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Lord Saethos

Dark Lord of the Saeth
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A Good Person Who Fails To Act Let's Evil Triumph.
When All People Fail To Act, They Let Themselves Perish.

  • Atlas City


    The Home of Manmade Fusion. Named for the great hero Atlas, who's incredible powers helped him achieve nuclear fusion, and thus helped the most brilliant minds in the United States crack the code on the long sought after source of energy.

    It's always been a city that has inspired, even the most rundown sides of the town have always somehow managed to strike awe into residents and tourists alike, making it the jewel of North Carolina.


    One of the scariest things a human being can imagine is a Superhero gone evil. The idea of someone with incredible, sometimes unfathomable power, choosing to use it for evil, malicious purposes, is a horrifying prospect.

    The scariest thing a human being can imagine is an otherworldly monster that can chew up a Superhero and spit them back out like the pit of a cherry.

    That was a fear humanity didn't have until the Attack on Atlas City.


    Like a fear of ghosts or demons, a death that could perhaps come from anywhere at any time, only this was a danger humanity now knew was real.

    The Beast of Decay, a monstrosity the likes of which many people still struggle to describe. Like some dark god of death, disease and decay, an eldritch depiction of Nergal, a monument to all the most vile and horrifying things humans can imagine.

    And just where did it come from?

    Perhaps it was the USSR or China, looking to take America down a peg.
    Perhaps it was America, letting a weapon accidentally loose on its own populace.
    Perhaps it wasn't even from this planet, something that had no interest in our quarrels, our borders, or any other division we had.

    Some believe it is the latter. George Carlisle is one such person.
    An unlikely band of heroes, who impressed him with the incredible ingenuity and bravery, were conscripted into his service as a new super team.

    The Brave.


    Indeed, in spite of perhaps the Beast of Decay's best attempts, rather than finding humanity divided, it had found us, for a few hours perhaps, united in a singular cause.

    Heroes, Villains, Government or Corporate Sponsored, or Vigilante. All stood against the same enemy. And The Brave still stand to face yet more. But for how long can that last?

    For that matter, can humanity truly stand united against its enemies? Is it even possible our enemies even stand among us?

    Possible that some of them even are us?

    What are you willing to do to save the world?
    To save those that matter to you?
    Even to just save yourself?

    Think carefully.
    You may need to start making decisions sooner than you think.

    Hero or Villain?
    Savior or Conqueror?
    Human or Monster?
    Will you preserve this Earth, or even some small part of it?
    Or try to wipe it all out?

    Whatever you decide, this isn't the Beginning of the End.

    It's just the Beginning.​

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February 25th, 1991 - Somewhere near the Kuwait-Iraq Border

The overall mood inside of the Humvee was optimistic. US and Coalition forces (both Muslims and Europeans) had so far been overwhelmingly successful in their push to retake Kuwait from Iraqi forces. Saddam threw his best at their forces, and it had caused the Coalition to stumble, but only slightly. Even some of the greatest Baathist Supers weren't enough to stand against the forces of justice, and especially not against the impassioned Kuwaitis carving their way to liberation.

However, even seeing their success, one couldn't help but watch out the windows and feel a twinge of fear and sadness, watching towers of smoke and fire billow out of the oil soaked grounds.

But there was nothing these men could do about that. It wasn't their job to.

The Coalition was close to recapturing Kuwait City, and soon after they'd hunt down retreating Iraqi troops heading to Basra, unleashing a slaughter that could make anyone sick.

Or almost anyone.

The Humvee was headed in the direction of Basra, but that wasn't the final target. Indeed, their target had much less to do with liberating Kuwait, or attacking fleeing Iraqi soldiers. The goal was Disarmament.

The roar of the Humvee was soon joined by the sound of music, as a soldier turned up the volume of a boombox.

"So... You supposed to be Delta Force? SEALS? CIA?" One of the soldiers spoke up as he thumbed the buttons of his green PASGT.

The individual he spoke to was another man, dressed strangely in 'plain clothes'. Tan pants, a short sleeved, button up shirt, leather shoes, lightweight tactical vest, and a pair of black aviators.

"Something like that." The man muttered in response.

One of the other soldiers looked him up and down with a smirk. "Probs CIA. How'd you get that code name anyways? Agent Gladden?"

Gladden watched as fires continued to billow around them, as they reached ever closer to the Iraqi border. "Cause everyone's day gets better when I show up." He spoke sardonically.

Glass, steel, and fire exploded around the cab as the Humvee was sent onto its side, then back, by an RPG. The vehicle skid across the sand for a brief moment on it's flat top, before finally coming to a stop near some low dunes.

Gladden, now upside down, looked around to see the other occupants were either dead, or hanging on by mere threads to life. As the sounds of Iraqi Arabic being shouted slowly got louder, the agent was becoming acutely aware that he could make out Red Berets of the Republican Guard.

He braced himself against the roof of the Humvee with one hand, and undid his seatbelt with the other, dropping him down to the roof unceremoniously, but efficiently. Gladden grabbed an M16A2 from the floor, and quickly used the rifle butt to clear away the glass from the window of his seat, which was now furthest away from the direction of the shouting Republican Guards.

Gunfire erupted at the car, the Republican Guards shouting their curses and death threats at the Americans. Gladden could understand most of what they were saying, and found it rather amusing how much disdain they had for the fact their actions were now facing consequences.

From a pistol holster on himself, he managed to draw his FN HP-DA, before reaching into the holster of a dead soldier and grabbing a Beretta M9. He kicked the door open and crawled out of the Humvee as bullets continued to slam into the opposite side of the Humvee. He could make out a dozen uniformed men in red berets, or light tanned helmets with a red triangle, and the chatter of AK's told much the same story. But Gladden had faced worse odds before, and these Baathist's unfortunately didn't know that.

As they drew closer to get better shots at the lone survivor, they attempted to form a semi-circle around the Humvee, all guns aimed directly at the closest passenger windows. The encountered no resistance, but began to immediately open fire again into the air as well as something flew through it, and down into the sand before them. It was the M16.

Gladden bolted around the front side of the Hummer, firing shots off towards his left, near the back of the Hummer. About six Republican Guards had stood in that direction, aiming towards where Gladden was running, but they were too slow to respond before his bullets tore through legs, arms, and heads. He slammed into another Republican Guard who'd been on the same side he came around, knocking the soldier off balance, but grabbing him and his AK just in time to turn him into a human shield.

Three of the other soldiers tried to fire at the human shield, but they'd already used all their ammo shooting the Humvee. The look of terror washed over them as they began to either plead or curse the Agent, who raised the Russian AK at three of the Guards and opened fire. They were torn apart quickly, and when the clip was emptied, Gladden released his shield and fired a pistol shot through his head.

The last three soldiers were about to turn and run.

Three more shots, and they too were dead.

Both pistols had their slides fully back, emptied of ammo. Gladden let out a soft breath as he dropped the Beretta to the ground, and reloaded his FN. Before anything else however, his body felt like a train had slammed into it, sending him crashing into the side of the Humvee, which rocked from the force. Gladden grabbed the M16 he'd left in the sand and raised it up towards the hulking form that stood before him.

It was dressed in the green uniform and red beret of the Republican Guards he'd just fought, but this monster had to be nearly 8 feet tall.

But the truly unusual thing was its horrific looking arm. The right arm was swollen like a gorilla arm, with strange, decaying looking red and white flesh. Little thorns of bone and whiskers of writhing flesh, like snake tails, bristled the arm. His mouth was malformed, lips curled and twisted like a zombie. But he spoke.

"Sa'aqum bisahqik , wa'abtalieuk 'amiriki."

"Right back at you."
Gladden smirked as he swept the M16 off the ground and began opening fire. The bullets connected with the hulking monster, but so far didn't seem to affect it much. There were noticeable holes where the rounds went through, but it seemed unphased.

This was no super. This was exactly what he expected to find.

The creature grabbed Agent Gladden and slammed him into the Humvee again, but this time the agent fought back, punching the monster in the jaw, causing a loud crack before it released him. It seemed shocked, but not perturbed. There was a small device embedded in the monster now, a device that, if working correctly, most likely would have subdued the monsters powers. If it were a super. Again, it was now clear that that was not what he was dealing with.

Agent Gladden grabbed the M16 again and opened fire once more, only for the monster to charge at him again, though he was able to dodge in time. He spun around to where the monster now stood, ready to open fire, only for the clicking of the empty mag to sound off.

The monster slowed its movements as its face contorted into an ugly grin, slowly approaching him. He noticed the spikes on the arm form into a jagged edge, like the arm was morphing into a blade or something. Before it could get any closer however, it suddenly tumbled forward, and it's head rolled across the sand.

Behind the monster stood someone of only slightly less stature, but who's skin shone with a silvery, metallic hue. He held a saber in his right hand, and was draped in an unfamiliar tan uniform, along with a dark brown hooded cloak, and sky blue capelet over his shoulders.

He said something in an unrecognizable language, before smirking and offering a hand to Agent Gladden.

"Welcome to Iraq, American."

"And you are..."
Gladden began.

"Ah, Rajul Min Alsulb is what the Iraqis would call me. The Man of Steel. You may also call me Ashur. And you are?"

"Gladden. Agent Gladden. And what exactly are you doing here, Man of Steel?"
Gladden took his hand and was hoisted up from the sands.

"I should be asking you the same, American. Why are you, a lone Humvee, on the Iraqi side of the border? And if it helps... I believe we're after the same thing."

"Well, if you must know... I'm going after one of Saddam's chemical weapons facilities."

Ashur rose an eyebrow as he looked down to the now headless monster he'd slain. "Chemical? I somehow severely doubt that part is true."

"And who are you to the Republic of Iraq, precisely?"

"A half Assyrian, half Kurd. In other words... Your friend."

Gladden was silent for a moment, before reaching into his pocket, and pulling out a small, white, cardboard rectangle. On it was a red Symbol, a U with an X inside of it. A name had been on the card before, but had been smudged to the point of only showing an A for the first letter of a first name, and a Y at the end of the last name.

"Any chance you recognize this?" Gladden inquired.

Ashur shrugged. "The symbol, yes, but that's about it. Isn't this some American company? Why are they important?"

Gladden nodded his head in the direction of the mutated Republican Guard. "Turns out this Ultrox company has decided to expand their operations into Iraq. Men like Saddam don't seem particularly worried about things like morals, or human rights."

"Right, so the plan is to go in, take out the facility, and arrest the men behind it?"

The Agent smirked. "No. We take out the facility, end every living soul in it. No survivors. No prisoners. Scorched Earth."

The Man of Steel shrugged as he picked up an AK and tossed it to Gladden. They weren't likely to find many Coalition weapons past this point, so it was pointless to carry any weapons their enemies wouldn't have ammo for. "Suit yourself American. If it's the Almighty's Will, we'll come out alive."

"We'll come out alive, Rajul Min Alsulb. Of that, you can have no doubt."

As the two men packed some gear and equipment, they began to make their way in the direction of Basra.

But Gladden stopped for a moment, just a brief one, to glance back over the form of the monster that Ashur had slain. His eyes, still behind his shades, swept across every inch of the mutant, analyzing every strange protrusion and mark.

"What is it?" Ashur asked.

Gladden spoke without turning away. "Nothing. It's nothing." He muttered.

He turned to follow Ashur.

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Atlas City, North Carolina: March 18th, 2045, 11:15pm

The faint, salty aroma of the ocean lingered on the late night air, carried softly over the beaches and through the streets of Atlas City, uninhibited by the leftover ruins from that fateful day. March 12th was burned into the minds now of millions of Americans, if not billions around the world. As Maxwell let out a soft stream of cigarette smoke from his lips, he wondered if this would be one of those singularly prominent moments, one that would impact the direction of history for a coming decade, but overall be a lone moment of horror for a generation?

Or, was it a sign of things to come.

Standing on the balcony of his office, from that now converted, old oil rig parked on the beach of Atlas City, he thumbed a slim vial he held in his hand, admiring the contents inside. His team had done a good job today. Messy, to be sure, but they managed to get him exactly what he was looking for. Of course, now that band of heroes that seemed to keep showing up would surely be more familiarized with his organization. That could be bad...

But it couldn't be worse than the alternative. He was a step closer to tightening the noose around the neck of whoever it was trespassing on his domain. The other criminal organization that had been so far supplying the Witchfinder Generals. It brought his mind drifting back to The Union, to everything he'd taken, built up, and lost...

He ran a hand through the soft, silvery locks of his hair that had fell across his forehead, pressing them up and and backwards, back into shape. Maxwell placed the vial back into his jacket pocket, picking up a glass filled halfway with Scotch. The moon was out tonight, illuminating everything that Atlas City didn't manage to. With a smirk, he raised the glass to the moon, in mock toast.

"One small step for... Me." He might as well have owned the moon in that moment. As far as The Shape was concerned, he already did. As he set his glass down again, he waved his hand gently through the air, as if casting a spell, and slowly but surely, the moon began to disappear from his view.

What a feat it would be if he could do the same to the rest of the world.


Los Angeles, California: March 20th, 2045, 12:37am

In the eyes of some, good and evil are subjective, a matter of perspective, of debate. After all, what one finds condemnable, another may find commendable. Many philosophers ask us to question our biases, our preconceived notions, to consider other viewpoints than we might normally.

Kirk Vernon, however, was a repugnant piece of human filth, and about the only thing he was entitled to was his own demise.

Someone has less than a lack of empathy for men like Kirk. Someone has a seething, burning, murderous hatred for men like him. Bad enough to be a Neo-Nazi, bad enough to be a child predator, but to be both?

And to make matters worse, of course a man like this would get a giant concrete block mansion in the hills to play Wannabe-Fuhrer in. Not a place he owned, of course. Rented from some more discreet, better connected, Crypto-Fascist type.

But someone also didn't care for the connections a man may have either.

Kirk had just exited the outdoor pool, in the buildings left sided veranda, walking barefoot (and nearly buck naked, save for his loose fitting robe) through the halls of the manor. Kirk wasn't necessarily a fan of Supers, with so much info out there that could link them to the 'Ruling Elite', it was increasingly hard to trust them. But, as a weapon, in the right hands...

As he entered the main foyer of the manor, he thought he heard the faintest sound of something outside of the imposing, 10ft tall, black wooden doors that acted as the gates to his 'keep'. Raccoons perhaps?

The question was answered quickly when the door exploded off the hinges, flying onto the concrete floor as smoke billowed in through the entrance.

There was a scraping sound, something metallic being dragged along the concrete, as a figure loomed in the doorway. Dressed head to foot in all black, with an unmistakable shoulder patch, like a flag. A white circle, with a simple white line through it.

"Kirk Vernon."

"Just who the FU-"

His words were cut off when his eyes came across what had been making the scraping sound along the concrete.

It was a fire axe.

"You've got some questions to answer for me." The White Death spoke, in a low, eager tone, a small smirk growing under his mask.

Without a response, Kirk began to scramble away, screaming obscenities, and curses as his still moist feet slid against the polished stone floors.

"G-g-get away from me you freak!!!"

His breath was caught short as he felt a gloved hand wrap around his neck, and then his body became weightless as the vigilante charged towards a wall, slamming Kirk into it, his head making a sickening crack sound.

A low chuckle came from behind the black mask. "Come on now Kirk, I'm just looking for some answers. Maybe if you tell me what I want, I'll go easy on you."

Kirk of course knew this wasn't true. If this guy knew how to find him, he knew what he was going to do to him.

"Listen vigilante boy, I don't know who you are, but you made a big mistake coming here. You think I haven't been preparing for years to deal with you Globalist mutts? That's what you are, some pet dog to let off the chain to go off and slaughter men, women, and children, who are loyal to their ra-" His voice was cut off again as a fist slammed into his mouth, then another into his gut.

"Yeah, not interested in the rehearsed Hitler speeches. You're gonna tell me what I wanna know, or you're gonna wish I was a guard dog killing you instead."

Kirk fell over, and as he did so, reached into his pocket before producing a pistol. He fired a few shots up at the vigilante, who recoiled to avoid the hits. Kirk took the opening to dash out of the foyer, firing random pot shots behind him as he fled. He HAD to get to his weapons. There was no way he was going to let this globalist parasite leave here alive.

"Kirk, piece of advice. Stop making this harder for me. Because the more you fight back, the more you struggle, the more I'm gonna hurt you. And in case you haven't figured it out yet... I take GREAT pleasure in hurting men like you."

Richard took the fire axe back into his hands and stalked the halls, following the faint spatters of moisture from the pool that Kirk had left behind.

"You know, I've had people in my time tell me to find the good in men Kirk. To find something decent in everyone. And try as I might, there's always someone, some guy, who decides to make it as clear to me as possible that he WANTS men like me to exist. Cause see, if there was truly good in every man..."

He rounded a corner to find Kirk had finally slipped and hit the ground. Richard gripped the handle of the axe firmly before hauling it over his head, and throwing it towards his foe. It landed a partial blow on Kirk, hitting part of his leg, as well as the stone floor, causing it to bounce off and clatter to the ground.

Kirk screamed out in pain as he scrambled back to his feet and limped off still.

"... then people like me wouldn't exist."

Richard gripped the handle of the axe again as he continued on, following the faint red trail that Kirk had left behind, before finally entering a long room, like some kind of war room or something. At the far end was a glass window that stretched from floor to ceiling, and gave a perfect view of LA. In the center of the room was a table with maps, charts, and of course weapons, all laid out on it.

"You'll get all the answers you want once you're in hell, degenerate!" Kirk shrieked as he lifted a rifle towards Richard. Before he could pull the trigger, he felt something cold and metallic touch his neck.

"I don't think there's gonna be any killing tonight folks, we're all just gonna calm down, and have a nice, peaceful chat." Before Kirk could act, a firm hand had grabbed onto the rifle, and pulled it with surprising ease and force.

The woman who now held Kirk's gun had an amused smirk on her face as she looked between him, and the masked vigilante.

Kirk began to bare the teeth he still had, as his eyes filled with rage, seeing the dark brown skin and curly black hair of the woman who stood before him. His eyes darted between the woman, and the vigilante, as his breathing deepened, a seething hatred overcoming him. "Is this your woman race traitor!" He cried out.

The woman frowned slightly before punching the bigot in the jaw, loosening more teeth, and causing yet more red to paint the manor. "At least I'm legal age." She chuckled. "You talk so big about the future of your children, but you spend so much time dedicated to abusing them? Honestly Kirk buddy, I've given up trying to understand the mental gymnastics of Nazis. Also, your friend over there is a newish acquaintance of mine, I'm not 'his woman', and I'm certainly not anyone else's either."

Richard simply shrugged. "Yeah, don't think I've ever met you before, who are you exactly miss?"

She smiled pleasantly as she twirled the 'cold metal' she'd been holding, a Katana. "Amira Turner. FBI. Don't worry though, you're not under arrest. Yet..." She smirked. "Also, we have met before. Atlas City, after the Beast attack. I was that peppy young lady who came in to save you and your friends from SINS." She beamed as she gave a thumbs up.

Richard felt a little puzzled, before he started to recall the events before. Now he started to remember her, but it only created more questions, than answered. "Alright, and why are you here exactly Amira? And what's with the Katana?"

She feigned a look of offense. "Firstly, it's a keepsake. Secondly, because it looks COOL. Thirdly, who are you to ask Mr. Axe Maniac? As for why I'm here, probably the same reason as you. Not the whole Chris Hansen, sit him down and talk things out with him sort of thing, but the 'figure out who he's buying his superpower drug weapons from' sort of thing."

Kirk spat. "Those 'weapons' are the tools of securing the future of the white ra- HRUK!" He was cut short for the last time as, all in a whirlwind of confusion, the large glass window had shattered, and a large piece of glowing, orange steel protruded from Kirk's chest, sending him promptly to the floor. There was a loud clattering sound as the glowing orange sword that had killed Kirk fell to the ground.

Amira and Richard both turned in shock in the direction of the window, where a new figure stood, clad head to toe in steel armor, heavily resembling something of German origin.

"Ah, great, a Super Nazi." Richard muttered as he dropped the fire axe and unslung his MP5 from his back.

The towering brute shook his head. "I am no 'Nazi', swine. I serve at the leisure of the House of Hohenzollern, in the service of his Imperial Majesty, the Kaiser."

Amira took a few steps in the direction of Richard and readied her blade. "Yeah, I've had to deal with this guy before, we're good buds at this point. Actually, first time I met him was when I picked up this Katana, really cool story to be honest."

"Perhaps you can tell your new friend what my job is, fraulein."

She feinted a grimace as she looked at the White Death. "Yeah, he's all about killing Supers and stuff, apparently. Oh yeah, and Nazis. He really hates Nazis. But don't think that makes him a decent guy, German Empire had a LOT of problems, and this guy isn't what I'd call a progressive thinker."

The figure stepped closer, his heavy, metal boots thudding on the floor, before reaching Kirk's corpse. He grabbed his sword, and took another stab at the body to ensure Kirk was dead. "My armor and my blade were built for one purpose: So that the warriors of the German Empire can wipe out the 'superpowered' foes who would stand against us. This is a Holy War you understand, and I am a Holy Knight."

Richard turned to Amira. "So, interested in not arresting me in exchange for not dying to this guy and getting those drug contacts?"

She shrugged. "Eh, I'll give it some thought."

He gave a nod in return. "Love the outfit, by the way."

Amira looked herself over for a moment, taking note of the all black special ops fatigues she was in, and the fact Richard wore something relatively similar. "Ooooh, we're matching! Spec Ops gear is so in chic right now!"

Richard adjusted his suit, trying to figure out some settings. "Music sound good to you?"

The FBI agent beamed as she pulled out her own phone. "Ooooh, yes!!! I got this, don't you worry!"

Richard stared at her in slight confusion for a moment as the music began to play. "Uhh... What's this?"

Amira frowned. "Kordhell. What, you don't like it?"

"No no, it just sounds like music you'd murder someone to."

"Dude, you've gotta stop saying things I should probably arrest you for."


Without further warning, Amira charged at the Knight, their blades colliding with terrific force that would have shook a normal man to his bones. Richard moved to the side of the room to get clearer angles, switching the sub-machinegun into semi-auto, and cycling shots aimed at the metal-man's helmet. The force was enough to knock the Knight's head to the side, disorienting him long enough for Amira to slam a fist into his armored chest.

How on Earth did she do that without breaking her fingers? There was clearly more to this Fed than met the eyes Richard realized.

"Tall Dark and Angry, you got super strength by any chance?"

Richard chuckled. "Not in the slightest."

"Well that's unfortunate." Amira grimaced as the Knight pushed her back.

"I make do without." As he finished saying that, the blood and water that had pooled around Kirk began to harden until a slick, icy surface formed.

Noticing the change in temperature around her, and the conditions of the floor changing, Amira dropped low and swung her leg out in a sweep at the Knight. It connected, with yet more incredible force, which sent the Knight clattering to his back.

Richard took more shots at the helmet, watching as deeper dents formed, while Amira brought the Katana down in a stab.

The Knight gripped Amira's blade, and before she realized it, he'd used his grip to fling her by the sword across the room, sending her crashing into the war table at the center of the room.

"As do I, swine." The Knight muttered at Richard as he climbed to his feet again. He ground his foot against the icy floor, before sprinting to the side of the room where Richard stood, swinging his glowing blade directly at the vigilante.

Richard managed to dive and roll to the side as the wall rained out shards of hot concrete and rock. The MP5 was switched back to full auto, and he began unloading at the Knight, who began to dislodge his blade from the wall. Richard stood once more, and as the Knight turned to face him, he lashed out with his fist, aimed at the face plate of the helmet. Shards of ice now flew to the sides, and once more caused the Knight to stumble, as if he'd been hit by brass knuckles.

But he was more resilient than that. He grabbed onto Richard's chest armor, and threw him up against the ceiling.

AGAIN with the being thrown into things. Richard managed to at least fall gracefully to the floor, and as the Knight raised his leg to send a kick into Richard, Amira appeared again, body slamming the Knight into the wall.

"Mr. Axe Murderer, would you be a doll and grab the drug evidence you're looking for?"

Richard stood again and backed away slowly as Amira and the Knight began to grapple again. "As you wish."

He bolted out of the room, going between the various rooms of the house in an attempt to figure out wherever that Nazi would have hidden this stuff. As he searched, Richard heard the unsettling sound of concrete being shattered and collapsing, like whole walls were coming down. The fact it continued to happen suggested Amira was holding her own well against the Knight.

For now, that was a relief.

Eventually, he came across a room that seemed absolutely in character for Kirk Vernon, decorated with 'war memorabilia' and everything. There was a slight disappointment he wasn't the one to kill Kirk, but he supposed it was even more fitting that some German Monarchist was the one to do it.

What was most surprising was how Richard found the documents he needed, carelessly left scattered over an office desk. Did this moron really envision some kind of Fourth Reich while leaving his entire plan scattered across his office desk? No matter, Richard grabbed a briefcase that had been left there, swept the papers inside, and began to leave the room.

Just as he turned around however, the wall exploded as Amira crashed through. "You find what we need?" She said, looking up at him from the floor, Katana still firmly in hand.

"Right here." He indicated to the briefcase he held. Just as he said that, the Knight pushes past the rubble of the wall he'd broken down with Amira.

"Good, time to leave!" She quickly leapt up from the ground, gripping onto a corner of the office desk, before unceremoniously throwing it through a side window.

The Knight raised his blade to swing, Richard flexed his hand as a spike of ice formed in it, and Amira took a stance like she was about to run right into the Knight.

Richard acted first, planting the ice spike into the Knight's glowing red eye device, before he swung (missing Amira), and once more sending his sword through a concrete wall. Lastly, Amira swung her leg into the Knight's helmet, sending him off balance, but not knocking him down.

Without another word, she grabbed Richard by the wrist and jumped with him out the window.

Glass once more shattered as they fell through the skylight of the veranda, and splashed down into the pool. Amira and the White Death quickly surfaced, and quickly scrambled out of the pool and onto the surrounding lounge area.

"Shouldn't we kill him or something?" Richard asked with slight exasperation.

"One day friend, but right now I don't wanna keep dodging the molten sword he's wielding, so unless you're in the mood for more aerobics, I think we should just leave."

Richard shrugged and acquiesced. "Fair enough, let's do a rain check then." He chuckled.

The two quickly left the manor, and the Knight had to settle for doing the same. He was beginning to find himself quite irked by the young FBI girl. Strange that fate felt so inclined to continue to put them in each other's paths. Last time he saw her, if he recalled right, she'd been working for SINS, and that surprisingly imposing agent.

Was it SINS she decided she didn't want to work for anymore?

Or him?


Los Angeles, California: March 20th, 2045, 6:00am

The traffic in LA was already beginning to back up, smoke billowing up into the sky, already foreshadowing an awful day for most residents. The daily news cycle was soon to get going, giving a recap of the chaos of the past few days, probably followed by some highly cultivated, political messages of unity, working together, standing up against crime, etc, etc, etc.

But for some people, their moods simply could not be dampened. As a silver, heavily armored sedan rolled down some of the back streets of LA, an old Rap classic could be heard pumping through its speakers.

Strange choice of tunes, one would think, for a SINS issued car. The wheel, dashboard, console, and everything else belonging to the car (and within arm's reach) became a piece in a drum set for the driver-drummer, keeping time with chorus of Roger Troutman, before breaking out into singing once Dr. Dre began.

"Now let me welcome everybody to the Wild Wild West, a state that's untouchable like Eliot Ness - That's us!!! That's us!" Peter slapped his hand across the dash board, hooting and hollering in joy. Given his car, style of dress, and everything else about him, the sight of Agent Radovan along with the sound of the music playing from his car, was likely a strange thing to witness.

Peter turned to Nina, in the passenger seat, and Hudson, in the backseat. "Y'know? We're like Eliot Ness! Untouchables, cool stuff like that!" He cackled to himself, evidently having the time of his life.

As the car rolled down another alleyway, an interesting sight caught his eyes. A bit early in the morning he though, but there stood a group of 3 teens. Skateboards, baggy shirts and jeans, and most jarring of all:

Smoking cigarettes.

Peter pressed the breaks and put the car in park. "Alright, gimme a sec here ladies. Need to have a chat with these boys." He stepped out of the car and walked over to the boys, car door slammed behind him, but 'California Loving' still easily audible.

"Morning boys! Bit early to be out don't you think? And smoking no less! Maybe a pre-work cig to start the day, huh? Tell me boys, how old are you all?"

All of them looked at the guy in the grey suit and felt their hearts sink as the cigarettes fell to the ground. One managed to stammer a response. "Twe-twenty one..." He muttered quietly.

Peter raised an eyebrow as he looked him up and down, as well as his comrades. "Bull. You've got about as much facial hair as a 12 year old. And you two with your peach fuzz look barely 15, and maybe if we're being generous, 17. Pretty sure that means you're all breaking the law boys..."

The boys all began to breath a little deeper, minds scrambling to find any method of escape from this mess. "Are... Are you a cop?" Another stammered.

The serious look on Peter's face quickly shifted into a smirk, and then a burst of laughter. "Oh no no no guys, I'm WAY worse than a cop. Seriously, normally if you come across me, you've done something INCREDIBLY stupid."

He chuckled to himself a bit more as he looked between the boys, before snapping his fingers at them, and holding his palm out. "Smokes, let's go."

The boys all pulled out a package of cigarettes, and after one of them put their packet in Peter's hand, he quickly opened it and pulled a slender smoke out. He held it between his index and middle finger, up in front of the boys.


The boys looked confused at each other as the other two put their packets of smokes away and one pulled out a lighter, lighting the cigarette.

Peter began taking drags from it as he looked between the three of them again.

"You kids smoke Mary Jane as well? Wacky Tabbacky?"

The boys were silent, shuffling uncomfortably as they struggled to find words to reply with.

"You know who smokes weed?" He asked rhetorically.

The boys said nothing still.

"Cowards. Losers and cowards. Seriously, I do NOT get what is up with your generation, and most people today! Like seriously, you all talk about 'living life to the fullest' or 'making every day a party'..." He spoke mockingly and condescendingly.

"But none of you wanna use REAL drugs. Honestly boys, all I can say is that I'm disappointed." He sighed as he took another drag from his cigarette.

"Are... Are you seriously supposed to be talking to us like this? Are you like a drug dealer?" One asked sheepishly.

"Why, you wanna buy?" Peter chuckled.

The boys stayed silent again. Peter sighed and shrugged.

"Well listen boys, don't be losers, alright? Be cool, do something... MEANINGFUL with your lives. Just don't be lame. Also, don't do anything super stupid, else you're gonna see me again one day. And you reeeeeeeally don't want that."

He chuckled again as he turned to walk away.

Before he got back to the car, one of the boys had mustered enough courage to ask one last question. "Hey! Who are you? What do you actually do?"

Peter took a final drag from his cig, letting the cherry swallow up everything else down to the butt. He dabbed the ashes onto the alley pavement, dropped the butt to the ground, stamped it out, and turned back to face the trio.

"You boys ever ask yourself... Who Reaps the Grim Reaper?" He smirked as he tapped his temple with his index finger.

"Never stop being curious boys. Question everything. Maybe one day you'll get some answers. And maybe... You'll end up becoming more interesting people as a result." He smirked as he gave a brief wave to them and turned back to the car.

"Have a good morning boys. Thanks for the cigs."

Peter got back in the car, and drove off without another word to the boys. The three of them looked between each other, quiet for a few moments, before the expletive riddled questions about 'what just happened' began to pour out.
Los Angeles, California: March 20th, 2045, 7:30am

A TV flashes on, as images of famous American landmarks fade in and out in rhythm to the music playing along with it. Not long after, images of supers, soldiers, tanks, ships, jet fighters, and American flags, fade in and out along with it.

Finally, the images of Atlas City show on screen.

“On March 12th, America was attacked. An act of sheer cowardice, evil, and insanity, let loose on thousands of innocents, who’s only crime was being born in a country that values Freedom.” These words came sternly from the mouth of Captain Valor.

“But rather than tearing us apart, like our enemies hoped they would, something more miraculous than we could have imagined happened.” These were the softer words of Lady Liberty.

“America came together. United by a common cause to protect these lands, and the peoples in them. Every freedom, every liberty, we’ve had to fight for, bleed for…” Major Justice.

“And die for…” These words came from a holographic representation of Lone Star, who died to the Beast of Decay, and who’s Birth and Death dates were flashed at the bottom of the screen.

“Future generations will continue to carry the Torch of Freedom. Both across America…” The smiling, hopeful voice of the young girl known as Lieutenant Liberty.

“And the world.” This time it was Secretary of Defense Victor Novadrak, standing with arms crossed, next to Attorney General Claudia Burke.

“The American League and NAHLA.” Spoken by Captain Valor and his comrades spoke.

“The Department of Justice, including the Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Claudia Burke spoke.

“And the Armed Forces of the United States of America. We all stand united, from this day, and forever more.” Victor Novadrak concluded, now the sole figure on screen.

“From this day forward, Americans will no longer be made to feel afraid. From now on, our enemies can be afraid. We are America, we will see Freedom reign, from Sea to Shining Sea, and to every corner of the Earth.”

“Fear ends today America. And our journey to global Freedom begins. God Bless America.” President Gordon Ford finished off the advert, with palm placed over his heart.

The screen faded to images of Atlas City, with America flags waving in the background.

‘America Now and Forever.’ The final text left on the screen.


Richard turned away from the TV and towards the coffee the barista placed in front of him. He smiled warmly to her, which she responded in kind. “Thanks miss. You have yourself a good day.”

She smiled and nodded. “Thanks! You too sir!”

He stepped out of the café and took a seat at one of the tables on its outdoor patio. It was early in the morning, and he was enjoying the way the ocean looked as the sun began to cast it’s earliest beams across it. It was a relaxing, soothing moment. Something he needed after the other day.

Still was pretty sore, but after he and the others had gotten away, George’s people had managed to perform yet more medical miracles on him. At this point, he was wondering if he was going to have adamantium bones.

All that aside, he was still somewhat bothered by everything that had happened. Those villains were getting more numbers, and those numbers were capable of doing some disturbing levels of damage…


Los Angeles, California: March 18th, 2045, 2:38pm

Richard unsteadily rose from the ground, having just taken Hrunting back in his hands. The last few minutes was a blur, the big woman had picked him up and tossed him around a lot, felt like she’d borderline shattered his body… But she was missing an arm. He smirked and let out a pained laugh. Even if she grew it back or something, at least he got some satisfaction in watching her bleed… Black ooze?

As he steadied his rifle at her again, he heard an unnerving, unnatural voice call to him.

“You’re no Hero, and that’s not Grendel’s Mother.”

What WAS that thing? Tons of creepy eyes, a bear’s mouth, was it some kind of shapeshifter? Before he could get an answer, he was being swarmed by ants. Thousands of them.

"Maybe not Grendel’s Mother, but I’ll kill you both all the same." He muttered under his breath as he struggled with the thousands of ants crawling all over him.

The strange beast had taken off towards the truck, evidently after the same thing the heroes were after:

The drugs.

The team desperately struggled with the swarms, with the dragon woman, with a mountain of a man with green skin. It was a disaster.

Richard looked over towards the warehouse. Men and women fled the scene as fast as they could, trying to evade the swarm of what he now realized were chemical filled bugs. Watching the smoking area, the fire, the burning, something clicked in his mind.

Ants still chewing at his armor, he mustered every last ounce of energy he had and charged towards the warehouse, through the entrance Maeve had come through. Once inside, he pulled a fire alarm, and walked over to the nearest desk he could find.

He’d seen what the ants were capable of, so this was not a decision he was going to enjoy ultimately.

Richard stood on top of the desk, aimed his rifle outside towards the sand, and fired a single shot. The rifle barrel began to erupt in searing heat from the bullet, and the chemicals that began to corrode it. He raised the deteriorating rifle up towards a fire sprinkler, and within a few moments, the entire warehouse released a torrential downpour.

Richard dropped Hrunting, and as his armor became soaked, the ants that covered him began to slowly get swallowed up in a layer of ice. He broke chunks off quickly to ensure the ants didn’t secrete anymore chemicals onto his armor.

Soon he was clear of any insects, and the warehouse was flooding.

The temperature in the warehouse began to rapidly drop, but the burning inside Richard’s chest was only getting hotter and hotter.

He stepped out of the warehouse, and back into the hot desert sun, followed by a thick, cold fog. He’d tossed Hrunting onto the desert sands, as more ants began to swarm towards it again, only for their movements to become sluggish, slow, lethargic, and soon, they stopped moving entirely.

The dragon woman had engaged with more of his comrades, while he’d been away, and while she was turned away from him, she felt something pierce through her shoulder. A foot long spike of ice had pierced through her, certainly not enough to kill, but enough to seriously maim.

Richard unholstered his pistols, turned to the truck, and began to rapidly pepper it with holes. Oxygen began to quickly fill the inside of the back, swelling the fires inside. Before long, the side was ripped open as the many-eyed shifter burst out from inside. While Richard didn’t realize it, she’d already collected the 10 vials of the drug she was told to collect.

Akiko had gone into full ‘Witchfinder Mode’ and was firing jets of flames into the swarms of ants around. Unfortunately, it became quickly apparent that the back of the truck was an absolute loss. The fire inside had already consumed everything they needed.

As the shapeshifter tried to gain it’s footing, a cold mist of vapor from the back of the truck began to encompass her.

He hadn’t realized it, but Richard’s powers hadn’t been quite this versatile before now. The reach they had was growing, as was its severity. The mist obscured the vision of the shapeshifter, but Richard knew exactly where she was, something that became apparent as a few shots managed to connect or graze her body.

While the heroes tried to beat back the villains, Richard became entirely lost in his hatred, practically drunk on it. The sands became covered in frost, shards of ice, fog, and more. Bullets and ice spikes flew with precision, but with a rapidity that showed a total loss of control.

He didn’t know how it happened, but somehow the villains had communicated with each other that their mission was accomplished, and they had already begun to regroup and evacuate the area. Had someone turned into a dragon and flown off? Was hard to say for sure, Richard had begun to collapse at this point, and might have confused it with the VTOL that had begun to descend towards the heroes. Men and women in white and blue rushed to them, quickly getting them onto the dropship, grabbing items and equipment, gently getting Richard settled on a gurney, and then taking off.

Shortly after, Richard would be able to watch in the distance as fire and streaks of red light tore through the clouds of ants that lingered.

Captain Valor and Lady Liberty had arrived at the warehouse, and began the meticulous process of purging the entire site.

Liberty and Valor stood on the charred grounds of what was left of the warehouse battlefield. A look of deep concern marked Liberty’s face, but Valor looked on in something bordering on anger.

She was too scared to say this honestly to anyone… But it was starting to scare her.


Los Angeles, California: March 20th, 2045, 7:35am

Richard sighed, feeling exhausted about everything. Fortunately, his coffee was still hot, so that was good. He took careful gulps as he looked through articles of news from the last few days.

A video came up of Captain Valor being confronted by some fringe conspiracy theory news outlet, questioning him about claims some had made that supers hadn’t actually gotten their powers naturally at all, but from a pharmaceutical company that had developed some kind of ‘Super Chemical’ with the help of a Nazi scientist.

Valor seemed pretty annoyed at the question, responding that it sounded like something from out of a tv show or comic.

Richard did kinda find that amusing, but it was still a mystery. And to some degree, that still bothered him.
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I stand in opposition.
Before me, [χρόνος] rages.
An all consuming force of destruction.
He rends the very fabric of all he touches.
[Γαία] screams at every footfall.
I'll never forget that sound...
The shriek of dying [μάνα]

I wake as I'm cradled. As gentle as He is powerful.
Against his frame I am but a child.
We're propped up on Othrus' flank, where I fell asleep.
The other dogs piled up around us.
The cold, reptilian shape coiled around the pile stirs slightly.
Othrus heaves a belabored sigh at being roused, though his tail begins to twitch.

[Is it time?]

You were screaming.

I feel my waning terror whisked away.
I push a fox's tail out of my face.


You woke the dogs, they're gonna think it's breakfast time.

He feigns annoyance.

[Time?] [Time? Time?!] [Mmh?] [The sacred word!] [BISCUITS!!]

I find seven pairs of eyes and six wagging tails affixed on me intently.

Look at what you've done, you went and said the "B" word.

Ah, shit.

Genuine annoyance this time. I can't help but chuckle.
I leave the dogs to Achilles, drifting towards my body.
I slide quietly into shared consciousness.
She's singing.
We're leaning back on a rooftop, tail swishing.
Voice reaching towards stars whose lights were suffocated by the Corpo Kingdom's "Second Sunrise."
Hearing my voice at the hands of another is beautiful, but surreal.
I wait for her to finish, then gently caress the edge of her consciousness.


Her eyes flick to the right, as though I'm standing next to her.

"Did I wake you?"

She rumbles, pressing her fingers together apprehensively.

I had a bad dream.

Her head tilts, as she scoops her tail into her arms like a twitching, furry pillow.
I feel her ears flick. She holds back a comment, or a question.

"Are you going to take over now?"

Her voice is muffled by the end of her tail, I feel her ears droop.

I was hoping we could sing together for a while.

The excitement is like a jolt of electricity.

"Oh, I have the perfect song!"​

March 12th, 2045 - Atlas City Aftermath [Hadean]

"Moore," the agent answered the phone crisply as he juggled an evidence crate in his grip and pressed his phone to his shoulder with his cheek. A short ways away outside a woman in battered looking silver armor dragged a white coated man onto a plane under no small amount of protest. "Yes he dropped off the evidence from yesterday's incident at the diner. Some of it is missing. He left a note... 'Electro Magnetic Interference,' it says," replied Moore. He had to lift his ear from the splitting laughter coming from the speaker, and nearly dropped his phone in the crate. The agent suppressed an exasperated sigh.

"Oh. Another disturbance? ... I'll send a team posthaste."

Minutes later, down on the Atlas City beach, the wind whipped up the mixed color curls of a diminutive woman in black, dwarfed by the tall red-haired man standing next to her. A pack of sharp, black hounds with burning embers for eyes combed the beach intently for something at her direction. The two conversed quietly for a while as they surveyed the destruction. He brought a hand up to her shoulder after flicking his gaze back towards the boardwalk.

"Our presence has attracted some attention," he muttered, crimson eyes scanning the ruins carefully.

So quickly... and I thought we were rather quiet," rasped the woman. "Let's not overstay our welcome."

The man nodded, taking up her hand in his. As the strike team was given the order to close in, and agents began emerging from the boardwalk the red haired man reached behind him, his hand vanishing into some previously invisible rift. After a tense moment of hesitation, the pair were pulled through, vanishing from the beach. The dogs snapped to attention, most of them at least, as they dissolved into black mist. The lead agent trotted to a halt as the rest of the team swarmed the spot where the pair stood. The agent raised his fingers to his ear.

"The suspects escaped," he sighed. "They noticed us before we were visible. Thinker, maybe. Woman and a man, and five dogs. Can't say for certain, but it appears they were looking for something near the Beast's corpse. We're relaying the drone footage now, and sending a requisition for the tasked satellite imagery. Yes sir, right away... if they come back they won't get away..."

March 19th, 2045 - Morning - Somewhere on the east coast

"Aaah, Helene this is taking too long," the red haired man fidgeted nervously.

"Code names, Herald, we're on assignment," she chided.

"Yeah but... 'Hex' has this negative association to it? Right uh... Gods, I'm supposed to be covering Archer and I'm already in trouble with the rest-," he rambled.

"This is important, Herald," she shushed, looking out at the river with a short sigh. "A corrupted aspect entered our world, and so far as I can tell it came through here at some point. It might be related to the dimensional creature we tracked here. That's why I asked to return to the boardwalk and not... wherever this is," she explained, her deadpan voice belying the irritation she felt.

"It's not an exact science, ok? Something pulled me off course," he muttered. "Do you want me to try again?" Hex looked up at him for a long minute before shaking her head, the corners of her dark painted lips cracked into the barest hint of a smile. Herald deflated, exhaling a breath he hadn't realized he was holding.

"No, I have Cream with me, it shouldn't be more than a few minute flight once I get my bearings," she relented, leaning into his side. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder reflexively as they gazed out at the coast of what was probably D.C.. "Besides, I want to avoid polluting the local Astrascape any more than necessary. Our carelessness from the previous exit has already had an Ecological impact. The full extent of future ramifications are impossible to predict."

"Well. Be careful. If something happens to you and the others find out it was me who brought you here..."

"I can take care of myself, Herald. You can tell the others I forced you," she replied, with the hint of a chuckle.

"I'm absolutely not going to do that," he sighed, and stepped backwards into the Rift.

Helene gazed out over the city from the rooftop where they had landed. The capital building was illuminated brightly in the distance beneath her gaze. Compared to the constant barrage of saturated ideation and color of her home, the Astral Sea of this world was serene in a semi-desolate sense. Naught but a few wisps of emotion blew down the streets from the muted spirit forms of people beginning their morning routines. She felt the tippy tap of impatient hooves in her Astral Form at the mention of flight, and was about to pull the animal out of the [Immaterial] when a sharp pain struck her neck. In a matter of moments her vision doubled, and her balance disappeared as the rooftop door burst open. Black uniformed figures wielding rifles quickly surrounded her as she collapsed to the ground.

"Wait...," was all she could manage to gasp as she fought to stay awake.

"Suspect neutralized," answered one of the agents crisply, in response to the barely audible chatter from his comms.

Darkness overtook her and she fell into the void.

Anima crashed into Danielle’s legs, grabbing them and slamming her sister to the ground. “You take that back, Wu-Tang is NOT better than NWA.” To her credit, her sister managed to plant both of her feet onto Anima's stomach and with a grunt, she kicked her into the wall.

Standing up Danielle sneered, “RZA walks all over Easy-E, any day, any time.” The song that had spawned the argument continued to play in the background, entirely ignored in the heat of their faux anger. She watched her sister kip up and raise her fists. “Your fists cant change that.”

“They can beat your ass.”

"Come try it cupcake."

Before Anima had a chance to step forward and start throwing punches Sophia poked her head in from the hallway, “Jamie texted. We’re going out.”

SINS Headquarters, California Branch: March 12th, 2045, 5:35pm

Merle double-checked his SINS-issued uniform in the mirror. The sleek black tactically plated armor was a matte black that didn’t quite match the gunmetal color of his rifle. Today was the day, his first actual raid working for the government. He took a deep breath and stepped through the briefing room door. He was the last one in the room, even a stranger in horn-rimmed spectacles had arrived before him. “Who’s the new guy?” Merle’s awkward joke hung in the air as he walked to the other side of the room and took his seat.

The man in spectacles cleared his throat, “Hello gentlemen. For most of you, this isn't your first briefing; for our newest recruit, however, I am Jamie, and I am the handler of the parahuman asset you will be partnered with tonight.” He looked down at the files on his desk causing his glasses to slide down his nose. “Due to the nature of the asset, I am required by law to have you all sign the waivers in front of you. They simply state that you understand the asset will initiate and maintain psychic contact for the majority of the time you’re on this assignment. Other than that there is the standard NDA with a few additions for the sake of tonight’s mission.” He crossed his arms and waited as the SINS agents signed the papers.

“Leave them on your desks, I will collect them after we finish the briefing.”

“So who’s the asset?” Merle’s hand rose as he voiced the question, it wasn’t his first time working with parahumans, but it never hurt to know. Chuckles arose from his fellow agents.

Jamie used his left middle finger to push his glasses back into place. “We’ll be going over the mission objective first. Then you’ll load into your armored personnel carrier and the parahuman will meet you at the objective site.”

The APC’s wheels glided over the freshly paved asphalt as it arrived at its destination. They were in the nicer part of the city, the building in front of them a skyscraper that couldn’t have been constructed less than five years ago. Merle found himself wondering what reason SINS could have for sending a team here. His ponderance was interrupted by the scene in front of him. “What in-“

The driver put his hand over Merle’s mouth before he could finish the sentence. There were five girls wearing increasingly ridiculous outfits, ranging from a pantsuit to an elaborate kimono. One of the girls simply wore yoga pants and a crop top, her hair pulled back into a ponytail.

“Don’t do that. She was polite about it at first, but all jokes get old eventually.” The armored car slowed to a halt and the back door slid open with a pneumatic hiss. Most of the SINS squad got out and took a trained formation around the girls.

Merle frowned, “Where do I-“

The one in a kimono raised her index finger at Merle and gave him a sharp look. The five girls spoke in unison, “Good evening gentle friends.” Each of the five girls called out a different name at the same time, their voices overlapping, “Tina, Marcus, Allan, Jill, Merle.” They paused for a second then began speaking in sync again, “Thank you for your assistance tonight, and we’re glad to be of assistance tonight. Hello, I’m Sibyl. I am now initiating Mental Handshake.”

Suddenly Merle found himself shaking someone’s hand, he wasn’t standing on the ground anymore, there was nothing around him except for that person. He tried to understand what he was looking at but her features were an amalgamation of five different people that seemed to flicker through different combinations of each other every time his eyes tried to make sense of it. Then everything came into focus for Merle.

“You’re Sybil?”

“I am,” The figure smiled and he was on solid ground again.

He was aware of exactly where his squadmates were. More than that he became aware of thousands of little things he hadn't been before, the speed of the wind on his face, the position of the sun, and how its light reflected on the glass of the skyscrapers around him. He became aware there were tears streaming down his face, and that his squad was laughing at him.

“Rookies.” Jill had a smug smile on her face while she double-checked her sidearm.

Jamie’s voice chimed in their earpieces, “Good evening team Sybil, I will be your Handler for the night, all protocols are in place until such time when I or the Director approves of dropping them.”

The girls spoke in unison, “Hello Jamie ~”

Jamie continued without responding to the parahumans, “Sybil is OIC, Officer in Charge of this mission. However, you are all encouraged to report any sensation of her unnecessarily going through your head. As you have already been briefed we will start mission at 2000 hours.”

West Hollywood, California: March 12th, 2045, 7:59:50pm

Merle was restless; the Sybil with the lightest colored hair, the one wearing the pantsuit, had been sent to the roof with Jill, Tina, and Marcus. He looked back at the parahuman one more time, trying to figure out if she had fallen asleep, she hadn't moved in the past fifteen minutes.

“I’m not asleep. Just resting my eyes, I didn’t expect to get deployed today.” She stood up lazily, stretching like a cat while she stifled a yawn.

“R-right.” A chime rang in his head, like a bell announcing class had started. He took a deep breath and then planted his boot firmly on the door, splintering the wood that held the lock in place. His fellow squadmates rushed in through the broken door, including the one Allan had kicked in on the first floor at the exact same moment. It was almost disorienting how much information was running through his head, but somehow the more experienced squad members were picking up his mental slack.

The SINS agents practically sprinted through the building, with Sybil alerting them to everyone’s location, there was no need to check corners or watch each other’s backs. He tossed a grenade into a bedroom that thoughts were coming from, it felt oddly like a HALO lobby, it was just missing the thirteen-year-olds yelling expletives; as the tinker tech grenade soared through the air it was all he could think about. The grenade exploded into foam, trapping the room’s occupants in an oxygen-permeable prison of bright red. Why was he thinking about HALO? He'd never played HALO.

Anima, focus. Your thoughts are bleeding into Merle’s. But HALO 6: Redux Empires Budokai comes out tomorroooww. Focus!

Then his thoughts were quiet again. As confusing as his last few thoughts were, he was still aware that his team was starting to outpace them. With a shake of his head, Merle ran to the next door and kicked it open. Gunfire immediately greeted him, a hail of bullets that he somehow knew would be immediately lethal. The gun fired until empty, each bullet reflecting off a barely noticeable wall of psychic energy.

“Keep moving. I’ve got this one.” The Sybil he had entered with closed the door and followed after him, but the man inside started howling in agony. She sprinted after Merle, “Faster. If Cadence gets there first I lose a bet.”

Merle nodded and ran to catch up with his squadmates. They were already on the floor below him, the stairs were at the other end of this hallway, so he should take the shortcut. What shortcut? Emiri smiled at him and smashed a hole in the floor with a wave of psychic energy.

The SINS agents had been sent back outside and Cadence was now only waiting for- “Emiri, so glad of you to finally join us. You only had to clear a quarter of the rooms we did.” A smug smile was painted across her face as her last sister joined the group.

“You gave me the new guy on purpose. Totally wasn’t fair.” Despite her protests, Emiri was monosyllabic and looked bored. “Target confirmed?”

Cadence’s teeth showed as her grin widened, “Target confirmed. Jamie, permission to break Protocol Three for the next ten seconds?”


The sisters got into a relaxed position, carefully putting up layers of forcefields in key locations. Some around them, one around the door, and one in the room they were about to breach.

“Director has given confirmation, Protocol 3 is lifted for ten seconds starting… Now.”

Instantly Sybil could hear the twenty or so minds huddled in the room in front of them, some of them were praying. Eighteen of them started screaming as raw sensory input began flooding their senses; cold slimy things touching them, leering eyes opening up on the walls of the room, and lurid whispers.

‘Oh God. the voices.’ One of them thought to himself as he clenched his teeth so hard that he broke his crown. Panicked, he squeezed the trigger of the automatic pistol he held. As soon as the first bullet fired, everyone else holding a gun began to unload their weapons into hallucinations, each other, or nothing at all. All but two of the minds in the room winked out.

A man burst through the door in front of them, slamming into the forcefield they’d placed there, his body practically covered in osseous growths or bones fractured and sticking out of his body. With a grunt, the boned man used a sharp growth on his elbow to throw all of his weight against the forcefield causing it to shatter. Without wasting a motion he outstretched that same arm and flung shards of bone from his fingertips, clattering futile against the transparent barrier that separated him and his assailants.

Sybil took a few steps back and then sent a wave of telekinetic energy into his legs, sweeping him to the ground. The moment his head hit the ground another wave slammed into him from above, then another, rapid pulses of telekinetic energy slowly hammered him into the floor below.

While he fell the man got even more pissed off, and the osseous growths began to layer themselves like scale mail. Bones sprouted from his back and launched him to his feet. Rage, primordial and fierce, a roar echoing from his chest. With a snarl he drove his hand into a nearby wall, tearing through it until he found a beam. His hand, ending in a clawed gauntlet of white ivory, tore through the beam and the building lurched.

“Jamie he’s trying to take down the building.”

“Well stop him. We have civilians upstairs.”

“Sophia secure the package.” Cadence and her other sisters jumped down the hole after Bone Zone. He was already working on finding a new support beam to cleave through. Cadence took a step forward and a spear of bone burst out of the ground, aimed for her midsection. Anima grabbed her and pulled her back, as she did Danielle sent a wave of energy across the floor, ripping up the ground as she did. A dozen other bone spears sprouted from the ground hitting nothing in particular.

Bone Zone ripped a chunk out of another support beam and looked behind him. Three of the girls had blood running down their noses. Had he hit them? In an instant he found himself thrown through a wall and falling through the sky. Rifle rounds peppered him as he fell, SINS agents; what the hell had he gotten himself into? The ground greeted him with its gentle embrace.

Sybil followed angrily after him, landing in a circle around him. He launched himself to his feet again, so she focused telekinetic energy into a small point and slammed it into his thigh. The satisfying crunch that followed confirmed his femur had been shattered. His conscious thoughts stopped as the pain knocked him into blissful unconsciousness.

“Cuff his hands and legs, Rating 9 Brute cuffs at least.” The squad hurried to respond. Sophia floated down from the building, a small man with a shock of black hair was clinging to her as she held him. “Target secure. Returning to HQ.”

██████████: March 20th, 2045, 7:30am

The television continued to play despite the fact that Emiri couldn’t make out much of what was being shown due to how thoroughly Cadence’s right hand was on her shoulder and shaking her.

“Look, look, it’s Lady and Lieutenant Liberty, and Captain Valor!”

As if Emiri hadn’t seen it first and went to get her sister. She calmly put her hand on her sister’s and removed it from her shoulder. The advert wrapped up with President Gordon Ford and Cadence’s head slowly turned until she was staring at her sister, mouth agape. “Did you hear that?”

“Sea to shining sea?”
Emiri watched as her sister grinned clenched her hand into a fist.

“Exactly! Didn’t I tell you? We’re going to go out more. They’re going to need us.” With a smug smile, Cadence kicked her feet onto the coffee table in front of them and leaned back. “Then people will start to recognize us, and we’ll end up like Lady Liberty! Or Backlash!”

“Isn’t Backlash under suspicion of war crimes?”

“Oh so was President Nixon during the moon wars. Did that stop him from getting reelected? No.”
Cadence relaxed, her head hanging off the edge of the couch, “And wouldn’t it be nice to get a ‘thank you’ every now and again?”

“The team thanks us after every mission.”

“That’s a professional courtesy and doesn’t count.”
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Atlas City, North Carolina: March 20th, 2045, early morning.

Deep beneath the bowels of Club Shapeless...

His chest rose and sank with paced breaths. His pectorals swelled against the strains of the stitches. His abdomen rippled and distended as he inhaled. With every push, the veins pulsed beneath his biceps. Groans of effort rang through the darkness. His hands, sallow green in colour and wrinkled with effort, held onto an eight-foot long rod. The metal bent from the weights at each end; misshapen, vaguely round balls of iron put together from many a junkyard scrap, '20 tons' spray painted over them in bold pink letters.

"Nine hundred seven… nine hundred eight!" His voice bellowed behind the muffles of his mask, black and heavy and tight against his skin. Sweat gathered upon his wincing brows, and his grunts crescendoed into a euphoric peak. "Nine hundred nine!... One… THOUSAND…!"

The earth shook. Dust poured from the cracks. The weight rattled upon the rack, until it stopped. He laid on his back, eyes rolling back in bliss, his calves like redwood trunks as they rooted him to the concrete floors of the Club Shapeless lab. His arms fell to his sides, and the lab's dim light fell upon the words branded onto his shoulder: '04 CARNIFEX', codename 'Scourge'; Shapeless super-mutant.

Scourge shifted and sat up on the bench press. Even sitting down, he dwarfed much of the machinery around him, with a body of raw, hardened muscle, bound together by stitches and kept alive by the infernal machinations beneath. Scourge looked around. This was where he was born. A pit slithering with cables and dotted with glass pillars which bubbled and roiled with glowing green liquid. An assortment of exercise equipment were strewn about one side of the lab, specially customized for his brute physique. Bench presses, pulldowns, cable bars… and the leg presses, of course. Scourge never skips leg day. The rest of the equipment once belonged to the one he called his creator, though they, like himself, now serve a different master. He pushed at the left spike that adorned his mask, and a beep followed, reaching out for a certain Lilian Anderbilt.

"Hey DOC, I'm gettin' breakfast. You like Vietnamese?"
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Note: this is a scrolling box!
(“italic quotes” = Japanese, Non italic is English).

The sun is shining, not a cloud in sight on this fine Japanese mid morning. Yukisa is seen sporting an all black street wear style outfit, complete with a pair of eye obscuring sunglasses to stave off the bright sunlight. She steps off of the bus, with her parents close behind her.

“Ma, you know you can’t go past the gate once we get inside.”

Her mother hops to Yukisa’s side and gives her a light tap tap on the shoulder, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. I won’t try to stow away with you this time."

“And Papa, make sure you follow Ma back and don’t get lost okay? Hold Ma’s hand the wholeeee way. I forbid you to let go.” Yukisa jests, looking at her father briefly before looking ahead.

“Ohhhh, alright. Anything for you sweetie.” Her father grabs hold of her Mother’s hand right that instant.

“Anyway, let’s get going inside. My flight is in 15 minutes so we have to hurry it along.”

Yukisa trots off a few feet in front of her parents again, looking back every so often out of the corner of her eyes.

About 8 minutes later they pass through the main food court. Yukisa’s mother walks along to her left side again, with her father on the far left. “Will you not eat anything, child?” She questions.

“Ma, breakfast was enough earlier. They also give food on the plane so I’ll be okay in that department.”

Yukisa’s mother pouts, “Are you sure?”

Yukisa nods lightly, “Yes, Ma. Don’t worry, I’ll have even more food when I get to L.A.”

Another few minutes later and they arrive at the gate. Yukisa turns around to face her parents. “This is the part where you two stay behind this gate and wave. Be careful on the way back home okay?”

Yukisa smiled at them before turning to go through the security gates. She took her backpack off of her to place into the scanner. Yukisa then places her shoes in the item scanner, then walks through the people scanner. On the other side she grabs her backpack and places her shoes back on.

Yukisa turns around and waves at her parents before heading to the terminal bay for her flight.

Her parents watch quietly from behind the gate. Her mother wipes a slight tear off her face.

“My goodness Yumiko, quit it. You can video call her when she gets there.” Yukisa’s father exclaims.

“Oh gosh, I just hate seeing her leave every time…. But I know, LA is where her heart is.”

“Come on, let’s get back home and wait for that call.”
Yumiko aka Yukisa’s mother wipes another tear and turns around with her husband.

Yukisa’s parents are then seen turning around, to head back out of the airport.

Boarding time approaches. Yukisa boards the plane, and ends up in a left sided seat where one can see the wing of the plane.
An announcement from the pilot is heard through the plane: “Attention passengers, the time is now 7:00 am, We are arriving in Los Angeles, California. We hope you enjoy your stay.” It says it once again but in english for the American folks that are returning.

Yukisa had actually managed to nap during the flight, albeit only for about 4 hours of the total 10 because of a child waking her up. She’s most likely going to need a cat nap later…

Yukisa rises from her seat, and gathers her quite full backpack, which happens to be black to match the rest of her outfit. She turns to the right and waits for her turn to depart from the plane, doing so once that time arrives.

It is now, 7:10am. Yukisa is gliding her way through the airport with a careful stride, avoiding the crowds of families and their luggage like a snake slithering through rocks.

Yukisa exits the large doors of the airport that lead to the bus terminal. A minute later, a bus arrives to take Yukisa into the city. She steps onto the bus, pays the fee, and sits into the first open seat she sees.
Yukisa looks at her phone briefly as she signals the bus to stop. 7:30 am. She takes a breath and stretches her arm on the support railing before standing up. A few others get off the bus with her, however she’s definitely the most notably dressed person coming off of it, aside from the drag queen in pink and holographic sequins. Yukisa touches her hand to her hat as a slight gust of wind tries to blow it away.

Yukisa takes a gander across the street to a cafe she’s passed by a few times. It seems today is finally the day that she’ll enter it.

Yukisa walks to the crosswalk after the bus departs and waits for the go ahead to cross, then she makes her way over to the cafe entrance. She re-tightens her backpack as she enters the joint. Quite a quaint looking place, not too extravagant, not too crowded either. Just the way she likes it.

Yukisa takes a brief look at the electronic menu screen before going to the counter. “I’ll have one frozen hot chocolate, and a bagel with strawberry jam please.”

The barista calculates the cost of Yukisa’s order: “That’ll be 4 dollars.”

Yukisa pays her dues and walks to the side to wait for her items to be put together.

“Your order is ready!” The Barista slides the items onto the counter.

“Thank you very much.” Yukisa gives a slight nod. “Have a great day.”

“Thanks, You too!”
The Barista says chipperly.

Yukisa heads back out of the cafe because the patio outside looked rather nice. She decided it would be a nice area to have a morning snack.

Yukisa meanders her way through some tables, again with quick silent footsteps. She sits herself down at a table with an umbrella above it and places her food down. She is just one table away from a dark haired man that she had passed by.

Yukisa takes her backpack off and sets it in a vacant seat next to her. From it she takes out a notebook from a medium sized pocket. Then she opens a smaller pocket and takes out a pen. This isn’t just any pen, it is an antique pen. One of the very pens that Mark Twain used. One of the original Crescent Filler fountain pens. It is quite shiny and has been kept pristine by Yukisa, however she had left it back in Japan once after a hectic call back to the lab. This recent trip was to retrieve it. She’s been without this bad boy for four months, four months too long if you ask her.

Yukisa opened her notebook to see a bunch of chemical formulas, specifically of gasses at temperatures near close to absolute zero, with hypothetical equations of them reacting with each other and other substances. Yukisa is a cryochemist. She studies reactions between intensely cold substances, in order to create new substances at even lower temperatures. All for mostly her own gain, if she can make a colder substance, she can become that substance. Her ultimate goal is achieving absolute zero. Cryogenisists and Cryochemists in recent years have come very very close to it, but haven’t quite gotten exactly to absolute zero. However they are definitely closer than they’ve ever been before.

Yukisa uncaps the pen, and continues where she left off. She sips her frozen hot chocolate every few seconds, as well as biting bits of her bagel at a time.

A few minutes later, Yukisa sets her pen down onto the notebook, making sure not to block anything she's written. She takes her phone out afterwards and snaps a picture of the notebook, with her half eaten bagel and frozen hot chocolate in frame. A few seconds later she taps away at her phone and sends the picture to her mother with the caption: I'm here! Eating food as well. : ) I'll call you once I get to my apartment later.

♡coded by uxie♡
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» Vicki Vortex

Richard was granted a good several sips of peace and quiet as a couple buskers nearby tuned their instruments. “One, two.” [LINK] Hands drove down on guitars and drums in a frenetic beat and as if on cue, Richard’s saucer began to rattle.

A rush of wind dishevelled his hair as it pulled past him, forming a miniature vortex right in front of his nose. Hot coffee leapt out of his mug in little waves. Nearby, a Crescent Filler fountain pen rolled off a notebook.

A pair of track pants formed first, sitting cross-legged right on top of Richard’s table. Then the rest of Vicki Vortex whipped into being like frosting on a cupcake. A trench coat five sizes too big for her settled down from the wind, over a midriff-baring turtleneck and chain. A finger hooked over her medical mask and pulled it down to her chin, revealing a grin that was oh so completely amused by herself.

“Hey you,” she said, and stuffed her face with a raspberry donut.

Vic leaned back on a hand as she chewed and cleaned her fingers, checking out the area as her leg jiggled along to the music. The raspberry jam from her donut oozed down her forearm, exposed from rolling up her sleeves a gazillion times. She didn’t know Richard much, if at all, but she had a solid feeling he didn’t like her. She couldn’t remember the exact thing she’d said or done, but it wasn’t a mystery why she grated on him. It was a passive talent of hers. And if anything, it made her want to act even more like herself around him.

“You went like full psycho the other day,” she brought up casually, thinking back to the warehouse. “That was… yeah, that was bloodlust on your baby face, hero.”

Vic, meanwhile, at the warehouse, had a great time duking it out with a buddy. The difference in tension between her vs. Scourge and Richard vs. everyone else was night and day.

“You wanna talk about it?” She didn’t know why she asked. Sometimes she found herself dragging behind her own spontaneity. “Seeing as we’re… coworkers.” A suppressed snort-laugh twitched on her face on that word. Coworkers. That was too weird. “Or something.”

She leaned her elbow on a knee and slurped up the jam on her forearm, eyes twinkling with want of something.
code by @Nano
'Wait,' she says.

The Tiger circles Helene's dormant consciousness angrily.
Even in the void, where mass has no meaning...
The weight of her paws resonates.

Didn't she see what happened?? Ambushed!

Until she wakes up I suppose...

The rustle of fox tails precedes the sizzle of burning tobacco drawn through the long stem of a Kiseru.
The Fox lounges on her back with her legs crossed idly, pausing to blow a large smoke ring.
The Tiger's pace increases.
Her angry rumbles resonate through the void, eliciting the odd giggle from Kindle.


Your rumbling tickles.

The Fox smirks, slowly twirling the kiseru between her slender fingers.

Relax. Naught to do but wait.

They could be doing unspeakable things


Only cowards and Lab Rodents fight with chemicals.

Yeah? Okay, what're you gonna do about it?

The Tiger flustered, clearly not prepared to be asked a question whose answer was clear.

FIGHT! Obviously.

The Fox giggles, her tails twitching in amusement as she rolls onto her side, propping her head up with one hand.

Obviously? You don't think the situation calls for some guile?

The Fox clacks her teeth on the kiseru's mouth piece.
An infuriating grin spreads across her lips.

NO? We're in danger NOW!

Janken then?


Jan. Ken. Play me for it.

The fox pushes herself upright.

Janken, Janken!

The Fox Chants.


With victory, reap what you seek.
Rip and tear until heart's peak.
Lose and we fulfill my desire.

Trickery. Guile. Lasting Ire.

The Fox's fanged smile is vindictive and serious, playful and vicious in equal measure.
The Tiger squints.

No! Hinging our safety on a game. Ridiculous.

The Tiger grunts, resuming her fitful pacing.

Sai... Sho...


Wa... Guu...

I'm not falling for your tricks again.

Janken Pon!!


The Fox's pealing laughter echoes throughout the void.

You always win. It's not fair.

Only because you're so predictable. We're flying, besides.

The Fox resumes lounging, her amusement showing in every fiber.
The Tiger flops to the ground sourly, clearly sulking.
For a while, the Fox's low giggling is the only sound.

How can you tell?

Can't you feel Kurimu's furious stamping?
Patience, Bubbzie: when the time is ripe... I won't stand in your way.

You better not, Kindle.

March 20th, 2045 - US Bank Tower, Los Angeles, CA 7:30am

"Wrecker for Isolation!" Called an agent as the elevator opened. A black enamel isolation pod loaded on a Brute-Gurney rolled into the lobby of SINS HQ. The agent whistled cheerily, tipping his hat towards the receptionist as he passed. The office was only just beginning to wake up. Personnel streamed in and out of the elevator, and congregated in break rooms and coffee makers before making their way to offices, Combat Information Centers, War Rooms, and Deployment rooms. The agent wheeled the "wrecker" around the offices to one of the cells which had been converted from an old bank vault.


"Wrecker for check in," announced Jerry, as he cheerily whipped out a slate and swiped through to the appropriate paperwork. "One 'Suspect' contained in isolation pod. Chemically sedated, max continuous dosage for one female approximately five feet, one-hundred ish pounds. Suppression collar... and a hobble," he noted, going over the list. "She's had stable vitals for the past twenty-four hours or so."

"Just a hobble?"

"...Yeah, just a- are you gonna start this shit again, Steve?"

"Why not the Brute-Cuffs?"

"It's an unconscious 'Master,'" Stated Jerry, as-a-matter-of-factly. "Look, Master protocol is sensory deprivation, chemical sedation, suppression collar, hobble."

"I know what the protocol is! What if she has a Brute rating?"

"You're SO paranoid! When, in the HISTORY OF SUPERS AND CAPES, has a Master had a secondary Brute rating? Tell me the percentage."

"Look all I'm saying is why,-"

"The percentage."

"0.013, look It's not unheard of! It's not," protested Steve to the bark of laughter. "Why do I issue... Brute Cuffs... if you're not gonna use them?"

"Not every super has a Brute rating, just admit that you're paranoid! Every time, I swear to God," he sighed, thumping the slate down on the surface of the pod. The monitor on the side of the pod beeped, notifying the Agents of a spike in the subject's vitals. Steve froze. Jerry rolled his eyes. "She's on enough tranquilizers to put down a cow. Probably having a bad dream," he chided.

With a thud the pod jumped on the wrecker, causing both agents to leap away and reach for their sidearms. They scarcely had their weapons out of their holsters when the side of the pod shattered, flooding the whole hallway with salt water. There was a tangible pause, and before before electricity erupted out of the pod, Steve gave Jerry a smug smile.

"Don't you start--!" He grunted, as lightning crawled over the surface of the water, and both agents shuddered and collapsed.

A white furred hand gripped the opening, and piercing yellow eyes gleamed within as slender fingers swelled into a muscular clawed paw. She ripped the lid of the pod off its hinges and her feet thudded heavily to the floor. She shook herself from muzzle to tail, taking a deep breath as tendrils of electricity crackled over her black stripes. She pulled the collar of and crushed it like a beer can in one paw as her restraints popped open one by one with accompanying jolts of lightning.

No killing.
"I know what the rules are," she rumbled.

Are you going to let them hear you sing?

"Absolutely," she chuffed contentedly. "I even know the perfect song..."
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  • Lilian stored the last vial safely away. Small arms fire peppered the truck as stray bullets found their way into her back. With a sigh, she sloughed the bullet-riddled flesh off and replaced it with fresh biomass absorbed from the bodies of the ants around her. A momentary lull happened, perhaps due to her assailant reloading, her infrared scanning eye tried to make someone out but the temperature was dropping rapidly, leaving everything a cold blue blur. ‘Nothing for it,’ She threw herself out of the side of the truck, only to be greeted with an icicle to the chest. A combination of fat, muscle, and her subdermal weave stopped the icicle from doing any serious damage, but there was no reason to stay and fight.

    Lillian chirped out a high-pitched radio wave, and the squid-machine inside Scourge translated for him, “Time to go.” The viridian giant ran towards her, covering the distance in only a few seconds through virtue of his massive gait. She grabbed his forearm and as he whipped past she used the momentum to throw herself onto his back.
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  • CabbageAngel CabbageAngel MisoraUni MisoraUni

    Richard turned his attention away from his phone for a moment to take notice of the bus that was dropping people off. As was expected in LA, many of the passengers were notable to look at, a mix of the diversity and creativity one would expect. One girl in particular stood out, carrying a perhaps too-full backpack. He smiled softly as he turned his gaze back to his phone.

    She seemed like she'd be interesting.

    Sure enough, once she finished ordering, and sat down at a nearby table, he noted the very antique fountain pen, which seemed a very unique choice of writing utensil. Of course, he'd never have realized the historical significance of the tool she held.

    Richard remained quiet, trying more or less to mind his own business, though the note taking did have him rather curious, thinking perhaps she was the artsy sort, perhaps writing poetry, or a story. In an abstract sense, one might argue she was. As buskers began to play music, he felt both at home, and out of place. Music, poetry, painting, weren't exactly his forte's, but he always had an appreciation for art. But before he could really give much more thought to the matter, his coffee began to lap at the rim of the mug it sat in, spilling slightly over the sides.

    That wind seemed oddly unnatural.

    And sure enough, his suspicion was confirmed when a figured started to form, which he took very little time to discern was one Vicki Vortex.

    Who decided for some reason to immediately turn on her passive aggressive charms. He got the distinct impression there was something about him that grated her the wrong way.

    Probably the time he tore into her for trying to evade saving the world after the attack on Atlas City.

    "Yeah, something like that." He muttered in response to their alleged personal connection.

    Alleged because he still wasn't sure if she was actually working with them.

    "Sure though, why don't we talk about my bloodlust." He spoke in a calm, almost sardonic tone.

    "I mean, I thought it was that shrink on the sub's job to offer therapy, but since you're offering, why not. Perhaps you're hoping to hear about my childhood trauma? Or maybe you wanna know what dark secrets hide underneath my generally cheery exterior? Perhaps you wanna know how to push my buttons?"

    Richard smirked as he took a sip of his coffee again.

    "Everyone has their bad days after all, surely that's all it was Vick?" He set his coffee mug down and locked eyes with her, expression cold and stoney.

    "Or maybe I just really, really wanted to hurt them. Maybe I really wanted to kill them. Maybe I was really enjoying it all. Maybe I still want to finish the job. Maybe I'm still feeling that bloodlust right now."

    He picked up the mug again, took a sip, and gave a slight shrug.

    "Who can really say though. Is this kinda what you wanted to talk about?" He smirked.

At the sudden movement of her pen, Yukisa moves her hand with her phone in it, and in a slight karate chopping motion, stops her pen from rolling any further. She then looks towards the prospective source of the wind that tried to roll her pen away from her. Her eyes were led to the table opposite to hers, to see a materializing girl of a pale complexion with short silver hair, sitting atop the table. Yukisa’s mind instantly goes to the thought of: 'She looks like a druggie..' Then she turns her head back to look at her table.

Yukisa picks up her pen with her left hand first before closing her notebook with her right hand that is still holding her phone. Then she places her phone on top of her notebook.

Yukisa tries to avoid eavesdropping, but the conversation between the two is starting to get very… She wouldn’t call it strange, but rather something that maybe shouldn’t be blatantly talked about in a public space. Yukisa just can’t help herself but to say something. She lifts her head up to look in the direction of the other two at their table next to hers. “All this talk of murder and bloodlust…. There’s a time and place for it, but that time is not now, and that place is not here.”

Yukisa shakes her head slightly in disapproval. She taps her right pointer finger on the table so that her nail can be heard, “Tsk tsk.”

♡coded by uxie♡

  • March 12th, 2045 - Inside a forgotten tinker's bunker
    My world began in a bright flash of purple, blue, teal and orange tendrils of light. Then I opened my eyes.
    It's weird waking up not knowing who or what you are. It's even weirder when your head isn't attached to your body. Kind of a lot to wake up to, you can imagine. Lots of confusion, possibly panic. I was mostly curious though. Probably not a normal reaction for somebody but it was evident from the get go that I wasn't anything close to normal.

    Captain obvious over here am I right?

    Everything was cold and wet, though that was probably due to the tank of suspicious liquid I was suspended inside of. my body was able to reach up and grab my head that floated aimlessly near the top of the tank. Something told me I could reattach it. And what do you know, something came out of both parts of my neck and stitched me back together once the neck stumps were touching. Finally in one piece, I finally inspected my surroundings.
    What could be assumed to have been a laboratory at some point was in total disrepair. Lights flickering, water dripping from the ceiling, papers and equipment scattered all over the place. All that was missing was the ominous music and someone screaming monster while pointing at him. Why did he think he was a monster?

    A glance down at his own body revealed the obvious. His limbs were stitched together in segments and a nasty autopsy scar made a large Y shape across his front torso. Which added more questions to the mental list that was growing by the minute.

    Huh . . . This is gonna be a thing isn't it?

    That was about the time it finally dawned on him that he wasn’t breathing either. And the glass to his tank was cracking rather quickly.
    And that's when I was dumped onto the floor Sparking and flailing. Did I mention I was sparking? With electricity like some sort of Frankenstein electric eel-man. I guess you could say I was born that day. And that would be the day I would become everybody else's problem.

    Los Angeles, California: March 20th, 2045
    Funny how much a person can develop in little over a week. Granted not coming into the world as a newborn helps and having someone to help guide and teach you was a major bonus. Widget was a rather reclusive man, but he was arguably Ezra Stone's only friend currently. He helped him decide on his name and made all sorts of stuff for him. In return, Ezra tended to have to run errands and go shopping for the tinker.
    There was hope that With a tinker around something about Ezra and how he seemingly resurrected could be discovered. the way things currently looked though meant that it was gonna take a lot longer then roughly a week, especially if Widget's growing frustration was anything to go by. Ezra honestly didn't mind any of it, he was alive and just happy to enjoy himself with the life he was . . . . given? Gained? Eh, it didn't matter.

    After having finished his current "Shopping" trip for Widget, Ezra stood before a rather sizable billboard. Clean and currently untouched by any sort of advertisement yet. A perfect canvas. He grinned ear to ear, pulled out a multi-paint can in each hand and got to work.

    Twenty minutes of painting later and Ezra was satisfied with how the piece turned out. He re-holstered his paints as he admired his nearly finished work. Sure, Zombies were a bit on the nose for him but it was a funny inside joke. for the finishing touch, he pressed a finger to the drying paint and sent a surge of electricity through the art piece. All the colors began to have a soft almost neon glow to them instead of being burnt or damaged by the electricity. Now he was satisfied.

    Unfortunately there wouldn't be time to admire his handy work any further. "HEY? WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING YOU VANDEL?!!"

    Ezra whipped his head around to see a man furiously trying to get up the billboard ladder. "Oops, Time to go!" He blew a raspberry at the man right as he made it to the top before leaning over the edge and dropping off the building himself.

    The man's angry shouting turned to a panicked yelp momentarily, believing to have seen someone commit suicide. That Panic quickly died however as Ezra could be seen laughing manically while swinging over the street below from wires that lashed out and reeled in as if he was imitating spider-man.

    Ezra's luck however wasn't stellar and he wasn't that practiced at swinging around just yet. Also that power line came out of nowhere.
    "Gagh!" The electrocution did nothing but startle him, but unfortunately having been caught in the throat Ezra's involuntary instinct was to let his head pop off. While the tried to catch his head, as luck would have it any time someone tried to catch a dropped object, He only managed in nocking his head away.

    The head went sailing down the street, leaving His body to try and untangle itself.

    When his head landed, Ezra found himself on his side in the center of a table. he was between two people and outside what he would assume to be a café. " . . . Hiya! Has anyone seen my body anywhere?" He put on the best smile he could before adding quickly. "Please Don't scream or hit me, I'm just a head that got ahead of himself."
    Meanwhile his body was repelling down from the city powerlines, slowly and carefully making its way over to the café.

Atlas City, North Carolina: March 20th, 2045, early morning.

“EXTRA bean sprouts?!” Scourge repeated through his communicator. There was a pause, then a glee-filled chuckle. “HE HE HE You’re a woman after my own heart!” The jolly green zombie clicked his spike again to terminate their conversation and stood to his feet. His eight foot frame lumbered across the concrete floors, his eyes and veins faintly glowing in the dark as he approached the exit.

Sometime later, within the Club’s laboratory. The elevator door hissed and Scourge emerged from within. His heavy footfalls were accompanied by the sound of something wet, sliding and slipping with a trail of slime. “HEY, Doctor!” Scourge greeted Lilian. He raised his hand, from which he gripped a slick, meat-coloured tentacle, coiling around and around a battered, half-eaten corpse barely a third of Scourge’s size. An arm hung limp from between the coils, tattooed with a dark green dragon faintly visible beneath the dim light. Lilian could see the grin in Scourge’s eyes. “I brought Vietnamese”. He held up his other hand, and a stapled paper bag dangled gingerly from his index finger. “Oh, and here’s your order, too. HE HE HE..”

Scourge sat across Lilian, between a pair of empty glass pillars. He set his mask atop a nearby desk. The darkness obscured much of the distorted features beneath. The all too human teeth sinking into raw flesh. The lipless gums, glossy with gore. His breathing was a low rumble, his chewing a vulgar cacophony of smacks and slurps, accompanied by the ripping of meat, the trickle of blood, and the occasional pop and crack of his victim’s bones. His yellow eyes peered up from his meal, and curiosity struck him as he held up the corpse and asked, “Want some?”

Scourge sat up, pausing from his meal to turn the dead man’s head one way, then the other. The giant’s thumb ran across the top of his skull. Scourge was saving the best part for last. “So, Doc. Tell me ‘bout yourself.” Their current surroundings made him wonder, and he quirked a brow. “Ya got family?”
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Atlas City, North Carolina: March 20th, 2045, early morning

Lilian bobbed her head slightly in tune with her music while she stared at the panels assembled before her. They were a rudimentary technology when she had bought them from Retrace, but after she had finished modifying them they served their purpose well enough. She just had to get them set up in a way that would lock on to the correct coordinates. Scratching her head she looked at the silver and black panel that was folded up and around itself like an origami box. The panel hummed to life, but she could already tell the destination was wrong.

“Tch,” her attention turned towards the other panel she was toying with. Her index finger rippled and flattened into a flathead screwdriver made out of bone and keratin. After making several adjustments, the panel lit up; not entirely correctly, but closer. She folded the first panel back up and got to work finetuning the one that was almost locked on.

The elevator let out a ping announcing her company had arrived. The fourth iteration of Carnifex lumbered into the room, one of his weapons wriggling around the corpse of whatever unfortunate bystander happened to incur his appetite. Her lab was excited to see Scourge and her in the lab, it quietly begged her to perfect him, but the bag of Pho that he had brought called louder. Standing up she walked over to him and grabbed the bag from him.

“Thank you,” She greedily ripped the top of the bag off and opened up her meal. Cupping the bowl with both hands she slurped down a long gulp, “Ahh, perfection.” Her eyes sparkled as she looked at Scourge, “I love soup. It’s like the perfect meal. Easy to make, flavorful, and if you have unexpected guests over you can just add more broth and spices then you’re covered.” As if to punctuate her point she hastily gulped down more of the Pho.

The bioweapon ate messily and without decorum, not that she expected any from a newborn Frankenstein’s monster. Her mind briefly pondered about his creator, and how chagrined he would be to find out she had finished his work for him. The thought hadn't crossed her mind before, but just how many other abandoned Tinker facilities were in Atlas? The city with the world's first and only(?) Fusion Generator, surely it'd attract her kind. Scourge looked at her, “Want some?”

Quirking her head, Lilian examined the body he held for a long second before shrugging, “If his brain is still intact, I could use it to make more wetware; but don't put yourself out on my account. Hopefully, that isn't the chef who made this delicious Pho” Her attention went back to finishing the Vietnamese soup, gulping it down without even really chewing. She slurped the last of the rice noodles up and set the plastic bowl aside. Satiated with a pleasant taste hovering on her tongue, she returned to the panel she was fiddling with.

“So, Doc. Tell me ‘bout yourself. Ya got family?”

Lilian’s fingers slowly stopped adjusting the dial and she paused, quiet for a few moments. It was a tough question to answer. At this point, she considered most of humanity her family, but that was probably not what he meant. “Uh… Yeah. I have a daughter here in Atlas, she’s adopted, but her mother and I had an agreement, so she’s mine until they’re reunited.” She paused again, her gaze vacantly staring into the space in front of her. “My parents are back home in Riga, Latvia; I guess they divorced sometime after I left. My brother is in Latvia too, but he’s in Karsava, helping guard the border against the Soviets.”

With a shake of her head, she returned to the task at hand. After a thought, she smirked, “Not a question I'd expect from an eight-foot-tall bioweapon. What about your family? Do you ever wonder about Carnifex one through three, or where your creator ran off to?”
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██████████ : March 20th, 2045, 7:34am​

“We’re under attack!” Cadence looked absolutely giddy at the development. Emiri, Sophia, and her watched the television in front of them, several security-camera feeds displayed the parahuman that was attacking the Headquarters of SINS’s California branch. “Let’s go!” Cadence got up to race out of the room, only to run face-first into an invisible wall of force. “What the hell Emiri?!”

Her sister turned around and rested both of her arms on the back of the couch, “You know we aren’t allowed to respond unless the Director gives us the go-ahead.” She grabbed the phone from her pocket and held it out to Cadence. “Call Jamie if you want to get involved.”

Cadence put both hands on her hips and stared at Emiri for a long couple of seconds, “Fine. I will call him. And tonight you’re making good on that bet you lost last week.” Taking her own phone out of her pocket, she caught a swath in the psychic wall in front of her and stalked out of the room. Calling him, she found herself pacing excitedly.

Anima walked into the room and looked at Cadence, “Ah hell, you’re signing us up for more work aren’t you?” Without waiting for a response she continued past her and walked into the room where Sophia and Emiri were watching the situation outside the US Bank Tower develop. Her eyes settled on the screen, “Hell is that? Some kind of Breaker Electro-Tiger?” Sophia shrugged.

“Jamie something is attacking the US Bank Tower! Do we have permission to respond?” Cadence stopped her pacing and her free hand began to drum its fingers on the countertop in front of her. Danielle walked past her sister without comment and joined the three others.

“I… What? As your Handler it's my job to find and allot your assignments.”

“Pleeeaassseee Jamie?” The man on the other end of the phone let out a defeated sigh.

“I’ll ask the Director.”
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» Vicki Vortex

Whoa-ho-ho. Vic was left sweating in the dust of a conversation that had turned very dark, very fast, that she had instigated and had only herself to blame for. Her expressions rarely, if ever, ranged beyond the alternating sardonic, amused or bored, but right now there was a wariness creeping into her eyes and just a twitch of horror on her cheek.

“… Right,” she said, and shuffled up straight, “First up, cold stuff, I don’t need to know how to push your buttons. Clearly, I’m a natural.” She said through a scoff, her grin returning for just a second before she scrunched her eyes at him. “And I think you’re doing that thing that I do. When you just say shit and bank on everyone assuming you’re joki – mmph. No. Like hell am I dropping this now.”

She leaned over her lap, scrutinizing him. There was still jam on her chin.

“Have you... killed before, frosty?” She asked. In a way that could be easily interpreted as taunting. Her strong desire to gain the upper hand and judge the shit out of him fought with a genuine sense of concern - and damned trademark Vic intrigue.

“Have you killed before, and did you like it?”

Any retort, defense, or confirmation was interrupted before it started by their table neighbor. “All this talk of murder and bloodlust…” The woman’s words blew away the tension and grounded Vic to exactly where she was, a sunny morning at a cute café next to cute clientele. Vic tossed her head to the woman, pulling the mask back over her nose. Her eyes still showing clearly, brow furrowed, bafflement obvious – stranger seemed more disapproving than disturbed.

“Wow, OK. We are talking about. A very intense game. Of ultimate frisbee, obviously, thank you.” She said, the phrases staggered, as she came up with them on the spot, then turned back to Richard with a gesture the stranger’s way – “Who’s the real creep here?” The people talking about murdering or the person listening in on it. Like fate itself jumped in to answer the question, a head dropped from the sky between them.

As per his request, she didn’t scream or hit it. Vic’s hands hovered in the air, looking down at the detached head like she had found it in her soup. She glanced up, to the body slinging itself down the street, took in a thin inhale through her nostrils, propped the head up on its neck stump, then twi -

i -

i -

i -

- isted it around with one hand so that it may face Richard.

“Can you take this?” She asked, like she was passing him the phone.
code by @Nano
The towering form of Melody would be found reclining within a beaten old leather chair snoring away somewhat, a copy of one of the various Hero magazines splayed across her face to block out the light of the window. Starting from scratch again really had been somewhat exhausting, she had to go through all the boring paperwork, not to mention running in a circle trying to get a bank account without an ID and address. I mean she was technically an illegal alien though they could have at least tried to be more accommodating.

This was how she found herself in her current position, laying behind a desk in a run-down storefront being used as a hero agency/temporary apartment, but she was sure it would turn around once she got a few jobs under her belt, some reputation and of course money for marketing. She was gradually awoken however by the sound of a cobbled-together radio going off from under her desk, groggily groping around to her side to increase the volume just in time to hear something about an attack on a building. In all honesty that did seem like a perfect gig for her to show up at, sure it would be pro-bono unless she could find a person to invoice ahead of time, but hey guess this was what being paid in exposure was all about.

Spinning her chair around she would leap to her feet and let out a yawn before throwing a long coat over her shoulders and throwing a card into the window reading "BRB Day Saving Time" as she locked the door. Hopefully, things escalated and didn't calm down by the time she got there, but in either case, she should probably hurry to be safe.

  • US Bank Tower, Los Angeles, California: March 20th, 2045, 7:35am

    Silent alarms rang through the US Bank Tower, totally unnoticed by anyone not employed by SINS. Silent as they were, they were quickly noticed. Breach in the basement.

    Anton Moore's office was a fairly nice one. Some of the decor was, in the eyes of some, dated, but it was keeping with the old Post-Modernist aesthetic the building originally came with. Cream, blues and turquoise, that medium tone of wooden furniture, and gold or silver metal accents. There were tall windows too, which invited a considerable amount of natural light into the room. Anton was fairly impartial to it all, it was comfy enough, but he was rather too focused on work to worry about interior design.

    A ringing sound erupted from his pocket, and as Anton checked his phone, he scowled. Standing from his desk, he huffed before taking the call that came through. "Yes, I'm aware of the situation. Someone's getting reviewed after this, and probably redeployed. Hopefully they like Alaska." He hung up and sighed again as he grabbed his mug of coffee, making his way out of his office.


    On other levels of the tower, non-SINS affiliated individuals were being ushered to safer locations, informed there was an 'ongoing security issue', stating nothing more. The assumptions ranged from terrorist activity, to someone going postal, or even gas leaks. Fortunately, in terms of information containment, things were going fairly successfully.

    The mood among agents was anxious as everyone held their breath, unsure exactly what had broken loose, and how they'd be able to protect themselves against it if it came down to it.

    But after a few minutes of worrying and fretting, the mood changed dramatically. Somehow, it became more relaxed, and more tense, all at once.

    Peter Radovan waltzed into the main lobby of the building, sunglasses still on, and a big grin painted on his face. He was joined by Agent's Hudson and Nina. The response from those who saw him was mixed. Some looked on with utter perplexity, those who knew full well he was NOT meant to be here, that he was supposed to be stationed over in the East. Others looked on in gracious relief. One such individual rushed over to Agent Radovan, clasping him on the shoulder.

    "Peter! You couldn't have better timing than this! We've got a... Situation, downstairs. We ahh... Think we need some expertise."

    He removed his sunglasses and clasped the man back on the shoulder. "Aww, don't worry about it sport, I'll get everything under control."

    Peter aimed finger guns at his fellow agents as he made his way towards the elevators. "Morning folks! Working hard, or hardly working? Take 5 and grab yourselves a coffee, or a smoke for that matter. I'll go take care of the er, mail room jam." The room was quiet after he left for but a moment before the gossip started.

    Love him or hate him, most SINS agents couldn't escape having an opinion on him.

    By the time Jamie had hung up his phone, another call was already ringing through.
    "Jamie, this is Moore. Get Sybil ready to deploy to the Bank Tower basement NOW."

    Jamie took a few moments to stutter over the spiel about procedures, contacting the director, etc. but was quickly cut off by Moore. "We've got a developing situation, and we've maybe got minutes before this becomes impossible to contain. As far as YOU are concerned, I'm speaking on the Director's behalf right now. I'll deal with him once you've deployed Sybil and we've dealt with this crisis. GET. IT. DONE. NOW."

    After he hung up, he felt his phone vibrate as text came in. A screenshot of a security camera.

    Moore slammed a fist into the elevator wall.

    Radovan was here.


    Once inside the basement containment area, Peter, Nina, and Hudson were met with a mix of nervous special operatives, ones who'd been badly wounded, and others who'd ended up cowering in fear and fleeing.

    "This bodes well! Today should be interesting." Peter spoke giddily to no one in particular.

    As they rounded a corner, they were greeted by a security team officer, who quickly began to walk them through some of what had been happening. They reached a ballast door, used to ensure nothing could escape the containment portions of the underground facility.

    "Peter, this thing is TOUGH. Are you really sure you three should be handling this?"

    The agent turned to face the security guard, smirking as he nodded at Hudson and Nina. "They can handle themselves. And if they can't, I can handle them. Now you can all stop worrying, I'll fix your problem for you."

    He turned back to the doors as they slowly opened up for the three agents.

    "By the way, someone make us some coffee. Forgot to go to the cafe earlier." Peter called behind as they entered the room.

    Once inside, and the door locked behind them, Peter was face to face with a hulking, semi feline humanoid, with all the claws and teeth needed for lethality. Peter held his hand out to indicate for Hudson and Nina to stand back, as he made his way over to the side of the room, and dragged a chair back with him to the center of the room.

    He sat down, chest to back rest, and hung his arms down leisurely. His eyes and grin were relaxed, at ease, and yet still carried a sort of menacing amusement to them.

    "So, you're the troublemaker huh? How's about you and I have a little chat. Because I dunno about you, but I'm REALLY curious to learn a bit more about you."
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The cool Bay Area morning seemed all-pervasive, puncturing even the cement bricked walls of the school. It was too early for most students to arrive yet, so the administration office went about its lethargic early-morning pace. The peace was interrupted by a shadowy figure peering into the small door window and rapping on it - bony knuckles emitting a sound that pierced the easygoing morning. The secretary frowned from the front desk at the intrusion before smoothing down her skirt and opening the metal door for the visitor. "Hi, how can I help..."

The secretary trailed off mid-sentence, eyes taking in the person standing before her. Disheveled shaggy blonde hair, black Converse that looked like they've jumped in every mud puddle between here and Sacramento, baggy cuffed jeans, white t-shirt nearly swallowed by an oversized autumn-colored unbuttoned flannel, and - most shocking of all - a face littered with bruises and scrapes. Nearly the entire right side of their face was a splotchy bruise that stretched between jawline and temple. Dried blood marked the path across their forehead and cheek there it looks as though they've skid across the pavement or dropped a grater across their face. There's no less than three bandages that seem to hold the stranger's visage together.

They cleared their throat. "Hi. I'm the substitute for Mr. Kirk."

There was a heavy beat of silence between the two before the secretary gathered herself, "... Uh, right! I'll get you your key in a moment." She scrambles back to her desk and starts frantically searching through drawers while the stranger meanders in lackadaisically. They straighten their poster with a stretch, emitting a loud bone crunch and a wince.

"So, I'm going to need your name and a picture I.D. so I-" Their hand was already extended with their license. "Right. Thank you. Avery McCulloch?"


The secretary overlaps the key and the I.D. and hands it back to her, arm outstretched over the expanse of the cheap wooden desk. She takes another lingering glance at the young face on the license and back at the horrid picture in front of her. She looked like she belonged in a hospital. An intake of breath and a question formed at her lips-

"Thanks." Avery took the key and the card from her hand, shoving them both haphazardly into her pocket. She's already striding away.


"Car accident." Avery doesn't look back as she opens the door to the hallway of the school and lets it thud shut behind her.

. . .

Avery's weight against the school's sink bit into the palms of her hands as she leaned forward, examining her reflection with a critical eye. God, she looked like shit. Half of her face was numbed from the constant ache of the dark bruise cresting the side of her face; she takes a finger and hooks it into her mouth, pulling aside her lips and revealing blood pooling in the space between her teeth. She drops her hand to her side.

She has got to be masochistic to do this shit.

To be fair, it's not her fault the guy from last night packed a punch. A fucking super from Atlas who couldn't hang with the big dogs and is trying to make it big in San Fran. Well, tried. Avery kicked his ass hopefully to Vegas. The ordeal kept her up late last night, though. Her eye bags luckily aren't visible much through her bruising, but the coffee she drank that morning did fuckall to assist the three hours of sleep she was running on.

The swell of pride at that thought was cut short by a sharp pang from her side as she shifted, fixing her belt. In her haste to get ready this morning, she had accidentally skipped a belt loop which caused the leather to dig into her side in a painful way. Well, a lot of stuff was painful right now.

The whole "vigilante" thing was decently new, but in the past year-and-a-half it's gradually taken over more and more of her life. She examined her reflection again in the mirror, her sorry state. The irony isn't lost to her that here she is, kind of doing the job that she thought she wanted to have as her career at one point in the recent past, but she shows up looking like she recently crawled out of the grave in her deceased dad's old shirt because she decided beating people up would be a more productive hobby than going to therapy.

What the hell is she even doing with her life?

The chime of the school bell brings her out of her bitter thoughts and back into the harsh reality at hand. She spits out the blood in her mouth and joins the fray of students outside to search for her classroom.

. . .

If there was one bright thing about her current state, it was that the kids were too scared to try to fuck with her today. Also, thank god they just had to watch a movie.

The light of the screen shifted steadily, its kaleidoscope hues the only light in the room. They illuminated the kids' faces in the dark; Avery could clearly hear some kids whispering during the movie. Some were totally on their phones. Some casted wary glances in her direction before pointing and giggling to the person they were sitting next to.

She just has to survive the day and collect her paycheck at the end of it.

She rests her head in the palm of her hand, leaning heavily down onto the desk. Her mom would be pissed if she saw her posture. She couldn't give a shit. Her eyelids were so heavy, eyes raw with lost sleep.

A nap can't be so bad right now.

. . .

When Avery woke up, the room was empty. The movie is off, the screen dark. The room's lights were still off, but no students were to be found. Avery sits up, back cracking, wincing as her body protests the simple movement.

She sees something grey pulse against her line of vision. A sound blossoming up - the sharp, authoritative stomp of dress shoes against the carpeted floor of the classroom. She knows this sound in its uneasy familiarity. She throws her head back with a groan.

"Are you Avery McCulloch?"

"... Shit."

Bathed in shitty fluorescents that make the unnaturally colorful snack items jump out, the gas station's speakers chime away as if filling the tense silence that would otherwise reverberate against the linoleum and embed itself into Avery's skull. God wouldn't be kind enough to let that kill her though, so she decides the next best thing is to try to convince one of the agents to buy her a Slim Jim.

The fucker didn't even bother gracing her with a verbal response, instead casting a steely sideways-glance in her direction before resuming his browse of the variety of chips they keep in stock there. She rolled her eyes and flexed her wrist against the handcuffs, bones rubbing against the metal in an uncomfortable way.

"Is it really necessary to keep these things on me? I'm not gonna run."

The agent (she's dubbed him Tall, because he's the taller one) chooses to ignore her again. Avery chose to prey on him because she felt he would be the more chill one of the two; the other agent (Short), a bald Black gentleman with a seemingly perpetual five o'clock shadow, chose to keep his Men In Black-esque suit and glasses fully on and presentable as they perused this small town gas station for snacks and took a bathroom break. His partner Tall - a white gentleman with a military style crop of black hair - decided on losing the glasses and coat, likely on account of the southern Californian heat and the length of their roadtrip. Unfortunately it seems Avery might be mistaken in her assumptions, however.

She sighs again and turns her head, making eye contact with the guy at the counter - a Sikh man, whose stoic expression can only be betrayed by his wide eyes and tense stance. He smells pigs. Good man. He's also not dumb enough to say or ask anything about what is happening in his store right now. Smart man.

It's only the four of them in this gas station in the middle of the fucking desert, several hours into her transfer. Why they're offloading her to Los Angeles - who fucking knows. Maybe there's a super containment prison there that's top secret. Maybe the government is going to experiment on her until she croaks. Maybe they'll drive into a field and shoot her in the head.

She walked over to the display of Slim Jims and grabbed one, then walked over to Tall and poked him with it. He turned to look at her slowly. Their staredown lasted nearly thirty full seconds before Tall sighed and grabbed her snack.

Avery smirked in accomplishment.

Tall pushed past her with a sigh to join Short at the countertop. Avery's gaze is drawn to the floor-to-ceiling glass door of the convenience store.

She could leave, you know. She could easily just... run out of these cuffs. Use her powers. She's rested up enough in the past few days, her injuries are pretty much healed. She's ready to go - just not quite rarin' yet. So why isn't she?

She can feel the sharp gaze of the agents on her. These guys aren't chumps. She suspects they didn't assign lazy guards to escort a super to L.A. I mean, it's not like she's gonna kill them though. Not like they bonded at all before this either. Most of their conversations have all been entirely one-sided on her part. She doesn't necessarily think that they'd best her either though; it might be a good fight. It's just... Not worth the effort.

The annoying yet classic Oasis vocals continued to eek out through the cheap speakers. Her vision was tinted a light blue. It's not like her life was going anywhere before this. Might as well see what happens here. Fuck it.

When they get back into their car, fueled up and ready to start the final stretch of their roadtrip, Tall actually turns the radio on. The song nearly whispers out of the speakers, filling her vision with gold and brown tinted hues.

"Oh fuck yeah, crank it up!"

Tall sighs and grips the steering wheel, putting the car in drive. Short reaches over and turns the dial higher.

Avery screams the lyrics and pounds her fists against the back of the seat, laughing.

"It's fucking hot. And it's morning." Avery hates SoCal. She's a NorCal baby all the way. 100%.

The agents didn't respond. Tall was fixing his outfit, dawning his usual attire and checking his reflection in the side mirror. Short was wrestling with a huge duffel bag, hoisting it out of the trunk of their undercover cop car.

"... Wait, is that my stuff? Did you guys take my fucking stuff?"

The agents didn't respond. Avery slumped against the side of the car and sighed, eyes trailing up at the impressive building before her, morning light catching the multitude of windows as they jutted ever upwards. Why the fuck did the cops bring her to an office building in downtown L.A.?

This is weird. This is fucking weird.

Welp, she decided to stay at the gas station and find out. Might as well commit at this point.

She was brought out of her thoughts by Tall, who tapped her on the shoulder. Short has a nondescript duffel bag hanging by a strap on his shoulder that looked about nearly as tall as he is. "Time to get movin'. You got an appointment to get to."

Confusion etched onto her face, but Tall pushed her forward. She reluctantly moved.

Even before entering the building, she could see through the windows a sort of tense silence. People stuck close together in groups. Her entourage didn't seem to care too much, urging her forward with a forceful hand on her shoulderblade.

Avery dug her heels in, craning her neck over to the crowd of people. Something was going on.

"Hey. Move."

In a burst of pink light, Avery was gone. Her handcuffs clattered to the floor; a streak of light follows the path she took, with the girl herself already long gone by the time you register it, fading away a moment later. The doorway to the stairwell opens as someone leaves, a flash as she rushes in behind them. The bang of the doorway against the wall with the force of her push reverberates around the stairwell and turns her light a deep purple. She skips entire flights by hopping over the railings.

At last, she reaches some sort of giant door. Wall. Thing. It looks impressive and fucking impossible to beat down. She tries to stop in her tracks, skidding to a halt, the rubber of her soles making the most annoying screech that fills her vision with a sickly neon green.

"Hey. I'm here to help. What's goin' on? Not taking no for an answer, by the way."

Interactions Lord Saethos Lord Saethos


  • Jamie called back almost immediately, “You’re greenlit to head out.” He started filling out the paperwork right away, making sure to fill it out in triplicate.

    “Thanks! You’re the best.” Cadence put her earpiece in and shouted to her sisters in the other room. “Suit up, we’re taking the Train.” Her own uniform was already mostly on, she just needed to attach the last plates of body armor.

    The five sisters met up just outside their living quarters, in the hallway that led to their emergency entry and exit route. Cadence pushed open the door and her sisters followed her into a cavernous room with a large metal tube in front of them. The pneumatically sealed Maglev was capable of achieving speeds over a thousand miles per hour, which was extremely uncomfortable as the Train came up to speed.

    Sophia frowned, “Do we have to take the Maglev?” Her stomach was already twisting itself into knots, she wasn’t a fan of rollercoasters, and they were only a fraction as intense. Her sisters didn’t respond, Cadence simply pushing her into the pod. They strapped into their seats and the pod lurched into motion.

(“italic quotes” = Japanese, Non italic is English).

('I use this format to denote thoughts')

A head falling through the air, lands on the windy girl and the dark haired man's table. Not something you see everyday… However Yukisa is not too startled by it. When transformed her limbs can come off and regrow so she almost felt some kinship with the bodiless head. Yukisa gazed over at the head, staring at it for a proper 40 seconds without saying a word. She flicked her eyes to…

'Vic is her name?'

Yukisa takes a mental note of her name as she watches Vic twist the head round to face the dark haired man, who was referred to as Frosty by this Vic just moments before.

'Frosty? What kind of thing can warrant that type of a nickname?.... Perhaps…. He is also an ice based super?'

Yukisa's face would not reflect her thoughts, instead her face is painted with a friendly, inviting expression.

"I'm joking of course…"

Yukisa eyes the stranger.


Yukisa listens to the man attentively as he speaks and looks back and forth between herself and Vic.

He went on talking about his team as if he was on a sports team… However that wouldn't stop Yukisa from reading between the lines, that is something she is good at after all. It was especially clear to her when she saw how he had just gazed at Vic.

'Aha, I see what he's doing here…'

"Such is life indeed. Sometimes things like that are necessary to be done." She paused for a moment to really let that sink in, while grabbing a sip of her beverage.

Yukisa places her drink back onto the table with a light tap."So it doesn't happen again of course." Yukisa nodded slightly in agreement with her statement.

Yukisa looked at the three others, from one to the next. One of which she knows the name of from the conversation, the others are still unknown to her though. However would she reveal her name? Should she?

'Maybe giving myself a nickname wouldn't be a terrible idea….'

Yukisa rises up from her seat and lifts a chair from her table to move it to the table with the head sitting on it so she doesn't have to speak as loudly. She places herself into the chair, crossing her right leg onto the other. Then she rests her elbow onto the table, and rests her chin into the corresponding hand.

Yukisa eyes the dark haired man first, then the bodiless head. "So, I don't believe I caught your names."

She flicked her eyes back to the man. "I know the girl is Vic by you calling her that."

"But feel free to introduce yourself further, Vic."
She says while moving her eyes to look at her.

♡coded by uxie♡
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» Vicki Vortex

“Wow, hilarious. I’m the expert on severed body parts now Vic?”

“What? You’re meant to keep them on ice, aren’t you?” Vic said, smirking at his scowl. She settled back and drummed against the lost head’s skull, shooting Richard an odd look as he carried the conversation, when – "And to answer your question Vic, yes I have, and yes I did enjoy it." Those words, with that look. Fucking. Chills. An understanding widened her eyes, before she snapped it back and masked it.

What. What the hell.

Ok. Ok. Ok, ok, ok. No surprises. Zeke got his ass handed to him, dead, by these ‘heroes’. She knew they were not so innocent. And it wasn’t the first time she’d been in a situation like this. She’d caught her pottery pal picking his teeth with human remains and remembered something about that cool dragon lady she had yet to take out for drinks being a terrorist, and she was sober to the fact that charming Maxwell was for sure dropping bodies and…

Wow, that’s a… lot of murdering, actually. She needed to re-evaluate how her social circle got to this point. But regardless, Richard ‘another settlement needs your help’ Mackenzie talking about what was definitely kidnapping, torturing and/or killing a guy to AC/DC (music tastes noted) – made her… cranky.

Yeah. Yeah, it made her kinda shitty. In the midst of her shittiness, she didn’t really register that the woman next to her was in on this double conversation.

“Nope. You’ve got it. It’s just Vic,” she replied distractedly. “And I’m not part of his team. I just play with them sometimes.” She felt the urge to clarify. The way Richard had been describing their ultimate frisbee shenanigans made it feel like they were in a gang. Suddenly, she lifted the poor disembodied head by his hair. “Anyway. Seriously, are we going to do anything about Kevin or not because I’m about to toss him.”
code by @Nano

Atlas City, North Carolina: March 20th, 2045, early morning.

“If his brain is still intact, I could use it to make more wetware; but don't put yourself out on my account. Hopefully, that isn't the chef who made this delicious Pho”

Scourge shook his head. "Oh no, no! Chef Trang is a MASTER at his craft. Eating him would be a DISSERVICE upon the culinary world. This twerp on the other hand…" Scourge held up the head. "He's one of 'em Dragon-Eaters. Heroin-peddlin', granny-shootin' gangbangers. He WON'T be missed."

Scourge then listened close as Lilian talked of her family. His eyes squinted with a smile. “A daughter? HEH, I never would have guessed! You seem like such a career woman, y’know? The kind to pull all-nighters and forget her meals?” he remarked, his voice high with a pleasant kind of surprise. He leaned close and thought for a moment. Then, his yellow eyes took on a sly squint as they looked at her from head to toe. “But you're a MILF. Not just that, you’re a certified MILF.” The giant's shoulders shook up and down as he cackled at his own jest.

Scourge’s gaze turned as vacant as hers as he considered the only family he had. His creator, Kiran the Lab Rat, and the mix of emotions that roiled whenever he thought of them. The gratitude for his life. The thrill of his power. The contempt that brewed when he was forsaken. Scourge cast those aside as Lilian posed a question of her own. "Hmm. Yeah, I looked into what had happened to my brothers. Unit One was stillborn. Two cut his own head off after taking his fourth step. And Three…" Scourge stroked his chin as he recalled. "He survived long enough to get a name. Maul." Scourge shrugged. "Though I couldn't find out more than that. Kiran took his research with him." A pause. The contempt resurfaced, in clenched fists and heat that simmered over his temples. "Well. Most of it."

A snap brought Scourge out of his mind. When he looked down, he saw a needle thin, bloody crack across the dead man's scalp. "HMPH! Silly me. I almost wasted something precious." The hulking zombie placed the head on the ground, then rolled it towards Lilian. "You can have it, Doc. I've lost my appetite."

Scourge straightened up to reequip his mask. The mechanism sealed with a hiss. "As to where Kiran ran off to…" He shook his head. "Doesn't matter to me. My loyalty’s to you, Maxwell, and the Club." The folds darkened around his eyes, highlighting the inhuman yellow of his gaze. "Hell, give the word, and I'll KILL him myself if he shows up again."
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