"

"Sure thing... umm, what am I doing again?"

"Hit our dear friend with a blast of C10H5ClN2"

"Oh, that,"
Rex said with a shrug. He closed his eyes and walked towards Blob. His multi-colored body began to shift to a dull gray, his solid form becoming light and gaseous. He walked into Blob, his body dispersing into gas. The fat mutant sucked the gas in and began to cough and sputter, his eyes watering and turning red.

"What exactly did he turn into?"

"The chemical compound 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile."

"Oh, that," Black Lightning said with a nod. "Because I like, use that all the time and am very familiar with it..."

"2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile is better known as tear gas."

"So, can I drop him now?" Jean asked. "He's really starting to strain."

"Go ahead."

Blob slammed back to the ground, creating a small crater in the earth and shaking the ground. He rolled over on his side, retching and coughing hard. Above him, the tear gas began to clump together and take on the form of a person. The shape came into focus as Rex. In just a few seconds, he solid again.

"Ta-da!" He said with a bow.

"Way to go, man," Jefferson said with a thumbs up. "Now you can brag about what it's like to be inside another dude."

"Wait... what? No. I just, I was inside of him... but not like that."

"Whatever helps you sleep at night."

"Alright, focus," Cyclops said. "We still got to find Magneto and the Professor."

"Convenient, then," a voice said from behind. They turned around and saw Magneto hovering above them, hovering behind them was the unconscious Xavier wrapped in barbed wire. "Because here we are."

"I see you have dispatched my Brotherhood. What a shame. I had such high hopes for them. Regardless..."

Flicking his wrist, Magneto brought together two large shipping containers from out of nowhere. They slammed above them and sent the five mutants running as they crashed to the ground.

"Your professor is out for the day, and I am his replacement."



"I am Professor Magneto. Let our lesson begin."

__________________
"These are the times that try men's souls... Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:08 PM   #41
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“Once upon a time in Harlem…”
VIII

Colleen and I agreed that I should give her some space. Something about me still being the same pigheaded guy that I used to be when we first met. There was me thinking that pigheaded guy was the guy she fell in love with. But I’m not exactly in a position to argue with her at the moment, it turns out Colleen had practically pleaded with Buck as soon as he woke up to drop the charges. She’s the only reason I’m still a free man at the moment and the least I could do was respect her wishes. I’m staying at Jeryn’s over in Hell’s Kitchen for a couple of nights until things have calmed down a little and my girlfriend can bear to be in the same room as me without throwing something at me. It might be a while.

I hear the front door open and through it walks Carl. He swings his backpack lazily as he makes his way towards the stairs and notices me stood at the top of them. Without so much as a hello, he begins to shake his head.

“So, what happened this time?”

Sometimes he’s a little too smart for his own good. Not exactly a trait that we share.

“Not even so much as hello before you start throwing the accusations around. What makes you think something happened? Can’t I stop in on my younger brother from time to time to see how his studies are coming along?”

He kicks his sneakers off at the bottom of the stairs and begins to climb them, following me as I walk towards his bedroom. It still feels weird calling it that. Wasn’t too long ago that I was sleeping in that bed every night, dreaming of getting out of Harlem and making a better life for myself somewhere. Still working on that one.

He throws his bag onto his bed and then leaps onto it a moment or two afterwards.

“The only time you’re ever here during the middle of the day is when you’re unemployed or if Colleen wants space. Either way something must have happened. Which one is it this week?”

Like I said, sometimes he’s too smart for his own good.

I explain to him what happened at the office and he listens without comment. When I’m done speaking he sits in silence for a moment, removing his glasses and cleaning them slightly, before placing them back onto his eyes and then clearing his throat.

“I wouldn’t presume to tell you how or what to do, Danny, you know I wouldn’t. Though I might not say it often, the only reason I’m in the position to do better than either of us ever thought I’d do is because of you. Out there, on those streets, you kept me safe.”

It’s strange to hear Carl talk about it aloud. Growing up without parents isn’t exactly unheard of around these parts. Carl’s parents were a real piece of work. They were both drug addicts, Carl’s mother was on the needle while she was pregnant, it’s a miracle he survived until social services caught up with them. When I first met Carl he was under-sized, couldn’t read and barely spoke a word. Not a good combination if you’re growing up in a group-home where being different can get you beaten within an inch of your life. Thankfully there was someone who stood out even more than he did, only he didn’t know any better back then.

Not a week has passed since then that I haven’t seen Carl. Things have got a little difficult since I moved out but I promised him before I left that we wouldn’t lose touch.

I keep my promises.

“Do I think what you did was clever? No, not at all, man. Do I know you well enough to know that you’d never do something like that unless you were protecting one of your people? Hell yes.”

I smile and sit next to him on the bed, placing my elbows on my knees and locking my fingers behind my head. It means a lot to me that Carl understands, more than he’ll never know perhaps.

We discuss his plans for college. They don’t involve nearly as much drinking and girls as I would have hoped. He tells me that Jeryn’s starting to think of retirement, apparently he’s even gone so far as to start looking at the price of land over in the south of France.

That’s when it hits me. Everyone is moving on with their lives but me. I’m still the same stupid kid that I was five years ago. Still fighting battles that don’t need to be fought, still throwing punches before I’ve thought through the consequences. Sooner or later something’s got to give.

The first opportunity I have to get Colleen and I out of Harlem, I’m going to take it.

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Old 08-30-2012, 10:36 PM   #42
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IC: Donald Blake

My dream always begins the same. With thunder.

Blackness fades to a wooden ship sailing across the clouds. Men who look hungry for battle - no, not men - Gods who've answered the call of the stars, eagerly waiting on deck and arming themselves. I see battle axes sharpened, spears tested, swords clashing against solid steel. Armor on every one of them, each unique to their increasingly radical personality. Three in particular who stand guard at the front always leave me intrigued. Warriors, one tall, one wide, and one silent. The tall one laughing about some misadventure. The wide one biting off the head of a cooked animal I don't recognize. The silent one leering from the shadows, an axe bigger than the rest. I watch myself look at them all, scanning through the crowd. Looking at each of their faces for just long enough before everything starts to get out of control.

And then there's him. Jet black hair stabbing out from beneath a headdress of horns. Basking in the glory of a night's sky filled with a vivid, brilliant rainbow. A flowing cloak around his shoulders, a golden spear in his hands. He stands atop a mountain of ice in the distance, a glacier jetting out from the middle of a frozen seaside beach. Behind him, an army of hideous creatures. Eyes as red as blood, each with skin as brittle and rotted as a frozen corpse. Giants in stature. I see my own arm stick out, holding something I don't recognize. The arm itself barely unrecognizeable, boasting scars and muscles I've never seen. I hear a loud cry to attack.

Then find myself in the middle of a war. Man and beast cursing eachother's names, slicing through the other like they were paper. The grounds stained in a crimson mist. Snowfall virtually blinding. I find myself tredging through it, taking a few myself in a particularly gruesome fashion. Bashing some of the creatures' heads in with a blunt instrument. By the time that it all becomes too much for me to bear witness, my eyes are drawn skyward. The chant of a different sort stopping the battle around me for only an instant.

White horses. Twelve of them, flying, with wingspan at least twenty feet across. Carrying what looks to be a crowd of women. Each more beautiful than the last, all armed just as heavily as the men. Equally as hungry for battle. They all dismount and take charge under the command of one. Black hair, radiating blue in the vacancy of sunlight. Perfect in every concievable way. Wearing a suit of leather trappings. A clear red and black. A crown atop her head.

Clearly a Queen. Carries herself like one too. For all that I've tried to interpret about this dream, both what it means and why I keep having it, there is one thought that occurs to me every time that I know I'm about to wake up. It comes just as my eyes rest on the face of the Queen, who looks back at me and charges, ready to join my side.

She looks exactly like the woman in my class.

BZZ! BZZ!

Heh. Right on cue. Always has to cut out at the good part...

Rolling over in bed, I grab the infernal phone that keeps vibrating in my hands and try to open my eyes long enough to hit the snooze. Then I toss it back from whence it came, roll back over and try to go back to sleep - secretly hoping that I can resume where I left off, knowing that it's never worked before. Bunching up the blankets against my body to get comfortable. Damndest thing. I've started noticing it whenever I wake up from that dream.

I always wake up cold. Like I've been out in the snow all night.

Yet my air conditioner's been broke for months and we're in the middle of a heatwave in August.

I should be dying of suffocation, and yet I just want nothing more than to jump in a hotub. Preferably full of Brazillian bikini models with incredibly low standards and a fetish for lonely paraphlegics. But since that ain't about to happen, I just sigh and bury my head in the pillows.

Why've I gotta have classes today?

"Arf! Arf!"

My head shoots up from the pillow as I'm shook into complete consciousness by a yapping irritant at the edge of my bed. Though for convienence sake, I just like to call him "Mulder". Odd name for me to give to a dog, given I've never even watched the X-Files. But part of me believes it was karma at work. The thing won't shut up when I'm trying to catch some shuteye, so I gave him a stupid name to match his stupid face. I yawn in response, looking down.

"Yeah? And what the hell do you want?"

He just looks up at me, his bulldog mouth agape and his tongue sticking out, panting. It's like dumbassery personified. Then he proceeds to do exactly what I don't want him to, which is lift the leg and try to turn the carpet into his own personal little wee pad.

"No, no, no... don't you even!"

Too late. It's everywhere.

Back of my head hits the pillow once again, palms placed hard against my temple. I try desperately to resist the urge to just beat myself back into unconsciousness. It's gonna be one of those days.

Goddammit.

"You're aware that the truce between my people and your's still remains..."

A desperate Queen Circe leers at the individual before her from her throne, looking down with a gaze that does very little to hide her contempt at such a creature. It has been days since her ritualistic summoning of Hecate failed, and in the time since, Circe has not been seen by any of Themyscira's inhabitants. Instead, the sorceress has taken to channeling what little access she has been given to the dark arts in order to learn more about the Amazonian halfling that she now knows exists. And through her findings, Circe has only become increasingly more furious, knowing that such events could take place so long ago without her knowledge. Remaining stagnant, and yet always there, ready to prevent her transcendence into a true mastery of the arts.

It started with the Gods, as it always does. Hippolyta's final breaths of life were faint to the human ear, but to them, they were louder than the cries of agony that the Amazons had endured in their merciless deaths. Zues' reign over Olympus had long since quieted, and his wrath wained under the pressures of his kingdom. That was where Apollo took opportunity in granting the Amazons' wish himself, working with Aphrodite to ensure that their lord Zues would not come to find the treachery that had taken place - for they knew if he had discovered it, he would once again seek war for retribution.

So in secret, the God of Light and the Goddess of Love came to the pantheon with their plight. One by one, a select member of a small group each contributed a gift or two to help pay tribute to the fallen Amazons. Athena, Artemis, Hesita, and Hermes were ultimately chosen for their unique qualifications, and following the banishment of Ares, they felt as though it would be enough. So in the night, Hermes was tasked to flee from Olympus and race to greet Hippolyta as she lay dying. Pooling together the combined gifts, Hermes used them to create the culmination of Hippolyta's prayers - a child, a daughter fully grown in her womb in the space of minutes. Hippolyta's last act was to smile upon the baby before she eventually passed.

But seeing the birth through was not to be the end of Hermes' responsibilities. Under instruction from Apollo, the God of Thieves did what he did best and smuggled the infant away from Themyscira's shores before she could be discovered. A dip in mystical clay prevented her fragility from affecting the trip to Patriarch's World, and that was where Hermes carried out the final mission.

To ensure that she never be discovered and killed, a spell was cast. It would create the illusion of humanity, the only creatures with the capacity to raise Hippolyta's daughter properly. So thusly, the spell rendered her half-human. Hiding the gifts that she possessed as a natural Amazon from both the outside world and the child herself, so that attention would never be placed on her existence.

She now resides hidden in humanity. A fact of which, upon discovery, left Circe absolutely fuming with rage. But she was not without a plan. If a mystical spell was used to render the Amazon a human, there were many relics that could easily discover a trace of it, however faint, and locate where the halfling had been making her new life. There were even more relics that could counteract the magic and reveal Hippolyta's daughter for who she really was, positively identifying her long enough to be slain.

So Circe was giving them all away. Sealed in a velvet bag, the relics were presented by the Themyscirian subjects to the waiting assassin that would carry out Circe's order. All that she had to do was appeal to it's tender sensibilities.

"You are under no obligation to help me. I understand this perfectly. But there is to be a substantial reward for what I am about to ask."

The assassin remains silent, it's massive arms folded across it's chest. Mistaking the bag as gold, or something equally as trivial.

"We require much more than any simple reward, Sorceress. Our people have been greatly mistreated..."

"And I have recognized that aswell. So allow me to be the first to extend this reparation."

Circe stands, her palm glowing with a powerful enchantment that casts the images of fearsome creatures. Creatures that are equally as hated as the race that the assassin represents - but more importantly, their sworn enemy.

"Carry out my request, and I will locate the portal to Jotenheim and help you overthrow it's inhabitants. With my magic, you will be placed in a prime position to strike down the Frost Giants at will."

Knowing that he would be foolish to reject such an offer, the creature drops to a knee and kneels, bowing it's head to the Queen in a customary show of respect.

"On behalf of the Minotaurs, Queen Circe, I accept. Your wishes shall be granted. And what is the task you would have me perform in return for such a service?"

Her eyes still burning with hatred for those that robbed her of what was rightfully her's, Circe removes an item from the velvet bag and presents it to the Minotaur. It is a large box crafted from silver. Though the radiance of the box itself pales in comparison to what lies inside, whenever she opens it. The Minotaur looks away, nearly blinded by the way it shines off of the moonlight.

"Using these, among other relics taken from the collection of the Gods..."



"You will flush out the last remaining Amazon. She resides in Patriarch's World, living as a human, unseen to even my most potent of magic. Your task is to locate the halfling, place these on her wrists... and slay her."

The Minotaur takes the box and inspects it. "Hrr. Bracelets?"

Circe smiles. "I prefer to think of them as shackles. They are unbreakable by man, forged by Hephaestus himself. Placing them on her wrists will reveal her to me, and then..."

"You will watch as I murder an Amazon."

The Minotaur closes the box, scoops it underneath his arm and goes retrieve the bag.

"A tall order. They are meant to be nigh invincible."

A wicked smile comes across Circe's face as she recalls the original twelve, their bodies burning in the sunlight.

"A misconception. They were never invincible."

The beast snarls, but nevertheless accepts the terms.

"Then it shall be done. By your command, Queen of Themyscira..."



"The Amazon will die."

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Old 08-31-2012, 10:01 PM   #43
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"Thank you for your aid"
, Norrin said with a respectful bow.
"We could not have made it without you."

Green Lantern Norrin Radd and Green Lantern Tomar-Re stood on the balcony of the palace of the Titans, who resided on the moon of Saturn which bore their name.

"It was the least we could do", Mentor, the leader of the Titans, smiled.
"The Green Lantern Corps was once a symbol of peace and justice throughout the galaxy...I look forward to see that day rise again."

"As do I, Mentor", Norrin returned the smile. It was rare for a Green Lantern to make friends in the universe, so when they did, they were sure to remember them.


"I look forward to next time we meet."

"As do I, my friend", Mentor replied as the Green Lanterns slowly floated into the sky.
"May The Source look after you, Norrin Radd!"

Norrin Radd, a highly respected veteran member of what was left of the Green Lantern Corp led the way into the upper atmosphere as his colleague, Tomar-Re, followed at his side.

The pair had been party to a raid organized by Abin Sur, Norrin's mentor, only a few days ago. The Fear Lanterns were setting up a outpost on the ninth planet of this system, and it was dangerously close to secret supply lines that the Corps needed for the war.
So Norrin led a squad of six Lanterns to destroy it.

But the Fear Mongers were waiting for them; somebody had tipped them off. Norrin's entire unit was killed, saved for Tomar. And they only made it thanks to the heroic efforts of Lantern Iolande, who held off the Yellows and allowed them to escape.

They had made their way to the moon called Titan, and a safe haven in the house of Mentor, lord of the powerful Titan Eternals. Mentor and his people had patched up their wounds and now they departed once more for the stars.

Norrin and Tomar entered orbit and stopped to plot their next move when Tomar-Re spotted something out of the corner of his eye.

"Wait...a Yellow, over there!"

"I see him", Norrin stated as the Yellow Lantern that was watching them darted off upon being spotted.

"Quickly", Norrin shouted as both he and Tomar-Re took off after the Fear Lantern with as much speed as they could muster.
"We have to catch him before he alerts Lord Sinestro that we are here!"

Norrin and Tomar closed in and the Yellow Lantern who tried to use the gravity of the red planet to slingshot himself and increase his distance from his emerald pursuers.
But Norrin and Tomar were no rookies. They saw the trick before the Fear Lantern could pull it off and used their rings to block his trajectory.

The Yellow Lantern was stopped and turned, firing wildly at the Green Lanterns. Norrin deftly avoided the barrage as he flew in at the Yellow at break neck speed.
One blast though cut through Tomar-Re's chest, and the Lantern stopped dead in space, leaving Norrin to shoot past his fallen brother.

"TOMAR", Norrin shouted in vain as he looked back at his fallen friend.

"You", Norrin gritted his teeth and came at the Yellow Lantern, his fist connecting with the Fear Lantern's jaw, causing a green explosion of energy that lit up the darkness of space as it connected.
The Yellow Lantern was sent sailing head over heels into space, and Norrin was on him the entire time.

He had seen so many brothers and sisters die over the years this horrible struggle has been going on. He had lost his team, his family, only days ago in the attempted raid on the Yellow outpost. And now Norrin Radd has just witnessed one of his oldest compatriots in the Corps, Tomar-Re, get cut down in front of him.

"No more", Norrin uttered breathlessly as a cold rage filled him. A pair of clamps came out of Norrin's ring and gripped the Yellow Lantern's neck, squeezing it like a vice.

The Fear Lantern's yellow blade cut through Norrin's death grip, but Norrin's shattered vice immediately turned into razor sharp darts and shredded the Yellow Lantern's ring shield.

Norrin came in instantly, not giving the monster a chance to recoup. A emerald spiked gauntlet formed around his fist before it smashed across the Yellow's face, tearing off chunks of flesh and sending the Yellow dog crashing into the dull gray moon which orbited a bright blue ball.

Norrin came down hard on the Yellow Lantern's chest with his heels, smashing him into the moon's surface. As the lunar dust cleared, Norrin Radd stood in the middle of a massive crater, holding the Yellow Lantern up by one hand, with his ring hand raised and aimed at the Lantern's forehead.

"Any last words?"

The Fear Lantern smiled through broken teeth, "I will see you again in the darkness, little lantern. And then you will know true fear..."

Norrin fired a single shot from his ring that passed through the Yellow's skull, killing the vermin instantly. Norrin Radd tossed the body of his enemy aside, as the adrenaline started to ware down.

A streak of yellow whizzed past Norrin as the Yellow's ring darted off into space seeking a replacement.

"No!"

Any chance to destroy a ring and take a weapon from the enemy was a chance all Green Lanterns had to take, so Norrin sped off after it. The ring was gaining speed, so Norrin took aim and fired. His emerald bolt smashed into the yellow ring, causing an explosion of golden energy.
When the flare of power subsided, the ring was gone, so Norrin breathed a sigh of relief.
But unbeknownst to Norrin, the flash of energy concealed from Norrin's view what really happened. His blast had not destroyed the ring, but simply sent it hurtling off course towards the blue planet that they were near.

But, with the ring seemingly dealt with to Norrin, he was about to turn and head for home to report in when a similar streak shot passed him, though this one was a bright green in color.
It was Tomar-Re's ring, and it was also headed towards the blue planet.

Norrin contemplated waiting to see if Tomar's ring found a replacement there, but he couldn't delay. He had to retrieve Tomar-Re's body and return home. Abin Sur needed to be briefed on what happened and know that they had a mole in their camp.
And the ring would appraise the new recruit of the situation and history of the Corps anyway once it found a being worthy. No, Norrin had to deal with what was in front of him. The ring would take care of itself. They always did.

So with a heavy heart Norrin collected Tomar-Re's body and disappeared into the gloom of space...

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Old 09-01-2012, 03:01 AM   #44
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread

SOON TO BE

"C'mon, Diana! It'll be fun!"

Led by Cassie's hand as she tugs on my wrist, I find myself entering the very last place I would have ever expected to be on a Friday night - a nightclub. Specifically, one called The Cavern of Souls, a popular nightclub on the Brooklyn strip that you can hear for miles around. I've heard alot about it around campus, especially from the more - well for modesty's sake, I'll refer to them as the more free-spirited girls. Just as we pass the velvet rope that's opened by a very tall and very intimidating looking bouncer, I nervously smile, noticing that he's visibly annoyed. Probably because of the line of customers that he has to deal with behind us, wondering why we're being let in before anyone else. I suppose it's a perk to be had whenever your father's the owner of the club, but given that Cassie rarely ever speaks of him, it's still an odd perk for her to be capitalizing on.

Nevertheless, I act the good friend and decide to indulge her. Not that it's hard, because by the time we make it past the initial steps leading down into the lower floor, the music is blasting so loud and the lights are so incredibly bright that I can't even tell where we are. I have to rely solely on Cassie's guidance to avoid bumping into anyone, nevertheless entire crowds of people, before we find ourselves at the bar. I take a look around whenever my eyes have adjusted to the light. Aside from the "Hell on Earth" theme of the decor having been taken to the extreme, it's actually not as bad as I imagined. We're still a floor above the dance floor, which is crowded enough to make me want to avoid it.

And yet I can't shake the feeling that I should be back in my room, studying for the end of this semester. Doctor Strange already threatened to expell me if I didn't start showing up for the morning class more often than I have.

"Bartender! Bartender. God, he's not listening. How're we supposed to get a drink around here?"

I raise an eyebrow at that. And just who's supposed to be the designated driver?

Neither of us have the money for a cab all the way back to campus.

"Maybe he's just preoccupied,", I explain. "It's starting to get really crowded."

She giggles, putting an arm around me.

"Oh, I have so much to teach you. That's just the norm, Wondergirl. You've gotta check these places out more often."

A man behind us trips and falls onto the floor, facefirst. The people around him laugh at his obvious innebreiation. I merely want to look away.

"To be honest, I'm not really seeing the appeal..."

Cassie turns back towards the bar.

"That's because you put anything in your system... Bartender!"

Finally, the man comes over to greet us to take our order, and Cassie more than happily obliges.

I, on the other hand, find myself needing to desperately seek out a distraction from the fact that I want to be anywhere but here. So tapping Cassie on the shoulder and managing getting her attention, I point towards the dance floor and she nods, before turning back around to decide on what couple of shots to order first.

As I begin to descend the stairs, a couple of the guys start to notice me. I can't help but smile as I brush my hair over my ear, looking away to avoid direct eye contact. Subtle, yet enough to show that I'm at least a little flattered. I've never been the most amazing at flirtation or anything, but I'm not exactly shy when it comes to what I want. I'm just never good in a situation beyond my control, and this certainly qualifies as one of those times. Had this been my idea, I probably would have quickly engaged one of them to see where the night would lead us.

Right now, though, I just want to blend in. Not stand out from the crowd.

"Excuse me. Sorry."

By the time that I edge through a few people infront of me and make it to the floor proper, there's barely any room for me to dance. A few loose elbows nudge me in the back and I move away, only to be blindsided by another person as I back into them, who stares at me for a moment and moves along.

Embarassed, I start tiptoeing on the floor to raise my height and see if I can still spot Cassie at the bar. Maybe she's recieved our order already. I should really just head back up there and let her lead me into this, coming down here was a mistake. A sentiment that's only further proven just as I finally spot her, because whenever I move to head back towards the stairs, I bump into yet another person. This one was holding a drink, and I'm forced to watch as the contents of the glass spill onto her lepoard-print skirt.

"Oh! I'm so sorry about that. Here, let me help you..."

She recoils as I offer my hand and... I don't know what sound she actually made, but it sounded like she just hissed at me. The redheaded woman immediately turns and tosses her glass away randomly into the crowd, causing me to stare, dumbstruck by what I just witnessed. Or what I think I just witnessed. At this point, I don't even know.

"Diana!"

Looking back up, I see Cassie leaning on the rails above, who waves me to come back up. Trying not to look annoyed by what just happened, I wave back and continue towards the stairs. My mind completely flustered by the random encounters I've already had tonight, it's only by mistake that I take a glance over to my right to see a couple in the distance. At first, I hardly notice them, deciding to focus on navigating through the crowd. But by the time I take another step, my eyes widen and I look back, realizing who I just saw.

Steve. Steve Trevor, my ex-boyfriend.

The guy I dated for three months and let tell me that I was the only one in his life. Before I found out about the other four girls he had told that exact same thing to, and rightfully decided to break it off. We haven't seen eachother or spoken on the phone since I told him it was over. Then again, that's to be expected, because the fact that he turned around and did the exact same thing to Cassie and Zola - and the fact that I let him - still hasn't let me forgive him for what happened.

I almost decide just to let it go and walk away before he catches a glimpse of me, wishing nothing but luck on the poor girl that he's got in his arms right now, but I find myself staring at another ghost of my recent past whenever she turns. A very dolled-up Veronica Cale.

It's almost too surreal. Steve and Veronica, together? Admittedly a match made in heaven, if you were to ask me, but I still can't quite wrap my brain around the sight of them on the dance floor, with Steve's hands on her hips and Veronica's head resting back on his chest.

This is probably a good time to leave. I should just...

Wait. Did she just look at me?

Squinting so that I can see more clearly, I come to find that my assumption was correct. Veronica has not only spotted me from across the dance floor, but it seems after her initial surprise that I was here at all, she's immediately decided to become vindictive. Because just as we meet eyes, she smirks at me, looks up at Steve, and does the one thing that I'm surprised to find that I don't want her to: Kisses him. Far too passionately for it to not be intentional. My fingers bawl up into a fist, and I sneer, wanting to go over and punch her right across the face for it.

But I can't. No matter how much I want to, I just... can't. I know that I'm far too above such a reaction. But the realization dawns on me that if I were another person, I might be able to succumb to my own desires and do what obviously needs to be done. Unfortunately, I'm not another person. I'm still just Diana Prince. Still the girl who cares too much about everything. Still the girl who would rather be studying than taking a night out to enjoy herself.



Still the girl who'd rather let the world walk all over her.

Pushing past the crowd, I make it up to the top floor and stare past as Cassie approaches. My eyes locked on the exit.

"There you are! I was wondering if you were ever gonna..."

Immediately, she sees it in my face. Something's wrong.

"Whoah. Hey there, what's wrong? You look like you just got kicked in the head."

The words come out before I can stop them. I tried. I really tried to be the good friend tonight, but look at where it got me.

"I'm leaving."

Cassie can only vacantly look at me, almost uncertain of what I just said.

"What do you mean?"

Massaging the bridge of my nose, to try and remain as calm as possible, I begin to move past the crowd and make my way towards the entrance we came in from.

"Look, you can take the car. I'll see if I can get a cab with the money I have."

Cassie grabs me by the arm and tries to slow me down.

"Wait a minute, just hold on! What's up with you? You looked like you were having fun a minute ago, where did that..."

With my thoughts of Steve and Veronica still overpowering my decision, perhaps a bit too harshly, I remove my arm from her's and look back angrily. My best friend in the entire world literally has to back away from me because I'm apparently irradiating such ferosity.

"This is not my idea of fun."

Likely leaving Cassie to wonder just what the hell's gotten into me, I finally just push my way out of the club and make it back up to street level, where I walk past the crowd of people in line and just stand on the curb, enraged beyond words. My thoughts dominated by the mental image of being able to strangle the whore inside, and trying not to want them to become reality.

It's not working. I want to go back in there. I really do.

But I just don't have it in me.

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Old 09-02-2012, 01:19 AM   #45
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread





Previously


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Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
"Alright, focus," Cyclops said. "We still got to find Magneto and the Professor."

"Convenient, then," a voice said from behind. They turned around and saw Magneto hovering above them, hovering behind them was the unconscious Xavier wrapped in barbed wire. "Because here we are."

"I see you have dispatched my Brotherhood. What a shame. I had such high hopes for them. Regardless..."

Flicking his wrist, Magneto brought together two large shipping containers from out of nowhere. They slammed above them and sent the five mutants running as they crashed to the ground.

"Your professor is out for the day, and I am his replacement."



"I am Professor Magneto. Let our lesson begin."



The five students of Xavier were huddled behind a concrete wall. On the other side of the wall, the mutant who had been Erik Lensherr floated towards them.

"Come now, children," he chided. "You don't want to make this any harder on yourselves. Face me and be done with it."

"Cyclops?" Metamorpho asked. "Scott? C'mon on, general, what's the plan?"

"The plan," Scott said, activating the side panel on his visor. "Is everyone will run interference while Metamorpho tries to do that tear gas trick again. Can you pull that one for us, Rex?"

"I don't think so," Rex said, shaking his head. "I feel wiped out. I don't think I can do it again."

The wall beside them shook, small cracks forming down the concrete. On the other side, Magneto slammed a steel girder into the wall. He sent the beam back before ramming it against the wall again. "You can't hide forever."

"He's right," Cyclops said from behind the wall. "Okay, Marvel Girl, Black Lightning, and I will distract him while Beast tries to use that genius of his to figure out a way for Metamorpho to disable him."

"I shall endeavor to do my best."

"How about give us some credit, man? We're righteous ass kickers on our own."

"Right," Scott said. "I'll provide covering fire for us. Let's go."

He, Jean, and Jefferson rushed out from behind the cover of the wall. Scott let loose with a few blasts from his visor at Magneto. The levitating mutant dodged them and shot the girder forward at the three teens. Cyclops drew a bead on the beam and hit it with a blast. The red hot optic beam melted the girder before it could hit them.

"Impressive," Lensherr said with a soft smile. "But I wonder..." Waving his hand, the visor popped off Scott's head and shot across the distance to Magneto's hand. "How effective you are without this."

"It's not him you got to worry about!" Jefferson said, his hands sparking with electricity. "One deep-fried jerkwad coming up!"

"Electricity. Marvelous. Even more marvelous..."

Black Lightning let loose with a bolt of lighting. Magneto held a hand out and the bolt stopped in the palm of his hands. "Is that it appears that your electricity is dependent on magnetic fields."

Thrusting his hand forward, Magneto sent the lightning back at the young man. The bolt shocked Jefferson and dropped him to the ground. Scott shot a blast out of his eyes. The weak, red beam went wide and Magneto smiled. He turned to Jean, levitating above her.

"I suppose you're next?"


"Yes," she said, "Yes I am."

Behind her and the rest of the team, a fighter jet was roaring towards their location. The pilot's seat in the cockpit was empty, but the control yoke made all the right moves. Its pilot was on the ground, facing Lensherr.

"Get down!" She yelled, taking Scott down to the ground beside Jefferson. The jet was barreling down on Magneto.

Unfazed, he held his hand up to stop the aircraft. On the ground, Jean felt the resistance against her psychic attack. She pressed forward, breaking through his first line of defense. The smile on Magneto's face disappeared and he worked harder to stop the aircraft. Jean struggled to fight his magnetic grip, pushing her telekinesis harder and harder. Magneto gritted his teeth and tried to push the craft, which was only just a few dozen feet from him, away. Jean felt the resistance pulling at her, but she pushed on. By her side, Scott saw her eyes go from green to a smoldering red as she broke through Magneto's magnetic barriers and crashed the jet into him. The jet, going slower and off course from the battle, only clipped him. He fell to the ground and began to push himself up.

Meanwhile Jean slumped forward on the ground, feeling weak and drained. Scott looked down at her and then back at Jefferson. "Watch over her," he said, standing. "I'm going after Magneto."

He walked across the battlefield were Magneto was. He was sitting, looking down at his lame legs in a daze. Scott's eyes glowed red. He reached down in front of Magneto and picked his visor up. Sliding back on to his face, he aimed at the mutant.

"That girl," he said weakly. "She is very powerful."

"Yes, she is. You're coming with us."

"To the government's unlisted facility where I will never be heard from again? I think not, young man."

"Why is that?"


"Because I know how to bargain..."

Flicking his hand, Charles Xavier floated off the ground and levitated behind him. He was wrapped in barbwire from head to foot. "I can squeeze him to death with the wire. Let me go or he dies."

Behind Scott, Blob emerged with a still frozen Killer Frost slung on his shoulder. Beside Blob, Bolt helped a limping Quicksilver. Beast and Metamorpho watched as they passed. Hank, seeing Jean, walked over to check on her while Rex continued to watch the Brotherhood's battered members.

"You have won the battle, but if you want to win the war Charles needs to live."

"I thought you hated him."

"Hate him?" Magneto asked with a gleam in his eyes. "Charles is like a brother to me. Even with all he's done, I could never hate him. No, he needs to live. He needs to see the light, as do you. Humans are not our friends and they are not our allies. You and your friends work for them, but only because they need you. Just wait. There will come a day when you and I will be on the same side. We will all be branded terrorists and rogues simply because we are better. I want Charles to see that day come. So we can finally unite and take our birthright as this world's future once and for all. And when that day comes, I can say 'I told you so.'"

"What if that day never comes?" Cyclops asked as the other Brotherhood members walked passed him. "What if the professor is right and mutants can live peacefully with humans?"

"Look around you, son," he said, motioning to all the destruction and chaos. "Look at all we've done here. Eleven mutants in just an hour's time did more damage than an entire army could do in a day. With that kind of power at our disposal, do you honestly think they'll let us live peacefully? No, we have sent a message here today. Homo Sapien is now an endangered species."

Magneto motioned to Blob. The large man picked Magneto up with his free arm. Bolt and Quicksilver gathered around them, with everyone touching Bolt.
In a flash of light, Magneto and his Brotherhood disappeared.

"Scott," Hank said over Cyclops' shoulder. Scott turned. The rest of the team was with him, Jean was leaned against Jefferson. "What was that?"

"The professor's friend trying to justify all of this destruction. Cone on..."

The five of them walked to where Xavier was wrapped in barb wire. Carefully aiming, Scott cut the barbwire loose with optic blasts. The wire snapped and freed Charles. He groaned and weakly opened his eyes.

"What happened?" He muttered "Did everything go alright?"

"We're all fine, apart from minor scrapes and bumps--"

"My head feels like a rug that's been walked over about a hundred times."

"I think I may have a sprained ankle."

"And I'm a bit gassy. Hehe, get it?"

"And my fillings are tingling, pretty sure I'm getting radio signals on them..."

"--but we're alright. Magneto and his people got away, though."

"Well," he said, reaching out and grabbing Scott's hand. "There will be other days."

Cyclops helped him up. As Charles stood, a chopper roared overhead, a voice blaring from the speakers on it. "ATTENTION! THIS IS THE US NAVY! STAY WHERE YOU ARE!"

On the ground around them, armed men in body armor began to run through the wreckage and surround them. They all had automatic weapons in their hands.

"Get down!" A solider shouted.

"Wait!" Charles shouted. "We are with the government. We were stopping--"

A burst of automatic gunfire shot into the air. Xavier and his students flinched at the sound. "I said hit the ground, freak!"

Charles closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

~Stop~


His voice echoed through the heads of all the soldiers. On cue, they all froze in place. Each and everyone of them unable to move.

~You will stay like that for five minutes. When you snap out of it, you will not remember seeing me or my team~

Opening his eyes, Charles turned to his students. "Hank, Scott, get the plane ready. We have to go now."

With Charles leading the way, they navigated through the frozen men. A few minutes later, the Blackbird hovered over the naval base before it blasted off into the sky.



*****


Epilogue

In his room, Charles paced nervously. He had been thoroughly debriefed by Waller and Gyrich as part of the after operation protocol. As little as he had for them, he was grilled about his connection to Erik and what had transpired while he was conscious. As demanding as they were to him, he could only imagine how they were to the children. From his room, he could feel their raw emotions. Their stress and their nerves. According to Waller, the mission had been a success, but the extent of the damage had put almost everyone in Utopia on high alert. For the first time, they no longer saw Charles and his students as strange looking people. Now, they were weapons. Walking, talking, thinking weapons.

Charles broke off from psychically monitoring the debriefing when he felt a mind out across the bay. A familiar presence from earlier today. He reached out and was suddenly in the mind of Quicksilver, the young man that had been at Erik's side. He was on the boardwalk, dressed in civilian clothes while he pushed a wheelchair. Dressed in civilian clothes, but still wearing his helmet, was Erik.

"Are you in Pietro's mind yet, Charles?"

"How did you know this would work?"
Charles asked through Pietro's mouth.

"Because I know you. I wanted you to find Pietro's mind out here."

"What's to stop me from alerting the authorities?"
He asked, stepping away from the wheelchair and walking around to face Magneto. "They would be here within a minute."

"Yes, and my friend the teleporter? He's nearby. I would be gone and miles away in ten seconds."

"State your business then. I don't want to spend anymore time inside this mind than I need to."


"I just wished to apologize for the events from earlier. Had I known it was going to be you they sent, I may not have went through with the attack."

"No, but you would have settled for an attack elsewhere. Somewhere where more people could have been hurt. Don't apologize for things you're not sorry for."

"I guess you're right. But I do wish to thank you, though. That display of mutant power, it was more than I intended. So, thank your children for me. You and them helped me out more than you know."

"I suppose I can't convince you to give this up, can I?"

"No more than I could convince you to give up your foolish quest. But I would only ask that you stay out of my way."

"I'm afraid I can't do that."

"Well, enjoy playing schoolmarm."

"Oh, I will. And you enjoy playing out the freedom fighter fantasy."

Lensherr chuckled and shook his head. "Tell me, have all the looks started yet? Or had it started before today? Are all your government friends looking at you and your children strangely, wondering when they'll snap and attack them?"

"If we have no further business,"
Charles said quickly. "I'll leave Pietro's mind and you can scamper off to your rat's nest."

"See? It's started. First it's long looks. Then, it'll be mutters and slurs. Before long, you'll be in a cage with a number on your forehead."

"Goodbye, Erik."

"A war is coming," Magneto said, looking up at the man that inhabited Quicksilver's body. "A war that will be very quick and very painful. Mutants will emerge the victor. If you are not with us, then you are against us. Remember that. Remember, we gave you a chance."

Pietro blinked his eyes rapidly and looked around, confused. Magneto whistled and Bolt came out from hiding.

Across the bay, Charles reached out into the mind's of the guards, agents, and other human staff members in Utopia. He could feel their fear and uncertainty. But, in one mind, he gleaned a word. A word and a letter, actually. From the mind of Gyrich, in the very back of his brain. Charles didn't know if it was a jumble of thoughts that had been combined, or if there was more to it, but the phrased made him unnerved.

The phrase was Weapon X.

__________________
"These are the times that try men's souls... Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:25 AM   #46
Eddie Brock
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread



Fort Kirby
Virginia
Summer 1941

With a heavy grunt, a young Steven Rogers threw the duffel bag containing all his earthly possessions onto the bunk. His weak, wiry arms trembled from the strain of carrying the heavy bag across the camp. The gray shirt he was issued hung loosely from his slumped shoulders and frail frame, and it was drenched in dark gray patches of sweat. Still, Steve wouldn't dare utter a word of complaint. It had taken all his perseverance to come this far. He wasn't about to surrender when his dream was within reach. Pushing the duffel bag aside, Steve promptly collapsed onto the uncomfortable bunk and stared at the ceiling.

Fort Kirby was the home of the Army's newest initiative: the Strategic Scientific Reserve. A collection of the best and brightest, plucked from military and civilian populations alike, the SSR sought to revolutionize warfare through advances in modern science and technology. Chiefly, they had been burdened with the ominous Project: Rebirth. Under the guidance of Dr. Abraham Erskine, a German defector and brilliant chemist, the SSR was trying to patent a so-called "Super-Soldier serum." This serum, as yet untested, would transform America's boldest and bravest into the pinnacle of human evolution. Soldiers of immense strength who neither tire nor fatigue. To most, it sounded too good to be true. To Steve, it was his ticket to the War.

Steve had never been the fastest nor the strongest, but he possessed more spirit than the entire First Infantry. As the War broke out in Europe, Steve knew that he belonged on the front lines. Unfortunately, his numerous maladies and physical ailments made him a poor candidate for recruitment. But if Erskine were right? If the SSR could craft a Super-Soldier serum? Steve would overcome his external flaws and unleash the soldier within. Or, at least, that was the line he was pitched. Either way, Steve was grateful enough to have come so far. Here he was, undergoing basic training at a real Army camp.

Steve's musings and meanderings were interrupted by the sound of approaching footsteps. Fearing it was a superior officer come to rebuke him for slacking off, Steve sat up straight and tall. Instead of a drill sergeant, however, he saw only another recruit.

The recruit was roughly the same height as Steve, though not quite so thin. That being said, the recruit didn't exactly possess an imposing figure. He wasn't half as large as the biggest Rebirth candidate, some decorated Corporal hand-picked for his leadership and accomplishments. In fact, Steve was probably the only candidate smaller than this recruit, and they seemed to be about the same age. It gave Steve hope that maybe he wasn't so out-of-place as it seemed.

"Mornin'," the recruit said politely. Steve detected the hint of a Brooklyn accent, which immediately drew his attention.

"Mornin'," he answered back, his interest piqued. "You from Brooklyn?"

The recruit gave a sly smile, like a pickpocket caught in the act. He looked up from his bag at Steve. "You can tell?" he said, half-surprised. "You must be from 'round there, too, huh?"

"Brooklyn Heights,"
Steve admitted. "You?"

"Sunset Park,"
the recruit conceded. He approached Steve with a certain braggadocio and thrust out his hand. "Sylvester Pemberton."

"Of Pemberton Auto?"
Steve asked. He took Pemberton's hand and shook it.

Sylvester laughed. "Yeah, that's my Pop." He shook his head. "You must've heard the damn jingle, then."

"On the radio? All the time,"
Steve smiled. "Pemberton Auto, for all your auto needs!"

"Christ, I'll be hearing that in my sleep,"
Sylvester chortled with a roll of his eyes.

Steve gave a laugh, too. "I'm Steve Rogers," he announced.

"Well, let's hope you're the only other Brooklyn boy here, Mr. Rogers. I can't stand the thought of being known around here as the 'Pemberton Auto' kid," Sylvester smiled.


Fort Kirby
Virginia
1230 Hours

As the SHIELD convoy pulled up to the access road, Steve couldn't help but feel a wave of nostalgia wash over him. After all, it was here - at Fort Kirby - that Captain America was born. The place had changed, obviously, in the past seventy years, but what hadn't? Steve wasn't the same energetic, idealistic youth that he was back then. And Sylvester? Well, he hadn't been chosen to be Erskine's test subject. Yet, at Steve's insistence, Sylvester had been included in Project: Rebirth. He became known as Captain America's sidekick, the Star-Spangled Kid. He never made it home from Europe, a fact which haunted Steve all these years.

Still, the most drastic changes had come from Fort Kirby itself. Shortly after the War, the Strategic Scientific Reserve had been re-purposed. Now calling itself the Strategic Hazard Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Directorate - or SHIELD, for short - the National Security Council elected one Colonel Nicholas Joseph Fury as its first executive director. Fury had risen to fame as the leader of the infamous Howling Commandos, an elite US Army strike force operating during World War II. Thanks to the Infinity Formula - an off-shoot of the Super-Soldier serum - Fury had experienced superhuman longevity, allowing him to remain as SHIELD's only executive director.

Fort Kirby, meanwhile, had been transformed. Above-ground, it was much the same. The tents and barracks which marked its days as a basic training camp for the United States Army still stood, much as they had seventy years ago when Steve first walked among them. However, a SHIELD facility had been constructed beneath the very soil - undetectable by radar, sonar, or UAV probe.

"You'll have to forgive the mess," Fury had explained as he, Steve, and Special Director Bordeaux descended in a cramped elevator. "We're in a bit of a transitory period. Getting ready to move all operations to a new base once construction is complete."

The elevator came to a halt, and Steve followed Fury and Bordeaux into the expansive hallway. The SHIELD seal - an eagle encircled within a ten-pointed star - was stretched out across the tiled floor. SHIELD agents scurried to and fro, carrying dossiers and briefcases. When they saw Fury, they diverted their eyes to the floor and walked faster. Steve was thankful because it meant the attention was directed away from him.

"Special Director Bordeaux will direct you to your quarters. We've prepared your shield and your uniform," Fury said over his shoulder as they walked.

"My uniform?" Steve asked, perplexed. "Is that necessary?"

"Up to you, Cap. This is your show now," Fury answered.

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Old 09-02-2012, 03:36 PM   #47
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread



With Great Power...
Part 6



~As you can see, Tim, the aerial view of the devastation is quite a sobering sight.~

~Thank you, Leslie. That's Leslie Fisher reporting live in San Diego. For those just tuning in, the United States Naval Base in San Diego was attacked today by a group of mutant terrorists. No reports as of yet of possible casualties, but, as you can see, the complete destruction of the military base is just...just completely frightening, especially when given that this was all caused by just a handful of people.~

~Not people, Tim. Mutants.~


"Ugnhh..."

Peter's head throbbed as his eyes slowly fluttered open. At first all he saw was a giant bright light, but he could hear familiar voices around them, even though he couldn't yet make them out.

"Ben, turn off the TV! Peter's waking up!"


Peter reached up with a shaky hand that had a cord of IV sticking into it, and rubbed his eyes. He could somewhat make out five shapes, but he was still groggy and feeling doped up on medication.

"You gave us quite the scare, kid. How are you feeling?"

Peter's vision was slowly coming back to focus, and he could now see that he was in a hospital room, hooked up to monitors and a saline drip. Standing all around his bed were Uncle Ben and Aunt May, Gwen Stacy, a doctor, and Detective Sawyer.

"Like I've got a pair of midgets doing cartwheels in my head", Peter winced as he tried to sit up in the bed.

"You're lucky that's all you feel", Maggie Sawyer said.
"And you're lucky that I didn't trust you to let us handle things, otherwise you could be dead right now."

"Wait...what?"

The memories were starting to come back to Peter, though they seemed distant, clouded by the meds they had pumped into his system.

"Warren...Miles Warren. His lab! I was in his lab, trying to shut it down and..."

Peter trailed off as he felt a wave of dizziness wash over him.

"Easy, baby", Gwen said as she moved closer, taking his hand and easing him back down onto his pillow.

"Yeah, I thought you might not leave it alone, so I had an officer keep tabs on you. Found you in the middle of a old WayneTech factory in bad shape and we sent you here."

"The lab, please tell me you shut down the lab", Peter asked, thankful that he was rescued, but he hoped desperately that the police did what he had come there to do: shut Miles Warren down.

"Sorry, Mr. Parker", Maggie frowned and shook her head.
"By the time we got there it looked like Warren had already cleared out a good portion of his work. When you're well, I'd like for you to come in and help us identify what we did confiscate. See if it can help us in catching this guy."

"Yeah, sure...I'll help you however I can, Detective."


"Take care of yourself, Mr. Parker...we'll be in touch", Maggie replied before saying goodbye to Peter's family and leaving.

"Sorry, folks", the Doctor chimed in, "it's getting late and he needs his rest."

"Goodbye, babe"
, Gwen smiled as she leaned in to give him a kiss.
"They say you should be released in the morning, so we'll all be back to pick you up."

Peter said his goodbyes to Aunt May and Gwen, and the women left the room with the doctor, leaving Ben and Peter alone.

"I don't know why you thought you had to take action, but...I'm proud of you."


Peter was surprised to hear his Uncle Ben say that, silently thinking that it must be the drugs and he was just hallucinating it.

"For whatever reason, I know you felt a responsibility to helping stop this lunatic and you did what you felt was the right thing to do. And, for that, I'm proud of you, son"
, Ben said with a smile.

"But, you're also damn stupid for going in by yourself like that. You could've been killed, Peter. Just think what that would've done to your poor Aunt May and me, along with Gwen and everyone else who cares about you."


"I'm sorry, Uncle Ben."


"It's okay, son", Ben replied, "like I said, you did what you thought was right, and I'm proud of you for that. Just next time you decide to play hero, use your head, okay?"

"You got it", Peter smiled.

"Now get some sleep, and we'll be back in the morning to take you home. Night, Peter."

"Good night, Uncle Ben."

As Ben left, he turned off the light, leaving Peter alone.
Peter lied back down in his bed, the rhythmic beeping the machines he was hooked up to eventually singing him to sleep.

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


Peter is inside Warren's lab, as the giant equipment surrounds him ominously, almost herding him to the large, egg-shaped chamber ahead. Peter cautiously walked forward, feeling uneasy, as though he were being watched from the shadows that were all around him.

Peter jumped as the chamber shook as though something was inside, slamming itself around.
Peter swallowed the lump in his throat and moved up to the chamber, attempting to peer in through the window. There was a thick cloud of green vapor that filled the device, making it nearly impossible to see into.
Peter felt a knot form in his gut, and the feeling that something was dangerously wrong came over him. Peter noticed something moving around in the green mist, something large. Suddenly, the maw of a large spider appeared out of nowhere from the green fog, smashing into the window and causing Peter to scream in fright and fall backwards.

The monster roared, a hideous and alien sound, and slammed into the door of the chamber again, and again, and again as Peter scurried backwards.
As Peter got to his feet, the door of the chamber exploded open, and a large humanoid spider darted out, and stared at Peter with it's cold, unnatural eyes.

The creature snarled and charged Peter, who turned and fled. But his legs felt as though they were made of lead, and the monster soon caught up to Peter.
Peter felt pure terror as the beast pinned him down with one of it's massive arms and began to web him into a cocoon. The monster, having fully ensnared it's prey, lifted Peter into the air, slowly lowering him into it's waiting, slobbering maw.
Peter opened his mouth to scream, but nothing came out...

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


Peter woke up caked in a cold sweat, gasping for air. It was all just some horrible nightmare, Peter sighed in relief as the cool night breeze caressed his face.

"Wait...", Peter uttered as he began to notice his surroundings. His feeling of elation at the realization it had been a nightmare turned into genuine panic.

"Holy ****!"

Gone was the hospital bed and room. Peter found himself now on the outside of the hospital, looking in...from eight stories up and clinging to the side of the building...

__________________
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Last edited by Johnny Blaze; 09-02-2012 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:17 PM   #48
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread



With Great Power...
Part 7



"Ahhhhhhh!"


Peter freaks out and loses his grip on the side of the building, and starts to plummet.
As he falls it's almost pure instinct that causes Peter to reach out with his hand and tighten his fist, causing a line of silvery thread to shoot out from his wrist.
The web line caught the side of the hospital and went taught, stopping Peter from hitting the sidewalk below.

"What the he-!"


Peter's words were cut off as the web line swung him into the side of the hospital. Peter smacked into the window like a lost bird, and fell the fifteen feet to the concrete below, amazingly landing on his feet.

"What the hell is happening to me...", Peter whispered aloud as he stared at his hands in astonished fright.

Peter began to feel light headed, and his legs began to shake. The last thing he sees before he passes out is a pair of orderlies rushing to him.


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


Peter awoke to find that he was back in his hospital bed, surrounded by the on duty doctor an the two nurses who came to his aid outside.

"Welcome back, Mr. Parker."

"What happened, doctor", Peter asked groggily.

"I was hoping you could tell me. How did you get outside, Mr. Parker?"

"I don't know", Peter as he rubbed the bridge of his nose, "I must have sleep walked."

"Past the staff and down three floors?"

"Sleep sneaking then", Peter shrugged.

"Okay, Mr. Parker", the Doctor sighed, "try and get some rest."

The doctor and the orderlies left the room, leaving Peter all alone. Though Peter's body desperately needed rest, his mind could not sleep as it raced into overdrive going over the events of the night.


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


The next night...


Peter wipes the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand. He was lying in bed with the sheet kicked off him, next to a peacefully sleeping Gwen Stacy.
Peter had gotten out of the hospital that morning, and had spent the day with his family. They had gone out for dinner at a new seafood place that Aunt May had wanted to try, and Peter had laughed and smiled.

But the whole while, in the back of his mind, Peter couldn't stop going over what's been happening to him. He's had the past day to think about and Peter has a hunch of what it is.

Only one way to be sure...

Peter looks at the clock on the nightstand that reads '2:34 AM', and then to Gwen, sleeping soundly all curled up in the covers.

Peter smiled and gently leaned in and gave her a little kiss on her cheek.

"Love you, Gwen...wish me luck..."

Peter slowly and agilely got out of bed without making a sound, and quietly got dressed and left the apartment.

__________________
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:39 AM   #49
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread

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Late night. NYU School of Sciences, Main Physics Lab


"How's the current looking Bob?" Professor Imes asks from across the lab. The professor is dressed down, in a golf shirt and khakis but he wears safety goggles. He peers into a safety glass display at what appears to be a simple piece of black stone. The stone is held up by three thin metal arms at the base and has electrical wiring wrapped around the top of it.

"Steady Professor." Bob replies after checking the electrical readout.

"Good." The Professor nods "Any reaction from the sample yet?"

A pause, then Bob shakes his head "No. Nothing yet."

"Nothing?" The Professor presses, giving Bob a somewhat disappointed, but almost hopeful look.

"Afraid not." Bob confirms.

"Hmph." The professor huffs in defeat before allowing himself to drop into his chair. He keeps his eyes on the strange black stone as he absentmindedly reaches for a ball point pen on his desk and sticks the non writing end in his mouth. Its something Bob has seen him do many times and he knows it to mean to that the Professor is fresh out of ideas.


"Should I discontinue the current?" Bob asks

"Hmm? Oh yes, yes my boy thank you." The professor says before turning his attention back to the object of his curiosity. "I just can't figure it out Bob. The sample is clearly emanating some kind of unknown radiation in small quantities but I can't for the life of me figure out how or why."

He leans back in his chair, the pen still in his mouth.

"8 months of study and all we've been able to conclude is that the radiation is non harmful, beyond that, well its a curiosity." He says while Bob listens in silence "Maybe its time we gave this puppy up after all eh? The Dean won't be happy about it but those boys at Metropolis University have been on my case about getting a chance to study it since March and I'm running out reasons not to let them have it."

"Don't give up yet Professor." Bob says reassuringly "You'll figure it out."

Bob had no idea if the Professor actually would, but he had grown quite fond of Professor Imes in the years he had been working for him. In fact the Professor was probably the closest thing he had to family in the world and couldn't just let the older man's defeatist remarks pass without offering some kind of support.

The Professor smiles at Bob, the action accentuating the wrinkles on his face. "Yes. I'm sure you're right my boy-"

BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING
BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING
BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING


The sudden and unexpected alarm cuts the Professor off mid sentence and makes both men jump.

"The fire alarm!" Bob shouts over the din of the still ringing bell.

"Come on!" Imes instructs as he gets up and heads towards the exit to to the lab. In the hall beyond a few faculty and students are already making their way out in a hurried but orderly fashion.

Bob follows the Professor out of the building and into the open courtyard that is the heart of the campus grounds where they join hundreds of others in gasping at the terrible sight of an on campus housing structure ablaze with students trapped inside.

From the panicked snippets of conversation around them the pair quickly realize that the sprinkler system in the dorm did not activate automatically as it should. Both the the base of the structure and the fire escape, are now awash in flames, preventing any escape for those trapped inside and the fire department is still minutes away.

"How did it spread so fast?" The Professor asks out loud. He's not really expecting an answer but when he gets no response at all he looks over his shoulder in surprise "Bob?"

***

Inside the dorm, students in various states of undress, some wide awake, others obviously having just been roused from sleep, are moving in a state of panic. A few try to fight the rapidly spreading blaze with little success. Many are coughing or crying. Some are on cell phones. Everywhere there is fear. Most students, realizing they have no other options, make their way to the roof of the burning structure.

On one floor, a third year political science student named Jane helps a younger colleague to her feet and orders her to head up the stairs. "Come on! We need to get to the roof!"

Jane is keenly aware that they have fallen well behind the others as she takes her dorm mate by the hand, and leads her through the smoke towards a staircase. They've nearly reached it when part of the roof in front of them collapses, blocking their path. Now the girls find themselves trapped on all sides by flames and though Jane strains her ears she still can't hear sirens approaching.

The girls huddle together, getting as low as possible and crying when one side of one of the flaming walls simply falls away to reveal the night sky beyond.

"Whu? What?" Jane blurts out in disbelief as she throws her head up, then her eyes widen as her feeling of disbelief grows stronger still. Its night out, but she has to squint and cover her eyes from the glare of a light so bright it practically dulls the flame.

"Its ok."Their savior says "You're going to be ok."








It is not long before the unexplained blaze is brought under control. The parking lot opposite the now ruined dorm is buzzing with activity, from reporters to family and friends to the obvious presence of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances.

Jane Olsen, the Political science student who, along with a younger dorm mate, were the first people on the scene saved by Golden Guardian, sits in the back of one of the ambulances with a blanket wrapped around her slender shoulders and a now cold and forgotten cup of coffee cupped between her hands and resting on her lap. Earlier she had been terrified, certain that she was moments away from death. Now she is calm, at peace, her attention almost entirely focused on bright hero who stands across the parking lot listening intently to the fire chief.

***

"The boys wanted me to tell you that they really appreciate your help tonight uh...Sentry..." Fire Chief Mathewson fumbles with the name. He reminds himself that he would have to get used to the ridiculous and colorful names of the heroes and villains that were starting to pop all over the place. He is certain that they would not be going anywhere.

"No problem Chief." The Sentry says with an easy smile, ignoring the apparent awkwardness the Chief was experiencing in having to deal with him. "I'm glad I could help."

The Chief nods, then turns his attention to a clip board being handed to him by a subordinate. He glances at it then sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose. Despite the Sentry's welcome efforts, it is obvious that Fire Chief Drew Mathewson is not having a good night.

"Something wrong?"

The Chief glances at the Sentry, as if contemplating whether or not he should share the information with him, then seems to decide that it can't hurt.

"Maybe." He begins "Fires out and nobody got hurt but we can't seem to figure out how it started or how it spread so damn fast."

The Sentry starts to consider this new information in the instant before radios begin squawking all around them.

"Trouble?"

"Yeah." Chief Mathewson replies with sudden vigor. The man had appeared bone weary a moment ago, now he was bursting with energy and barking instructions to his men. That done he turns back to the Sentry.

"We've got another fire. Same scenario, but this one's at an apartment complex by the water front. Fire crews are on their way but my best men and gear are tied up here. It'll be a few minutes..." The Chief's unfinished sentence hints at his request and Bob nods reassuringly. He's been listening intently to the radios and he already knows as much as the Chief.

"I'll meet you there." He says as he takes to the air, leaving a gust of wind in his wake mere moments before a serious looking man with a buzzed head of blonde hair rush towards their direction. The man, who is wearing a smart black suit is being followed closely by a blonde woman in pant suit.



"Hey!" The man calls after the rapidly departing Sentry."Dammit. We needed to talk to him."He says to Chief Mathewson.

The Chief gives the new comers an inquisitive look, then turns his attention to the task at hand. "Sorry but I've gotta get moving too If I'm going to catch up with him." The Chief answers as he heads towards the front of his truck with the pair following close behind.

"Then we're coming with you Chief." The woman says, speaking for the first time. Her voice is full of authority and it prompts the Chief to stop in his tracks and turn to face the newcomers

"And you are?"

"Special Agent Lindy Lee. FBI" She replies as she pulls her credentials from her coat pocket and shows them to the Chief. Her partner does the same and she adds"This is my partner Special Agent William Turner"

The serious man nods at the Chief and the two agents put their credentials away, but not before the Chief has gotten a good look. He cocks an eye brow at the agents "D.C. office huh? You guys are a long way from home."

"Special Assignment" Turner answers matter of factly. He's obviously not going to to volunteer anymore information.

"Alright then." Chief Mathewson says after a short pause "You're welcome to tag along but don't get in any of my boys' ways." He instructs as he climbs into the truck.

"Wouldn't dream of it Chief." Lee says before she and Turner climb in behind the Chief.


__________________
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Last edited by bkhedr; 09-23-2012 at 03:01 AM.
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:28 AM   #50
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The girl couldn't be older than 18. She's dressed in all black and has multiple face piercings. William had spotted her from some distance away, sitting in the dirt by the bus stop on a dusty road just outside LA proper. The city's smog engulfed sky line dominates in the distance behind her.

She notices his approach out of the corner of her eye and looks up at him while holding her hand up to her brow to shield her eyes from the sun. Her eyes linger for a moment, no doubt, because of his worn clothing, then she turns away.

By the time William has reached her the girl has lit up a cigarette and is taking a long drag. As he get closer, he cannot help but notice the Egyptian ankh tattooed on the inside of her slender wrist

"Hey." William says when he gets close enough. The sun is behind him and he's casting a shadow across her upper body and face.

She gives him a look custom made to discourage further conversation, then takes another drag of her smoke.

"You waiting for the bus?" He asks, ignoring the hint, as he lowers himself onto the dust beside her.

This prompts another incredulous look. "What are you high?"

William grins "If only."

She actually grins back, surprising him somewhat. There's no fear in her, no concern for who this man might be. This girl had either been through a lot or was too naive to know any better. Whatever the case his response had seemingly shifted his perception of him from to potentially worth talking to.

"Got one of those for me?"
William asks, gesturing towards her cigarette. He's gotten a grin out of her and he's not about to let that pass without at least getting a smoke.

"Sure thing man." She says as she reaches into a small leather bag sitting at her left and pulls a pack of Black Death brand cigarettes.

Now both of them are smoking on the side of the road.

"So what are you doing out here?"
She asks him

"You first." He says

"Just..."
She begins then pauses as if she's not sure what to say "Just on my to LA. To start a new life." She looks away from him and towards the city. She doesn't offer anymore information.

"Yeah..." William nods "Me too." He takes another drag. It suddenly occurs to him that he hasn't been around a female who wasn't a prison guard in years and he realizes that he's in no hurry for the interaction to come to an end.

"So..uh...you wanna head in together?" He asks somewhat casually, as if he doesn't care what the answer is.

"You planning on trying to rape me or something?" She replies.

"What?" William appears genuinely shocked "No. No. You've got it all wrong!" He says as he shakes his head and moves his hands back and forth in a 'no way' motion. In truth it had never occurred to him. William had been many terrible things in his black life, but never a sexual predator.

He needn't have been concerned because she responds by giving him a playful punch on the shoulder "Just kidding man!" she half laughs "Goddamn are you up tight?"

William seems momentarily stunned by this but he quickly recovers and relaxes once more. He extends an open hand "I'm Bill." He doesn't think to use a fake name.

She shakes his hand in an exaggerated manner "Tara. Nice to meet you Bill."

A bus appears on the horizon, speeding towards them. For William it has arrived too early and he looks at it and keeps his eyes on it when he talks.

"Well Tara. I had hoped to have the opportunity to get to know each better before telling you this, but I've gotta be honest with you." He turns his head and looks her in the eyes. "I don't have any bus fare."

"Great." she mutters "I just friended a homeless guy."

"Hey!"
He snaps before catching himself. He doesn't know why but he doesn't want to scare her off and when he continues his tone is back to friendly "I'm no bum. I just don't have anything on me right now but I can take care of myself. Spot me till we get into town and I'll take care of the rest."

It was true enough. William had no doubt that he'd be able to get his hands on a decent amount of cash in short order. Tara give no indication of what she's thinking as she climbs to her feet and dusts off her black pants.

"Just so we're clear, you'll owe me bus fair and a smoke." She finally says.

"You got it."
William replies.






"Mmm. Not bad." Tara comments between mouthfuls of street taco paid for by some effective pick pocketing on William's part.

"Yeah." William replies as he wolfs his taco down. He hadn't realized how ravenously hungry he was until the food had touched his lips.

The pair have arrived in the greater LA area and now sit side by side on a public bench near Long Beach.

Having finished his meal, William tosses the wrapper onto the street in front of him. Tara gives him a dissapproving look and although he doesn't know why, he jumps off of the bench with a huff in response and bends down to recover the wrapper.

"Happy now?" He says roughly as he tosses the wrapper in a trash can.

"Yup." Tara replies with a cheery nod and grin. "Everything has its place. Leaving something where it doesn't belong, well that's chaos."

"I don't like chaos." She adds, almost as an afterthought before taking another bite of her taco.

Her words have a strange and inexplicable effect on William who just stands there blinking, like she's speaking some kind of universal truth that cuts through to his core. Then he seems to snap back to alertness with a shake of his head. "Yeah whatever." he says, trying and failing to appear uninterested.

"Listen...." He begins as he looks away from her "I've paid you back and I've got something I wanna look into so..."

He didn't really have anything to look into. The truth was that he was finding himself to be too comfortable around her. Too trusting. There was something not quite right about this girl. Its seemed to make him gravitate towards her despite his loner instinct. He wasn't sure he liked that.

"Its a beautiful day. What do you say we go get high?" Tara asks, too casually, as she tosses the remains of her taco in the trash. If she's heard William or understood what he was hinting at she doesn't give any indication of it.

Whatever the case she's just said the magic words and William finds himself nodding before he's even had time to consider her proposal "Hell yeah."



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Last edited by bkhedr; 09-03-2012 at 12:20 PM.
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