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DC: Year One-- IC Thread.

Discussion in 'RPG Archives' started by Andy C., Jul 30, 2014.

  1. MST3K 4ever BRING IT BACK!

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    [​IMG]

    Rhiannon dropped into work just to see how things were going in her absence. She loved being off because she didn't have to worry about how was dressed. Rhiannon loved being in just her favorite blue sweats and Nikes with no make-up. It was her favorite way of going out in public no muss-no fuss.

    She spent the time catching up with everyone, showing that she was doing just fine, and of course seeing if there were any reports of any irregularities from the night before. Like computer logs being altered and equipment being used. Rhiannon made sure she was very careful as to not raise any red flags and not hearing any reports, or seeing anyone look at her suspiciously Rhiannon felt like a kid who just pulled a fast one on her parents.

    Once she was certain her secret was safe Rhiannon left the office, and then parked her car at a nearby mall. Seeing that no one was around Rhiannon shrunk down and floated over her driver's seat for a moment.

    Okay maybe I should've gotten out of the car first.

    She noticed that her air-conditioning vent was open and shrugged her shoulders.

    Why not?

    With that Rhiannon floated through the vents and made her way out of the car. She coughed a bit and said, "Okay for future reference going through the car to get out only to be done in cases of emergency."

    Rhiannon began to float to the CDC when she began to notice that her shadow was being covered up by a larger shadow. She turned her head and realized that a bird had spotted her, and was coming towards her with their claws spread out. Rhiannon knew that whatever the bird had in mind for her it wasn't going to be pleasant.

    Rhiannon spotted out of the corner of her eye in the field below a sizable stick.

    Hope the SPCA doesn't find out about this.

    Rhiannon began to float back to the ground, and once she landed she grabbed the stick.

    Rhiannon saw the bird was in a dive right at her.

    Been a while since I went to the batting cages hope I still got my timing.

    She waited and when the bird was close enough Rhiannon swung knocking the bird backwards. The bird quickly flew away and she smiled.

    Rhiannon said, "Okay another note to self at this size many things are a danger to me. Still gotta get to the office."

    Rhiannon floated upwards and saw a delivery truck at a traffic light.

    There's my ticket!

    Rhiannon floated over to the truck hid under the bumper. The noise and vibrations were almost too much for her to handle, but it was better than a bird trying to attack her.

    Rhiannon felt the truck stop and she slipped out of her hiding space and noticed that she was at the CDC gate. Rhiannon staggered somewhat towards the guard shack and hid behind a trash can.

    Now I need to catch my breath. Once I do that find a way to make my way to R & D. They got something I might be able to use.

    The guard returned to the shack and was surfing the web on the computer.

    Naughty naughty you're not supposed to be doing that on the company dime.

    Just then the guard's phone rang. He answered and Rhiannon noticed something the dust particles moving in and out of the phone. She then had an idea.

    In theory it might work. Only one way to find out. If I'm wrong I won't live long enough to regret it.

    Rhiannon shrunk to microscopic size and floated towards the phone. She floated into the phone into what seemed to be darkness but then saw what appeared to be a beam of light moving back and forth.

    Well here goes something.

    Rhiannon jumped on the light. She felt herself being pulled as though she were caught in a rip current and tumbling out of control. Rhiannon focused herself and began to straighten herself out. What once was an out of control tumbling now felt as though Rhiannon was body-surfing.

    She saw a bright light getting brighter and brighter until she felt herself being flung out onto a hard surface.

    Rhiannon shook her head and got her bearings. She realized that she was on a desktop, but luckily for her she was so small that she couldn't be seen. Rhiannon ran behind what appeared to be a picture frame and sat down. She looked at her sweats which were now shredded and barely covering anything up.

    Okay now I gotta get to R & D. No way I grow back to normal size like this.

    She looked around and realized that she was in Larry Summers office the head of R & D. Meaning she was only about 3 doors away from where she wanted to be.

    Rhiannon floated down to the floor and out under the door. She finally reached her goal of the storage area of R & D. Rhiannon saw a gap between the door and the floor and went under it.

    Once she was inside the store room Rhiannon grew back to normal size. She looked at her torn and tattered sweat suit and shook her head.

    I really did like this one too. Well looks like I'll be asking for another one for Christmas.

    Rhiannon walked over to a metal closet and opened it up. Rhiannon was staring at what appeared to be a black-jump suit. It was an experimental iso-suit, but costs overruns made it impossible to produce. Not to mention finding the material that was so adaptable to extreme heat, cold, bullets, water, and many other items was extremely difficult. The suit never went past prototype and was only rumored to exist. As she went through the computer files last night Rhiannon knew that the suit was really. Rhiannon loved the nickname that everyone called the suit; "The Immortal Suit." You wore it you were practically invulnerable.

    Rhiannon smiled at the suit and said, "You ready to get out of there for a good and come home with me? Sure you are."

    Just then Rhiannon heard voices outside the door. Without even thinking she began to shrink down, and closed the door locking herself in the closet. Much to her surprise the suit shrank with her.

    I guess whatever is within that red & blue aura shrinks with me. Interesting. Now I just need to wait for a few moments.

    Once she heard the voice were gone Rhiannon slipped under the door with the suit. She looked at the suit and said, "Basic black? How boring. Gotta splash some color to you. Not to mention I still have to come up with a name for me."

    Rhiannon got rid of what was left her sweat suit in nearby drain in the corner of the room and slipped on the suit.

    Actually fits pretty good. Okay time to get home I got some changes to make.

    With that Rhiannon made her way out through the air vent system, and caught a ride on another bumper to within a block or two of her car.

    Once she got back to her car Rhiannon sat in the driver seat and tried to return to normal size, but as she tried she discovered that the suit was not allowing her to. Rhiannon slipped off the suit and shook her head.

    No way I can drive home like this. The material and my shrinking aura must've had some kind of reaction.

    She looked in the back suit and saw her gym bag.

    Luckily I got my workout gear in here. Rhiannon floated up, saw no one, got into her back seat, returned to normal size, and slipped on her gym gear.

    Rhiannon then got back in the front seat and held up the six inch costume.

    She said, "Okay, looks like I've got some tailoring to do at six inches tonight."

    With that Rhiannon headed for home.
     
  2. Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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    Chapter 1
    Perestroika



    Bennett Beach
    Gotham



    Slam cruised Bennett Beach in a loop. The Beach was all Chechen territory. Russian expats and gangsters mingled with the old Jews of the neighborhood. Yiddish and Cyrillic script cohabitated on walls and storefronts. Slam swilled gin from a flask and cruised slow. Past mixed with present. His conclusion: it was all the same thing.

    THEN: He killed four men in the line of duty. All during a two year stint in Robbery. Captain Branden gave him a necktie with 4's and the GCPD shield on it. Branden's idea of esprit de corps. Branden had a tie with 10's on it. Charlie Fields had a bowtie with little 7's covering it. One man held up a grocery store with a shotgun. He took hostages. Branden and the others distracted him in the front. Slam slipped in the back. He walked up behind him and blew the man's brains out with his service piece. Fifteen years later, Slam could still smell brains. He couldn't even remember the man's name.

    NOW: He's killing again, this time in an indirect way. The Chechen gave him two days to find a man marked for death. Slam owes the Chechen ten grand. The ten grand: a five hundred dollar football bet spun out of control when he thought he could bet his way out of debt. He finds the man and his debt is absolved in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost of gambling. Slam doesn't find him and he's pig food. The Chechen isn't like Sid the Yid or the mob bookies. They know dead men don't pay back debts. The Chechen doesn't care. He kills because he likes it.

    THE MAN: Boris Andropov. The Chechen's goon filled Slam in on details. Boris runs The Comrades Club, a stripper joint in Bennett Beach. Implications: Big Boris pushes dope for the Russians and pimps the girls out on the side. Slam inferred: Busy Boris launders money for the Chechen through the club.

    Boss Boris leaves the club one night and doesn't come back. Bandit Boris high-tailed it with the club's books and nearly sixty grand worth of cash. Slam cut odds on the cash being all drug money and gave up. Even he knew a sucker's bet when he saw one. Call the books insurance that the Chechen wouldn't neuter Big Boris and let him bleed to death. As long as Bright Boris stayed alive the books wouldn't fall into police hands. Slam had to get the books as well as what was left of the cash.

    He polished off the last of his gin and got buzzed. His buzzed brain made clicks. A plan formulated. The booze simmered the plan and fermented it. The Chechen's men gave him Boris' address. An ex-wife and four kids by three different women, but nobody lived with Bachelor Boris. Slam cruised to the outskirts of Bennett Beach with 459 on his mind. Boris' apartment building reeked of deli meat and cat litter. Slam made the third floor, his tools tucked in his jacket. Boris' door had scratch marks on it already. Someone had scooped Slam, he'd be getting sloppy seconds. He went in anyway. The lock popped and he went inside.

    Slam walked the apartment in grids. He took his time tossing the place. He was trained to be thorough and he was. Slam found coke, speed, weed, condoms with holes deliberately poked in them, *****s, smut of every imaginable kind. He tossed the place gently. He tossed it so it left no trace of his tossing. It was all for naught. The place looked wiped down. Anything worth a damn had been taken before he got here. They tossed and covered their tracks like Slam. A pro had been in and out of here before him. He went into the kitchen and pulled a half drunk bottle of vodka from the fridge. It went down rough, not as smooth as gin. The booze fired him back up. He worked out his next steps. Canvass The Comrades Club, find out who Boris was ****ing and try to get one step on whoever the hell he was racing.

    Slam tossed the empty vodka bottle in the trash. He headed to the front door. The knob wiggled. Someone put a key in the lock. He stepped back and pulled his .38. He took off the safety and held it steady. The door swung open.
     
  3. Hound55 Byfar The Most Evil Thing

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    Vic Sage, formerly Charles Szasz, a prodigious young trial attorney, has secured a job at legal juggernaut Soule, Guggenheim, Liu and Associates. After 8 months of menial paperwork his mentor – a highly reputable, yet somewhat unlikeable man named Martin Banks – has allowed him to go through the company “Slush pile” for his own work.
    In that file, he's found a name from his past.
    This is what follows.
    [​IMG]
    A Question of Loyalty – Part 3

    “…so that’s pretty much it, Mr Rodor.” Wrapping my rundown of the situation up. “Twain never put the patent applications forms through. And with no patent documentation and the paperwork and prototype all on site.”

    “Where my access has been revoked.”

    “Yes.” I breathe out the word sympathetically, rather than say it. As if that would soften the blow.

    “So that’s it, Charlie?” He looks at me with sad aging eyes.

    Let’s take 5 here and explain the familiarity…

    Aristotle Rodor was my professor at HCU. Taught a bunch of PHI classes; ethics. Qualified to teach chem as well, but he didn’t like it as much as philosophy.

    Yeah, I know. Philosophy professor called “Aristotle”. Feel free to make your own joke. Probably won’t be anything he hasn’t heard before.

    Anyway “Tot”, as he affectionately likes to be called by friends, was once a field medic in the armed forces. Served his two tours, and on return his survivors guilt manifested itself in a unique way for this city.

    He wanted to be the best person he could be and do the greatest possible good.

    For Tot that meant making the most of his mind. He went back to school, studied hard, got his doctorate in philosophy. Also a second in biophysical chemistry.

    And a half dozen degrees in similar fields like bioorganic chem and chemical biology to name just a few…

    So anyway, part of that “do the greatest possible good” involved looking into further into an idea in field medicine he’d had many years earlier. Pseudoderm. Basically a chemically laced organic bandage compound, that when used in conjunction with a second chemical bonding agent (which he’d designed as an aerosol spray) would cause the pseudoderm to bind to the skin. Faster and cleaner than regular bandages and without the need for pins or tape (which can be fiddly and complicated under fire) which made it practical, and also more comfortable for the patient.

    He got together with a small businessman called Arby Twain who he thought to be fairly likeminded, only to discover he wasn’t. Small partnerships form a large number of civil disputes and can get pretty messy. This one wasn’t going to get too messy.

    Arby Twain was a pretty damn good con man, and he had played this pitch perfect.

    Without the patent documentation any creation was largely considered to be the property of the partnership. He had plans which of course had his name on them, but unfortunately they were in the building, along with the complete working prototype and aerosols.

    Twain had come up with a point of contention, a sizable business deal which would have seen millions of dollars in product go to Kahndaqi rebels, making great returns. Rodor’s ethics would not allow him to accept the deal. The partnership dissolved. Arby Twain owned the original building and much of the start-up capital. He revoked Tot’s security clearance. And having never filed the initial patent forms that Tot gave him for the business side…

    Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Soule, Guggenheim, Liu and Associates recognized the roadblocks in this case. Hence it’s place in the “Slush pile”.

    For an orphaned kid out of Saint Catherine’s, Aristotle Rodor might have been the closest thing to a father I’d ever had.

    And damn sure the closest thing to a role model…

    “So that’s it, Charlie?” Tot repeated himself, seeing me deep in thought.

    “Maybe not…” I say, as a plan forms, “I think I might be getting something…”

    * * * * *

    I step out of my car and look up at Twain’s building on Suffolk and 5th. The top 6 floors are still rented by the man my client would never stand a chance against in court.

    This would be my first of two visits to the building, but I’d never forget it. I take the lift up to Twain territory. The woman at the front desk is doing her nails and chewing gum, she looks impressed by the man in the old style suit and I begin to suspect just how she managed to land the job. She suggests maybe when I’m finished with “Mr Arby” we could find some time since she finishes in an hour. My impression of Arby Twain has not improved.

    Any secretary worth her salt would be keeping a buffer zone for her boss. Make me wait, call through to Twain warning him of my arrival. It’s clear her ability in the role isn’t what secured her this job.

    I burst through the front door and enjoy the flash of terror that, for a split second, crosses his face like a deer caught in the headlights. I could swear I saw him hit a “boss key” on the keyboard as well.

    No business of mine, but the thought warms me. And it won’t hurt any for what’s coming.

    “Arby Twain, I represent Aristotle Rodor. This is a signed writ of habeas corpus demanding pseudoderm be brought before the people’s court.” I thrust a document onto his desk.

    He looks nervously. Flashes a glimpse to the back corner of the room before taking the paper.

    “This is bullsh**. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    It was… but he knew exactly what I was talking about.

    “I assure you it’s not. Do you know exactly what pseudoderm is? It’s more than just a bandage. It’s capable of acting like a synthetic skin. Hence the name. Works kind of like a scab. The pseudoderm covers the affected area and chemicals within the pseudoderm aid the patient’s cells.”

    “’s bullsh**!” He repeats himself, and flashes rage. He glimpses back at the corner. Back to the page.

    “Do you know what habeas corpus means, Mr Twain? Latin term, but many think it dates back to the 14th century. Maybe even earlier. The intelligentsia loved some Latin, even though they were English. Civilized language for civilized folks, or so they thought.” I shrug.

    “Means ‘You may have the body’ in literal translation. Usually - in modern times - to ensure a fair trial, a prisoner would basically have this writ allowing the court to determine whether somebody is being held unlawfully. It’s a creative use of it, I’ll admit. But I was fortunate enough to find a Judge who’s as eager to see justice as I am… with as flexible a definition of a body.”

    No. I wasn’t.

    “After all… what more is our body but a skinbag full of chemicals, right?” I shoot the conman a wide sh**-eating grin.

    Arby Twain can barely contain his rage. He keeps flashing between me, the paper and the corner, and I’m not certain he won’t just tear the writ up right before my eyes.

    “I’ll see you in court, Mr Twain…”

    No. I won’t.

    “Bring the pseudoderm.” I turn and leave.

    A torrent of invective follows me out the door. The secretary re-thinks her position in regards to repeating her afterwork proposition.
     
    #53 Hound55, Sep 25, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  4. Bounce Registered

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    [​IMG]
    | OA
    | Sector 0

    The sciencells of Oa were a labyrinth, entombed in a maze and buried deep in the recesses of the planet's crystalline structure. The purpose of the sciencells was to contain the most dangerous forces known to the Guardians -- threats that could not be restrained by any local planetary law enforcement. Rehabilitation services were offered, but fewer than eight percent of the prison's population elected to participate in them. And with good reason. Most could expect to spend the remainder of their life expectancy in the sciencell, so there was little reward in it for them to rehabilitate themselves now. The primary focus, then, was on containment and isolation.

    As such, entering the sciencells was akin to stepping into a dungeon. Modern, yes, but no less intimidating.

    Perhaps for that reason, few Green Lanterns volunteered for assignment to the sciencells. Kai-ro had been required to perform guard shifts while training with Kilowog, giving him an indoctrination into the chilling effect of such a lonely duty in the shadow of Oa. That's what it was too. The shadow of Oa.

    But where emotion created the atmosphere of anxiety, the mechanical and orderly among them found work in the sciencells to be quite rewarding. It followed a strict routine, with no deviation from scheduled activities, allowing it to operate at levels of efficiency incomprehensible in the free cosmos. As such, the four visitors were met by the android known as RRU-9-2, who allowed them access to the prison records.

    Pulling the stub of a well-chewed cigar from out of the pocket of his uniform, the H'lven chipmunk stuck the stogie in one corner of his mouth as he began working at the warden's terminal interface. "All right, according to the transfer and receipt records, he was delivered to detention block AA-23 by..." Br'r began, only trail off for a moment as the entry displayed on the screen. "...the frack?"

    "There is no Green Lantern by that name," the Syggian commandant uttered derisively, as the four-armed Salaak towered over the H'lven's small form.

    "G'Nort," Br'r uttered. It was a name, but the way he'd said it suggested it might as well have been a four-letter-word.

    It also meant absolutely nothing to the Tibetan. Politely raising one hand, the young monk quietly said, "If I may ask, who is G'Nor..."

    "It was that mission," Br'r uttered, turning his furry head back and up toward the Slyggian, who appeared to have blanched a shade lighter than his usual purple.

    "What miss..."

    "I take back what I said," Salaak remarked, talking over the monk. "Frack... indeed."

    "Wo cao,"
    the boy uttered, rolling his head back with a sigh, then turning toward the Interceptor's AI in her android housing. "Can you tell me what they're talking about?"

    "The G'newtan named G'Nort Esplanade G'neeshmacher was the Green Lantern of sector 2112," Aya supplied succinctly. "His personnel file contains precisely four hundred, seventy-eight reprimands for insubordinate conduct, use of excessive force, failure to obey an order or regulation from a Guardian..."

    "That... doesn't remind me of anyone," the young monk noted with a barely restrained smirk, as he turned his head to shoot a glance down at the resident Disney character look-a-like.

    Pulling the cigar from out of his mouth, the H'lven brandished the stogie as though it were a weapon, as he growled, "Keep talkin', kid. You'll need the company dental plan."

    "G'Nort is a fugitive," Aya remarked, interrupting the exchange as she continued her report. "During an assignment to sector 1138, he resolved the situation at hand by destroying a planet that was home to sentient life."

    The monk's head whipped back around to stare at the android with a look that displayed the difficulty he was having in processing that. It was difficult enough comprehending that there were other planets, other people, out there... out in space... just like Earth. Or that there was this brotherhood of space cops, this Green Lantern Corps. The idea of someone blowing up a planet.

    ...and that someone being a Green Lantern...

    "He was tried in abstentia by an interstellar tribunal of the Jorus Statute, but he has never been apprehended or made to answer for his crimes."

    Silence fell over the room, unbroken until the Slyggian spoke. "He sent his ring back by courier. At least that was damn decent of him."

    "If he'd kept it, we could have used it to track him," Br'r noted sourly. "He's smarter than people give him credit for."

    Another icy silence blanketed the room.

    "This is... disturbing," Salaak noted, again being the one to break the ice. "What you propose is inconceivable enough. But now to add G'Nort to the whole debacle..."

    The H'lven gave a grunt in response. It was as good an answer as any, and Kai-ro found he only had questions. And wasn't certain what all the questions were either.

    "What sciencell was Arkillo placed in?" Salaak inquired, peering back down at the H'lven.

    "2817."

    "There isn't a 2817 in detention block AA-23."


    As all eyes turned on the monk, the Tibetan found himself feeling embarrassed in spite of his confidence. "I always got that detention block during training," the boy explained meekly. "That corridor ends with sciencell 2816, then the next starts at 2901."

    "Green Lantern 2814 is correct," the mechanical RRU-9-2 uttered in a disturbingly robotic tone of voice. "The twenty-eighth corridor contains only sixteen sciencells."

    "So we have a prisoner, who isn't here, in a sciencell, that doesn't exist, and the GL that brought him in is on the lam," the H'lven summarized darkly, before turning to face the Slyggian towering over head. "Still wondering why I'm here, Sally?"

    "As usual, you are irritating, frustrating, insubordinate... and quite right," Salaak deadpanned dryly. "But where do we begin to unravel this mess?" the Slyggian Green Lantern mused aloud, one hand going up to his chin, while another propped itself up on one hip, and the two remaining where crossed over his torso. After a moment of thought, the commandant looked up. "RRU-9-2 and I will do an audit of all the prison records since G'Nort joined the Corps."

    The mechanical prison warden gave a nod of it's block-like head.

    Looking back down at the H'lven, the Slyggian then remarked, "We can't allow Arkillo's trail to go cold. Br'r, you're returning to Graxos and this time you're taking an Alpha Lantern with you. I recommend Sinestro. He's on world currently and not on assignment."

    The H'lven's fur bristled slightly, as he made no indication other than sticking the cigar back in the corner of his mouth.

    Which was when Salaak turned next to the Tibetan monk. "2814, you don't possess the necessary experience to participate in either task, but I do need someone to reinvigorate the hunt for G'Nort. I fear we've allowed that fugitive to no longer be a priority and are paying the price for that now."

    This time, Br'r did speak. "You're sending a poozer to bring in the guy that blew up a planet?"

    "He doesn't have a ring any more," Salaak rationalized aloud, turning to address the diminutive Lantern. "I expect your protege capable of bringing in a G'Newtan. And last I checked, I was Clarissi. So the decision is mine. And it is made. Are there any questions?"

    And there was the icy silence again.

    "No, Clarissi," the monk offered aloud, choosing to be the sacrificial lamb on which the ice would be broken.

    And, again, the Slyggian offered not so much as a glance in his direction. "Then good luck, Green Lanterns."

    Br'r hopped down from the terminal and motioned for the monk and the AI to take a step away from where the robot and the Slyggian were overseeing the prison terminal. When they were a few steps away, the H'lven looked up at the AI. "Aya, stick close to the poozer."

    As the android body gave a nod in understanding and compliance, the H'lven turned toward the monk. "Kid, don't let this one bite you in the ass."

    Giving a nod of his own, it occurred to the boy that this meant that their time together had come to an end -- however temporary. That being the case, the young monk straightened up, put his arms together and bowed toward the H'lven. "Zhu ni haoyun," the boy offered formally.

    "Moo goo gai pan to you too," Br'r quipped back in reply.
     
    #54 Bounce, Sep 27, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2014
  5. Andy C. Repent, Harlequin!

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    [​IMG]



    I stand in darkness, the shadows slashed by thin beams of sunlight from outside.

    My body aches all over, muscles throbbing with a deep, consuming pain. My blood is like fire, every pulse of my heart sending a new wave of burning agony through my limbs. My head is heavy, and my senses dulled.

    I have not been this exhausted in all of my life. The last three days have been a gauntlet unlike anything I have ever faced.

    "You're truly an idiot, you know that?" Mala says, her hands kneading into my shoulders to undo as many knots as she can. "You didn't have to compete in every event in the Games."

    "Yes I did," I say, cracking my knuckles. "Or else I wouldn't have gotten here."

    The first day of the War Games had started off well enough. The footrace along Demeter's Way was an exciting one, and I had managed to take the lead in that event, as well as the following High Jump. The Long Jump, the Vault, and the Hurdles, however, all went to Artemis. Mala took two victories as well, the rock climb up the Cliff of Andromeda, and the swimming across the Bay of Benthesilkyme. Euboea took the horseback race, Aleka took the hammer throw, and Artemis took Archery, securing four victories to my two.

    Only four of the sixteen Amazons in the War Games could enter the final event. If I were to catch up to Artemis, I would have to participate in every game on the second day. So that is precisely what I did.

    The second day of the games was even more grueling than the first. Pulling stone-laden carts up the Peak of Achelois. Lifting slabs of granite. Holding up a falling iron column tied to a chain in each hand. Navigating the trap-filled Labyrinth of Belerophon. Running the fiendish Gauntlet of Astraea.

    All in all, I took three more events, enough to tie me with Artemis, and bring me to the third day.

    Here.

    The Arena.

    Outside, there is a rumbling of thunder. The Amazons stomp their feet and clap their hands in anticipation for this, the final contest of the Games.

    I had won my berth in the finals in a hard-fought brawl against Aleka, a warrior nearly twice my size. Mala was not so successful, falling to the vicious blows of Artemis.

    The finals, however, were not a contest of hands and feet. For this battle, we would be armed.

    "Are you sure you don't want a sword?" Mala asks, uncertain of my choice of weapon.

    I nod.

    "I cannot do what I need to do with a sword," I say, looking ahead, almost looking through the door itself to see my opponent on the other side.

    "Artemis is in rare form today," my mate warns. "I honestly think she's really got it out for you. Be careful out there; she's not going to hold anything back."

    I move my hand towards my right hip, grazing the instrument I will bring into battle.

    "Neither will I."

    Outside, horns blare, signaling the start of the event. Two of the Royal Guard enter the chamber, signaling that it is time for Mala to leave.

    "Whatever happens out there, know that I believe in you, my princess," she says, daring a scandal by kissing me on the cheek before she leaves. The Guards follow her out, smirking at some choice new gossip they could share....

    ....and the doors open before me.

    "Amazons of Themyscira," my mother's voice booms throughout the Arena, "We come at last to the final contest of this year's War Games. All who have competed are to be commended, for in their hearts burns the spirit of our warrior ancestors. Now, however, the time has come to select the most worthy among us.....to determine our Champion!"

    The crowd roars loudly. I wish I could say it was purely out of the excitement of the games, but there is more going on here. There are many who hope to see me 'humbled' before one they consider a 'true' Amazon. They cheer in the hopes of seeing my humiliation and defeat.

    Standing across the sands from me is the one who wants to fulfill their hopes more than anyone else.

    "Our first contestant....wearing the black, silver, and teal of the Bana Mighdall....the winner of the last three War Games, and the reigning and defending Champion of Themyscira......"

    [​IMG]

    "....Artemis!"

    She's prepared herself well, armed with the traditional Amazon weaponry of a bow and short sword. I'll have to close the distance to her quickly, as her aim is unequaled. Even then, once I get up close, that sword will be no easy task to overcome.

    But I did not come this far only to fail.

    "And introducing the challenger," my mother continues, her mouth turning into a slight frown of disapproval. "Wearing the red, white, and blue of her outsider heritage, but still every bit worthy of the title of Amazon.....the Crown Princess of Themyscira....."

    [​IMG]

    "....Diana!"

    The crowd erupts, some into cheers, others into jeers and boos. For all of the typical restrictions involved in speaking to royalty, all are considered equal when stepping foot into the Arena. And now that they don't have to bow and mind their tongues, there are many a hot-tempered Amazon who are all too willing to let me know how they truly feel.

    Others are confused by my choice of weaponry. I carry with me not a sword, or an axe, not a spear or a dagger, not a bow or a sling....but a long length of rope. A lariat, like the ones we use to snare and tame wild beasts. I hear them murmur, saying I'm a madwoman for facing Artemis with such a simple tool. Others angrily growl that I'm insulting her.

    Neither is the case. The Amazons were not just feared for their phenomenal strength or their fearsome prowess, but their ingenious strategy. And I have been formulating this strategy for quite some time.

    Artemis and I turn towards our Queen and kneel in salute. Mother raises her hand in blessing, giving me an uncertain look, unsure that I know what I am doing.

    We then turn towards each other, but when I kneel to salute, Artemis remains standing, and instead spits in the sand.

    "I only salute those who deserve it, outsider," she says, letting her insolence known. "Princess or no, I will never kneel to you!"

    This brings a roar from the crowd, many of outrage and disgust, but nearly as many of approval. Mother glares at Artemis angrily, but does not pronounce punishment.

    She leave that up to me.

    "Begin!"

    The roar becomes deafening. Artemis nocks an arrow as I pull the lariat free from my hip.

    She draws back her bow and I charge forward....and the battle is begun.
     
    #55 Andy C., Sep 30, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  6. MST3K 4ever BRING IT BACK!

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    [​IMG]

    For most of the morning The Penguin used every contact that he had, and called on all members of his organization to stop what they were doing and to find that canister of Syntox Nerve Gas.

    Penguin himself was monitoring the local TV, radio, and web-sites to see if any ransom demands had been made or any threats for that matter. Syntox Nerve Gas wasn't something that one just found on the street and played with. When someone got a hold of it they usually had a very specific purpose for it.

    Oswald sat up as there was a knock at his bedroom door.

    He switched the channel to ESPN, muted the radio, and opened up a browser to Twitter and said, "Come in."

    Coleman entered carrying a tray of orange juice and some assorted fruit. He set on the night-stand and said, "I thought a mid-morning snack would be appropriate for you sir."

    Oswald nodded and said, "Thank you my friend. For the time being please no interruptions I just want to get some rest, and I'll call down when I'm ready for lunch."

    Coleman bowed slightly and said, "Very good sir."

    As Coleman left Oswald set everything back the way it was, and began to eat some of the grapes in a bowl. He was starting to wonder how long it would be before word got out about the Syntox, and who would it be calling the shots on this one.
     
  7. MST3K 4ever BRING IT BACK!

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    [​IMG]

    There were certain things that Rhiannon thought she would be doing during the day. Check her Twitter feed, have a salad for lunch, binge watch Season 5 of "Castle", and enjoy some peace and quiet. Walking around at six inches tall on her night stand, carrying a model paint brush, with red & blue model paint jars around her, with an exact-o knife blade off to the side for wokriing on the mask somehow wasn't on her list of things to do for the day. Yet here she was doing just that trying to create her costume.

    She leaned against her jewelry box and wiped her forehead with the sleeve of her purple sweat shirt and looked at the paint splotches on her purple sweat pants. Rhiannon shook her head and said, "Yet another of my favorite pairs of sweat gear bites the dust."

    Rhiannon looked upwards and said, "What am I doing here? Thinking I can just paint a costume and put it on and do what? Fight crime? Yeah sure. Beware villains. Beware the wrath of Tinkerbell."

    She shook her head and said, "Stranger things have been known to happen."

    There was still the issue of changing into the costume, because as she tried to grow back to normal the costume didn't grow. Then Rhiannon remembered that the costume was made of a material that responded to DNA and bio-rhythms.

    Rhiannon shrugged her shoulders and said, "It's worth a shot." With that she picked up the exact-o knife and pricked her finger tip.

    "Ouch!" She exclaimed. Rhiannon said shaking her head, "Not exactly a MENSA moment for me."

    She dabbed the blood on part of the costume and watched as it slowly disappeared. Rhiannon then put on the costume, floated down to the floor and said, "Okay here we go."

    Rhiannon began to grow and as she did the costume looked as through it was fading away. Until she was standing in her room wearing her Sweat Suit. She nodded and said, "Okay let's see if it really works."

    With that she shrank down and as she got smaller the costume reappeared. Rhiannon floated up and said, "Yes! This girl is good! All-right!"

    She floated over to lap-top and said, "Time to take a look at myself."

    Rhiannon saw how she looked and then looking at the computer keyboard, and how small she was compared to it Rhiannon shook her head again. She said, "Oh my. Well as the old Chinese proverb goes, 'May you live in interesting times.' I think things just got real interesting for me."

    She studied her reflection in the monitor, and Rhiannon smiled. She said, "I think I can get used to this. Once I get a name picked out of course.
     
  8. Bounce Registered

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    [​IMG]
    | ASTEROID BLUE HEAVEN
    | Sector 2814.9G

    The sleek craft existed from out of ultrawarp, gliding across the dead expanse of night as the now familiar asteroid hung against the distant light of pin-point stars. Seated at the center of the craft's control center, the young monk found himself feeling strange out of place and oddly alone.

    "We have arrived at the specified coordinates."


    At the sound of the synthetic voice, the Tibetan youth looked up from his brooding, peering at the dark rock through the open viewport as though only noticing it now. "Xiexie," he uttered in thanks.

    "If I may inquire, why are we here?" the computer remarked, voicing aloud a doubt that the boy had been conscious of in himself as well. "I do not see a logical connection between our search for G'nort and this location."

    "Clarissi Salaak said that G'nort had sent his ring back by courier, but there wasn't a record of where the courier had come from..."

    "A strange omission," the ship stated.

    "If only that were the first," the monk noted somberly, leaning forward as he propped his elbows against his knees and then rested his chin in his hands. "This G'nort is either aided by accomplices on Oa or else a brilliant strategist."

    "And our coming here is for what intended design?"

    "First, I'm responsible for this sector," the monk noted, holding up one finger as he spoke and then raising another digit. "Second, there are people who labor at masking themselves from Green Lantern's light. Blue Heaven is such a sanctuary. It's comings and goings are not recorded by any government. What happens in Blue Heaven, stays in Blue Heaven."

    "If G'nort intends to avoid contact with the Green Lanterns..."

    "He'll need a shelter such as this one," Kai-ro noted with a nod. "So it stands to reason someone here may know either of him, or somewhere such a person would frequent."

    "The denizens of this establishment will not likely impart such information readily."

    "Likely not," the boy concurred. "But there's one I've almost arrested three times now. That's about as much of a contact as any here."
     
  9. Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    ~Pay the Piper~


    Iris and Barry scoured the areas of the city where they had saw the man playing the flute, but so far had come up with little to know information on him. Some of the local store owners had mentioned seeing him before, but none of them knew his name or where he liked to squat for the night. The closest they got to any solid info was from a McDonald's store manager who claimed the man was deaf and dumb. How, in that case, he was playing music mystified the pair of investigators.​

    "So now what?" Barry asked as the two drove back towards the station.​

    "Now? We each go home," Iris shrugged. "The guy clearly doesn't want to be found, and there's nothing more we're going to do tonight."

    "You wanna grab some grub first? I'm starving," Barry supressed a growl from his stomach. Since receiving his powers, he had found he needed to eat fairly regularly to keep up with his supercharged metabolism. It was honestly becoming a problem. The only answer he received from the detective was a raised eyebrow. "Fair enough. You're loss. I was going to treat you to anything on the dollar menu."

    "You are a true romantic, Allen," Iris commented as they pulled up to the station. "I'll see you tomorrow."


    **********​


    Barry plopped down on his couch, tossing the bag of dollar cheese burgers down on the table. He had already eaten a dozen, and a dozen more still sat in the paper bag. He was still hungry, but something just didn't sit right about these murders. Sure, these guys murders could have been simply due to them not paying protection to Grodd, but it seemed to be a tad extreme, even for him.​

    "Let's see what else we can find," Barry mused, popping open his laptop and googling the two murder victims. The normal searching revealed nothing new, so he moved on to their social media pages.​

    "Nothing," he sighed dejectedly before flipping on the TV and digging back into the burger bag.​

    "We're here at a headquarters for district attorney candidate Joseph Johns as guests are filing in for a gala being thrown by the candidate's biggest supporters," the reporter said from out front of a lavish looking building. "The DA candidate has sworn that, if elected, he would stamp out the rising tide of organized crime in Central City and find the mysterious crime boss known only as 'Grodd'."

    "Oh crap," Barry spat out a chunk of cheeseburger at the TV before darting to his computer. Going back to the men's social media page, Barry found that both were backers and supporters of Johns. "It wasn't a hit on the victims...it was a warning to the politician."

    Grabbing the gear he had used in his first exploits as the Flash, Barry sped off towards the gala, hoping he wasn't too late.​
     
  10. Andy C. Repent, Harlequin!

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    [​IMG]


    "You were right on the money," I say into my cell phone, looking down from my vantage point. "There's definitely something going down here."

    Oaktown is one of the less conspicuous boroughs of Metropolis, in the eastern side of Bakerline, on the north bank of the river across from St. Martin's. It's one of the few places in the city that hasn't really been touched by the aggressive urban renewal projects of LexCorp and the like, meaning that many of the buildings in the district are several decades old....as are most of the inhabitants. It's hardly the most luxurious place to retire, but it's also a far cry from the rough neighborhoods of Hob's Bay, so many Metropolitans end up setting down there once they've had their fill of life in the big city.

    Which makes it all the more questionable that there is an unmarked eighteen-wheeler sitting in the bottom of an old parking garage from a derelict strip mall. Patrolling the perimeter outside is a small, spread-out group of severe-looking men in tracksuits; I don't even have to use my enhanced vision to see the guns bulging out from underneath their jackets.

    "Have I ever been wrong, Kent?" comes the scrambled voice of Icarus, my anonymous contact, from the other end. "Just stay out of sight; these aren't men you want to catch you sneaking around."

    "I can handle myself, Icarus," I say, maybe a little too confidently. "I er, I mean, that's why you contacted me, right?"

    "Just get the information you need and get out of there," Icarus says testily. "This city doesn't need another reporter who doesn't know how to keep a low profile."

    Given the irritation in his voice, I can only assume he means Lois Lane. Has he worked with her before? Is Icarus someone at the Planet, maybe?

    I see movement from the back of one of the trucks: two men, unloading a large crate. I try to focus my vision to look inside of it, but it's.....difficult. The crate must be lined with lead, or some other super-dense material. Which likely means that whatever they've got in the crate is radioactive.

    "Hang on," I say into the phone, "They're offloading material now. I can see a logo on one of the crates."

    "Can you recognize the logo?"

    I focus on it, a large pointed letter 'A' with a Saturn-like ring through the center.

    "I think it's.......Abraxas Industries."

    "You sound disappointed, Kent."

    "I dunno, maybe I am."

    Abraxas Industries is one of the less reputable also-ran corporations dealing with future-warfare systems. Generally speaking, their specialty is to wait for one of the larger companies to come out with new products, then respond with cheaper, lower-quality imitations for people who don't trust LexCorp or can't afford Wayne Industries. Since the military has the budget to buy top-shelf equipment, the company's usual clientele are private security firms, PMCs, and--allegedly, of course-- drug cartels and criminal syndicates.

    What's more, due to LexCorp's massive umbrella of industries under its control and the fantastically complicated exclusivity rights it's managed to acquire, LexCorp handles shipping for minor companies, including Abraxas. During the hurricane, I was able to stop the storm with a crate of undocumented gravity-well generators inside a LexCorp ship, which I had thought meant they were Luthor's weapons....

    ....but if Abraxas is conducting arms deals within the city, then maybe Luthor is off the hook for this......or maybe he's covering his tracks.....

    Don't make assumptions, Kent. Report only what you can prove; that's what separates a legitimate journalist from a pundit.

    Just listen, and see if the suppliers tip their hands as to who is buying from them.....

    "I don't like it. We're too cramped up down here. Any minute now, the cops could be all over this place and we won't have any way out."

    "Would you relax? Nobody knows we're here. And this ain't Gotham City; the worst Oaktown has to offer is a couple of traffic cops that we can either buy off or scare off."

    "Yeah, well....what if it ain't cops? What if that Superman finds us?"

    "Come on. Superman pulls cats out of trees and puts out fires. He doesn't go after guys like us. And even if he does, well....."


    Before the two goons can finish their conversation, their buyers arrive. A small convoy of trucks and SUVs pulls into the parking garage, and out of them pour a small army of men in black suits with dark shades. Every one of them is packing weapons.

    Out of the last car, a heavily-armored Cadillac, steps a man with a harsh, ruddy face, a thin moustache, and an unmistakable scowl.

    [​IMG]

    "Icarus, I've got eyes on the buyer," I say in a mix of panic and excitement. "It's Bruno Mannheim!"

    "You're certain?"

    "Absolutely. Abraxas Industries is selling weapons to Intergang!"

    "Well, it sounds like you've got your story, then. I'll leave you to it."

    Bruno Mannheim is the head of a massive international criminal syndicate, known colloquially as 'Intergang'-- the criminal response to Interpol, naturally. His operations have span the globe, and cover everything from gambling rings to gun running, from drugs and prostitution to human trafficking, and from extortion to murder.

    I try to find the best in everyone, the potential for good in even the most depraved individuals....but if I tried to put a face on the concept of evil, it would be very hard not to make that face look like Bruno Mannheim.

    "Ken Braverman and Martin Krull," Mannheim addresses the two Abraxas men unloading the crates. "Two thirds of the 'TNT Trio.' Where's your third?"

    "Nate's getting geared up for the demonstration," one of the two says. "You got our money?"

    "Don't worry about the money," Mannheim waves it away. "I wanna know if what I'm buyin' actually works."

    "Oh, it works. These babies will punch right through ten solid feet of reinforced concrete!"

    "Of course, the problem with that is that concrete doesn't punch back."

    Everyone stops dead in their tracks to turn to me. Suddenly, I find myself incredibly glad I followed Lois's suggestion of wearing my cape. It lends a little extra bit of presence when making a dramatic entrance.

    [​IMG]

    "Evening, Mister Mannheim," I say, not able to help a cowboy smirk growing on my face as some two dozen men point automatic weapons at me. "I was hoping I'd get the chance to meet you in person before much longer."

    Some of the Intergang men have trouble keeping their guns from shaking. Others still shift their weight onto their back feet, their body language shrinking as if they're ready to cut and run at the first excuse. It's a realization that's both striking and kind of uncomfortable......they're afraid of me.

    Mannheim, though, stands his ground, his scowl twisting upwards into a sneer.

    "So, the big bad Superman in the flesh. I've been hearing all about you these days. Indestructible boy scout, right? And now you're, what, playing Sheriff?"

    "Oh, I'm not playing anything," I say, walking towards him and practically daring one of his goons to open fire. "I'm making a statement. Intergang's been the cause of suffering and injustice around the world, but its days are numbered. Even if I have to personally bust up every hideout, track down every capo, and break every one of your toys. And I'm going to start by placing every one of you under citizen's arrest."

    There's a long moment of stunned silence....

    ....before Mannheim and the others erupt into riotous laughter.

    "Oh-hohohohoooo, nobody told me you were a comedian!" Mannheim chuckles. "'Citizen's arrest?' Are you kidding me? Why not run to the principal's office while you're at it?"

    It's corny, I know. But technically, it's within my rights to detain a person in the middle of conducting a felony. And at the very least, stating it out loud marks what I'm about to do as simply restraining him, rather than committing assault.

    "I get the feeling you're not taking me seriously," I remark, feeling the heat build up behind my eyes, before I let loose a pair of small, bright red lasers that slices through the barrels of the Intergang men's guns.

    "Holy--"

    "Jesus, he just--"

    "I'm going to ask one time," I say, staring down the criminals. "Drop your weapons and stand down, or I'll have to--"

    [​IMG]


























    I can shrug off armor-piercing bullets like they're nothing.




    I can withstand explosive artillery, incendiary heat, and near absolute-zero cold.




    I can stand up to tornadoes and hurricanes and natural disasters that some would call 'acts of God.'






    ........but I have never been hit like that.


    Everything burns, inside and out. My skin feels like it's being eaten away, my muscles and bones are practically screaming. I feel nauseous and dizzy, like I'm sick.....or poisoned.


    ".....what......what just....?" I manage to stammer.

    "I'm sorry for being late, Superman," says a voice emitted through an electronic speaker. "I was in the middle of putting on my containment suit when you arrived. But now that you're here, I think Mister Mannheim will be getting the demonstration he was looking for."

    A figure walks up to me, encased completely in a suit of red and yellow armor, his face barely visible through a translucent visor. Radiating from parts of his suit is a pulsating red light, one that sends waves of sickness through my body with each pulse.

    "Allow me to introduce myself," the man says. "My name is Nathaniel Tryon. But for the sake of dramatic flair, you can refer to me as....."

    [​IMG]

    "...Neutron."
     
    #60 Andy C., Oct 8, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  11. Hound55 Byfar The Most Evil Thing

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    Vic Sage, formerly Charles Szasz, a prodigious young trial attorney, has secured a job at legal juggernaut Soule, Guggenheim, Liu and Associates.
    After 8 months of menial paperwork his mentor – a highly reputable, yet somewhat unlikeable man named Martin Banks – has allowed him to go through the company “Slush pile” for his own work.
    In that file, he's found a name from his past. Aristotle Rodor, a renaissance man - thinker, philosopher, scientist - who created the product psuedoderm, an artificial bandage which has potential to revolutionize field medicine in the armed forces.
    Sage met the conman, Arby Twain, who is attempting to steal this invention from his old friend and he has served him with a more than dubious writ.
    This is what follows.
    [​IMG]

    A beat-up Volkswagon beetle with no plates pulled up around the corner from Twain’s building down 7th.A man in an old style trenchcoat, with a fedora pulled over his eyes strides down Suffolk under the cover of darkness.Light snow falls and the city streets are bare, with many of the city’s homeless gone looking for one of many barrel fires which provide a modicum of warmth as respite from Hub City’s weather.The climate as cold for the homeless as the politicians.There’s no room in the public coffers for shelters, with only a few churches and non-profit groups provided any measure of assistance.

    So it remains unsurprising that nobody sees the non-descript man in old clothes striding down the main road.

    Hell… in Hub City, nobody with any sense would ever admit to seeing anything, anyway.


    A Question of Loyalty – Part 4

    There’s no door-man on the building. The office building being base-level space in Hub City.Security would be a minimum.Arby Twain, the small-time conman couldn’t afford more capital than anything bigger.He wouldn’t need to spend more to steal a multi-million dollar idea like pseudoderm.

    The man stays in the shadow, hat pulled down to avoid what little there is. The camera in the lobby.He hits the button for the lift.Standing on an arm rest, he pushes a panel through the top of the lift and climbs through.There’s a service ladder running between the lifts in the elevator shaft, the man reaches across and starts the long ascent.By-passing the only other security measure in the building – the locked off elevators, which require the use of a key to get to any floor after office hours.

    The long ascent is not without a few scares; with his destination being the sixth floor from the top in this highrise building, but the man is determined. He is one old man’s only hope at justice.After minutes which felt like hours, the elevator doors were pried open on the administration floor which held Arby Twain’s office, and out stepped the man in the trenchcoat.He walked past the secretary’s desk and put his hand on the door to Twain’s office.

    Locked.

    Well… come too far to stop now.

    With a heavy boot, the office door flies open with a crash.

    Sage stands in the centre of the office. And then turns back to the corner behind the door.The corner Arby Twain kept eyeing when he gave him the phony writ.The corner with the picture frame.

    So obvious.

    Vic had read an old Sherlock Holmes story years ago as a child. “A Scandal in Bohemia.”It’s a story that features a character called Irene Adler, but to Sherlock Holmes she would always be “the woman”.In the story it was believed Irene Adler was looking to blackmail the King of Bohemia.Adler had evidence (letters and a photograph) of a relationship between her and the King that would have seen his current marriage brought to a sudden end.After trying other measures, the King is left with few other options but to go to the great Sherlock Holmes.

    The ingenious Holmes, using a smoke rocket and his ever-loyal companion Watson, creates a false fire alarm. As Holmes expected, Adler rushed to her most precious possession during the cries of “Fire!”, and as such Holmes could determine where Adler was keeping the documentation, in order to be able to steal it later.

    Unfortunately, Adler was considerably wily and clever herself. Sensing that the alarm was false she fled with those possessions, leaving only a letter for Holmes in the original hiding place.One of the few people to truly outwit the great Sherlock Holmes.

    It was a risky play, but Sage was betting Arby Twain was no Irene Adler.

    Lifting the frame, he found a small safe. Sage removed an oxy-torch from an inner pocket of the thick jacket and began to get to work.It was slow work, and most safe-crackers would drill rather than anything as slow, loud and coarse as using an oxy-torch.But Vic wasn’t trained in such matters.Finally, the safe cut through with a clank and the door fell from its hinges.He reached in and pulled out a small red box.

    Vic opened the box. Bingo.A length of the prototype pseudoderm and two aerosol cans; labelled “Adhesive Mk I” and “Adhesive Mk II”.

    But the oxy-torch was loud. Very loud.And that’s why Vic had never heard the elevator’s ding.

    Wham!

    Sage was blind-sided and slammed against the wall. Twain had the drop on him.But the older man hadn’t accounted for the man who grew up in a Hub City orphanage.Vic drove a hard cross into Twain’s jaw with venom behind it.It staggered Twain, who in desperation reached for his chair with the intention of breaking it over the lawyer…

    But Vic hit him with the Mk II spray. The prototype for the anaesthetic version of the pseudoderm adhesive gas.It staggered Twain further in his backswing, and the chair smashed through the office window.

    And before Vic could reach him with his gloved hand, Arby Twain followed it. All the way down.

    Vic’s heart pounded in his chest. The bitter cold wind blew through the office window and bit at him.Nobody was meant to get hurt.He was supposed to come in, find the box and get out.The evidence in Rodor’s hands, there could be no countersuit.Because in doing so, it would be to admit to the greater crime.But now there was a body.A body, and a bunch of dirty mistakes that led back to him.

    Struggling to push his emotions down, he tried to remember and focus on the job at hand. He searched through the desk and found the writ.Grabbing it and stuffing it in the inner pocket along with the oxy torch.He’d deliberately brought the phony writ in late on Friday, leaving no time for Twain to get his own legal representation and certainly no way of tracking down the phony document.

    Breaking and entering, making the phony writ, forging a judge’s signature, faking up numerous other details in the writ, the non-premeditated killing of Twain… any of these would lead to disbarment, others to Federal or State prison-time with the worst a possibility of a needle in his arm.

    Vic opened the red box. He pulled out the length of pseudoderm, and with office scissors, cut off a small section.Placing it over his face, he sprayed on the Mk I.The mask stuck.He quickly shut the box and stowed it into the depths of the large coat.

    Gloved hands, slid down the elevator cable. He had no time to waste.Even in this city, Hub City, a dead body was still a dead body.How much time could he possibly have before the police would investigate the scene and see the broken window up above?

    The man in the trenchcoat lifted the panel, hit the button to open the doors in the lobby and burst out. Running across the lobby to the street.He sneaked a peek in the direction of the corpse and…

    Nothing. Nobody was there.

    And the man’s shoes, pants and coat were gone.

    “This city…” Vic muttered.

    “Hey, you! Stop!”

    Vic turned, and the cop caught a glimpse at his lack of a face. In less than a second, Vic had gone from innocent bystander to ask if he’d seen anything to the prime suspect.Purely by his decision to conceal his identity.Vic ran.The cop chased.

    And in the cold, Vic needed all of the 1 and a half blocks he had on the cop in order to get his old Volkswagon’s engine to turn over and make his getaway.
     
    #61 Hound55, Oct 9, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  12. Bounce Registered

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    [​IMG]
    |ASTEROID BLUE HEAVEN
    |Sector 2814.9G

    "You've a lot of guts coming here."

    The eponymous 'Big Bertha', a LinusTech Heavy Industries B3700 series apothecary mech that had been discarded from a chemical factory and wound up as a bartender on the wrong side of the wormhole. The young Green Lantern felt as though he was well acquainted with the automaton, and he should be. Seventy percent of all his police reports had been about her.

    The shaven-head monk gave no immediate reply, instead taking a moment to survey the interior of Bertha's establishment. Internally, the boy pondered a moment on how Br'r would have handled that kind of remark. "I've broken no laws," the youth uttered, settling on that as the most likely of what the H'lven would have said. And it seemed as good a response as any he'd have given.

    As he spoke, the boy's glowing emerald eyes were scanning the room. The lights of the internalized HUD that the ring superimposed on his vision dazzled his field of vision, but he was starting to grow accustomed to the lights. Or, at least, was better able to hide his instinctive surprise reflex as the lights popping up in his vision.

    A Dhorian was nursing a honeysuckle at the bar. In the corner, a pair of maintenance mechs were trading conversation in binary while getting a charge off a power cell on the table.

    "Honey, this is Blue Heaven," Bertha uttered with a snort, apparently satisfied with his answer. As the monk returned his attention to the four-armed mech, her roughly feminine voice uttered, "People only come here what don't give a damn about your laws."

    "Precisely."

    "Excuse me?"

    "The one I seek exhibits the behavior you just described," the boy answered cryptically. As he spoke, he made his way closer to the bar. "Making Blue Heaven a logical starting point for an investigation," the monk concluded, before turning the point back on the mech. "...aside from which, I would be remiss to not check up on things here for the same."

    "Looking for someone," the mech repeated back. "Right," the automated bartender echoed back, with enough sardonic attitude that it might have seemed real if not for the mechanical voice. "Bar's closed. I'll need to ask you to leave."

    "This isn't an arms smuggler..." the boy began.

    "I asked you to leave," the mech repeated, cutting the monk off even as he tried to speak.

    "Last time I was here, I asked you to come along quietly... and you resisted," the boy stated, tossing the comment at the mech casually, almost as an afterthought. "Oddly... those details were missing from my report to Oa."

    Four multi-jointed arms propped up against the box-like 'hips' of the mech's roughly humanoid outline body. "Blackmail?"

    "Merely a conversation," the monk replied neatly.

    "About what?"

    "A G'Newtan."

    "A..." Bertha began, as her conversational software started the reply by echoing what he'd said. Something in her memory core changed the program though. Kai-ro had seen Bertha upset enough to be able to read her body language, and the way she shifted now made an impression in his mind that she wasn't happy.

    "What G'Newtan?" the mech demanded angrily.

    Crossing his arms in front of his chest, the boy leaned back and looked at the bartender. Not at all the response he'd expected. "A fairly distant world," the boy remarked aloud, as though to verbalize some skepticism on his part that she'd dealt with one. "You've had dealings with one... recently?"

    "He left outta here with a bar bill that would have made my rent for the last year."

    The boy merely nodded. Ah, yes. Money. If something was going to draw the ire of a place like Blue Heaven, it was going to be related to money. "As you said, the people who come to Blue Heaven rarely appreciate the legal norms."

    "There ain't nothin' normal 'bout this G'Newtan," the mech replied with another snort-like sound. "He's an idiot. Stole outta here in a Xenusian shuttle with them feathered bastards right behind."

    That last bit left the boy speechless for a moment, before he spun around and started for the door. As he walked, he brought his ring hand up.

    "Aya, you copy that?"

    "Affirmative, Green Lantern," the ship's A.I. communicated back through the ring. "There is residual exhaust from several Xenusian craft. I believe I can extrapolate a trajectory."
     
  13. MST3K 4ever BRING IT BACK!

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    As Oswald laid in his bed the lack of news concerning the Syntox nerve gas was starting to bother him.

    Syntox had to be handled in certain ways otherwise the nerve agent would become unstable, or worse if the canister even had the slightest crack in it anyone who breathed it in would be dead before they knew it.

    Oswald knew that he needed to get information and to be out there leading the search, but with the way his leg was feeling and no chance of sneaking out he knew his choices were somewhat limited.

    Just then his private line rang and Oswald answered, "Penguin."

    A voice on the other end said through an electronic distorter, "Hello Pengy. This is screwy wabbit. We got something that might be of interest to you. Something called Syntox."

    Penguin asked, "How did you get this number and who are you?"

    The voice replied, "Not important. You see we got certain connections on the docks, and we happened to get our hands on a certain nerve agent. We're willing to give it back under certain conditions."

    Penguin replied, "Go on."

    The voice stated, "There's five of us and we each want twenty million dollars for life. Secondly there are all kinds of rumors about your network. We want in and a percentage 10% each, and you'd still be the face of the organization. Lastly a face to face with you. Give us those three wishes and you get your nerve gas back."

    Penguin said, "Give me some time to consider your offer."

    The voice replied, "You got until 7pm tonight. Meet with us at the docks pier 47 building 22."

    The line went dead and Oswald leaned back in his bed. He said, "Poor diluted fools. They have no idea who they just crossed."

    Oswald tapped three buttons on his L-Phone and hooked it up to his L-Pad. He said, "I do have to give the Japanese credit. The apps they make are far superior to the ones we have here."

    Just then the L-Pad played back the voice without the distorter. Oswald knew who he was dealing and where they were.

    Oswald picked up another phone and placed a call. He said, "Mr. Cheeves this is Penguin. Gather three of your best men together. I found the nerve gas, and I need some young leeches taught a lesson."
     
  14. MST3K 4ever BRING IT BACK!

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    [​IMG]

    Rhiannon sat on her couch finally enjoying her salad and her binge watching of "Castle" Season 5. As she watched and enjoyed the banter between Rick and Kate her mind still kept come back to one question. A question even more difficult to answer than the question of, "I got these powers now what do I do with them?"

    Rhiannon shook her head and said, "There has got to be a name that works for me. A good name can either make or break me in this arena. Mainly because not only am I a woman, so already some won't take me seriously, and secondly being six inches tall doesn't exactly inspire a lot of fear."

    She took a bite of her salad and continued to stare at the screen almost in a daze. Rhiannon then began to realize something else. Inspite of the fact that she did everything to cover up her tracks that somehow someway all it would take is one overly eager investigator to uncover everything.

    Rhiannon then knew that as much as she appreciated living in Central City she couldn't stay. If she went somewhere else then the CDC would eventually lose interest in her. At least that was what her hope was.

    She opened up her laptop and began scanning the want ads, but didn't see anything for a soon-to-be former CDC employee who could shrink herself. Then Rhiannon saw something that caught her eye. It was teaching position at Gotham State.

    A teaching position? Yeah that could work and the job description is right up my alley.

    With that Rhiannon e-mailed her resume and filled out all the paperwork. Within 2 hours she was setting up a phone interview for 48 hours from now.

    She smiled as she hung up the phone. Rhiannon said, "Okay things are moving forward. One step at a time. One atom sized step at a time..."

    Just then she thought for a moment and said with a smile, "That's it!"

    Rhiannon transformed and floated around the room and said looking into a mirror, "Atom it is! Now to get to work on a logo. This is gonna be so awesome!"
     
  15. Andy C. Repent, Harlequin!

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    "You know, Diana," Artemis says as we circle each other, nocking an arrow onto her bow, "My people first gained our reputation as warriors through our superior archery. We could put down entire legions before they could charge to meet us. I chose this weapon just for you, so an outsider would once again know what it is to bleed from a true Amazon weapon."

    This garners a loud reaction from the audience, some roaring with approval, others appalled at her disrespect. She wishes to goad me into attacking first, to get me so riled that I would lower my guard by charging her, allowing her to get in the first shot. More importantly, it would gain the favor of the warrior-minded Amazons in the crowd by casting herself as the calculating fighter defending herself against a head-strong brat. She's as vicious with her words as she is with her bow.

    Fortunately, I am no novice when it comes to wielding the weapons of the mind myself.

    "How appropriate of you, Artemis," I say back, "Those 'true Amazon' ways have not made any headway into breaking the curse that has kept us locked away from the world, where we could do some actual good. Your bow is just a play-weapon, a toy from an age we pretend hasn't passed us all by. You and your 'true Amazon weapon' are obsolete, and you do not even know it."

    This gets the reaction I wanted. As the crowd erupts into a furor, Artemis, fueled by her own outrage and by the demands of the incensed Amazons in the stands, takes a full draw of her bow and looses an arrow straight towards me.

    In the fractions of a second it takes for the arrow to speed across the arena towards me, time slows to a crawl: like most Amazons, I have trained my mind to be as fast as my reflexes, aware of every detail in every moment in a moment of crisis. The arrowhead is aimed at my torso, high and slightly to the left. It will not pierce my heart--even in her rage, Artemis would never break tradition by dealing a killing blow in the arena-- but it would be an incapacitating one, likely leaving me crippled for life.

    I could dodge the arrow, but to do so would be tantamount to retreat, and the recovery would give her enough time to draw another shot.

    I could attempt to catch it, but I would be cut if I am off by even a hair, and I will not give her the satisfaction of drawing first blood.

    Only one thing for it, then. I step forward, bringing up the armored gauntlets on my forearms.....

    [​IMG]

    ....and the arrow shatters against them, the shaft splintering into a thousand pieces.

    Artemis goes to her quiver for a second arrow, but I've already begun my charge. I cross the distance in a few bounding strides before lunging forward, driving my knee into her chest. The blow lifts her off of her feet, and sends her tumbling across the sand.

    She's quick to her feet, leaving the bow on the ground and drawing the short sword strapped to her thigh.

    "You speak heresy against my people!" she snarls.

    "I speak the truth," I reply, "painful as it might be for you to hear."

    Artemis advances, her blade whirling upward in a rising figure-eight. The first slash I side-step, the second I deflect with my gauntlet.

    After the second strike, she winds up for a powerful back-handed slash towards my face. I duck low, pulling free the lariat from my hip. I counter with a sweep to the leg, and Artemis easily jumps over it....

    ....landing with her right foot in a wide loop of my lariat. Pulling it taut, I snare her by the ankle.

    "You choose the bow and the sword, implements of death," I say, putting a foot on the lariat to leverage it in place, keeping her from moving out of my reach, "I choose one that can defeat a foe while preserving their lives. We may have been warriors once, but we are warriors no longer."

    "I know what I am! And I am not the subject of a damned outsider!" Artemis spits, thrusting forward with the point of her sword. This time, it is a killing stroke aimed at my heart.

    I spin out of the way, throwing out another loop of the lariat to snare her sword arm. Stepping around my opponent, I bring her arm around and pin it behind her back.

    "You only have two free limbs left, warrior," I say, glaring. "And you've broken the honor of the contest by attempting to kill me. By the rules of the games, you can submit now to atone, or face both defeat and disgrace."

    Artemis glares fire from her eyes, and spits at me.

    "I'd sooner die than kneel to you, Diana."

    "Fair enough," I say, momentarily breaking my gaze to look at the sword she had dropped in the sand behind her.

    Thinking this her moment, Artemis steps back with her free leg to claim the sword.....and as she does, I snare her calf. She begins to lose balance, and puts out her free arm to steady herself. I pull up the still-open loop to catch the arm and pull it behind her.

    When I'm finished, Artemis is still standing but completely bound, her hands and feet pulling against each other as she strains against the rope.

    "Enough!" My mother declares from her stand. "The contest is ended! Amazons, behold your new champion, Princess Diana!"

    The crowd erupts again, now with decidedly more cheers of elation than derision. I hold up my hands in victory, then bow before my people.

    Behind me, Artemis is still struggling, barely able to keep on her feet as she tries to pull herself free from my lasso.

    "You're going to hurt yourself like that, Artemis," I say, unable to suppress a grin. "But there is a way to loosen those bonds. To free yourself.....all you have to do, is kneel."
     
  16. Sentarous Inkarnation

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    Undisclosed Location, Galactic Space

    “Why have you called this emergency meeting?”

    “It has been twelve consecutive galactic cycles since the distress calls were received.” The voice was clear despite a ton of deep anxiety of the situation he intended to discuss with the other politicians of his council, or rather the galaxy’s council—the Galactic Tribune. The man speaking was a representative of his people, the Graxonites, and he feared that a galactic crisis was on the horizon. That was why he called this meeting of the Tribune which had been sent up a millennia ago as a political council to analyze the problems occurring in their districts.

    Another male voice in the form of a Krolotean spoke next in a calm but lethargic tone, “You have called for this session for that? There’s nothing we can do, it’s not our business.”

    “Incorrect. Galactic politics are our business, it is our job Representative Gleen. The invasion of Tamaran suggests a terrible precedent.”

    The hologram source image of the Krolotean politician groaned as he rolled his eyes. “The Tamaranean Empire declined to our democratic capacity or have you forgotten my dear Exxorian?”

    The hologram of the female humanoid shook her head, “Irrelevant. I am well aware of the circumstances of Tamaran. They also declined protection by the Lantern Corps Act that the majority of the civilized world have signed, doesn’t stop Oa from sending aid.”

    A strong female voice cut through as the next response, from the representative from Thanagar. “Then I say let the Lanterns handle it.”

    Even though the Lantern Corps had sworn to stay out of Tamaranean Space this was a special case where they would likely make as an exception and the Tamaraneans probably would not consider it as an act of war considering the circumstances. However, there had been tensions between the empire and Oa for hundreds of years and it was very likely the guardians were debating how to handle it at the very second.

    “Do you truly believe they can do it on their own? We need to unite our forces and aid them, or do you really wish for the entirety of the Vega system or any other Tamaranean territory to belong to the Branx and the Gordanians?” The counterpoint came from the Graxonite representative; a lengthy silence followed.

    “No.” The Thanagarian admitted.

    “It is quite a scenario, I agree.” This time the voice was from the Korugaran representative, his hands tucked behind his back. “But I have a question—how did a group of primitive psychopaths like the Branx and Gordanians invade the Tamaranean Empire without being struck down, the Tamaraneans would not have allowed them into their territory less alone their homeworld. What information are we missing?”

    The Branx and the Gordanians were occupational hazards that many didn’t consider much about—they were brother races from the far edges of the Vega System and were common threats to fringe planets with little protection and could be dispatched easily by private militaries and government forces. To think they had acquired something to make them on the threat level of Apokolips or the infamous War World was a terrifying thought indeed. The Branx and Gordanians were raiders, slavers, thieves, low rent mercenaries, and pirates—not a galactic threat. But in a flash they had taken down Tamaran as if they were nothing. How was this possible?

    The Exxorian nodded, agreeing with the Korugaran’s conclusion. “Indeed. They would surely be with their ancestors otherwise.”

    “They must have developed new weapons.” Another representative chimed in, this one from the planet of Rann.

    “No, they are too stupid to make new weapons. They must’ve stolen them.” The Thanagarian representative insisted.

    “We need answers, not assumptions.” The Korugaran representative retorted as he paused for a moment. “We can’t openly move ships into the Vega System, we need something subtle. I recommend hiring someone independent and careful with absolutely no ties to us politically.”

    “I suppose this is where we comb over a list of options and throw currency at it? Great.”

    It was obvious that Gleen out of all of his peers wasn’t thrilled with a plan of action at all, especially one that went after his people’s coffers. But to deny common sense was not a trait that the Kroloteans held—they were thrifty and inventive, but they weren’t stupid.

    “What about the Royal Family of Tamaran, shouldn’t we secure them?”

    The Graxonite politician didn’t like the smell of any of this—he knew the risk of mobilizing, but if they didn’t act quickly then the royal family of Tamaran may have been resorted to proverbial playthings for their conquerors or corpse trophies to ward off any one who would challenge them. But there had to be a way to help them. He wasn’t thinking about the political favors it would grant him but more that it was the right thing to do and he wasn’t sure that the Lantern Corps would be enough as they would send investigators not a militarized regiment. He would have to do a lot of thinking to be able to help the Tamaraneans, but perhaps he could convince Graxon’s allies to make movements to safeguard interest in saving Tamaran. This wasn’t the first time that the Galactic Tribune or the Lantern Corps had sat by as good people died because they didn’t play ball with their politics. He didn’t want history to repeat itself, no, not on his watch.

    The hologram frowned, “It is more important to safeguard our interests. However, if Graxos wants to risk their own people that is on you.”

    The female Exxorian frowned, “Indeed. I believe this is all we require for the moment. This ends this emergency session.”

    The regret in the Exxorian was notable, and it made the Graxonite councilman wonder why they would hesitate. Was the fear of these slavers really more worthy than an entire civilization to be burned as they played a game of political caution? These enemies of theirs would attack the galaxy once they had conquered and collected the resources of the Vega System and whilst that would take a lengthy time—they had to act while the star was young. Convincing his peers on Graxon was going to be challenging as well, he just hoped by then it wouldn’t be too late.

    “…very well.”

    All of the representatives nodded in unison as the holograms faded from the feed.

    Hopefully, Tamaran would survive... with its royal family included.
     
  17. Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    The Flash raced through the streets of Central City like a bat out of hell. There was little time, Barry figured. The DA candidate's gala had just started, but Allen had no idea when the man he was looking for would strike. For all he knew he already had. He'd be damned if he was going to let some weirdo with a flute kill a high ranking official in his city. Nope, not tonight.

    He slid to a stop outside of the event, where he found everything unbelievably spooky. Barry made sure that the goggles and the hood were covering his face at an acceptable level before walking up the stairs. At the top, the doorman had a glassed-over look in his eyes. Barry waved his hand in front of the man's face, "Hey man, you okay?"

    "Welcome, sir," the doorman replied roboticly and opened the door. "Please come in."

    "Ooooookay," The Flash slipped by him. "That is not creepy at all."

    Flash strolled into the party, and what he found was even creepier. The grand ballroom was filled with hypnotic, pulsating music. The guests all danced on the opulent floor in exact unison, the men staring into the women's eyes. It was like something you'd find at Disneyland. Barry couldn't tell if they were real or not. Of course they were, but they looked robotic. Even the other people in the orchestra played with the same rigidity. On the balcony above, Barry saw the DA candidate standing, about to jump.

    "Mr. Johns!" he yelled up. "Are you okay."

    <Oh, he can't hear you,> a melodious voice echoed through Flash's head. It was like the music in the air was becoming words. <Well, he can hear you, but he can't respond. He's one of mine now.>

    "You really have a corner on the scary, don't you, Flute Boy?" Barry asked as he attempted to find the man. "No, terrible name. Music Master! No. Dumb. This is why I'm a scientist."

    <Life is scary, hero,> his target responded. <Especially when you're cut off from humanity. When all you have are your own thoughts. When even your own mother looks at you like a burden. That is scary.>

    Flash felt sorry for the man, but that didn't change who he was. This guy was a murderer, plain and simple. No matter where he got it or where the traits came from, the man needed to be stopped.

    "And that gives you the right to murder? That gives you the right to tear families apart?" Barry continued to creep towards the orchestra, keeping an eye on the politician above.

    <No. Grodd gives me that,> he answered simply.

    That stopped Flash dead in his tracks at the mention of Grodd. The mob boss was involved here. It wasn't a surprise, but the man must have thought Grodd was untouchable.

    <Grodd helped me find my power,> he smiled to himself. <And now I'll have yours as well.>

    The music in Barry's head swelled, and the pain it caused brought him to his knees. In the back of his mind he thought he heard the man's voice giving him instructions. But he knew he had to fight it or he'd end up like the others at the party. He focused his mind, and used the one thing he thought could save him. If his mind was as fast as his body, he might be able to use that to overload his enemy's thoughts. The Flash let his mind wander free. He recalled entire text books in a second, remembered every word that was ever said to him, and thought of every movie he had ever seen. Before long, that small voice inside his head was screaming in pain.

    And then there was another scream. Barry regained his faculties to see the politician fall from the second floor. Allen easily caught the man, but when he turned, the rest of the party guests rushed at him.

    "Wha-what's happening!?" the man in Flash's arms yelled. The punches and kicks the party goers were throwing at Barry hurt, but he knew he'd heal. The man, on the other hand, wouldn't. Flash sped outside and deposited Johns on the sidewalk before racing back in.

    Once he was back inside, the party guests were all in a daze, and none of them knew what happened.

    "Terrific," Barry said to himself as he realized the hypnotic musician had gotten away.
     
  18. Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    New York City
    October 31

    With a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, John Constantine sat back in the old, beat up arm chair and sighed with relief. Halloween was an off night for the paranormal community. That was something everyone knew. He wasn't sure if it was due to the supernatural getting offended that humanity had co-opted their schtik for the night or what, but the things that go bump in the night took Halloween off. And that meant John could sit back and get pissed in his apartment in relative peace and quiet.​

    He had been busy the past month leading up to the holiday, and he deserved a night off. If it wasn't some poor sap who accidently cursed his ex-girlfriend, it was SHADE looking for assistance on one of their worthless attempts at keeping the supernatural at bay. They believed they could really, truly fight what he did on a grand scale like it was some sort of war. Constantine knew better. The supernatural wasn't going away, and it certainly wasn't going to play nice. You can't fight the unimaginable. You can only hope to contain it, and help the people who piss it off.​

    John flipped on the telly, took a long sip of the beer, and flipped through the channels. He eventually settled on a channel showing a Twilight Zone marathon. The show had always spoken to him, mostly because it didn't rely on the tropes of horror most of Hollywood got wrong. It's amazing how ineffective cross are against vampires, for instance. He learned that the hard way when he started out, and had the scars to prove it.​

    After a drag from the cigarette, a knock on his apartment door drew his attention. He downed the rest of the beer, threw the bottle at the door and yelled, "Go the hell away! I don't want to be bothered!"

    "Father Time doesn't care, John," a familiar, female voice answered on the other side. So SHADE had come to him on Halloween. Of course they did. The Supernatural Hunter and Defense Executive didn't know what a day off meant, and since they bailed his sorry behind out of some trouble last year, he did still owe them.​

    Constantine got out of the chair, threw on his trench coat which was sitting crumpled on the floor, and opened the door, "What in the bloody hell do you want?"

    "We've got a problem," Special Agent Chaney, his SHADE handler greeted him. She was gorgeous, at least Time had given him that. But she had a stick firmly lodged up her butt that John had yet to be able to dislodge. As such, he wasn't much of a fan of her.​

    "Yea, no kidding," he rolled his eyes and blew smoke in her face. "I figured that when you lot showed up. Details. Come on now we don't have all night."

    "You are such an ass," she muttered. "We had a ritualistic murder last night. We didn't think it was anything until-"

    "Until you talked to Madame Xanadu," Constantine sighed. "Right. Where are we going?"

    "Illinois."

    **********​

    Haddonfield, Illinois

    The black SUV roleld through the small suburban town, and John could see the flashing lights of police cars in the distance, no doubt stationed outside their final destination. Suburbia was the definition of Hell on Earth to someone like John. The perfect houses, the boring families, and the cleanliness of it cut him to the core. Whatever the reason, he perfered the grime of a big city and the huddled mass of humanity it brought.​

    They stopped in front of the crime scene, a nondescript white house with an unlit jack-o-lantern on the porch. Constantine hopped out of the car and lit up another smoke as they approached the crime scene. As they walked onto the porch Chaney reprimanded him, "Don't smoke in the house."

    "Love, I'm guessing, considering the urgency which you brought me here, the people who own it won't mind," he responded with snark. He opened the frond door and found the bodies hacked, mangled, and arranged in a ritualistic fashion, "Oh look, I was right."

    His shoes stuck sickly to the blood that coated the floor. The cigarette smoke helped mask the sickly sweet smell that flooded the room, and he was thankful for that. On the wall above the fireplace in the room, written in blood was "Samhain is coming."

    "What's Samhain?" Chaney asked, fighting the gagging smell.

    "It was a Gaelic pagan celebration to mark the end of the harvest. Cattle was slaughtered," Constantine explained, "human sacrifices, big fires. All made to appease the pagan god Crom Cruach. Christianity transformed it into Halloween when they got their grubby hands on it."

    "Crom Cruach? Who gives these names out?" Chaney mused.

    "Well, it means bloody crooked one, crooked one of the mound, or head of the mound," a new voice said, coming into the room. "So he's not all that lame."

    John looked up to see SHADE's powerhouse and lead agent Frankenstien leaning against the wall, "John."

    "Frank," Constantine nodded. "Crom Cruach isn't a nice guy, supposedly. What do we have on the family. Any history?"

    "Completely clean from what I've found," the man-made monster responded. "The house though..."

    "What about the house?"

    "Thiry or so years ago the son of a family snapped out of nowhere and murdered the rest while wearing his Halloween costume," Frank explained. "When the cops came he went after them and seemed to be possessed. They had to put him down. Witnesses last night said they saw a man leave the house, but they said he was wearing a mask. They thought it was just the father going to a party."

    "Fun," Constantine grunted. "When did the murder happen?"

    "Our best guess is sometime right after midnight," Chaney answered.

    "So it happened after Samhain had already started?" he asked Frankenstien.

    "Weird, right?"

    "Very." John didn't know what to think of this. Normally, he'd call something like this a staging, but if Xanadu thought it was something, that meant it was. But what he couldn't tell. The late warning confused him even more.

    [BLACKOUT]"It's someone's name, not the event," [/BLACKOUT]a new voice said from right beside John. He jumped back to see the spectracl form of a man in 1920s garb and a hat pulled over his face. The Phantom Stranger had arrived. Constantine had dealt with him before. He always warned of something dire.[BLACKOUT] "Find Samhain, and stop him."[/BLACKOUT]
    "Boody terrific," John said to the others as the Stranger disappeared. "You two up for a wild goose chase?"
     
  19. Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    Star City, CA


    It had been so long since Oliver had looked out over his city. Star City was as bright as its name, he had to admit. At least, that's the way he saw it. Star City wasn't the same since he left it. There had always been a dark side to Star City. Hell, Oliver had been a part of it at one time. But since he had been gone, the dark side was the dominant side. People were scared on the streets, drugs flooded through the harbor, and the police were either a part of it or had no desire to stop it. This wasn't the Star City Oliver Queen loved.

    But he would change that.

    Oliver had only returned to his hometown a few weeks before, but already the changes had shown themselves to him. It only took him a few days to decide what to do, as well. He'd save his city on his own. It wouldn't be the first time he took up his bow to help people, and he figured it wouldn't be the last.

    He pulled the hood up over his head and made sure the mask was fashoined across the top part of his face. His chin itched thanks to the fake beard he had affixed to The leather hood was affixed to the leather jacket covering the kevlar armor underneath. On his back, a specialty quiver of his own design that contained arrows of ever make and model. Queen Consolidated's research and development wing helped greatly in that regard. He unclipped a device from his belt and it unfolded into a full compound bow.

    "Well, Ollie," he said to himself taking a deep breath, "it's now or never."

    He nocked an arrow and took aim. On the docks below, a group of men waited for the boat running drugs into the harbor. Queen knew it would be here since it was the one he often waited for himself.

    **********

    Years earlier...

    "They're late," Oliver Queen grumbled to the man standing next to him. Oliver had just been promoted from pushing drugs at his college to running the entire campus, and he didn't need his first shipment to go south. He had profit margins to stick to and people to impress. "I don't like being kept waiting."

    "Relax, kid," Greg Osborne responded. Osborne was one of the men in Count Vertigo's operation. A crooked cop among crooked cops, Osborne was invaluable to the Count's operation. "It's not like a train. They're on their way."

    The Count was a mysterious figure, and none really knew where he came from. He had showed up in Star City a few months back with a new drug called Vertigo that took the city by storm. Now he was nearly the only player in Star's underground.

    "Here they are now," Osborne pointed as the boat pulled into the dock. The door slid open and people began tossing crates into the dock. Oliver opened one and inspected the product.

    "It looks good," he nodded to Osborne.

    "Good," the cop responded. "Now get to sellin'."

    **********

    Now

    The boat pulled into the dock, and as the cargo was being unloaded, Oliver loosed the arrow. It pierced the hull of the boat, and it began going down. The men onboard panicked. Most made it to the dock, the rest took a swim. The others already on the dock readied their weapons. That was when another arrow landed in the middle of them and released a thick cloud of smoke.

    Oliver landed in the middle of the assembled goons and got to work. Disarming them was easy when they couldn't see him coming. Knocking them unconscious was even easier. A master martial artist up against petty thugs was like a prize fighter going against a group of toddlers. Every punch or kick Ollie landed was devastating. Before long, the entire group was incapacitated.

    "Well, that wasn't so bad," Oliver said to himself. He walked over to the crates that had been offloaded and pushed them against each other. After pulling an incendiary arrow from his quiver, he lit them up like the Fourth of July.

    He turned to leave, but was stopped when one of the men began to awaken. He groaned, "Who the hell do you think you are?"

    "Me?"
    Oliver turned back to him. "I'm the Green Arrow."
     
  20. Sentarous Inkarnation

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    Vega System, Galactic Space

    While the Galactic Tribune mulled over their options, the people of Tamaran had in one way or another lost their homeworld. This was something very much apparent to the commanders of the three vessels that held the remaining children of the royal family, and on the second of these vessels&#8212;the Starfire&#8212;Commander Ph&#8217;yzzon stood at the front of his vessel with his arms perched behind his back with a stoic expression as he saw his planet burning as the most primitive and unintelligent of the empire&#8217;s enemies held power that would make some of the galactic powers wince in a fit of abhorrent fear. It was almost like this was the beginning of a doomsday, and Ph&#8217;yzzon had to wonder how they could&#8217;ve become this and how his people could have crumbled so easily. The Branx had gotten past their security systems and emerged in their system undetected at some point in the last galactic standard month and somehow by the graces of X&#8217;hal had comprised impossible wealth of power that he had never even imagined let alone seen.

    Taking a deep breath he moved from his thoughts and to conversation with his second-in-command, K&#8217;tten.

    &#8220;Is the distress beacon launched?&#8221;

    The young woman nodded, &#8220;Affirmative. Though, my commander, I do not know what good it will do given the circumstances.&#8221;

    The young Tamaranean&#8217;s concerns were legitimate. In truth, Ph&#8217;yzzon wasn&#8217;t sure why he launched the beacon outside of protocol&#8212;the Galaxy at large was more or less ambivalent about Tamaran on a positive day and critical of them on a negative one. He had always wondered in history why Empress Taryia had declined the Tribune considering the safety net it allowed Tamaran to have; perhaps it was her pride that Tamaran should yield to no political body or her fear that the galaxy would see them as conquerors and try to mandate them to death. It was mired in vague confused conclusions as Taryia had never said much on the subject during her reign. Regardless, this was the current and maybe one of their non-allies would garner some aid as they surely would not want half of the Vega System run by the Branx and the other half run by the Gordanians&#8212;especially if it got out that both of them had weapons that could crush and devour political powers seemingly overnight.

    &#8220;A precaution. We need to get away from Tamaran as fast as possible and escape these new weapons our enemies hold.&#8221;

    &#8220;Of course, sir.&#8221;

    A younger female voice cut through the dialogue, &#8220;But what about my parents? and my brethren?&#8221;

    Ph&#8217;zzon knew the voice well, and he had received word only moment before the beacon went out that the second princess of Tamaran, Kori&#8217;andr, was in their custody. Truly a dire scenario if the royal family needed to abandoned Tamaran&#8212;but then again it was obvious they could not defend themselves against their enemies in their current capacity.

    Captain Karras of the vanguard ordered to protect the royal family saluted Ph&#8217;zzon as he turned,

    &#8220;It is good to see you safe, Princess. You are all amongst the best of the naval fleet, we are to safeguard you. The King and Queen are likely being evacuated to another vessel. We have to be cautious, that is why you aren&#8217;t all on one vessel.&#8221;

    &#8220;To minimize our capacity as a target?&#8221;

    &#8220;Indeed,&#8221; He turned and motioned with his hand to another large vessel that was making its way away from Tamaran. &#8220;Your brother, Ryand&#8217;r is on that vessel, the Darkfire.&#8221;

    As they looked to the Darkfire, it seemed fate would have a tragic comedy aligned for them as more ships of Branx design appeared from the rear of another planet&#8212;a beam of pure energy firing from their weapons and colliding with the Darkfire.

    &#8220;By X&#8217;hal&#8230; no.&#8221;

    The Darkfire was the same as The Stafire and The Blackfire&#8212;the strongest in the Tamaranean fleet with the best weapons and shields. Yet the cheap slavers and raiders of the Branx-Gordanian alliance just took it out in one single exchange of their weapon batteries. It was unbelievable and terrifying as well as mortifying as the princess witnessed the Darkfire not only have its shields entirely bypassed but set off an explosive reaction within the ship that tore it to pieces&#8212;debris that splintered in every direction.

    &#8220;Ryand&#8217;r! No!&#8221;

    &#8220;Get us out of here, K&#8217;tten! Karras, get the princess to the designated safe point on ship!&#8221;

    &#8220;Of course, sir!&#8221; The two chimed at the same time.

    As the mortified Tamaranean princess left the commanding deck Ph&#8217;yzzon began to wonder how they were going to possibly defeat their enemies if they were hiding more weapons that could eviscerate their military like this. How it was even possible that these primitives got a hold of weapons like this? It was happening but everything about if felt so impossible.

    &#8220;Commander, they have launched fighters.&#8221;

    &#8220;We need to launch our own fighters if we have a chance for a retreat.&#8221;

    &#8220;Sir?&#8221;

    &#8220;Their sacrifices will be treasured in history. Launch the fighters.&#8221;

    &#8220;&#8230;right, commander.&#8221;

    If X&#8217;hal truly favored the Tamaranean faithful then she would not damn the Prince of Tamaran death by such circumstances. As the bulk of the Starfire turned to attempt to escape, Ph&#8217;yzzon was hoping that the young man would&#8217;ve made it to the escape pods of his vessel&#8212;a place he was having Karras escort Princess Kori&#8217;andr towards in case that they would take fire by these cataclysmic weapons that their enemies possessed. At best she could not die in a suffocation of fire and metal. He was not happy for sacrificing anyone for Tamaran, but it was in their culture to be prepared and efficient&#8212;for the good of all. Though he did begin to worry that they were much too unprepared and much too slow to escape their enemies in time which set a truly terrible precedent.
     
    #70 Sentarous, Nov 1, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  21. Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    Haddonfield, IL

    "God I hate research," Constantine mumbled. The group was assembled in the SHADE mobile command unit parked on the outskirts of the small suburban town. The vehicle was equipped with the full digital library of SHADE's knowledge on the supernatural. It was an impressive collection, he had to admit. Still, he knew there was nothing to be gained from this. He needed to find whatever killed these people and take care of it. "Especially when it's nothing but a waste of time."

    "And how do you know it's going to be a waste of time?" Chaney asked.

    "Because there is no entity named Samhain," John sniped back. "Trust me. I know demonology like the back of my hand. If there's someone called Samhain, he's either new or he's been very, very secretive up until this point. So secretive no one's ever bloody heard of him."

    "Okay," Frankenstein humored the paranormal detective, "if that's the case, what do we know about the rituals of Samhaim?"

    "Cattle and livestock were slaughtered, first borns were often sacrificed to the Crom Cruach. And bonfires were lit, though few really know what the reasons for them were. Some believed it was protection from the coming winter, others as a form of tribute for the god," Constantine ran down everything involved with the pagan ritual. "So we have sacrificial killings. Now maybe all we're waiting for are the fires?"

    "Dear, do the big boys a favor and have SHADE check for large fires in the area," John said to the secret agent. "I'm gonna go have a smoke. You wanna come, Frank?"

    The creature waved him off, "The wife made me quit. Hated the smell."

    Constantine lit up as he exited the vehicle, pondering how a being made of dead tissue from different people could find the smell of smoke disgusting. Once outside, he flipped open his burner phone and dialed the one number he found more reliable than any other, "Chas? Yea, it's John."

    "How bad is it this time?" Chas Chandler sighed on the other end. John's oldest friend, Chandler had been by the conman's side nearly as long as anyone else. It was a testament to Chas's survival skills and street smarts that he had stayed. Most of John's friends were gone in a matter of weeks, if not days.

    "Dunno yet," John didn't lie. "But keep your ear to the ground about a bloke named Samhain."

    "Like the pagan-"

    "Yea, like the pagan holiday," Constantine cut him off. "SHADE business, so don't go telegraphing it all over town. Let me know what you find."

    "Will do. Be careful, John."

    "Always am, Chas."

    "John!" Chaney called from the truck. "We've got a big fire!"

    "Where!?" he called back.

    "Chicago!"
     
  22. Andy C. Repent, Harlequin!

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    [​IMG]


    "Amazons," addresses my mother, stood high atop the steps of the Temple of Hera, "Days ago, we celebrated our connection to Themyscira's past, our warrior heritage that set us proudly above the petty kingdoms and empires of mortal men. Today, however, we celebrate our future, the enduring peace that has stood for time immemorial."

    Standing behind her, I cannot bring myself to smile. My coronation should be the greatest day of my life, ensuring a future of prosperity for both my people and myself.

    At the front of the crowd, Mala beams with pride. Inside, I hate myself for what I am about to do to her.

    "Daughters of Hera, disciples of Athena," Mother continues. "Descendants of Demeter and pupils of Aphrodite, keepers of the divine bloodlines of the Goddesses, today we crown our Princess and Heiress to the throne!"

    Hippolyta raises her hands, holding a circlet of gold and silver. It is to be my crown, the symbol of my place among the Amazons.

    "Diana, come to me."

    Stepping forward, I meet my mother atop the Temple steps. She looks me in the eye, her own eyes welling with tears of pride.

    "Kneel, my daughter."

    I do as she commands, taking a knee on the gleaming polished marble. Lowering my head, I close my eyes for the last time as a subject of the Queen.

    "By the power invested in me by the gods and by my people," she says, lowering the circlet on my head, "I name you Diana, Princess of the Amazons and Protector of Themyscira."

    A cheer goes up, and the Amazons erupt into jubilation.

    "Now rise, Princess Diana, and see your people!"

    I stand, crowned the next in line to rule our nation. Even despite the schism between our people, the relief in knowing their future is secure is cause for overwhelming joy for many of them.

    Mala is practically on the verge of crying for joy. Euboea and Io clap their hands triumphantly, Aella and Aleka lead the Royal Guard in a celebratory chant, loudly beating their sheathed swords against their shields.

    Towards the back, I see Artemis, her head lowered after her defeat in the arena. She claps her hands, begrudgingly. Perhaps one day she will come around. Perhaps not.

    My mother bows her head slightly, stepping aside to allow me to speak. It is the first time in memory that anyone has seen the great Queen Hippolyta show deference to another. This alone quiets the crowd as I part my lips to address them.

    "My sisters," I begin, "In the time I have known you, I have been many things. My life has been a privileged one, and yet one beset with difficulties. It has been no secret that my outsider heritage has been divisive among our people, some believing that I am unworthy of my station, no matter what I do to prove myself. Still, even those who would mark themselves as opponents or even enemies of me should know this: there is not a one among you for whom I would not gladly lay down my life."

    This elicits respectful applause, but it is not meant as an empty platitude. What I plan to do may cost me everything, and they must know that I do it for them.

    "As my mother said, the Amazons abandoned their warrior ways in times best left behind, and have enjoyed serenity and peace for time immemorial," I continue. "Themyscira is so many things to us --our home, our heritage, our provider and our refuge-- that we have forgotten what this island truly is........our prison."

    The crowd begins to murmur, uncomfortably.

    "My coming to Themyscira from the outside world disturbed an unbroken peace, because it reminded you that there is an outside world at all," I continue. "The witch Circe cursed those of divine blood to remain here on this island, cut off from the world, and in time, it became a Paradise, so much so that our people have forgotten our will to free ourselves. How long has it been since the curse was placed? Decades? Centuries? This timeless place, our ageless people, remains frozen in a world that has moved on without us. Have they forgotten about us as completely as we have forgotten about them?"

    There is once again more murmuring, more looks of outrage and offense. It does not matter-- I have never spoken a lie in my life, and I will not start now.

    "This circlet marks me as Princess and Protector of the Amazons," I say, "And the duty of Protector has long gone derelict. I have a duty to ensure the future and well-being of all of you, my sisters, which is why....."

    I falter, my mind catching what my voice is about to say.

    For a brief moment, I consider backing down. I can imagine the future playing out before me-- contesting again and again with Artemis and her faction to solidify my power before winning her submission, taking Mala as my consort, being granted daughters of our own by the Goddesses and spending the rest of our lives ruling with dignity, grace, and blissful happiness.

    But I cannot back down now, from my duty or to my ideals.

    ".....which is why I am leaving Themyscira."

    There is a collective uproar of outrage. Even my mother is taken aback, as if I had drawn a blade and opened my own throat in front of her.

    "I was the first outsider to set foot on this island," I proclaim, raising my voice to quell the roaring crowd, "Something that Circe's curse says is impossible. That means I should also have the power within me to set foot off of the island as well. I will venture into the outside world, as an ambassador of our people. I will learn what has become of the mortals we left behind, what we can learn from them, perhaps teach them lessons they may yet need to learn from us. And most importantly, I swear upon my life and everything I hold sacred, that I will find a way to break Circe's curse upon this place."

    I look upon the Amazons, and behind them the immense beauty of our home island, and I feel hot tears burning the corners of my eyes. I know this may well be the last time I see my home.

    "Do not fear for me, or for our future," I say. "My mother still has a long and glorious reign ahead of her, and I trust the indomitable will of the Amazon people to weather any storm or crisis in my absence. I may be gone a short time, or spend the rest of my days wandering the mortal world. But I have sworn a vow to always uphold the Truth, and as such, I give you my word as true: I will return, and I will set you free."

    There is no swelling of applause or cheers. There is no outcry of anger or upheaval. There is simply a stunned silence as I descend the stairs of the Temple. The crowd before me splits, making a way for me as I stride down the main road of our city, headed for the shore.

    "Diana, wait!"

    I break my stride as Mala runs up behind me. I do not turn to face her-- if I do, I might change my mind.

    "I'll come back for you, Mala," is all I'm able to say before I continue on.


    Once I reach the shore, I find the boat I have prepared. A small vessel, but a hardy one, able to sail rough waters and withstand shearing winds. Inside, I've stored some clothes, a meager stash of gold and jewels should I need to pay my way in the outside world-- as well as the armored bracelets, the Golden Lariat, and the red-white-and-blue garb I had worn in the arena.

    As I prepare to board, I see someone approaching on the beach.

    It is not Mala. It is not one of the Royal Guard come to retrieve me. It is not even my mother.

    It is Artemis, my childhood rival and tormentor, whom I defeated to become our Champion.

    "Diana," she starts, before correcting herself. "My Princess...."

    She unties her sword from her side, kneeling before me and holding it up as an offering.

    "You may need this."


















    "And so I set sail.....and that is all I remember, until--"

    "Until you materialized out of thin air in the middle of a highly restricted United States military facility and nearly brought the whole place crashing down."

    "It was not my intention to harm anyone. Your warriors accosted me, and I had to defend myself."

    "Which is why you put nearly fifty men in the hospital before they were able to incapacitate you," the large, dark-skinned woman said. "I don't know what you are, or what you think you are, but I know one thing, lady. Until we get to the truth of this....."


    [​IMG]

    ".....you're not leaving Belle Reve alive."
     
  23. Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    Oliver Queen's Apartment
    Avalon Park, Star City

    The sun poked through the curtains of Oliver's apartment, rousing him from a deep sleep. He stretched out before putting his feet down on the cool, hard floor. Queen walked over to the window and flung the blinds open and gazed over his city. The sun had broken through the customary morning fog and the city seemed bathed in gold. It truly was a gorgeous site, and Oliver felt a little extra pride thanks to his escapades from the night before. It wasn't going to change anything, but it was a start.

    Once he was done surveying the city, he dropped to the ground for a set of pushups. Most people liked coffee to wake them up, but Oliver's time away from Star City taught him that vigorous exercise was the only way to shake off the morning malaise. After a set of one hundred, he walked into the main room of the apartment.

    "You didn't check in last night," a voice said from Oliver's couch, stopping the billionaire in his tracks. His body guard, John Diggle stood with hands on his hips. Diggle was a good man from what Oliver saw, and he was already considering bringing John into his fight. But Oliver needed some more time to ensure he could be trusted with that. In the mean time, Queen had been ducking Diggle when he wanted to go out and scout the city.

    "Sorry," Oliver shrugged, acting nonchalantly, "I didn't think the lovely lady I was meeting would appreciate me showing up with a body guard. Might have ruined the mood."

    "And that's why you couldn't even tell me you were leaving the club?" he crossed his arms.

    "Sorry, wrapped up in passion and all that," Oliver lied again. He didn't like acting like the smarmy d-bag he was now, but it was necessary. It was a good cover to Diggle and Oliver's family.

    "Next time," he commands as he goes to leave, "call."

    Oliver mock salutes as the door closes behind Diggle before giving a sigh.

    **********

    Years Before...

    Oliver choked and spit back sea water as he came up from the wreck of the Queen's Gambit. The wind whipped the hard rain into a blinding sheet illuminated by the burning wreckage of the two ships that had been caught in the attack. The ship had come out of nowhere, and two well placed rockets had shredded the Gambit as well as the boat he was meeting to pick up the shipment of Vertigo. It had been a trap all along, and Oliver had dragged people with him to their death.

    He cursed himself, wondering whether this was Osborne's plan the entire time. He had been worried since Oliver was moving up the ladder towards his position.

    A life raft exploded from the water next to Oliver, and he climbed in hoping to survive as long as he could until rescue came.
     
  24. Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    Chicago, IL

    The SHADE helicopter flew low over the Chicago neighborhood as it burned. Multiple city blocks had been engulfed by the blaze which local authorities said popped up, by their words, magically. Constantine knew they weren't wrong. He could feel the malevolence radiating off the flames as they burned unfettered below. Whatever set this, and however they did it, was incredibly powerful.

    They set down on the edge of the blaze, and John took note that the flames seemed to have stopped on their own. They were no longer attempting to spread to the next block or the park to their back. "It's stopped."

    "What do you mean it's stopped?" Chaney was flabbergasted. "It's roasting twelve blocks of Chicago alive!"

    "And it's not roasting any more," John responded. "What have I told you, Agent? The details matter in this line of work. Pay attention. You see how the flames are touching the next block yet not igniting them? These flames were meant to destroy what they're currently destroying and nothing more."

    "That's great and all, but how do we stop them!?" she pleaded with them.

    He looked at her sympathetically. The kid was earnest, he had to admit. He hated what he was about to say, but John Constantine wasn't one to mince words. At least, it wasn't when there was nothing to gain from it.

    "Sorry, love," John lit a cigarette as the flames illuminated his face. "This will burn until it's done what it was set for. This is way outta my league magically. What we need to focus on is finding the bloke who started this and killed those poor people back there. Find him, and we can stop all this."

    "Well, we have some good news on that front," Frankenstein's voice came over the SHADE frequency. He had stayed behind to continue research, and for the fact that he technically wasn't supposed to be seen by the general public. "A security camera caught our man setting the fire. We managed to confiscate it before it got out. Definitely magical, as if there was any question."

    "Mind sharing?" Constantine asked cheekily.

    Before long, the image came across on Chaney's tablet.

    [​IMG]

    "Honestly, it looks like a construct body," Frank continued. "Definitely not its final form."

    "Then I bet whatever he's doing it's to reach full power," Constantine groaned. "I hate these bastards. Can't be happy unless they're trying to take over the world. Get this image out to everyone. We need to know when this guy appears. In the meantime, I'm gonna figure out what he wants."
     
  25. Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    "Wake up, kid," Jay's voice roused Barry from sleep.

    Barry shot up in bed and covered himself with the blankets on his bed. He was used to Jay being at his place, but he had never shown up before his adopted son had woke up, "Jay! What the heck are you doing here?"

    "We need you to come in," he sighed. "Last night a political rally for a District Attorney candidate was attacked by...something. And that super fast guy? The one that was a rumor the other day? He showed up and saved the day."

    "Whoa, really?" Barry feigned amazement. "Did they get a good look at him?"

    "No," Jay shook his head. "He can...blur his face naturally somehow. The cameras aren't fast enough to slow it down either. The media is calling him 'the Flash'. Talk about preposterous."

    Barry was happy to know that had worked. It would come in handy any time he came face-to-face with someone.

    "What a dumb name."

    He was lying. He loved it. A lot.

    "So what do you need me for?" Barry asked. "Last time I checked I wasn't a superpower expert."

    "Iris said you and her were doing some non-sanctioned investigating last night," he said honestly. He was also not very happy about it. Jay had dissuaded Barry from becoming a true police officer back in the day, and Allen knew Jay was disappointed he had put himself in harm's way. "You know what I'm going to say, and I know what you're going to say. Either way, you're the one who has always believed in the impossible. We need to know what we're up against, even if it's only a guess."

    **********

    "So you're saying it was the music this guy was playing?" the captain asked with a raised eyebrow. He clearly wasn't buying any of this, but I know better than any of them. Of course I can't tell them I was there.

    "That's what these people are saying," Barry pointed to the file containing the witness statements from the entire party the night before. "They say they heard music and a voice in their head when they lost control. Add that on top of the fact the two suicide victims had direct contact with the flute player hours before their death leads right to him."

    "What about some kind of drug?" Jay theorized. "Maybe a gas or something?"

    "There was no trace of anything like that at the scene," Barry denied that one. Even if he hadn't experienced the man's power, his crime scene training was enough to tell him hallucinogens weren't in play. "And there's no way he could have gassed the two in public without people seeing or knowing. Especially the cameras."

    "So we have two super humans running around our city," the captain sighed. He pointed to the flute player, "I want you to find this guy and take him down. No matter what."

    "Yes, sir," Jay nodded.

    "So what's the play?" Barry questioned the detective. He knew Jay wouldn't let him come with him. But if Barry knew where his father was going he could be there as the Flash.

    Jay chuckled at the boy's thought of coming, "The play is Iris and I sweep the homeless to see if they've seen this guy. And you stay here."

    "I figured you'd say that," Barry shrugged in mock defeat. "Good luck. Bring some ear plugs."
     

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