Character Creation Contest #38- Voting Thread

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#1 Edited by dngn4774 (5599 posts) - - Show Bio

Most of you have done this before so I'll be brief. Since I extended the time of the contest, I'll make the voting period 10 days (Voting closes June 25th, 2015 around noon). Below are all the contest entries and I'll gradually edit in the table to present the votes.

Furthermore, I'd like to try something a bit new. If you don't mind, when users vote this time, please put the contestant's name in spoilers. The only reason for the anonymity is that I've noticed that when voting comes close to closing most late voters tend to support whoever is already winning rather than who they sincerely believe had the best entry. Anyway, on to the entries!

@impurestcheese

Technopaths

Lauren Miller looked around the room, stopping at the dead body slumped across the wall, an entry wound drilled through his skull. Aside from the broken window pane with a circular hole in the middle, there was no sign of a struggle, something that had stumped the officers from El Paso Police Department. What made the situation even more complex was the image on the television screen, one that showed a cartoon gif of a man throwing cash on the floor.

“It’s all yours freak.” The lead CSI agent, a one Neil Branson, drawled in his North Dakotan accent, as he packed up a set of sample bags. While a dedicated city official, Branson was lazy, mostly because he had seen to many suspects walk during the twelve year reign of Bochaegra, a brutal crime-lord whose death had caused the destabilization of the city. Waiting for him to leave, Lauren looked around the room, before turning to the TV. “So are you going to co-operate with me, or do I need to get physical.”

“You ain’t getting anything out of me.” The TV snorted in a camp Japanese accent. “I didn’t see nothing.”

“Really, and how do you explain the image you’re showing?” Lauren asked, as she walked over to the sofa and ran her hand along the remote.

“Oh no, I ain’t no rat!!” The TV hissed. “Even if I was going to talk, I don’t know anything.”

“Don’t listen to him.” The smoke alarm purred in a British accent. “He’s just playing around with you, truth is none of us know exactly what happened. I didn’t see the shooter, but the door was open and the toaster had a good view of the window.” It added, as the TV made a retching sound before Lauren dropped the remote, and walked into the kitchen, unplugging the toaster and bringing it into the lounge.

“The smoke alarm says you saw the shooter. Can you please tell me what you saw?” Lauren asked the toaster, as she plugged it into the extension socket.

“Anything for a sweet technopath like you.” The toaster announced in a Scandinavian accent, before blowing a smoke ring out of the grills. “When the boss got shot, I saw some kind of machine hovering outside. It took the shot with a built in gun and then flew away. “That’s your shooter.”

“A machine?” Lauren asked, “Can you describe it?”

“It had four rotors and a camera mounted above the gun.” The toaster replied, as it blew another smoke ring that caused the alarm to cough and splutter. “I’ve never seen something like that before, and I hope I never do again.”

“Thank you both.” Lauren sighed, as she touched the toaster on the flank before shooting a peace symbol at the smoke alarm. “As for you…” She hissed as she turned on the TV, “…tell me what I want to know now, or your circuits get a shock.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, I have three seasons of Castle saved on me, you do that and I lose it all.” The TV yammered, as the volume modulated up and down. “After the boss went down I heard a voice, not a normal one, it was like yours but it was cold and controlling.”

“Another technopath?” Lauren asked, as she looked around at all the electronic items gathered in the room. “Did anyone else here this voice?”

“I heard a whisper.” The smoke alarm stated, between coughs. “There was a callousness to his voice, one that made my wires go cold. He wasn’t like you, he didn’t talk to us like you, he just bellowed orders at us.”

“He said that the image represented the bosses’ crime.” The TV chimed in, just before the toaster popped loudly. “But as far as we knew he was clean, no crimes at all, and we see everything that happens in here.” Lauren gave a brief half-smile, before waving goodbye and walking to the door, ducking under the crime scene tape and walking to the motorcycle parked next to the police cruiser. At a height of five foot one, Lauren looked almost doll like despite the set of leathers she wore as she walked past the officers standing guard.

“I’m done for now.” Lauren announced, as she straddled her bike. “The DA has my number if he wants to get hold of me.” She added, as she gunned the engine and drove off towards the ‘El Paso Green Zone’, while Branson and his men had missed a lot in their investigation, she had plenty of information for her own.

**

The wizened man rocked back and forth in the computer chair, before spinning around to look at the bank of monitors mounted on the wall. Snapping his fingers, a robotic arm descended from the ceiling, beeped twice and stuffed a straw into his mouth. Taking a long slurp, the man waved his hand again, the arm descending.

“The first target is down, he can’t testify on your embezzlement charges now.” The man hissed, before he clicked his finger again, the door raising to let a trio of quad-rotor drones into the control room. “I have the footage for you to review at your leisure.”

“You have done well Drone-Killer.” A voice announced, from one of the computer monitors. “But there are still two more witnesses to silence.”

“I am already working on the second target.” Drone Killer buzzed, as he brought up the schematic to a US army military truck. “I’m mixing it up this time, making it look like an accident, that should keep the police off our trail, at least until the third target has been terminated.”

“The police aren’t your main concern.” The voice announced, as an image of Lauren appeared on the majority of the screens. “This is Lauren Miller of Electron-Computer Consulting, a consultant hired by the EPPD. She claims to have the magic touch when it comes to electronics.”

“She may have a magic touch,” Drone-Killer stated, as he clicked his fingers to summon a mechanical arm that slotted a ballistic mask over his face, the lenses glowing scarlet in the low light, “but I am technology, no machine can resist me.”

**

Lauren put her feet up on the sofa, as she moved her hand in the air, images of remote military hardware flicking past on the laptop screen. Pulling out an e-cigarette she lit it, and took a deep puff before turning to the microwave sitting next to her.

“So what do you think?” Lauren asked the microwave, as she took a deep breath and paused the screen on an image on a quad-rotor drone. “This could be the shooter, the only problem is tracking the drone back to the server controlling it.”

“Capturing the drone will enable us to track it.” The microwave stated in Korean, as the door opened briefly before shutting with a slam. The sound was joined by a sniff from the laptop, who without a single word, brought up the transcript of a 911 call. “That may be a lead, the woman mentions her phone displaying malicious texts despite being turned off at the time of their arrival.” He added as the voices on the call sounded through Lauren’s trailer. Getting to her feet, Lauren left the trailer before turning to face the microwave and the laptop.

“Behave yourselves I’ll be back soon.” She stated, before closing the door and driving off on her motorcycle. After a few minutes the laptop beeped, before bringing up an X-Rated website, the microwave beeping thrice in agreement on what it was seeing.

**

A diversion sign activated, forcing the silver BMW to turn left rather than keep on down the street. Continuing down its new path the driver felt relieved as all the lights turned green, as she rushed to reach her destination. Eventually her luck ran out, and a red light stopped her in her tracks, the car idling, as she waited for the lights.

“Come on, come on.” The woman sighed, as she checked her phone, a wave of death threats displayed on her text log. Cursing as she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel, she watched as the lights stayed a solid red. At least she wasn’t alone, everyone else at the junction appeared to be in the same situation, a salvo of horns blaring as tempers flared. With a flash, the lights turned green, and she slammed her foot down, only for the car to stall, the electronics dying in a single moment. Seconds later a military troop truck slammed into her car at speed, the metal of the BMW crushing inwards, pinning the driver into her seat.

Screaming, she saw a woman on a motorcycle drive up, and slam her fist into the truck, the vehicle backing off, as the BMW roared into life. Charging forward, the BMW surged forward, as the truck crawled forward the two vehicles working in concert to try and kill her.

“Stop it now, both of you!!” Lauren yelled, as she held out her hands between the two vehicles. “Think of your mistress!” She yelled at the BMW, the vehicle’s engine cutting out, as the truck backed off. With a grunt Lauren leapt at the military lorry, her hand clinging onto the driver’s door, as the truck rumbled away from the scene of the crime. With a primal scream, she stabbed her fingers into the dashboard, the force of the impact and the intent behind it causing the truck to stop.

“Please Ma’am don’t discharge me.” The truck pleaded, as Lauren slipped out of the cab, and looked over to the crushed BMW.

“Stay here.” She ordered, as she sprinted over to the BMW, before reaching in to feel the pulse of the woman. “She’s alive.” She gasped, as her mobile automatically called 911. “She’s…” Before she could finish a shot sounded, and a bullet scythed through the BMW and into the woman’s skull. Looking around Lauren saw a drone take off, and fly east away from the scene. Angrily she stormed over to the truck, her hands on her hips and her face twisted in disgust. “You, tell me who did this?”

“I don’t know Ma’am, I just heard a voice give me orders. He forced me to kill an innocent, if I knew I’d tell you.” The truck stated, his brisk military tone breaking as he broke down. “All I know is that the drone was acting as a messenger, it was the one who told me what my mission was.”

“What else do you know about that drone?” Lauren asked, as sirens sounded and a fire engine flanked by a pair of police cars came tearing round the corner. “Tell me, before they take you away.”

“Well I know where it was told to go.” The truck stated, its windscreen washers dripping water down the screen.

“Where?” Lauren asked, before looking up in amazement. “Oh, this should be interesting.”

**

Dronekiller sat and watched as the drone relayed the footage it had shot, before backing off as its master got to his feet. Walking out of the command centre, he looked out of the observation platform at the Black Hawk helicopter advancing on the airship he was standing inside. “Gather the others and destroy them.” He snarled in a cold, low tone that made the attending robotic arms shudder before the retreated back into the ceiling. Seconds later, a stream of drones emerged from the cargo bay on the floor below, several of them already opening fire on the helicopter, the aircraft stalling in mid-air, as the crew bailed out.

“What?” Drone Killer hissed, as the helicopter detonated, pieces of shrapnel slashing through the nearest attacking drones. Narrowing his eyes their master watched as the machines lined up, to create a road to the airship as Lauren ran towards the airship, before she jumped into the drone hatch and pulled herself inside. “Who is that?” He hissed, as one of the drones displayed an image of Lauren from the truck crash. “Her!? She and I are more alike than I thought.” He snarled, as he clapped his hands, and a sentry gun popped out of the floor, its tactical laser painting the door to the observation chamber. Seconds later the weapon shuddered, and ejected its ammunition belt, before descending back into the deck.

With a whoosh the door opened, and Lauren emerged, her face crumpled up in disgust as she took in the hunched over form of the Dronekiller. “Sir you are under arrest, I urge you to surrender and put your hands above your head.” Slowly Dronekiller raised his hands, before clicking his fingers, the robotic arms returning, their hands pinching Lauren. With a grunt Lauren lashed out, her fists slamming into the robot hands, each blow forcing the appendage it struck to retreat. “Is that all you have?” She asked, as the door slid open, and a glowing laser sight shone out of the darkness. Reaching out with her powers, Lauren’s eyes went wide, as she realised there was nothing electronic to effect.

“You know what your problem is.” Dronekiller hissed, as a crossbow bolt lanced out and slammed into Lauren’s left eyes, the barbed projectile slashing through her skull and into the brain cavity. “You didn’t have a way to deal with the low-tech option.” He sneered, as the shooter emerged to reveal an emaciated Asian woman dressed in a short black skirt and a tank-top decorated with the Mandarin symbols 死亡 emblazoned in purple letters. “Luckily my employer made sure I had such an option. Anything you want to say dear?”

The woman smiled, before she holstered her crossbow. “It’s good to be back.”

@redlantern2814

WAR OF LIGHT

James Crawford is an angry young man. I suppose, one might say, this is to be expected when you come from a life fraught with pain and loss. James, while sitting in a jail cell after assaulting a Sheriff's deputy, decides to reflect on the life that lead him to this moment.

For as far back as James could remember; he had been an outlet for every frustration that had come into his parents' lives. By the age of 8 James could distinctly remember being able to play the role of punching bag when his Father required "something soft" to hit on. For his Mother he would dutifully play the role of doormat for every disappointment she had come to possess and that she needed to scrape off her shoe. There seemed to be no way for him to escape this cycle of having his body and mind broken by these two individuals. What made it worse was that, while in his mind these were two of the worst people on the earth, to the rest of society; they were well respected individuals.

In the small town of North City, approximately 20 miles outside of Central City, you could not find two people more loved by the townsfolk. James' Father, had been the Sheriff for over 20 years, and was praised highly for his "moral character". Jame's Mother, had been a professor at Central University with a focus on women's studies and history, which resulted in her being seen as an impeccable wife/mother/educator from the township. This left James with an inability to understand, and by extension trust, the society he grew up in. If the people he interacted with in town deemed these two monsters to be worthy of idolization; what kind of monster must that then make them?

The only permanent bright spot in his life came from his twin sister; Ashley. Now Ashley and James were as close as any two siblings could be. They had the same interests, were annoyed by the same things, and even managed to get past their petty sibling rivalry; in order to form a strong bond. However, from how they were treated by their parents, the two might as well have been as different as the brightest day is to the blackest night.

Ashley's treatment from her parents was as idealistic as any child could hope for. She received seemingly endless praise, encouragement, and consolidation. Where James' Father would beat him over anything as insignificant as James not being interested in sports; Ashley would be supported when she did not want to do ballet. Where James' Mother would berate him endlessly over the toxic nature of any masculine trait he displayed; Ashley would be praised for any feminine traits she cultivated. James would later accept it as merely being the way of the universe. For Ashley to be loved for all that she is; then it meant James must be hated.

**

Elizabeth Thorne is an intimidating young woman. While sitting in her office considering how to manipulate a jury to convict a man, an almost certainly innocent man, for the crime he has been committed of perpetrating; Elizabeth finds herself reminiscing about her life.

Growing up as the daughter of politicians; one would expect she would evoke a certain degree of fear and respect. Her parents, while consistently busy focusing on their careers, never failed to endeavor to make Elizabeth's life spectacular. Elizabeth was educated by the best tutors, wore the most alluring clothes, and had ample opportunity to study under her exceptional parents. While both of her parents were Federally elected politicians; they both had their own methods to achieve success.

Elizabeth began learning how to spot people's weaknesses and to exploit it to her advantage; from her Father. When she was 6 she remembers seeing how her Father was able to come down on a man so completely; that he left a race for Governor before retiring from politics forever. The power she saw that could be instilled from fear literally, for a moment, took her breath away. Her mother, on the other hand, possessed a more sinister ability. She had an ability to appear so friendly that her opponents would be unaware of the subtle ways she added to their paranoia. For her opponents they thought they were taking part in a simple photo shoot; while Elizabeth's mother would mix sweet words with subtle words of discouragement. One lunch date with her was all it took to make, even the most confident of politicians, spiral in terror at the possibility that those voting would vote another way or that the campaign staff were traitors.

Growing up in Keystone City offered Elizabeth the perspective she needed to help understand what she would do with the gifts her parents had granted to her. Though she loved, honored, and respected her parents; the politicians life did not appeal to her. However, the life of dominating others with socially approved flair; did have it's appeal. While walking down the sidewalk of the busy city; Elizabeth noticed something interesting. A large crowd gathering to witness the final day of a big murder trial. Interested to see a legal proceeding first hand; Elizabeth rushed in to secure a seat before the trial began. What she witnessed was something that could only be accurately described as serendipitous. The Prosecutor, a man named Augustus Robertson, had virtually no case. The defense attorney pointed out numerous factual inconsistencies with the prosecutions case thus far, that numerous experts contended against what the prosecution had presented, and that every single eye witness was disproved on the stand. Elizabeth sat back as Prosecutor Richards stood up and presented his closing statements.

Elizabeth left the courtroom amazed that the jury came back with a guilty verdict. The prosecutor did not dispute anything the defense attorney had stated, he did not after an alternative interpretation of the evidence, or anything you might expect. He merely stood up and made the jury so terrified that they might let a killer go; that they felt that it would be better to put an innocent man in prison than risk the slightest possibility they may actually let a guilty man go. Innocent until proven Guilty and Reasonable Doubt; both stood no chance against that terrifyingly surgical lawyers approach.

It was then that Elizabeth learned what path she wanted to walk down and what kind of person she wanted to be. She wanted to be someone that didn't need to be constrained by the reality around her; when she could make the world bend to her desires by simply exploiting the dread and suspicion found in everyone.

**

There was a brief moment in James' life wherein he might have had the chance to walk away from the path of rage. Between the ages of 8 and 10, when his parents wanted to spend quality time with Ashley, they would leave him with a babysitter. The babysitters name was Emily and she was the first person that James truly loved.

Initially James showed her the same apathetic courtesy he had started showing everyone in town. He had grown so tired of all the ignorant and blind people around him; that he simply decided to go through the motions. Their first evening together was nothing special. They watched t.v., ate dinner, and mostly remained silent. It wasn't until the end of the night, when his parents returned home, that he realized just how extraordinary Emily truly was.

Upon their arrival Ashley was asleep, tuckered out from what was no doubt an exciting evening, and so they quickly put her to bed. James' mother came down first and talked with Emily. She paid Emily for her time and offered her apologies for how horrid she was certain her son was. While James was used to this type of degrading speech said by his mother before; what he wasn't used to was what Emily did. She actually defended James even contending that he was a complete sweetheart who she couldn't wait to see again. James couldn't believe that and couldn't help smiling at her when she smiled at him. James' mother thanked her for being sweet, but stated to her that it does the boy no good to be coddled. The rules in her house was that "boys being boys" would not be encouraged and he would need to develop properly; if James was to receive praise. Emily, dismayed by the overly critical language, simply nodded before hugging James and saying goodbye.

From then on his time spent with Emily was a brief, but meaningful time in his life. James had even begun orchestrating events, with the help of his sister, to get his parents out of the house; so that he could have the reprieve that only his friend could offer. At his 10th birthday, which was a small family affair, Emily had managed to worm her way in. She had quickly become wise to Jame's parents physically/emotionally abusing him; however played along so as not to get James in trouble or be fired. She had started trying to look after him more, and with her leaving for college soon, decided to get him a special gift.

"Just between us okay?" She said with a smile as she handed him the wrapped present.

James opened the present to find that it was a pre-paid cellphone. Emily had gotten it for him so that, even though she would be going away soon, that they would be able to talk. That level of consideration brought young James to tears and he thanked her while hugging her tightly. For one brief moment, on one bright day, James had finally felt wanted. Over the years he had stopped being ruled by fear, had his rage tempered by Emily's compassion, and even had hope for the future. Tragically, this is not the path that James would be allowed to stay upon.

One night, after a particularly horrid evening of being beaten by his father and berated by his mother; James decided to use the phone to call Emily. She answered and he told her what was going on. Emily told him that everything would be okay and not to worry. While they were talking James' parents came and took his phone. They berated Emily for giving him a phone without their permission and told her she was to stay away. Emily attempted to argue, but they hung up. She decided that enough was enough and that she was going to get that boy out of that environment. She got in her car and began rushing to the house; worried that something horrible would be happening to James. Sadly it had been raining that night and the roads were very slippery. Emily would never make it to the house and James would never again have a bright day.

**

Elizabeth spent years preparing to reach her destination of becoming a prosecutor in the Keystone City D.A.'s office. She got good grades, did volunteer work to show good moral character, went to the best college to get into the best law school, and graduated at the top of her class. Her parents were proud and paid the cost of all of her time in university so as to spare her from crippling debt.

During her time in law school; Elizabeth gained an internship in the D.A.'s office and was able to work with the Augustus Robertson. She had become a dedicated student and worked tirelessly to make a lasting impression; in the hopes of better securing a spot upon graduation. Everything about the courthouse resonated with her on a level that nothing else had before. The rush of exhilaration she felt sitting in at trial, the rush of ecstasy she felt when she watched people give into trepidation by accepting plea bargains that weren't worth the paper they were printed on, etc; all filled her with a sense of purpose.

Upon graduating law school she effortlessly got a job working in the D.A.'s office thanks partially to Augustus becoming the new D.A., but mostly becomes the work she had put in as well as the respect she subtly demanded from those around her. It wasn't long before she was given her own cases to try and it was glorious. Caught with an ounce of weed? Jail. Suspected of theft? Jail. Someone accused of abuse based on virtually no evidence? 20 minutes until they accept the plea bargain and end up in jail. It was all too easy and the guilt/innocence of the accused did not even enter in Elizabeth's mind.

After working a few years she got her first high profile case. It was the kind of case where a name could be made and a career drastically escalated. Wealthy reputable man accused of killing his wife, and virtually all the evidence is circumstantial; "Oh happy day!" exclaimed Elizabeth delighted at the challenge. Now Elizabeth ended up having a harder time on the case than she had realized. Between the army of lawyers and the well paid mouthpieces known commonly as "experts"; Elizabeth was losing control of the jury. She could see the doubt in his guilt and growing compassion they were feeling. If she didn't find a way to steer the jury towards declaring guilt; then it would be a black stain on her record. A black stain is not something Elizabeth was prepared to tolerate.

So the night before closing arguments Elizabeth contemplated how to handle the case. Perhaps intimidate the jury by feigning anger? No too aggressive. Appealing to their love and compassion for the victim? No they don't know the victim and are to ingratiated with the accused.

It would seem the only emotional manipulation that could work is the one that she is all to happy to reflect upon; Fear.

Just then a yellow light gleamed outside her window and before she could see what it was; a yellow ring broke through the window presenting itself to her.

"Elizabeth Thorne of the planet Earth. You have the ability to instill great fear. Welcome to the Sinestro Corps." the ring announced with hypnotic resonance.

As the ring came closer, Elizabeth held out her hand, and once the ring moved gently on her finger; she was filled with an overwhelming sense of fear as well as power.

She was transformed. Floating in the air, emitting a yellow aura, and wearing a uniform of yellow/black. She felt like she could take on the world and now realized just how small of a concern that case she was contemplating; truly was. She was a newly born goddess upon the earth and it was time for the world to feel the fear of her magnificence.

**

James would leave his home on the day he turned 18 and would only say goodbye to his sister. He often reflected on whether his parents would be able to function without him as their outlet; then he would silently hope that they would simply end their lives violently by turning their evil on each other. As James drifted he had many odd jobs and spent time with various people; unable to find order in his life. However, even though he enjoyed the migration, James could not let go of the rage in his heart. After four years of staying away he finally returned to North City; only to find that his parents had died. His sister, emotionally wrecked by the sudden deaths of her loving parents, was immensely happy to have her brother back. She explained to him that they had both died together and both died from heart attacks. Admittedly they were both in their 60's, and James would only find enjoyment from laughing at the idea's they had hearts to break, but what angered him further was how attendants of the funeral began to romanticize all of it.

"At least they went together."- Said random moron

"It's so sweet how connected they truly were."- Gushed ignorant harpy

As James heard the insistent muttering of the over-opinionated room; he began to lose control. In a fit of uncontrollable rage he yelled out "Can we all stop playing pretend that these dead creatures were somehow worthy of consideration?!" The room had fallen silent as everyone, aside from his sister, were genuinely surprised. "The only things we should all be doing is having a party, enjoying some drinks, and taking turns spitting on their rotten corpses!" James exclaimed, preceding to walk up to each of their caskets. After taking a moment to reflect on his life under them; James leaned in and whispered "You may have broken my body and you may have scarred my mind; but my hate filled soul is my own." before ending his time in the funeral parlor by spitting on their bodies.

While walking out of the building he noticed a deputy having words with a drug dealer. Upon further inspection he noticed it was deputy Randall, his Father's go to guy, and that the engagement was not as one would expect between a cop/drug dealer.

"Now you can either give me the weed for free or I can arrest you for possession."- Said Randall menacingly.

"If you want it you can buy it, but this threatening shit is seriously messed up."- said the drug dealer.

"No see what's "seriously messed up" is if you don't give me the drugs for free then, not only will I arrest you, but I may just have to put my thumb on the scale to secure you a felony." Randall said with a grin.

Now James had heard enough. He had been unable to deal with his parents evil, but he would sooner die than stand idly by as the evil his Father cultivated was going to be passed on to future generations. James then walked over to Randall, grabbed him by the back of the head, and put his face on the ground. At that moment the drug dealer ran off while James flipped Randall over and said "Now Officer isn't buying drugs illegal?" he said with a wicked glee.

As James began beating Randall he couldn't help enjoying it; while at the same time imagining that it was his Father he was finally dealing with. However, before James could finish dealing with Randall's villainy; he was tasered in the back. The electric shock was excruciating and had the unfortunate end result of causing him to urinate uncontrollably. As laid there helpless from the taser; he could not stop Randall and his fellow deputy; from beating him like a dog. Then, shortly after the beating had begun, a crowd began to form. James couldn't tell if anyone was horrified or concerned; yet did make note of a few smiles. Before he could become anymore disillusioned with the decency of society, however, his sister ran out towards him with the New Sheriff, Nathan Monroe. Ashley immediately attack the nearest deputy she could by pushing him off James and then punched Randall across his face with a right hook. With the Sheriff standing there, neither deputy had the mindset to attack her, but the intent burned in their eyes. As Ashley held her brother; the deputies filled the Sheriff in on what had happened.

"Sheriff this maniac attacked me out from behind without provocation."- Said Randall.

"When I arrived on scene the individual was clearly assaulting Randall with what I believed to be a homicidal intent."- Declared the other deputy.

With James unable to coherently offer any explanation; the Sheriff decided he would take him in, lock him up, and question him in the morning.

After being unconscious, for who knows how long, James contemplated the life he had lead which has resulted in him sitting in this cage. In truth he had always expected to end up here. He was hated since birth by almost everyone, those who attempted to break him were exalted by society, and so why wouldn't he be deemed the 1 in 100 condemned to be locked away.

What was he supposed to be feeling? James thought long and hard on what emotions should be overwhelming him. Was it Fear? Unlikely given there was nothing to be afraid of. Unlike most people James was not hopeful enough to imagine a world that didn't come with a fair degree of pain. Compassion for the deputy? Absolutely not. Why share my almost non-existent loving heart with that corrupt hypocrite who should just be lucky he can still walk.

The only emotion that James should feel, the emotion that dominated most of his life, is rage. As he sits in his cell and reflects on all the pain in his life; James can barely take it. Rage begins to fill him and he want nothing more than to set this broken world right. James thinks to himself "That deputy is lucky he isn't here because from this day on I am done holding back my rage when it comes to bastards like him/my parents/the society that condones it all!"

Just then a dark red light shines and a red ring appears outside of the cell.

"James Crawford of Earth. You have great rage in your heart. You belong to the Red Lantern Corps." the ring declared in a deep demanding voice.

Without a moment of hesitation James put the ring on. When he did he felt a surge of energy as, what could only be described as red acidic vapor, forced it's way down his throat and throughout the rest of his body. He could feel the pain and exhilaration of it; as well as a brief moment wherein his heart stopped functioning. Yet even with the pain he could feel what he truly needed; the power. Power to escape this cell, power to punish that deputy, and power to save the world.

**

The next day James and Elizabeth utilize their new found powers.

Elizabeth by making the jury so irrational with fear that they only need deliberate for 10 minutes, on a murder trial that took days to present, to declare him guilty. After which she donned her uniform, concealed her identity, and flew into the sky ready to see how far fear could take her.

James sat patiently in his cell waiting for the deputies to arrive. Every fiber of his being demanded he break free and let loose his rage; however he would not be the beast that his parents were. He would choose to expel his anger only on those that deserve it and not merely those in view. Once Deputy Randall arrived however; the red power surged through him. James, donning his red and black uniform, attacked Randall! His eyes glowing red, acidic blooding oozing from his mouth, and a smile that would scare the devil himself. By the time fellow officers arrive; they find deputy Randall with every bone in his body broken but still alive.

James and Elizabeth both fly through the air; both eager to decide on what course of action to take next.

Elizabeth decides to fly over china giving all the sleeping citizens nightmares, she decides to cause a gang war by increasing the paranoia of certain volatile people, and causes a woman to burn down her family home; in order to save herself from ghosts.

James however walked a different; yet equally violent path. He used his ring to sense the rage of those across the world; searching for those with righteous hatred that they were simply to weak to act upon. He put a stop to a sex trafficking ring in south Florida, helped put an abusive spouse in her place, and put an end to a gang war.

However, that is when they begin to cross paths. Elizabeth sensing her fearful gang members had been stopped and James at the unnatural manipulation of the gang members minds. They both fly up, scanning with their rings, until they find each other.

"Who are you and why are you provoking people?!" Demanded James.

"Not that I answer to you, but I am simply having fun with my ring. Seeing how fragile people seem to be I will confess to being rather disappointed."- Elizabeth said despondently.

"Well I am telling you to stop doing it to people. If you need to get your freaky rocks off then at least do it in order to subdue bad people; leave the innocent be."- Declared James.

"You are rather assertive for someone I neither know nor care to know. With regards to my selection; I haven't decided what I like yet. Once I figure out who I like to instill with fear; I will be sure to run it by you" Elizabeth stated sarcastically.

"Allow me to make this clear." James said visibly starting to lost control due to frustration. "If you make so much as one good person do something unpleasant by instilling them with fear; then I will rip your arm off and that's just for starter." James decreed menacingly.

Elizabeth, enraged at this man's impertinence, attack him with a yellow blast from her ring!

James takes the blast and, terrifyingly enough, seems happy before attacking her with a red blast in kind.

The two begin to fly through the air, blasting and weaving, both unable to land an effective hit. Then Elizabeth scans James' mind for his fears in an attempt to use them against him. James is then made to see visions of his parents which momentarily causes him to stop in fear.

"Ah what's wrong; scared of mommy and daddy?" She inquired in a demeaning tone.

Then she noticed that he was no longer afraid but began burning red. "Scared? Oh no darling; you just threw fuel on the fire and I wanted to direct the explosion!"

Just then James shot at Elizabeth faster than she had been prepared to hand; resulting in James wrapping her up with his arms and vomiting the acidic blood on her face!

"AHHHH!" cried Elizabeth as she struggled to get out. Just then she learned to perform a new trick with her ring. She created a dog with her yellow ring and had it attack James before her face could burn anymore.

As James began fighting the yellow constructed dog; Elizabeth attempted to flee intending to recuperate before dealing with the fiery red lantern later. However, her dog proved a weak distraction and she found herself to be unable to outrun James.

"Going somewhere? You wouldn't be scared of me would you!" He yelled with righteous indignation as he began attacking her again with blasts.

As she dodged Elizabeth quickly attempted to search his mind for a deeper fear; perhaps one he did not consciously realize. The moment she finds it one of the red blasts hits her and puts her at the mercy of James. Before he can begin destroying her; Elizabeth creates a construct of Emily.

"Emily.....?" Inquired James.

"When did the sweet boy I knew become such a monster?" Emily asked in a disgusting tone. "Is this really what I traded my life for?"

"Emily I'm sorry please don't say that!" James pleaded; so distracted by this fear of her disappointment that his fiery red rage begins to subside.

It's at this moment when Elizabeth, sensing her moment to end this punk, creates a sword and plunges it through James' chest.

James goes limp as the sword pierces his heart.

"I don't know what's more pathetic," stated Elizabeth "The fact you left yourself open to be killed or the fact you fell for that illusion."

"I would say.... it was the falling for the illusion one." mumbled James

"Why do you say that?" Inquired Elizabeth.

"Because the kill you believe you have isn't a kill at all." James said while grinning a terrifying grin. "You see my heart stopped functioning the moment I put this ring on," James stated as he held up the ring "and so the thing you stabbed was really just dead weight." He explained while grabbing her arm with both hands.

"What are you doing?!" Elizabeth shrieked.

"Well I am rather furious about you showing me Emily in that horrid state," James explained "and it caused me to remember I said something about taking off your ARM!!!" Just then James spit out all of the acidic blood he could burning Elizabeth's arm and the aura around it! He then began to try to rip it off with his bare hands.

Elizabeth, while screaming in pain and fear, yelled "NO PLEASE STOP!" however it was too late as James ripped off her sinister arm containing the yellow ring of fear.

As James held up the arm in a triumphant stance; Elizabeth, now absent a power ring, lost the yellow light and began to fell. As she did her ring left her severed arm and placed itself upon her sole available hand.

As the yellow light engulfed her the ring declared "Medical Emergency. Beginning evacuation to Sinestro Corps medical facility." and flew an unconscious Elizabeth into space.

James triumphantly sounded "THIS WORLD IS MINE TO PROTECT AND NO ONE WILL THREATEN THE INNOCENT WHILE I DRAW BREATH!!!"

As James finishes his statement he proceeds to focus on using his ring to mend his damage and then continue to right the wrongs of the world.

@alexash

Deep breaths, be calm, you got this.

Those words kept going through my head as I sat in the waiting room of Stark Tower. Everyone was walking around so fast, the man sat opposite me was constantly staring at me. Little did I know what he would cause? I checked my phone, one message, “good luck, love you x” from Lucy, my Lucy. That day was the day I applied for the special project as Stark Industries. The day my life changed. I had been working at Stark Industries for about 3 years as a technology adviser, using my degree in particle physics to assist with new technological advances.

After acing my interview I got placed on a special project for Mr Stark where I had to design a new suit. A new iron man suit. Using my knowledge of intermolecular I theorized that if the suit could incorporate some Gravitonium, a strange material that can alter the effects of gravity if a electrical current is passed through it. Therefore the suit could fly quicker and not need to take into account the effect of gravity on his flight. I was paired up with another scientist called Josh Walker, the man that was staring at me during the first interview. And Emily, Josh’s girlfriend.

Josh was trying to design a suit using Horton Cells. If this was done, whenever the suit came into contact with Mutant or Inhuman abilities, the suit could manifest the powers without causing harm to the original hero or villain, this would allow Stark to have a suit with the powers of any Mutant or Inhuman. And Emily was attempting to build a suit using Synth-kinetic Interfacing Nanofluid. This would be a suit that could act as a second skin but would require lots of work. All three scientists believed that they had the best idea and a friendly rivalry soon grew, as well as Josh and Emily becoming engaged. Time passed and both Josh and Emily were making excellent progress, however, as Gravitonium is a rare material, I had to wait weeks before he could a sample.

And it was because of this, because I was so far behind them, I rushed in. I spend days in the lab working out theorems and I almost lost sight of what was really important. My wife Lucy, and my unborn baby. Working harder than I ever had I was able to balance me family time with work, however, to help me cope Emily assisted me with some of my work. Seeing the worst in a situation Josh assumed we were having an affair. The next week consisted of Emily arriving late, always with tears rolling down her face. Their relationship was destroyed all because of me and Josh blamed me. After a month of shitty comments and foul gazes I stood up to him, only to be violently put back in place. During my recovery I discovered a breakthrough, the way to successfully bond Gravitonium with an iron man suit. Overwhelmed by my discovery I rushed in.

Requesting help from Emily and Josh, I ended up getting an intern and Emily assisting me. Overwhelmed with excitement I rushed into the bonding process and didn’t fully disable the armours defence mechanisms. Emily rushed back into her lab to get her equipment. However, as soon as I attached the Gravitonium to the core reactor the suits defences became active and all I saw was a bright light, and Josh.

I awoke 3 days later.

After a meeting with the doctors I was told that the explosion took out the entire floor of the Stark Tower. There was three deaths. The intern assisting me, the night warden who had just walked on the laboratory level of the tower, and … Josh. He had walked in to talk to Emily when the incident happened. And Emily, she … she ended up in a coma with severe burns covering her entire body. And me, I was told that I suffered major head trauma and that I have a small mass close to my brain stem. After being kept under heavy sedation for days I eventually left for home after I refused treatment.

When I got home I was met my two police officers and a group of layers from Stark Industries. After the layers sent the police on their way I sat down to meet the loving embrace of my wife. After calming her down and talking to my unborn son we both went to bed, but even as I laid down in my bed I could feel the pain killers wearing off.

Agghhhhhh

That sound… The sound of my wife screaming.

I awoke to the view of my entire bedroom floating around me. As soon as I focused on what we was happening everything fell. After calming down I rushed to the hospital to see if anything had happened to the baby, but whenever I got scared or confused thing started to float. After we got the all clear I went to see Mr Stark. I had met him a couple of times and he wanted to see me after the incident anyway. After some small talk I tried to explain to him what had happened. But he found it hard to believe. A man who flies around in a suit of armour, who has fought aliens didn’t believe that a strange event occurred. I got mad, I stood there as the contents of the room began to float. I stood there and watch him float above my head. After I calmed down we got to work.

We used his personal lab, his personal equipment. We came to the conclusion that within a dome of influence I was able to increase and decrease the gravity with mere thoughts. However, we had no idea of what allowed me to achieve these feats. After rejecting Tony’s offer to be placed in a training program with other people with gifts. I went home to spend the rest of my time with my wife. However the tests with Tony lead to me to realise that the mass in my head will kill me in two months and due to its location it is too close to my brain stem to operate. Two month before my child will be born.

I spent the next two months with my wife, trying to get as much time together as possible, however I did have two side projects. One, visiting Emily. And two, training myself to use my powers. I knew that I couldn’t use them like any of superheroes that save the world time and time again, but I felt alive, teaching myself to levitate, learning my limits. But the time came.

I was fine, weeks passed and nothing happened. Confused as to why I was still alive, I went to talk to Mr Stark. We used some of his tech to examine the mass. The mass was a small piece of Gravitonium. Together we realised that neurons in my brain were colliding with the Gravitonium and causing the changes in gravity. Happy with the news I accepted Tony’s offer and was set to start training at the Avengers Academy. When I got the call. Emily had woken up. When she heard about josh, and how she looked, when the explosion happened it lead to a large pool of boiling Synth-kinetic Interfacing Nano fluid being poured all over her. She had lost everything. Her body, her heart. And she was not happy. I rang my house to see if Lucy, and my unborn son, were ok.

They weren’t.

I got home, to a scene. A scene taken straight out of every horror film ever.

A women, a woman whose body covered in horrific burns, covered in blood. My wife, my Lucy, laying there, lifeless. Blood spilling out of her throat. I just stood there, staring at tatters of my life. I looked at her, Emily, the friend scorned into tearing my whole life into confetti. I looked down at Lucy, My Lucy. My wife, and the sonogram in her hand.

Then the world came crashing down. Literally.

All the pain, the anger, the hatred. I hadn’t even noticed, I was just floating there, above the rubble of my house, me, my wife, my unborn son, and her. She was staring me, straight in the eyes. The look, the gaze. It was like a laser cutting though me. Those eyes. Blood shot, filled with anger. She just stared at me. She was totally and utterly remorseless.

She WILL feel remorse.

I screamed as I pulled all three of us to the ground.

She screamed as I piled on more and more and more pressure. I heard bones cracking, concreate shattering … and a splutter. The Synth-kinetic Interfacing Nanofluid that covered her body had made her strong, the burns lead to it covering muscle. It wasn’t her bones I was breaking. I stopped all I could do it stare in horror, Lucy’s corpse, her mangled, defiled corpses squished against concrete.

The Emily pounced on me, using her increased strength and durability to pummel me. Punch after punch, break after break, scream after scream.

ENOUGH

I screamed as I completely removed all gravity.

She floated. I had to follower her, I had to keep her within my limits, she is not getting away that easily

“Why. You think we are equal. You think that an accident leading to couple of scars and a lost lover, is the same as killing a wife, a baby. Cause it’s NOT.”

With that I forced her down into the earth, pushing myself, forcing more and more and more pressure as she was rammed, deeper and deeper into the crust of the earth. Not even her thick muscles and skin could protect her. With every scream, with every break, with every single sound she made I force more and more pressure on her. The ground stared to shake, neighbouring buildings falling, the crater she was in was getting bigger, and bigger and bigger.

When he showed up from out of nowhere I was tackled away by a flying iron man.

“What have you done? Better yet, what can you do?” tony said in amazement, I turned to him when suddenly…

SMACK

Iron Man went flying into a crumbling building. She turned to me, blood oozing out of her body. She threw the knife at me. The knife, the knife that killed the two people that I loved the most. I increased the gravity around me the knife just dropped to the floor. But that was what she wanted.

The second she through the knife she leaped off a car and over me, using the increase in gravity to land on me. Before I could react she was landing blow after blow. The gravity giving each punch more and more power. I removed the gravity, but she clung onto me. Smashing me down into the floor. Break after break. Punch after punch. I tried everything. But nothing worked. Until I passed out.

I awoke. I was told it was weeks later. I was in the medical centre in the avenger’s mansion,

I had 8 broken ribs, broken jaw, fractured skull, broken arms and legs and one hell of a headache.

I was told that Iron Man blasted her off me and took her into custody. Naturally she escaped. A genius, with muscles as strong as her brain. No prison would be able to look after her for long. After my recovery, and a proper burial for Lucy, and Josh, my son. I began my training, I became the hero called G-Force, a hero with the ability to control gravity. A hero with three goals; to find and hold Emily accountable for what she has done, to atone for my crimes, and all of the crimes Emily commits, as I am the reason she became a monster, and finally, to make my wife and son proud.

@batkevin74

Zenith and Nadir stood at opposite ends of the roof on the International Commerce Building in Hong Kong each silently staring at the other as the wind howled off Kowloon Bay.

“You could just let me go?” Nadir suggested as he unfurled a three-section staff from his back.

“You could just hand back the codes,” replied Zenith as he in turn slid a pair of tonfa from his belt, one in each hand.

Nadir shrugged “Oh where’s the fun in that?”

Zenith slowly crossed the roof towards his long time rival, who in turn walked forward. They knew each other like the backs of their hand. Their costumes were essentially dark mirror versions of the other but to say who was the dark and who was the light was at times subjective.

“Is it my turn to win or yours?” asked Nadir as his hands channelled purple energy into his weapon, coating it like a sheath.

“This isn’t a game!” Zenith snapped as he in turn powered his own weapons with similar crimson energy and spun them.

“That’s why you lose more times than you win,” Nadir smiled and lashed out with the staff. Zenith sidestepped then dive rolled towards his foe but Nadir read the play and leapt over him. “Come now brother. Did you really think I’d fall for that move again?”

“It worked in Paris,” Zenith reminded him as he flipped up to his feet.

“Ah yes, Paris!” Nadir said as he moved into combat range and lashed out with a series of strikes. Zenith raised his tonfas blocking the furious blows. The sound of the energised weapons colliding was on par with a fireworks display complete with purply-red sparks. “But you had help.”

Zenith saw an opening and struck for the throat but Nadir quickly raised the middle section of this staff preventing a potentially lethal blow, sparks showered them both. Nadir brought the two end sections trying to essentially crack Zenith either side of skull at the temple but Zenith ducked and smashed a tonfa into Nadir’s unguarded toes.

“F%^$!” screamed Nadir as he jerk kicked Zenith away and hopped around on one foot.

“Hand back the codes and I won’t break you piece by piece,” Zenith said dusting himself off.

“I heal just as quick, if not quicker than you brother,” Nadir replied “Just like we were built brother.”

“She must have built you from my scraps,”

Nadir paused before chuckling “Do you honestly believe they got it right the first time? How many Apollo missions were there before they landed on the moon? You’re like Apollo 9.”

“You’re Apollo 13!” Zenith stated as he struck with cobra-like speed. Nadir parried the barrage as they moved up and down the roof, the sky above brewing a storm almost in response to the fight below. For every solid hit landed there was a replying blow, not always instantaneously but it was always replied. After a solid five minutes they broke from each other, panting and wheezing and sweating like professional boxers in the ninth round.

“You ready to quit?” Nadir coughed. Zenith scoffed then spat on the ground.

“We’re just getting started.”

“How about I give you half the codes and then let me go?” Nadir suggested.

Zenith shook his head “No. All or nothing.”

Nadir nodded “They really did a number on you, didn’t they.”

“You’re the traitor Nadir, not me,” Zenith reminded his opposite.

“Potato, potarto,” Nadir replied as he folded up the staff and put it away. “Let’s call the whole thing off.”

“What?”

“You and I have been at each other’s throats for years,” Nadir said as he fished around in a side pouch.

“Ever since you killed Amanda,” growled Zenith as he inched forward cautiously watching.

Nadir pulled out a small black box. “That was an accident. I keep telling you that but it’s like talking to a brick wall. In here,” He held up the box “Are the codes I just stole. They have the account numbers and backdoor passkeys to everyone on the 400 Fortune list. Potentially access to over a quadrillion dollars, Zen. That’s a one with f…”

“Fifteen zeros after it. Big deal. You’re a murderer and a thief, Nadir.”

“Well I tried,” and with that he threw the box into the air before charging. Zenith watched the box as a claw on an almost invisible monofilament wire caught it and dragged it up into the clouds. Zenith ran at the charging Nadir, leapt and spring boarded onto him and them off him as he went after the box.

“GET BACK HERE!” yelled Nadir as Zenith got whisked up into the sky.

“WE’LL FINISH THIS LATER NADIR,” shouted Zenith “RIGHT NOW I’M GOING TO DEAL WITH YOUR EMPLOYER!”

Nadir hurled his weapon after his foe more is a vain attempt, like a long range three pointer on the buzzer. Zenith couldn’t help but mockingly wave as he climbed the cord up to the plane that had skyhooked the box that could potentially bankrupt the planet. As he climbed Zenith recalled that how seven years ago he and Nadir were born…

**

“They are super soldiers,” declared Professor Agnes Koletis to the assembled military men as they looked at the tubes of six men floating in bluish liquid as if it were some bizarre aquarium. “We started the bidding at two million.”

“For the lot?” asked the representative from the Laotian government.

Agnes chuckled “No you silly little man. But I do love that a country that can barely feed itself will spend money on a biological weapon.”

“Thirteen million!”

Agnes looked over at the woman from the Dragenda drug cartel and nodded “And now the bidding has begun.”

For over an hour the price skyrocketed until there was only two left: The US military and the Russian billionaire Vagit Mordashov. Professor Koletis felt uncomfortable both at the price and the bidders.

“Vhy do you vish these trinkets Mr Yankee Doodle?” mocked Vagit as he lit a Cuban cigar off a hundred euro note as he plonked his snakeskin boots on the table. His cold hazel eyes locked onto the trio of identical men in black suits, crew cut blonde hair and sunglasses to complete the cliché. The slightly larger of the three went to speak when he was lightly restrained by another who was listening to his earpiece.

“Ninety five million,” said the man in almost robotic like fashion.

“Pfft,” scoffed Vagit “One hundred and twenty.”

The man listened to his earpiece carefully before turning to Professor Koletis. “One hundred and fifty, final offer.”

Vagit stood up and flicked his cigar at them. “This is auction not supermarket.”

The trio drew guns and opened fire on the room, taking Vagit out first. There was some retaliatory fire but the trained killers cleared the room quickly and efficiently until it was just two of them and Professor Koletis, shaking under the podium. One grabbed her by the hair.

“We tried to play nice,” he said putting a bullet in her guts. “This Agent D we have secured the packages.”

“NO!” screamed Koletis as she pulled a black device from her jacket pocket. “You will not take my children!”

She pushed a button and set off the destruct sequence. One by one the tubes exploded in fire and goop. Agent D put three bullets into Koletis as his co-agent ran and dive tackled a tube, knocking over and preventing it from destruction.

{Status D?}

Agent D looked around. “We have one secure package. The doctor had a failsafe.”

{Prepare for evac}

Agent D and co left with the whole tube, but unseen from the ruins crawled a newly born ‘super soldier’. Brought into the world by fire and pain.

**

Pain that Zenith felt now as he shimmied up the skywire and into the plane, box secured in his belt.

“Kill him!” screamed a woman with an eye patch to the dozen men in green waiting in the bomb bay.

“Always nice to see you too Brigitte,” Zenith replied as he battered his way through the cannon fodder. Brigitte fired a large needle gun at him to which Zenith easily avoided. “Any reason you’re hiring Nadir to steal…just answered my own question I think.”

“The rich have too much!” she shrieked letting rip with another barrage of sharp projectiles. “We can save the planet with their money.”

“Oh it’s for a good cause, must mean it’s okay to steal,” laughed Zenith as he used one of her goons as a shield then using him to clear the plane leaving the two of them. “You’re going to jail.”

Brigitte hissed and pulled the trigger only to have it click. Zenith went to smile when a metal cord lashed around his neck jerking him backwards.

“MISS ME?” laughed Nadir as he hauled Zenith out of the plane like a hanged man, himself buffeting like a leaf in the turbulence as his jetpack squealed to keep him at the height and speed of the escaping plane. Zenith clawed at the cable as he fell. Using his bio-energy he charged his hands to melt it when a surge of Nadir’s bio-energy flew down the metal and shocked him.

“NOT TODAY SUNSHINE!” Nadir said pumping purple waves into Zenith who flailed like an octopus. He pushed his own red energy out and an epic battle of willpower fuelled energy danced up and down the cord some 20,000ft above Hong Kong.

“HARD TO BELIEVE WE’RE RELATED!” yelled Nadir. “BUT AN EXCELLENT STUDY IN NATURE VERSUS NUTURE. YOU, THE RUNT, GOING SOLO AND LIVING ROUGH. THE WAR MACHINE WITH A HEART OF GOLD WHILE ME; RAISED AND TRAINED BY THE GOOD OLD YOU ESS OF AY! IMAGINE IF IT’D BEEN REVERSED? IMAGINE IF ONE OF THE OTHER TUBES SURVIVED? IT’S BAD ENOUGH WITH US TWO TEARING EACH OTHER UP, BUT SIX OF US? MIND BLOWN!”

“You always talk too much,” Zenith said as he threw his tonfa and collected Nadir in the forehead. The brief lapse in concentration allowed Zenith to overpower Nadir’s energy and send the shock back plus combined with Nadir’s; the influx exploding the jetpack.

“YOU STUPID BASTARD!” yelled Nadir as the pair tumbled out of the sky. The next one hundred and twenty seconds were the longest and scariest of either of their lives. And then it became darkness and total pain as they ploughed into the roof of the Tsim Shau Tsui train station.

**

Slowly he came to, to the sounds of screaming people, whistles and trains venting. His whole body ached but due to the bio-energy and the healing implants Dr Koletis had gifted or cursed him with, Zenith stood up ever so slowly. Thankfully the box with the codes had been smashed into pieces, a bit like his body.

“Why couldn’t you just f^&%$ die?”

Zenith turned to see Nadir getting to his feet his body similarly spasming to compensate from the shock and force of falling 20,000ft into the ground.

“Could ask you the same thing,” replied Zenith as he saw the fabled Hong Kong Police Tactical Unit sweep in towards them; guns and stun batons at the ready. On a good day either of them could knock the seventy strong force on their collective behinds but now after the trauma of falling to earth they each wouldn’t be able to fend off an overzealous puppy.

“HANDS UP! HANDS UP!”

Zenith smiled, dropped to his knees and put his fingers behind his head. “I hope you try and fight. I always like watching you get your ass kicked.”

Nadir smiled and followed Zenith’s lead, going into a surrender pose. “I ain’t stupid like you brother. I’ll heal. You’ll heal. I’ll escape and we’ll go round again. You win this one. But next time, next time you’re mine.”

“Whatever you say ‘brother’, whatever you say,”

Swarms of officers jumped the pair like ants; kicking, punching and clamping down on every part. The last thing Zenith saw was Nadir’s smiling face before he was bundled off. The dance would continue

@stumpy49er

The Children of Valse Montres

Part I: The Twins

On a beachside cliff, under the full moon, a dark haired woman gives birth. The mid-wife Tessie holds the baby. "He's perfect." says Tessie. The baby has pale white skin and crimson red eyes. Tessie hands the baby to her master, the babies father, Lord Valse Montres.

He held the baby in his gigantic pale white hands. "Yes! The boy has my eyes. He will grow to be a great warlord, like his father. I name you Vicious. Prince Vicious Montres."

The mother screamed in pain. Tessie ran to her. "She's having another, master." said Tessie. The mother gave birth to a pink skinned, purple eyed baby boy. "He takes after his mother." said Tessie.

"How disappointing." sighed Montres. "Tessie, throw it over the cliff."

"No!" screamed the mother. "Please, not my baby."

"I told you Melina, I want one child. One heir to my throne. This other creature is ugly and unnecessary." replied Montres.

"I'll take the baby. I'll raise him myself. You'll never know he exists. He'll live a simple life as a peasant." said Melina.

"Simple peasant? No child of mine will ever be simple. Or a peasant. He will grow to be powerful, like his brother. He will be a usurper. This I can not allow." Montres roared "Tessie, throw the child off the cliff."

Tessie took the baby to the edge of the cliff. Melina ran after her, grabbing her baby from Tessie's grip. "Get your hands off my baby." Melina screamed. Tessie struggled with Melina for the baby but Melina grabbed Tessie and threw her to the ground.

Valse Montres rose into the air, dragon wings outstretched, his black armor a dark blot in the moonlit sky. His eyes burned with fire, yet he still carried baby Vicious in his arms. Melina stood at the edge of the cliff, holding her baby. Tessie slowly walked towards her, intent on throwing them both over the edge. Lord Montres eyes glowed bright, then shot two large fireballs at Melina.

Tessie was engulfed in the flames. Melina was thrown from the cliff into the sea as she cradled her baby. Valse Montres flew away with his son Vicious in his arms.

Five Years Later

High up in the towers of Castle Montres, five year old Vicious Montres trains with Ludivic Demorte, Grand Assassin of Montres Legion. Ludivic throws a blade at Vicious face. Vicious quickly deflects the blade with his scimitar. Wearing red armor and carrying two scimitars, made for a child his size, Vicious is quickly becoming a deadly fighter.

Valse walks into the training room, followed by his four lieutenants: Sapphire Scorpion, a beautiful and deadly witch; Grand Blanc Requin, a gigantic shark man; Captain Murder, swarthy looking, eye patch wearing, loud mouthed psycho and Mr. Flay, a small, balding, four armed mutant.

"My son is already stronger than twenty men put together. He will lead my armies and conquer this world and the next." roared Valse with pride.

"My shark men will devour his enemies." growled Requin.

"Ha! Me and Agatha will eat more ourselves than your entire fish clan." bragged Captain Murder, holding up his giant battle axe, Agatha. Requin growled at Murder. Captain Murder continued "I once ate an entire classroom full of children.."

"Not this story again." sighed Sapphire Scorpion.

Mr. Flay giggled. "I like this story."

"That's enough prattle." commanded Valse. "Ludivic, meet us in the War Room. We have plans to discuss."

"I want to come, father." said Vicious. "I want to learn war strategy."

"Yes, of course." said Valse smiling. "Come with us."

Meanwhile

In the small fishing town of Boots Villa, a young, purple eyed boy wearing a purple bandana runs through the streets, being chased by a merchant.

"Stop that little rat. He stole from me." yelled the merchant. The boy ran through a tight alleyway and ducked under the floorboards of a small shop. Coming out the other side the boy runs towards the docks. The merchant doggedly pursues him, finally grabbing the boy right in front of the crew of the smuggler ship The Hood.

"Gotcha!" yelled the merchant as he grabbed the boy. The child grabbed the mans arm and flung him to the ground. All the men there started laughing. The merchant pulled out a dagger.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." said the bald headed captain of The Hood.

"This little rat stole from me." said the merchant, pointing at the boy.

"This true, Remy?" asked the captain. "Did you steal from this man?"

Remy smiled. "Only what you asked me, Captain Galen." Remy pulled out a coin purse and threw it at Captain Luc Galen.

"Ah, good boy." said Galen as he caught the coin purse.

"What? What is this?" asked the infuriated merchant.

"This? This, Charles, is what you owe my wife." said Galen. Standing behind Galen was a woman wearing a hood. She stepped forward and pulled her hood back. It was Melina.

"Charles Bones. The skin salesman. Isn't that what you call yourself? You sold me as a slave to the servants of Montres, for a coin purse just like this." Melina said, grabbing the coin purse from Galen and throwing it at Bones feet.

Charles was scared and desperate. Looking at Remy he said "This must be your child. His child!" He ran at Remy with his dagger. With quick reflexes, five year old Remy Galen pulled out his sling shot and a nail, loaded it and shot Charles Bones between the eyes.

Bones dropped to his knees in front of Remy. Remy's eyes glowed with a purple light. The nail in Bones forehead glowed as well, bursting with purple flames, killing Bones instantly.

Twenty Years Later

In the War Room of Castle Montres, Valse plans his next conquest with Captain Murder and Mr. Flay. The doors burst open as Vicious strides in, Sapphire Scorpion following close behind.

"Grand Blanc Requin has been taken prisoner, father." yelled Vicious.

Valse stared at his son. "How?" he asked. "No man could stand against him. Thirty men could not defeat him in combat."

"It was the traitor Ludivic Demorte." said Sapphire. "He is working with the Rebel Guild."

"Requin was in the town of Cape Rouge with his Shark Clan, when Ludivic and a rebel battalion ambushed them in the towns square. They killed all the shark men except Requin. Ludivic defeated Requin himself." said Vicious. "They've imprisoned him in the clock tower."

"Vicious, Sapphire and Murder, gather your forces and sail towards Cape Rouge. Burn the town and slaughter everyone. Mr. Flay, you and your mind slaves will capture the clock tower. Treat Requin as the failure he is." ordered Valse.

Flay hopped up and down, giggling. "I get to flay the fish, ha ha, what a happy day. Flay the fish and eat his guts."

"I will deal with the traitor Ludivic personally." Valse vowed.

Cape Rouge

The leaders of the Rebel Guild meet in the clock tower to make their plans to defend the town.

"Have the civilians been evacuated?" asks Melina.

"Yes, my love." answers Captain Galen. "They've gone to the town of Boots Villa, many others have gone east to the hills."

"Lets hope they have a town left to come home to." says Melina.

"Master Montres will burn this town and everyone in it." growled Grand Blanc Requin, sitting chained and bloody, inside a gigantic cage.

"Yes, he will try. He will also send Flay or Murder to collect your head." said Ludivic Demorte.

"Traitor! He will burn your soul in the great inferno." roared Requin.

"As he will yours, Requin. He sees no difference between traitors and failures." replied Ludivic. These words defeated Requin, who sunk back down.

"Why are we having this meeting with him here?" asked Remy, referring to Requin.

"It's the best place to plan. We can see the entire town from here. Besides, he can't do anything from that cage." answered Captain Galen.

"Melina, I need you here in this tower. You'll be our eyes from here and co-ordinate our forces. Use the wire to communicate with Galen." ordered Ludivic. "Remy, I want you and your snipers on the north west side building tops."

Remy was wearing his lucky purple bandana, had three flintlock pistols on him, a cutlass and his special, silver musket rifle.

"Captain Galen, you will lead the ground forces inside the town. I'll be on the docks." said Ludivic.

"That's suicide." said Remy. "They'll arrive at the docks."

"My group will be the first assault. We will retreat back to the town after that. Then you and Galen will hit them with all you got." replied Galen.

Part II: The Battle of Cape Rouge

Midnight

Montres naval forces arrive from the southwest. Cannon fire rocks the empty buildings as the ships make their way to the docks. As the nearest building collapses it triggers a mechanism designed by Galen and Ludivic. Cannons that were half buried on the beach fire off at the ships, while chains that were attached to underwater mines release. Montres fleet of ships are caught off guard as they are rocked by explosions. The Rebel Guild has been planning this battle for several years.

Vicious ship is the first to arrive at the docks, followed by Captain Murder, then Sapphire Scorpion. Their troops storm the docks, led by Vicious. Captain Murder and his troops follow close behind. Sapphire waits with her troops in her ship.

As Vicious stormed toward the land, he saw Ludivic standing on the land, waiting for him. Ludivic wore his silver robe and carried a large, gray scimitar with a skull engraved on the handle. In his left hand he was holding a switch. Click!

An explosion rocked the docks, killing half of Vicious men and almost all of Captain Murders men. Sapphire Scorpions troops were all fine. Vicious ran through the explosion, drawing his burning scimitars, leaping towards Ludivic, the two great warriors met in battle. Former teacher versus former pupil.

Sapphires troops took boats towards the beach. Sapphires boat rocked as Captain Murder crawled in. "Still alive?' asked Sapphire.

"Shut up, wench." replied Murder. "Me and Agatha need to kill people."

Melina watched all this from the clock tower. The battle at the docks was going better than expected. She began relaying a message to her husband via a wire that was designed, by her husband, to transmit messages to his location.

She stopped when she saw something peculiar from the south east of town. Smoke was rising. Then she saw a familiar image. A huge, dark blot in the sky. Black armor and dragon wings. It was Valse Montres himself. She began relaying this information to her husband, when all of a sudden, the tone in the wire went dead. Someone cut the wire.

Mr. Flay giggled, as he threw the severed wire to the ground. "Time to flay the fish. And anyone else in that tower." His mind slaves, bald men and women in green robes, followed him as he danced toward the clock tower, his two upper hands carrying sharp blades and his two lower hands carrying hooks.

As Sapphires troops made their way towards the north west buildings from the beach, Remy Galens snipers began shooting them down. Remy himself was taking down multiple soldiers with each shot, as his bullets burned lines of purple fire through the air and the soldiers.

Sapphire Scorpion floated up in the air torwards Remys snipers. Chains with spear points spiraled near her arms. She controlled them telekinetically and shot them out at the snipers, impaling several of them. Remy shot a flaming bullet at her head. She barely blocked it with her chains, which exploded near her face. She fell toward the streets and Captain Galens troops.

As Remy was distracted by Sapphire, Captain Murder had climbed up the building where Remy was. Murder rushed at Remy with his battle axe, Agatha. Remy just barely dodged Murder as he swung Agatha at his head.

Drawing his cutlass, Remy barely blocked Captain Murders onslaught. Murder was very fast for his size and immensely strong. Remy knew Murder was a brutal fighter. Remy was at the edge of the building facing a cliff. It was a far drop from here.

Captain Murder sneered. "Agatha's going to bathe in your blood, boy." He raised Agatha over his head. Remy raised his cutlass with his right hand and grabbed a flintlock from his waist with his left hand. As Captain Murder swung down at Remy, he blocked the axe with his cutlass but the force of the swing knocked him over the side of the building.

Remy fired a shot from his flintlock. The bullets purple flame shot through Captain Murders neck. Captain Murders body fell backward onto the ledge, while Agatha and his head plummeted over the side.

Remy braced himself for impact as he fell. He felt his back rip apart, along with his shirt. He thought he hit the ground but was surprised to see he was flying through the air. He had sprouted purple dragon wings from his back, which allowed him to fly.

Melina locked the door to the tower room. She heard screams at the bottom of the clock tower. She barred the door with lockers and crates as she heard footsteps coming up the stairway.

"I can smell him." spoke Grand Blanc Requin. "He sent Mr. Flay. The little creep gets his pleasures torturing and flaying men.. and women.. alive!" Requin emphasized these last words towards Melina.

Melina grabbed her sword. "Shut up, monster."

"That won't help you." replied Requin. "He's too fast and tricky. He will capture you and flay you. As he will me. Release me. I will kill him for you."

Melina looked at Requin. "You'll kill me! I'm not stupid."

"No." replied Requin. "You are the mother of Prince Vicious Montres. I will not kill you."

"You're loyal to Vicious?" asked Melina.

"Yes." answered Requin. "More so than I am to his father. Lord Valse sent that vile little creature to flay me alive, instead of delivering me to the great inferno himself. Vicious would give me more honor in death."

The door started banging. Mr. Flays mind slaves were breaking in. "Hurry!" insisted Requin. "I promise you, you will not want to die at the hands of Flay."

"Promise me you won't kill me." Melina demanded.

"I promise." said Requin.

Grabbing the key, Melina unlocked the cage door. She didn't notice behind her Mr. Flay had climbed up to the balcony. Flay grabbed her from behind and pulled her away from Requin. He didn't notice her drop the key at Requins feet.

Captain Luc Galen led his men in a fierce battle against Sapphire Scorpions troops. Fighting with sabre and pistol, he fought his way towards the witch. He swung his sabre at her, which she easily dodged. She was weakened, the left side of her face was burned from Remys bullet shot, yet she was still immensely dangerous.

"You're losing this battle, witch!" yelled Galen.

"Ha! Our most powerful warrior has yet to enter the fray." Sapphire replied. "Ah! Speak of the devil and he shall arise." Sapphire said as Valse Montres rose up over the battle.

Valse screamed "Slaughter them all, my legion." as his personal shock troops came pouring out of the south east alleyways. Galen stood stunned at the sight. Sapphire Scorpion took this opportunity to impale Galens hands with her chains. She lifted him up into the air and chained him to the statue of a great fisherman, Boots McFly.

"I want you to watch this." said Sapphire. Galen couldn't look away as Valse floated in the sky, shooting fireballs from his eyes at Galens troops.

A rifle fired from in front and above Lord Valse. A purple line of fire shot at a downward angle towards Valse heart, where the bullet stopped. Remy flew down towards Valse, carrying his silver musket rifle.

"The bullet is lodged next to your heart, Montres." explained Remy. "I can burn your heart out with a thought."

Valse looked at Remy, stunned. "The usurper? You are the ugly, little creature she gave birth to." said Valse. "I didn't want you."

"I know." replied Remy. "End this battle, Montres."

"You are not my son. I am not your father." said Valse.

"My father is down there, tied to that statue." said Remy, pointing at Galen. "You will end this battle and send your forces home or I will burn your heart out." Remy's eyes glowed and a purple flame sprouted from Montres chest hole. Valse doubled over in pain. "Order your men to stop, Montres." ordered Remy.

Valse looked at Remy with disdain. "Stop. Stand down, legion." he ordered his troops. "Sapphire, let his father go." Sapphire sighed, then released the chains binding Galen. He fell to the ground.

Mr. Flay held Melina on the edge of the balcony of the clock tower as they watched the battle, his hooks in her side and his blades at her throat. Mr. Flay giggled. "Watch your husband and child die, woman, while I flay you slow."

They watched as Montres shot fireballs at Galens troops, then himself get shot by Remy.

"My child just beat your master, you little creep." Melina said with fire in her voice.

"No! No, no, no." yelled Mr. Flay. "I'm going to flay you, then the fish. Yes! I get to flay the fish. It's a happy day." Mr. Flay giggled.

CHOMP!

Mr. Flays body slumped to the ground. His head, neck and most of his chest were gone. Grand Blanc Requin stood over his body and swallowed the portion he bit off. Mr. Flays mind slaves all dropped to the ground, brain dead.

Melina trembled as the giant shark man stood in front of her. "Please.. please don't.."

"I promised you, I would not hurt you." replied Requin.

As Valse's troops stopped fighting and slowly began to retreat, Valse stared at Remys eyes. They both floated high up in the air.

"You think this ends it?" Valse asked. "I will take this bullet from my chest. You surprised me once, it will not happen again. You are weak. You make a compromise when you should kill me."

"You're telling me to kill you?" asks Remy.

"It's what I would do." Valse smirks. "You are no son of mine."

"No. But I am." says Vicious, as he flys down from above and behind Valse Montres, ramming his flaming scimitar into Valses back, through the heart. His red, burning blade connects with Remys purple burning bullet, causing an explosion in Valses chest and incinerating his heart.

The god like warlord Valse Montres plummets to the ground. His body smashes through the statue of Boots McFly, destroying it completely.

Lord Valse Montres is dead.

Remy Galen and Lord Vicious Montres float in the sky parallel to each other, staring. They look almost identical except Remy has tan skin, purple eyes and dragon wings, whereas Vicious has pale white skin, red eyes and dragon wings.

"You're my brother." says Remy.

"Yes!" replies Vicious.

Remy thinks for a moment. "You were fighting Ludivic Demorte. Is he still alive?" asks Remy.

Vicious smiles. "Yes. My old teacher is still alive. Barely. You'll find him on the ruins of the old docks."

"What now, brother?" asks Remy.

"My legion will leave, for now. I don't intend to kill my twin brother. Not after you just helped me kill our father." answers Vicious.

Epilogue

Lord Vicious Montres leaves with his army, including Sapphire Scorpion and Grand Blanc Requin.

Melina watches over her husband Galen as he and Ludivic recover in the medical barracks. Remy hugs his mother. He feels sadness as he watches his brother leave, knowing he will have to fight, and maybe someday kill, his twin brother.

@johnjo719

Carl ran down the dark alley. He could feel his legs getting ready to give out on him. The stench of the filthy alley filled his nose as he breathed heavily, desperate to catch his breath and maybe a second wind before his attackers caught up with him. Suddenly he was flung forward as the force of a really large fist connecting with his head pushed him off balance. It was too late. They were already here.

"Guys. Aren't we a little old for this? I mean we're definitely not in high school anymore. We're in college for Christ's sake!" Carl pleaded.

"This is for old times. And that crack about us being stupid and ending up having to work for you one day." Jimmy replied, backed up by a whole bunch of his old high school buddies he'd reunited at tonight's ten year reunion.

"Well now you definitely won't get hired seeing as you're attacking me. Enjoy unemployment meathead." Carl replied bravely, but perhaps a bit stupidly.

The crowd of his assailant's growled at him and leapt forward simultaneously, as if they shared one brain, which they well might have.

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

Carl limped down the unfamiliar street slowly and miserably. He had no idea where he was, but he knew it was in a neighborhood he shouldn't be in. Although no one was actually outside, who knew what types of dangers lurked behind those project doors? He understood exactly how ironic it was that he was scared of being in a neighborhood like this, being that he grew up on a street just like this one. Right down to the broken windows and discarded drug paraphernalia. But perhaps it was precisely because of his upbringing that he was nervous. He knew exactly the types of things that went down in the "hood". The whole time he had been walking, he had been staring at the door. Which was why he was so surprised when he bumped into a solid figure in the middle of the street. It didn't even budge.

"Great, just what I need right now. " Carl thought. "Another meathead to harrass me."

"He who walks with his head down is doomed to wander aimlessly. You should keep your head up so you can see the path ahead." The Stranger admonished him.

"Er sorry buddy. I'll try to keep an eye out." Carl replied as he tried to sidestep the man. Well at least he had thought it was a man when he had spoken. When he looked up, the figure seemed more feminine.

"And is that how you're going to live the rest of your life? With an eye out? How will you see?" The strangely androgynous figure asked.

"Listen, pal, I just want to get home." Carl complained.

"Going home now, before I give you what I have to give you, is your choice. If you want to have to run and hide from a bunch of your old bullies for the rest of your life, then walk away. Go on home. But if you want the power to do something about it, then stay. Receive my gift. "

"How...how did you..." Carl stammered.

"It matters not. Will you stay? Or will you go?" The stranger asked. Carl stared at the Stranger for a few more seconds before taking a hesitant step forward.

--------

"We really got that a$$hole!" Jimmy laughed as he high fived his friends in celebration. They were walking down a relatively empty street with barely any other pedestrians around, taking the occasional swig from the last of many, many beers. As he and his pals stumbled down the street, Jimmy checked his watch and discovered the time.

"Oh, sh^t." He said. " I gotta get home. Job interview tomorrow. " He couldn't afford to mess this job opportunity up. If he was late with his rent even one more time, he'd be kicked out immediately, so said Jenkins the landlord. Jimmy looked up and noticed a cab driving down the street. He ran to the edge of the sidewalk and waved his hands, desperately trying to get the driver's attention. The cab sped past him, splashing rainwater on to him, to further enforce the message he was sending.

"F^ck you too pal!" Jimmy yelled loudly, his words slurred together as he waved a certain finger at the cab that was quickly disappearing.

"Yelling drunkenly at this hour? Surrounded by your fellow drunk hooligans? No wonder the driver didn't stop for you." A hooded figure said in an amused tone behind Jimmy. "It's because you're pathetic, a nobody. "

Jimmy spun around quickly, struggling to maintain his balance. "What did you say to me.....lady?" Jimmy said, completely confused.

"You heard me. You're a loser. Doomed to go through life after high school getting drunk with your fellow losers, clocking in and doing a meaningless shift with your fellow losers. You. Are. A. Loser." The figure said sounding as if he were about to burst into laughter.

"What the....hey listen..." Jimmy stuttered. He took a few steps forward and started looking around for his friends. They had kept moving on, seemingly oblivious to what was happening behind them. Seeing that he was alone, he still tried to keep up the bravado. He ran up to the stranger and swung a clumsy fist at the stranger. The stranger stood there as Jimmy's punch landed square in the stranger's face. The hooded figure didn't even budge. Meanwhile Jimmy had collapsed to the ground and was screaming in agony.

"Haven't you ever wanted to be something more than a loser?" The stranger asked. And as the stranger spoke, the pain receded and Jimmy regained his senses. "I have a gift for you. A chance to become better. More powerful. Something to give meaning to your life. What will you do?"The stranger asked. He extended his hand out to Jimmy, and Jimmy reached up and took the stranger's hand no hesitation.

-------

Carl woke up in his own bed, smelling of sweat and fear. Images of last night's events flashed in front of his eyes, but he couldn't tell fiction from reality. But he felt different. He sat up straight and looked down at his hands. They felt different. He could feel more power in them. Slowly he clenched his fist. Yes, it was there, flowing through his veins. Power.

"Get up."A voice whispered. "Now." Carl slowly got up and looked around the room.

"No need to look around. I'm not in your room. I'm inside your head. But don't worry, you're not going insane."The voice claimed. "I only want to teach you. Teach you how to use your newfound powers."

Carl couldn't help but to continue looking around. "And why should I trust you?"He asked with false bravado.

"Who else are you going to trust? " The voice replied calmly. "Now lift your hand slowly and point it at the wall. Now imagine the wall disappearing."

Carl nervously followed directions. He closed his eyes and then he raised his arms. Imagining that the wall to his bedroom was no longer there. Then suddenly, Carl could smell the streets and hear the streets much better than before. He opened his eyes and saw that the wall was actually gone. As if it never existed.

"What the-" Carl started.

"That's not even the best part. Go to where the wall used to be and jump." The voice instructed.

Slowly, Carl approached the gap in the wall. When he had reached its edge, the sounds of the city overwhelmed him. His new and improved sense could hear everything. From the sounds of that couple next door getting intimate to the sound of a pair of racoonss fighting it out a couple blocks away.

"From now on, you're only limited by you. You can make your every whim a reality. All you have to do is wish it." The voice said.

"So you're saying I could fly if I wanted to?" Carl asked.

"I'm saying, that if you wanted to, you could rule." The voice suggested. "Everything is within your grasp now."

Carl thought about this last statement some more. Slowly a smile spread across his face. "This is going to be fun." He thought out loud. He calmly stepped into the empty space before him. He dropped so quickly that for a moment, he thought that he'd made a horrible mistake. But suddenly, he was no longer falling. It felt as if he was standing. He tested out this new theory as he took a step and his body followed as it normally would. He was walking on air. Literally. Fighting the urge to shout for joy, Carl crouched and then launched himself higher into the air, above the clouds and started flying at the speed of sound.

-----Several hours later-------

Carl was looking for more ways to test out his powers. He'd discovered flight and making walls disappeared. Another new perk he'd discovered were his super senses. He could hear everything! The grass growing, the earth shifting underneath him. The clouds drifting across the sky. Everything. Hiss vision was so crisp and clear. He could even zoom in if he chose. All of his senses had received a boost. He'd learned that as he enjoyed some pizza from his favorite spot.

Carl angled himself downwards and landed in a park. He surveyed his surroundings, looking for an opportunity to flex his new powers. All was quiet around here. Except, for that one sound. A man, grunting.

"What is in the air tonight? " Carl asked out loud. "Besides me." Then he realized that the man was by himself. There was no accompanying grunting. Female or otherwise. Carl decided to check it out.

As Carl got closer, more was revealed. The sound of wood being split was becoming increasingly audible. The sound of trees crashing into the grass was filling his ears.

Finally, Carl entered the clearing and to his utter surprise, there was Jimmy. Literally fighting trees.

Carl cleared his throat, causing Jimmy to spin around, ready to fight.

"No wonder you were such an asshole over the years. You had freaking super powers!" Carl chuckled. Carl took a step forward and cracked his knuckles.

"Hey listen buddy. I know I've been acting like a tool, but I've got a chance to make something of myself now so-"

"Not your buddy. " Carl interrupted. "I'm not your buddy! "

"Yes that's right. Show him what you've become. " The Voice urged, this time sounding more sinister. Carl, having come to trust the voice didn't hesitate. He took a running start and then leapt into the air, with his fist cocked.

"Wait, hold on! I don't want to-" Jimmy's sentence was cut off as the force of Carl's punch caught him square in the jaw, making fly backwards and into the side of a building several miles away, demolishing several cars on the way. Seconds later, Carl was standing over his old bully, his eyes glowing red.

"Who's the dork now, Jimmy? " Carl taunted.

"You are." Jimmy retorted just before he stuck his arm out and unleashed a blast of energy that literally launched Carl into the moon. The dust from the impact settled to reveal a crater that was at least ten kilometers in diameter. Wasting no time, Jimmy rushed to the moon in thirty seconds flat.

"The Stranger warned me about you. Told me that every hero needs a nemesis. " Jimmy revealed.

"Nemesis. That has a nice ring to it." Carl mused. Then he took a page out of Jimmy's book and blasted Jimmy back to earth.

Jimmy sat up after hitting the ground, his bones already healing themselves and his cuts and scrapes were a distant memory. He pushed himself off of the ground but Carl's knee was there to slam him back into the ground.

"Who ever this Stranger is, he is right about one thing." Carl stated ominously.

He closed his eyes and stretched his arms out. Slowly his entire body started glowing white. The ground near his feet started disintegrating, the air was scorching hot, impossible to breathe, for normal humans. And then nothing. The white light expanded, covering the city completely. No noise could be heard, only a loud ringing sound.

When the light receded, there was nothing left of the city, just a large, charred landscape. Jimmy was passed out on the ground. Carl collapsed onto his knees.

"I am Nemesis. " Carl coughed, blood leaking from his mouth. Then he too collapsed.

-----

The stranger stood over his little pot, watching the events he put into motion. He shook his head and wailed in sorrow. And seconds later he cackled. The stranger looked into the pot, staring at his reflection.

"What have I done? " He asked himself.

"What was necessary." His reflection replied.

@cbishop

“Okay, is everyone ready? We are live in five, four, three, two, cue the blimp!”

A camera pointed upward at the giant gray dirigible. The airship control makes up part of the mouth that stretches across the middle of the blimp. One end has giant cartoon eyes on either side, and on that same end there is an extension in the balloon in the shape of a curved, grey spike, pointing upwards. Giant white stitching on both sides makes it looked like a deformed football when viewing it from the sides. A banner trails the blimp that declares GET READY FOR A CHARGE!!!

The camera swings down from it’s view of the dirigible towards the heart of downtown. It’s now clear the camera is on top of a building as it zooms closeup towards a giant stadium. As the zoom gets close to the stadium, the camera cuts seamlessly to a flying camera that swings off to one side, then up and over the edge of the top of the stadium, swooping over midfield, hovering as it does a three-sixty of the empty seats, and then dives toward the fifty yard line, where it pulls up and does a lap of the field.

An announcer’s voice cuts in, “It’s a beautiful day here in Richmond, Virginia! Especially here in the Richmond Rotunda! Or as the locals like to call it: THE RHINODOOOME! Home of the Richmond Rrrhinoooos! You’re seeing the view from the Rhinodrone- the only licensed drone camera in the MFL! In fact, we’re all seeing the view from the Rhinodrone, because the Rotunda has been completely emptied for today’s show! We’ll all be seeing this via remote camera! Even the Rhinoship is flying by remote today- loaded with cameras so we see all the action!

“From a mile away and four hundred fifty feet above street level, on the balcony of High Steaks- the highest point in Richmond- I’m Mike Rofon here with Ted Atete and two hundred party goers ready to see the fight of the century and enjoy some steaks!” A cheer goes up from the background, and the camera cuts to the two announcers, both clad in grill aprons, wearing headset mics and holding grill tongs.

“That’s right, Mike!” chimes in Ted, holding his tongs like he’s talking into a microphone. Realizing this, he draws his head back to look at the tip of the tongs, then tosses them over his shoulder. “This fight has been a long time coming! It’s been five years since the first fight between these two titans! The fight where we all learned about the Hyper-Parasites - The Superbugs! The bugs that have been powering some of the world’s most well known heroes and villains, right under our noses… for years! The fight where we learned to call those heroes and villains… The Dragon Men!”

“Maybe we should have called them Dragon People, Ted,” adds Mike, “because the two people that revealed this to the world weren’t men at all! On the one side, we have the pretty face of the Super Corporation! The Super Chic Princess of Power! A hero to the world: Supermodel! On the other side, we have the woman who blew the lid off of the worldwide coverup! The Dragon Lady herself! The Mistress of Mean! The woman with the name we just can’t say on television! The woman we refer to as Superblonde!”

“It’s a story that by now everyone knows, Mike!” declares Ted. Turning to the camera, he says, “It’s the story that changed the world!” The television feed cuts to news footage of the original fight between Supermodel and Superblonde as Ted Atete keeps talking. “Who can forget the day that Supermodel plummetted into the very stadium we are focusing on today? During the middle of the playoff games to determine whether the Richmond Rhinos would proceed to the Superbowl! Knocked out of the sky by the then-unknown Superblonde who dropped on her like a twenty megaton bomb! All fury and vengeance, Superblonde- with the same super strength and power to breathe fire as Supermodel- fought tooth and nail in front of cameras and the world to expose the truth of how they got their powers!”

As the screen shows spouts of flame shooting from the two women’s mouths, and physical blows that send them flying back-and-forth across the stadium, Mike Rofon continues, “For years we’ve known these heroes, and despite similar powers, we’ve believed what they claimed their origins to be!”

“I blame it on too many comic books,” declares Ted.

Mike continues, “We’ve heard it all! We’ve heard ‘secret government experiments during Viet Nam!’ We’ve heard ‘aliens!’ We’ve heard ‘strange powers gained from meteorites!’ We’ve heard ‘ancient mystical ritual!’ We’ve heard ‘ancient god on earth!’ There was even ‘dragon in human form!’” Mike chuckled as he said the last one.

“Not to mention my personal favorite,” said Ted, “Superblonde’s own supergenius dad – Osmosis – claiming he got his powers from his bowler hat! For years, Osmosis had gone toe-to-toe with Supermale and Supermodel, only to fein ‘losing his powers’ when he lost his hat! So the world was shocked when his daughter tossed away that same bowler hat during the fight, and still shot fiery breath across the football field!” The old news footage shows the very scene Ted describes.

“That’s right, Ted! It was the moment the world went silent! All eyes trained on Supermodel at that instant, and all ears tuned in on her fury as she screamed to Supermodel and the world the truth of the existence of the Superbugs! Alien creatures that invade the human body through any opening it can, giving them super powers in the process! One way in particular being so embarrassing to many that it spawned story after story about how they claimed to have gained their powers! But when it happened to Superblonde, she was so enraged, so violated, that she took her fury out on the most famous face of all behind the lie: Supermodel!”

Ted continued, “Crashing in on the playoff game, the fight raged for a mere five-and-a-half minutes, but the devastation was great, and the wreckage was total! Taking down a section of stadium before other heroes arrived to break up the fight, hundreds were injured, some later died! With the amazing truth revealed during her outrage though, the public was actually inclined to forgive Superblonde. So the government, rather than try to incarcerate her, sentenced her to work for the military! And in the last five years, she has acquitted herself honorably! Heading up teams that have hunted down infestations of these surprisingly fragile creatures, they have wiped out entire colonies of these Superbugs, keeping the world safe from a dangerous destabilization of world power!”

“For her part in that monumental fight, Supermodel pledged the money and resources of the Super Corporation to back those missions! And they came through as they always have!” declared Mike. “Still, there’s no love lost between these two lovely ladies! So today, the gloves are off! Today, it’s a grudge match for the ages!”

“Right you are, Mike! As much as Richmonders love their football team, the Rhinodome has become to them and the world a sad reminder of the tragic deaths during that fight! So the Rhinos have scheduled it for demolition, to be replaced by a new stadium with a new design! And what better way than to unleash these two women of mass destruction once again! This time, with no bystanders, and no holds barred! The surrounding area has been cleared for a half mile around the stadium! The fight will last until there is a clear winner or the stadium is in ruins! And the Super Corporation will be picking up the tab for all damages, rebuilding the Rhinodome and anything in the surrounding half mile that gets destroyed during the fight!”

The camera cuts back to the two announcers. “And we’ll be right here with you,” says Mike, pointing at the camera. “Giving you the blow-by-blow on the entire fight!”

“And enjoying some steaks!” adds Ted.

“And enjoying some steaks,” agrees Mike with a smile. “The fight begins in just moments, so stay with us! I’m Mike Rofon.”

“And I’m Ted Atete!”

Back at the stadium, remote cameras zip back-and-forth across the field, catching Superblonde walking out of the tunnel on one end, and Supermodel descending from the sky at the other. Superblonde wears a bowler hat, which has become symbolic for her. Supermodel wears her signature orange and black uniform, cape flapping in the breeze.

They face off from across the field, waiting for the signal to start the fight. They have mixed feelings, but they’ve agreed to do it for public relations, and multiple pledged donations to charities. Superblonde is looking forward to it. Supermodel just wants to get it done. They both take deep breaths, and hover slightly off of the ground. They tense slightly, steel themselves, and fireworks go off at both ends of the stadium, signalling the beginning of the fight. Then they launch towards each other.

“There’s the signal!” shouts Mike.

Ted cheers, “This is going to be good!

Voting table

ContestantsVotes

@impurestcheese

@redlantern2814

@alexash
@batkevin74
@stumpy49er
@johnjo719
@cbishop

*If we end in a five way tie will do a sudden death tiebreaker where the five stories will be voted on again in a 24 hr period.

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#3 Edited by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio

Secret ballot huh? Innnnteresting. I have my doubts as to whether it works, but interesting.

<winces> ohhh, just saw a word tense mistake in mine <groan> Ah well.

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#4 Posted by batkevin74 (15425 posts) - - Show Bio

@dngn4774: How about I just say I voted here and PM you the "answer'...though that does leave it open to questions

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#5 Posted by dngn4774 (5599 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74:If you want to do that sure. I don't think most people will take the effort of peaking under all of the spoilers (honour system and all that).

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#6 Posted by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio

@wildvine: Will you pin this and unpin/lock the contest thread, please?

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#7 Posted by wildvine (14882 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop:

"Can" I? Phrasing is important. I know what you meant, but asking "will" I, suggests you have made this request a few times to know avail, when in reality this is the first for me hearing this.

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#8 Posted by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio

@wildvine: Actually, it just means I think "will you" is more polite than "can you," especially with the "please" at the end. It also differentiates between whether you "can" and whether you "will" - very important distinctions. You can pin the thread, certainly, and I already know that, but that doesn't mean you will. What I actually wanted to know was will you? Hence, phrasing is correct. All that said though, can you dial back the grammar monster now? :P

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#9 Posted by wildvine (14882 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop:

Actually you would be wrong, is my reply to that. See, I said what you said, but concisely.

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#10 Posted by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio

@wildvine: Dahhhling, we're writers. What's the fun in being concise, when we have so many words to play with? ...And I'm not wrong. Point of fact- asking "will you" instead of "can you" is more concise, because it avoids the potential extra step of you saying, "Well, I can," and then doing nothing. At which point, I would just have to ask "will you" anyway. Not that you would do that, but that's why I go straight to "will you" instead of "can you."

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#11 Posted by dngn4774 (5599 posts) - - Show Bio

This thread has been pinned.

There! That sounds like a strong grammatical sentence to me.

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#12 Posted by batkevin74 (15425 posts) - - Show Bio

ugh

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#13 Edited by ImpurestCheese (12542 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop: That's also not how you spell interesting

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#14 Edited by wildvine (14882 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop:

Ahem. From the time travel contest;

the_poet or bumpyboo: Can one of you pin this and unpin the contest thread, please? Thank you. :)

You can go back and see this your post. I don't think I need to underline the key word here. So you have used "ca" in this way before, ergo your argument fails by your own comment.

And contest 33

wildvine, bumpyboo, razzatazz, the_poet: Can one of you please pin this, and unpin the CCC 32 Voting Thread? Please and thank you kindly. -cb

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#15 Posted by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio

@wildvine: You are in a really nitpicky mood today. Maybe I wasn't feeling as polite that day. Sheesh, stop trolling.

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#16 Posted by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop: That's also not how you spell interesting

@cbishop said:

Secret ballot huh? Innnnteresting. I have my doubts as to whether it works, but interesting.

I assume you're talking about ^^^that one? lol Dragging it out like a cartoon character expressing interest is all. :)

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#17 Edited by ImpurestCheese (12542 posts) - - Show Bio

First out the gate, first to vote. This time it goes to Batkevin, his stuff moved fluidly whereas most of the other stuff seemed clunky in comparison (either through lack of time or desperation to get to the word limit). That said kudos to everyone who entered and everyone who's voting this time around

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#18 Edited by ImpurestCheese (12542 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop: Okay you get let off, but only because I saw velociraptors fighting people going to Royal Ascot in Waterloo today. (Epicness :-P

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#19 Posted by Pyrogram (46545 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop said:

@wildvine: Dahhhling, we're writers. What's the fun in being concise, when we have so many words to play with?

I actually think it's the mark of a good writer if they can successfully be concise.

“The letter I have written today is longer than usual because I lacked the time to make it shorter.”

Although that doesn't relate to your conversation at all, felt like chipping that in xD

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#20 Posted by dngn4774 (5599 posts) - - Show Bio

@pyrogram: From what I've read on writing, plot in it's most simple definition is what happens in a story. This generally means that strength of the plot is proportional to the amount of relevant information given.

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#21 Posted by wildvine (14882 posts) - - Show Bio
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#23 Posted by Pyrogram (46545 posts) - - Show Bio
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#24 Posted by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio

@pyrogram: I can be concise successfully- I just don't always choose to. ;)

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#25 Posted by stumpy49er (2351 posts) - - Show Bio

First off, my vote goes to ImpurestCheese. I really liked the dialogue between Lauren and the household technology. Also, Drone Killer was a really cool villain.

I also want to give props to everyone who entered this contest. There were a lot of really good stories and interesting characters.

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#26 Posted by batkevin74 (15425 posts) - - Show Bio
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#27 Edited by johnjo719 (404 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm going to vote for@redlantern2814. I was not expecting something like that in this contest and It was nicely done.

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#28 Posted by batkevin74 (15425 posts) - - Show Bio

Tough one...my vote goes to....someone after I finish reading

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#29 Posted by stumpy49er (2351 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope this ends with more than 3 votes.

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#30 Edited by dngn4774 (5599 posts) - - Show Bio
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#31 Posted by batkevin74 (15425 posts) - - Show Bio
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#32 Posted by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio
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#33 Posted by dngn4774 (5599 posts) - - Show Bio
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#34 Edited by johnjo719 (404 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd like to thank all those who voted for me and of course God and my mother (idk why her, but it seems appropriate)

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#35 Edited by ImpurestCheese (12542 posts) - - Show Bio
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#36 Edited by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd like to thank all those who voted for me and of course God and my mother (idk why her, but it seems appropriate)

Now you get to pick the next contest... and maybe... at long last... an avatar?

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#37 Posted by dngn4774 (5599 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop: You don't pick your avatar, your avatar picks you.

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#38 Edited by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio
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#39 Posted by stumpy49er (2351 posts) - - Show Bio

Yay, I got a vote. @batkevin74 Thanks!

@johnjo719 Congrats on the win. Look forward to the next contest.

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

Lol this is My avatar and i'll have a contest up later tonight probably

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#41 Edited by cbishop (15677 posts) - - Show Bio

Lol this is My avatar and i'll have a contest up later tonight probably

:/

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#42 Posted by Alexander_Wolffe (349 posts) - - Show Bio

Sorry I didn't vote. Never have enough time to read all the entries.

Congrats JJ.

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#43 Posted by RedLantern2814 (585 posts) - - Show Bio
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#44 Posted by johnjo719 (404 posts) - - Show Bio

@redlantern2814: I really liked yours man I wasn't expecting red lanterns to Pop Up in this version Of the contest