Singular Universe: Brave New World -- IC Thread

Discussion in 'Comic Books & Genre RPG's' started by Carnage27, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. Carnage27

    Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    Singular Universe: Brave New World

    The Singular Universe is a largely player-created world where your favorite superheroes from all domains of comic books come together to share their stories. The heroes and villains of Marvel, DC, and the other comic book publishers are all available to players. Batman can fight Green Goblin, Spider-Man can teamup with Hellboy, and the TMNT can get a taste of Scarecrow's fear gas.

    How to Play:

    In this game 4 years have passed from the advent of the Age of Heroes. Characters from Marvel, DC, and Independent publishers have all shared this universe from its advent. Players can take any character in comics that they can successfully portray in-universe and craft their history in this new world.

    To apply for a character, fill out the application below. Applications will be reviewed by the GM and either Approved or Denied after 24 hours, to allow for competing Apps. If your application is Denied, feel free to improve the application using feedback to get it accepted. All players are welcome, regardless of membership status or post-count.

    Please go to the OOC thread to signup before posting!


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  2. Byrd Man

    Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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    Part I:

    The Corridors of Power




    “Through me you pass into the city of woe:
    Through me you pass into eternal pain:
    Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.
    All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”
    -- Dante Alighieri


    "For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"
    -- Luke 9:25




    The Gotham Ritz
    9:23 AM



    Jim felt flutters in his stomach. The elevator shot up past floors. His bodyguard, Officer Melvin Brown, close by. A single GCPD officer served as sole protective detail. He wanted it that way. Mayor Hill's detail was huge. Two dozen cops in black suits with black ties, black shirts, and black shoes. Très fascist fashions. They formed a mini Praetorian Guard. Lines blurred. They became more mini Gestapo. They muscled the mayor's enemies. They tapped phones. They shook down wealthy Gothamites for contributions to the Hill slush fund. Jim's very first act as mayor: Destroy the protection detail, shatter it into a thousand pieces. Cops on the detail were fired outright or given a chance to quietly retire and take half pensions. Brown was his main protection against a would-be assassin. Jim supplemented it with a .38 detective special he kept in a shoulder rig. His suit coat was baggy enough to hide the piece. He still carried heat. Old habits died hard.

    The elevator dinged. The doors slid open. He stepped out into the Ritz's penthouse suite. Evidence of a party's aftermath all around him. Empty glasses on the floor, articles of clothing covered couches, empty liquor bottles stuffed into a plant pot, a used rubber hung on a lampshade, coke residue scattered on a coffee table. Naked call girls sleeping on the floor. His head felt light. Dizziness came and went. The sights made him woozy.

    He found them outside on the balcony. County Sheriff Scott Andrews, County Administrator Hubert Perkins, Gotham DA Carl Hull, and US Senator Rupert Thorne. Andrews, Perkins, and Hull wore suits, Thorne wore a bathrobe and slippers. The four wolfed down breakfast food, bacon and eggs with hash browns, coffee, and booze. They stopped when Jim stepped out.

    "Mr. Mayor," said Thorne. "Have a seat, have a seat. I hope you don't mind we went ahead and started breakfast without you."

    Hull said, "We figured you weren't coming."

    Andrews winked, "Six months since your election and you still haven't showed up to our little breakfast pow-wows. Where is the love, Jimboy?"

    Jim waved Brown inside the suite while he took a seat at the table. Jim and Hull were the city powers, Perkins and Andrews held the county power. Thorne towered above them all with his hands on state and federal money. The monthly meeting between the municipal powers was where Thorne held court.

    Thorne said, "Regardless, he's here now and he is a very welcome presence. Mayor Hill was a valued member of our little meetings, and I hope Jim continues the good work of the former mayor."

    They spieled while room service sent up a plate of food for Jim. Perkins cracked racist jokes. Thorne regaled the men with last night's exploits. He did hookers three at a time while coked out of his mind. His food came on a tray with beer and booze. Andrews and Hull pounded shots and Irish coffee. Andrews and Thorne danced an Irish jig arm in arm. Hull did some soft shoe. Jim felt queasy. The booze tempted him. The Thirst came on strong. He forced his food down and zeroed in on secrets.

    His big secret: Dirt files on all the men gathered at the table. He found them three years ago when Loeb went to jail. An IA asset forfeiture squad raided Loeb's private safety deposit box. The squad found a USB drive filled with hidden secrets on Gotham's elite. Twelve gigs worth of secrets. Twelve gigs worth of political juice. The words DENT, HARVEY spooked him bad. He read it. It had all of Dent's mental history, his family problems and everything Gordon and Batman never knew until it was way too late. His file there too. Detailed paperwork on his rehab stints, copies of the divorce papers Barbara's lawyer served him with. The papers cited his affair with Sarah and drinking as grounds for divorce. He pocketed it, fudged the chain of evidence so it wouldn't be missed. He wiped his file from the driver and stashed it in his own safe deposit box. He was too afraid to read the rest of the files on the drive. He could not trust himself with that type of information. He would either use it as blackmail or evidence. Either way his political career would be up in smoke.

    The party hit a lull. Thorne said, "There is a lot of federal money coming down the pipes, boys. A few senators and I are working on an urban redevelopment bill. This bill will put the entire east side right in the crosshairs of federal grants. It's still going to be a year or two out, but there is going to be a lot of money made on that land. Right now the property out there is dirt cheap. I suggest we all get to buying."

    Hull picked his nose, "In my legal opinion, land is always a good investment."

    Thorne picked bacon from his teeth, "The entire east side, my friends. The East End, the Bowery, even spilling out into the county. We'll make at least seven figures on kickbacks alone."

    Perkins winked. "Kick out all *******s, jack up the prices, and sell it to the rich white people who think it's hip to live in a bad neighborhood. Gentrification at its finest."

    Andrews smiled. "God, I love this country."

    They went silent. All eyes fell on Jim. He sweated through his jack and coat. The Thirst practically screamed from inside of him. He did a quick count: At least six counts of federal fraud and corruption felonies. Andrews popped his knuckles. Hull flicked a booger off the balcony.

    Jim held his glass of water up for a toast.

    "God bless America."

    They cheered. Jim wiped sweat and gulped water. Welcome to the corridors of power.


    ******​


    Kavanaugh's Pub
    2:12 PM



    Vin Gonzales sat at the bar nursing a beer. Cops drained glasses of beer. Uniformed patrolmen did shots at the bar. Half of them were on duty. Vin was dressed in street clothes. Captain Reddin had Vin's badge and gun in his desk at the Western District station. He was on paid suspension until an IA investigation cleared him of assault charges.

    He put a drug dealer's head through a car window. The boy was just fifteen, but the little bastard raised up on him. Vin made him pay dearly for his mistake. The kid nearly bled out on the scene. He came out of ICU with over sixty stitches in his head and missing an eye. That was a week ago. The IA probe was taking too long. There was the kid's testimony along with at least a half dozen eyeball witnesses at the scene. Vin figured he'd get his walking papers soon. Handcuffs to follow right after. This marked his second excessive violence complaint this year, his sixth one overall.

    Vin waved the bartender over. "Lemme get another beer."

    The barman placed a cold one down on the bar a minute later.

    "Compliments of the man in the corner booth. He requested your presence at his booth."

    Vin turned around. Hard to see through dim-lighting and smoky haze. He made out a figure. Big and in shadow. Vaguely familiar. He walked over. A big man, six foot five at least, with short gray-blonde hair sat with a newspaper folded in front of him, something underneath. No drink on the table. Vin sat down and eyeballed the guy. A baggy suit hiding his piece and shoulder rig, a big automatic from the look of it.

    "Officer Gonzales. Do you know who I am?"

    "Flass, right?"

    "Inspector Flass to be precise."

    "Inspector, what do you want?"

    Flass smiled. "Call me Arnold."

    "Arnold... what do you want?"

    "To talk to you. Your name has come up in conversation with certain company. You have piqued my interest. I read your jacket and liked what I saw, especially your excessive violence complaints. Six total and you've only been on the PD three years. That must be a record. What motivates you, son? A traumatic past? Family abuse? Or have you always been a mean bastard?"

    Vin clinched his fists until the knuckles turned white. He almost went across the table. Flass was almost twenty years older, but the man was bigger and looked just as mean. Plus he had a gun. He moved to leave. A big hand grabbed his wrist fast. Flass's grip like a vise. He barred his teeth.

    "What. Do. You. Want?"

    Flass winked, let his wrist go. "I want your help. I need a new man on my squad. The Surveillance Unit."

    "Tail work?"

    "It's an innocuous sounding title, Vin, but I promise you it is much more than surveillance. It's a job few men have the stomach for, but you were born for."

    "You're barking up the wrong tree. I'm on my way out the department. Probably headed to jail. I'm sure you heard that while I was piquing your goddamn interest."

    Flass smiled and pulled the newspaper back. His gun and badge sitting on the table. Vin looked down and then up, slack-jawed and catching flies.

    "How?"

    "The drug dealer you so appropriately punished has dropped all charges against you. The witnesses at the scene recanted their testimony. Now, pick your things up off the table."

    He grabbed at the gun and badge and clipped them on to his belt.

    "Why and how?"

    "Because you are a violent man. A thug, really. You have a ferocious temper. I plan on using that temper as a weapon. The world we live in, an appropriate amount of thuggery is called for to function properly. Despite our mayor and police commissioner's attitudes, the GCPD still needs men like you. As for the how..."

    Flass laid brass knucks on the table. Chipped, smeared with blood and dotted with shards of teeth.

    "Memory is a fickle thing."


    ******​


    Gotham City Hall
    3:30 PM



    The mayor's office on the top floor. Photos of Barbara on the desk. Everything else spartan and bare. Gone were Hamilton Hill's tacky faux fur and hunting trophies. He still hadn't gotten around to any type of decorations.

    "Sounds like you're screwed."

    Sarah Essen flashed a wry smile. Jim felt his heart skip a bit at the sight of that smile. He and Sarah came up together in the PD. She was fresh out of the academy when he arrived from Chi-Town. They were drawn to each other. The spark between them always felt like it could be something more. They were both detectives when those sparks turned out to be kindling, igniting a raging inferno that caused Jim his marriage and gave Sarah a reputation as a girl who slept around. The affair led to a fifteen years self-imposed exile from each other after that. They were dangerous together. Passions could not be contained. Just like the booze, Jim had the Thirst for Sarah. The years had tempered their passions. They could stand to be in a room alone together without ending up on the floor naked. Jim learned self-control and Sarah made her way in the department on her own merits. The city council, not him, appointed her interim police commissioner after Jim resigned to become mayor. That spark still sat there between them. He was afraid to acknowledge it. So was she. Their roles demanded a chaste relationship.

    "Astute observation. You should try being a detective, you might make a good one."

    He lit up two cigarettes and passed her one. They smoked in silence. Jim replayed the meeting with Thorne and the others over in his head. Threats, implied and real, came to the forefront. He relayed the scene to Sarah. Politics was not his milieu, even as a politician. Sarah acted as his guide and adviser on all related matters.

    "You did good from what I could see," she finally said. "Let them plot and scheme all they want. You're mayor of the city and nothing can go on illegally without your consent. Your worst enemy at this point is yourself."

    "That's... disturbing, but insightful."

    "Just remember to tread carefully from here on out. Thorne is a US senator. He controls federal purse strings. He can make this entire city hurt if he feels like it."

    Jim blew smoke and frowned and said, "I know. I just have trouble with this. I'm not a real politician."

    Sarah smiled. "Bull Don't give me that. Look who you're talking to. Every cop who made rank above patrolmen is a politician. You have to be a politician to make rank. Even being anti-political is being political, Jim. Your end-around with Batman was a political move and look where it got you. You say you're not political, well too goddamn bad. You need to start getting political if you want to stay in this lovely office."

    He stubbed his cigarette out in a glass ashtray and looked at her.

    "I seem to recall you wanted to see me about something as well."

    Her eyes flashed annoyance. "Flass. I want to eliminate his unit once and for all. They're nothing but a bunch of crooks."

    "So you went and bypassed the public safety committee and came right to the mayor?"

    Sarah shrugged. He saw a smile somewhere beneath her frustration. "What's the point of having the mayor's ear if you can't tug on it once and a while?"

    Flass. A lot of history there between them. All of it bad. They both made rank at the same time. Flass was old school Gotham cop which meant he shot first and let someone smarter sort out the dead bodies and what it all meant. They brushed up against each other over fiive years ago. Flass had a good five inches and fifty pounds on him and Jim still made him bleed. Flass. A killer with a badge and a lot of political juice behind him. Including the new mayor. Their pact. Their agreement. Mutually assured destruction.

    "Let me work on it and see what I can do."

    Sarah winked. Jim felt his heart skip a beat. He looked past her out the window. Gotham Central sat a block away. He saw the roof and the tarp-covered object on it. The bat-signal. The last time it burned was during those insane three weeks two years ago. When Harvey Dent became a monster and a partnership of three was ripped apart.

    This office and this job. It wasn't meant for him and it never was. It was Dent's for the taking. Harvey was their politician. Jim and Batman were the men of action. Harvey was the dreamer, the planner. And now? Their planner sat in a padded cell, sans half his face.

    If this city could tear even Harvey Dent down, then what chance did he have at changing it?

    Sarah said, "A penny for your thoughts."

    Jim smirked, tried to hide his thoughts. "Thinking of getting out of here and taking you to dinner tonight. Interested?"

    She smiled back Jim forgot all about Batman, Flass, and the corrupt powers that be.

    "Let's go."


    ******​


    Northern Gotham City
    4:24 PM



    Adolphus Wood Parkway packed tight. Southbound traffic locked bumper to bumper. The armored car stalled in traffic. A three man team on the courier run. Two armed guards in the cab arguing over the radio, one in the back flipping through a skinmag. The driver put on the golden oldies station. The passenger made the jerk-off sign and rolled his eyes. Traffic began to move. Glenn Miller's orchestra played Perfidia. The armored car made downtown in record time. Perfidia faded. Sinatra crooned Blue Moon.

    At Fourth and Monroe the pavement beneath the armored car exploded. The explosion twisted the behemoth onto its side. It skidded across sidewalk and flattened parked cars. The armored car slammed into a department store. Glass shattered. Mannequins went flying. The car came to a stop. People ran and screamed. A black sedan pulled up. Four men jumped out. Masked with gray hoodies, black gloves, blue jeans and weapons. A man in a Batman mask carried a combat 12 gauge. A man in a pig mask carried an Uzi. A man in a Spider-Man mask carried an AK-47. A man in a Mickey Mouse mask carried a pistol and a satchel. Mickey pulled a homemade bomb from the satchel and placed it on the rear door.

    Batman fired breaching rounds into the cab. The guards screamed, fired back. Their shots missed wide. Batman kept firing, pumped ten shots into the cab. Blood spattered the windows, blood spattered the seats, blood ran out the cab. Mickey stood at the back of the car, set a charge on the door and ran. A small explosion blew off the car's back door. The guard in the back came out firing. Two rounds caught Mickey flush in the chest. Pig boy and Spider-Man blew the guard away with automatic rounds. Spider-Man stepped over the dead guard, fired twice into the body to make sure he stayed down, went inside the flipped car. Mickey got up, picked mushroomed bullets from a kevlar vest underneath the hoodie. He stood on wobbly legs, dry heaved inside his mask.

    Thirty seconds later, Spider-Man came out the back with two big manila envelopes under his arm. The four robbers retreated to the car. Batman got behind the wheel. They hauled away from the scene. Car alarms went haywire. Burglar alarms rang. Bystanders screamed. Sirens wailed far away. The radio blasted Sinatra. Blue Moon echoed through the sounds of chaos.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  3. Carnage27

    Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    [​IMG]

    He looked old. That's all Steve Rogers could think after taking a look at his friend for the first time in near seventy years. Of course, the other man didn't have the luxury of being literally frozen for the majority of them. Even with the aging, it was clear he has less years on him than he should have, and he still had a great deal of his strength left.

    "You look good," Rogers slid up next to him in the pew. Steve hadn't wanted to meet a friend like this at a funeral of another, but that's where it had to happen. This was urgent, and Cap needed help.

    "You look the same," the other man tipped his hat up and looked at Steve sideways, a wry smile on his face. "What's your deal? Botox?"

    "I get that a lot," Steve chuckled.

    "What took you so long to find me?" he sat back. "Figured you and your fancy toys would have been able to do that a long time ago."

    Cap shrugged, "Some people want to be left alone. I respect that."

    The man sitting next to Steve had gone off the map in 1975 after the death of his wife. Fury had told him of his self-imposed isolation, and Rogers had no desire to bring him out of that.

    But the situation had changed.

    His old friend picked up on the tone though, "So you need something, don't you?"

    Sighing, Steve took a folder out of his bag and passed it to the other man. He opened it, and the picture on the first page made him curse under his breath. He flipped through a few more of the pages, not reading deeply, but catching enough to understand.

    "Top men, they told me," he took off his hat and ran his hand through silver hair. "Top men."

    "Fury said it was under lock and key," Cap responded, annoyance in his voice. Steve didn't even know something like this was held in a SHIELD facility. It made him sick that it was hidden from them, but now it was out and it was his job to find it. "Clearly, he was wrong. You're the only one I know who has first hand experience."

    The Ark of the Covenant was in enemy hands, and Captain America needed Indiana Jones's help to get it back.

    Jones put his hat back on and stood up, "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's get to work."

    CAPTAIN AMERICA AND INDIANA JONES
    IN
    ~BROKEN COVENANT~

     
    #3
  4. Carnage27

    Carnage27 No one's puppet

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    [​IMG]

    Three Weeks Ago


    Lightning flashed through the sky as the Foot Mystics continued chanting around the device that was set to open a portal to another dimension. Ten yards in front of the ritual, The Shredder stood at the ready, the lightning reflecting off the blades of his armor and making him glow in an ethereal manner. Even though he had been fighting for close to twenty minutes, he was not winded. He didn't even look sweaty from Leonardo's vantage point.

    Beside the leader of the Turtles were his brothers, battered and bruised. Donatello was tending to Michelangelo, who had been knocked out by the dark ninja master moments before. On Leo's other side was Raphael, who was on one knee, supporting his other side with one of his sais dug into the ground. Around them, the Foot Compund burned as the Turtles and their allies tried to stop whatever was going to come through that portal.

    But it seemed like it was too little, too late. They were losing against Oroku Saki again. This time, however, it might cost them more than their father.

    "You have fought valiantly," the master of the Foot Clan told Leo in a mocking tone. "I would say you have made your ancestors proud, but freaks have no ancestors."

    Leonardo clutched the hilt of his remaining sword tightly. This wasn't how it was going to end. "Do you even know if this Demon will help you? What happens when it comes through that portal and squishes you like the overgrown cockroach you are?"

    "You understand so little," Saki seethed. "But you shall see. This world shall crumble under our might, and the Universe shall follow."

    "I don't think so," Raph stood as he winced in pain.

    Leo looked over to his brother and nodded. The two may have not always seen eye to eye, but they both knew what they were there to do. It was now or never. Either they stopped Shredder, or the world could fall. That was something worth dying for.

    The brothers rushed at Oroku Saki one last time, knowing they might not make it out the other end.

    Raph went low, and Leo went high. Shredder managed to bat away the eldest turtle's flying kick, but Raph's shoulder throw managed to knock him slightly off balance. He spun, trying to regain his footing, and lashed out with the blades on his right hand, slashing Raphael under the eye. Blood splashed on the ground, but it just made Raph angrier. Shredder attempted to do the same with the other hand, but Raphael caught the blades in the hilt of his sai. With a mighty twist, Oroku Saki's blades snapped off at the base.

    That's when Leonardo hopped over his brother and delivered a kick to Saki's chest, sending the shinobi tumbling backwards towards the ritual. Leo felt the tide of the battle turn, and pressed the advantage. He slashed at Shredder with all his strength. Each time the blade met the Foot leader's armor, sparks flew into the night. Shredder tried to break through Leo's flurry of attacks, but is instead, Leo sliced of the still-bladed hand.

    The Shredder cried out in pain, the first time the Turtles had ever saw a sign of weakness from the armored enemy. Behind him, the portal began to crackle to life, and Leonardo pressed forward. Shredder swung wildly at the turtle, who ducked and drove his sword through Shredder's chest. He gasped for air as his helmet slipped off his head, and stumbled back into one of the Foot Mystics. The two fell towards the portal and were sucked in. Missing one of the key components to the ritual, the portal became unstable and collapsed in on itself, sucking the other mystics into the closing maw.

    Leo fell back onto the ground, and Raph collapsed next to him. Leo looked back to find Donnie helping a now-conscious Mikey towards them. The youngest turtle, still slightly out of it, smiled, "Bros, we totally won. We're like the best."

    "Yea, this feels great," Raph responded as he felt the gash on his face.

    "It is an unlikely win," Donnie had to admit.

    "Turtles," Leo breathed deeply as he walked over and picked up Shredder's helmet, "it's a win. That's all that matters. Shredder is gone."

    "COWABUNGA!" Mikey yelled groggily.

    **********

    TCRI Building
    Now

    Leonardo looked through a pair of binoculars at the TCRI building. It had been months since they found out about this place, but they still hadn't breach its defenses. It was the one puzzle piece left before the Turtles figured out the truth about the Foot's plan and the Iron Tengu they supposedly served. It also held the key to their origin.

    He was also still worried about what the Foot were up to. By all accounts the mutagen that created his family was being brewed daily in there, not to mention whatever weapons designed by the madman that created the Mousers. TCRI was still a threat to his family, New York, and possibly the world at large, and it needed to be shut down.

    "We gonna come here every night and just look?"
    Raph was getting impatient. He, of course, wanted to go in hard sometime soon now that the Shredder was gone. Leo knew that was folly. The Foot may have been weakened, but they were still dangerous, and TCRI was their last stronghold. Getting in wouldn't be easy.

    "No," Leo shook his head, "we're gonna come here and look until we find a good way in."

    "Come on!" Raph protested. "We call the Defenders in and get it done!"

    "The Defenders?" Leo raised his brow at his brother.

    "Yea, our team from when we took out Shredhead," Raph pumped his fist. "Mikey came up with it. Sometimes he isn't useless."

    Leo knew that they would help if they needed it, but those heroes had their own problems to take care of. He considered calling Spider-Man, the one from that night that clearly liked the Turtles the best, but even that would be asking too much. They needed to do something by themselves.

    "They're not our team, Raph," Leo shook his head. "They helped us. And we'll do the same for them when the time comes. We're not the Justice League."

    "Says the guy with a Superman poster in his bedroom."

    Leo punch Raph in the shoulder, who then shoved Leo in response. They stared at one another as Donnie's voice came over the comm link, "Guys, the Purple Dragons report Foot activity in Brooklyn. Mikey and I are on the way there."

    "Copy, Donnie," Leo nodded. "We'll meet you there."

     
    #4
  5. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze AW YEEEAH!

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    It was a stifling morning in Gotham City, the heat hanging thick and heavy in the air. It clung to Becky Travers as she walked through the city on her way back to the office, and so, on a momentary whim, she decided to buy a bottle of water. Looking around, she spotted an unassuming deli and headed inside to make her purchase. Becky didn't have much time left to live, but in that time, she did have the chance to think about all the "what ifs" and eventualities that brought her to that place at that time. What if she'd thought to put a bottle of water from her fridge in her handbag before leaving for work that morning? What if she'd gone to another deli? What if she'd just waited until she'd gotten to the damn office and got a drink from the water cooler free of charge? But instead, fate had brought her here, like the punchline to a cruel joke.

    You wouldn't think there was anything untoward about this deli from the street. It was just another day, and Gotham's citizens milled around on the sidewalk outside, going about their daily business. But all it took was one step inside for Becky to know something was very wrong, and right away a little voice was nagging at her to turn and run. It wasn't heat that was in the air, in here it was in fact quite cool. Here, it was death that was in the air.

    But Becky made the mistake of listening to her rational brain rather than her gut instinct, and so she made herself walk down the aisle to the fridge where they kept the water. She grabbed a bottle, then screamed as she let it topple to the floor. It was in the reflection in the glass of the fridge door she saw it. The body, on the floor. Slowly, she turned around, hoping that somehow the image would only be in the glass and not there in person, and there it was. A corpse of a man, lying on the ground with a basket of shopping scattered around him, his body contorted into an agonised, unnatural position. But his face was the worst of all. That grin, that awful grin...

    Slowly, as if in a trance, Becky walked towards the body. She didn't want to, but it was like she was drawn to it. She never made it all the way, as she stopped dead in her tracks and let out a horrified moan as she looked past the body and saw that the deli was filled with them. Scattered around the aisles, at the counters, staff and customers alike. All of them dead. All of them grinning.

    Becky thought that surely, this must be a nightmare. Sobbing, she staggered backwards towards the drinks cabinet. When a gloved hand passed over another bottle of water, she took it without even thinking at first. Then, she gasped and spun around.

    "Go on, take it," the white-faced man said with a smile, "I'm sure there's no one in here who'll mind."

    For a moment, Becky considered the possibility that this man before her was one of the corpses she had discovered, reanimated. He had their monstrous grin. But if anything, this figure was even more ghoulish: sickly white skin, yellowed eyes, lurid green hair.

    "Truly, we live in an age of wonders. Don't you think?"

    Reaching into the cabinet, the white-skinned man pulled out a large carton of orange juice. He popped it open, flipped his head back and began glugging it until the carton's contents were running freely down either side of his mouth. Finally letting out a gasp, he wiped his mouth with his purple sleeve.

    "Aaaaah! Glorious, colorful heroes parade through our streets and soar through our skies. Mutants, gods and monsters walk amongst us. It's all very impressive. But I think it could be soooo much more fun!"

    Finally, Becky choked out some words, small, almost a croak.

    "Are... are you going to kill me?"

    The Joker grinned knowingly, reaching out and tugging at her cheek.

    "Aw, sweet little bird... no, I'm not gonna kill you."

    Becky smiled then, a grin of pure joy and relief.

    "Th-thank you. Tha-ha-hank... heh-heh. Thank..."

    "No... I'm not going to kill you. I don't need to. The gas I used to put a smile on the faces of all these sadsacks is still lingering around in here. You were dead the minute you set foot in here. Fate's a funny old thing, huh?"

    "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

    Becky laughed until it caught in her throat, then she collapsed onto the floor and began convulsing. And so her story ends.

    The Joker, though... his story was just beginning.

    [​IMG]
     
    #5
  6. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    1
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    An army of reporters (as well as those reporting to the Army) wait with bated breath in the press room. They've been waiting for me, Tony Stark. Iron Man. For damn good reason, too. I'm the man of the hour, and this is my next big moment. The flashbulbs flicker as I walk onto the stage, blinding me as I step behind the glass podium. As usual, my suit is on point. All white, perfectly tailored, and fully equipped. I flash a winning smile to the little people who'd come to see me.

    "Good morning," I say, "I know you're wondering why I've called this press conference today, and since I'm busy, I won't mince words here. As of today, Stark Industries is allowing the United States, as well as certain member nations of the UN, access to the schematics and technology used in my Iron Man armors, up until the Mark IV. That's the sexy red and gold one, if you're not familiar with the version numbers." I wink at a pretty reporter from the Daily Planet. She has lavender eyes, which impresses me. I'll have to get her name later. "Anyway, this access will allow those governments to build their own fleets of Iron Men, for use in peacekeeping operations and in supervillain prisons like the Vault."

    Of course, as I've planned, the room explodes with people shouting questions, and the pricks in uniform smirking like they did something clever. One question in particular stands out, though. I raise my hand to silence the crowd and ask her to repeat it.

    "Vicki Vale, Gotham Tribune. My question was what's next for Iron Man? If you're giving your armor out to everyone, what makes you special now?"

    I smile broadly as I step out from behind the podium. It was a great question actually. So great that I wish I would have thought it up myself and planted someone in the audience to ask it.

    "I'm so glad you asked that. As you all know, I am Tony Stark, and I am Iron Man, and that makes me one of those people who is always special." A bit of laughter rolls through the crowd. "I've got a new armor, developed with technology pioneered by a man who once saved my life, a man named Dr. William Magnus. Ladies and gentlemen..."

    [​IMG]

    "...meet Iron Man Armor Mark V, or as I call her, 'Tina'."

    [​IMG]
     
    #6
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  7. Byrd Man

    Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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    Switzerland
    0343 Local Time



    Baron Wolfgang von Strucker ran across the tarmac towards a waiting chopper. Two heavily armed HYDRA bodyguards ran by his side. Gunfire filled in the air in sharp, staccato bursts. An explosion from somewhere beneath the ground rocked him as he hurried towards his getaway vehicle. Strucker cursed under his breath and ruminated on the events of the last few hours.

    A single man.

    One man all by himself was responsible for all this chaos. It was mind boggling. If he were like those costumed crazies that lived in America, that would be one thing. But by all reports he was an ordinary man. Armed with a few weapons and gadgets, this man had stormed Strucker's mountainside compound, filled with HYDRA agents and the finest weapons on the market.

    He barked orders at the HYDRA goons in German as they climbed into the chopper. A minute later they were airborne, the compound fading away as they flew into the night. Strucker let out a sigh of relief and breathed deeply. From far away he heard another explosion. It was incredibly loud, a very powerful one coming from the compound that by now had to be rubble thanks to that one man.

    Strucker's head snapped up when he heard the alerts and alarms coming from the helicopter's console panel. A look of panic flashed on the pilot's face as he read the display.

    "Baron, etwas ist auf dem weg zu uns!"

    "Was ist es?," Strucker asked with a furrowed brow. "Eine rakete?

    Before the pilot could answer, a dark figure rocketed past the chopper and looped back around. The small figure flew towards the helicopter at breakneck pace. The pilot cursed and tried to evade, but the figure easily corrected and tore into the chopper.

    Strucker yelled and screamed as the helicopter went into tailspin. Alarms and warnings blared from inside the cockpit. The entire world spun and spun and spun and the ground got closer and closer and closer.

    With a sharp thump, the damaged chopper stopped its descent. Strucker looked through the dark at a figure who held the nose of the helicopter in its hands. They wore the same onyx colored suit of armor. It was HYDRA's latest weapon. A rough prototype of the Stark style suit of armor, and their only working design. All the research for the suit had been in the compound that just went up in flames.

    "Stark," Strucker hissed.

    "Wrong."

    The faceplate of the armor opened up. The man inside the protective suit looked at the group of disheveled villains with cold blue eyes and a sardonic smirk.

    "It's Bond. James Bond.



    Ian Fleming's
    James Bond
    007

    In

    Knights in Jakarta ​
     
    #7
  8. Spider-Man9X17

    Spider-Man9X17 Ultron was sitting on him

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    [​IMG]

    Wayne Tower
    Wayne Enterprises Corporate Headquarters
    Downtown Gotham City
    Friday Afternoon


    It happened like clockwork, every Monday, Thursday, and Friday afternoon for the past six months. Those were the days that students from Gotham Senior High School volunteered throughout Wayne Tower. The program had been started by Bruce Wayne some years prior, when he had reemerged into the Gotham limelight as a way to keep impressionable youth off the streets and into a positive work environment, giving them valuable work experience as they finished the final stages of childhood and entered into adulthood.

    The staff of Wayne Enterprises had become accustomed to the students over the years, and always welcomed them warmly into the corporate family. It had been since the beginning of the current year that the newest fixture began showing up with the volunteers in the afternoons.

    It was on those three days that Dick Grayson skipped the bus ride home from the Solomon Wayne Prep School and walked to the subway station, taking the train into dowtown Gotham and then walked the five blocks to the building that housed the offices of his legal guardian. It was on those days that he warmly greeted the security staff at the front desk with a smile and a thumbs up, and boarded the private elevator to the 23rd floor, which housed the IT department. And it was on those days the he zeroed on a very tech savvy, very beautiful red head who was always writing some new system code or updating servers or something computery.

    "Hey Babs."

    Dick pulled up a chair and flipped it around backwards, sitting down beside Barbara Gordon as she typed away.

    "Richard," she replied politely. They both hated the names, but it had quickly become their own awkward way of flirting early on. The awkwardness had subsided overtime, but the childlike teasing still remained.

    "You doing anything tonight?"

    Dick had been asking the same question every Friday afternoon for the past four months, and every Friday afternoon he had been rejected. Breaking out of Arkham Asylum seemed to be easier than getting the Mayor of Gotham City, the former police commissioner, to give his teeange daughter permission to go out on a date.

    Actually, considering the workload of his "after school job", and all the repeat customers, breaking out of Arkham Asylum just seemed easy. Period.

    "Depends..."

    "Ah, well, maybe next week--wait, what?"

    "I said it depends."

    "Depends on what? This is usually where you say 'No', and then blame it on your dad."

    "It depends on whether your butler will come along with you, and kinda act like a chaperone."

    Normally, Dick would have been ecstatic that he had finally broken through. Being babysat by Alfred during his first real date though, well that just seemed like another defeat in the romance department.

    "I guess it's better than nothing. I think. Maybe."

    Barbara sighed and pushed his glasses up onto her forehead.

    "I know, it sucks. But it wasn't a 'No' so I didn't want to push it."

    "Ok, well, let me head upstairs and check with Bruce. See if he can spare Big Al tonight, and I'll be right back."

    -

    Dick entered the keycode and pushed open the large double doors leading to Bruce Wayne's office atop Wayne Tower.

    Not surprisingly, the room was empty.

    Dick pulled a cell phone from his pocket and dialed. He was almost shocked when the other end picked up. Sometimes he tought Bruce Wayne was the real urban legend, not Batman.

    He crossed his fingers and hoped his good luck could go three for three.

    "Hey, it's me. No, no, everything is fine. A little better than fine. I, um, I have a date tonight. Maybe. I just, well, her dad kind of wants a chaperone along so I was wondering if I could borrow Alfred...Yes, I'm going to follow up my lead on the motorcycle gang and then knock off early if I could...Yes! Thank you! I gotta go, but thank you!"

    He stuffed the phone back in his pocket, and hardly felt his feet touch the floor as he ran back down to the elevator.

    -

    The rooftops of Gotham City
    Later that Evening


    "Y--you d--don't scare me. Yer just a kid."

    [​IMG]

    "I--I d--don't scare you? So is that your mean stutter there, twinkle toes?"

    "You don't talk to me like that. Try fightin' me fair once, ya little twerp."

    "Fair, huh?"

    Robin pressed a gloved finger against the mugger's nose and gave a tiny little push. The leather clad thug swung out over the rooftop and looked down, or rather up from his inverted perspective, at the bustling street of Gotham City below.

    "Mr Pot-Belly laying on top of a ninety pound girl in an alley is a fair fight?"

    "Screw you, punk."

    "Oh, pumpkin, that's such a sweet offer, but you're really not my type."

    Robin checked a pouch on his belt.

    "As a matter of fact, I have to meet my type in about ten minutes for me for some top choice grub at a way too classy joint. So unfortunately, I have to cut play time a little short, but I'm sure there are plenty of nice fellas who would love to take you up on that eloquent offer where your headed. Or, if you'd ever like to be able to sit down again, tell me where you send the girls, and I can make sure you get your own private room where there in no danger of Bubba making you the little spoon."

    The biker tried to spit on Robin.

    "I ain't no snitch. I'd rather be dead."

    The Boy Wonder sighed.

    "OK, if you say so."

    Robin pulled a batarang from his belt and glanced up at the cable wrapped around the thugs ankles.

    "Wait, what? You little shi--"

    Robin severed the cable, and suddenly it seemed as if the dirty sidewalks of Gotham City were flying upwards. 60 feet, 30 feet, 15 feet, 10 feet...

    The world stopped suddenly. It took the biker a moment to realize he was still in one piece, instead of a thousand little meaty chunks strewn across the alley. He opened his eyes and looked up, down, whichever way. He nose brushed against the asphalt momentarily, and suddenly he was on his way up again, his ankles snared by a new cable.

    "Man, you have no idea how much practice it took to perfect that. Those other guys...I feel kinda bad, but they were mean dudes, so I got over it quick."

    "You're a liar."

    Robin sat crossed legged and rested the side of his head on his fist.

    [​IMG]

    "Maybe. That little trickle running out from under your waistband kinda makes me think you believe me though."

    He twirled the batarang between the fingers on his free hand.

    "That was my last cable though, and if you're not going to give me a name, you're not very useful. That just makes you another bad dude I have no need for, and seeing as you'd rather be dead than helpful..."

    Robin stood up and held the batarang to the new cable

    "...I'd be doing us both a favor."

    "DOLLMAKER. DOLLMAKER. That's what they call him! That's the only name I know! I don't know where he is or what he does with the girls, I just heard his name by accident once."

    Robin pulled the batarang away and tapped another pouch on his belt, sending out an anonymous signal to GCPD.

    "See, now was that so hard. Doesn't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to do something good with your life? Now, some very nice gentlemen are going to personally chauffer you to your new digs. You hang tight...haha, get it? 'Hang' tight? No? Because your hanging...ah, nevermind. Sometimes I just kill myself."

    The rooftop door suddenly burst open, and half a dozen more Midnight Sons burst out onto the roof.

    "Hey, Bert! You ok?"

    "Bert? Really?"

    "Just get that punk and get me down."

    "Ladies, I'd really love the practice, but I am about to be really late for a very important appointment. Can we maybe set something up for say tomorrow night? I'm free after nine."

    The click of half a dozen switch blades opening echoed across the rooftops. Robin afforded himself a quick look at the clock on his belt. He'd already blown the first date.

    "Need a hand?"

    He heard the voice a split second before the thump of someone landing on the roof, followed by the distinctive snapping of a forearm bone.

    [​IMG]

    "Okbutwhatnow?"

    [​IMG]
     
    #8
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  9. Spider-Man9X17

    Spider-Man9X17 Ultron was sitting on him

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    [​IMG]

    "That was another productive session today, Temple. You've been making great strides these past weeks. Now this week, we are going to try giving you your pocket watch back, but you will have a different schedule everyday."

    "Do you think I'm ready, Dr. Quinzel?"

    [​IMG]

    "Absolutely. You are in control of your own life. You watch is just a tool, it doesn't control you."

    A pair of guards placed Temple Fugate back into his shackles and led him from Dr. Harleen Quinzel's office.

    "I'll be in touch about next weeks session, Temple. Remember, we control our schedule, not the other way around."

    "Thank you, Dr. Quinzel."

    "Another quality session, Harleen."

    Dr. Thomas Elliot greeted his head psychotrist with a healthy handshake and a sincere pat on the shoulder. Her work with the inmates, and their subsequent trust she was gaining, seemed to be keeping them content. After the breakout at the old Asylum, content inmates made investors very happy. And happy investors were more than willing to open their wallets just a little bit wider. As administator of Arkham City, Dr. Elliot was first in line to reap the financial rewards.

    "People are really starting to notice you. I've even heard from a close friend in high places that you are in line to receive the annual Wayne Foundation Humanitarian Award, with a very substantial grant attached to further fund your research."

    "That's wonderful, Dr. Elliot. I'm--I'm speechless."

    "I don't believe you have any more appointments today. Why don't you knock off early, get a head start in your weekend."

    "Thank you, Dr. Elliot. You have a wonderful weekend yourself."

    -

    "I don't need anybody's damn money. I can get money anytime I want. A bat of the eyelashes, the right wiggle...No, what I need is a man, a god, somebody who can help me take down this elitist superhuman society. Somebody who will fight the establishment with me."

    Harleen navigated through the familiar alley in the Narrows section of Gotham. She thought that her prayers may have been answered when she had been introduced to Two-Face but, alas, there was still too much of Harvey Dent left inside his fractured mind to do real good. There were many, many inmates who believed in her vision, but they weren't strong enough, weren't what she needed.

    Harleen approached a steel door situated in the darkest part of the Narrows. She knocked in rhythm, waited, and finished the pattern. A second passed, and she could hear somebody behind the door looking through the peephole. A second later, the door opened and a small boy, 10 years old, stood in the door way. He smiled warmly at Harleen.

    "Hi, Connor. How's my favorite boy tonight."

    "I'm good, Miss Quinzel."

    The boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a back of white powder. He handed it to Harleen in exchange for a roll of cash. He was such a sweet boy, and he had a lovely family. The had lost everything because of the cruel, hateful people of Gotham City Hall and it's corrupt police department. She felt good knowing that the money her purchase alone tonight would ensure that they ate for the next week to come, until it was time for her to resupply.

    These people were the heart and soul of Gotham. Maybe people frowned upon the drug trade, but it was all these people had until the city was cleaned up and the good, respectable people could return to their real jobs and start over again.

    "You have a good night, sweetie, and be safe."

    -

    *SSSSSNNNNNIIIIIFFFFFFF*

    Harleen dropped the straw and sat back. It was in these moments, she felt that she could take on the city, the entire world, herself. It was probably the only negative side effect she felt, an overestimation of her abilites. God, if she had only heard of this back home, think of what more she could have accomplished.

    She picked up the razor blade and chopped out one last line before her date arrived. Just another putz to have some meaningless fun with, she was sure. But, her prince charming would arrive soon enough, She was sure of it, She could feel it.

    *SSSSSNNNNNIIIIIFFFFFFF*
     
    #9
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  10. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    [​IMG]

    I soak in the applause, take a few bows, etc. I love the press and they love me. As for the brass...

    ""Thank you, thank you, but as I said, I'm quite busy, and I've gotta run. So, give it up for my favorite Secretary of Defense, Colonel James Rhodes!"

    I personally lead the applause this time. Rhodey's my best friend, so I owe the guy. Not my fault that he looks uncomfortable with the attention.

    "You look good," I whisper as he passes. "Not as good as I do, but good."

    "Uh.. yeah, thanks." He stops behind the podium and starts doing his thing. "Thank you, Tony, and thank you all for coming. I am proud to say that..."

    He's gonna go on about how I'm serving the nation with this plan, and all about truth and justice and the American way and all that, but like I said, I've gotta fly.

    [​IMG]

    -----​

    About an hour later, I'm somewhere east of Japan.

    "Tina, how far are we from Fujikawa HQ?"

    Fujikawa Industries is a little Japanese biotech firm that I own interest in. They've been doing some amazing things with genetic engineering, and their latest discovery in South America, if the reports I've been getting are correct, is going to revolutionize the field the same way that InGen did back in the 90's. Two hours ago, just as I was getting everything set for that little press conference, I got news of some kind of emergency at their lab. An emergency of the explosions and multiple casualties sort. An Iron Man emergency.

    Another few minutes, Tony. We should be there soon.

    "Good."

    The place is on fire when I arrive, and I enter the third floor through a hole in the outer wall. Bodies are strewn everywhere, most of them in pieces. I make a conscious decision to not set foot on the ground in here. I'm concerned about all this death, but there's not much I can do for these people now, and this armor is white.

    Sir, I'm detecting a powerful psionic pulse nearby. Fifty yards ahead and one story down.

    "On it, babe."

    A pair of repulsor blasts make short work of the intervening floor and walls as I move deeper into the laboratory. The carnage gets worse as I get closer, and strangely, I can feel Tina rippling around me. The liquid metal symbiotic armor works far better than my other suits, but all that extra protection and power has a trade-off: our connection is psionic in nature. Whatever the cause of all this is, it's disrupting that connection.

    And with that worrying thought, I find the source.

    "What the hell...?"

    [​IMG]
     
    #10
  11. Byrd Man

    Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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    Downtown Gotham City
    6:11 PM


    Cops mobbed the crime scene. Crime scene techs snapped photos. Medical examiners wheeled three tarp covered bodies out on gurneys. Patrolmen directed traffic and kept civilians and reporters back away from the crime scene tape. Geeks on the sidewalks peddled merch. They sold cheap Batman t-shirts, cheap Batman capes, chunks of rusty metal claimed to be genuine bullets used in the daring robbery.

    Maggie Sawyer stood in the eye of the storm surveying the damage. Her storm. An armored car heist in broad daylight. This was an MCU case if there ever was one. Her team was spread out all over the area. Allen and Tork worked the crime scene with the techs, bagging evidence and taking shots. Daz and Fields were bossing a team of uniforms canvassing the block for any additional eyewitnesses to the crime. Driver was glomming surveillance footage from the store's CCTV cameras while Montoya called the armored car company for IDs on the workers and a manifest on what the car was carrying.

    FEATURE: An armed robbery in broad daylight leaves three armed guards dead and an armored car pilfered. The robbers used explosives to upend the car and blow the doors. The upended car crashed into a busy department store. Nearly a dozen injured in the crash but nobody killed. Shell casings indicated high-powered weapons to go with the explosives.

    Maggie surveyed the scene and rode a brainwave. High-grade explosives and automatic weapons. On way in hell they were first timers. Call out of town heisters coming in a maybe. Mobsters a longshot. Hardware like this could mean mob involvement, but it was easier to get weapons than it had been at least five years ago. The organized crime scene in Gotham was like the wild west these days, so an independent crew was probable.

    "Inspector Sawyer."

    Maggie turned. Commissioner Essen walked under crime scene tape with the mayor in tow. Gordon's stache twitched. His eyes flashed behind his specs. Maggie hid her smile. The sights and sounds jazzed him. You could take the cop out of the job, but you could never take the job out of the cop.

    "Commish. Your Honor."

    Gordon said, "Jim. It was Jim before and it still is."

    Essen said, "We were on our way to a meeting when I heard the call on the radio."

    She almost smiled wide. The odds on their "meeting" being a no-tell motel were 2-to-1 easy. She pressed on, gave them a rundown on the crime. Essen looked pissed. Gordon's eyes glazed over. Maggie could see the wheels turning in his head.

    The commish said, "What's your next step?"

    "We're going to get what we can from the scene and from there we'll bring in any known heist men who had the juice and balls to pull something like this."

    The mayor crouched by a pair of chalk marked circles. Techs scooped up a pair of smushed nine mil rounds and bagged them for evidence. They left behind index cards with crib notes on the bullets.

    "They were wearing vests."

    Maggie said, "That's our working theory, sir."

    Gordon stood. Hands in his pockets. Lost in thought.

    "Expand the scope beyond heist men. All known gun dealers, legal and illegal, as well as any mid-level or high-end fences. Shake their trees and see what falls out. I would also--"

    Essen polite. "Your Honor."

    Gordon flushed. Cleared his throat and nodded.

    "Sorry, Mags. Forgot where I was."

    Hubbub near the crime scene tape. Flass coming onto the crime scene. A short, musclebound man at his right. Maggie saw the gun and badge on the guy's hip. Another member of Flass' goon squad. Flass and Gordon traded looks. Tension simmered beneath the surface.

    Flass said, "Commissioner Essen. I want this one."

    Essen cleaned her nails. "This case has already been assigned to Inspector Sawyer's Major Crimes Unit, Flass."

    "The Surveillance Unit's bread and butter is armed robbers, ma'am. I have the snitches and the intelligence network to put this case down fast."

    Maggie spoke out. "They went with us because they want the heisters found alive, Flass. Plus they don't want to worry about the stuff they stole conveniently going missing."

    Flass held a finger out. "You watch your goddamn mouth, you--"

    Gordon stern. "Flass, that's enough. Do for Commissioner Essen what you never did for me and listen to orders. Drop it."

    Flass fumed. A vein in his forehead head went throb throb throb. He looked at the goon by his side.

    "You heard the ladies, all three of them. Let's go."



    ******​



    Skid Row
    6:49 PM


    Flass pulled up to the flop house and killed the engine. Gonzales looked out the window. Hell loomed outside. Skid Row: The bottom of the barrel in Gotham. Considering this city, that was saying a whole hell of a lot. This was Flass's beat back during his days in patrol. It was hard work, lots of scraping and fighting. One time he knocked a rape-o ****bird's teeth out with a nightstick when he tried to fight back. It was good work and he went home at the end of his shift feeling like he actually accomplished something. But that was a lifetime ago. Budget cuts and targeted policing meant no cop cars prowled consistently. They were too busy protecting the fine, upstanding citizens of the city who actually paid taxes.

    Here homeless families squatted side by side with homeless drunks. Meth head hookers walked the streets with scabbed faces and reeking of desperation. Flass saw hookers with the Bug prowling for work, not giving a good goddamn if they killed the men they screwed. Flass saw junkies shooting up on the steps of a Catholic church. He saw a little girl who had to have the Bug. His jaw got tight at the sight. He watched the lowest of the low sauntering around like they owned the place. Maybe they did? Maybe it was better to rule in hell here than to serve in the Burbs. Some social welfare people and nuns came by, tossing out clean needles and rubbers. Everyone whooped. A drunk slapped a volunteer's ass and asked if they had a pint of Ripple they could give them. Beleaguered nuns did the sign of the cross. Winos did the watusi. Smokehounds did the shimmy shake. Junkies did Irish jigs.

    Gonzales asked. "What are we doing here?"

    "A criminal informant with information that could be pertinent to our case. Let's go."

    They got out. They were fresh meat to the bums. Panhandlers panhandled, junkies made vague threats for money, hookers pawed and promised carnal delights of the sort he'd never had. Flass stopped in the street and lit up a smoke. He cocked a finger towards a rooftop and got wide eyed.

    "Oh, ****! It's the Batman! Everybody run!"

    The roaches scattered in the light of vigilante justice and beaucoup beatdowns. Gonzales laughed. They walked unmolested towards a dilapidated building. A dirty, sagging sign above the door said The Ferguson Arms.

    They climbed rickety stairs up to the third floor. Flass pulled a sap, Gonzales pulled his piece. The sixth door down their target. Flass put his shoulder into the door. Hinges gave and popped. The door went down. They rushed in.

    A fat black man sat on a stained couch sans clothes. He watched cartoons and wolfed down a bowl of corn flakes. He stopped when he saw the door cave in and the mean men with weapons. His hands went up and cereal flew. Flass sapped him upside the head. Donald Duck quacked on the TV.

    The man sprawled on the floor. "I ain't doing nothing, Mr. Flass!"

    "Don't bull**** a bull****er, Andre."

    Flass kicked him prone. Gonzales kept his piece aimed at the back of Andre's head. Flass scoped a hypo on the coffee table.

    "You ain't done nothing? How come there's a needle on your coffee table, son."

    Flass jerked Andre up by his neck. Goofy hyucked on the TV. Flass sucker punched him with a sap to the stomach. He double-Flass pulled him back up. Got in close. Sap pokes in the chest. Hard.

    "You are a churlish and impetuous young man who is in dire need of education in the polite ways of society."

    "I don't know nothing! If I'm lying I'm flying!"

    Flass swung hard with the sap. Andre crashed against the wall. Flass shoved his head against a window.

    "We're on the third floor, son. You keep lying, sure as **** you are gonna be flying!"

    Flass slung him across the room by his neck. The floor shook. Pictures fell off the wall. Andre spat blood. Flass hovered above him.

    "Four men who like to wear masks and carry explosives. Give, Andre, or I shall let Officer Gonzales off the leash. I can promise you he will beat you to death. Be truthful and choose your words carefully, for I hate people who are liars and repetitive."

    Flass stepped back while Andre spilled all he knew.
     
    #11
  12. Hound55

    Hound55 Byfar The Most Evil Thing

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    Spector sat in the bar and drank. He found himself doing it more and more these days, but what else was there?

    Scrapping and scraping for a quantum of solace; a moment of peace, and it just seemed as impossible as the contradiction would suggest. He'd had to flee Legian Beach in Bali after sticking his nose in where it wasn't concerned. He hadn't been made yet, but it would only have been a matter of time. That was why he had made for the main island of Java, and the delta hub Jakarta, where he could be anywhere in the world in a matter of hours and would be relatively hidden amongst the tourists of a city some 11 million people strong.

    Idiot. What kind of moron, looking to hide out and generally make himself inconspicuous, hunts down and takes out a terrorist cell after they very publicly slaughter several dozen innocent people?

    The unspoken answer was the reason he kept asking for full glasses to empty. "The kind of person who'd prefer to fight and wage war than live the quiet life he claimed he wanted." He was pushing 30 glasses neat and still hadn't driven it from his mind.

    The truth was he'd been a raw nerve ever since he cut loose. He didn't want to be one country's war machine, not after what he'd learned, but he was still a product of his programming. He still had the images, the faces of the innocent burned into his mind.

    And it was no less intense then when he believed in what he was doing.

    [​IMG]


    Now he called his own missions... Or as close as he was capable. And when he saw those 30 men and women robbed of any and all future for one man's statement...

    It wasn't something he could abide. And it would allow him to spread his own message. Preach his own gospel.

    He'd heard of a man, another veteran, back home in the good ol' U S of A, who'd been taking a similar hard lined position with the criminal element. Frank Castle, a man who called himself the Punisher.

    Punishment. That wasn't what this was.

    Punishment was cold, precise, calculating...

    His was Vengeance. A reckoning will be coming to any and all who'd splash the blood of the innocent. Vengeance can not come without weight of emotion. He'd felt all of it. His handlers had made sure of that.

    Blessed are the meek. For Vengeance has given them a tool, a representative to fight their battles - to spill blood - for them...

    ...


    S***... just how much had he been drinking?

    He'd suspect the liquor of angrying up his blood if he didn't know better.

    That damage had been done years before and had nothing to do with booze.
     
    #12
  13. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    [​IMG]

    I'm an engineer.

    I build things out of metal and electricity and computers. Sure, they're fantastic things, even bordering on magical, but it's all technology. I'm also a futurist. I can see that biogenetic engineering is going to be a big thing in the mainstream soon. Hell, I've personally met some of the finer examples of it. (That Spider-Man kid especially impressed me. He's got a metric ton of potential under those ridiculous pajamas.) Despite all that, I know just enough biology to tell my ass from my elbow, and to know that Fujikawa was doing some really exciting stuff with gene splicing.

    I just have no idea what the hell it is I'm looking at.

    Whatever this grey kangaroo thing is, it's not good. It's sending out a psionic pulse every few seconds that's making my armor ripple weirdly, and it's killed every person that I've come across since getting here. To make things worse, it's not even free yet. It's still hooked up to machines, but I can't tell just yet if they're enhancing its power or suppressing it.

    At least, I can't tell until I get a better look.

    "Tina, give me a bioscan of Captain Kangaroo over here and a general schematic of the device they've got it plugged into. I want to know what this thing is, and what Fujikawa has been doing to it."

    Genetic scans show 15% Felis catus genetic material, 50% Homo sapiens superior genetic material, and 35% unknown genetic material, possibly extraterrestrial in origin. Also, the machines are amplifying the creature's psionic power and causing it pain.

    Well, that settles it. Whatever this cat-kangaroo-mutant thing is, if it's being tortured, I'm gonna save it. It's a hero thing. It probably didn't even know what it was doing when its powers killed all those people.

    One, two, three perfectly placed repulsor blasts and my new friend is free from the tyranny of dial-up. The pulsating energy stops, thankfully, and the creature floats gently to the ground. I decide to introduce myself, extending a hand in a gesture of peace.

    "I'm Iron Man. Are you okay?"

    It extends its hand in response. Tony, you charismatic bastard, you can win anyone over, I think, smirking to myself. That's when I found that I couldn't move anymore.

    "Tina, increase power to the exoskeleton. This is going to be bad."

    I, NOT under my own volition I might add, then fly backwards at what I think is Mach 2. Anything in my way: lab equipment, furniture, walls, one (fortunately) already dead chimpanzee, gets smashed and destroyed as my dumb ass gets tossed through it. Next thing I know, I'm skipping like a stone off of the Pacific.

    That settles it. No more gestures of peace.
     
    #13
  14. Spider-Man9X17

    Spider-Man9X17 Ultron was sitting on him

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    [​IMG]

    "Ah God, I can't feel my teeth."

    "That's because they're gone, Monty."

    "Did the girl knock them out? Please tell me it wasn't the girl."

    "The motif is kind of a rehash, but I gotta say you weren't too bad there. I woulda had it handled, but not bad nonetheless. Looks like one of them got a lucky shot in though."

    Robin nodded toward the newcomers leg. A very distinct "U" shaped cut had been carved into her upper thigh.

    "Oh that? No, I caught it on an old busted pipe when I kicked that one guy's teeth out..."

    "Hey Monty, it was the chick."

    "No big deal."

    "Crap crap crap," Barbara cursed inwardly. Of course she would have chosen to wear a skirt for her date tonight. Maybe it would be long enough to cover up the cut. She tought she may have an extra pair of nylons hidden in her purse as well. Geez, what time was it anyway. She had to be late by now. She already blew the first date.

    "Well, it's been fun, but I really gotta jet. Ya know, more Boy Wonder business to attend to tonight. Catch ya around, Batgirl?"

    "Batgirl?"

    "Or Batwoman...BatMadame...listen, I don't know what's PC anymore...pretty sure that costume isn't...but maybe just BatFemale? I really don't want the bad press."

    With that, Robin dove off the ledge of the roof and fired a line from his grapnel gun, swinging off into the Gotham night as the distinct wail of police sirens began filling to air.

    Barbara stood, her nose scrunched as she thought for a moment.

    "Batgirl..."

    -

    "Floor it, Big Al. I'll change on the way."

    "You're bag is under the seat, Master Grayson, but you can rest a little easier. Miss Gordon called, her ride ran into a bit of a traffic snarl so she too is running a little bit late."

    -

    "Dammit."

    Barbara tried to smooth her skirt down over the cut as she stepped out of the black armored sedan, one of the many used to escort city officials and their families around Gotham. She waved to the driver as the car pulled away from the curve, and double checked her leg. She did indeed have a pair of nylons, and they helped cover it a bit, as long as it didn't bust open and start bleeding again.

    "Good evening. m'lady."

    Barbara glanced up. Dick was just stepping out of a Rolls Royce parked along the street.

    "Yeah, that was corny. But you look amazing."

    Barbara blushed slightly as she took her date in. She was used to seeing him dressed up in his private school uniform, but it was nice to see him wearing some clothes with a little color.

    "You don't look to bad yourself. Shall we?"

    "I shall be waiting here when you're done, Master Grayson. Do enjoy yourself."

    Dick waved to the butler as the two teens headed toward the door.

    "Ah, Mister Grayson, how nice to see you. Mr. Wayne's private table is waiting for you in the back," the host greeted Dick and Barbara.

    "Oh, no," Barbara groaned under her breath.

    "You don't like private tables."

    "No, it's not that, it's--"

    "Barbara, how are you doing this evening?"

    "I'm, um, I'm good, Detective Montoya. I'm just out for dinner with--a friend."

    Detective Rene Montoya glanced at Dick Grayson. Alomst every top ranking officer on the force knew who the boy was. The death of his parents was almost as big a story in the city as the murder of the Wayne's.

    Dick didn't know the detective personally, but he gave a polite, genuine nod even while he was trying to process the "friend" designation. Montoya in turn returned the gesture, though Dick sense with a little less sincerity.

    "Well, we better be getting to our table, You have a good evening."

    "What was that all about?" Dick asked as the two took their seat. "I mean, if looks could kill..."

    "Yeah, I'm sorry. Listen, Dick, I haven't been entirely honest with you. I don't want to start this out on the wrong note, so I just need to be honest. No secrets. My dad thinks I'm here with someone else. The son of a state senator, and that his security detail is watching us. But Montoya, she's still good friends with Dad, and still answers to him, so I'm sure he's going to know here shortly anyway."

    "Oh. Well, that's a kick in the gut."

    "He just--he wouldn't let me out with you. He's worried about his image. He's not a shallow man, but this city and the corruption, to really clean it up you have to have a super squeaky clean image. And he's worried that the press would have a field day if the daughter of the mayor was dating the state appointed ward of a billionaire socialite who's with several different women every night. That, and..."

    "And what?"

    "Your father, and his affiliations."

    "I'm not my father!" Dick snapped, and he regretted it instantly. It had been the same story for almost two years. In this jaded city, Dick wasn't the innocent orphaned child of a mobster who got himself and his wife killed. He was just mob offspring who was suddenly handed the world, and would probably grow up to just be another spoiled rish kid who walked all over everybody. But that wasn't Barbara's fault, and neither was her father's attitude.

    "I'm sorry. Let's just enjoy the meal. God knows how long you're about to be grounded for, it may be the last one we ever get to enjoy together."

    -

    The rest of the dinner went better than Dick expected, given the rough start. He thanked the hostess on the way out, and slipped her a tip Bruce had given him before he left for the evening.

    "I'm gonna call Daddy," Barbara said as they stepped outside.

    "Huh?"

    "I want him to meet you. He needs to get to know you, not the you from the tabloids."

    "Oh...yay..."

    "Knock it off," Barbara pulled her phone from her purse, and with it her makeup case which tumbled onto the ground. Dick quickly motioned for her to make the call as he leaned over to grab the case for her. As he knelt down, he caught a glimpse of something on her nylons...a spot of red, drying blood maybe, in a distinct "U" shape. Dick froze for only a moment, hoping Barbara was distracted by dialing the phone to notice.

    "No secrets?" he thought as he stood back up, trying to remain as calm as possible.

    Who was he to talk, really? It wasn't like he didn't go jumping off building wearing a cape either. But this--what were the chances?

    "He has me on hold, and my ride is here, but I'll call you tomorrow."

    Barbara reached out and gave Dick a peck on the cheek before climbing into the sedan. He heard her begin to talk to her father as the door closed.

    "Daddy, I need to talk to you..."

    Dick took a moment to process the last 30 seconds, and then crawled back into the Rolls.

    "Did you enjoy your date, Master Grayson?"

    "I think so."
     
    #14
  15. Spider-Man9X17

    Spider-Man9X17 Ultron was sitting on him

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    [​IMG]

    It was funny--was that the word, funny?--not haha funny, but cruel, ironic funny--that the highs weren't quite as high anymore, but the lows afterwards keep getting lower. Harleen didn't even like cocaine. She had started off just buying it so that the oppressed citizens of Gotham would have some money, some kind of income, to make a living.

    And then the city started to grind her down. She had come to Gotham with a smile on her face, cheer in her heart, an overabundance of bubbly energy. The happiness has been the first to go as she saw the way the downtrodden were treated. She began working extra hard to change the lives of the inmates she saw, in hopes of providing a better life to them on the outside. Her energy was the next to go, chewed up and spit out by the unrelenting overtime. The smile was gone soon after. There was nothing to be happy about around here. Her signature pigtails, something she had worn since childhood, were soon replaced by a no-nonsense bun, her bright clothing giving way to a very proessional blouse and knee length skirt.

    She started spending time them in the underbelly of Gotham. She wanted to be around these poor people. She wasted to help them, understand there plight. It only depressed her further in the end.

    And then, then she tried her first hit. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world. Her energy was back, she felt alive and happy again. She could take on the corrupt powers of the city.

    She soon realized it was a false high, but for a while it was better than nothing. Now, however--

    Harleen reached into her purse and pulled out several syringes of morphine she had smuggled out of Arkham City. She was tired of the emptiness of this life. There was no kindred spirit coming to help her, no guardian angel to bring her back her smile. Just pain, and death, and corruption

    She took the first syringe out of its sterile package. Here was the only thing that was going to save her. This was release her from the misery.

    "Our top story tonight, continuing coverage of what some are now calling "The Laughing Man" murders."

    Harleen tied off her arm and began looking for a vein.

    "--still no cause of death yet, and police are still perplexed but the ghastly smiles conturted into the victim's faces--"

    "Smile?"

    Harleen looked up as images of the convienince store victims flashed across the screen. Those pictures, those smiles, they were--

    Glorious. They looked so happy. It was a happiness Harleen had not seen in a while. They were the most beautiful smiles. They looked so pure.

    She placed the needle down on her coffee table and turned the volume up. Who, who could have made these people so happy. Even in a moment of death, they were basking in unbridled joy.

    There was her answer. There was the happiness Harleen needed to find. Her Prince Charming was out there, after all.
     
    #15
  16. Batman

    Batman Dramatic Example

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    [​IMG]

    "This is a message for all you sinners out there. You know which ones you are. Your time is at an end!"

    Deacon Joseph Blackfire. Formerly, Reverend Blackfire of Gotham's St. Dumas Cathedral. He was expelled from the order seven years ago by a council of the Church's pastors for extremist viewpoints and "volatile" behavior that resulted in at least a few public incidents which had gained the Church unwanted notoriety. His main point of interest seemingly being that the citizens of Gotham were set to be among the first to be bathed in fire to bring about the coming of Armageddon and that God would personally see it wiped from the face of the Earth as an example for the rest of humanity's sins, among other observations unique to his warped interpretation of faith. Despite his fanaticism, he seems to have cultivated somewhat of a following in recent years. Rumblings of a Church of Blackfire had been a chuckled whisper among Gotham's social class for the last six months. The kind of story you'd tell to liven up a room of disinterested stock brokers.

    Watching him now from the rafters of the makeshift haven I found beneath the ruins of the old Starlin Refinery that used to operate out of The Narrows, I can be sure of at least one thing. They weren't rumors. Blackfire garnered my attention after three priests from St. Dumas were reported missing over the course of the same week, a coincidence even the GCPD couldn't rightly ignore. What they didn't uncover was the forensic evidence found inside the Church's confessional, where each priest was abducted. Trace amounts of vapors stemming from liquid chloroform and diazepam led me to discover an access hatch crudely hidden behind the covenant station, used to transport the priests down into the sewers. It was an easy catch, but far from a substantial lead to Blackfire's current whereabouts. I've been trying to find him for days.

    Then he started circulating announcements for an upcoming sermon. I interrogated one of his followers into giving me a time and location after I overheard the man extending an invitation to friends. They had just committed a carjacking in the East End, so I made it a point to interfere. Whether it was coincidence or pure luck, I'll never know. But just before I ripped him out of the passenger window and sent him flying at 60 MPH, I'd listened in on his selling point, promising the vehicle's other inhabitants "something they'd never see in a thousand lifetimes" and referencing something Blackfire apparently calls Emundatione - the Latin word for cleansing. Whatever it really is, his followers believe enacting it will bring about the beginning of a war between Heaven and Hell.

    I've never been a person of faith. Never really appealed to me growing up, nor can I ever recall it as a topic of conversation between my parents. But I'm more than aware of the fact that spiritual ceremonies that are believed to shake the foundations of either side of any supposed afterlife generally end with murders intended for sacrificial purposes. Which is why, when I infiltrated the Deacon's lair, I wasn't surprised to see three individuals bound by the hands and gagged, kneeled before Blackfire on the stage he's now using to address his followers. Undoubtedly the missing priests.

    "Now some of you have confessed your sins to God, and to me. And indeed, I promised you a grand salvation,", he begins. "But salvation alone does not grant you a seat beside the Almighty himself when the cards of this wicked world are laid down! No, what you're about to witness, aswell as your testimony to it's proof of God's divine will, is what's gonna grant you your place at his side! Friends, I have been privileged to see what comes for Gotham after tonight, and it is to be a reckoning! You had best believe that!"

    Earlier this evening, I spoke to Dick - Robin - about fielding a case that he'd been trying to convince me to let him pursue for the last month. I told him that I was trusting him to handle it on his own because he'd earned the right to prove himself. We've worked together for nearly three years. He's getting older, more experienced. One day he might not even need me at his side. I wanted to prepare for that by taking a hands-off approach, letting Alfred be the one to monitor his progress and see what he could do in the field. But that was only partially the reason I wanted to approach this alone.

    The truth is, I feel as if I'm venturing into uncharted territory. In general terms, a criminal is never complicated. You catch a pursesnatcher or a mugger, and their intentions are clear. They're scum, but it's a human greed that drives them. Even serial killers can be assigned a given psychological complex. With a man like Blackfire, their rationale isn't as simple to pinpoint. They believe they're acting in the interest of a higher power, yes, but it's often only an excuse to further their own subconscious desires. Which can range from any number of things, such as a genocidal cultivation of a populace to personal vengeance.

    "But speaking of a reckoning, I want you to take a look at these fine gentlemen, here!", Blackfire exclaims, gesturing to his hostages. "They've committed a sin worthy of true damnation, and that's the worshiping of a false God! Spreading a gospel of lies to a weak and defenseless crowd of observers only wanting to be saved! Pray for them tonight, friends! They're the ones who're gonna need it the most!"

    With a casual motion of his hands, Blackfire signals three of his followers to take the stage. They're armed, and have their weapons trained directly on the priests. I silently begin to advance from above, readying myself for the first open opportunity to dispatch the leader of this glorified Cult.

    [​IMG]

    "For you see, my eyes have been opened! My heart, purified! There is an Almighty, rest assured, but he is not the kind and forgiving saint these heathens would tell you about. Oh, no. The real God is out there waiting for all the fornicators, all the deceivers, and all the rest of those despicable criminals that infest this very Hell on Earth to spill their blood in his very name! When the guilty have fallen, the archangels shall rise and cast Gotham into oblivion!"

    I want to believe Blackfire's only doing this to kill three men who personally had a hand in his expulsion as a Reverend. It'd be a simple motivation for me to contextualize, and one that the courts could favor enough to secure a sentence to Blackgate. But the lengths he's gone to in order to make tonight happen gives me cause for concern, because if his genuine belief in what he's doing has driven him this far, it can drive him farther. Which makes him all the more dangerous and threatens to deem him as a hazard to himself in the eyes of a jury. And ever since Arkham City first opened it's gates, I've been forced to let that scenario weigh heavily on my decisions.

    If I don't capture them, they're sure to slaughter scores of victims. If I send them there, they're likely to tear eachother apart. It's a quandary I've found myself starting to struggle with, but the answer is ultimately always clear. They cannot be allowed to roam free.

    "Let us spill that very blood tonight. Brother Kincaid, if you would be so kind as to bring me the ceremonial vestments..."

    Now, Bruce. While he's distracted.

    Batarangs at the ready, I toss them down from on high and watch as they sink into the flesh of each armed cultists' trigger hand, prompting them to drop their weapons. Keeping myself focused on the Blackfire's stage security first, to encourage the rest to spread like wildfire, I immediately drop in behind the biggest of the three and strike with a precision blow to the back of his neck. Miniature tasers equipped in my glove's fingertips help to bring him down immediately, and he falls with a sudden crash. The rest of the crowd gasps in horror as my cape drapes around me like - well, what I'd imagine for these people would be a Bat out of Hell.

    "Enough,"

    [​IMG]

    "This insanity is over. Release these men, Blackfire."

    Though his followers begin to back away, with some even scrambling directly for the exit, the Deacon doesn't seem particularly phased by the entrance. Infact, there seems to be some sort of crazed wild tinge in his eyes, almost as if he fully expected my arrival from the start. I don't give him the satisfaction of meeting his gaze, partially because two of his lackeys try and rush into an attack. I meet one with a hard elbow, and the other with a spinning kick as he finally reacts.

    "And so it would seem, friends, that word of our grand ascension has traveled even to the fiery depths! They've even sent their champion to stop me! But I do not fear this agent of the Devil, nor should you!", he shouts, frantically pointing to me as I advance. "The uninitiated may call him The Batman, but all you have to do is look to see what he truly is! Black wings on the body of a man! Horns atop his charcoal skin! Eyes devoid of a soul! Surely, a demonic presence!"

    Without so much as a warning, I send a hard and focused right hook directly across his face, nearly breaking his jaw in half as it sends him crashing into his own podium.

    "Shut the hell up,", I growl, grabbing and lifting him by the collar. "You've been holding innocent people against their will. And if there are any others, so help me..."

    "Blasphemer!", he spits. "Innocent people?! Have you not heard a word I've been saying, demon?! Or does your master not comprehend the human tongue as well as he claims?!"

    In five years of doing this, I've experienced my share of strange behavior from a variety of undesirables. Incomprehensible schizophrenics. Serial killers with delusions of grandeur. Whatever Tony Stark could be classified as. And yet I have to admit, it's this one that's come the closest to really driving me to want to commit terrible acts of violence.

    "Bastard!"

    I turn to face, to my genuine surprise, one of the kidnapped priests. His eyes understandably burning with hatred at Blackfire. In the scuffle, the man must've found a way to free himself when everyone was transfixed on me. I look to his feet and see one of the Deacon's followers lying on the ground, unconscious, with a large and bloodied gash freshly applied to his temple. The priest is holding his weapon, aiming it directly at his former captor.

    This was unexpected.

    "Put down the gun, Pastor.", I urge him, raising my hand. "Whatever he had planned, it's over. The police will handle him from here. You and the others are free to leave."

    "No!"

    He unclicks the safety. My hands immediately clench, forcing me to reach for my belt.

    "I-It has to stop here, with him. It has to! This violence in this city, this goddamned city... it's b-been cursed by the the Devil. Cursed since the beginning. Gotham is his true dwelling on Earth. J-Joseph was right about that, but I couldn't see it. None of us could see it until now. Someone has to suffer. God has to condemn it for there to be peace..."

    Clearly, he's suffering from the shock of his situation. With Blackfire still in hand, I immediately place myself between him and the loaded weapon. If he somehow manages to get a shot off, it'll hit the kevlar if I'm lucky. If not, it's all the same. No one's going to die tonight.

    "Father. I can assure you, God has nothing to do with this. This man needs psychological help. Surely after what you've seen, you can understand that."

    I go to move toward him, but he steels himself up, aiming the gun from Blackfire to me.

    "NO! YOU STAY AWAY! YOU'RE ONE OF THEM! GOD IN HEAVEN, YOU'RE ONE OF THEM!"

    He doesn't seem to want to listen. I can't let the situation escalate any further.

    "Heh..."

    Before I can move to react, I feel a sharp pain dig into my side. My entire body reacts as I drop Blackfire and stumble backwards. Something's pierced through the vulnerable seams between the armor and into my body. Without looking, I reach down and feel the hilt of a large knife jutting out from the afflicted area. Blackfire's ceremonial knife, it had to be. I've been stabbed.

    "God be praised,", he whispers, standing up and outstretching his arms. "You've finally seen the light."

    I try and scream for the Pastor to stop what he's about to do, but the pain is too unbearable for me say anything before it's too late. He fires the weapon. My eyes widen as Blackfire flies back and lands against the stage, a river of blood exploding out of the back of his throat in mid-air and coating the wall. I drop to my knees, horrified.

    Blackfire's dead. His victim's taken a life.

    I've failed.
     
    #16
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  17. Spider-Man9X17

    Spider-Man9X17 Ultron was sitting on him

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    [​IMG]

    "And then, then this snooty pig, he goes and acts all big and tough. We bring him in on our racket, he rides our coattails for three years, and all of a sudden he goes and wants to be tough guy hero cop. So ya knows what I did? KABLAM! Right between the eyes."

    Harleen smiled half heartedly, staring whimsically out the window of the tiny Italian diner. Normally, right about now would be where she was curing herself for not emptying the lethal dose of morphine right into her arm. But tonight, not even the incessant bragging of another egotistical underling who was most likely going to disappoint between the sheets could get her down. He mind kept returning to those wonderful images on the TV early in the evening. Those beautiful smiles. It made her heart flutter.

    "So, baby cakes, whatcha say we grab the check and get outta this dump. We can head back to my digs and satisfy our real hunger."

    Harleen was too happy to even acknowldge the horrid attempt at innuendo. Sure, this guy was going to get lucky tonight, but she probably wasn't going to hate herself after words. She had something worthwhile to take her mind off the primal grunts and groans and machismo that was inevitably going to be thrown her way tonight.

    "Mmm, sure. Whatever floats your boat there, hun."
     
    #17
  18. Spider-Man9X17

    Spider-Man9X17 Ultron was sitting on him

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    [​IMG]

    The Batcave

    [​IMG]

    Robin sat at one of the vast array of computer monitors, scanning through endless police reports and newspaper archives, looking for any mention of the name "Dollmaker". The kidnapping of underage girls, the creepy pedophilic name, it all made the Boy Wonder sick.

    So far, his research had come up empty. What was looking to be such a promising night was unraveling quickly.

    He had tried to get in touch with Batman on the ride home, but his comms had gone dark. He was expecting to hear the roar of the Batmobile coming down the main tunnel any minute, but he still wasn't sure what he was going to say.

    Should he tell Bruce about Barbara? He didn't want to blow her cover, but he didn't want to put her in danger, either. Dick had received extensive training, the best there was. He had no idea how much, if any, Barbara had gotten.

    And then what if he didn't tell Batman, and he found out down the line that Robin had known and kept it from him? Would he lose his mentor's trust?

    But, above all that, he wanted to tell Barbara. There had been an instant connection all those months ago, and this was a girl he really wanted to get closer to. If he could tell her his secret, maybe he could bring her into the fold and make the team a trio. The more the merrier, right. Though, he wasn't exactly sure how Bruce would take the news he was developing feelings for the Mayor Gordon's daughter. He knew Batman and the former commissioner had been the staunchest of allies once. Now, not so much. Dick hadn't been around for the Two-Face debacle, but he knew it wasn't pretty. It was something you didn't talk about in front of Bruce.

    Thr trials of teenage life, and the responsibilties of a costumed vigilante. It was a tough juggling act.

    Robin closed out his current search. He was getting nowhere fast. Maybe he and Batman could come back to it tomorrow, two sets of fresh eyes. He switched over to that evenings police blotter, checking out the other action throughout Gotham while he was out having fun with his little scooter club.

    "Oh, Jeezus!"

    [​IMG]

    Robin recoiled in horror at the image on the screen. Murder victims from earlier in the afternoon, a downtown quick shop. It was perhaps one of the most vile, gruesome things he had ever seen. He hit a few keys, and brought all relevant reports up on the various screens. This was definitely one Bruce was going to want to see.
     
    #18
  19. Byrd Man

    Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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    MCU Squadroom
    Gotham Central
    9:08 PM



    “You like to keep explosives, Roy?”

    “Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    Maggie watched behind two-way glass. Cris Allen and Marcus Driver close in on a reputed arms dealer. Interrogation room two sweltered. A rickety card table and two chairs all bolted to the floor. Allen did the talking, Driver flexed and mugged mean. He stood in close behind Roy.

    Maggie sipped cold coffee and thought diamonds. The armored car company gave Montoya the runaround, but they finally came off what the car was carrying. Two packets of rocks headed for the Diamond District downtown. Estimates on the stones ran as high as five mil. They watched the security camera footage. Four men in goofy looking masks killed three armed guards cold and waltzed away from a gunfight in one minute flat. One of the robbers got knocked flat by two nine slugs. A Kevlar vest saved the man’s life. Maggie put out an alert to all area hospitals to look for a man coming in with sore or broken chest and rib bones.

    In the box, Allen shrugged and smiled all buddy-buddy. “Come on, Roy. We know about the guns you have. You’ve got a whole lot of ‘em for them to be just for personal use.”

    “That’s my ****ing second amendment rights, isn’t it?”

    “Sure is, but I don’t remember anything in the second amendment about selling automatic weapons to gang bangers.”

    Driver got in closer. Roy squirmed. Allen’s smile faded. Driver cracked knuckles.

    “I know you’re thinking this is good cop/bad cop, but it’s not quite that. I’m a bad cop, but my partner is worse.”

    Driver slammed a meaty hand on the table. Roy jumped sky high. Maggie stepped away. Interrogation rooms one and three also filled. Fields and Tork sweating a known Westside heister in box three. Daz and Montoya in box one with Sid the Yid. He went by the name Sidney Lowenstein. Real name was Samuel McCreary. He changed it and opened up Lowenstein’s Fine Jewelry. The name change because nobody would believe a Mick would have the inside track on fine jewels. What he made on legit biz he more than doubled with the fence business he ran out the back of the store. A score this big, there was no way in hell Sid the Yid wouldn’t have heard something.

    Daz through the speakers, “C’mon, Sid, you are the man when it comes to stuff like this. A crime like this happens in your own backyard and you don’t know about it? You should be ashamed.”

    Sid looked at his nails and eyeballed Montoya out the side of his eye. “Tell you what’s a shame, it’s how fine Detective Montoya is but she ain’t playing on the right side.”

    “You can’t blame me for liking females. Look a woman’s body compared to a man’s. Who wouldn’t be turned by that?”

    "Ah." Sid grabbed his crotch and waved in Montoya's direction. "This has been known to turn quite a few girls."

    Montoya winked. "I know. And let me speak for the lesbian community as a whole when I thank you for all those women you turned gay."

    Sid ho-ho-hoed and went back to cleaning his nails.

    Montoya said, “If you’re working with them to fence the rocks then we can work out a deal for immunity for you if you give us the rest of the gang.”

    No answer.

    Daz clicked his tongue. “Damn, what is the world coming to? Used to be Sid the Yid was plugged into the criminal underworld. Used to be, a purse snatcher ripped a pearl necklace from a woman’s neck and Sid could tell you who did it, where he lived, and how the son of a ***** liked his coffee. Now, five million dollars worth of diamonds gets stolen and he is in the dark. Seems he’s slipping.”

    Sid’s eyes narrowed. Maggie smiled from behind the glass.

    “I still know things, boychik. Like how a few weeks ago, I start hearing about somebody putting together a crew to do some serious muscle work. I thought it was just some pawn shop or jewelry store heist. Something like this? No ****ing way someone has that kind of balls, not even back when Falcone ran this city would someone do something like this.”

    Montoya in tight. “A name, Sid?”

    “Marcus was the name I heard. He’s supposed to hang out at some trailer park. The only other things I know is that he’s a redneck. A ****ing hillbilly.”

    Montoya looked up towards the glass. Maggie heard her say the words at the same time she did.

    “Billyland.”



    *****​



    Gotham County
    11:34 PM


    Unincorporated Gotham.

    They called it Billyland. Rednecks and peckerwoods from all over Appalachia flocked to the city during and after World War II to work the industry jobs all the upstanding crackers left behind when they went off to war. The Hillbillies, Billies to those in the know, made unincorporated Gotham a hicktown haven and had been there ever since. Billyland was a running joke through the city. You going through Billyland and hear banjo music? Roll up those windows and drive faster, boy. How do you castrate a Billy? Kick his sister in the mouth. What do you call a Billy girl who can run faster than her brothers? A virgin. Billyland: 10,000 people and only six teeth.

    Vin drove the unmarked car, Flass rode shotgun. They cruised through Billyland and took in the sights. Dig those trucks and big ass tires. Dig that Billy music blasting out the trucks. Fat girls in tight jean shorts and tighter tops. Muffin tops abound. Tweaker sores abound. Teenage mothers pushing babies, rebel yells, motorcycles, more jacked up trucks. NObama stickers, Confederate Flags and "Heritage, Not Hate" signs as far as the eye can see.

    Vin felt buzzed. The work so far had him on cloud nine. Flass' promise had made good thus far. Andre gave Flass a name finally. A guy named Marcus from Billyland had been asking around about muscle for a job. Andre wanted in, but they turned him down the racist crackers. Never mind anybody with half a brain could tell Andre was a full-blown needle fiend, the last thing you need on a job like that. Andre gave them a basic description and a bar he met the man at. Flass made a call and a few hours later, here they were.

    Flass said, “Pull over right here.”

    Vin parked on the side of the road by another unmarked. Two men got out. A dark haired man with a ‘stache and a red haired man with cruel green eyes. Flass made introductions.

    “Vin, this is Sergeant Tommy Burke and Detective Jim Corrigan. Guys, this is Officer Vincent Gonzales. The latest member of our happy little band.”

    Corrigan with a nasally Boston accent, “Is he up to this, skip?”

    Flass chuckled. “I think you’ll be surprised by what Gonzales is capable of.”

    Burke’s voice rumbled deep. “He looks the part anyway.”

    Flass said, “Indeed. What did your tail job muster?”

    Burke lit up a cigarette. “We found that bar you told us about. We sat on it and saw a man matching that description. From there we tailed him to a trailer park. It’s a mile away from here.”

    Vin spoke up. “Out here is sheriff’s territory. Do we call them before we move in?”

    The three men laughed. Corrigan held his ribs. Flass slapped a knee.

    Burke wiped his eyes. “Holy ****, you really are virgin.”

    Flass held his hand out. “Now, now. You will find that Officer Gonzales will be a quick study. Did you bring the other supplies, boys?”

    Corrigan winked, “It wouldn’t be a party without them, skip.”

    Burke popped the trunk. Vin looked in. Four pump-action shotguns, four pairs of leather gloves, and four ski-masks. Vin felt the hair on the back of his neck prickle. He looked up. Flass smiled. Corrigan smiled. Burke ****ing grinned.

    Flass said, “Welcome to the Surveillance Unit, lad.”

    Corrigan slipped on a pair of gloves and racked a shell into a shotgun.

    “Heart breakers and life takers.”



    *****​



    Gordon Residence
    11:41 PM


    Jim made the sign of the cross.

    He sat in the dark of his den. A full shelf of liquor sat across the room. The Thirst roared in his ears. The day was coming down hard on him. The meeting with the powers that be municipal mayor crap, the armored car robbery, Flass. It all coalesced into a rough day. He wanted nothing more to drink himself into oblivion. He could not give in to the Thirst. He would not give in.

    He prayed. Only when the world seemed ridiculous did he appeal to the ridiculous make sense. It was the same prayer he’d made every day since Election Day. Grant me the strength to not give in. Let me make it through four or eight years sober. He bargained. He said: If I make it through unblemished, I will drink myself to death after I leave office. It wasn’t sure if that bargain was directed at God or the other one. Two rooms away Barbara slept.

    They talked for a long time tonight, the longest they’d talked in years. She’d went on a date that night with Dick Grayson. He knew the name, who hadn’t? His adopted father was a major campaign contributor to Jim’s mayoral campaign, even though he could count on one hand the number of times he had met Bruce Wayne. The fact she was dating him did not bother him, he knew firsthand the things the press said were not always true. He didn’t like the fact she was dating period.

    Time was flying by too fast. It was just last week she learned to walk. He’d been a deadbeat dad for far too long, crawling into a bottle for comfort while an amazing daughter needed a father. He’d been making it up to her piece by piece. He told himself he was making it up. The truth was he could never make it up. She had needed him in the past and he was never there for her. Nothing would change that fact. And that fact made him want the bottle that much more.

    Jim stood and stalked downstairs. He pulled out his phone and dialed.

    Sarah answered sleepy, half-awake. He could picture her bedroom, a place he knew well once upon a time. “Hello?”

    “It’s me. Can I spend the night with you?”

    “… I’ll leave the back door unlocked.”

    The Thirst was verboten. He’d have to settle for Sarah. He hoped he could find oblivion in her arms.
     
    #19
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  20. Eddie Brock

    Eddie Brock Golden Domer

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    [​IMG]

    I've never considered myself a terribly lucky person. In fact, you might've heard me throw around the phrase "Parker luck" once or twice. But then, that's the thing about luck: it's frustratingly fickle. One minute, you're king of the world and riding high, and the next -- as is more often the case in my life -- you crash and burn, finding yourself down in the dumps. So on those rare occasions when things are going well, it's important to sit back and enjoy the ride; after all, you never know just how long it's going to last.

    Captain George Stacy's interview is playing on the television next to our booth at the Student Union. He sits across from Sally Floyd, one of the chief correspondents for Frontline -- the television branch of the Daily Bugle News network. Sally sits with her legs crossed and a notebook on her lap. Her eyes flick from her notes to Captain Stacy's gaze, and she smiles, saying, "Let's switch gears for a moment and talk about Spider-Man."

    Captain Stacy doesn't flinch. He simply returns the smile and replies, "Let's."

    "What your stance on New York's resident wall-crawler?" Sally probes, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear.

    Stacy sits a little more upright in his chair. "Well, it's no secret, Sally. In fact, my stance on the issue is much the same as my department's," he begins, "We believe that Spider-Man currently poses no threat to public safety, and -- moreover -- he has demonstrated a consistent pattern of assistance in the prevention of violent crime and the apprehension of the most serious offenders."

    The smile creeping across my face would be noticeable to anyone, if they weren't too busy watching the screen. Oh, Gwen. I could kiss your father on the mouth right now, I think silently to myself. Certain others at the table aren't quite so silent.

    "You said it, Captain Stacy!" Flash Thompson declares emphatically. I can't help but appreciate the irony; the man who singlehandedly put Peter Parker through hell in high school is also Spider-Man's biggest fan. It's a fact I used to my advantage once, when my secret identity was very nearly blown to all of Midtown High School. Flash -- with his big mouth -- convinced everyone that there was no way "Puny Parker" could be Spider-Man. It's strange to think that I actually owe him one for that.

    Next to me, Gwen bites her lip, and it's all I can do not to swoon right then and there. This girl could ask me to jump off a bridge, and I'd happily ask which one. She watches the television with concern in her eyes. "I just hope my dad is right about Spider-Man," she muses. "I don't know. I just... have a hard time trusting someone in a mask. Look at Superman! He doesn't use a mask."

    "Yeah, I'm with Gwen on this," Mal Duncan chimes in. Mal's one of Flash's new teammates on the Empire State football team. Unlike the jocks I knew back in Midtown, Mal's actually a pretty cool guy. He's laid-back, non-confrontational, level-headed... basically, every Flash is not. "Dude dresses like a spider! It creeps me out. I hate spiders."

    The girl on Mal's arm -- his girlfriend, Karen Beecher -- smirks and says, "Have you seen pictures of Spider-Man? With that body, he can dress however he wants!"

    Mal turns his head and gives Karen a look. "Really, Karen? In front of me like that?"

    She narrows her eyes. "Oh, like I haven't had to listen to you and your friends drool over Wonder Woman," she counters.

    "Well, she is hot," Flash offers with complete sincerity.

    As Mal punches Flash in the arm and Karen simply shakes her head, Gwen turns to me and regards me with those baby blues of hers. "What about you, Peter? You haven't said what you think about Spider-Man."

    "If it doesn't come in a petri dish, Parker doesn't have an opinion."

    I consider taking a jab at Flash and congratulating him on knowing about petri dishes, but I decide against it. Aside from the occasional snarky comment, Flash's behavior towards me has actually improved since coming to college -- if you can believe it. No need to rock the boat now. At least, not while I'm in this good of a mood.

    "I think Spidey's probably just a normal guy, trying to do the best he can with the gifts he's been given," I state. My answer brings a small smile to Gwen's lips, and I feel myself reciprocating naturally. As I glance at the clock, I realize that it's gotten later than I thought it was. "Speaking of doing the best we can, I'm gonna have to rush to make it to lab on time. I'll catch you guys around!" Gwen gives me a pleasant wave, Flash offers his own half-hearted version, and Mal and Karen continue to bicker.

    I swear, when things are going well, it's like even the sun is shining a little brighter! Empire State has always boasted a beautiful campus, but today I find myself appreciating it a little more as I power-walk towards the biology building. As I'm crossing the main quad, I feel the telltale sensation of my Spider-Sense on a low tingle. Spider-Sense? At school? My mind begins concocting all kinds of terrible situations that might've provoked it. Before I can figure it out, though, the answer hits me.

    Literally.

    I tumble to the ground, catching a glimpse of the errant skateboarder who crashed into me. His knee drives into my side and aggravates a bruise I acquired a few nights ago. I let out a stifled groan as I roll through the grass. The embarrassed skateboarder gets to his feet and nervously collects his things, blurting out a quick apology under his breath. "It's fine, dude," I offer as I climb to a knee. "That was probably my fault for, y'know, walking down the pedestrian pathway like that." But as I look up to see his reaction to my comment, he's already taken off down the quad.

    Alright, so maybe not everything is going well for me today.

    "Well, well. Look who's actually on time." Debra Whitman. My prickly labmate. Deb -- and she hates it when I call her that, by the way -- brought an Ivy League mentality to Empire State. From day one, she's looked at me like I'm her rival; not that I'd make for much of one, anyway, between my tardiness and my sudden disappearances and the like. Still, regardless of how she chooses to treat me, I've resolved to kill her with kindness. "Well, aren't you going to swipe us in?" she asks impatiently with a nod towards the card reader on the door.

    Confused, I pat each of my pockets in succession. "I swear I had my keycard this morning..."

    Deb rolls her eyes. "Of course," she begins, "Even when it seems like you've got your act together, you still find a way to screw it up." With a huff, she digs through her bag and finds her card.

    "That's why I have you, partner," I reply with a kind smile.

    I'm not the only person to be having a good week. Earlier this week, my mentor, Doctor Curt Connors, succeeded in his bid to study a new extraterrestrial virus discovered by the CDC. They believe that the virus was brought to Earth by one of the extraterrestrial heroes that have popped up in recent years, like Superman or that one Martian guy. Dr. Connors faced stiff competition in his bid to be the guy for this project; OsCorp, in particular, made a strong play for ownership of the virus. However, in the end, it was awarded to our lab.

    After putting in my time at the lab, I emerge to find that the sun is only beginning to set. There's a pleasant breeze in the air, and I feel the rooftops calling to me. I'll tell you this about being Spider-Man: the fighting and the risking-my-life parts aren't so great, but the swinging? Man, I'd swing all day if I could. I wish I could describe to you just how liberating of a feeling it is. If I hurry back to my apartment, I can get out there with just enough time to watch the sun set over the city...

    * * *

    With no class to worry about in the morning, I allow myself to sleep in. I need the rest after a long night of swinging and catching baddies. Nothing too eventful went down, but it still felt good to help. But right now, it feels much better to sleep. I curl up with my pillow, rejoicing in the feeling of complete sleepy bliss. At least, until the knocking at the door starts. I try to ignore it, but whoever's there is being persistent, I'll give 'em that. Finally, around the third or fourth knock, I roll over and climb out of bed with a groan.

    When I finally reach the front door to the apartment, I'm surprised to see two uniformed police officers standing there. My drowsy brain struggles to think of a good reason why they might be here, but none come to mind. Instead, I start to imagine all the terrible reasons why they would come. "Are you Peter Parker?" the taller officer asks, and I feel my heart skip a beat.

    I swallow the lump in my throat and answer, "I am."

    The second officer produces a set of handcuffs while the first announces, "You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can -- and will -- be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney; if you cannot afford--"

    Remember what I said about the fickle nature of luck?

    Guess mine's finally run out.
     
    #20
  21. Batman

    Batman Dramatic Example

    Joined:
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    [​IMG]

    "Holy sh... that guy just killed the Deacon!"

    My body starts to feel numb as the optic scans in the cowl confirm that the fatality of the gunshot was instantaneous. He's definitely gone. Joseph Blackfire will never stand trial for his crimes tonight, nor will justice ever be given to his victims as long as his cult is allowed to act freely. Every conceivable reaction to this is running through my head, but I can't allow myself to dwell on that now. There's still the crowd of onlookers - men and women who likely not only helped Blackfire commit these kidnappings, but had no misgivings about watching him murder the three priests.

    Seeing to my own wound, I use whatever cognitive resources I have left to block out as much of the pain as I can - and violently rip the blade from my side. Before my own blood can start spilling all over the stage, I remove a military grade gauge from my belt, using it to plug the already gushing wound. If the cut weren't so deep, I'd have left it alone until this was finished. But I have about a minute before the absorption of the fiber is meaningless - which means I need to contain this situation before it can get even further out of hand.

    "What the hell are all of you standing around for?!", someone in the crowd barks. "That guy just shot Blackfire! And The Bat just stood there and let him! Let's kill them both!"

    Speak of the devil. Amidst angry shouting and what's clearly going to be an escalation, I vaulting directly for the priest who killed the Deacon, who's already panicked and clearly regretting his actions. Forcefully knocking the gun out of his hand, I grab him by the shoulders and slam him against the wall to secure him in place. In his state of mind, there's no telling what else he would've done if I'd allowed him to remain armed. He looks back at me, vacant. Right now, he's somewhere else entirely.

    "I... I've... God in heaven, what have I done?"

    Gritting my teeth as the pain begins to intensify, I push it to the back of my mind as the crowd begins to rush the stage. They're likely to tear us both apart in a frenzy of mob mentality. The other two priests try and back away, but they're still bound. They'll be killed aswell if I don't act. Reaching for one of the forefront pockets of my belt, where I store most of my riot suppression supplies, I produce a handful of smoke grenades and mace capsules and raise my arm. There may be nothing I can do for Blackfire, but I can still save lives.

    "That story can wait for the police,", I reply. "Now shield your eyes and cover your mouth. I'm getting you out of here."

    Slamming a barrage of irritants into floor infront of the crowd, I use the smoke as cover to push the pastor who murdered Blackfire towards the other two. He immediately looks around in confusion, but I grab him by the throat and nearly crush his larynx. That gets his full attention.

    "We don't have time for this! Grab one of them and head for the door!"

    "Th-there isn't a door! They made sure every exit was sealed!"

    I switch the cowl lenses from nightvision to the infrared scanner. Unfortunately, he's right. I didn't notice whenever I entered from the roof, but the Deacon's followers went to work and blocked the main exits and windows with furniture and wooden planks. They were using the sewers to move their victims, so it only stands to reason that they didn't see the need in attracting any unwanted attention from the outside. Cursing under my breath, I reach behind my cape and produce the grapple gun, firing it upwards.

    "Not every exit..."

    Slinging one of the other hostages over my shoulder, I grab hold of the pastor as he secures the third and yank the line, signaling the spool to automatically retract, accelerating us into the air. This never should have happened. If I'd brought Robin or one of the police to go in with me as backup, they could've helped me secure the scene before anyone could make a move. But I was too overconfident, too set in going at it alone. Didn't weigh out all of my options and a man is dead because of it. Alfred's right - ever since Harvey took a turn for the worse and Jim and I stopped speaking, I'm beginning to run out of allies. And I certainly can't call on The League for help with petty crimes. Generally speaking, Superman has worldwide catastrophes to avert. I'm just a man looking out for one city.

    Reaching the roof, I release the three men and immediately turn back towards the entrance. Even if their leader's dead, I can't afford to give the deranged fanatics down there a chance to escape. Reaching into my belt, I toss the quivering priest a one-way communications device.

    "Use that to call GCPD. Ask for either Detective Pezzini or Officer Murphy. You can trust them. Have them radio an ambulance to pick you and the other two up."

    Before I leap down, I look back over my shoulder.

    "And Father. You'd better confess,", I warn. "Or God won't be the one coming for you."

    Giving me a panicked nod as he understands the intent, I turn back around and leap into the massive factory below. Smoke's only barely started to dissipate by the time I expand my cape and glide over the crowd. Somersaulting to the other end of the room, I immediately smash my heel into two of their faces and land. By the time I look up, there's a crowd of tear-eyed, red faced and angry religious extremists staring back at me. I've lost the element of fear. Time to regain it.

    "For the Reverend!"

    One woman immediately rushes me with a bat, which I instantly counter against the fortified portion of my gauntlet. Grabbing the blunt instrument, I slam it into her face and use the momentum to leap at another, clotheslining him and a would-be attacker onto the ground. Another one tries to grab me from behind, but I slam the back of my head into his nose and shatter it, using a sweep kick to take him out. None of these people are likely to stand a chance, but none of them back away. It's clear that their devotion towards whatever their twisted beliefs are is what keeps them going. I suppose I have that much in common with them.

    BLAM!

    Screams among the crowd echo through the room as they scatter. I prepare myself to face one of the idiots who's likely found the ordinance that was left on the stage, but as soon as the crowd begins to thin out while running towards the backstage area, my eyes go wide as I see the shooter in full view.

    "...Blackfire?"

    That's... impossible. The scans told me as much. There has to be some mistake. Even now, as he looks upon me with wild, hateful eyes, I can see the gaping wound in his throat. A three inch wide hole made by the point of impact. Nobody could survive that, and if they could, it'd only be for seconds. And as I just noted, the cowl scans told me he was dead.

    "Hee. Hee. Hee."

    He aims the gun at me and smirks. No time to figure out whatever the hell's happening. As soon as he fires off a round, I leap and roll, using all of my remaining agility to dodge the bullet as it ricochets off of some lighting in the background. It sparks, instantly igniting some nearby chemical vapors. As the fire begins to rise, I leap onto the stage and dodge a swing of Blackfire's hand, attempting a pistol whip.

    "****! Stop moving, you ****!"

    His voice. There's something wrong with it. I had thought it was a result of the gunshot damaging his vocal chords. But at close range, it's as if he's speaking with multiple voices at once. Simultaneous and equally as demented. I immediately lay into him with a series of precision strikes into the abdomen, but he goes for another swing. This time, successful in his connection, striking me in the chest. The surprise hits me worse than the strike, as I realize my chest cavity just about caved in. I don't know how it's possible, but he's twice as strong as he was earlier. Was Blackfire a mutant?

    "Aah. That's better,"

    With speeds I can't even begin to fabricate as real, he grabs me by the throat and squeezes. All of the air goes out of my throat and the circulation is cut off. It's as if a pair of giant metal clamps are weighing down on my neck, pushing through the armor like it's nothing. Choking the life out of me. I struggle and try to break his grip, but he manages to lift me off the ground.

    "A shame you had to let this one die first. But then again, you have quite a history of watching people die..."

    He licks his lips as he says it. "Don't you, Bruce?"

    The look of shock on my face is, understandably, only equalled by straining to stay conscious. He referred to me by name. None of this adds up. Think, dammit. There has to be an explanation for all of this. There's no possible way that Blackfire could've survived the shot, there's no likely cause for his sudden strength, there's certainly not much of an explanation for the voices, and it is absolutely impossible for a thug like Deacon Blackfire - a man that I've never met before tonight - to have known my identity. Even mutants generally don't have the capacity to pull off such impossibilities at once.

    "What..."

    He leans in, loosening his grip, seemingly amused.

    "Hmm? Might want to speak up. Mommy and daddy can't hear you."

    Desperate, I ask him the only question I can think of no answer to.

    "What... are you?"

    With the same sequence of voices going off at once, he laughs. Heartily, and without any sense of humanity. Somehow, the fire caused by the shot from earlier is starting to spread even more rapidly than possible. Almost as if it's beginning to circle us. Then I start to realize my gauge is loose. Starting to suffer blood loss. Maybe... that's...

    "Oh, Wayne. You and your need to apply your earthly science to everything. There is no 'you', for there is no me. There is only we."

    [​IMG]

    "My name is Legion... for we are many."

    'My name is legion, for we are many'? It's the famous passage from the Bible. The quote expounded onto Jesus when he faced the demon inhabiting a man in Gerasenes. Inhabiting the spirits of livestock, using them to warn him to stay out of Jerusalem. I take one look into Blackfire's eyes, and somehow, for a brief moment... terror overwhelms me, as I begin to believe it.

    Then I start to come to my senses. The absurdity of the situation brings me back to reality. There are no demons. No devils. For all I know, there's not even a Hell. But there is a man who may be too powerful for me to overwhelm through traditional means. So in response to his cackling, as his neck cracks backward and he begins humming something inhumane... I pull out an electrified batarang and stab him in the face. The volts circulating through it hit him alot harder than he's hit me.

    "GRAAAGH!"

    Astoundingly, Blackfire manages to hold his ground as he tosses me aside. Any normal man would've been sent flying back, but I assumed even in his enhanced state, it'd garner a reaction. Gasping for oxygen I'd lost nearly a minute of, I barely notice as I crash into a stack of burning wooden crates. The kevlar tri-weave in the Batsuit's microfibers keep me protected from the flames as I weakly pull myself up, looking towards the flailing Deacon as he rips the batarang from his flesh.

    His agony turns to bemusement, as he - quite unexpectedly - begins cutting his own arm with the razor end of it. Angrily, viciously, almost like an animal. I still haven't determined what I'm dealing with, but whatever it really is, it's out of it's mind. Frustrated, it tosses the batarang aside as I stand, holding my seeping wound from earlier. He looks at it and raises his severed arm, pointing. Grinning.

    "That. That is what we wanted,"

    [​IMG]


    "Your blood. Not his."

    Anger boils through my veins.

    "WHO ARE YOU?!"

    He immediately frowns. Then his eyes go wide, as if mocking a horrified expression.

    "Bruce... is that any way to speak to your father?"

    There's a chill rushing through my bones as I realize he's saying that with a familiar voice.

    It's been so many years, and I don't have a clear enough recollection, but it can't possibly be the voice of...

    Both of us are directed towards a noise from above. The support beams. They're beginning to give out. The fire's compromised the structural integrity of the building. Barely able to keep a hold of myself, given my weakened state, I look towards Blackfire as he looks back at me.

    "We'll be seeing you soon."

    That voice again. There's no doubt in my mind. It's an exact impression of my father. His deep baritone, kind and soothing as it always was. I haven't heard it since I was eight years old. It used to make me feel safer than anything in the world. But I'd recognize it anywhere. As disturbed as I am by the realization, it isn't half as disturbing as the image of Blackfire reaching up to grab his own jaw and head. I reach out in a vain effort to stop him.

    "NO!"

    Too late. By the time he succeeds in snapping his own neck, the body drops just as some debris from the roof collapses onto the stage, separating us in a fury of smoke and flames. He's already dead again. I can barely make out the body from here, but it's entirely motionless. The face turned backward, facing the floor. I move to try and retrieve the body, but I can hear the support beams beginning to buckle. There's no time. Have to get out of here before I burn alive.

    "God..."

    I don't know why I said it, but it's all I can think to process as I fire the grapple into the air and leave. The Deacon's followers already made it to the sewer minutes ago. I'll have to make a note to start on their trail whenever the Fire Department clears the area. But right now, I... I can't even think straight. I've lost too much blood. Started hallucinating something that wasn't possible. That had to be the explanation for what happened.

    Yet I still can't get it out of my mind.

    "Bruce... is that any way to speak to your father?"

    "Innocent blood has been spilled..."

    On the outskirts of Gotham City, an engine roars to life for the first time in months. The motorcycle's occupant hasn't seen earthly night or day since then, but it's found itself here rather suddenly. That's usually how it works, the undefinable creature thinks to itself. That's what part of the deal entailed, after all. He wouldn't get to ask questions. He'd just go wherever he was needed. And apparently, he was needed in Gotham.

    He had heard the scream of an unholy one all the way from the realm he inhabitant. An impure spirit that didn't belong. And though no one knew it, it was now free, ready to claim another unwitting victim. Wrapping chains adorned in vivid flame across it's fist coated in decades' old leather that's never aged, the creature looks upon the towering haven for all manner of sins and disgustedly spits ectoplasm between it's teeth. He could hear the voice of Zarathos telling him what had to be done, what terrible things his master had already willed him to carry out. As it had always been, it was a simple command: feed an unquenchable craving.

    [​IMG]

    And what The Rider craved was vengeance.
     
    #21
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  22. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze AW YEEEAH!

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    SHUNK!

    Harleen's dates eyes widened, and very quickly went blank, as streams of blood ran from his nose and mouth. He collapsed forward onto the table, revealing the axe buried hilt-deep into the back of his skull.

    "Did somebody order eggs? Because I've just cracked one open over here! HAHAHAHA!"

    The Joker grinned down at the stunned Harleen Quinzel and, in a delicate motion, tilted her date's chair to the side to let the corpse slip to the floor, spun it round, and straddled it backwards, so he was sitting across from her.

    "Hey, girl..."

    By this point, the screams had started to pick up around them, as realisation of what had just happened hit home. But The Joker paid them no heed. He only had eyes for her.

    "Don't feel bad for bozo, that's about the most exciting thing that ever happened to him. Now, how about we blow this Popsicle stand and I take you on a real date?"

    The Joker drew out a gun from his waistband and sat it on the table, never breaking eye contact.

    "And just to clarify, "baby cakes"... that's not a request."
     
    #22
  23. Spider-Man9X17

    Spider-Man9X17 Ultron was sitting on him

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    [​IMG]

    Harleen really hadn't felt any remorse for her date, not even the slightest bit of sadness as his body was dumped uncerimoniously on the floor. For a split second, the only concern she felt was for her own well being, but then she saw it.

    That face, the smile. And then, he sat down with ehr. Harleen's heart fluttered, her entire body tingled.

    This, without a doubt, had to be the man--no, he could be no mere man. This had to be the GOD responsible for the glorious scene on the televison screen. And here he was now, talking to her.

    "Oh, you sweet fool," Harleen thought, "you don't need a gun to convince me."

    Still, who would she have been to tell him that, to question to actions of this genius. No, this was fate, and she was going to let it control the wheel tonight.

    "Of course, of course. No arguments from me, 'Puddin'."
     
    #23
  24. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze AW YEEEAH!

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    "Fantastic! This is what they call a meet-cute!"

    The Joker leapt up onto the table and, clearing his throat, addressed the horrified patrons of the restaurant.

    "Ladies and gentlemen. We shall now depart and let you return to your meaningless, shabby little lives. I bid you all a good evening."

    The Joker jumped off the table, grabbed Harleen by the hand, and ran out through the front door. But then he returned, smiling apologetically.

    "I'm so sorry. We forgot to leave a tip!"

    The Joker tossed in two grenades, and walked briskly away.

    "Now, I'm going to show you a night on the tiles in Gotham, Harley. I can call you Harley, yes?"

    There was an explosion in the background, which The Joker paid no attention to. He wrapped an arm around Harley's shoulder as they walked through the bitter-cold Gotham night.

    "But we're going to play a little game on this date, mmkay? It's going to be an education. Let me start..."

    The Joker put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

    CLICK!

    "This revolver has room for 6 rounds in its chamber, but there's only one bullet inside. You learn a lot about who you really are with a gun pressed against your head. So..."

    The Joker spun Harley around, and all of a sudden, he was deadly serious. He pressed the gun hard against her forehead.

    "Tell me honestly, Harley... are you happy with your lot in life? If I were to pull this trigger and end your existence right now, would you feel satisfied with the mark you've left on this world?"
     
    #24
  25. Morden Man

    Morden Man Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Jacksonville, Florida

    It had been such a long time.

    Philip Sheldon couldn’t remember the last time he’d put pen to paper and written with his own hands. There was a time once long ago that it was a daily event. Now his skeletal hands could barely hold a pen and it took him all the strength he had to lift his arms.

    The nurses had offered to have someone write it for him if he were willing to dictate it but Philip had refused them. It was important to him that he write it with his own hand, as illegible as his handwriting had become. This would be the last letter he would ever write. Best that it be by his own hand.

    The cancer had ravaged his body and by the doctor’s estimations he had but a few days left on this Earth but Philip did not feel a sense of loss. The wonders he had seen were incomparable. He had seen things most men could only dream about, stood shoulder to shoulder with Marvels, even watched with his own eyes as Godzilla strode out of the Pacific.

    His only regret was that he had not been there for his son. He knew that his ex-wife had remarried some four years after they had been divorced and that the man she married was a kind-hearted, temperate one, who had been there for his son in a way that Philip was never capable of doing. Indeed, he had been more of a father to Philip Jnr. than he had ever been. But the boy bore his name, his blood ran through his veins, and that counted for something.

    His hands shook as he began to write, hoping desperately his addled memory would not fail him when he needed it the most.

    One last adventure.

    ***

    Brooklyn, New York

    It was the day of Philip Sheldon’s funeral. He had asked that his remains be interred in Brooklyn, where he’d grown up and called home for most of his adult life, and the sizeable estate he had left behind had more than covered the cost of shipping his body back there. It was in New York that Sheldon had found his love of photography, that his journey had begun, it was only right that his journey would end here.

    Hundreds of people had come to attend the service. They made their way slowly into the church until eventually every bench was full and the aisles were teeming with people desperate to pay their last respects. Though he never let on to the fact, Philip Sheldon had been an icon: the last great photojournalist that America had produced and possibly the greatest.

    Philip Sheldon Jnr. watched from the street opposite the church in silence. His fingers were intertwined with those of his girlfriend Amber Grant. She stared into his face, usually so full of warmth and laughter, now solemn and hollowed out. Amber squeezed his hand a little tighter as if to reassure him but Philip stared on, watching the people file into the church until there was no more space.

    “Are you sure about this? We don’t have to go inside.”

    Phil shook his head.

    “It’s fine, honestly.”

    They crossed the street and approached the church. At first they huddled at the back of the crowds but within moments someone had noticed his presence, had realised who Philip was, and a lower mummer set through the crowd as it began to part for him. Hand in hand with Amber, Phil walked through, keeping his eyes low to the ground, and eschewed the many seats offered to him at the front of the church, opting to stand at the back instead.

    The service was short. For that, Phil was thankful. His father had never been a particularly religious man, though later in life he seemed to have embraced some semblance of faith, so anything else might have seemed out of place. Throughout the ceremony Phil had felt people’s eyes laid on him, most tinged with the purest, most unadulterated sympathy one could describe, others with a vague sense of bemusement. It had been nearly a decade since Philip had spoken to his father and that was no secret. Sat in the front row was J. Jonah Jameson, Robbie Robertson by his side, Jameson had never been particularly fond of his father, but his reverence for him was unshakeable. Robbie on the other hand had counted his father amongst his best friends. Their eyes met briefly as the service came to an end.

    “Junior,” Robbie called out. “Wait a minute, let me take a look at you before you go sneaking off without saying a word.”

    Sheldon’s face became flushed with embarrassment. He had hoped to leave the church without being subjected to the barrage of sympathies that would be laid onto him from the people there. He stood, Amber squarely behind him, and smiled awkwardly in Robbie’s direction. They hadn’t seen one another in years but Robbie looked like he’d barely aged a single day since then. His hair was slightly greyer at the sides but his skin was unchanged, as unwrinkled as it ever was. Philip on the other hand had changed a great deal.

    “Jesus Christ, kid, you look exactly like him. You realise that? If I didn’t know any better I’d think your father were standing right before me.”

    Phil nodded.

    “I hear that a lot.”

    “I didn’t think you were going to come,” Robbie sighed. “No one did.”

    He hadn’t wanted to.

    “My mother talked me into it,” Phil said with a shrug of his shoulders. “That’s the only reason I’m here. Neglectful as the old man might have been, she still carried a torch for him after all those years. How could I not come? It would have broken her heart. It was bad enough she couldn't make it.”

    Robbie shook his head with disappointment. He wanted to take Phil by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. He knew that his father hadn’t exactly been the most present figure in his life, but he’d worked with him for years and the man never stopped talking about him. His walls weren’t adorned by the pictures that had captured the imagination of the world but by pictures of “Junior” as he called him. But how could he look him in the face and reprimand him at his own father’s funeral? It wasn’t his place to do that. Instead he bit his tongue.

    “You know, he cared about you.”

    “Well, he certainly had a funny way of showing it.”

    “I’m not sure if this is the right time,” Robbie said, reaching into his pocket. “I was going to post it to you once all was said and done, didn’t think it was right to give it to you here, but I guess I might as well.”

    An envelope appeared from within it and Robbie placed it in Phil’s hand with a smile.

    “What is it?”

    “A letter, Phil, read it.”

    Phil shook his head and attempted to thrust the letter back towards Robbie.

    “I’m not interested.”

    For the first time, Robbie’s frustrations broke through. His response was more forceful than he had meant for but in truth no more forceful than Phil deserved. It was Philip Sheldon’s dying wish that the letter be delivered to his son and Robbie was going to make sure that Phil read it whether he liked it or not. His father deserved that much. Every dying man deserved that much. They were his last words, after all, and who deserved to slip away from this world without having their last words heard?

    “Phil, please.”
    ***​

    Manhattan, New York

    It had been an hour since Phil had taken his father’s letter to the bathroom in their spacious hotel room and Amber Grant hadn’t heard a noise from within since. She knew better than to think he’d ever do anything silly, even driven by grief Phil was never the type of man to consider harming himself or taking his own life. Yet she was still concerned. He was the man she loved, after all, and the man she hoped one day would be her husband. She knocked on the door gently and rested her head against it as if waiting for the faintest of responses from within.

    “Phil? Is everything okay in there?”

    A few second’s passed but Phil’s voice eventually shot back defensively from inside.

    “Yeah.”

    “Can I come in?”

    The toilet flushed inside and Amber could hear the sound of movement within. Whatever Phil had been doing inside there, it hadn’t been using the toilet. It didn’t take a genius to work it out.

    “Give me a second.”

    The door to the bathroom opened and Phil stepped out. His eyes were red and puffy from crying and Amber knew without asking she didn’t need to mention it. If he hadn’t felt comfortable enough crying in front of her he certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about crying. From what she had heard he had inherited that stoicism from his father, though he often went to painful lengths to disregard any similarities he shared with the man. In his hand the letter dangled, dotted with blots Amber could only deduce were teardrops.

    “What did it say?”

    “Oh,” Phil said dismissively. “The usual nonsense. That he regretted not being there for me, that he wished he’d put more work into making things work with mum. He said he was proud of me, proud of the man I’d turned into, can you believe that? Now, that takes some real front.”

    Amber frowned.

    “What do you mean? Of course I believe it. You’re a good man, Phil, you’re going to make a great father one of these days.”

    Phil prickled at the suggestion. It had been a difficult topic for them. Though Phil’s step-father had been as kind and caring a guardian he could ask for, his relationship with his father had made him swear off ever having children. He wouldn’t risk being the way his father had been to him, causing them the hurt his father had caused him, not at any cost. Amber on the other hand very much wanted children. They had agreed to park the issue until they were in a financial position whereby they’d be better equipped to handle it. Phil hadn’t changed his mind an inch.

    “No, it’s not that. I mean, we hadn’t spoken in nearly ten years. How could he have been proud of me if he didn’t even know me? It’s typical.”

    “Your father cared about you,” Amber said, placing a hand on his shoulder to comfort him. “I know it might not have seemed like it at times, I know you barely spoke, but there’s no way he couldn’t have cared about you. You’re his son. His only son. You were important to him, Phil, even if you can’t see that.”

    Phil shrugged.

    “I guess.”

    Amber stepped forward and took Phil in her arms, squeezing him tightly, before tiptoeing to plant a soft kiss on his forehead. She couldn't imagine what he was going through. Both of her parents were alive, all four of her grandparents were too, she'd never lost anyone this close to her before. They stood for a moment before Amber led Phil to the bed and the pair perched on the end of it.

    “There was something else in here,” He said with a bemused look. “Something strange.”

    “What?”

    “He wants me to go to Arizona.”

    Amber cocked an eyebrow at the suggestion. As far as Phil has told her, his father had lived and worked out of New York for what little time he spent in one place, never once had he mentioned Arizona.

    “What’s in Arizona?”

    “I don’t know,” Phil said with a heavy sigh. “But I’m going to find out.”

    Phil stared down at the letter in his hand. His father’s handwriting was still elegant despite the state he was in when he’d written it. His eyes scanned through the paragraphs, the talk of regrets and mistakes, down to the final paragraph at the bottom of the page where he’d made the strange request. Three words stood out from the rest, they were bolder, clearly his father had expended what little effort he had left to make them so.

    One last adventure.
     
    #25
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015

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