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#1 Edited by johnjo719 (404 posts) - - Show Bio

Lex was sitting in his office behind his desk, contemplating the young woman's proposal. Clearly she was hiding something, Lex didn't have to be a mind reader to know that, but this was an opportunity he'd hate to miss. That was the sole reason why he'd summoned his mother. She was going to be there to analyze the formula to make sure it was what they wanted, and that Terra wasn't lying to him. Well, not about that at least.

A knock on the door let him know that his mother was here, and that for some reason she was standing on formality. She came into his office and closed the door tightly behind her and sat in the chair that was in front of Lex's desk. Lex intertwined his fingers and stared at her and from across his large wooden desk.

"Well....i hear you've been up to some interesting things lately." Lillian started. She leaned back in her chair and gazed at her son steadily. Lex reached into his custom suit and retrieved a cigarette, and a matchbook. As if it was some sort of ritual, he struck the match and lit his cigarette. "Taking some big risks aren't we?"

Lex raised his eyebrow at the way his mother phrased her question. "We? Since when are you and I a 'we'. You and I haven't been 'we' in a long time." Lex took a long drag on his cigarette. "Well, it's not much of a risk; I’ve already got half the CBTF on payroll."

"I'm not talking about the CBTF. I'm talking about that monster you broke out! The Loup Garou" Lillian clarified. "That thing is extremely dangerous."

"Mother, I am extremely dangerous." Lex retorted. "And besides, werewolves don't exist. He is a carrier that exhibits similar traits to what is called a lycanthrope in the stories."

"You can't control him Lex. No one can. In the Blight Wars, he killed everything in sight; allies and Blights, friend and foe. Why the hell do you think they had him the special wing? With the special metal?! They were scared sh^tless of him." Lillian exclaimed.

"Enough, mother!" Lex barked, slamming a fist on the table, leaving a fist sized dent. Lillian's mouth closed tightly and she sat up straighter. “I asked you here to discuss another matter a business opportunity that's been offered to me. A woman by the name of Terra, goes by Gaia on the Exchange, says Xiphos has a formula to create carriers."

"And what? You want me to find out what the hell she's talking about? If she's on the up and up?" Lillian asked curiously.

"No, I know who she is. She thinks she's hidden away in a dark corner of the city, but I know exactly how to reach her. What I want is for you to analyze the formula, and let me know if it's viable." Lex exclaimed.

"And how will she get you this formula?" Lillian asked. She watched as Lex broke into a slow smile his eyes completely devoid of any matching emotions. "Let me guess, you're going to break in and steal the formula for her." She said when the realization hit.

"No. I've arranged a meeting between one of the scientists who worked on the project and myself." Lex said. "You will be present at this meeting and so will Terra. She will verify that it is the formula and then you verify that it can work. I'm sure you're abilities will prove useful there."

"Why not break in? Why pay millions for something you could've gotten for free?" Lillian asked. Lex didn't respond, but Lillian didn't stop to give him a chance. "You're not planning to pay them at all. You're going to rob them, and then bury them." She guessed.

"Well I usually prefer tossing them in the river. Much less digging that way, but burying them works just as well." Lex retorted. "The scientist is bringing along a senior executive of the company. He'll be there just because he wants a cut of the profit not to mention he wants to leave Scahill with a nasty taste in her mouth."

"You're playing a dangerous game Lex. Scahill is a dangerous woman. The Conglomerate has been....." Lillian stopped mid-sentence, realizing what she had just said.

"The Conglomerate?" Lex asks. "What are you talking about? Isn't that some bullsh^t conspiracy theory that was floating around on the Exchange?"

"They are very, very real Lex. But they are not what matters here. What matters is the fact that Scahill won't take this slight sitting down." Lillian said, trying to reason with her son.

"It's already done, mother." Lex barked. "I've contacted Terra through The Exchange already, and she's set up a meeting. Kira, Bone and the Loup Garou will be on hand as well. That's more than enough firepower to steal the formula and dispose of whatever security they bring along."

"I hope you know what you're doing Lex." Lillian said, an ominous tone creeping into her voice. "When you get back, we have important matters to discuss."

**

THE FOLLOWING DAY

Stallion sat in the back seat of the armoured limousine, with his pistol resting in the palm of his hands. He knew there was no way today could go smoothly. There were simply too many variables. That's why he'd brought along three of his men to watch his back. Henry, also known as Phantom, Roy aka Sharpshooter and Chrome. Good men, not sure if they were good enough though. When Director Scahill had summoned him and explained that he was to attend this meeting as backup for one of the traitorous board members, and not let him know he'd been found out, he'd agree without asking any question. That was a decision he was now regretting wholeheartedly. Especially since Scahill had only just revealed to him that Alexander Eisenhardt was going to be present at this meeting. The word around town was that he'd just arranged a jail break. More than forty percent of the escaped convicts were still at large, and the CBTF were going absolutely apesh^t., everyone in the underworld, the Macedonians especially, thought he'd done it as some sort of recruitment effort. Lex had basically taken a page out of the government's handbook.

And this was the calibre of criminal he'd been directed to take out. "And you're sure Director Scahill knows nothing about this meeting?" The timid looking man sitting in front of him asked, it was hard to imagine that he sat on the board of Directors of one of the country's largest corporations.

"The three million you paid me ensured that." Stallion replied tersely. He hated having his honour tested. Minutes after the man had offered him the three million to escort him to this meeting, a betrayal of Xiphos and Scahill, he'd received a call from the woman herself and she'd offered triple that money to escort him to the meeting and kill everyone at the meeting. The speed of the turn of events had given Stallion a certain amount of pause. For her to be that quick, she had to be spying on him or her fellow director.

"I just want to make sure. You know how she is." Director Niles said. "I want to make sure this goes off without a hitch."

"Don't worry. Me and my guys have got the situation well in hand." Stallion replied confidently. The men nod their heads simultaneously. And then the SUV they were riding in came to a screeching stop.

"Sir, we've arrived." The driver, one of stallion's men, informed them. Stallion opened the door and stepped out. He glanced around the area and saw no imminent threats.

"All clear." He said, placing his weapon in his holster. The Iron Circle, a strange place to choose for a meeting of this nature, but it wasn't like they could exactly hold the meeting in a boardroom. Lex was a highly wanted man. Doubly so now. The group of armed and armoured mercenaries moved as a unit into a nearby warehouse. Soon after crossing the threshold, a hulking mass stepped out in front of them.

"This way. The boss has been waiting. And he hates that." The man said. Stallion immediately recognized him as Bone. One of those involved in the jail break, and a wanted criminal before that. A very well accomplished killer for hire. Made sense he now worked for Lex Hard. As they followed him, Stallion took stock of his surroundings. An abandoned warehouse, still pretty sturdy though. Cobwebs everywhere and not a soul around for miles, it was a good location to ambush someone.

They walked into a very tight room, where Lex, an older woman and a very familiar face sat at a table. Not to mention the hulking figure of the Infamous Loup Garou. A carrier of French Descent, he'd gone on a rampage during the Blight Wars, slaughtering carriers, mundane humans, and blights alike. He had been indiscriminate in his killing. Hopefully he'd gotten it under control; otherwise, Lex was a fool for freeing him.

Stallion turned to the Japanese woman hovering over Lex's shoulder and spoke. "You're Kira Nowisaki, aren't you? It's an honour to make your acquaintance. It's not every day one meets one of the world's most dangerous Assassins of our era."

Kira nodded at him. "And you're Stallion. A mercenary bought and sold to by the highest bidder." And currently working for Mattock Military Solutions, the attack dogs of the Scahill Technologies industrial empire. From what I hear, you take your orders directly from Scahill." Kira said, hand moving to hilt of the sword sheathed on her back.

"Yes, well, three million was enough for me to switch loyalties." Stallion replied. "Like you said, I'll work for whoever's paying the most."

Lex rapped his knuckle against the table. "Not that this wasn't interesting, but let's move this meeting along." Lex prodded. Director Niles stepped forward, clearing his throat.

"Yes, please. Let's move on to business, yeah?" He said nervously. He revealed the suit case carrying a sample of the all important formula. "You can have your people look at it, make sure everything works right."

Lex nodded his head and Bone moved forward and picked up the suitcase and brought it. in front of the older woman who came with Lex. She had yet to speak. She was a surprise addition as well as the woman Stallion recognized as Terra. He honestly thought that was one face he'd never see again. It was a small world indeed.

The older woman opened the suit case and retrieved its contents from inside. A vial filled with a blue liquid was seen. Niles and the researcher who had provided a sample of the formula shifted where they stood. The woman reached down to a brief case that had previously been resting on the floor next to her seat, and placed it on the table. She popped the second briefcase open as well, and revealed a mobile lab. Impressive, she dumped the contents of the vial into a container in the lab. It was hooked into whatever equipment she'd had set up in there, probably meant to analyze whatever was placed in there. The woman stared down at the vial for a long while and then looked up at a small monitor. Stallion watched as her eyes widened in surprise and she gestured to Terra, demanding her presence.

Terra went over to her with a wry expression on her face. She nods as the woman points to something on the monitor and begins speaking animatedly. The older woman then stands and walks over to Lex hurriedly. She leans in and whispers to him and a slow smiles crept across his face.

"It seems we have a deal gentlemen." Lex announced. "It was a pleasure doing business with you." Lex reached down to a duffel bag and pulls out a laptop and opens it up. "The money is all in this account. Once you put in your account numbers, everything will be transferred into your accounts. Fifteen million dollars."

The director rushes forward and quickly begins typing in his information, eager to get the transaction over with. Then the Scientist followed quickly. He typed his account information in and stepped away quickly.

Stallion nods his head. "The pleasure is all ours. However, MY business is not yet concluded."

As he spoke, he pulled his pistol and shot Niles in the head, causing his skull to erupt into a bloody geyser. One of his men finished off the researcher and another turned to aim at Bone, incorrectly assuming he was the biggest threat.

Stallion swivelled around and aimed at Lex, focused on his wide chest, and pulled the trigger. It was all pointless seeing as Kira was already in motion. Before he'd aimed at Lex she had grabbed a shuriken and thrown it at Stallion before he'd pulled the trigger. The shuriken collided with the bullet, and knocked it off course. The errant bullet buried itself in the wall, and Kira vaulted over the desk with her Katana drawn and swinging down towards Stallion.

He ducked out of the swords path and sent her flying with a devastating punch to the gut. He raised his weapon to fire at Lex, but was interrupted once more by the body of one his men crashing into him and knocking him backward, courtesy of the Loup Garou

Meanwhile, the mercenary who had decided to eradicate Bone, was fighting for his life. Bone had his bone blade protruding from his fist, and he was swinging it down on the mercenary, Henry. The blade cut right through the man and the sound of the bone crashing against the concrete floor was deafening. But Phantom the mercenary had activated his powers, and the sword just phased through him without harming him. Henry made good on his opportunity and dropped a vicious elbow across Bone's jaw. And immediately spun around to deliver a devastating kick, however the kick hit thin air when he struck out, as Bone had dodged it and tackled him to the ground. Bone raised his fist to prepare to deliver a flurry of stabs with his fist blade.

During their struggle, Kira had gotten to her feet and ran at her full speed towards a nearby mercenary. At the same time she reached for her short sword and removed it from its sheath. She stabbed out expertly, aiming for a cluster of nerves in his abdomen, the piercing of which would cause immense amounts of pain, and was rewarded with the sound of metal grating on metal. She looked up and saw. That the man she was to face had chrome all over his enter body. He smirked, and her eyes glowed blue. Quick as lightening, he drove his knee into the air, intending to knock the wind out of her, but he was too slow. Her carrier ability to see thirty seconds into the future, coupled with her inhumanly fast reflexes, allowed her to dodge his flustered attack quite easily. As she dodged she bought her sword to bear and settled into a deep defensive position. She could tell this was going to be a long battle.

Lex wasn't inactive himself. As soon as Stallion was distracted by the body of his companion being flung at him, Lex gripped the desk in front of him with one hand, lifted it, and hurled it at the two mercenaries. Stallion quickly shoved his associate off of him and pulled himself up to one knee, just in time to cock his arm back and deliver a very solid punch to the table that had been launched at him. The wood made an ear-splitting sound as it separated into two halves and fell on either side of Stallion. The man rose from his vulnerable position and charged at Lex, preparing to clean his clock with a single punch. When he got within striking distance, he shifted his weight onto one foot, swivelled his hips and directed his fist towards Lex's face with enough torque to make one of those high performance cars jealous. Lex simply put his hand out and caught Stallion by the elbow, but it wasn't enough. Stallion had been prepared for the counter and had already been moving his knee up and driving it into Lex's stomach. There was enough power behind it to overcome Lex's durability and completely knock the wind out of him. With Lex doubled over Stallion delivered a crushing blow to the back of his skull. Lex's head was slammed into the floor, leaving a sizeable dent. That and a large bruises on the front of his head.

Stallion raised his foot, intending on finishing things here and now, but Lex wasn't going to go quietly into the night. He rolled over at the last second. Then he pulled a dance moved straight out of Brazilian jujitsu and spun his legs around and swept Stallion off of his feet, but there was no romance involved in this act. However, Lex was quickly on top of Stallion after he fell onto his back. He got in two quick, hard jabs to the face before Stallion reached up and caught his fist. Then, in an Herculean struggle the two men tried to gain an advantage over the others. This went on for several long seconds, the crater under Stallion getting ever deeper. Finally, Stallion was able to throw Lex off of him and the men quickly got back to their feet, both bleeding and breathing heavily.

The Loup Garou was having much less trouble than his master however. The mercenary he had carelessly flung across the room and into the mercenary's leader, had gotten his wits about him and stood back up. He swung his pistol up and took aim. His eyes glowed green and he began to shoot. Every single shot found its mark. A bullet buried into the Loup Garou's chest and another into his arm, a third into his left arm and a fourth into his right leg. The Loup Garou was a tall man, but in his lupine form, he was nine feet tall, absolutely covered in muscle and had nine inch claws that looked more than sharp enough to tear a man's throat to shreds. Which is why it was lucky for the mercenary that the Loup Garou was still in his human form. The bullets caused his body to rock backwards and brought him crashing to his knees. But seconds later, the wounds began to heal, and push the bullets out of his body. Then his eyes began to glow yellow and he bared his teeth, which had elongated canines. He dashed towards the mercenary and sliced at his face, leaving behind a deep and bloody scar. The Loup Garou followed up with clawed hand along his throat, letting loose some arterial blood on everyone fighting nearby.

Bone's first punch connected with Henry's face, but the second slammed into the floor underneath him. The mercenary had made Bone's fist pass through his entire face and then he made his move. He bucked his hip and pushed the bigger man off of him and activated the dagger hidden in his sleeve and stabbed at Bone. Luckily for Bone, he recovered just quickly enough to stop the blade, just inches from his eye. Phantom pushed down with all of his weight and Bone pushed up with all of his strength. They fought for a few seconds more and then, out of desperation, Bone flung his hand out and shot the extra bones from his fingers at Phantom, one of them finding it's mark, burying itself deep into his eye. Henry screamed in pain and rolled off of Bone. The only reason he survived his wound was due to his quick thinking. As soon as the bone bullet pierced his eyes, he'd made the rest of himself intangible, allowing the bullet to pass through his brain and his skull, leaving the rest of him virtually unharmed.

Stallion and Lex were still fighting for their survival. The two highly trained men exchanged blows, few of them ever landing as they blocked and countered each others moves. Stallions face was a bloodied mess, and Lex was definitely favouring his left leg. Stallion rushed Lex once more, and wrapped his arms around his waist, attempting to lift him off of his feet, but Lex was ready for the move and so he dropped an elbow on Stallions shoulder and followed up swiftly with a knee to the chest. Then he got his arms in a vice grip around Stallion's mid-section and lifted him into the air. Before Stallion could react, Lex threw him through a nearby wall. Unfortunately, this wall happened to be a load bearing wall and the walls and ceiling started to shake, the warehouse beginning to crumble around them.

Lex looked up and watched as large boulders descended onto him, blocking out all his light.

To Be Continued.....

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#2 Edited by johnjo719 (404 posts) - - Show Bio

@impurestcheese: this is what I've been working on for so long.

@cbishop: add to the library?

@tommythehitman:

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#3 Posted by cbishop (15574 posts) - - Show Bio
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#4 Edited by johnjo719 (404 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks!

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#5 Edited by Alexander_Wolffe (349 posts) - - Show Bio

I recommend callouts and/or linking it in the PM.

It was a good issue. Really enjoyed the action and I'm digging Stallion even more so now then I was before. It's just, it wasn't much of a crossroads IMO. It had Gaia/Terra in it, but only for a moment or two, and then other then Lex she was the only other titular character. It seemed to be just a rather long issue of Lex Hard.

Good job tho.

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#6 Posted by ImpurestCheese (12542 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7 Posted by batkevin74 (15379 posts) - - Show Bio

@johnjo719: Hey where does this go?

I'm reading along and at the start of 6 there's this "Two weeks after the events at the warehouse, Lex Eisenhardt is still a highly wanted man, but he has come into possession of a powerful, albeit flawed weapon." So is this chapter and then 6 the reading order?

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#8 Posted by johnjo719 (404 posts) - - Show Bio

Yea basically, that's the order. The Crossroads chapter happened before it

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#9 Posted by knightofthechronicle (1396 posts) - - Show Bio

@johnjo719: Now that was a pretty intense fight scene. I like how this issue of Crossroads favored the villains instead of how the last one favored the heroes. Great chapter, and a nice clearing up of the events in Gaia (I read that story before coming here)

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#10 Posted by cbishop (15574 posts) - - Show Bio

@johnjo719: Intense fighting! Loved the powers in these characters.