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#7851 Posted by Just_an_average_man (1774 posts) - - Show Bio

@arquitenens:

She drifted a part way onto the ride, although this time she held on. She was tired, and right now, she didn't really wanna think too much about anything as the ride went on and on. Every question and thought in her mind was nothing new. They all had bounced about her mind for all this time, and now, the ball has settled. They'd be there shortly, no neethe d to mull over it.

What woke her was the absence of things. The bike got more dull and he was leaning more. Her eyes were closed but she could tell she wasn't on a highway anymore. A couple of stops and her eyes flickered once to the view of stoplights and then closed once again.

"Hey kid, wake up. We're here."

"Oh god" was just written all over the kids face. If he didn't know any better, she looked she just got slammed by a bucket of ice water. The culmination of all of her rehearsals came flying to her all at once. His gripping of the shoulder pulled her out.

"Come on. They're waitin' for ya."

He said it so casually and straightly, almost like a recommendation rather than a command. She didn't know the man and she'd not known if he would ever fully grasp the weight of him seeing her again, but he had an aura of "knowing" better than she, and so she followed, though she probably would have been just content standing there and glimpsing at them from outside the shop for an hour as she thought of the best thing to say.

Ding Ding.

He appeared through the door first, thick trench coat hiding his full kit. An Ice-Cream shop wasn't exactly the most dangerous of places most of the time but for all he knew, some random enemy could show up to seek vengeance. Or those Cartels she messed with could just drive by them. Too many things could happen, but that was a bridge to be crossed if they needed to. Right now, there was nothing he'd expect and the girl was clearly way more worried about other things. She shrunk back, her eyes going right to the ground as she sharply glanced and about the Ice-Cream shop for any sign of the pair. Elliot saw the two immediately, recognizing the one who dropped kicked him out of that second window by build and by her hair.

Smirking, he walks up to the pair facing the door, raising his head to greet the "Noir Rose" he met all that time. "I say I was gonna find the kid of wha-" He looked around, muttering a silent "Shit" to himself as he wondered where she was. Turns out she was still standing at the front of the store, staring off into space and consumed by her thoughts for but a moment. She snapped to and started off towards him, only for him to step aside.

She was revealed to them. And they to her.

No Caption Provided

Mouth opened and she made a gasping noise, the closest she came to assembling some semblance of word at that moment. Her eyes went down again to see how she looked. She didn't smell bad as she could shower and she had gotten her clothes washed before she came here. Then towards them for a split second. Then off into the people. Why were those two cashiers. Oh man. Is there anyone staring at them? She must look like a complete idiot. Okay. Okay. Try again. "Say hi." She says to herself.

"Eeehp." She finally gets out. At least it was a noise, as she couldn't get anything out. Thoughts swirl about Nastaya seeing her hesitate again and mostly things about her being a complete and utter dunce. Especially with her just....standing there. Looking at them both like a deer frozen in headlights.

Why am I so stupid?

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#7852 Posted by Rosso (4289 posts) - - Show Bio

OopsItotallymissedthisIwillgettoitassoonasIhavetimewhichiswheneverIcangetenoughalonetimefrommyguest!

>_>

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#7853 Posted by Soliton (1364 posts) - - Show Bio

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#7854 Posted by Arquitenens (11944 posts) - - Show Bio

@just_an_average_man:

The two sat in an odd semi-silence, sometimes speaking, sometimes not, and while not wholly awkward (because they were used to one another's issues), neither felt entirely comfortable broaching any matter which held any actual meaning for them in the parlour.

Nastya's nostrils flared, she sniffed twice and crinkled her nose. She smelled them more than half a block away. "Won't be much longer." She hoped in the moments they had left Abigail would be able to ready herself for...whatever it was she had in mind. Personally, she didn't trust the parents. Neither of them did. Not their intentions; they seemed fairly pure, where that was concerned. But their daughter had gone right from under their nose, twice. Abby would try to compromise security with comfort. The Lazarus had little experience with the latter. She was mostly there for the plan of action, helping its fruition if need be.

"Right. Thanks." There was a lot on her mind, it seemed constantly, and Abby hadn't really been good at compartmentalising. Still, she thought, it should've been a happy occasion. And it was...except she still had hardly an inkling of how they'd proceed from there on. A few base ideas, sure, but who knew how Amani would react to anything?

Guess we'll find out soon enough. She'd never seen him before but Abby recognised Nastya's contact by their mutual expressions of familiarity and the general feeling of danger she got from his presence.

"Took ya long enough!" Nastya shouted like someone talking to an old drinking buddy whose relationship consisted, in no small part, of playful jabs. "I figured we'd all be in rockers by the time you got her to us. And by then, she'd have gone to college, dropped out to join Peace Corps and"

Abby nudged her. She stopped talking.

"Thank you," the London Native said formally as she stood to get around him. "Whatever I owe you, we can discuss." She maintained eye contact for a few seconds, but made no attempt to hide the fact that Amani was her true concern. From the looks of it, she'd need a bit of attentive affirmation to get over whatever happened to her while she was out there.

She knelt before the girl in the doorway and, hesitantly, extended her palm for the girl to take. "Amani? Would you like some ice cream?" She spoke, her voice a higher pitch, nurturing sing-song, extending comfort as much as she could. She ignored the whispering and gasping and half snickering from the girls behind the counter over their theories about what this all meant. "Or anything? We can stay here...or, go someplace else, or whatever you like, really."

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#7855 Posted by AkiraHoshi (73 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't know if this thread works for this character.

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#7856 Posted by Soliton (1364 posts) - - Show Bio

@arquitenens:

I got her though, didn't I?

“No problemo.”

Elliot spoke simply. He took another step back out of the way as she circled around him to meet the one girl everyone and there mother wanted to have or wanted to kill. From how much the girl spoke of Abigail Aensland to him, it came as no surprise to him that she'd go straight to her. After all this time, he felt tempted to simply allow this to happen for free. But run of the mill “blue" jobs like this didn't usually pay too well. And this venture across the country was an expensive one, fuel and tracking the girl through street cameras and some ears to the streets aside.

But all that was for later. For now it had been a long trip for the kid and him. The workout required to casually tote about body armor kit everywhere still accommodated some measure of indulgence.

“Funky Monkey. And uh, coffee. Blended into a milkshake. Large.”

His fingerless gloved hand raised as he tapped the glass twice towards each flavor. And took a seat next to his “drinking buddy", being sure as to not take her friends seat, finally able to address her comment.

“Jeez. I can see why she never takes you out into public.”

….

“Oh! Uh…” She snapped from her dumbfounded stance as she posed the question. A plethora of questions filled her otherwise empty head as her brained resumed it's processes

Are you okay? How are things? Are you mad? Why am I so STUPID!?

All things for later maybe. Right now was answering her question. Right now was ti Amani, to do the best she could to make this as not-weird as possible. It can't be not weird, right? But she can try. She had so much happening and yet she still managed to find her vagabond butt on the streets. It had never come into question as to whether or not Abby valued her. But to go this far and to send this man…? Sense of self worth felt as though it was drowning in a deep sea of guilt.

The least she could do was offer Abby especially of all people some comfort, right?

“Yeah…” Not good enough. She didn't sound close to how she normally did or as enthused as she wanted to sound. There was no waving a magic wand and making this not hard,but she knew of waus to make it happen. The thought of the fact that the first thing she asks is “Do you want some ice cream” is enough to bring amusement.

“Sure!” There it is. Small. Meek. But genuine. Like a flashlight which shines out of a vast darkness, able to overcome it and yet still surrounded by ultimately, darkness.

"Good as any place."

She breathed in a bit and reached out to Abby to walk with her as the two would take their seat next to one another. There was so much that Amani wished to say. But she sat with legs dangling and idly kicking the air, a big bundle of questions in her lap as she awaited two things; Her scoop triple chocolate chunk, mint chocolate and rocky road and more importantly, Abby's question.

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#7857 Posted by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

@soliton: (I maaaay want to jump you outside of this diner-y establishment. If I get the chance. Maybe.)

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#7858 Edited by Soliton (1364 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_catalyst:

Just once. Once I wanna have one touching moment where an attack doesn't ensue.
Just once. Once I wanna have one touching moment where an attack doesn't ensue.

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#7859 Posted by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

@soliton:Fair enough. I'll have to jump you elsewhere...

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#7860 Posted by Soliton (1364 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7861 Posted by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

@soliton: Well, full disclosure, I did quit pretty hard those two years I was away. But I'm here now!

So let's do this!
So let's do this!

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#7862 Posted by Arquitenens (11944 posts) - - Show Bio

@soliton:

Heckling snickers from Nastya's seat as Elliot placed his order. "Oh man, they actually expect people to say that when they order. He actually did." She feigned a whisper, though the entire bit was clearly intended for him to hear.

"Tch! I'm loads of fun. But you already know that. 's how we met!"

She engaged him as best she could in levity, hoping to cultivate a contagious atmosphere and lighten things for the others present. Abigail took Amani's hand and walked her to the counter to place an order, "and a vanilla with chocolate chip cookie dough for myself." She left an exceedingly generous tip, several times the actual price of the order.

"Would you like to sit here or go outside? I know this is...odd, but I'd like to make it as comfortable as possible for you."

Please say outside. Please say outside. Please say outside...

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#7863 Posted by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

Moved from Washington DC (CVU) to a canon location

How long have I been here? How long have I whiled away the time while the world keeps moving around me?
Didn't you hear me, pal? Two fingers of whisky!

Christopher McClain looked up from the glass he was polishing, almost surprised that he was behind a bar again. It had been years since he decided to leave this simple kind of life behind, but here he was, three years later and still slinging drinks. His grand ambition of changing the world, one over-inflated political egghead at a time, had come to nothing. He'd gone back to Venezuela not long ago, the Orochi having sent for Celvice, his handler. She was to finish her training, and he to begin his. There they impressed on him the need to deceive others, the need to avoid implication in any controversy in DC. The last thing the Orochi wanted was to be implicated in a plot to convert the political players of the United States into mutants, lest it contribute to war between their nations. They would disavow him and Celvice, and McClain would be hung for treason. Or shot for treason. Or drawn and quartered by a couple dozen stallions, for treason. They made it clear he'd be killed if caught, and McClain just didn't think dead and quartered was a good look.

He was scared. So he went back to bartending. Told Celvice he was planning how to best approach the president, or his kids, to try to "mutify" them, hit hard right away and maybe garner a lot of support all at once. Really he was paralyzed. Too scared to try anything of the sort, because finally it had come through to him. It was his own life on the line.

Can't even bring myself look at her anymore... God, what must they think of me now? I talked so big. I saw the Shogun in person! Me! And now... now...

TWO FINGERS! WHISKY! NOW!

McClain looked up once more. Not at his rowdy patron, but at the cracked red digital clock on the bare brick wall.

2am. Closing time.

Sorry pal, you're done for the night. Closing time, boys and girls!

Patrons mumbled in low voices, complaints and slurred goodbyes as they cleared the Swampwater Tap. It was a dive bar in one of the worst parts of DC, but the patrons each clung to one another and left in groups. They, at least, would be safe. Christopher McClain, for his part, locked up shop and started to walk down the back alley back on to his rat hole in Bell Haven. The streetlights blinked out, and once again the dark overtook him. He hated the dark. It was where all his thinking happened. Where all his regrets hit him at once.

His mind was occupied by his life's failures. His eyes were on the ground. His ears heard only the chorus of disappointed voices in his head, the people that he'd let down, the ghosts of the dead that he had failed to save over the past few years. It was little wonder he didn't see him.

@the_catalyst: (Sorry, forgot to change Accounts)

In the darkest alleys of Washington DC there was a slender figure lurking in the shadows. A young boy with slick black hair would stand lean against a wall with a Swiss blade in his hand. He was laughing to himself and throwing and catching a knife. A couple would wonder pass the alley where this boy would stay, and when he witnessed them passing ,his entire demeanor changed. Now looking scared he would put away the knife and would approach the couple. "Excuse me?" He would say to the couple while seeming nervous. "May you please help me find the apartment number 632?"The couple would exchange glances at each other and would then look at the boy who look scared out of his mind. They would decided to turn him in to the nearest police station to see if they could help him. After hearing their decision the boy would nodding slowing and would look down.

With the shadows hiding his face he would let out a sly smile and would quickly withdraw his blade from his pocket. He would slit the throat of the female of the couple. The blood gushing from her throat would cover the boy's attire "She could've died less ...messy" He would shrug and would witness the man running. He would sigh and would throw his blade at the man, who was 300 feet away from him. The blade would connect to the back of his head and would exit through through his eye. The boy would teleport and grab the knife as it continued to fly forward. He would place some gloves on his hand and would scan the bodies for any valuables. A few moments after he confiscated the wallets, he would use his magic to unlock the credit cards. He would read the names on the cards and would kneel down near the lifeless corpses "Mary Jonson and LeMark Jonson, Nice to meet you two, My name is Jack Suma. See ya later and thanks for the help" He would shove both wallets in his pockets and once again manipulated the footage from the cameras that witnessed this act.So that he won't be visible. After doing so he would wonder the dark streets of DC with his newly found riches.

@rey_king:

It wasn't the sound. That's what he would remember later. The thuds, they could have been anything. Trash bags hitting a full bin and falling to the pavement, a drunk losing his balance, a clumsy raccoon taking a tumble. No. It was the feel. The disrupted air. The feel of something cutting through the relative stillness of the alleyway's air, the sudden disruption, followed by the complete and sudden return to stillness.

That, and the smell of iron that began to hang thick in the air. Chistopher McClain could feel that something was wrong, could feel that something had changed. He froze, listening for the sound of anything, of even crickets' chirping in the heavy, humid summer air. There was nothing. Just the rustling of cloth, the ever increasing cacophony of blood in his ears, and then, shortly after, a muttered "Mary (thud thud thud) and LeM (thud) Jonson, Nice to meet you two, My name is (thud thud). See ya later, and (thud thud thud) for th(ud thud) help."

There came no reply, or, at the very least, none that he could hear through his own panic.

His blood turned to ice on that humid summer's night. His legs began to shake and quiver, his blood continued to pound in his ears, a call to action, flight or fight.

I've got no business here. Either I'm too late to help and I leave my footprints (and God knows what else) all over the "scene", or I step in and cause a scene, which is exactly what I can't afford...
Nobody knows who I am. That's the sturdiest shield: anonymity. There are no cape killers gunning for my head, no megalomaniacs trying to track me down and smack me with their shiny green, power-draining rocks...

But I can't just turn around either... What if they're bleeding to death, and I'm the only one... the only one who can... God damn it. God, frickin' damn it.

And so it was that he rounded the corner of that alleyway, hands balled into trembling fists, voice cracking with fear and dread. "Wh-Who's there?! Show yourself, damn it!" Then he saw her, a young woman, throat slashed, a clean red slit where a pale white neck ended and a limp, hanging head began. He retched, backing away from the grisly scene, and caught sight of the man, no, the boy, standing over the two corpses.

No, not corpses, McClain reminded himself. Mary and Lem Jonson. People. People that need help, people that might live if I...if I run in there and put out some feelers, maybe give 'em some of the old rege-- regeneration. The smell of the blood came stronger still. The sight of the gory mess turning his stomach and buckling his knees. Still, something had to be done. "Back! BACK away from the people there, pal, or I'm going to have to--oh, God--
I don't feel so well. Oh God, God, why?
get... nasty."

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#7864 Posted by Rey_King (2081 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_catalyst:

Jack loved it when he attracted attention from "heroes" but what he loved more was that this hero was either nervous or afraid. He would his face wouldn't have any emotions visible on it, and he would secretly teleport his knife into his back pocket where it would remain hidden . A small smile came across his face, but he began to cry. "Sir-PLEASE Sir....I was afraid that no one heard my screams and that I was going to die"He buried his hands in his face , he would then look up at the man with large amounts of tears and snot. "Sir, if you could find the man, I would be very grateful, he was wearing a black jacket and blue jeans -sniff- and he ran down that way"He would point behinds him . HE would bury his face into the jacket of the woman, "Mom...mom...no...WHY!!" He would look up to the skies and would look at her pocket.

He would turn towards the man and would stand up slowly ,but he was a bit shaky. "S-sir,-do y-y-you have a ph-ph-one?" He would look down and would tap his fingers tips against each other, nervously. He looked at the moon sky, the light from the moon would illuminate his face, showing the pain the boy felt. He would lay next to the bodies, while shivering.

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#7865 Posted by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

@rey_king:
What the hell have I walked into? Was I wrong? Is he..?

No, it doesn't add up. I didn't hear a scream, he blood is all over him, he didn't run for help, it's too... off...
But isn't that how life is, sometimes? Things just fall apart and you can't figure how to put them back together again? You stop making sense. You know what you have to do, but you just can't...

I just don't know... but now's not the time to focus on me any my failings. They need help... but I'd best be careful, regardless of who the kid really is.

Look, kid, here's my phone. He said as he slipped a battered flip-phone from his jacket pocket, the cracked screen glowing a dull blue, and tossed it to the boy across from him.

Now get out of the alley, I don't get any bars in here. Call 911, tell them to send an ambulance to the alley between Donora Drive and the Richmond Highway, 'cross the street that leads to the Whole Heart Med Center. Chris suspected the boy was lying to him, but there was no way of really telling, and if the two on the ground could be helped, he'd have to act fast. He pulled off his gloves to be better able to feel for a pulse, however unlikely, and moved to push the boy away from the bodies. As his hand moved to clasp over the boy's shoulder in an attempt to move him, the edge of his thumb slid along the boy's exposed neck. In an instant, he felt the familiar surge of information push its way into his senses, the odd, pulsating, somewhat slippery feel of another person's genetic makeup, felt the shrill waves of information travel through his arm, into the muddy realm of comprehension, and then, suddenly, like a jolt of lightning shooting harmlessly through the body but felt all the same, he felt it.

Power.

Undeniable, immutable, inborn power. The boy wasn't what he seemed after all. Carefully, with a practiced nonchalance he'd cultivated for other, more nefarious purposes, he pushed the boy lightly, keeping his hand at his shoulder, feeling for any sudden movements while attempting to appear as though his motivation had remained unchanged. Just get out of here, kid. It'd be better for them and for you if you do.

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#7866 Posted by TheSwindler (24 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_catalyst:

As the phone landed in Jack's hand he would dial the emergency number,but would be directed to a pizza palor. [Hello, this is Johnathon's Pizza Place where we serve the best pizzas, Do you want to try our $19.99 lunch special?] The optimistic voice of the employee blast through the phone. After hearing the voice, Jack would feel the man's touch on his shoulder, he would jolt and would suddenly push his arm off of him. "Please, don't do that...I'm really tense. Plus, I'm not entirely comfortable around you...yet"He would still sound like a bit scared. "Mr.Christopher, I appreciate your help, I'm gonna look for the nearest police station"figuring out hisname after quickly searching his phone. He would rub his hands together, in a furious but nervous manner.

He would walk down the darkened road and when he was a few meters away from the man he would feel in the front of his jacket and would find his knife. A few moments later the knife would turn into a gun with slender design. His appearance also change. A turquoise aura surrounded the bow for a few moments and his attire along with his appearance would change, his eyes turned from their usually red, into an icy blue color. His black jacket would turn into a white one with blue accents. In a quick action he would withdraw the gun from his pocket and would shoot at the man a beam of light would reach the man under seconds and would, shoot of small hole in the man's abdomen if it connects.

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#7867 Edited by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

@theswindler: Kid's freaking out. Whatever. 911's called, help (and cops) are on their way. I can't stick around for that. The sooner he gets away from here and lets me work, the better...

McClain tore his hand away from the boy's shoulder as the child jerked back, shocked at first, wary, but when the boy turned to leave Chris wasted no time in attempting to treat the two on the ground. He was focused, determined, inattentive to everything else around him, including the boy's transmorgrification. A short examination of the bodies revealed them to be well and truly dead. Dammit. Just... too late, too little. Hey, kid, I'm sorry but your parents they..uhh... they're...

Wait a minute...

"Mr. Christopher, I appreciate your help, I'm gonna..."

Wait a minute kid, how'd you know my--

Oh ship .

He turned just in time to catch sight of the slim, elegant weapon, and the tall, blue and white clad stranger wielding it. He caught sight of the trigger pull, then felt the burning hole in his gut before he saw anything else.

Hrk!

What... wha? Who the frack is that? Oh, right... mutant. God...

He stammered to his feet, the hole burnt into his gut reopening and spilling forth a fresh red torrent. He pressed his hand to the wound, which was already starting to scab over and heal. The physical wound would heal, as luckily for McClain the shot missed his vital organs (or at the very least singed them lightly enough to leave them salvageable), but the pain was something he could never accustom himself to. He doubled over again, hunched over the burning hole in his abdomen.

"Just tough it out McClain", isn't that what Celvice always says? "What's a knee to the gut compared to what the cape-killers can do?" Dammit. I hate it when the ninjas are right...

McClain raised his eyes to the newly mutated boy-turned-man before him, ducking behind a garbage bin in the narrow alley.

Damn it, gotta think-- no, got to feel him out. It was like Celvice's... felt similar to that, but with so much... extra. Gotta focus on the familiar. It's... displacement? Teleportation? Whatever it is, it's something I need. If I just wait long enough, he'll come. He's the aggressive type. Well, come along big guy, let's see what you've got.

McClain's hand flexed, the bones in his hand twisting into barbs as he stared down at the boy's initial victims. I'm not like them, kid, I won't be such an easy mark... And this time, I'm ready for you.

When the newly transformed murderer approached, Chris would lash out with his own newly transformed body, embedding one of the barbs in his attacker, taking a piece of the boy, and use it in conjunction with his own powers to begin to infect himself with the boy's abilities. It was just a matter of striking the kid, and then staying alive long enough for the viral mutant infection to overtake his own immune system, granting him the powers of his assailant (for a time, at least) and allowing McClain to use the boy's powers against him, or at the very least use them to escape.

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#7868 Edited by TheSwindler (24 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_catalyst:

Jack would nonchalantly look at the barb head his way and using the kinetic energy he mustered up from all the activities he did from the past 30 minutes, it would appear to approach him slowly. With the immense speed that he built up he would hastily cut the barb with ease. The kid's face remained apathetic as he approached him, he would pause momentarily and would start a series of jumping up and down in a quick manner. After he finished a about 20 rounds of him jumping, he would remove what seemed like a blade from the back of his long jacket.

He would run in place while he examined the blade. A few moments later , he would stop running and would look at Christoper with a smile on his face. The boy observed the hole where he shot him and would express a smile smile. An instant later, he disappeared. In that amount of time Suma would've attempted to slash his opponent in half, if he was successful he would look back at his opponent and would walk away, believe that the man was dead.

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#7869 Posted by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

@theswindler:

It all happened so fast. As McClain came in with a solid right hook, his fists warped with bloody, brown bone spires rising from his skin, the newly transformed mutant he thought he was fighting disappeared from view. Before he could register what was happening McClain felt a thin burning sensation rising up his arm, rising from the bone barbs in his hands to the edge of his fingers, up his forearm, until finally the blade cleaved clean through his arm, splitting it in twain. From his index finger down, the arm he'd struck out with was shorn nearly free, the white, all-too-human bone beneath the liberated flesh seeming to almost glow against the sullen burgundy and black of brick and night.

Hrk! was all that emerged. No words, only raw shock.

His eyes stared at the split arm. Only a fraction of a second had gone by, but already he'd been disarmed (quite literally). The world swam in his vision, it spun and ebbed in and out dizzyingly as he tried to stay on his feet. His eyes focused finally on the oddly dressed character in front of him, on the blade now clutched in his opponent's hand.

Another moment passed. His vision blurred again, from blood loss, shock, or simply the inhuman speed of his enemy's coming assault, he couldn't be sure, but what he did know was that if he didn't do something quickly this would not end well, that he had to play his cards just right if he wanted to make it out of this alive.

But really, it wasn't up to him. He'd failed to catch hold of his opponent, failed to interpret the signs in time. He was out of his league. Far, far out of his league. He was good at feeling things out, superb at it. He was a man who lived his life by instinct, and usually it served him well. It would have served him well even here, had he listened to it. He knew he shouldn't have gone down the alley. Knew he shouldn't have confronted the boy. Knew he shouldn't have turned his back on him. He should have listened. Should have listened to the sinking feeling in his gut when he saw the boy bathed in blood.

The blur in his vision solidified for a moment, and the figure came into being its stance ominous, the gleaming blade foreboding in the low light. Then came the next slice, and the burning returned. Not his arm. His stomach. It extended deep. He could feel the blade turn deep in his gut, then push further, cutting through ribs, bone, and organ until it finally caught at the end, only his spine holding up long enough to absorb the momentum of the trickster's blade.

His knees gave out on him. He slumped to the ground, blood pooling around his feet. His arm moved to his stomach, cradling the most grievous wound he'd ever received, had ever even seen. The adrenaline was still pumping through his veins, the blood not seeping through the gash in his gut pounded in his ears. Through the corner of his eye he saw his mutant assailant look back at him for an instant before disregarding him, sauntering off to find new victims.

I..I can't let him... let him--

His body slumped soundlessly to the ground, his hand loosening upon his wound, letting go. Sweet black nothingness overtook the pain, his muscles slackening as he fell into the abyss.

God, Chris, you really are pathetic.

A soft "poomf" came shortly after his foe had definitively left. Celvice stared down at the seemingly lifeless body at her feet, rolling him over tenderly, her hand running softly over his cheek. His body had already begun to stitch itself together, muscle and sinew reconnecting, the organs pushing themselves together and re-fusing into a somewhat functional whole, but the blood loss... the blood loss was significant. His battle had taken its toll on his body, but with his stolen regeneration it would recover. Unfortunately for him, he hadn't taken that inhuman ability to manufacture the seemingly infinite amount of blood that kept the other regen-heavy mutants she knew alive. He was dying (if he hadn't already crossed that threshold). She felt for a pulse and was rewarded with a thin, near imperceptible pressure against her fingers. She glanced about, satisfied in the knowledge that his attacker, whoever he was, had gone, and began to cradle her mutant companion in her arms, her focus traveling to a vial of her own blood she had deliberately left exposed to air back at their safe house. An instant after her focus had shifted there she could feel the pull of a timeless, arcane wind rapidly pressing against her from all directions, swirling around her and her charge. She closed her eyes. She always closed her eyes when teleporting. The blackness she saw between locations, that split second of near total dark, it scared her. If only the blackness had been total. If only it did not show her glimpses of that something lurking there, of that which she did not care to see.

But there were more pressing matters than whatever was lurking in the dark. She arrived a split second later and began rummaging about the safe house, tossing a limp Christopher onto the worn out couch in the ratty studio apartment. She withdrew the materials she needed from a plain white case haphazardly abandoned on the coffee/dining/occasional operating table. She wrapped the tubing around his arm, piercing a blood vessel and then piercing one of her own in turn for a direct transfusion. It was risky, and she could very well be dooming him by mixing their blood, but she was counting on his unique abilities to keep him alive. Same ABO blood type or not, she couldn't risk doing nothing, but she also refused to take him to a hospital. She'd rather let him die than expose him as a mutant. He'd be useless to the Shogunate-- or rather, the Monarchy (she had to keep reminding herself of the shift, so much had changed since she'd been away) of Venezuela should he be discovered. She gulped down her fear. He was dying, and all she could do was watch. Fear of failure crept in all around her, but another fear rose along with it. She was afraid to lose a friend.

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#7870 Posted by Jungala (684 posts) - - Show Bio

The Zantellian pirate grunted as he was jarringly drawn up short, the blow of his gravmace being abruptly arrested mid-swing as Jun's hand locked on his weapon. His surprise abruptly terminated as her fist connected with his helmeted head with enough force to send him flying back into three of his companions, sending the group of them tumbling to the metal floor in a tangle of limbs and multilingual profanities.

Jun growled a few crass utterances of her own as she took stock of the situation. Further down the ship's corridor, more of the raiders were already gathering, and though cautioned by the fate of their mates, they were still proceeding, punctuating their progress with an occasional burst of plasma fire. Jun didn't bother attempting to find cover; the projectiles weren't able to do any appreciable damage to her ultra-dense skin (although they had long since reduced her uniform to smoldering tatters). The threat didn't come from their weaponry, after all, but their numbers. That they had already pushed this far into the freighter meant that they had likely already overpowered the rest of the crew, and eventually they'd be able to overwhelm her.

That, or they'd simply keep her busy until they were finished looting the rest of the ship, then retreat and blow the vessel apart with her still on it. Either way, not an outcome she was willing to accept.

Glancing over her shoulder, she confirmed that what she had been sent down here to defend was still intact: an oddly-proportioned device of unknown origin. Jun had no idea what the device did, but it was valuable enough that the captain had seen fit to send the genetically-engineered supersoldier to defend it while he and the rest of his crew were being unceremoniously mowed-down by pirates.

As the enemy fire grew more insistent, Jungala hefted the newly-acquired gravmace in one hand as she considered her options. Making a snap decision, she suddenly spun and brought the devastatingly weapon down on the alien artifact with all of her inhuman strength.

The affect was instantaneous. From the pirate vessel, it appeared as though the freighter suddenly and catastrophically imploded. In actuality, the destruction of the device created a localized but inescapable wormholes effect that immediately consumed the ship and everyone in it, and proceeded to spit them out randomly across the breadth of the universe. For most of the pirates, this resulted in them being launched into stars, black holes, or just out into the unforgiving vacuum of space. Jun was more fortunate, in that she was launched onto a planet that apparently had a breathable atmosphere.

The impact would have killed a less durable organism, and even Jun took several long moments to gather her wits, get her bearings, and climb rather ungracefully out of the crater she had created. Glancing around, she found herself in a grassy stretch of ground on the lower levels of some mountain range. Off in the distance, flickering lights and rising smoke hinted at some kind of settlement. With a sigh, the warrior brushed the bits of earth from her hair and ruined garments before beginning to make her way towards civilization. If she was lucky, the locals wouldn't be cannibals. If she was really lucky, they might even speak some language she was familiar with.

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#7871 Posted by Soliton (1364 posts) - - Show Bio

@arquitenens:

The drink slid over along the counter and he caught it between his exposed fingers. He raised it to his lip and sipped it, his eyes forward but ears all too aware of. He cut a smug grin on the other side of his face and gave her the side eye.

"Yeah. How could I forget? Shooting me in the back of the knees and then drop-kicking me out of the window."

Jeezus. It's a really good thing I had that gel armor in.

He retained the cool air. He sensed tension and he had at least some measure of an idea of what this woman meant to her. But the tension didn't bother Elliot much, because he was distant from it. He didn't know the other two well, so best he could do in his eyes would keep going on as normal and maybe it'll rub off on others.

"Uh no...we don't need to get up. Really."

"I'm fine here." Amani spoke so casually of it became obvious that she was nothing short of obliviously and unabashedly unaware of Abby's preferences. Things she was more worried about was the questions what should she say? Where does one even begin when they haven't seen one for so long. Months? Over a year? Hard to tell. Did it really matter? She thought. Too long. That's what she needed to know.

Her hands clasped in front of her and she hadn't actually touched the ice-cream yet. She could bring herself to spin in the chair as she waited. Her eyes couldn't bring themselves to meet her hero.

But she would at least face her.

"Abby....I'm....Sorry."

That's a good start, I think....

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#7872 Posted by Daughter_of_Nordok (401 posts) - - Show Bio

"Daughter."

Baerda's gleaming eyes opened, displaying none of the shock or horror one might expect to be triggered in one who was experiencing an entity of eternal evil siphoning his dread voice directly into their thoughts. She rose from the meditation mat upon which she had been seated, with the seamless grace of the perfect warrior. "I stand ready."

"It is time. Collect them."

There was no further communication. It was not necessary. The Daughter of Nordok understood her task, and immediately set about it. Striding to a nearby control panel, she placed her hands into two indentations which had obviously been designed to accommodate them. From these apertures, the necrotite which comprised her armor flowed, taking only moments to sheathe her bare, azure flesh in a shell of negative nanites. She then took up her helmet and spear, placing the former upon her head and the latter across her back. With that, she had all she required.

She made her way to the nearest airlock. The denizens of the heavy cruiser did not question her, even as she entered an airlock and sealed the door behind her. One spoken command later, and she was vacuumed out into the vast emptiness of open space, her ship proceeding on its course uninterrupted. Taking only a moment to regain her bearings, she took flight, building greater and greater speed as she set a direct course to her first target: the planet known as Sol 3.

Earth.

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#7873 Posted by Arquitenens (11944 posts) - - Show Bio

@soliton:

Amani spoke so casually of it became obvious that she was nothing short of obliviously and unabashedly unaware of Abby's preferences. Things she was more worried about was the questions what should she say? Where does one even begin when they haven't seen one for so long. Months? Over a year? Hard to tell. Did it really matter? She thought. Too long. That's what she needed to know.

Wow, trying to make me hate her already!

Well it worked. So good job, I'm tossing her!

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#7874 Posted by Arquitenens (11944 posts) - - Show Bio

@soliton:

From the corner booth, Nastya snickered. She'd seen it. The twitch. The split-second facial tic indicating Abigail's frustration with Amani's choice, and her flippant manner, before just as quickly correcting herself.

It's all about her right now, she reminded herself and bitterly swallowed her dissent. She doesn't need you glaring at her to make things worse. And then she smiled. In a roundabout way it was kind of funny. Or maybe that was just a defence mechanism. She caught a peripheral view of one of the servers giving her a doe-eyed smile and her cheeks flushed pink.

Nope. Definitely justifiable cause for concern.

She sat with Amani, again facing the entrance. "It's fine, Amani. Well...in a way, I guess...yes. Yes, it's fine," offering a resolute nod after stumbling over herself. "You're a child taken from your parents. Things were happening, lives were in danger, most of all yours. You had no way of knowing if I'd come out on top so it made sense to run." Could've checked in sooner, but..."Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them."

A message from Nastya on her NOOCS: 𝘠𝘦𝘢𝘩, 𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘹𝘋 𝘫𝘢𝘫𝘢𝘫𝘢𝘫𝘢

"So! Amani!" Abby piped up, her voice conspicuously elevated as to suggest, "I'm ignoring you, troll," "What...exactly have you been up to? Where've you been? Have you been all right this whole time?"

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#7875 Posted by Soliton (1364 posts) - - Show Bio

@soliton:

Amani spoke so casually of it became obvious that she was nothing short of obliviously and unabashedly unaware of Abby's preferences. Things she was more worried about was the questions what should she say? Where does one even begin when they haven't seen one for so long. Months? Over a year? Hard to tell. Did it really matter? She thought. Too long. That's what she needed to know.

Wow, trying to make me hate her already!

Well it worked. So good job, I'm tossing her!

No Caption Provided

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#7876 Posted by Soliton (1364 posts) - - Show Bio

@arquitenens:

Amani swayed back and forth between her feet, still not able to look at her. Her eyes slowly swiveled around the room for something to look at, going to Abby then sharply to Nastaya. And then to Elliot. And to that girl smiling at them. And then to the other girl smiling at them. And then back to her ice cream. If there was scorn on Abby's face, she wouldn't see it in the first place. Then it struck her.

Am I coward?

She bit her lip and waited until what seemed the right time.

"What...exactly have you been up to? Where've you been? Have you been all right this whole time?"

"I didn't wanna get in your way."

Beat.

"I guess I uh....was worried about if I got punked again then you'd have to save me again. For a...third time. Or really ever." She swayed to and fro in her seat, her feet pushing and pulling off the bars of the stool, still unable to look her hero in the face.

"So I left to try and do stuff without you having to worry about me. Funny how that worked. I guess. So I went off and tried to do hero stuff. And just run of the mill, you know, surviving. Getting enough money to get by, and all that..."

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#7877 Posted by Arquitenens (11944 posts) - - Show Bio

@soliton:

Amani wasn't exactly wrong to worry, Abigail silently admitted. Not the best way to approach a solution, but a valid concern. She'd had more time to think about it than made anyone comfortable, considering the length of the absence, and somehow a solution still eluded her. At least, one that would perfectly balance freedom with security with a family reunion in a way that would make both Amani and the parents happy. Speaking of which...

She squinted slightly, and pursed her lips, looking Amani over as though she might find the answer to the question on her mind. It almost seems better not to know, she thought, assuming the worst. But on the other hand...

"'Getting enough money to get by...' What do you mean by that? What did you do, do you feel like saying?" Abby asked, extending a hand halfway across the table. "You don't have to if you don't want, but...I'm here for you."

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#7878 Edited by HumansFirst (262 posts) - - Show Bio

"...pray that little Aoi gets home safe, sound, and--"

-Click-

Dead. The godfather of Tokyo's anti-mutant movement, slain in one of the very temples he had helped establish. Donovan Glost chewed on the tips of his platinum blonde locks, a habit he indulged in only when wholly overwhelmed. This would be a major setback on the international stage, and on the domestic. Akiyama was a major contributor to some of the HFF's more... clandestine efforts.

Such a loss of revenue (and it was quite the loss) would have to be replaced either through a significant increase in donations from several smaller donors to the legitimate HFF, which would then have to be laundered into the Militia's coffers (always a hassle, not to mention the revenue lost to taxes, bribes, and the laundering process itself), or through single, large scale donations from the seedier elements of society (convenient, easily concealed, and simply more fun).

So naturally, rather than start putting up fliers and sending out form letters, canvassing college campuses and the like, an appeal to the underworld was the far more savory option. But criminals are cagey, and they do not surrender their capital based solely on persuasive PowerPoint demonstrations. A large show of mutant power gone awry was in order. Such an act would be ambitious... but expensive, and risky. But who to target, and where?

Somewhere in Japan, of course, to restore some of the fire to the anti-mutant/meta movement lost with Akiyama. Somewhere that they might seize the gaze of those with true power in the East...

Somewhere Hirohito would approve of.

"Mitchell. The jet. We're going to Tokyo."

"Tokyo? Why?"

"To honor the memory of our friend, Mr. Akiyama."

Mitchell Herric looked up from his laptop, confused. "And how do you plan to do that, Donovan?"

"By getting the attention of his associates... by destroying what was built by that young upstart he always railed against."

"You don't mean..."

"Sanvun. The freak that welcomes freaks. He'll do to get the Yakuza's attention. Hitting his operations should get them riled up against the ones responsible, and if they were mutants? Well, that might just scare them into throwing a little cash into supporting the ideals of our recently deceased friend, all with the added bonus of taking a bite into the throat of the man Hirohito hated most."

"But, Don, if you piss off the San'Vun Syndicate they're going to cut you to pieces, you and everyone you know! And I'm someone you know! "

"If they find out we were involved, maybe."

"Donovan, these guys are no joke! They--"

"ENOUGH! Do as I say, Herric. I am in no mood for delays."

...

"Understood. We leave for Tokyo immediately."

Donovan Glost turned away, dismissing his associate with wave of his hand. He twirled his silverish hair, his thoughts moving to the man who had long suffered with him in a battle that all of humanity was unknowingly fighting. Fighting and losing. He was now just another casualty in the longstanding war for humanity's collective soul, but not one that would soon be forgotten. He would make sure of that.

Don't worry, Hiro. We'll honor your memory.

Or, at the very least, we'll burn that eyesore to the flipping ground.

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#7879 Posted by Noah_Wyatt (319 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7880 Posted by Yazhun_Sanvun (1224 posts) - - Show Bio

Beastmode

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#7881 Posted by Sii-la (397 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7882 Edited by HumansFirst (262 posts) - - Show Bio

Thank you for your feedback! We sincerely appreciate the responses from all of our fine sponsors! Rest assured that we will never stop fighting for your right to be you, even if you must reduce or retract your donations!

Thank you for supporting the Humans First Foundation! Have a blessed day!

--------------------DO NOT RESPOND--------------------

----------THIS IS AN AUTOMATED MESSAGE, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO REACH A CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE, PLEASE EMAIL US AT HFFCSC@HUMANSFIRST.ORG----------

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#7884 Edited by Soliton (1364 posts) - - Show Bio

@arquitenens:

It took a second for Amani to fully grasp the extant as to what it was Abigail meant by that.

“Oh…!” She stammered, for some reason.

“It's not that."

Her hand gently cusped Abby's as she looked down.

“I didn't really do things like that. Nothing I much to get b6. Though…” She began, taking a moment to draw it out. “It was mostly because of…well…my powers. Being a walking generator and all that.” She spoke, less than enthusiastic at her apparent.

“That was the only thing that separated me from them.”

Maybe that will make her feel better.

Yet, beneath this guise, there was a Grim reminder. That every accident, misfortune and thing that happened to those caught up were her fault. Most everything that had happened to her in the last year would have been avoided if one day at school she didn't suddenly start electrifying people who touched her. Or if that group of soldiers and that large man had actually successfully caught her. She wouldn't have ever endangered Abby or really anyone else. And yet, it was what sustained her.

It's kinda funny. I can't really…look down on them anymore. Some people do bad stuff cause they have to..to survive. Other people just grow up bad and don't know…”

She gulps.

“And then there is me. No. I just keep messing up. Everything that happened to me that I regret was because I’m dumb, Abby.”

Her grip loosens a bit.

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#7885 Posted by Arquitenens (11944 posts) - - Show Bio

@soliton: Abigail squinted, head cocked slightly as she tried to work through what exactly Amani was saying, fighting the instinctive urge to pull back in her confusion, and an ambivalent rejection of everything Amani just said. As long as she'd been at it, still Abby could hardly get a pulse on how she herself felt. Once upon a time she'd have accepted it as truth. But that last encounter with Ivana...

Just one more way the veteran heroine had been ruined by her worst foes. Reality was cold. But she needn't be, not to a child. So she fought against the irritation of the spirit inside her and didn't offer a direct retort. "Who is 'them,' Amani? Mutants? Criminals? Were you hurt? Did you hurt someone?"

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#7886 Posted by Necrommander (654 posts) - - Show Bio

The night watchman at the county morgue hit the floor of the facility with a dull thud. His vital functions had ceased before he had even began to topple over, death having seized him with a suddenness that hadn't even allowed him a moment's confusion.

The swirling orb that constituted his life force coalesced above the azure-skinned, clawed hand that extended out from a voluminous cloak covering what was obviously a very large individual. The figure turned, leaving the fresh corpse to cool on the linoleum tiles as he stalked deeper into the facility, eyes scanning the identical rows of freezers as other, arcane senses prodded within each, seeking his goal. Finally stopping before one, another powerful hand emerged from the cloak and nearly effortlessly tore the metal door from its hinges.

A more brutish approach than I typically care to employ, he mused, but time is of the essence, tonight...

Pulling the sliding tray from within, he yanked away the covering to reveal his ghoulish prize: the body of a massive, powerfully muscled man. He had been dead for some time, but the refrigeration, combined with his body's exceptional durability, had slowed the decomposition process considerably.

Still, few who knew him in life would recognize him, now...

The cloaked figure began to speak, his lips intoning languages not spoken on this planet in a dozen centuries, and the orb of life force in his hand suddenly roiled violently as it took on an unhealthy, greenish glow. The purest form of what was once a living soul now thoroughly corrupted, the figure pried the corpse's jaws ajar and forced the orb deeply down its throat, as though force-feeding it. The he stepped back and waited.

Within moments, the giant cadaver's clouded eyes snapped open, and it sat up ponderously, simply staring straight ahead with no sign of comprehension. Excellent, the cloaked one all but cackled to himself. A servant far stronger and tougher than the typical Midgardian draug. He knew only the basics of his new servant's background, some kind of metahuman who'd run afoul of far more powerful beings and paid the ultimate price for it. Well, his foolishness is my boon.

"Come, Sergei," the Necrommander intoned, turning towards the building's exit as his new toy heaved itself from the slab and shambled behind him. "There is work to be done."

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#7887 Posted by Arquitenens (11944 posts) - - Show Bio

I always meant to kill him anyway.

This just means I'll get the opportunity.

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#7888 Edited by Necrommander (654 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7889 Posted by Arquitenens (11944 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7890 Posted by Necrommander (654 posts) - - Show Bio

@arquitenens: Dear child, if you think you've met better than I, allow me to better educate you.

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#7891 Posted by Arquitenens (11944 posts) - - Show Bio

@necrommander: It's been a week, but we're gonna fight over that remark.

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#7892 Posted by Necrommander (654 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7893 Edited by IchorBorn (36 posts) - - Show Bio

The inky black oozes up from the empty of the grave, the squirming tendrils of the Dark One crawling their way into where the light dare not touch. But this world feels fresh, young. It is too lively, too busy.

It is not yet time. The Dark Being which holds them slave has not yet visited this place, has not yet bled it sufficiently for the worms to feed upon the injured corpse he would no doubt leave behind. It is not time for the Ichor to take hold of this place, to mark it as a permanent bastion of the darkness that crawls between the stars, that which has given birth to the Dark Child now weaving his way to this ball of dirt and water. Not yet time to mark it permanently in his image, to claim it as his own.

So there they would wait, biding their time in the grave until the Black Souled Titan inflicted that fatal wound, the one that would mark the beginning of their dominion over this land.

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#7894 Posted by King_Leo (503 posts) - - Show Bio

@shield-maiden

Sitia Mountains, Crete, Greece

Above the Cretan countryside, the sun fought the clouds for dominion of the sky - and won. It's rays shone through the cloudless blue of the sky, and glimmered over the the Sitia mountains. It was here atop windswept rock and dry greenery that the Prince of Power found the hero - the demigoddess - known as Shield-Maiden. And from the air there came a low hum and a ripple. Space-time folded open, and out the hyper-spatial bulk hovered Leonel. Caped, armored and proud, the Prince of Power descended from the sky as the hyperspace gate behind him closed shut. Arms at his sides, shoulders broad and plated in exotic armor, white cape flowing with a regality of it's own, Leonel seemed a Roman war god of modern times.

"Shield-Maiden"

Yet as the son of Thee Champion and The Goddess, he - a Hyper-God - was so much more. A detached hero on Earth, and king of galactic gladiators in Andromeda. Hovering above ground, Leonel's eyes fell on Shield-Maiden, and he peered into the cellular structure that made her different. She was strong, beautiful, fast, and durable. And she stood - carried herself - like a warrior. The rumors then, were true. Circling into view, his muscled arms folding before his chest, Leonel locked eyes with Shield-Maiden as he glided through the air, and he acknowledged her, warrior to warrior. "Shield-Maiden", he began, his voice commanding and calm, his gaze blue and as confident as ice was cold. "I've heard much about you. Your reputation as a warrior intrigued me, but your dedication to the greater good's what drew me here", he paused. Leonel saw no value in altruism for altruism's sake, to live one's life for others, but in the Abyssal Imperium, he believed he and Shield-Maiden shared a common enemy.

"My name is Leo, and you and I share a common enemy. One we'll need to work together to destroy".

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#7895 Posted by Trinity-Blue (4086 posts) - - Show Bio

@king_leo said:

your dedication to the greater good's what drew me here", he paused. Leonel saw no value in altruism for altruism's sake, to live one's life for others, but in the Abyssal Imperium, he believed he and Shield-Maiden shared a common enemy.

"My name is Leo, and you and I share a common enemy. One we'll need to work together to destroy".

He doesn't care about the greater good! Only dead people.

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#7896 Posted by King_Leo (503 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7897 Posted by Trinity-Blue (4086 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7898 Posted by Shield-Maiden (1211 posts) - - Show Bio

@king_leo: Just had this idea that will fit perfectly with Helena’s main story. Thank you for picking Crete 😉

Online
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#7899 Posted by King_Leo (503 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7900 Edited by Shield-Maiden (1211 posts) - - Show Bio

@king_leo:

Standing on the peak of a Cretan mountain, made from limestone, stood the demigod warrior, Helena Troy. The wind of Eurus gently planted multiple kisses on the exposed areas of her body. Her wavy black hair bowed to the commands of the East Wind God as it was swept to the left, rippling through the air like oceanic waves, dictated by Poseidon himself. Her mysterious blue eyes gazed into the landscape of Sitia, Crete. The port town of Sita poked itself from a distance, clustered with vibrant villas, cottages, and houses. From afar, the houses looked like an army mustering for the Revolutionary War. The Sea of Crete, which surrounded the port town flanked on all sides as if the large body of water was choking the town into submission. Below her, autumn poplars stretched out into the countryside, clashing with the palms trees that were planted in the soil long ago. To her, it looked like a waged war between Apollo and Demeter-tropical green attempting to dominate vibrant gold.

Taking in the gentle winds and majestic view, Helena smiled and let out a sigh of relief. For the first time in her life, she felt at peace and filled with joy. Questions did not plague her mind and she no longer felt like she was imprisoned on a floating spaceship in a realm plagued by darkness, but all that was short lived. The rays of Apollo pierced through the sky of Ouranos and won, but, she still felt uneasy, glancing up from time to time as if she was expecting the clouds to gather and take dominion over the sky. Helena secretly flew to Mount Ida, Crete, hoping to find the answers to the prophecy and herself, but all she found was an empty cave. According to legend, that same cave was where, Zeus, her grandfather, was born, which meant it was sacred. If the team found out she was trying to figure out another way to discover the prophecy, one as extreme as this, they would scold her. Zeus was attempting to incarnate her, and yet, she was provoking him to zap her into ash by entering his sacred birthplace. Some might say she was foolhardy, no better than her half-uncle, Ares, but what they failed to realize was that her plan actually was strategically sound. Archaeologist believed the sacred cave might have been operated by an Oracle, and Helena believed that same Oracle was still there, hidden from the mortal eye.

Helena truthfully believed entering the cave would cause the Oracle of Mount Ida to reveal herself, but all she found were wall paintings depicting Zeus, the six children of Cronus, the Titanomachy, and the end of Titan rule. There were no traces of the cave being used for some time, but she still believed the Oracle was there. After a few hours of searching and discovering nothing useful, she took off to the mountainous region of Sitia, where she now stood. Zeus had every opportunity to form a storm cloud over her and strike her with his mighty lightning bolt, yet nothing happened. Either Zeus did not care that the granddaughter he wanted dead was snooping around his birthplace or something else entirely was holding the Ruler of Olympus back. Her plan was futile, prompting her to finally heed to her mother's wishes. If she wanted to, she could just fly to Delphi right now and seek out Apollo, but her mother did warn to journey with the heroes who fought beside her during the incident with Ares. Besides, she did not know if Apollo and the Oracle of Delphi would even show themselves if she came by herself.

Now, all she wanted was to gaze into the Greek horizon and just relax for once. She chose the mountainous region of Sitia, so she could stare into the town's port; it reminded her of her childhood when she would run down to the docks to help out the people she ruled over as a Princess. After a few minutes, Helena decided it was best to return to the Justice League Alliance headquarters before the team noticed, but just as she was about to leap off the cliff and control the atoms in the air to achieve flight, a strange hum and rippling sound from above caught her attention. Looking up at the bare sky, a man clad with pieces of armor and donning a cape hovered above her. His arms flexed naturally and his shoulders were broad, rivaling that of Heracles. His hair looked oily black like the evil's contained in Pandora's box, but as he lowered himself, the shade shifted to deep blue, like a raven. Their eyes locked as if they were trying to read off each other-the gaze of Athena and Mars.

Two possibilities ran through her head; either, this man was sent by her grandfather or he was Zeus in the flesh. Not taking any chances, Helena paced back and forth, her electric blue eyes fixed on his. The shield of Heracles, remained strapped to her back; she knew nothing about this man, the last thing she needed was more weight. "Shield-Maiden", The muscles on her face twitched as he called her by that name. "I've heard much about you. Your reputation as a warrior intrigued me, but your dedication to the greater good's what drew me here", the man revealed. "My name is Leo, and you and I share a common enemy. One we'll need to work together to destroy." Helena stopped pacing and folded her arms against her chest, once she realized the man was not a relative of hers or Zeus himself. "Nothing but half-truths," She replied, her face grew as stern as her mother's. "I am no Heracles, Achilles, or Odysseus, nor will I ever be," She shot down the tales that have been told about her. "But, I do care about the well-being of others. Who is this common enemy in which you speak of? Zeus? Laistrygonian Giants? Creatures of the North?"

Not my best post, but hope you enjoy it nevertheless. Hopefully, I'll appreciate my next post, lol.

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