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Old 09-03-2012, 01:49 PM   #51
Johnny Blaze
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With Great Power...
Part 8

Peter is in his lab looking blankly at a computer screen. Used equipment is strewn across the work station, as Peter has been working the past three hours testing himself against his theory.
Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Peter pulled out his phone and looked at the time: '4:19AM'.

With a defeated sigh, he fell back in his chair, looking up blankly at the ceiling.

"I can't believe it...that son of a *****..."

Warren had stolen Peter's work and used it to take his illegal experiments to the next level. He had built a splicer using Peter's redesign, and...it worked. Coupled with the compound that Peter and Ivo created, Miles Warren had successfully achieved human/animal splicing.

Peter's carelessness had allowed him to be used as a guinea pig in Warren's experiments...and it worked. Somehow, the DNA of a spider had bonded successfully in with his own. Though his human DNA was the clear dominate one, Peter still was no longer human.
The incident at the hospital was proof of that.

Peter began to feel a wave of depression, but quickly dispelled it.

No. What that bastard did to me was inexcusable, but I will NOT let it own me. I will own it. Whatever happened, it seems I've picked up some potential new abilities, and what kind of scientist would I be if I didn't put them to the test?



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



2 Days Later...

Peter closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He remains calm and still, focused on the task at hand. He pulls his hoody tight around his face to conceal it, and takes off running across the rooftop.
With casual twitch of his ankle Peter leaps the twelve foot gap between buildings easily, actually jumping over the small three story complex and coming crashing into the building on it's other side...


1 Week Later...


Peter is crawling up the side of a building. Nimbly, Peter leaps across to the building parallel to the one he's on, barely breaking strike as his foot is the only thing that slips.

Getting up to the edge of the roof, Peter looks off at some nearby building across the street.

Peter reaches out with his hand and shoots a line of webbing from the gland in his right wrist that sticks perfectly to his target.

Well, it's been an interesting life...

Peter pushes off from his perch, and immediately is overtaken by the rush of web-swinging as he swings across to the far building, coming in and smacking the concrete side hard, knocking the wind out of himself...


Two Weeks Later...


Peter hops about, loosening up and cracks his neck.

"Okay, baby...hit me with your best shot!"

Immediately the pitching machine starts throwing balls at Peter on it's highest setting. With inhuman agility, Peter dodges every single baseball, some even clocked at over 100mph.


Three Weeks Later...


A masked Peter scurries up the side of a tall building, his eyes burning with determination as quickly leaps and crawls higher and higher. Eventually Peter reaches the building's top.

At the top of the Empire State Building, Peter gazes down at the city below him. It was like a distant world, way down below. It looked almost peaceful in it's chaotic bustle.
Peter enjoyed the peace as the sunset in the distance and the bright lights of New York came on.

"Showtime..."

Peter leaps off the Empire State Building and begins to free fall. He inhales deeply as the wind rushes past him and the ground rushes to greet him. At the last second he fires a webline to a building across from him, swinging low and fast, skimming the city's street's and tops of cars, and using his momentum to launch himself high and far into the fading light.

Peter reaches out again, firing another line of webbing, and swinging across the road to another building. As Peter swung down the New York City streets, he could not suppress the grin from the massive adrenaline rush he was under.

Guy could get used to this...

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Old 09-03-2012, 04:30 PM   #52
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“Desperate times, desperate measures..."
I

Some people wake up to the sounds of birds singing idyllically outside of their windows. If you have the distinct honor of living in Harlem like I do, the sounds of sirens are usually what stir you from your sleep about five or six days out of seven. From the kitchen I can smell the strong scent of bacon and eggs calling out to me. I fumble around for a few moments and put on my gray track pants and then pull on the closest t-shirt, before heading to the kitchen.

There she stands, my goddess of a girlfriend, wearing only her underwear and one of my baggy green hooded tops. She stands on the balls of her feet and pushes around a few slithers of bacon in a pan with a large kitchen knife. I walk up behind her and place my hands around her hips, placing my chin on her shoulder and sighing with contentment.

“Good morning, beautiful.”

I lean in to kiss her on the lips and she turns her face away from me. Slightly taken aback, I plant a kiss on her cheek. She’s a little upset about the whole Buck thing still, which I can’t blame her for, but she’s starting to come around.

“Good morning, Daniel.”

Ouch. Daniel? Well, that hurt. Thinking back on it I can’t think of a single time when Colleen’s called me that. If it were ever in any doubt, I have been put firmly back into the doghouse. Maybe it was a little too hopeful of me to think she’d have forgiven me already.

“What are we having for breakfast?”

I squeeze my arms around her hips a little tighter and rather than embrace it, she pushes me aside slightly and begins to plate up the bacon.

“I am having bacon and eggs,” She begins, moving towards the other pan and pushing the single egg she had cooked onto her plate. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re having for breakfast. You’re welcome to help yourself to some of my granola if you like, because I’m pretty sure this is the last of the bacon.”

No breakfast either, absolutely great. Part of me is starting to wonder whether I’d have been better of had Buck not dropped the charges. At least in prison I would have got a warm meal and, depending on my luck, a cellmate that might spoon me in the middle of the night.

“Granola it is then. You’re going to regret not having bacon for breakfast later on when you’re feeling constipated. Me? Thanks to the granola, I’m going to have all the fiber I need. My insides are going to be working like clockwork.”

Not even so much as a smile.

I start to rummage around in one of the cupboards until I find myself some of Colleen’s granola and sit down opposite her. She refuses to make eye contact with me and when I try to make conversation with her is completely unresponsive.

Screw this. I’m going back to bed.

On my way back to the bedroom several letters fall through the letterbox on our door and I head over to see what they are. Crouching I thumb through them and grimace slightly as I notice every last one of them are bills. Using my fingers I messily open each one and, as if my morning could get any worse, they’re all overdue notices. It turns out that putting your boss into the hospital isn’t exactly the best way to make ends meet.

I try my best to work out how much we owe on my hands. Never was any good at math.

“Anything there for me?”

Colleen’s floating head sticks out of the kitchen doorway startles me. For a few seconds I look down at the bills and then back up at her, before smiling disarmingly and shaking my head.

“Nothing,” I lie. “You’ve got to leave for work in thirty minutes. Shower, do whatever it is you women do that takes so long, you don’t want to be late.”

She disappears back into the kitchen.

I’m not quite sure why I did that. Any normal person would have told the truth. We’re in a crap load of debt. If we don’t find a way to make a hell of a lot of money very quickly we’re going to have to start selling your beautiful, beautiful hair to survive.

Where on Earth am I going to get twelve hundred bucks?

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Old 09-03-2012, 10:58 PM   #53
Byrd Man
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Utopia
San Francisco Bay


Charles rapped softly on the door before entering through it. The room on the other side of the door belonged to Hank. Photos from the Hubble telescope, and posters of Einstein and Breaking Bad decorated the walls. There was a desk stacked with books and a chemistry set. Hanging upside down in the middle of the room was Hank, his claws dug into the ceiling. In his hands was a book Charles recognized.

"Children of the Atom: Humanity's Next Stage," Charles read the book's dust jacket upside down.

"By Charles F. Xavier," Hank said without looking down. "What does the F stand for, Professor?"

"Francis. My grandfather's name."

"Suppose it's better than Henry," Hank said, peeking from the book and flashing a small grin. "But not by much."

"And how did exactly did you find my book?"

"An eBay seller from Metropolis. I had to pay quite a sum for it. Apparently, it's out of print."

"Yes, well there's a reason for that. I wrote it back when I was at Oxford. Back before all of this," he said, motioning around him. "Was a reality."

"Don't be so hard on yourself, sir. What you lacked in experience, you more than made up for in thesis and themes."

"Would you come down from there, Hank? I'd like to talk to you."


Obliging, Hank leaped from the ceiling and flipped down in front of Charles. Standing, he nodded at his teacher and placed the book under the crook of his arm. Patting the large and furry teen on the shoulder, Charles sat on Hank's unmade bed while Hank sat at his desk.

"The others went on the ferry to the city this morning. Why didn't you go?"

"And pass up the chance to read this," Hank asked, holding up Charles' book. "While they are wasting the day shopping and playing video games, I'm reading up. Preparing myself for your future classes."

"And flattery will get you everywhere, Hank," Charles said with a smirk. "Except for this time. Why didn't you want to go?"

"Look at me," Hank said, removing his glasses. "I don't exactly fit in amongst the masses, do I?"
"The same applies for Rex, but that replicator hides his true form to the world. The same technology would easily do the same with you. Now, tell me, what's eating at you? It's more than your looks. You've been distant and quiet for a week now. So far, I have resisted the urge to read your mind. Don't make me give into that urge."

"It's just...," he started, then stopped. "I haven't felt in the mood after the events that transpired in San Diego."

"Are you still rattled by what Magneto did?"

"No," he said with a sigh. "It's what I did. More specifically, what I failed to do. As this group's second in command, you entrusted me with their safety and I couldn't keep them safe. I'm just thankful that Scott was there to step up in my place."

"Hank,"Charles said, reaching out and taking the blue mutant by the wrist. "There is no need to beat yourself up over what happened. This was our first outing, some kinks were to be expected. You didn't fail anyone. If anyone failed, it was me. I failed, and luckily Scott was there to make up for both of us. Speaking of that, what do you think of having him take over as field leader?"

"Resplendent."

"Excellent. As I said, Hank, don't beat yourself up. Your genius lies elsewhere. Men like us are better suited for a classroom. Whereas Scott seems more apt for the battlefield. If that's the reason for your self-imposed exile, there's no need for it."

"Thank you," Hank said, smiling. "But, all my pathos aside, I would rather spend an off-day reading instead of doing whatever it is they're doing."

"Well, I'm sure they're having fun."

*****



Scott jumped from the tree and hit the ground hard, rolling with his fall and popping up on to his feet. He looked over his shoulder at the shrubs and bushes around him. His heart raced and his mouth was dry from the adrenaline. He was gripping the stock of a gun tightly.

He was being hunted. Somewhere out there, someone wanted to shoot him. He stepped through the underbrush gingerly, making sure every step he took was safe. He peeked his head out the bush and saw his attacker. They had their back to him. Taking a deep breath, he pulled the gun from the bushes and prepared to aim for the target. He placed his finger on the trigger.

His attacker spun on her heels, ducking as the shot whizzed over her head. She squeezed off several shots as she fell. The shots hit home, hitting Scott in the chest and neck. He fell back into the bushes. Red paint covering his shirt and face.

"Gotcha," Jean said, leaning through the bushes to look down at him. In her right hand was her royal blue paintball gun. "And if I'm doing the math right, that means Rex and I win."

"What about Jeff?" He asked, standing up and wiping the paint from his neck.

"Oh, I took him out ten minutes into the game."

"Yeah, yeah," he said, looking down at the red paint on his shirt. "I really liked this shirt."

"I'm sure the people at Utopia can get it cleaned. If not, I can help. My dad was a house painter and my mom used to get paint stains out of his clothes all the time."

Together, Jean and Scott walked through the paintball arena towards the front. They walked slowly, chatting each other up about any and everything they could talk about. When they finally got to the front of the shooting area, Jefferson and Rex were waiting. Jefferson had yellow paint splattered on his shirt and jeans and was tapping his foot impatiently. Rex's multi-colored skin was hidden behind a hard light hologram that showed him as a normal sixteen year old with blonde hair.

"There they are," Rex said. "I guess we won?"

"See any paint on me?" Jean asked, smiling and holding her arms up.

"We ready to go?" Jefferson asked, looking at his watch. "We got about an hour before we need to be back to Utopia and I want to swing by that Italian place and get a doggie bag to take home with me."

"So, why are we holding you up? Just go and we'll meet you at the ferry."

"You know the rules," Scott said, nodding to the front of the building. "We have to stay together. Makes things easier for them."

"That's right, I forgot about our babysitters."

The four of them left the paintball place. Sitting on a bench outside the building were two men in black suits. They watched as the four teens walked up to them.

"Have fun?" One of them asked, checking his watch. "You kids got about another hour to kill."

"Before we go anywhere, Agent Duncan, can we go back to Rotelli's? I want to get some of that lasagna to take back home with me."

"Sure," Duncan said, standing and nodding to his partner.

The two agents escorted the four mutants towards a black SUV parked on the side of the street. As they approached it, though, the ground beneath them began to shake.

"Uh-oh..."

"That can't be good."

Down the block, a building face exploded outwards. Rubble and debris shot into the air and slammed into the streets. Scott jumped into the back of the SUV and pulled his visor from under the seat. He slid it on to his face and came back out just as five figures were walking down the street towards them. They each had sacks marked "National Bank" slung over their shoulders.

"What is this?" One of them snorted. He was a big man covered in hair.

"Easy, Mammoth," a shorter man at his side said. The man was thin and had what looked to be a portion of his brains showing. The man closed his eyes and a buzzing went through the heads of the four mutants and their two government handlers. "They're mutants," the man said with a grin. "Like us... except, they work with the government. Well, no matter. Mutant or human, we treat cops the same. Mammoth, Powderkeg if you would be so kind..."

Mammoth dropped the sacks on his shoulder and stepped forward at the same time as another heavy set man. The rubbed his knuckles and and popped his neck.

"Alright, kids," Mammoth said as he and Powderkeg charged. "Time to show you how we earned the nickname of Fearsome Five!"

__________________
"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 09-04-2012, 04:27 PM   #54
Johnny Blaze
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With Great Power...
Part 9

Peter looks ahead, staring at the old fort in the backyard of Ben and May's house. Uncle Ben had built that thing by himself one summer, and Peter had spent a good portion of his youth in that thing. But the years were not too kind to the fort, and it now stood as a shamble of what it once was.

"Penny for your thoughts"
, Ben asks as he walks up and stands next to Peter.
"Obviously you got something on your mind, son...getting it off your chest might help."

Peter nodded his head and smiled. That was Uncle Ben, always to the point with things. And he was right. Something was definitely on Peter's mind...

"Well", Peter begins, trying to figure out how to explain his unique situation to Ben with avoiding the details.
"I've recently been given more...power...at work. And I've been wracking my brain with what to do with it. I could easily use this to set it up that Gwen and I, you guys, we'd all be well off."

"That's a tough decision you got on your plate, Peter", Ben replied.
"And, judging by how it's bothering you, I imagine there's a lot riding on the choice you make."

"In your position, Pete...you're a creator. Always have been. At OsCorp you're making things that could potentially better mankind, but that doesn't always happen."


"Most in your position are always looking at the bottom line, and they don't care about the rest of the people. They abuse their authority daily so long as it keeps the cash flow coming. Thankfully though, you aren't like that."

"You're a good person, Pete"
, Uncle Ben smiles and squeezes Peter's shoulder.
"I trust you'll do the right thing. You've always had a good conscience and I don't see it failing you now."

"Thanks, Ben Kenobi"
, Peter jokingly replied.
Though he already knew what he had to do, hearing Ben say it gave Peter a boost of confidence that he needed to push him in the right direction...

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


Peter is up in his apartment sitting in his office. Peter's laptop is running on the desk, but he isn't paying attention to it. Instead, Peter's focus is on the sketchpad sitting in his lap as he is working on coming up with costume designs.

Let's see...definitely will need a mask to protect my identity...don't want any of my friends or family getting hurt...no cape, it'd just get in the way of web-swinging...speaking of which, going to need to provide room to fire the webbing...

Ping

Peter looks up at his laptop, rolling over there in his chair and putting the sketchpad and pencil down.

Like before, Peter had hacked into the city's power grid in hopes of finding Warren. And, like before, he's got a hit.

"I had a dog...and his name was Bingo."


It was now or never...

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


Peter stood on the rooftop looking out over the city as the moon was hidden up above behind thick clouds. Peter adjusted his black ski mask and goggles, tightened his belt and stretched out in the jumpsuit he had just bought the other day.

Still a little tight in the crotch...


Peter pulls out his phone, pulling up the electrical schematics of the city and highlighting the anomaly that was potentially Miles Warren.
Peter went over it and then put it back into his pocket. With a deep breath, a focused Peter Parker took off, sprinting to the roof's edge and leaping off.

"WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"


The webline shot out, connecting with the top of a nearby building, and Peter skimmed the streets before the momentum took him back into the air.
People going about their nightly business who heard him, looked up to only catch a glimpse of the fast moving person who was amazingly swinging down the boulevard, from building to building, at break-neck speed.

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Old 09-04-2012, 04:32 PM   #55
Andy C.
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"This is Cat Grant, Galaxy News, reporting live from the Bradbury Aerospace Center outside of Metropolis, just moments away from the historic launch of the Excelsior spacecraft! Earlier today, we spoke with the man behind this unprecedented event, Doctor Reed Richards, who gave this statement:"

"I'm, erm, I'm not exactly used to speaking in public--I like to let my work do the talking for me. But I think an occasion like this deserves a few words. So, here goes......*ahem*.....Of all of the species that this incredible planet has produced, humanity has been the only one to look up at the stars and dream of going there. Men like Sir George Cayley, Robert Goddard, Wehrner Von Braun, and many others have taken us into orbit and to the moon, our first steps into the cosmos. Today, I'm hoping to bring us even further, beyond the limits of what was previously believed possible, and into the realm of the truly fantastic...."

I'm at my desk at the Daily Star, doing a rewrite of my article on the recent string of disappearances in the Bakerline district. Over the last few months, over three dozen people have gone missing in a working-class neighborhood, mostly construction workers. None of the missing workers seem to have any connection to each other, apart from the fact that most of their recent projects involved underground construction.

I'm only halfway paying attention to the article, though-- right now, my eyes are on the TV screen in the newsroom, covering the launch.

"Doctor Richards will be commanding the launch himself, but the actual flying of the spacecraft will be handled by decorated Air Force pilot Ben Grimm. Joining them is Susan Storm, Doctor Richards' partner, and sister of movie star Johnny Storm, who reportedly poured his life savings into this venture on the condition that he gets to come along for the ride...."

The image on the screen changes to the site of the launch, to the large gantry supporting the Excelsior herself. The bulk of the ship is in four outward-flaring engines, like the Russian Soyuz rocket. Above the break-away stage 1 engines is a perfectly spherical globe, inside of which is the ship's antimatter drive. Flaring out from the globe are two vectored wings, which angle upwards toward the rocket's cone, hosting the ship's bridge and living quarters.

The camera pans towards the Excelsior at a low angle, making the ship seem even taller as ground control makes its final checks. It's an impressive sight, five stories of the most advanced engineering that man has ever accomplished.

And above it, miles and miles of the wild blue yonder.....

*****


"Okay," I say to myself, looking up into the blue, amid acres of wheat on the southern end of the farm. "Let's see if I can do thirty seconds today."

I'm twelve years old, and I'm measuring how high I can jump. I don't have an altimeter or any other measuring equipment, but I do have a few math textbooks that will show me how to calculate it. So I'm jumping as high as I can, and counting the seconds until I come down.

Right now, my record is twenty-seven seconds.

"Clark?" I hear Ma calling across the field as she makes her way towards me. "Clark, be careful out there! Someone might see you!"

I cringe as I realize she's right; way up in the air with no tall buildings or fog, I'd stick out against the sky like a sore thumb.

When I was six, I lost my Captain America toy underneath Darrell Sutton's new combine harvester while playing out in the fields with my friend Pete. He didn't see me go under when he turned it on, and I got caught in the blades. I should have been torn to pieces, but I just remember being very dizzy from all the spinning, and the harvester being wrecked beyond repair. After a complicated investigation and a few weeks of avoiding tabloid reporters, Ma and Pa told me I had to be careful about all of the things I could do, that people wouldn't understand and would be afraid of me.

Since then, I've made sure nobody knows about my gifts.

Still, I really want to break my record.

"Just one more?" I ask Ma, a pleading look on my face.

"All right, one more," Ma says, "but after that, you need to come inside for a while."

I smile, and look up into the sky. The sun is bright out today, and there's only a few tufts of clouds up above. And in my energetic twelve-year-old mind, I get to thinking that if I jump really hard, I just might be able to reach up and touch those clouds.

"Three......two......one......." I count down, crouching down to jump, "......ZERO!"

I shove off of the ground with all of my strength, the muscles in my thighs and calves burning a little from the sheer strain, and the wind roars in my ears as I go higher and higher......

".....six......seven.....eight.....nine....." I count, reaching out with both hands towards the clouds.

I can already feel myself losing speed, the air whipping at me with less force. I've only been airborne twelve seconds. I have to keep going, or I'll crest too early and come up short.

I stretch my arms out as far as I can, trying to just will myself up higher, but I still feel myself getting slower......and slower.....until I finally run out of speed.....

.......but I don't start coming down.

At seventeen seconds, I'm floating in the air.

I look down, and I can't just see all of Smallville.....I can see all of Kansas. In fact, I look one way and then the other, and can see the horizon bend away from me. I'm so high up I can see the curvature of the Earth.

And holy cow, I'm not coming down! I'm.........I'm flying!

I completely lose track of the seconds that have passed. All I know is that it's hours before I finally come back down.

I spend the rest of that day in the air, learning how to loop and bank and dive, laughing like a fool as I shoot through clouds and try to grab handfuls of water vapor.

Back on the ground, I have to hide, to suppress what I can do, because there are so many people that could get hurt if something went wrong.

But up here, it's just miles and miles of the wild blue yonder, all to myself.



*****


"Ladies and gentlemen, we have liftoff!" Cat Grant announces as the camera watches the Excelsior blast off from the launch pad, huge plumes of smoke and fire erupting from the rocket as it pushes skyward. "The Excelsior has just begun the first part of its maiden voyage! In just a few moments, the stage-1 rockets will detach, falling harmlessly into the ocean, and the experimental antimatter drive will take Doctor Richards and company out to the far reaches of the solar system!"

There are a few excited whoops and cheers from around the newsroom, but Mr. Taylor shoots a cold glare around the room that quiets everyone down in a hurry. The Daily Star is all about professionalism, and George Taylor likes to keep it that way.

A minute or so passes as the Excelsior thrusts higher and higher into the air, propelled by those massive rockets, before finally they break away.

The camera zooms in closer as the spherical globe at the heart of the ship begins to glow a bright violet, soon bathing the ship in an aura of light.

"Here it is, folks, the antimatter drive in action!" Cat Grant declares, her need to narrate somewhat diminishing the moment.

Suddenly, the violet aura flickers and flashes, before the sphere bursts open, a ribbon of light spilling out of it.

"Oh my God," Grant continues to narrate, "Something's gone wrong. The Excelsior is suffering some kind of malfunction! It's going to crash!"

Sure enough, the ship lists over to one side, and starts losing altitude, still bleeding that violet energy out of the hole in its hull.

"Kent, hold the Bakerline story and get on the spaceship disaster, now!" I hear Mr. Taylor say as he turns to my desk. "I want--........Kent? Anyone see where Kent went? All right then, Leeds, the story's yours!"

As the newsroom buzzes with activity, nobody else notices that the new guy has stepped away from his desk. I duck into the janitor's closet, where no one can see me.



*****


"Clark!" Pa yells over the roaring wind and the drenching rain. "Clark, we have to get down to the cellar!"

I'm fifteen years old, and the biggest twister in thirty years is tearing through Smallville. We've already penned up all the animals and brought the dog in, so all that's left is to hole up in the storm cellar and wait it out.

Except I can see further than anyone else, and more clearly too. I can see the tornado from here, still miles out, and I can see the dust and debris so clearly that I can tell which way it's heading.

"You and Ma will be fine here," I say back to him. "It's heading towards town!"

"Good Lord," I hear Pa say. "Clark, you can't--"

"I've gotta do something," I say to him, stepping out into the rain. "A lot of people could get killed if I don't."

"Clark, you--"

"I'll be careful, Pa," I turn back to him and smile. "Scout's honor."

With that, I take to the skies, fighting against buffeting winds and rain, and speed into the heart of the storm.

*****



The Excelsior is a shining speck high up past the clouds, but not for long. Speeding towards it, I extend my vision to get a better look at it. Fortunately, the ship's hull is still mostly intact, but it's being bathed in that violet energy, and the whole thing is falling at a tremendous speed.

What's worse, tracking the trajectory of the ship's descent, it looks like it's falling towards Metropolis. If the ship crashes in the middle of the city, it could kill hundreds of people.....

.....scratch that. I read Doctor Richards' statements on how the antimatter drive works. With the drive breached and on the verge of going critical, a collision with solid matter would probably cause the core to annihilate, wiping out not just the whole city, but the surrounding five states.

Looking through the hull and into the ship, I see that Doctor Richards and his crew are still alive. Captain Grimm is vainly fighting with the controls, Johnny Storm is holding onto his seat for dear life, and Doctors Richards and Storm are frantically working at the ship's computer terminals, fighting against massive G-forces to try and stabilize the reaction from the bridge.

I can see the looks on their faces, though; they know it's a losing battle. There's nothing they can do to stop disaster now.

But I'll bet good money there's something I can do about it.

After all, this isn't the first interstellar spacecraft I've seen.

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Old 09-04-2012, 04:33 PM   #56
Andy C.
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*****


"That's twenty in the last six months," says Pa, a disapproving look on his face as he looks at the article in today's paper. "How much longer do you think you can do this before someone recognizes you?"

I'm seventeen years old, and Ma and Pa aren't happy. Ever since the tornado, I've been using my gifts to help people when they need it. I've pulled people from fires, I've saved people from floods, I've stopped car crashes. Usually I'm able to move fast enough that the people I save don't get a chance to see me. But not always.

Half of Kansas has been in an uproar with stories about an "angel in blue jeans," a young man who can fly and lift incredible weights and survive things that would kill anyone else, then leaves without saying a word. Most of them are nonsense that folks have been making up to feel like they're part of the story, but there are enough that hit pretty close to home.

"Well, what am I supposed to do?" I say with frustration. "I can't just ignore it. Those people would have died if I didn't do something."

"Clark, we know you're trying to do some good out there," Ma says, "But you have to be more careful. What if someone saw your face, and knew who you were? They could call the police, or the military, or who knows what. And how much good would you be able to do locked up in a laboratory somewhere?"

"Hmph," I snort. "At least in a laboratory, I might actually get some answers about myself."

"Clark, that's not--"

"No, I'm tired of dancing around the issue," I finally say. "My whole life, you've told me that I need to hide what I can do, that people wouldn't understand if they found out what I really am. But you've never once actually told me what I am! You said I was adopted, but from where? Am I a mutant? Some kind of genetic experiment? What?"

Ma and Pa look at each other in silence for a few moments, before Pa speaks up.

"You're right," he says. "It's time you knew. Hell, you've probably been ready to know for years now. It's just.......I still have a hard time believing it myself."

"We wanted to make sure you knew that, that what you are.......it doesn't matter as much as who you are, Clark," Ma says.

"What are you talking about?" I say, uneasily.

"You remember how we always told you to stay away from the old barn?" Pa says. "Well, it's time to show you what's in there."



*****


The antimatter core is now glowing white hot, spewing jets of plasma into the air. It's only got maybe a minute or so before the annihilation reaction occurs. I push myself to go faster, closing the gap between myself and the crashing ship, then grab onto the hull and pull hard.

The Excelsior's hull is made of an experimental ceramic, stronger and more resilient than titanium. It takes some doing, but I'm able to pry off a few panels to get to the drive itself. The drive is a mass of looping rings, particle accelerators that slam electrons and positrons together to generate the ship's energy. Arcs of positive and negative electricity crackle through the globe, and at its heart is a spherical chamber about the size of a basketball, bursting with violet-white plasma.

The core is about to reach critical mass. I have to get it out of here before it kills these people.

I fly into the maelstrom of electricity, feeling my muscles spasm and burn as energy surges through my body. The heat is unbelievable as ribbons of plasma lash out at me. But I manage to grab hold of the core chamber and pry it out of its place.

Holy cow, this thing is hot! It's like trying to hold the sun itself in your hands. Come on, Clark, you can handle it. Just get it out of here.

As the ship spins and tumbles through the air, I fly out of the hole in the hull and shoot upwards, the unthinkably hot sphere still in my hands. Once I'm high enough that I can see the stars, I hurl the sphere as hard as I can, watching as it disappears into the blackness of space in a matter of seconds.

A few seconds later, the sky goes completely white from the immense explosion of the antimatter core's annihilation. Fortunately, the explosion was far enough away from Earth to avoid doing any real harm, and the Earth's atmosphere will protect from most of the radiation.......though I can't imagine it'll be too good for orbiting satellites.

Still, it could have been a lot worse.

Unfortunately, the job's only half done. Reed Richards and his crew are still in a nose-dive towards Metropolis at several hundred miles per hour.

I dive back down towards the Earth, a cone of displaced air surrounding me as I pick up speed, before it disperses with the loud CRACK of a sonic boom.


*****


"I'm done running," I say, sitting in the old barn with Ma and Pa. "I'm done running away from what I am."

It's six months ago. I've been traveling across the world for seven years, ever since I left home. I took work as a freelance reporter, slowly but surely gathering enough credits at various universities to earn a Bachelor's in Journalism, partly because I've always had a passion for the business, partly because being in a place where there's a constant flow of breaking news tells me where I'm needed.....

.....but also because telling other people's stories distracts me from my own.

The ship looks the same as it did the first time I was out here--I don't think it's even gathered any dust. It's a spherical pod, with a long tadpole-like tail tapering out of the back end, and sweeping fins on either side. The ship's structure is mostly metallic, a gold-colored alloy, but worked with intricate lattices of crystal, particularly in the fins and the pod at the front. Neither the metal or the crystal is anything I can identify; it's incredibly dense, and the crystal gives off a high-pitched ringing when I put my hand near it-- though I've honestly been afraid to actually touch it.

Because to touch the ship means I have to acknowledge that it's real. And if it's real, then it means I'm not human. It means I'm not even from this world. It means I'm an outsider....an alien.....

"Clark, I can't even begin to imagine what this is to you," Pa says carefully. "But we've watched you grow, we've seen the things you do.....well, you've become one of the finest men I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Don't you ever forget that."

"Thanks, Pa," I say with a smile, "Love you, too."

With that, I place my hand on the pod.....

.....and my mind is suddenly full of images.

I see a world, massive and ancient, with mountains of jewels, vast seas teeming with incredible creatures, jungles of scarlet larger than whole continents on Earth.

I see people, ingenious and brilliant people, forging a civilization of technological miracles, building cities of gleaming gold and glittering crystal, spires that stretch for miles into a deep purple sky.

I see a man and a woman, holding hands. The man is tall and slim, apparently in his early middle-age, with jet black hair and a pointed beard punctuating his square jaw, like mine. The woman is slightly shorter and shapely, her gold and white hair draped over her shoulder, her bangs reaching just above her piercingly bright blue eyes.....again, like mine.

"Em lo an eth soo laa Jor-El," the man says, looking at me.

"....what?" I ask.

"Brainwave patterns recognized, synchronizing with host's language recognition," the man says in a slightly mechanical voice. "Can you understand me now?"

"I.....um....yes, I can," I say, confused. "What's going on? Who are you?"

"My name is Jor-El," the man says. "I am your father."

"And my name is Lara," the woman introduces herself. "Your mother."

"To be more technically accurate," the man corrects, "We are synthetic-intelligence constructs created by your biological mother and father, their conscious minds copied and stored into this program in order to act as avatars for you. Their thoughts, their memories, their emotional responses, are all stored and simulated through us."

"To make a parallel with the customs and beliefs of this planet's cultures," the AI simulation of Lara says, "You could think of us as the 'ghosts' of your parents. They sent us to you to guide your way on this world."

"I've got so many questions," I say, overwhelmed by what I'm seeing, the images and memories being projected into my mind. "These things I'm seeing, this world.....what is it?"

"What you're seeing is Krypton," Jor-El explains. "The world where you were born. For millennia, it was the guiding light in the universe. Our people set in place a civilization unlike any other, one of reason and ethics, of hope and compassion, that raised itself higher than any that has come before or since."

"That was long ago, however," Lara says, sadly. "Now our world is gone, our people lost. You, our son, Kal-El, are all that remains."

"We tried our best to save everyone," Jor-El says, his voice full of regret. "In the end, though, we could only save you. We found a world where you would stand the best chance of survival, and sent you with the hopes that you would grow and flourish. And that, you most certainly have, Kal-El."

"Kal-El....." I repeat him, saying my own true name for the first time.

"The Last Son of Krypton," says Lara, "And the greatest hope for the Earth."

"What do I do now?" I ask.

"We have looked into your memories," says Jor-El, "and we have seen how your physiology has adapted to this world, and we have seen the ideals your adopted parents have instilled in you. It is good they have taught you to use your powers to aid others, but there will come a time when you will no longer be able to do it in secret."

"You are a child of two worlds now, Kal-El," says the artificial ghost of my mother. "And you will have to represent the best of both. Earth is young, its societies primitive compared to what they will be, but their passion, their spirit, has the potential to make them genuinely great. In time, they could reach the level of our people, perhaps even surpass them."

"But only if they have an ideal to strive towards," Jor-El continues. "This world has been host to heroes with extraordinary abilities. In time, you will become their champion, and much more. You will be this world's Man of Tomorrow."

"I don't know if I can do that," I say. "I mean, I can help people, sure, but I'm not a leader. I don't want to rule or control anybody. I just want to help."

"Then help," says Lara, a gentle smile on her face. "Follow your conscience, do what you know is right. The rest will come as it may."

"And we will be here for you, if you ever need guidance," says Jor-El. "Of all of the gifts that we have given you, the one that matters most is our hope, and our love. May you always remember, Kal-El."

The images in my head fade away, and I step back from the pod. I'm back in the old barn with Ma and Pa.

"Clark?" Pa says. "Are you okay, son?"

"I, um....yeah, I'm fine," I say, shaking my head. "I think.....I think I have an idea."

"What kind of idea?" asks Ma.

I think back to when I was little, reading stories about Captain America and the Invaders. The bright colors, the capes, the way they all seemed larger than life itself.

I think of the clothes I saw Jor-El and Lara wearing. Blue trimmed with red and gold, my father wearing a bright red cloak.

I think of the symbol on my father's clothing, on my mother's necklace, displayed on banners in the images I saw of Krypton. A diamond shield, with a symbol in the middle that looked for all the world like a stylized letter 'S.'

"Ma," I ask. "Do you still have that old sewing kit in the linen closet?"


*****


The Excelsior screams through the air, a trail of black smoke trailing behind it as the ship falls towards the Earth. I'm catching up with it, punching through the sky like a missile. I have to get under it, see if I can slow it down.

Pieces of the ship are starting to break off, including one of the large stabilizing wings. The huge chunk of metal and ceramic whips towards me.....

....and I plow through it without even slowing down.

I'll be honest, the impact hurts. An awful lot, actually. But I can't slow down, not while people are in danger.

I finally catch up with the Excelsior at cloud level, somewhere around fifty thousand feet up and still falling fast. I have to slow this thing down.

Grabbing on to the nose cone, I begin to push, straining against several hundred metric tons moving at terminal velocity. I hear the groaning of bending steel as the ship's internal structure starts to buckle against the pressure.

This is tricky. If I push too hard, I'll just punch right through the ship. If I don't push hard enough, it won't slow the ship down enough to avoid a catastrophic crash.

For what feels like forever, I push against the falling Excelsior, straining to slow the ship's descent, then having to back off when I feel the structure giving way. Looking inside, I see that Doctor Richards and company have blacked out from the G-Forces, but they're thankfully still okay.

We're at roughly the same height as the Lexcorp Tower when I finally manage to get the Excelsior to a manageable descent. I can hear people below me, yelling in panic, scattering from the streets as I start to bring the ship down in Centennial Park.

"Oh my God, what's happening?!"

"That thing's about to crash! Look out!"

"Wait, look! Up in the sky!"

I touch my feet down on the park's grass, and start to put the ship down.......and finally begin to feel every muscle in my body aching from the strain. My God, I don't think I've ever lifted anything that heavy before.

I take a few moments to catch my breath, then pull open the door to the Excelsior's bridge. I check to make sure that Richards and his crew don't have any major internal injuries, then pull them out of the cockpit.

A huge crowd is gathering around us as I pull the crew to safety. Cops, paramedics, reporters......and sure enough, there's Lois and Jimmy, muscling their way through the hundreds of onlookers to get to the front.

"It's all right, everyone," I say, trying to calm down the panicked crowd. "Everyone's okay. Doctor Richards and his friends are fine."

"Excuse me! Excuse me!" Lois shouts over the crowd. "Who are you?"

"Me?" I say, before giving Lois a smile.



"I'm just someone who's here to help."


Last edited by Andy C.; 09-05-2012 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:54 PM   #57
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I stand on the roof of my building, fiddling with the radio earpiece I've rigged to tap into police scanners, attempting to shove it into my makeshift mask. From my feet to my neck I'm covered in high-performance compression material. It's light, and breathable, allowing me to move in the way I need. My mask is a simple mesh one, with an open oval where my eyes are.

On my hands and feet are parkour shoes and gloves, which will allow me to move along the rooftops and rung along the city streets with ease. I've lined the outside of the gloves with MMA-like fighting gloves to protect my hands from punches.

A simple repelling harness wraps around my waist, with the rope I've purchased as well as a few special supplies I've put together on my own.

It's not bulletproof, or knife-proof. It's not black ops. But it'll have to get the job done. It's all I could afford, and I couldn't wait any longer. I have a mission to take care off, protective equipment or not.

It's time to send a message.

The radio crackles to life in my ear, and I adjust the scanner on my belt to try and get a police feed.

"Base, this is DC-27," a voice comes over the radio. I smile, knowing this is the exact man I'm looking for. "Just passed by Eddie Skeevers on the corner of Walnut and 50th."

"And?" the dispatcher responds, annoyed.

Eddie Skeevers. The man who runs Carmine Falcone's drug shipments into the city, and takes care of hiding any contraband that Falcone needs to disappear. Everyone knows it, but no one will touch him, lest they run afoul of Falcone.

But this detective is sure as hell going to try, "And the guy is suspected-"

"Suspected. No outstanding warrants. Nothing. Leave him alone, Gordon."

He might have to leave him alone, but I sure as hell don't. I take off in the direction the detective indicated on the scanner, knowing it's not far from my location.

This is the kind of opening I need. This is the kind of guy that has information. Real information on the mob's comings and goings. Getting some out of him could give me the opportunity I need to announce my presence in Gotham, and to begin to make the mob sweat a little.

I glide easily over the rooftops, my equipment feeling like an extension of my body rather than a hindrance. I leap over an alley, swiftly clearing the gap easily, and landing softly on the parkour shoes.

It only takes me a few minutes to reach the intersection where Gordon saw the mobster, and luckily I see him exiting a bar down the street, probably a shakedown for protection money. Skeevers is noted as enjoying shaking down the innocent. They say he gets a thrill off of it.

Disgusting.

I move over towards the alley closest to where Skeevers entered, and smile as he turns into it, heading towards the car parked below me. I quickly locate a drain pipe near me, and silently slide down it, hunkering in the darkness as he clicks the unlock button on his keys, causing a flash from his taillights.

It's enough light to semi-illuminate me, and draw his attention for a second. But it's too late. I toss the end of the rope I fashioned into a bolo whip at his feet, tying them up.

With a quick jerk, I yank his feet out from under him. He attempts to claw his way away from me, but I reel him in quickly. Picking him up and tossing him against the back wall of the alley, I snarl at him, "Eddie Skeevers. You run drugs into the city for Carmine Falcone?"

He sputters and coughs, trying to regain oxygen into his lungs that I just knocked out by slamming him against the wall. He goes for a knife, but I easily take it from him, tossing it at the lone flickering light in the alleyway, cloaking it in complete darkness.

"Answer my question, Skeevers," I demand impatiently.

"Y-y-y-yes," he stutters. "Oh god don't kill me."

"I'm not going to kill you," I respond, the anger in my voice palpable. I can feel the fear radiating off of him. And Alfred said they don't get scared. "Give me the information I want, and I'll let you go."

"Yea...yea...of course. Whatever you want buddy," he responds. Criminals are cowards. They'd sell their mother out if it meant they could get ahead a little bit.

"When's his next shipment coming in?"

"Thursday night!"

"Where?"

"Dock 7-C. Southeast port! You got what you want man! Lemme go!"

"I don't think so," I narrow my eyes at him.

"Who are you!?" he asks, obviously terrified.

"I'm Batman," I respond with a headbutt that knocks him out.

I don't even know where the name came from. I had never thought about what I would call myself when the time came to start my crusade against the corrupt and evil of Gotham.

But as he asked me the question, my mind flashed back to the day I visited my parent's mausoleum. The flock of bats that exited from the caves below, swarming me and filling me with dread are the perfect symbol to strike fear into the heart of criminality.

I am the Batman. And I am Gotham's salvation.

**********

While this is happening, Detective James Gordon sits in his car with his partner, watching the alley which Skeevers just entered intently.

"I dunno why you're bothering, Jim," Harvey Bullock grunts as he reads the paper. "You know you're not gonna arrest him."

"Maybe I can catch him with something," Jim responds wearily. He's been in this town, in this job for too long without any results. He's tired of coming home a defeated man in a city that has no respect for the law. But he was born and raised here, and he'll be damned if he's going to sacrifice it to the scum of this city.

"Yea, so then he'll get bailed out and never brought up on charges?"

"Well, it'd be something," Jim says, realizing Skeevers has been in the alley for minutes without exiting in his car or on foot. And then the detective hears glass shatter from that direction. "You hear that?"

"Yea, why?"

"Come on, let's check it out," Gordon says, jumping out of the car, his hand on his gun.

**********

Heavy footfalls draw my attention to the entrance of the alley. I turn, Skeevers slumping in my hands to find Gordon and his partner standing there. The detectives pull their guns as I toss Skeevers towards them, and he lands at their feet, groaning in pain.

They take a step forward, but stop as I growl, "Don't come any closer."

"Why, are you armed?" Jim Gordon asks cautiously.

"No."

"Yea, well we are," Harvey Bullock chuckles and takes another step forward.

"It wouldn't matter," I respond calmly.

"Who are you?"

"It doesn't matter who I am," I say. "What matters is you need me as much as I need you. You're two of the good cops in this city. Two of the few. But you've been beaten down and demoralized by the corruption of this city. So you've turned to drink and isolation to hide your shame. But I need cops like you to help clean up the system."

"This is ridicul-" Bullock starts, but is cut off by Gordon.

"And why do we need you?"

"Because I can work outside the known channels. I can live in the shadows. Get my hands dirty. Hit these guys where they live without a warrant or a reason. Get them sweating a bit. When that happens, they start to make mistakes. When they start to make mistakes, their empire crumbles."

"And how are we going to start? How will we know how to find you?"

He's interested. Good. The man is honorable. He knows what he's doing here. He's going against everything normal cops would stand for, but he wants to save this city as much as I do.

I toss a pellet from my belt onto the ground, causing a small smoke explosion, and climb up the drainpipe form where I came. Once the cops have finished coughing, they hear my voice come from above them.

"Look for my sign."

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Old 09-05-2012, 09:15 PM   #58
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Previously


Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
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."



Hell's Kitchen
4:21 AM


Dick slid open the window and crawled through into the apartment inside. Dressed in his full Daredevil gear, he removed his mask and pulled a USB drive from a compartment in his right gauntlet.

"Just in time," Matt said from the other room. "I'm making breakfast."

"Do you ever sleep?" Dick asked as he came into the kitchen. It was pitch black, but he could clearly see the red-hot eye of the stove through the darkness. Matt's silhouette moved away from the stove and towards the kitchen table.

"I'm used to staying up late. Old habits die hard. Turn on the light, will you?"

Dick flicked the light switch up. The light went on, revealing two plates of scrambled eggs in Matt's hands. He sat down at the table and slid a plate across to the other seat. Dick sat down across from Matt, placing his mask and USB drive on the table, and took the plate.

"So how'd it go tonight?" Matt asked, handing Dick a fork.

"Business as usual for the most part," Dick said, stabbing at the eggs with his fork. "I've been noticing something, though. There's been an uptick in robberies and strongarm stuff."

"Mobsters?"

"Junkies," Dick said between bites. "Lots of strung out people ripping and robbing to get drug money. It's kinda odd, since Narcotics is saying it's been a wasteland out there. The only stuff out there is supposed to be weak. Wherever these guy's are getting their stuff from, it has to be primo."

"Heh," Matt scoffed. "'Primo.' Since when did that become hip again?"

"I never said it was," Dick said with a smirk. "You getting your hopes up that disco's coming back?"

"Disco's dead," Matt said, forming the sign of the cross. "Let's hope it stays that way. Now, about that jump drive."

Dick held the USB drive up with his free hand, even though he knew Matt couldn't see it. "I managed to get into the coroner's office and copy over the autopsies of all the Murmur killer's victims. They also had a few of the detective reports as well. Believe it or not, they're a bit lax on security in the middle of the night."

"Well, come on," Matt said, pushing away from the table and standing. "Let's see what you got."


*****


Dick stifled a yawn and looked out the window at the slowly rising sun. He turned back to the wall where he and Matt had laid out all the information. Autopsy reports were tacked to a corkboard along with crime scene photos, police reports, and a map of Manhattan with the murder locations marked.

"What do you think?" Matt asked, his arms crossed.

Dick looked at the photos, then at the map, and then at the information about the victims.

"This is completely random," he said, touching a pin in the map that marked the latest murder. "The only thing the victim's have in common are the fact that they're redheads in their 20's and their white. Different lives, different upbringings and careers. These have to be crimes of opportunity. There's no way they have anything in common."

"There's patterns everywhere, Dick," Matt said. "They may not reveal themselves right now, but look harder. These apartments the killer uses are all abandoned before he uses them. That implies preparation. No way that's a spur of the moment. He's seeing these women days, weeks, maybe even months in advance."

"They all lived in Manhattan, though. Millions of people on this island. The killer could have spotted them on the street and stalked them home, worked his way from there."

"And the killer obviously has to have a car."

"Yeah. Victim Two was found in Washington Heights, but she lived in SoHo. As far as anyone can tell, she had no purpose or reason for being there."

"Man with a car. A profile is forming."

"Yes, it is. A man with a car weeds out a lot of people, but it also makes commuting possible. Now there's Brooklyn and the rest of the boroughs to think about."

"The problem is resources. All my old NYPD contacts are all retired or dead, and you're just a patrolman. Can't get far with that."
Dick walked away from the map and towards his police uniform. He reached into his pants and pulled a business card from his pocket. He looked down at it and then up at Matt.

"I wonder if the Bugle could give us a lending hand..."

__________________
"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 09-05-2012, 10:29 PM   #59
Byrd Man
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Previously


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Utopia
San Francisco Bay


Charles rapped softly on the door before entering through it. The room on the other side of the door belonged to Hank. Photos from the Hubble telescope, and posters of Einstein and Breaking Bad decorated the walls. There was a desk stacked with books and a chemistry set. Hanging upside down in the middle of the room was Hank, his claws dug into the ceiling. In his hands was a book Charles recognized.

"Children of the Atom: Humanity's Next Stage," Charles read the book's dust jacket upside down.

"By Charles F. Xavier," Hank said without looking down. "What does the F stand for, Professor?"

"Francis. My grandfather's name."

"Suppose it's better than Henry," Hank said, peeking from the book and flashing a small grin. "But not by much."

"And how did exactly did you find my book?"

"An eBay seller from Metropolis. I had to pay quite a sum for it. Apparently, it's out of print."

"Yes, well there's a reason for that. I wrote it back when I was at Oxford. Back before all of this," he said, motioning around him. "Was a reality."

"Don't be so hard on yourself, sir. What you lacked in experience, you more than made up for in thesis and themes."

"Would you come down from there, Hank? I'd like to talk to you."


Obliging, Hank leaped from the ceiling and flipped down in front of Charles. Standing, he nodded at his teacher and placed the book under the crook of his arm. Patting the large and furry teen on the shoulder, Charles sat on Hank's unmade bed while Hank sat at his desk.

"The others went on the ferry to the city this morning. Why didn't you go?"

"And pass up the chance to read this," Hank asked, holding up Charles' book. "While they are wasting the day shopping and playing video games, I'm reading up. Preparing myself for your future classes."

"And flattery will get you everywhere, Hank," Charles said with a smirk. "Except for this time. Why didn't you want to go?"

"Look at me," Hank said, removing his glasses. "I don't exactly fit in amongst the masses, do I?"
"The same applies for Rex, but that replicator hides his true form to the world. The same technology would easily do the same with you. Now, tell me, what's eating at you? It's more than your looks. You've been distant and quiet for a week now. So far, I have resisted the urge to read your mind. Don't make me give into that urge."

"It's just...," he started, then stopped. "I haven't felt in the mood after the events that transpired in San Diego."

"Are you still rattled by what Magneto did?"

"No," he said with a sigh. "It's what I did. More specifically, what I failed to do. As this group's second in command, you entrusted me with their safety and I couldn't keep them safe. I'm just thankful that Scott was there to step up in my place."

"Hank,"Charles said, reaching out and taking the blue mutant by the wrist. "There is no need to beat yourself up over what happened. This was our first outing, some kinks were to be expected. You didn't fail anyone. If anyone failed, it was me. I failed, and luckily Scott was there to make up for both of us. Speaking of that, what do you think of having him take over as field leader?"

"Resplendent."

"Excellent. As I said, Hank, don't beat yourself up. Your genius lies elsewhere. Men like us are better suited for a classroom. Whereas Scott seems more apt for the battlefield. If that's the reason for your self-imposed exile, there's no need for it."

"Thank you," Hank said, smiling. "But, all my pathos aside, I would rather spend an off-day reading instead of doing whatever it is they're doing."

"Well, I'm sure they're having fun."

*****



Scott jumped from the tree and hit the ground hard, rolling with his fall and popping up on to his feet. He looked over his shoulder at the shrubs and bushes around him. His heart raced and his mouth was dry from the adrenaline. He was gripping the stock of a gun tightly.

He was being hunted. Somewhere out there, someone wanted to shoot him. He stepped through the underbrush gingerly, making sure every step he took was safe. He peeked his head out the bush and saw his attacker. They had their back to him. Taking a deep breath, he pulled the gun from the bushes and prepared to aim for the target. He placed his finger on the trigger.

His attacker spun on her heels, ducking as the shot whizzed over her head. She squeezed off several shots as she fell. The shots hit home, hitting Scott in the chest and neck. He fell back into the bushes. Red paint covering his shirt and face.

"Gotcha," Jean said, leaning through the bushes to look down at him. In her right hand was her royal blue paintball gun. "And if I'm doing the math right, that means Rex and I win."

"What about Jeff?" He asked, standing up and wiping the paint from his neck.

"Oh, I took him out ten minutes into the game."

"Yeah, yeah," he said, looking down at the red paint on his shirt. "I really liked this shirt."

"I'm sure the people at Utopia can get it cleaned. If not, I can help. My dad was a house painter and my mom used to get paint stains out of his clothes all the time."

Together, Jean and Scott walked through the paintball arena towards the front. They walked slowly, chatting each other up about any and everything they could talk about. When they finally got to the front of the shooting area, Jefferson and Rex were waiting. Jefferson had yellow paint splattered on his shirt and jeans and was tapping his foot impatiently. Rex's multi-colored skin was hidden behind a hard light hologram that showed him as a normal sixteen year old with blonde hair.

"There they are," Rex said. "I guess we won?"

"See any paint on me?" Jean asked, smiling and holding her arms up.

"We ready to go?" Jefferson asked, looking at his watch. "We got about an hour before we need to be back to Utopia and I want to swing by that Italian place and get a doggie bag to take home with me."

"So, why are we holding you up? Just go and we'll meet you at the ferry."

"You know the rules," Scott said, nodding to the front of the building. "We have to stay together. Makes things easier for them."

"That's right, I forgot about our babysitters."

The four of them left the paintball place. Sitting on a bench outside the building were two men in black suits. They watched as the four teens walked up to them.

"Have fun?" One of them asked, checking his watch. "You kids got about another hour to kill."

"Before we go anywhere, Agent Duncan, can we go back to Rotelli's? I want to get some of that lasagna to take back home with me."

"Sure," Duncan said, standing and nodding to his partner.

The two agents escorted the four mutants towards a black SUV parked on the side of the street. As they approached it, though, the ground beneath them began to shake.

"Uh-oh..."

"That can't be good."

Down the block, a building face exploded outwards. Rubble and debris shot into the air and slammed into the streets. Scott jumped into the back of the SUV and pulled his visor from under the seat. He slid it on to his face and came back out just as five figures were walking down the street towards them. They each had sacks marked "National Bank" slung over their shoulders.

"What is this?" One of them snorted. He was a big man covered in hair.

"Easy, Mammoth," a shorter man at his side said. The man was thin and had what looked to be a portion of his brains showing. The man closed his eyes and a buzzing went through the heads of the four mutants and their two government handlers. "They're mutants," the man said with a grin. "Like us... except, they work with the government. Well, no matter. Mutant or human, we treat cops the same. Mammoth, Powderkeg if you would be so kind..."

Mammoth dropped the sacks on his shoulder and stepped forward at the same time as another heavy set man. The rubbed his knuckles and and popped his neck.

"Alright, kids," Mammoth said as he and Powderkeg charged. "Time to show you how we earned the nickname of Fearsome Five!"



Utopia

Charles and Hank sat on the couch in the student's rec room, watching the television in front of them. Hank had a soft smile on his face while he ate popcorn. Charles arched his eyebrow as he watched what was going on on the screen.

"This Walter White doesn't seem to have much in common with the real Werner Heisenberg."

"Then you obviously haven't heard of Heisenberg's theory on knocking and the correlation of being the one that does it."

"Is this why you asked Mrs. Waller to wear a porkpie hat with your field uniform?"

"Partially."

"Hold on," Charles said, standing up. He closed his eyes and reached his mind out across the water. "It's the others... They need our help."

"Then let us away."

Together, Hank and Charles left the rec room and hurried towards Amanda Waller's office.

"Have you heard from Agent Duncan?" Charles asked as he and Hank walked into Waller's office. She looked at them before leaning back in her chair.

"What's the problem?"

"The others are currently engaging with mutant criminals in the city. It seems they're in need of help."

"For real, yo."

Both Xavier and Waller turned and shot questioning look at Hank.

"Apologies. Apparently, a little Pinkman does not go a long way..."



*****



San Francisco


Mammoth roared and ripped a lamppost from its brackets. Brandishing the post like a club, he swung low and tried to hit Cyclops. Scott ducked the post and shot upwards, cutting the post in half with a optic blast. Aiming, he shot Mammoth in the chest and knocked him back on to a parked taxi cab.

Across the street, Black Lightning shot out a bolt of electricity at the young woman approaching him. His lightning streaked towards her, but vaporized as it got anywhere near her.

"Come on, Sparky," she said, turning another bolt into air. "Show me something!"

Gritting his teeth, Jefferson abandoned his blasts and charged towards her with his fist raised. He was close to her when a powerful arm slammed into him and knocked him sideways through the air.

"Nobody touches my sister," Mammoth spat. He had a scorch mark on his chest where Scott had singed him. "You okay, Shimmer?"

"Yeah," she said, looking up at him. They both turned as an explosion rocked the street.

Metamorpho went flying by, his body ablaze. He hit the street hard and rolled to a stop, dazed and with the flames exhausted. "Anybody... catch the number of that bus?"

Smirking, Powderkeg approached him and slammed into the ground with another explosive fist. The explosion knocked Rex up into the air and further down the street.

Jean, meanwhile, ran towards the group's leader. The man with the exposed brains laced his fingers together and lifted a manhole cover from the street with his mind. He shot it towards Jean. Still running, she deflected the cover with her telekinesis.

~You've been trained,~ the man said inside her head. ~Mentally and physically. I can read your mind, but I can't influence you. This Professor of yours appears to be talented.~

~You have no idea.~

Stopping across the street from the man, Jean broke three parking meters from the ground and sent them towards him. With a wave of his hand, he shot the meters off into separate directions.

"Oh, my God!" A voice screamed behind Jean.

She turned and saw a teenaged girl around her age on the ground. She crawled towards Jean, flinching in pain. She had dark hair with a streak of white through it. "Please, ma'am," she said in a southern drawl. "Please, help me."

Jean reached down and grabbed her hand. Stopping suddenly, Jean groaned and her eyes bugged out of the socket as the woman kept her grip around Jean.

"Sorry, sugar," she said, letting Jean go. She crumpled to the ground as the woman stood up. "You won't die," she said, looking down at Jean. "But for awhile, you're gonna wish you did."

"Rogue," a voice snapped. She turned and saw the man with the exposed brain walking towards her. "Why didn't you go all the way? She's a talented psychic, I can feel it."

"But, I don't--," she started, before stopping herself. "I don't wanna be a psychic for too long, Psimon. I do that, I start acting all creepy like you. And besides.,,"

Smiling, she turned and looked down the street where the other mutants were fighting.

"It'd be a shame to go through all this trouble and not get a chance to sample the rest of them."

__________________
"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 09-07-2012, 05:40 PM   #60
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread



With Great Power...
Part 10

Peter Parker sits on the side of a building, looking out across the road at the old WayneTech building that was once the pride of Queens. Now it sat, a ghostly shell of it's former self, having been abandoned after the company's fall.
And it made the perfect place for Miles Warren to run his experiments.

Peter cracks his neck and flips across the street and over the large steel mesh fence that still protected the factory's perimeter.

"Yikes, and away!"

Peter landed in a crouch, and quickly scanned the grounds. He began to feel a slight...tingling sensation in the back of his head. Over the course of his studying his new abilities, Peter learned this was a kind of early-warning danger-sense. A sense spider's used to survive.
He gave it the nickname of his 'spider-sense', and it was getting stronger the closer he got to the old building.

Yeah, this definitely has to be him. Don't know much else that can give me this kind of vibe.


Peter moved to a window, and peered in.

"Dammit, can't see a thing! Window's too ****ing dirty!

Peter sat for a moment, contemplating his move.

You know what? To hell with it...

Peter crouched low and slowly made his way to the nearest door. The door was locked with a thick chain and padlock, but Peter easily broke it with his new-found strength as though it was a piece of string.

Peter crept inside the dark building and into a small waiting room empty save a lone chair in the corner, with a long, dark hall leading forward. The door shut behind him, plunging Peter's world into darkness. Luckily though, one of the perks Peter received was enhanced vision, making him able to see in the darkness and hunt in the shadows, just like a spider.

Peter steadied himself and pressed down the path, his spider-sense helping to lead him in the right direction. The stronger it got, the closer he was to Warren.

Eventually Peter made his way to a door marked 'Restricted Access: Authorized Personnel Only.' The door had an electronic lock requiring a pass code, but the device was already busted. Peter used his great strength and broke the door off of it's hinges.
Inside, Peter finds himself in a large, empty two-level warehouse, filled with barren shelves and broken crates and metal cases strewn about, as well as a very familiar sight...a make-shift genetics lab set up in the room's center.

Peter didn't see anybody, but his spider-sense was blaring right now. So he quickly patrolled around the room in the shadow, and still didn't see any signs of Warren.
Peter then jumped into the center of lab and cautiously approaches the machine. As Peter is trying to figure out how to disable it, his skull feels like it explodes. His spider-sense screams at Peter, and he jumps into the air, sticking to the underside of one of the walkways above.

Peter's hears a throaty laugh, and looks below as a monstrous looking man walks out from the shadows and into the light.



"A little jumpy, aren't we? Still, shame I couldn't sneak up on you...again"
, the creature grins, bearing two rows of sharp, canine teeth.

"Wait...'again'"
, Parker questions aloud as the thoughts race through his mind.
"You're Miles Warren..."

"No, no"
, Warren frowns as he wags his finger at Peter in disappointment.
"I thought it would be obvious...like you are greater than what you once were, I'm much more than Miles Warren ever was."

"Though you have taken on the persona of the Spider, I have taken on the traits of an animal that was ridiculed and misunderstood, like Miles Warren was."

"And an animal that is also ferociously cunning, like Miles Warren"
, Warren's eyes narrowed dangerously at Peter.

"I am the Jackal."

"Miles Warren, Jackal, Jesus Christ, Santa Claus...I don't care who you are. You're not going to escape this time. I'm bringing you down, tonight."


"Tough words...Peter", Jackal grins menacingly.

"Oh yes, I know who you are", the Jackal continues when Peter doesn't respond.
"After all, you were my guinea pig, Pete. Can I call you Pete? Sure, why not...anyway, Pete...when I saw that spider, I knew Fate had delivered you to me, that you were to be my little test dummy, and you passed with flying colors. With the process working with you, I tested it on myself, and...well..."

"The results speak for themselves, don't they"
, the Jackal laughed.

"You're nuts...insane in the membrane even..."

The Jackal scowled, "Don't call me crazy. I am not a madman."

"You should be grateful, Peter"
, the Jackal exclaimed, smiling like a madman once again.
"This just proves your theories were right! This success is just as much yours as it is mine! We can share this together, you and I."

"Yeah, about that...let me reiterate, with emphasis this time, since it seems it didn't get through when I first said it...you're ****ing nuts."

"Careful, Parker", the Jackal growled.
"That's strike two..."

"Spurn me again...and then I guess I'll have to find some new little monkeys to experiment on"
, the Jackal shrugged.

"Maybe that smoking hot blonde of yours would make a good lab rat"
, the villain chuckled as he taunted Peter.

"Yeah...don't worry, Pete...I'd take good care of her, mmmm", the Jackal grins, bearing his teeth wide as he sticks out his tongue and flicks it back and forth in the air.

"Enough of the BS. Time to see you put away in a nice, padded SHIELD cell for a long time"
, Peter flatly said as he dove at the Jackal, ready to take the maniac down no matter what.

The Jackal cackled in insane laughter, "Show me what you got, son."

__________________
"Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way."
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:15 PM   #61
Byrd Man
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread







Previously


Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
Utopia

Charles and Hank sat on the couch in the student's rec room, watching the television in front of them. Hank had a soft smile on his face while he ate popcorn. Charles arched his eyebrow as he watched what was going on on the screen.

"This Walter White doesn't seem to have much in common with the real Werner Heisenberg."

"Then you obviously haven't heard of Heisenberg's theory on knocking and the correlation of being the one that does it."

"Is this why you asked Mrs. Waller to wear a porkpie hat with your field uniform?"

"Partially."

"Hold on," Charles said, standing up. He closed his eyes and reached his mind out across the water. "It's the others... They need our help."

"Then let us away."

Together, Hank and Charles left the rec room and hurried towards Amanda Waller's office.

"Have you heard from Agent Duncan?" Charles asked as he and Hank walked into Waller's office. She looked at them before leaning back in her chair.

"What's the problem?"

"The others are currently engaging with mutant criminals in the city. It seems they're in need of help."

"For real, yo."

Both Xavier and Waller turned and shot questioning look at Hank.

"Apologies. Apparently, a little Pinkman does not go a long way..."



*****



San Francisco


Mammoth roared and ripped a lamppost from its brackets. Brandishing the post like a club, he swung low and tried to hit Cyclops. Scott ducked the post and shot upwards, cutting the post in half with a optic blast. Aiming, he shot Mammoth in the chest and knocked him back on to a parked taxi cab.

Across the street, Black Lightning shot out a bolt of electricity at the young woman approaching him. His lightning streaked towards her, but vaporized as it got anywhere near her.

"Come on, Sparky," she said, turning another bolt into air. "Show me something!"

Gritting his teeth, Jefferson abandoned his blasts and charged towards her with his fist raised. He was close to her when a powerful arm slammed into him and knocked him sideways through the air.

"Nobody touches my sister," Mammoth spat. He had a scorch mark on his chest where Scott had singed him. "You okay, Shimmer?"

"Yeah," she said, looking up at him. They both turned as an explosion rocked the street.

Metamorpho went flying by, his body ablaze. He hit the street hard and rolled to a stop, dazed and with the flames exhausted. "Anybody... catch the number of that bus?"

Smirking, Powderkeg approached him and slammed into the ground with another explosive fist. The explosion knocked Rex up into the air and further down the street.

Jean, meanwhile, ran towards the group's leader. The man with the exposed brains laced his fingers together and lifted a manhole cover from the street with his mind. He shot it towards Jean. Still running, she deflected the cover with her telekinesis.

~You've been trained,~ the man said inside her head. ~Mentally and physically. I can read your mind, but I can't influence you. This Professor of yours appears to be talented.~

~You have no idea.~

Stopping across the street from the man, Jean broke three parking meters from the ground and sent them towards him. With a wave of his hand, he shot the meters off into separate directions.

"Oh, my God!" A voice screamed behind Jean.

She turned and saw a teenaged girl around her age on the ground. She crawled towards Jean, flinching in pain. She had dark hair with a streak of white through it. "Please, ma'am," she said in a southern drawl. "Please, help me."

Jean reached down and grabbed her hand. Stopping suddenly, Jean groaned and her eyes bugged out of the socket as the woman kept her grip around Jean.

"Sorry, sugar," she said, letting Jean go. She crumpled to the ground as the woman stood up. "You won't die," she said, looking down at Jean. "But for awhile, you're gonna wish you did."

"Rogue," a voice snapped. She turned and saw the man with the exposed brain walking towards her. "Why didn't you go all the way? She's a talented psychic, I can feel it."

"But, I don't--," she started, before stopping herself. "I don't wanna be a psychic for too long, Psimon. I do that, I start acting all creepy like you. And besides.,,"

Smiling, she turned and looked down the street where the other mutants were fighting.

"It'd be a shame to go through all this trouble and not get a chance to sample the rest of them."



The chopper carrying Hank and Charles flew over the waters of the bay towards the city. Inside the back of the chopper, Hank prepared to jump into battle while Charles closed his eyes, focusing on the fight going on in the middle of downtown San Francisco.

"They have a telepath," he told Hank. "I'm going to attempt to engage him psychically. If I'm unavailable to contribute during the fight, you know why."

Charles reached his mind out and touched the criminal telepath's psyche.


******


Psimon blinked in confusion. Just seconds earlier, he was on the streets of the city with Rogue. Now, he found himself in a garden, sitting at a white table with tea in front of him. Across the table was a man who stared as Psimon while he sipped his cup of tea.

"Simon Jones," the man said calmly. "Should I call you Doctor? What is the etiquette on that once you've had your license stripped from you?"

"Where am I?" He asked, looking around. "Who the **** are you?"

"We are in the backyard of my childhood home in upstate New York. Just as I remember it looking. I doubt it's this neat now, unfortunately. I haven't been back there in years."

The man took another long sip of tea before putting the cup on the table. "As for who I am... I'm Charles Xavier. The instructor of the young people you're currently in the process of terrorizing."

Psimon stood up quickly, his knees banging against the table as he backed away. "This isn't real...," he said looking around. "It's all fake..."

"I know it is," Xavier said standing. "This is a shared psychic mindscape I created. Just for the two of us, Simon."

"Like that dream movie?"

"Of sorts," Xavier said with a smirk. "The only difference being--"

The ground on both sides of Psimon exploded outwards. A large root twisted out of the ground and attempted to wrap itself around Psimon's ankles. He jumped away and the root chased after him, slithering from the ground like a snake.

"In this world I have complete control over the entire environment."

Psimon turned and ran through the garden as the root twisted after him. As he passed the bushes, trees, and shrubs, they too came alive and began to rip from the soil and began to give chase.



*****


"Psimon?" The girl called Rogue asked with an arched eyebrow. Psimon was standing on the sidewalk beside her, his eyes glazed over and his jaw hanging down slightly. "Psimon? Hello? Earth to Psimon?"

She turned away from Psimon and looked up as a chopper hovered overhead. A large, blue monster jumped from the chopper and landed on a rooftop overlooking the street. The furry looking man jumped from the rooftop and landed in front of her, his claws out and his teeth barred.

"What did you do to her?" He growled, nodding towards the unconscious teenage girl on the ground.

"Oh, her? Uhh, Jean, that's her name, right?"

The furry mutant roared and sprung from his haunches, preparing to pounce on her. Rogue focused on him and sent the furry blue man flying backwards into parked car.

"She'll be fine, darling, but in the meantime..."

She brought the mutant back up, his feet hovering inches from the ground. She smiled at him, brushing her white-streaked hair from her face.

"I got her powers. Now, make sure to keep your arms and legs inside the cart at all times."

With a flick of her hand, she sent him flying into the air, spinning out of control.


*****


Scott took a potshot at Powderkeg and he slid over the hood of a parked car. The mutant absorbed his blast and shook it off with ease. He turned his attention back to Metamorpho, hitting the multi-colored mutant with an explosive punch to the face.

"This isn't working," he said to Rex, lining up his sights to take another shot. "He's absorbing my optic blast like they're nothing."

"Well, do something!" Rex pleaded, briefly turning his form into gas to avoid another blow from Powderkeg.

"Black Lightning!" Scott shouted down the street. Jefferson was running away as Mammoth chased him.

"Little busy here not trying to die!"

"Run towards me," Scott said, climbing up on the roof of a nearby taxi. He keyed up the settings on his visor and prepared his targeting reticle. "Metamorpho, run towards him."

Jefferson ran as fast as he could while Mammoth bore down on him. Metamorpho, meanwhile, ran towards towards the fleeing teen.

"Duck!" Cyclops shouted at Black Lightning, letting loose with a powerful blast. Jefferson dropped to his knees as the energy shot over his head and struck Mammoth in the stomach. He was knocked to the ground.

Black Lighting stood up and Scott pointed at Powderkeg.

"Metamorpho, turn to gas. Black Lightning, light him up!"

Jefferson let loose just as Rex's body turned into a gas cloud. The lightning shot through the cloud and hit Powderkeg's body. The electricity ran through over Powderkeg's sweat glands, igniting the nitro that covered his skin.

BOOOOOOM!

Scott, Jefferson, and a now solid Rex were knocked back by the explosion. The flash of fire shot up into the sky, Powderkeg going up with it. The fiery mutant screamed as he slammed against the side of a building and fell back to the ground, smoke curling off his unconscious body.

"Good job nearly blowing us all up," Rex grumbled, standing up weakly beside Jefferson.

"I was just following orders," Jefferson replied. He quickly patted his shoulder to put out the smoldering ember on his shirt.

A yell filled the air and the three of them looked up and saw Hank flying above their heads, spinning out of control and crashing into a nearby dumpster. A few moments later, he stumbled up beside them, garbage covering him.

"You know how to make an entrance, I'll give you that. Where's Jean?"

"Passed out," Hank said, nodding ahead of them. "Her powers taken by her."

They turned and saw Rogue walking towards them, Mammoth and Shimmer flanking her on both sides.

"Look, it's simple," she said, approaching them. "You ain't hurt, we ain't hurt either. We cut our losses and both of us get out of here safely."

"You mean you get to get away with all that money you just stole?"

"Who's to say we stole a lot? In all this confusion and chaos, we may only get away with half of what we stole. That other half could mysteriously vanish..."

"You're bribing the wrong people, lady," Scott said, shooting an optic blast at her.

"Scott, no!" Hank shouted, but he was too late.

The blast was easily deflected by Rogue's stolen telekinesis. She shook her head and sighed. "Have it your way then, sugar."

With Jean's powers, Rogue sent a taxi cab up into the air and aimed it towards the four mutant teens.

__________________
"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 09-08-2012, 11:26 PM   #62
Carnage27
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Default Re: Ultimate One Universe RPG: IC Thread



"So what's you're next move?" Alfred asks me over breakfast. I've filled him in with the happenings of last night, and he seems impressed with my progress, and the information I've gathered.

"I thought it was obvious," I respond, leaning back in my chair. "I'm going to hit the shipment drop off. Destroy their incoming stock. That'll get their attention."

"It won't be as easy as taking on one unsuspecting man in an alley. They'll know you're coming. They'll be ready," he warns.

"I know," I nod. "But so will I. I've got a plan."

"Good. You're gonna need it."

**********

I sit over the grapple gun in the lab, tinkering with the firing mechanism. The pressurized air they were using to shoot it off just isn't powerful enough for the use they want, but what I'm doing should do the trick. Not to mention the interesting grapple modifications I made to it.

"You look tired," a voice from the other side of the table says. I look up to see Barbara smiling at me from the door. "Nervous?"

I let out a laugh and offer her a seat at the table. "A little," I lie. "I think I've got it working, but there's only one way to be sure, really."

"And what's that?" she asks with a raised eyebrow.

"Well a field test of course," I answer in a cocky tone.

"Oh, so you're signing yourself up for that huh?"

"Yea, I think I could do a pretty good job with it," I smile. "I'm pretty light on my feet. It'll be fun to swing around Gotham."

"I'm not sure Mr. Fox would appreciate a joyride around the city with government funds."

"Oh, don't worry. What I have in mind is much more serious than that."

"Purely scientific, I'm sure," she says with a knowing tone in her voice.

"Of course."

"Good," she says, heading back to her own workspace. "Hope you don't show up in a body cast tomorrow."

**********

"So what you're saying is," Carmine Falcone says between sips of wine, "is that some freak in a unitard beat the crap outta you? And then, you told him where you're bringing in my next shipment?"

Falcone goes for a piece of bread, dipping it into some olive oil, the liquid dripping onto his chin as he brings it to his mouth.

"Well," Skeevers begins before being cut off by the mob boss.

"No, no of this 'Well' ****. Yes or no, Skeevers. Yes or no?"

"Yes," he responds with fear in his voice.

"There, was that so hard?" Falcone asks, before looking at the men standing on each side of Skeevers, pointing at them with his bread. "That didn't seem hard, did it boys?"

They each silently shake their head.

"Boss, I'm sorry. I really am. But he was like a phantom-"

"I don't care what he was like," Falcone responds, angry and annoyed. "All I know is now this wackjob knows where our shipment is coming in. So what are you going to do about that?"

"Boss?"

"I asked what we were going to do about it," he responds severely. "Is that a hard question to understand, boys?"

Again, the men shake their head.

"No, I didn't think so. So I'll ask again, Mr. Skeevers. What are you going to do about that?"

"I'll make sure security is beefed up," he says, trying to be more confident. "More men then I usually bring. No one is going to mess with this shipment, boss. I promise."

"Good. Make sure of it," the mob boss responds, wiping his mouth with a napkin, before nodding to one of the men, who proceeds to stick a gun in Skeevers's mouth. "Because I expect people to keep their promises. Now go. Get outta my face, and make sure my drugs are out on the streets on time."

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Old 09-09-2012, 12:19 AM   #63
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~Opening the Scars~

Wraith and I sit in a car in suburban Illinois, ready to make contact with one of the victims of the recent abductions. Wraith smuggled me into the country with the help of some friends, considering I have no passport or identification.

"So this is it?" I ask, looking out the window at the unassuming house across the street. This is apparently the place of the last abduction. A single mother and her daughter live here, that is until the daughter mysteriously disappeared a week ago. No evidence or suspects. Or motive.

"This is it," Wraith responds from the driver's seat. "Most recent breadcrumb. The only chance we have of finding whoever's been taking these kids."

I nod and exit the car, approaching the home, passing by the mailbox that reads "Pryde", Wraith trailing close behind me. I knock on the door softly, but as I do, a terrible stench hits my nose from inside. Not worrying about manners, I throw my shoulder into the door, and it gives way.

"Hey, man, what're your doing?" Wraith asks before the smell hits him as well. "Damn."

"Yea, I don't think we'll be getting any information out of this one," I respond, sniffing to find the source of the stink. We find the mother's body upstairs with a hole through her head. "Dead a few days, if I had to guess. When you say your contact found her?"

"Few days ago," Wraith responds, worried.

"You sure he can be trusted?"

"Yea, he's solid."

"Wonder why the decided to-"

And that's when the house explodes.

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Old 09-09-2012, 12:36 AM   #64
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With Great Power...
Part 11

Peter comes at the Jackal wildly, sloppy, and it costs him. The Jackal sidesteps Peter and sticks out his arm, close lining him. Peter falls hard onto his back, getting the wind knocked out of him. Jackal reaches down and wraps his right hand around Peter's throat, hoisting him up int the air, his left hand grasping Peter's right wrist tightly as Peter struggled to free it.

"I got to say, Pete"
, Jackal chuckled, "I expected a lot more."

"Party's just...starting...", Peter gasped as the Jackal squeezed his throat like a vice.

Peter began to see spots before his eyes as he stopped trying to break the Jackal's grip with his free hand, and fired a shot of webbing covering the Jackal's eyes. Surprised by the attack, the Jackal loosens his grip, and Peter is able to break the grip.

As Peter frees himself, he wraps both hands around Jackal's arm that was choking him, lifts his feet and mule kicks the Jackal in his chest. The powerful kick sends the Jackal flying back into one of three terminals rigged to the machine, and Peter uses the momentum to spring backwards, back-flipping to the machine.

Where was I now...

Peter began scanning the device, his brain going into overdrive as he tried to figure out a way to shut it down. Suddenly his spider-sense blared, and Peter ducked in time to avoid a sweeping strike from the Jackal as he slashed at Peter from behind with his claws.
Peter rose back to his feet, delivering a punch to the Jackal's gut that lifted the villain off of his feet.

The wind was knocked out of him and the Jackal was momentarily dazed, so Peter quickly followed the punch with an uppercut that knocked the Jackal off of his feet and sailing back into the side of some old metal shelving.

Peter moved to one of the terminals and began feverishly typing away.

If I can access the power core, I can overload. Blast should take this entire building down, so I'll need to get-

Peter's spider-sense rang in alarm and the Jackal's claws dug into Peter's shoulder. Peter cried out in pain and lost concentration for a moment. The Jackal palmed the back of Peter's head, and smashed his face into one of the terminal's screens.

"That's the spirit, Mr. Parker! Give me everything you got! I'd love to be able to break a sweat here", the Jackal laughed.

Peter felt the warmth of blood begin to soak his mask from the gash opened up on his forehead. Peter was dizzy and lashed out, instinctively. He whipped himself around, bashing a spinning elbow strike across the Jackal's temple that floored him.

Peter looked down at the madman, raised his fist, and punched the Jackal across his jaw, causing a large wad of blood to splatter to the floor.

Peter picked the Jackal up and pulled him in close, head-butting him across the nose and then tossing him aside.

Now, where was I...

Peter returned to the terminal and finally tapped into the Jackal's system controls, find the power systems and setting them to overload. Peter was just able to lock the command with a personal security code as the Jackal attacked with a renewed ferocity.
He was faster than he was before, slashing Peter across his chest before Peter could fully hop back.

The Jackal snarled like a dog as he charged in at Peter, his taunts now replaced with a cold-blooded rage, trying to kill him with each strike.

"You little bastard! I'll kill you for what you've done!"

"Yeah, about that", Peter says as his enhanced agility coupled with his spider-sense enables him to instinctively dodge the Jackal's frenzied attacks.

Peter falls backwards under a wild swing, bunching his arms tight to his head and putting his hands behind his head to catch his fall.

"Don't think that's gonna happen, slick", Peter states as he tightens his knees to his elbow and then springs forward, pushing off with his hands and kicking his heels forward, smashing the Jackal across his jaw and knocking him out cold.

Peter moved to collect his fallen foe and leave before the device blew, but it was too late. The machine exploded, engulfing the room in a fireball, and the force of the blast sending Spider-Man and the Jackal flying across the room. Spider-Man tried to leap behind cover, but was caught in the shock wave in mid-leap and sent crashing through a wall and into an empty office.

Peter's every muscle felt as though it were on fire. His mask was now soaked in blood from the gash on his forehead, and slash across his chest made it hurt to breath. But Peter focused his mind, and willed himself to, slowly and painfully, pick himself up as the place began to come down around him.

Peter pushed his abilities to their limits, barely making it out of the building and to freedom before the entire structure collapsed into a fiery plume, brightly illuminating the entire block...

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Old 09-09-2012, 05:05 AM   #65
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SOON TO BE

Following a flash of light, something large and equally as monstrous appears in the heart of Brooklyn. Specifically having found it's way in the back of an alley coated in shadows, unseen by any potential onlookers that would flee at the sight of what lies within, it raises it's head and snarls, having endured a long and complicated journey. A deep, velvet bag of mystical items attached to a strap at it's side. With steam still rising off of the large horns on it's animalistic head, The Minotaur produces the relic that brought him here and closes his fist over the stone-like object. Were it not his only means of transportation between the realms, the beast swears to himself that he would never again use such an item of dark power. Nevertheless, he shoves it back into the bag for later use, knowing that he'll require it to return to the Island - and perhaps even his own realm - after he's completed his task tonight.

Trading the transporter for another relic, this one resembling a copper medallion, the Minotaur holds it in his hands and watches as it glows. An undercurrent of a yellow aura quickly becomes apparent, causing the beast to look up and scan his surroundings with intent. Were the halfling not nearby, the medallion would barely have even - it was attuned to be able to track only the most potent forms of magic. Such as spells bestowed by the Gods who walk the Earth, unable to rely solely on their natural power. Quite similar to a tale that the Queen of Themyscira had told him days prior, whenever the beast had further inquired about it's prey.

"This place,", he tells himself, blood-red eyes practically stabbing through darkness. "It hides her. Not well, but it hides her. The Amazon is here..."

It becomes clear to the Minotaur that such surroundings are not particularly befitting of the once-proud race of warriors. During the reign of Hippolyta, it was said that only the most grand terrain would ever hope to have the twelve of Zues' chosen step foot upon it. They were accustomed to either shedding an enemy's blood on the steps of Olympus or standing over the sands of paradise. This place - this "New York Post", as a bizarre and colorful inscription read just as the Minotaur exited the darkness - was no Olympus. And certainly not any sort of paradise.

Inhaling a lungful of the foreign terrain's air, the Minotaur nearly choked in disgust. Realizing that he'd have to fight against such foul odors to be able to get a lock on the halfling's scent, he continued with frustration, mumuring something underneath his breath and slinging the handle of a massive battle-axe over his shoulder.

Hunting his prey would prove to be a more difficult task than he'd realized.

"So now you'd better stop! And rebuild all your ruins! for peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing!"

A third call in the last fifteen minutes. She's becoming quite persistent.

I remove the phone from my back pocket and instinctively shut it off, not wishing to persue a conversation about this. Hopefully that should make her understand that I simply wish to be alone right now, trusting me to find my own way back to campus. I realize that Cassie is worried about me, and she probably has every right to be. I'm just not in a very good place, both in terms of my locale and my current state of mind. The image of Veronica Cale locking lips with Steve for the sole purpose of getting back at me for whatever she's felt I've done to her is still firmly implanted in my brain, and it's been enough to carry me for the last six blocks without tiring. Which isn't as easy as it sounds in these sorry excuses for heels.

The thought of ending this admittedly childish behavior has crossed my mind, certainly. Given that I can't seem to be able to find a cab willing to pick me up for as little money as I'm carrying, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to call someone like Zola and explain my situation. She lives nearby, and she would be more than willing to drive me back to the dorm.

Well, perhaps she would have been, had it not been for the disasterous public protest I had organized for her sake. After she had told me about being unfairly laid off with numerous others, I still find myself to have no regrets for calling out the idiots that had forced her out on the streets. The escalation of what happened that night, however, fills me with quite alot of shame. Far too much to warrant speaking to her until she's ready for forgive me.

Seeing the deserted street corner ahead of me, I exert a heavy sigh, bundling my jacket to stifle off the cold air. From my experience, Brooklyn is a terrible place to be walking around at night. Crime has been as rampant as it ever has, and I can't imagine that situation improving with...

"Hey there, gorgeous..."

Time.

I freeze immediately, looking over my shoulder to see a man with disshivelled hair and dirtied clothes, leaning against a wall leading into an alleyway.

"Got anything for me?"

At first, judging by his appearance, I assume him to be a vagrant. There are plenty that live along this area, so the logic is at least sound. Kindly shaking my head, I begin to keep walking, hoping to avoid a confrontation.

"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I don't carry any spare change..."

He smirks a bit, his left arm reaching for something in his jacket.

I'm almost sure that I won't like where this is going.

"Heh. This ain't that kinda transaction, dollface."

Turning around at that, my eyes are drawn downward, realizing what he's holding: a 9 mm pistol. Looking up at him, the event of what's happening beginning to register in my mind, I can only grimace as he instructs me to enter the alleyway with him so that no one can see. I think it's safe to say that this night could not be any worse.

Nevertheless, I comply with his request, slowly matching his movement as he keeps the gun firmly levelled. He points to the wall and waits for me to lean against it, provoking a smile out of him as I do. I don't want to imagine what's running through this creep's head, but I sincerely hope that he's only interested in a robbery. Because that's the most that I'd ever consider allowing.

"Let's start with that wallet. Better hope you were lying about the change."

Not wanting to protest, just so I can make this go along as quickly as possible, I reach into my jacket and give him what he asks for, keeping my hands visible so that he doesn't think I'm going to attack. Keeping the gun trained on me with his left hand, he hurriedly opens it with his right and dumps out the very little cash I had left on the ground. Disappointed by the amount, he nevertheless slides it under his boot, perhaps knowing that he'd be leaving himself wide open if he were to bend down and retrieve it.

Not that I'd try. It isn't my greatest wish in life to die over seventeen dollars.

"****, I guess you weren't."

I shrug. For being threatened at gunpoint, I have to admit that I'm taking it rather well.

"Sorry to disappoint. You can keep it, if you want."

He seems amused by this, but not so much to let me go. Looking at my ID, he reads off my name.

"Diana Prince, huh? You local?"

I remain silent. This doesn't particularly please him, as he takes a step forward.

"Hey! I asked you a question!"

For a moment, I reconsider running. His hostility isn't boding well for the chances of my survival in the situation. But as I realize he's coming closer, I start to wonder to myself. What if I could make this work to my advantage?

"Only recently. College."

"Ooh, sorority chick. Nice,", he replies, condescendingly. "Never went to college myself."

A breath of relief escapes me. There's what I was looking for.

"I can't imagine why."

As he cocks his head, wondering whether or not that was an insult, I decide to take my chance. Without hesitance, I take a step forward.

"Hey! Hey, what're you..."

Immediately grabbing his armed hand, I redirect his grip on gun and jab him hard in the throat while he's trying to fight back. He stumbles, surprised by this, but trying to raise his arm so that he can fire off a round. This only serves to provoke me into wanting to see him regret this even further, so I immediately drop, sweep his legs out from under him, and drive my knee directly into his nose just as he scrambles to get back up.

He falls back, obviously in pain and having finally dropped the weapon. I slowly rise up off the ground, kicking the gun away so that he can't easily retrieve it. As he looks up at me, angered and holding a bloodied nose, I finally just drop him with a hard kick across the face. He hits the pavement, barely conscious and groaning.

"As someone who never went to college, I can't imagine you've ever considered Women's Self Defense..."

I kneel down, giving him a wide, satisfied smirk.

"Perhaps you should consider it. You would have been able to counter that."

Making sure to step on his hand as I walk over him, I grab both my wallet and stray cash before departing the alley, feeling a million times better than I did going in. I don't know where any of that really came from, to be perfectly honest. I've never encountered a situation like that, but I imagine that ordinarily, I would have at least screamed. But I guess since I was in such a terrible mood, my natural reaction was to just do... that.

Smiling to myself, I reach the next block and quietly laugh.

Maybe I should be in a terrible mood more often.

"AAAIIIEEE!"

The patrons of a local bar stare back at what's happening, completely horrified as to what they're seeing. Some pull out their camera phones, while others frantically dial 911. Most, however, simply run for the back door, hoping to escape the monstrosity that just barged it's way through the front wall with ease. The Minotaur watches these creatures and their various reactions to him, realizing that it would have been simpler for him to use the invisibility amulent that he'd worn on the walk here. He hadn't taken into account just how disruptful these creatures - humans, as Circe had called them - would be after encountering one of their betters. He'd simply hoped to take attention away from himself as he persued the hunt, focusing entirely on locating the Amazon.

Nevertheless, he stomps forward, his eyes resting on a woman frozen in terror. Reaching forth with a massive hand, he snatches the woman by the wrist and forces her to rise up off of the ground, nearly ripping her arm out of it's socket with his great strength. She screams even louder, the shock of what's happening just beginning to catch up with her, but he growls, immediately tiring of such an irritating noise.

"SILENCE!"

Reaching into his bag, he retrieves the copper medallion once again and lifts it into the air, looking at the insensity of the glow. To his surprise, there's barely any to be found. He looks down at the woman, who's trying to fight back against her percieved attacker, before lifting her by the arm and casually tossing her past the bar itself, watching her collide into the bartender as he tries to flee.

"Hrrh. That shrieking creature was not the Amazon,"

Turning back towards the newer entance that he'd made for himself, the Minotaur pauses as he sees a crowd of various others building from the outside. Similarly horrified, but equally curious, whispering to themselves as he only looks back at them with confusion. To them, he's a sight none have ever seen.

"Eh?"

Growing even more angered by the perplexing societal customs of these foolish creatures, he steps forward and roars, causing them to scatter like wildfire. Then proceeds to stomp his way out whenever they've left, causing even further damage to the wall as he does.

He tells himself that his search will have to continue regardless.

The halfling will not escape him.

"AAAIIIEEE!"

Still lost in the high of my accomplishment in overcoming the mugger, I barely even notice as several people begin rushing in the opposite direction of me until I hear the nearby scream. Followed by various sounds indicating some sort of destruction. Looking around and seeing nothing particularly hazardous ahead, I begin to walk forward, sidestepping three people at once as they seem to be running for their lives. I look back at them, then ahead, my curiosity only building as I begin to jog forward, trying to remain suitably cautious.

At first, my mind can only go to something like a car crash. But I can't imagine that such a thing would cause people to run unless the car was spiraling out of control, so the likelihood of it is incredibly low. Maybe there was an explosion of some kind? I shake my head, realizing that these are the questions that I ask myself in a moment of crisis. Not the more logical ones, such as whether I should be calling the police. With my luck, it'd probably be intercepted by the next call from Cassie, still wondering where I ran off to. God, I'm going to have quite the story to tell her when I get home, especially after I figure out what's going on now...

Nearly coming to a stop whenever I hear something incredibly loud echo from a nearby bar, I realize that it sounds siimilar to a lion's roar, though not quite. Perhaps that's what this is all about. An escaped animal from the Manhattan Zoo, roaming loose and scaring people off. If that's the case, then I should turn around and join them.

Wait. That can't be...

My eyes widen, realizing that it is. A large hole in the front of a nearby bar.

What sort of animal could have done...

Just as I begin to finish the question in my head, something steps through the debris.

And I...

I've never seen anything like it in my life.

It looks around, then sniffs at the air, confirming that it's certainly an animal of some sort. But not only is it standing on two legs, but it's also at least nine feet tall. For the second time tonight, I'm forced to freeze in place, unsure of how to react to this incredibly bizarre creature. Then I realize that to only further add to the surrealism of it all, it's wearing some sort of garment around it's waist. With a bag attached.

Am I dreaming this?

Just then, it turns, it's eyes focusing on me. And I realize that I'm the only one still left in the area.

As strange as it sounds, the mugger I wasn't very afraid of.

This is an entirely different story.

Oh, God. Oh, God. What do I do, what do I...

Just then, a thick cloud of smoke begins to rise up from the inside of it's bag. Confused by this itself, the - whatever it is - grabs at it and forces it open, waving the smoke away. This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my life, and I can't even bring myself to do anything. I'm just so afraid of what it might do, or who it might attack. Just then he pulls something out. Something that's glowing. I have to shield my eyes just to avoid the bright glare, noticing that he's shocked by it, looking up at me.

"You..."

It takes a step forward, the glowing object still in it's hands.

I take a step back.

Did it just talk?!

"YOU'RE THE ONE! YOU'RE THE HALFING I SEEK!"

Unable to even fathom what it says or what it even means, logic finally compels me to turn the other way and run as fast as I possibly can. Even as I do, however, I can still hear it's yelling in the distance behind me. This has got to be a dream. I can't even begin to entertain the alternative, that this could possibly be real. It's not possible.

"AMAZON!"

Looking back, to my horror, I discover that it begins to chase after me. My heart racing nearly as fast as I do, I decide to keep running, far from tempted to look back a second time. Even if it's not possible, I'm not going to chance it. I don't even know what it just called me, but I'm certain that I have no reason to care.

Right now, I just need to concentrate on staying alive.

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Old 09-10-2012, 04:47 AM   #66
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Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
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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 black man with a large frame and dark glasses rushes into view.



"Hey!" The black man calls after the rapidly departing Sentry. "Dammit. I needed to talk to him." He says to Chief Mathewson.

"Sorry buddy 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 man following close behind.

"Then I'm coming with you Chief." The man says prompting the Chief to stop in his tracks and turn to face the newcomer

"And you are?"

"Lt. Marcus Stone." He replies as he pulls his credentials from his coat pocket and shows them to the Chief "NYPD. Code Blue."

The Chief examines the ID then gives Stone a quizzical look "Never heard of your unit Lieutenant."

"We're new." Stone answers matter of factly as he stuffs the ID back in his pocket.

"Alright Stone. You're welcome to tag along but don't get in any of my boys' ways." Mathewson says as he climbs into the truck.

"Wouldn't dream of it Chief." Stone says before climbing in behind the Chief.







The Sentry streaks across the night sky like a golden comet. He can already see the blazing fire, working its way up the apartment complex on the horizon. He can also see the frightened faces in the windows and hear the sobs of those trapped. He's gotten here just in time.

The flame is licking up the sides of the building, but it has yet to pass the fifth floor. With any luck he should be able to stop it there and save the building. Its more than he was able to do with the dorm.

He puts his head down as he barrels towards an open window just above the rising flames. The impact certainly won't hurt him, neither will the flames, but old human instincts, like protecting one's head, die hard.

The Sentry glides through the window, accidentally ripping chunks of siding and brick work out of the surrounding wall in the process and finds himself amidst a panicked group of residents crowding the corridors of the complex.

The people are shocked into stunned silence by his sudden appearance. Good. That means they'll listen.

"Alright everyone. I need you all to stay calm." He says, hovering slightly above the crowd to give himself more height so he can see them all "The upper floors are still safe. Please make your up as far as you can, taking those who can't help themselves with you."

A few urgent shouts come back his way and he motions with his hands for calm. As he speaks he is keenly aware that he is being filmed on cell phone cameras "Please. Just move. I promise you'll be safe."

That last line, surprisingly, appears to do it. The fear is still there, as is the panic, but its subdued, as if swallowed up by a feeling of calm. The children in particular, have calmed significantly. Those who were sobbing have stopped. The mass of humanity moves urgently but orderly past the Sentry and towards the upper floors.

For his part, the Golden Guardian wastes no time in floating past the crowd towards one of the elevators. Once he's satisfied that no one is close enough to be harmed he pulls the steel doors open. Heavy smoke is traveling steadily up the shaft. Ignoring the smoke, the Sentry floats into the shaft and pulls the doors shut behind him, then drifts one floor down where he pulls a second set of doors open and steps into an inferno. Wasting no time the Sentry reaches into a wall where he expects to find water pipes. The wall itself offers no resistance and after some reaching around his fingers find what their are looking for. He pulls, yanking the pipe free and tearing it open. A burst of water erupts from the wall. Its not much, but if he can repeat the process a few more times before the fire spreads upwards he should be able to pin it here and with any luck even begin pushing it back.

Then he sees it. At first he thinks it must be a trick of the light, an illusion brought on by the distortion caused by the hot air. But then he sees it again.

"What in the world?"

Crawling towards him sideways on the wall is some kind of.....creature. The thing looks like a six legged insect, but it is the size of a large rat. At first he thinks its coming towards him but then he realizes that its making its way towards the hole in the wall from which the flame dousing water are emerging.

The Sentry hesitates, unsure of what to do and the thing surprises him by bursting into white hot flames near the source of the water. The water is instantly replaced by steam and the Sentry flinches instinctively as it washes over him. There is a brief sputter then the water starts pouring out once again and once it does a dozen more of the bizarre creatures begin to emerge from holes in the walls and from around the corners of the burning corridors. All of them making their way towards the water. All of them seeking to snuff it out, and suddenly the Sentry understands why the flames had spread through the dorm and the complex so quickly. These were no ordinary flames.

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Old 09-10-2012, 07:38 AM   #67
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"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."








William looks at the small baggie full of white powder as he turns it over and over again in his fingers.

He's laying back on a bed in a cheap motel room. His legs bent at the knee at the foot of the bed. His, still shoe clad feet firmly planted on the floor of the drab room.

The powder is tempting, there's no denying that, but now that he's got it William is having second thoughts. He thinks of his mother, how drugs destroyed her life. Thinks of how they almost destroyed his life. William was never a junkie but he was a recreational user and he wasn't so naive as to imagine that using hadn't contributed to his downfall.

Downfall.

It sounds so epic. Like something that happens to a hero who can't fight the good fight anymore. William didn't have any illusions about what he was. He had no doubt that such haughty terms and images didn't apply to him in the slightest, but downfall was a hell of a lot easier to wrap his head around than death.

There it was again. DEATH.

He couldn't shake it. Try as he might. He had died. Had felt himself die. And yet here he was.

A light rapping on the door snaps him suddenly into the here and now and he sits up to greet Tara as she enters the room. She's carrying a six pack of energy drinks and has a lit cigarette dangling precariously from her black lipstick painted lips.

He watches as she draws the moldy curtains shut over the room's windows and considers once again the option of just walking away. Then she turns and smiles at him and his resolve disappears like early morning dew.

"Come on man. Lay it out." She says eagerly as she drops into a wooden chair. It, a table, another chair and two beds are the only furniture in the room.

William hesitates slightly then pulls himself up and deposits himself in the chair opposite her. She lifts a leg, resting a foot at the edge of her chair with her knee up against her chest and takes a long drag of her cigarette while William expertly lays out two lines of white powder.


As soon as he's done Tara lays her smoke down on the table so that the lit end is protruding off of the edge of the wood. She then leans in and snorts a line in one smooth motion.

To his surprise the young girl takes the hit in stride. She straightens up, retrieves her cigarette and takes another drag. Only the hint of new and wild energy burning behind her eyes gives any indication that she's on something and even then, only if one possesses a keen eye used to spotting such things.

"Damn girl." William says "How long have you been doing this stuff?"

"Longer than you can imagine."
Comes the playful reply.

"Yeah well I'm an old hand at this myself." William declares, misplaced competitiveness building up inside him. Tara thought she was a real hot shot and from what he could tell she probably was, but he wasn't about to outdone by some girl. Even if he did feel some strange affinity for her.


William leans in and takes the hit. He feels the familiar burning sensation and the taste in the back of his throat. Then leans back, energized and excited.

"Hooyah!" He shouts as he slams a fist on the table "That's what I'm talking about!"

Across from him Tara smiles. William smiles back.

"What?" He asks

"Hold still" she replies as she reaches towards him with her free hand.

Two slender fingers touch William in the middle of his forehead. Then everything goes black.

Black as Death itself.

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Old 09-10-2012, 08:51 PM   #68
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The funeral pyre of Tomar-Re burned brightly in the cool, crisp night air. The Green Lanterns were on a large forest world as they mourned their fallen brother.

Norrin Radd hung his head low. He and Tomar came into the Corps together, both graduating from Kilawog's combat training at the top of the class. And now his friend and Corps brother was gone, his physical form burning to ash before him, and Norrin couldn't help but feel partly responsible.

"Put those thoughts aside."

Norrin turned to see his mentor and leader, Abin Sur, step up beside him.



"You mustn't feel guilty about Tomar's death", Abin continued as he looked out at the pyre.
"Tomar died doing what any of us would do...fighting evil. And we honor him by giving his sacrifice meaning."

Norrin shook his head, "I agree, Abin, but what troubles me is the events that led to Tomar's death and the deaths of the others. The raid...we were ambushed."

"Ah, yes...your mole"
, Abin said as his eyes scanned the camp. All the Lanterns who weren't off world were here attending Tomar's funeral. It was hard to fathom for Abin that one of these people with whom he's shed blood with, brothers and sisters of the Corps, could betray them.

Still...they were living in strange times...

"Let me worry about the mole", Abin stated.
"For now though, I've got a job for you. Meet me in the war room in thirty minutes."

"Yessir."

Abin Sur departed, leaving Norrin to lose himself to his thoughts as he looked into the dancing flames...

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



At the exact same time, one-thousand light years away...


The massive world ship orbited around the bright yellow sun, it's own golden hue shining like a miniature version of the star itself. But inside the planet-sized ship, the situation was not bright, but dire, as Fear Lantern Tri-Eye glided up the walkway towards the metal throne where Tri-Eye's Lord sat.
The Fear Lantern touched down a dozen or so feet before reaching the throne and knelt before his Master.

"Lord Sinestro", Tri-Eye greeted.



"What news of the attack", Sinestro spoke, not caring to banter with him.

"The Green Lantern force that attacked our Sol outpost was decimated. All were killed, but two."

"Two escaped"
, Sinestro asked aloud, a mix of amusement and growing anger.

"Yes, Lord. But our Lanterns hunted them down and killed one, but the other was able to evade capture. He was a crafty one, Lord Sinestro...and good. Killed two of us on his way out of the system."


Sinestro stood up suddenly from his chair, his gaze never leaving the Fear Lantern.

"And I imagine this would be the same Green Lantern I entrusted you all capture? The only one from the entire party I cared about!?"


"I...yes, Lord Sinestro...Green Lantern Norrin Radd escaped capture."

Yellow energy radiated from Sinestro and a golden spear shot out from his hand, impaling Tri-Eye through the center of his chest, killing him instantly. As his body slumped to the floor, his ring slipped off of Tri-Eye's finger and flew off in search of a new worthy member.

Two robotic figures came and collected the body as Sinestro stepped over Tri-Eye's corpse and walked away from the throne.

"Imbeciles, all of them!"

"Or maybe Norrin really is that good? After all, he was trained by the great Abin Sur himself."

Sinestro spun to his side to see his most powerful pupil, Lyssa Drak, as she steps out of the shadows.

"Careful with your words, witch", Sinestro's eyes narrowed dangerously.

"All I am saying is that we need to stop playing with them. Abin Sur is too well organized. If we are to destroy their hierarchy then we must be merciless."


Sinestro was on Lyssa in the skip of a heartbeat, his hand wrapped around her throat.

"You dare to mock me? Insinuate that I toy with this man!?"

"No such...thing...my Lord", Lyssa strains under Sinestro's vice-like grip.

Sinestro squeezes tighter, and Lyssa's eyes begin to flutter as the world starts to fade away.

Sinestro releases his grip, letting Lyssa fall hard to the floor.

Lyssa rubbed her sore throat and eyed Sinestro dangerously, but she dare not say a thing in anger. Instead, she calmed herself and continued her reasoning.

"As I was saying, Lord Sinestro, we have been sending out the recruits and...unworthy with the task of hunting down Abin Sur's chief lieutenants. Why don't we just send out the Omegas and be done with it?"

Sinestro paused as he ascended the steps to his throne, truly contemplating Lyssa's words.

"Very well", Sinestro stated.
"Send the Omegas out into the stars...I want Abin Sur's commanders, dead or alive. It doesn't matter which. Though I want Abin Sur alive. Any one who kills him dies."

"As you wish, my Lord. I will send them out immediately."

"See that you do. And do not fail me, Lyssa. The Hand of Krona is coming."

"The Hand is coming here", Lyssa straightened in surprise.

"Yes, and we need results."


"Of course, Lord Sinestro"
, Lyssa bowed, formally this time.
"I will not fail the Corps."

"That is good to hear", Sinestro smiled, "because I am holding you to it."

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Old 09-10-2012, 10:34 PM   #69
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~Opening the Scars~

The heat and the smell of burning flesh are the first things to hit me as I come to, the burning rubble covering my body. I push up, and a few burning timbers tumble off my back. The heat and smoke sting my eyes and burn my lungs, but I'll get over it.

I sniff the air, trying to detect a source of fresh air, and manage to get a whiff of something. I push through the rubble, the flames licking my body, burning, but at this point I just need to get out of here and find out who betrayed Wraith.

Because someone did betray him. That much is certain. They knew we were coming, killed the mother, and blew the house once we entered it. Unlucky for them, they just made the wrong kind of enemy.

Wraith must be dead. There's a chance he ported out before the explosion got to him, but even his reaction time isn't that good. I'll have to mourn him when this is all over. He was a good friend.

I manage to dig myself out of the rubble, and drag myself onto the house's front lawn, and lay there, allowing my healing factor to kick in. And of course, I completely miss the fact that the media, fire department, and police are all stationed outside.

"Good God! That guy's still alive!"

"Go check on him!" a paramedic yells.

I grumble to myself and get to my feet, stumbling a bit as the pain from my regenerating skin hits me a bit. A few seconds later, a cop yells out, "He's a mutie! His skin's growin' back! Get back! It was him! He blew up the house!"

"I don't think so, bub," I respond, putting my hands up as they draw their weapons. "If it was me, you think I'd be sitting around here waiting for you guys?"

I begin walking towards the group, hands still up, but the cops are dead set on me being the culprit. It's about now that I realize that I'm stark naked, and probably on every TV in the state.

"Freeze! Do not move, or we will be forced to shoot you!"

"Listen, pal," I say, rolling my eyes and continuing my walk towards them.

And then they open fire. A few shots graze me, and I break into a full out run, which scares the crap out of them. A few shots hit home, causing me to stumble as the pain shoots through my body, but I don't care at this point. I can't let them arrest me.

I need to find out what's going on here. And I need to stop it.

But first I need to get some clothes.

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Old 09-10-2012, 11:05 PM   #70
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Previously



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The chopper carrying Hank and Charles flew over the waters of the bay towards the city. Inside the back of the chopper, Hank prepared to jump into battle while Charles closed his eyes, focusing on the fight going on in the middle of downtown San Francisco.

"They have a telepath," he told Hank. "I'm going to attempt to engage him psychically. If I'm unavailable to contribute during the fight, you know why."

Charles reached his mind out and touched the criminal telepath's psyche.


******


Psimon blinked in confusion. Just seconds earlier, he was on the streets of the city with Rogue. Now, he found himself in a garden, sitting at a white table with tea in front of him. Across the table was a man who stared as Psimon while he sipped his cup of tea.

"Simon Jones," the man said calmly. "Should I call you Doctor? What is the etiquette on that once you've had your license stripped from you?"

"Where am I?" He asked, looking around. "Who the **** are you?"

"We are in the backyard of my childhood home in upstate New York. Just as I remember it looking. I doubt it's this neat now, unfortunately. I haven't been back there in years."

The man took another long sip of tea before putting the cup on the table. "As for who I am... I'm Charles Xavier. The instructor of the young people you're currently in the process of terrorizing."

Psimon stood up quickly, his knees banging against the table as he backed away. "This isn't real...," he said looking around. "It's all fake..."

"I know it is," Xavier said standing. "This is a shared psychic mindscape I created. Just for the two of us, Simon."

"Like that dream movie?"

"Of sorts," Xavier said with a smirk. "The only difference being--"

The ground on both sides of Psimon exploded outwards. A large root twisted out of the ground and attempted to wrap itself around Psimon's ankles. He jumped away and the root chased after him, slithering from the ground like a snake.

"In this world I have complete control over the entire environment."

Psimon turned and ran through the garden as the root twisted after him. As he passed the bushes, trees, and shrubs, they too came alive and began to rip from the soil and began to give chase.



*****


"Psimon?" The girl called Rogue asked with an arched eyebrow. Psimon was standing on the sidewalk beside her, his eyes glazed over and his jaw hanging down slightly. "Psimon? Hello? Earth to Psimon?"

She turned away from Psimon and looked up as a chopper hovered overhead. A large, blue monster jumped from the chopper and landed on a rooftop overlooking the street. The furry looking man jumped from the rooftop and landed in front of her, his claws out and his teeth barred.

"What did you do to her?" He growled, nodding towards the unconscious teenage girl on the ground.

"Oh, her? Uhh, Jean, that's her name, right?"

The furry mutant roared and sprung from his haunches, preparing to pounce on her. Rogue focused on him and sent the furry blue man flying backwards into parked car.

"She'll be fine, darling, but in the meantime..."

She brought the mutant back up, his feet hovering inches from the ground. She smiled at him, brushing her white-streaked hair from her face.

"I got her powers. Now, make sure to keep your arms and legs inside the cart at all times."

With a flick of her hand, she sent him flying into the air, spinning out of control.


*****


Scott took a potshot at Powderkeg and he slid over the hood of a parked car. The mutant absorbed his blast and shook it off with ease. He turned his attention back to Metamorpho, hitting the multi-colored mutant with an explosive punch to the face.

"This isn't working," he said to Rex, lining up his sights to take another shot. "He's absorbing my optic blast like they're nothing."

"Well, do something!" Rex pleaded, briefly turning his form into gas to avoid another blow from Powderkeg.

"Black Lightning!" Scott shouted down the street. Jefferson was running away as Mammoth chased him.

"Little busy here not trying to die!"

"Run towards me," Scott said, climbing up on the roof of a nearby taxi. He keyed up the settings on his visor and prepared his targeting reticle. "Metamorpho, run towards him."

Jefferson ran as fast as he could while Mammoth bore down on him. Metamorpho, meanwhile, ran towards towards the fleeing teen.

"Duck!" Cyclops shouted at Black Lightning, letting loose with a powerful blast. Jefferson dropped to his knees as the energy shot over his head and struck Mammoth in the stomach. He was knocked to the ground.

Black Lighting stood up and Scott pointed at Powderkeg.

"Metamorpho, turn to gas. Black Lightning, light him up!"

Jefferson let loose just as Rex's body turned into a gas cloud. The lightning shot through the cloud and hit Powderkeg's body. The electricity ran through over Powderkeg's sweat glands, igniting the nitro that covered his skin.

BOOOOOOM!

Scott, Jefferson, and a now solid Rex were knocked back by the explosion. The flash of fire shot up into the sky, Powderkeg going up with it. The fiery mutant screamed as he slammed against the side of a building and fell back to the ground, smoke curling off his unconscious body.

"Good job nearly blowing us all up," Rex grumbled, standing up weakly beside Jefferson.

"I was just following orders," Jefferson replied. He quickly patted his shoulder to put out the smoldering ember on his shirt.

A yell filled the air and the three of them looked up and saw Hank flying above their heads, spinning out of control and crashing into a nearby dumpster. A few moments later, he stumbled up beside them, garbage covering him.

"You know how to make an entrance, I'll give you that. Where's Jean?"

"Passed out," Hank said, nodding ahead of them. "Her powers taken by her."

They turned and saw Rogue walking towards them, Mammoth and Shimmer flanking her on both sides.

"Look, it's simple," she said, approaching them. "You ain't hurt, we ain't hurt either. We cut our losses and both of us get out of here safely."

"You mean you get to get away with all that money you just stole?"

"Who's to say we stole a lot? In all this confusion and chaos, we may only get away with half of what we stole. That other half could mysteriously vanish..."

"You're bribing the wrong people, lady," Scott said, shooting an optic blast at her.

"Scott, no!" Hank shouted, but he was too late.

The blast was easily deflected by Rogue's stolen telekinesis. She shook her head and sighed. "Have it your way then, sugar."

With Jean's powers, Rogue sent a taxi cab up into the air and aimed it towards the four mutant teens.



Psimon ran through the maze he now found himself in. The walls were white, the floor was white, and ceiling overhead was white. The only sounds he could hear were his own frantic footsteps echoing through the white void, and his ragged breathing. He was gasping for air, running for dear life from something that, deep down, he knew was fake.

As he ran, memories of his life began to flash through his eyes. The way he was shunned and picked on for his odd shaped head, the day his mutant abilities manifested. The overbearing sounds of other people's thoughts... and the way he had used them to his advantage.

~It must have been horrible,~ a voice echoed through his head. The voice was so crisp and clear, it was like the voice's owner was whispering into his hear. ~The constant stream of thought, pounding into your skull day and night. Hearing the innermost desires of your friends and family, seeing them for what they really were. It's enough to drive a man mad. I know for a fact that it can drive you mad.~

Psimon turned a corner in the maze and crashed into the man he was running from. Psimon was knocked back and fell flat on his backside. He looked up at Charles Xavier looming over him, Xavier's hands in his pockets and his face a mask of concentration.

"It drove us both mad. We have that much in common. But I think that is where our similarities end, old boy. I chose to seek out my own kind and try to help those who couldn't be helped by normal mutants. You, on the other hand, took the path of manipulation and greed. You used people to get ahead."

"No!" Psimon shouted, jumping up and running past Xavier. He ran as fast and as hard as he could, going through the twisting maze for nearly five straight minutes before stopping. When he finally came to a stop, Psimon was struggling to catch his breath.

"What about your mother?" Xavier asked as he appeared in front of him. "The way you pushed her to insanity, putting voices into her head until finally, she couldn't take it. She had to make them shut up, no matter the cost. How far did she fall, seven stories? A life you snuffed out in the name of revenge."

"She needed," Psimon wheezed. "To feel my pain... What I felt all those years. If your lecture is done, go ahead and kill me..."

"I have no plans to kill you," Xavier said, reaching out and touching Psimon's head. "I just want you to sleep..."

Psimon collapsed to the white floor, his eyes rolled into the back of his head.

With a start, Charles opened his eyes. He was still inside the helicopter, hovering over the street below the ongoing fight. Charles closed his eyes again and went back inside his mind.


*****


Metamorpho, his body transformed into titanium, slammed Mammoth back with a punch. The wooly mutant recovered quickly, knocking Rex back with a blow. Rex stood his ground and delivered a hard blow to Mammoth's ribs.

Behind him, Black Lightning charged up. Electricity was sparking from his hands as he placed them on Rex's shoulders. "Guess what titanium conducts real well...," he said with a grin.

The electricity coursed through Metamorpho's body as Mammoth charged again. Rex ducked his swipe and swung upwards, hitting the large mutant with a electric-powered punch. The blow, combined with the lightning, blew Mammoth up into the air. He landed half a block away on top of a car, unconscious with his hair poofed out by the electricity.

"YEAH!" Rex said triumphantly, high-fiving with Jefferson. "Science and stuff!"

~Rex, Jefferson,~ Charles said inside their heads. ~The mutant known as Psimon is down the street, unconscious and out of action. Round him up, along with Mammoth, Powderkeg, and Jean.~

~Is Jean alright?~

~Her mental readings are normal, she just appears to be unconscious.~

~We're on it.~

The two of them ran down the street towards where their fallen enemies and cohort were laid.


*****


Hank jumped on a taxi cab, leaping off of it as Rogue lifted it into the air with her telekinesis. Snarling, he ran towards the mutant and jumped, his claws out. He was a few feet from her when his momentum slowed and then stopped, hovering above the ground.

"No really think that would work?" She asked with a cocked eyebrow.

"As an attack, no... but as a distraction?"

Rogue was suddenly knocked forward as an optic blast struck her in the back. She fell forward and hit the ground while Scott charged. Quickly turning around, she ripped Scott's visor from his face with Jean's stolen telekinetic powers. Undeterred, he fired off an optic blast with is unshielded eyes. One beam went wide, the other struck Rogue in the shoulder.

~Sleep...,~ a voice said in both Rogue's head and nearby Shimmer's head. Shimmer collapsed to the ground but Rogue, fighting off the sudden fatigue, quickly stood and knocked both Scott and Hank back away from her.

Looking around, she saw the helicopter above and could hear the sounds of sirens approaching the area. With her attackers distracted, she ran down across the street and down a side alley.

~Are you two alright?~ Charles asked Hank and Scott as they recovered.

~I seem to be,"
Scott said mentally as he stood. "But I don't get it... how'd she avoid getting knocked out?~

~I'm not completely sure, but I believe she may have inherited Jean's resistance to mind control when she absorbed her powers.~

~What about the young girl? Should we give chase?~

~No,~ he said, reaching out to her mind. Her could feel feel her fright and her confusion just on the surface of her thoughts. ~Not as this time. For now, help Jefferson and Rex secure the rest of this group. We can deal with whatever happens next.~

__________________
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:30 PM   #71
Andy C.
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DISASTER AVERTED BY UNIDENTIFIED SUPER-MAN
Experimental Spacecraft Rescued by Man with Superhuman Powers, Eyewitnesses Claim
By Lois Lane


Photo by J. Olsen


This morning, the eyes of the world were on Doctor Reed Richards and his companions, expecting the launch of the revolutionary spacecraft Excelsior to change the way mankind explores space. Watching on television or streaming online, we all believed we were going to see an extraordinary event.

None of us, however, believed we would see three extraordinary events in a row.

In the middle of the ship's historic launch, an unexpected failure occurred within the core of its radical new antimatter drive, resulting in an internal explosion. While the exact cause of the explosion is still under investigation, scientific consultant and STAR Labs Director Dr. Emil Hamilton says, "the Excelsior's antimatter core works by colliding electrons and positrons together, resulting in massive energy output due to the opposite-charged particles annihilating each other. Without Dr. Richards' shielding, the core began an annihilation reaction all at once, which, if it had struck the Earth, would have destroyed everything within a radius of at least 100 miles."

Had the Excelsior crashed, it would have wiped out nearly the entire Eastern Seaboard, killing millions of innocent people. It would have been the single largest loss of life this planet has seen since the meteor impact that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Fortunately for everyone, the crash was averted by the third and most unlikely event of the day: the intervention of an unidentified superhuman, adorned in a bright blue and red costume.

According to satellite footage, amateur videos, and eyewitness reports, this mysterious rescuer flew through the air towards the crashing Excelsior at speeds exceeding Mach 1, removed the antimatter core, and propelled it into deep orbit (apparently simply by throwing it like an over-sized baseball) where it exploded harmlessly in empty space. The caped man then rescued the ship itself by catching it and slowing its descent--bear in mind, a vessel that weighs in excess of 2100 metric tons-- by all appearances, with his bare hands.

Upon setting the Excelsior down safely in the middle of Centennial Park and verifying that Dr. Richards and crew were unharmed, this 'Superman' met a crowd of onlookers and reporters with little more than a wink and a smile before flying away.

The incident aboard the Excelsior raises many questions, especially considering the controversy surrounding the ship's creation. Dr. Reed Richards, a vocal critic of Lexcorp CEO Lex Luthor, announced the ship's development within days of Luthor's announcement of a similar craft, and then completed the design and construction of the ship over a month before the competing Lexcorp ship's projected completion. Many people on Richards' team had actually defected from Lexcorp as well. It could be that the internal explosion was merely the result of rushed production, striving to beat a competitor on a deadline. As mentioned, however, the exact cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

Even when these questions are answered, more questions still remain regarding the 'Superman' who saved them. Who is he? Where did he come from? What does he want? How can he do what any respectable physicist would consider completely impossible?

Many of us are too young to remember the days of Captain America and the Invaders during World War II, a band of costumed adventurers with extraordinary abilities who helped topple Hitler's regime. More recent metahuman activities, however, can be seen with the outbreak of mutant-related violence, most notably the attack on a Naval base in San Diego.

Could this new superhuman rescuer be a mutant, like the ones involved in the battle in San Diego? Is he somehow connected to the bygone heroes in the Invaders or the Justice Society of America? Is he something different entirely?

Until the 'Superman' is willing to address these questions for the public, there is simply too much about him that we do not know in order to properly judge his character or his motives.

What we do know, however, is that if it weren't for him, millions of us, myself included, would not be here to ask these questions.

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Old 09-11-2012, 08:15 PM   #72
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With Great Power...
Part 12

Peter is sitting on his couch in his apartment next to Gwen as she patches up his cut chest.
The TV is on in the background, running the local news. The story running is about the appearance of a "super man" in Metropolis today that saved millions of lives.

"And a machine did this to you?"


"Big machine"
, Peter says with a wince as Gwen dabs ointment on the wounds.

"Uh-huh..."

"I swear, baby...damn thing fell on me. I stepped out of the way, but the sharp edge caught me."

"Ooookay. Now, hold still you pansy, so I can finish patching you up...I swear to God, you're an even bigger girl than I am sometimes."

"Wait a sec"
, Peter ignored Gwen and sat up, grabbing the remote and turning up the volume.

-back to the story in Metropolis in a minute...an explosion shook Queens last night as the old WayneTech plant went out with a bang. As you can see from the aerial view there, the plant is completely gone...Rescue workers and police are still sifting through the rubble, but reports indicate that no bodies have been found, so that's good news at least. Investigation into the cause of the explosion is still ongoing...


No bodies...that means Jackal is still out there. And he knows who I am...what I've become. He knows just how to hurt me if he really wanted to.


Peter looks at Gwen as these thoughts go racing through his mind, and he can help but look a little tense.

"Baby, you are too stressed. You need to unwind."

"Sorry, Gwen", Peter sighed.
"Don't know if I could unwind right now if I wanted too."

"Nonsense", Gwen smiled mischievously, "you're just need some proper motivation is all..."

"Heh-hey...all right", Peter smiled and wrapped his arms around Gwen's waist, pulling her in close for a kiss...

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


Peter took a sip of the beer he had been nursing for the past thirty minutes. It wasn't hot yet, but it definitely was warm. And there was nothing like a warm Miller Lite.

It was ten-thirty at night at the Parker residence. Aunt May was asleep upstairs and Peter and Ben sat in the kitchen at the table having a beer.

"Of course he will", Uncle Ben yells at Peter from across the table.
"Why the hell would they have made the trade in the first place if they weren't going to start him?"

"To finally get some good PR and sell some jerseys and tickets. They'd be stupid to start him."


"And you think Sanchez is the answer?"

"No", Peter states as he takes a swig of his beer, "but neither is Timmy of Nazareth."

"Oi-vey, there's just no getting through to you...", Uncle Ben shook his head.
"We'll see by week eight."

"We most certainly will."

Both shared a quick chuckle and took a drink from their beers, a comfortable silence falling on the scene.

"So, Peter...you ever come a decision to your problem?"

"I have Uncle Ben"
, Peter said as he straightened his posture in his chair and placed the warm beer on the table.

"You were right...what I've been given is an opportunity. A chance to own up to the responsibility of that comes with it and to use it to help those in need."

Ben was happy for Peter and with his choice, and it showed.
"Good for you, son. I'm proud of you."

Ben smiled and raised his beer.
"Here's to you, Pete...to moving on up in the world...just don't let it get to your head now."

Peter smiled and laughed, "I think I can manage that."

Peter and Ben clanked glasses and toasted finishing their beers which Ben promptly replaced.

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Old 09-12-2012, 09:37 PM   #73
Byrd Man
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Previously


Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man View Post
Psimon ran through the maze he now found himself in. The walls were white, the floor was white, and ceiling overhead was white. The only sounds he could hear were his own frantic footsteps echoing through the white void, and his ragged breathing. He was gasping for air, running for dear life from something that, deep down, he knew was fake.

As he ran, memories of his life began to flash through his eyes. The way he was shunned and picked on for his odd shaped head, the day his mutant abilities manifested. The overbearing sounds of other people's thoughts... and the way he had used them to his advantage.

~It must have been horrible,~ a voice echoed through his head. The voice was so crisp and clear, it was like the voice's owner was whispering into his hear. ~The constant stream of thought, pounding into your skull day and night. Hearing the innermost desires of your friends and family, seeing them for what they really were. It's enough to drive a man mad. I know for a fact that it can drive you mad.~

Psimon turned a corner in the maze and crashed into the man he was running from. Psimon was knocked back and fell flat on his backside. He looked up at Charles Xavier looming over him, Xavier's hands in his pockets and his face a mask of concentration.

"It drove us both mad. We have that much in common. But I think that is where our similarities end, old boy. I chose to seek out my own kind and try to help those who couldn't be helped by normal mutants. You, on the other hand, took the path of manipulation and greed. You used people to get ahead."

"No!" Psimon shouted, jumping up and running past Xavier. He ran as fast and as hard as he could, going through the twisting maze for nearly five straight minutes before stopping. When he finally came to a stop, Psimon was struggling to catch his breath.

"What about your mother?" Xavier asked as he appeared in front of him. "The way you pushed her to insanity, putting voices into her head until finally, she couldn't take it. She had to make them shut up, no matter the cost. How far did she fall, seven stories? A life you snuffed out in the name of revenge."

"She needed," Psimon wheezed. "To feel my pain... What I felt all those years. If your lecture is done, go ahead and kill me..."

"I have no plans to kill you," Xavier said, reaching out and touching Psimon's head. "I just want you to sleep..."

Psimon collapsed to the white floor, his eyes rolled into the back of his head.

With a start, Charles opened his eyes. He was still inside the helicopter, hovering over the street below the ongoing fight. Charles closed his eyes again and went back inside his mind.


*****


Metamorpho, his body transformed into titanium, slammed Mammoth back with a punch. The wooly mutant recovered quickly, knocking Rex back with a blow. Rex stood his ground and delivered a hard blow to Mammoth's ribs.

Behind him, Black Lightning charged up. Electricity was sparking from his hands as he placed them on Rex's shoulders. "Guess what titanium conducts real well...," he said with a grin.

The electricity coursed through Metamorpho's body as Mammoth charged again. Rex ducked his swipe and swung upwards, hitting the large mutant with a electric-powered punch. The blow, combined with the lightning, blew Mammoth up into the air. He landed half a block away on top of a car, unconscious with his hair poofed out by the electricity.

"YEAH!" Rex said triumphantly, high-fiving with Jefferson. "Science and stuff!"

~Rex, Jefferson,~ Charles said inside their heads. ~The mutant known as Psimon is down the street, unconscious and out of action. Round him up, along with Mammoth, Powderkeg, and Jean.~

~Is Jean alright?~

~Her mental readings are normal, she just appears to be unconscious.~

~We're on it.~

The two of them ran down the street towards where their fallen enemies and cohort were laid.


*****


Hank jumped on a taxi cab, leaping off of it as Rogue lifted it into the air with her telekinesis. Snarling, he ran towards the mutant and jumped, his claws out. He was a few feet from her when his momentum slowed and then stopped, hovering above the ground.

"No really think that would work?" She asked with a cocked eyebrow.

"As an attack, no... but as a distraction?"

Rogue was suddenly knocked forward as an optic blast struck her in the back. She fell forward and hit the ground while Scott charged. Quickly turning around, she ripped Scott's visor from his face with Jean's stolen telekinetic powers. Undeterred, he fired off an optic blast with is unshielded eyes. One beam went wide, the other struck Rogue in the shoulder.

~Sleep...,~ a voice said in both Rogue's head and nearby Shimmer's head. Shimmer collapsed to the ground but Rogue, fighting off the sudden fatigue, quickly stood and knocked both Scott and Hank back away from her.

Looking around, she saw the helicopter above and could hear the sounds of sirens approaching the area. With her attackers distracted, she ran down across the street and down a side alley.

~Are you two alright?~ Charles asked Hank and Scott as they recovered.

~I seem to be,"
Scott said mentally as he stood. "But I don't get it... how'd she avoid getting knocked out?~

~I'm not completely sure, but I believe she may have inherited Jean's resistance to mind control when she absorbed her powers.~

~What about the young girl? Should we give chase?~

~No,~ he said, reaching out to her mind. Her could feel feel her fright and her confusion just on the surface of her thoughts. ~Not as this time. For now, help Jefferson and Rex secure the rest of this group. We can deal with whatever happens next.~



Utopia
San Francisco Bay


Charles looked out across the bay as the sun slowly sank below the horizon. He was on the island facility's outer deck. In his hand was a glass of scotch with a few ice cubes floating in it. Behind him, Jean sat on a bench, cross-legged with an open notebook in her lap.

"You're making excellent progress so far," he said, taking a tiny sip of his drink. "I am curious, though," Charles said as he turned around to look at her. "How today's earlier events effected you."
"I'm alright," Jean said quickly, pushing the hair from her eyes. "I told you that already."

"Be honest with me, please," Charles said, kneeling in front of her and attempting to make eye contact. "You know I can't read you like the rest. I can sense some psychic backlash. That girl did more than just temporarily take your abilities."

Jean stared down at the ground, not wanting to meet her teacher's gaze. "When she touched me, I felt something. I could... feel what it was like to be her. All her emotions went through me."

"What did you feel?"

Jean looked up suddenly, making eye contact with Charles. "Pain. Fear. Anger. Whatever this girl was doing with these criminals, she was doing it out of necessity. Her life had been so hard... and so sad."

"I thought as much," he said, standing up and turning away from his student. "A life of hardship. A life, not unlike yours, or mine, or the rest of our group. It seems like suffering is the permanent mutant state."

Charles took a long sip of his drink and sighed as he walked across the deck. "See that island a few miles away," he asked, nodding in the direction of the floating rock a short distance away. "That's Alcatraz. The famous prison that hasn't been in use for almost fifty years... until today, that is. That's where they're holding Rogue's cohorts. Without trial or due process. Why? Because they're mutants. Criminals, yes, but they're all like us. They live in a society that won't accept them. Is it any wonder they went bad? Punishment is not the answer... and what's worse, I'm helping."

Turning around, Charles shambled towards the bench Jean was sitting on. He plopped down beside her and drained the rest of his scotch. "If only we were teaching and rehabilitating instead of incarcerating. Between this and the feelings I get from our own federal 'friends' in Utopia, I am starting to believe Erik may have been on to something..."

"Professor," Jean said, mentally plucking the glass from his hands. "I think you may have had too much to drink..."

"Jean," he said with a long sigh. "I am so sorry for bringing this all to you. You are a teenager, you have your own problems and your own concerns. I am supposed to be your mentor. I'm supposed to set an example. But what example do I set by getting blotto and ranting..."

"You showed me something," she said, reaching out and taking one Charles' hands. "You showed me that you have fears and faults likes the rest of us. That you're human. And that can go a long way. More than you could know."

"Thank you," Charles nodded, patting Jean's hand. "Just don't tell anyone else. Rex's powers are developing at a rate that he'll be able to shape shift before long. The last thing I want to see if a weeping copy of myself roaming the halls of Utopia."

"He's already doing voices. Apparently, he pretended to be me and asked Scott to meet him in Mrs. Waller's office at midnight. Yeah, she and Scott didn't find it as funny as Rex and Hank did."

"Heh," Charles said, standing. "Come on, we'll be late for dinner."

Charles and Jean walked across the deck back inside Utopia. Before they reached the door, Jean stopped and glanced back at Alcatraz. "Professor? Can you tell what's going on inside there?"

"That's what bothers me more than anything, Jean. Whatever they've done to prepare it, they've turned it into a telepathic deadspot. I'm blocked off from the island entirely. It could be a countermeasure for Psimon's own considerable telepathy, but something tells me they don't want any prying minds looking in."



*****



Alcatraz


The footsteps of Henry Peter Gyrich and his visitor echoed off the walls of the nearly empty facility. Together, the two of them walked through Alcatraz's main cellblock.

"As you can see, we're just getting up and running. The telepathic countermeasures were placed just as you asked for them."

"Good," the man said with a crisp British accent. He looked around the cellblock, inspecting everything his eyes fell upon. Gyrich took a moment to do his own inspecting. Tall and lanky with a pair of glasses, the man was dressed in a dark blue suit. He supposed to be a world renowned geneticist who was on loan from a government project that was too classified for Gyrich to know about. "And you said you have some inmates already?" The man asked, turning back to Gyrich.

"Yes," Gyrich said, nodding. "The guards are prepping him for your table right now."

"Excellent. Show me the way to the laboratory, please."

Gyrich led the man through the facility, down into the basement of Alcatraz. There, the government had set up a state of the art lab that would make almost every academic on the planet drool. In the center of the lab, strapped to a triple-reinforced steel table, was Mammoth.

"Swear to God," he snarled. "You hurt me or my sister, I'll snap the neck's of all you sons of *****es!"

"Easy there," the man said, approaching the mutant. "Hello, Mister Flinders, or do you prefer Mammoth?"

"I'd prefer to rip your goddamn head off and shove it up your ass!" He roared, spitting at the man and hitting his glasses with the spit.

"You are spirited," the man said, removing his glasses and carefully wiping them off with his jacket. "So are all mutants when they first come into my care. But that will soon change. That always changes."

While Mammoth fought and struggled, the man walked to a rack where a dozen power tools were hung. After long consideration, he gingerly plucked a power drill from the wall. He pulled the trigger and the drill whined to life. "Fully charged. Excellent. Points to you, Mister Gyrich."

With the drill in hand, he walked back to Mammoth.

"The government has brought me in to investigate the cause of the mutant outbreak. You see, they see it as a infestation that must be cured."

He removed his glasses and placed them into his jacket pocket. He then removed his jacket and placed it on a nearby counter, revealing a navy blue waistcoat underneath.

"I, my dear man, have a more neutral view on the subject. I see it instead as a problem. A difficult equation, a puzzle, something that can be solved. But before I can solve anything, I need data. For instance, you. I am told you have incredible strength. Is that your mutation? If so, what other side effects come with it? Are your skin and bones more durable than a common man's?"

With a pop, he slid on a pair of latex gloves and popped a long drill bit into the cordless powerdrill.

"This is the data I need. But before we begin, you need to know that I take no pleasure for this. This is only a necessary evil. In a hundred years, I we will both be seen as pioneers."

He stepped over Mammoth's head and lowered the drill until it was pressed against his forehead. "Although... everybody remembers Gagarin, not the dozens of animals the Soviets sent up before him. Well, no matter. You will be but a footnote to my... full note. But it will be well worth it to eve be mentioned in the same breath as Dr. Nathaniel Essex."

Pressing the trigger, the drill kicked on and Mammoth screamed as the drillbit tore into his head.

__________________
"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 09-13-2012, 02:21 AM   #74
Andy C.
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"Yeah, I saw the article," I say, talking to Ma over the phone while I pace back and forth in the kitchen, my cell phone tucked between my shoulder and head while I try to eat a carton of Chinese take-out. "I think Lois brought up a couple of points that I should probably answer.......yes, I saw the name...........Eh, it's fine, I guess....I mean, I never really thought of a nickname myself, so I guess 'Superman' works."

My apartment is a tiny, one-bedroom place in Hob's Bay, one that even with its.....Ma would probably call it 'cozy'....living space, I can barely afford. The already tiny living room/kitchenette has been squeezed into a maze of cardboard boxes, as I still haven't finished unpacking all of my stuff. It's kind of surprising just how many things you can pick up when you travel the world by yourself. I'm honestly amazed Ma and Pa kept all of the keepsakes and mementos I mailed home in storage for me.

Now that I've got my own place, though, all of that stuff came with me to Metropolis. And I'm apparently much more of a pack-rat than I remember being.

"No, I'm not covering any Superman stories myself....." I say to Ma in between bites of General Tso's chicken. "Well, y'know.....journalistic integrity and all. If I report on a story and intentionally lie or withhold information, then I'm betraying the public trust......no, that's not something Pa would say, because he's not a reporter...."

Looking at the laptop sitting on the small counter-like protrusion that passes for a dining table in the kitchenette, I see the news feed is still exploding with stories about the debut of 'Superman,' apparently everyone latching on to the name that Lois coined for me. I wish there was more information on the condition of Dr. Richards and his crew, or any developments on what caused the explosion.....


......and then I notice the browser display the silver stylized 'L' of the Lexcorp logo on both sides of the screen, and I feel heat gathering in my eyes. I take a deep breath, which keeps me from melting my laptop.

"Yes, Ma, I'm sure I can find plenty of stories to report on that don't cause a conflict of interest," I say. "I mean, it's Metropolis. There's always something going on here."

My investigation into the Bakerline disappearances is picking up a little steam. MCPD is still being less cooperative than I'd like, but I interviewed a friend of the most recent man to disappear--a drill-operator who last worked on a series of geothermal vents-- claimed to have seen him talking to a large and "frighteningly ugly" man in a tailored suit.

It could be a coincidence, of course, but the man I interviewed seemed pretty spooked. I'll have to see if that leads anywhere, preferably before anyone else goes missing.

There's a knock on the door. I extend my vision to see through the door from the kitchen, and see that it's Jimmy with his camera and a six-pack of beer.

"Anyway, I've got company, so I'm gonna have to let you go, Ma," I say into the phone, navigating the maze of boxes towards the door. "Tell Pa I said hi. Love you too. G'night."

I put down the half-empty of Chinese food, put away my phone and answer the door. Jimmy steps in, bristling with energy.

"Oh my God, Clark," he says, practically blowing past me as he storms into the apartment, "You would not believe it! I mean, I was there, and I still don't believe it! I'd never seen anything like it!"

"Yeah, I'm sorry I missed it," I say sheepishly. "I kinda got held up taking care of a few things. Still, I saw the picture you got of that Superman guy. Great stuff."

"I know, right?!" he says. "I mean, I finally got one of my pictures on the front page! Front page, man! Next time Superman shows up, I've gotta shake his hand--he's just made my career! And, y'know, saved everybody's lives and stuff. I guess that's kind of a bigger deal, but hey, it's good for me too, right?"

"Heh, I guess," I say, heading between a few rows of boxes towards the living room couch, where Jimmy passes me a beer. "So I guess this means that Lois's whole theory about the 'angel' stories from the last couple of years was the truth?"

"Seems that way," says Jimmy, taking a swig himself. "Although in all those stories the guy wore, like, blue jeans and a T-shirt, not a big red cape. You'd think people would have recognized that."

"Well, maybe he got a change of clothes?"

"Eh, maybe," says Jimmy, before he stops sipping on his beer for a second, and starts staring at me.

"Umm......Jimmy? Are you okay?" I ask, raising an eyebrow over the thick rims of my glasses.

"Whuh? Oh, yeah, I'm fine," he says. "It's just......for a second there, you looked, like, really.......familiar....."

"Well, yeah, I mean, we've been hanging out for about a month now."

"No, I mean, like.....I've seen someone who looks like you....." he says, squinting. "Like, not you, but looks just like you.............."

"What, like I've got an evil twin running around? Somebody went and cloned Clark Kent?"

"Hah," Jimmy laughs. "Ehhh, it's probably nothin'. I'm already a little buzzed--I had a couple before coming over."

"Yeah? Well, y'know, you oughta be careful with that. Moderation and all."

"Meh. I took the subway here, so it's not like I've gotta worry about driving," Jimmy shrugs. "Anyway, I think it's perfectly acceptable to celebrate such an occasion. Lois was right, I got my pictures on the front page of the Daily Planet, and we're all still alive! So here's to Superman."

Jimmy lifts his beer in a toast, and I begrudgingly clink bottle with him.

"To Superman," I say, before taking a drink.

"Y'know," Jimmy says, "I'll bet even Lois is having a drink to celebrate tonight. Not that she ever drinks."

"Funny," I say with a raised eyebrow. "Lois doesn't strike me as the tee-totaller type."

"She's not," Jimmy says with a dismissive hand-wave. "She just doesn't have time to go partying. She spends a looooooooot of time on her work, and then when she's not at work, she's usually doing volunteer work or something."

"Well, she's....she's really something, then, isn't she?" I say with a grin.

When I first met Lois, she didn't exactly give off an appearance of being the most charitable person in the world. She rides Jimmy a lot whenever they're working on a story together, and doesn't have much patience for anything or anyone that slows her down. So it's kind of nice to know that she's got a softer side to her.

"Y'know, if you want," Jimmy says with a sly grin of his own, "I could get you her number."

"Ehhhhhh, I don't think she likes me very much," I say, scratching my head. "I think our first conversation ended with her saying 'I give you two weeks before this city eats you alive, and they ship your bones back to Kansas, farm boy.' "

"Yeah, but she's like that to everybody at first," Jimmy says helpfully. "I promise, once you actually get to know--whoops, speak of the devil, I got a text from Miss Lane herself."

Jimmy pulls out his phone, and suddenly the grin disappears.

"Oh crap," he says. "I've gotta get to New Troy. Sorry, man, but I gotta bail, like, now."

"What's going on?" I ask, concerned.

"There was a big protest scheduled for today, protesting Lexcorp buying out tons of property in Little Bohemia, right?" he says. "Well, that protest has turned into a full-blown riot."

"A riot?!"

"Yeah, Lois is already there," he says. "She says it's getting pretty ugly. I gotta run, man."

Jimmy stumbles out of my apartment, knocking over a few boxes on his way out.

I look out the window, and can see plumes of smoke rising above the skyline. I attune my hearing, expanding it to take in distant details, and can hear sirens. Angry shouts. The shattering of glass.

I set my glasses down on the coffee table, and start to unbutton my shirt.

It looks like Superman isn't done for the day after all.


Last edited by Andy C.; 09-13-2012 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:54 PM   #75
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The Gotham docks. Midnight. The place where Falcone's drugs are supposed to be coming in. I'm sure the mob will have added security on the drop tonight, but what they don't realize is that I've got my own secret weapon of my own.

The encounter with Skeevers was a start. I'm sure Flacone knows about it. So my name is out there. But that's not enough. I need to hit them hard tonight. Hard enough that they stumble.

Looking through a pair of binoculars, I can see a group of three black SUVs and a U-Haul truck pulling up to the dock below me. I wait for the runners to exit the cars, and find that there's only about fifteen of them. Heavily armed, with Kevlar vests, they look ready for a fight, and I'm ready to give them one.

From below, I can hear them talking, "So, Skeevers, where's this giant bat?"

So Skeevers is here. Falcone must have sent him to ensure it's on his head if this goes bad.

I almost feel bad for him.

"Shut up and do your job. Get the drugs into the truck," Skeevers responds, annoyed, and obviously tied of hearing the question.

The truck backs up towards a shipping container, and the group heads toward it, opening it and begins tossing bags into the truck. They joke as they do it, laughing about how much they love Gotham City Police or what they did to their girl the night before. Just another example of how comfortable and complacent the criminals of Gotham have become.

Time to change that.

The driver of the truck steps out of the cab and heads to the back to help. As he does, I leap off the edge of the warehouse I was perched, snagging his leg in the rope loop I left on the ground there, slinging him into the air. I tie off the other end of the rope as I land, as the gangster's screams echo off the steel shipping containers.

The others begin to panic. I can't see them, but I can hear them. Yelling at the man above them, and at each other.

"What the hell happened?"

"How'd he get up there?"

"Oh man I don't like this!"

Smiling, I pull the prototype grapple gun from my belt, aim it at the tower crane above the scene, and fire. For a second, I pray it works, but I feel the magnet engage in my hand, and almost instantly I'm pulled through the air, and a hundred feet into the air.

Landing comfortably on the crane, I reload the grapple, and search for my next target. I see two have broken off from the main group to begin searching the rows of the containers.

Big mistake.

Attaching the end of the grapple to the crane, I put the mechanism into reverse and repel down, dropping in behind the two of them.

"What is this guy?" the bigger one on the left asks as he grips his shotgun tight. He's big, but he's easily spooked. He'll spray wildly with the gun the first chance he gets.

"Might be a mutant. He could kill us all," the other whispers. He's more relaxed. Not that he's not scared.

I move in quickly, striking the big man in the small of the back and the neck, incapacitating him quickly, ensuring he won't accidentally discharge his firearm. The other one reacts quickly and manages to aim at me, firing a few shots from his handgun at me. I manage to evade them, and a sweeping roundhouse kick knocks him out.

But the gunfire will have attracted the others.

Firing the grapple gun, I manage to make it to the top of a few stacked containers before they show up. Most of them reach the fallen men, but a straggler can't keep up, and I drop down on him from on high. I drive my knee into his jaw as I fall, and roll to transfer my momentum.

Taking cover behind a container, it doesn't take long for another one to discover this latest fallen man.

"Hey-OOF-" he tries to call the others, but I pop out from cover, grab him, pull him behind the container and slam him into it. As he slums to the ground, I hear the heavy footfalls of the others coming towards me.

They're too close to use the grapple. They'll see me go through the air.

Instead, I turn down the corridor I'm now in, taking a sharp turn, cutting in between two containers and cutting into the alley I took down the first two men, and almost run head first into another thug.

He's as surprised as I am, and I use that to my advantage. I quickly force his gun barrel upwards, and he fires into the air wildly, as I slam him to the ground hard, knocking the wind out of him, and then attacking a pressure point, causing him to pass out.

The rest of the gang turns the corner, and I take off into another corridor, darker than the others. But they saw me go this way. I come to a skidding stop, finding this make-shift hallway ends in a dead end.

I press myself into the darkest corner of the area, and get ready to move quicker than I ever have before. But something catches my eye in the crate next to me. A heavy canvas tarp. I grab hold of it, as the mob approaches.

Not wasting any time, I toss the tarp at them, causing confusion and misdirection. I spring into the fray of confused criminals, taking them out one by one. With the confusion of the flowing material hampering their ability to tell me from them, I easily turn them into a pile of whimpering, barely conscious scum.

"Hello?" Skeevers voice echoes down the darkened corridor. A gun wobbles in his hand, and I have to smile to myself. The end of my grapple attaches to it, and I easily yank it from his hand.

I emerge from the darkness, tossing the gun aside, "Hello again, Eddie."

"No...no...not you," he says, dropping to his knees. "Not now. He's gonna kill me for this. He's gonna kill me."

"Well, maybe you should have gotten into another line of business," I respond coldly, giving him a knee to the chin.

I get ready to leave the scene, but before I do, I notice an amount of oil sitting in the back of the truck, and remember what I told Gordon and Bullock.

Look for my sign.

I get to work, and once I finish, toss a match onto the drug-filled container.

As police sirens begin filling the air, I scavenge some of the Kevlar vests from the unconscious gangsters before firing my grapple into the night sky, fleeing the scene.

**********

Detective Jim Gordon steps out of his car, with his partner not far behind him. The sight that greets his eyes is amazing. Almost twenty suspected mob member lie tied in front of a flaming shipping container.

"Our friend?" Bullock asks with disgust.

"Sure seems like it," Gordon responds, a small smile crossing his face as more officers show up, all staring at the fire burning in front of them.



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