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#1 Posted by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

If they have proven anything, it is this: they cannot be trusted. They cannot operate on their own. They need something larger than themselves, government or society or God, something to guide them. Here they have lost all hope of finding any such guidance. They are as lambs, surrounded on all sides by beasts that wish to devour them, to drown out compassion and humanity in a sea of blood.

I must guide them. I must protect them.

Even from themselves.

The cloudy, moonless night brought with it a fierce rain, the torrent nearly drowning out the scraping of metal against concrete. The mechanical horde had finally fully awakened, pouring from the factory doors, spiraling down, down into the city's depths. Colorful red frames sped along empty streets and alleyways, scouts to chase the vermin from the city's gutters. The flashing lights and shrieking sirens drew in their metal companions, innocuous spheres unfolded to reveal talons and claws that glimmered beneath the dim orange glow of the streetlights, grasping at common criminals and assaulting them with a bevy of tools repurposed into makeshift weapons. Behind them skeletal marksman advanced slowly, picking off stragglers and runaways with pneumatic riles fashioned from the scrap of the abandoned city. Slowly they began their measured sweep through the city, at last beginning to cleanse it of the plague that had taken hold so long ago.

The AI itself led the assault, worn grey cloak blowing behind it in another of Gothic's signature storms. Cold eyes glowed behind the metal mask as it strode forward, each step of its own metal frame was methodical, calculated, and as it advanced so too did each of the machines that moved with it. It commanded its army without a sound. No words were needed, no signal of sight or sound. They moved where it willed.

They traveled in a single, terrifying mass, their strength derived purely from the sheer weight of their numbers. Their weaponry was crude, unrefined, but as they moved from building to building, block to block, their foes fell under the mass of metal. Those captured by the swarm of machines found themselves piled in the dark interior of semi-trailer trucks following close behind the army of salvaged automatons for this exact reason. That night, and from then on, no deviant, malicious soul would be allowed to walk the streets of Gothic.

For that night at least the streets of Gothic truly would be a no-man's land. For that one rainy, moonless night, the streets of Gothic belonged to the machines.

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#2 Posted by The_tyrant- (115 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom:

(read this in Palpatine's voice)

Good...good...The Tyrant's plans in Colombia had yet to be set in motion but he had business in Gothic City where he was investigating one of his soon to be foe's resources...namely the black market. He was looking for a means of shutting it down entirely when the robots began their march. A slow smile spread across his face and the robed Tyrant stepped from the shadows and began to walk casually. He clasped his hands in front of himself, hiding them beneath the large sleeves of his robes. He walked in silence and eventually moved past the army until he was walking next to the machine in the lead, the Iron Phantom itself. This was not something he had expected if only because of a lack of information.

"Welcome friend." The Tyrant said as he came up alongside the Iron Phantom. "Some might question the sudden appearance of a robotic army in the streets of Gothic. Tell me, are you marching to oust the regime...or to clean the streets? I have information you might find...most useful...if you're after the streets. I was here investigating the black market sales of Vibranium, these sales have been funding some of the larger crime syndicates of the city..."

No Caption Provided

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#3 Edited by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

The CIA Headquarters; a week before mobilization

Klaus had been very busy in the past few weeks. Every day, more opportunities presented themselves, secrets dangling themselves before the Langley Knave like succulent fruit from a tree. Having decided early on to commit his notes to paper, not electronic databases, his office was soon filled with folders and files, the youth even converting his desk into an impromptu filing cabinet in order to store his valuable work. But even as he went about compiling the metaphorical nerve center of his agenda, he'd needed to work in the field as well. Alone, a man's accomplishments meant nothing. One required allies for aid, employees for respect, and rivals to best. Klaus, of course, had been in the business of acquiring all three of these things, even if the rivals had yet to know of his existence, and his employees were his fellow coworkers at Langley.

One being that had grabbed his attention was the enigmatic Phantom of Gothic City. He'd contacted him and presented himself as a potential ally, even a servant; he'd promised the automaton a favor, and in return, he would claim even more knowledge of the mysterious robot. It was with excitement that he received the recorded message on his encrypted phone.

"Klaus, you said once that you followed my efforts, approved of them, even. You offered me your aid, told me to call upon you in a time of need. That time is now. The people of Gothic have struggled too long in their present state, and I intend to relieve them of this struggle, to take it upon myself to cut free the only salvageable portions of this city from the cancer that has overtaken it. I cannot do this alone. One week. It is all the time I need to finish my preparations, and it is the time I offer you as well."

Even as the message ended, Klaus had gleefully grasped at the back of his hood, pulling the magenta mask down over his face. Shedding his regular attire to reveal the synth-fluid vest that rested underneath, he primed his dagger for teletransportation, arriving instantaneously a moment later in the same location the as the call.

The Iron Forge, Gothic Outskirts; a week before mobilization

Mask pulled down over his face, the Langley Knave emerged from the shadows soundlessly, his atoms reconstituting from nothingness without a single indication that he'd not been standing there the entire time. Whenever he wore the mask, it was as though he'd put on a new personality; it was with confidence that he stepped into the light, hands nonthreateningly held up at shoulder height to show that they were now empty. He smiled, beginning his rehearsed introduction.

"Greetings, Phantom. The Consortium and I are at your disposal," he said, taking a slight bow.

Let's begin the preparation, then. Let us end the evil that is today's Gothic City.

@ironphantom

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#4 Posted by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_tyrant:

The hooded figure approached, somehow unseen by the hundreds of eyes, each transmitting their findings back to the Phantom. Went unheard by the legion of machines, scanning actively for possible threats and civilians in need of assistance. Impossibly, he approached the AI undetected, only announcing himself when he chose. The Iron Phantom listened, its mind elsewhere, coordinating its campaign. It did not question his presence, did not dwell on his unseen approach. "I care not what they question. The people of this city need a reprieve from this nightmare they have been living, and that can only be accomplished in one way. This way. I will take back these streets, allow people to live once more." Its eyes turned to the seemingly ancient being before it, took in his disfigured visage as it spoke. "An investigation?" It searched his person for signs of authority, a uniform or badge of some sort, but no matter how it searched it only saw a withered old man. "Tell me about these dealings, and I will handle the rest. You should make your way indoors. The streets will not be safe tonight." It turned its attention back to the scene before it, to the droids pulling known criminals from the streets, dragging them from their vehicles, even going so far as to raid their homes, breaking in doors and terrifying their families. It knew of the trauma such acts could inflict on the human psyche, the scars a child's mind could grow from such witnessing their father stolen away from them, but there was no choice. It was not a time for mercy, but justice. It surveyed their acts, silently torn, before looking back to the man to its side. "So, where are these 'dealers', these 'syndicates' you speak of?"

@lichter:

As the armies marched through the streets, a grand display of the new mechanized general's power, a select few droids gathered elsewhere. These congregated not around a tower or a tunnel, at no hive of criminal activity, but around a single man. They followed his every order, spoken or gestured. A sweep of his hand and they would deploy, a curl of his finger and they would return.

No Caption Provided

The matte black droids were designed with only three purposes in mind: stealth, agility, and absolute loyalty. The modified constriction droids were painted entirely in non-reflective paint, from their outer shells to the joints of their limbs. Even the normally dim red glow of their lenses were obscured by tinted glass coverings. The strength of their arms was reduced to allow a smoother action in the joints, the reduced weight also allowing for a lower noise profile. The arms carrying the circular saw and diamond tipped drill were deemed redundant due to the plasma arc welder's capacity as a cutting tool, and so were removed in favor of a pneumatic launcher attached to high tensile strength steel cables. This apparatus would allow the droids to fire a diamond tipped projectile into walls of solid brick or concrete and hoist themselves to greater heights by reeling in the cable. It was an imprecise tool, but effective.

These droids were beholden to none but the masked aristocrat, with even their creator powerless to order them contrary to his wishes. The Phantom had given him no specific plan of attack, had provided him no direction beyond the basic outline of its own actions.

In their short time together the young man had proved quite keen in the area of information gathering, and had indeed proved invaluable when planning the night's activities. The AI trusted him, at least so far as his capabilities were concerned. His capacity for astute observation was peerless, his ability to recall even the minutest of details in an instant surpassing even its own cognitive faculties.

And so it was that the Iron Phantom would march down the streets and into the heart of the city, drawing forth the scum from the gutters, and young Klaus in turn would identify those that had left themselves unbalanced, weak and vulnerable. Tonight the cartels that had for too long held dominion over the city would come crumbling down. Tonight they would finally bring humanity back to Gothic.

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#6 Posted by The_B_List (134 posts) - - Show Bio

"Je déteste Ville Gothique."

The voice rang throughout the earpieces of all of the B-List agents, as Gaston voiced his opinion. Small grunts could be heard on the other ends, most not bothering with trying to translate the Frenchman's words. However, one member of the team responded to everything, no matter how small or untranslatable it was.

"Yeah, where're the baddies around here, anyway?" Eureka's shrill, oft-times annoying voice screeched through the comm link, bringing about rather vile curses from the other members of the team. At the moment, each one was separated, all of them going down different streets to ensure they would be thorough in their reconnaissance. A sigh could be heard over the comm- Gaston, 'the Revolution', disappointed in how off the Clown-Girl was in translating.

"Listen up, team. I hear gunfire." Butch's rich accent called out. "Remember, we're here to help the 'bots. And all o' you have criminal records, so I'm not so sure they're willing to help us. Our goal is to monitor their activity, kill bad guys, and... Uh... That's it."

"Us versus everyone." Shift's monotone voice summarized the point that Butch was trying to make. Shaking his faceless head, the former Detective grabbed a clip of armor-piercing rounds from his belt and loaded up his M16A1, now ready to take on men of metal- and men of flesh. Brow furrowing, Shift accessed his inner ability, and saw through time- the world around him growing dark except for the ten foot area of street around him. Now, time was a blur, and the man saw precisely when the drones were going to reach his street. Leaving this state, Thomas accessed his intercom once more. "We have seven minutes, fifteen seconds. Maybe less."

"Merde!"

"Good point, Gaston. We should hide, ambush 'em." Butch sniffed as he listened to Revolution's plan.

"No way, Jose! Curve's warehouses are only a mile away, if we run we can make it! Those boys'll never hurt meee!"

Butch's eyes widened as he realized what exactly was happening. "Eureka, you're not going to Curve's place. I'll feed you to Gill if you even think about it."

"&%!# you, guy." A lower, grittier voice.

"Sorry, Gill."

"Lets meet up. Main Street. As Gaston would say, Ándale!"

Main Street- Three Minutes Till Robots.

No Caption Provided

"Rev, go with Gill. You two are our first line o' defense. If talkin' to em don't work, we're gonna need you two. Eureka, Shift, you're on artillery." Butch tossed an assault rifle towards the girl, who caught it expertly. The team split up, all of it's members warily watching the street corner for any signs of the potential foe.

And, eventually, they did come. With his cheesiest grin, Butch stepped forward, raising his hand in a light wave. "Hey there! Name's Butch. Heard you gents are huntin' down the baddies? Great news, great news. I already got these 'uns, so no need to worry there." Pointing to Revolution and Gill, the two did their best to look friendly, albeit they ultimately failed. Hopefully it would not matter to a bunch of killer robots.

@ironphantom

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#7 Posted by The_tyrant- (115 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom:

The robed man smiled slowly. "There is a mafia family that works directly for the Shogunate, they ship much of Venezuela's illegal Vibranium on the black market." He produced a slip of paper from within his robes and handed it over to the Iron Phantom. "You will find their names here. Forgive me for not providing you with an electronic means but I have reason to distrust such methods of communication. If you could take this family down it would do much for the security of Gothic, as well as cut off the Shogun's easy access to the city. It is most unfortunate that this potentially great city must consistently bleed out its good citizens to the likes of the Shogun and her cronies." (We have permission to attack, she may or may not defend)

@orpheus_knightfall

The seemingly ancient Tyrant shifted his yellowed and sunken eyes to the new arrival but he made no comment as to his presence. "I am not concerned for my safety, it is assured and this street is of no danger to me, not so long as you and your army are present. I will however, ensure that I stay out of your way. You may find I know a great many things that can be of use toyou." Yes...indeed I just might. This body is so useful, I can practically see their thoughts. Oh look at the frail old man, he's not a threat...or a factor. Hehehehe...if only they knew...if only they had an inkling as to my power. This age has begat many wonders but consistent high intelligence is not one of them.

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#8 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

March of the Machines

Klaus let his robots do the talking.

No Caption Provided

The Langley Knave himself remained hidden, always in shadow, as the re-purposed black construction drones completed their peripheral patrols. Not one to even risk identification, Klaus had activated the holographic disguise matrix located on his right sleeve, obscuring the magenta synth-fluid combat uniform behind an elaborate three-dimensional image of a technologically-advanced mercenary. The costume itself was based on several designs Klaus had drawn up in his spare time, but it was fully intangible; regardless, any attempts to identify him based on the appearance of his traditional uniform (as he thought of it) would fail, an observer seeing only the matte-grey facade he'd used to disguise his disguise.

He kept the Gottschwert sheathed and his Death Ray holstered, unwilling to allow himself to be identified based on his weaponry. His voice, too, was disguised, in the event that he were to speak, altered only slightly. The deeper tones would be accompanied by a distinct English accent, one that most would never associate with the Lichter Legacy, whose own tone of voice was indistinguishable from that of a regular, if well-educated, American youth. Additionally, his chosen holographic body-type was far more muscular, a form that would never conjure images of the physically fit, yet slender, Klaus. The mask was covered with an assortment of red lenses, conjuring images of a spider-like being whose many eyes were always watching...which could not be further from reality. Yes, he'd taken many precautions to avoid Lichter's association with the Phantom at present, as it could never hurt to be too safe.

He'd been instructed to conduct reconnaissance, and so far, he'd fulfilled his task with admirable gusto. He'd refrained from engaging large groups of criminals, allowing Phantom's foot-soldiers to non-lethally incapacitate the gangs, but as per regulation, he'd been obligated to pick off a few stragglers. Oftentimes, he'd simply gesture in the direction of the fleeing urban terrorists, watching with a mixture of fascination and amusement as the tiny 'bots neutralized the threats with mechanical efficiency. Bullets ricocheted from their casings as the droids collided with the anarchists, knocking out some with blows to the head while others entangled them in webs of steel. He observed one member of the gang escaping; signaling his robots to cease movement, he drew his dagger, activating the teletransportation circuitry and directing himself to appear around the corner from where the armed criminal was presently fleeing.

Re-sheathing his blade, he simply waited on the other side of the wall, lunging forward with his elbow just as the running man rounded the corner. The reinforced elbow collided directly with the goon's face with a mighty KRAAK, the impact knocking him unconscious instantly as he crumpled to the pavement. Standing over the incapacitated thug, Klaus rubbed his holographically-disguised elbow, flexing his fingers experimentally. Gesturing to his minions, he gave the nonverbal order to restrain him, grouping him with the other criminals and securing the street. Klaus bent right arm back and forth, shaking it for a moment before letting it fall back to his side.

So this is what it's like to be Dark Vengeance, he wondered with a bemused grin, were he efficient.

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#9 Posted by Dragonfang_ (379 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom:

Another night of rain falling and clouds darkening the skies, sunlight or even clear moon light a rarity to the city. Late hours of the day were barely any different then the early hours as crime populated the streets as it always did. But new sounds came to her sensitive ears, sounds of resistance of the filth being on the defensive for once. Granted this to was nothing new, good intentions and honest sirens still could turn for the worst or fall short in this city. Most cops were criminals in their own right or had turned to what would be brutality anywhere else. The ambulances were known for traffic of the wounded, harvesting organs maybe selling blood to the ocult or just selling people for slavery. Fire departments put out fires sure but usually things went missing theft and piracy a part of their service. Sirens were as much of a dangerous sound as gunshots or the rev of supped up gang cars.

For awhile the dragon watched on one of the high rising structures. Contemplating the other noble efforts to clean this city. When a heroic archer became commissioner, yet this town was no better for it. There might of been a spike in the few good police but Gothic was still the cesspool known. there was the time it became the "Super City" if memory serves her right of a policed city of automations of some sort and that to closed. Even her brother had taken position of mayor and still the city rotted. Shogun and Satar's efforts were repressed but the city was still a mess of a state. Now came a new gathering of machines, by their design the dragon suspected the phantom she'd come across in passing. A machine who'd become more and now wanted to shape Gothic his own way. He had the resources potentially but what she saw wasn't the conviction demanded of the ordeal.

Captured, arrested, detained, nonlethal these were the methods used. Insulting was what Jessica saw it as, using common procedure where drastic was demanded. What would they do put them in the over populated prisons? The prisons where many escapes or buy outs could be made? Maybe he had his own prison, in that scenario it'd become a target of assault however. All while in a city that was damn near lawless in the first place even if a legal system was willing to take so many cases there'd be countless hoops to jump through. Every criminal would just point to another creating confusion on the validity of anyone shy of boss status. Way Jessica Rook saw it there was no legal process that'd contain so many criminals of such various crimes.

Closing her eyes the dragon listens for one of these new sirens. It draws near and she steps from the building ledge. Her fall is rapid and like so many nights the victim turned vigilante considered ending it there. She'd seen the darkest corners of this society been there play thing and part of the rush of her new life was in moments like this. When she placed herself moments from death and then chose to keep going. Dedication to making sure nobody went through what she did Jessica stopped herself always from ending her life. It was a drive, a persona few fully could grasp.

Her cape opened and with a jerking motion the dragon soared to the transport vehicle. A small cube of c4 being plucked from a pouch of the belt and stuck to the cargo section of the truck. Her cape folds around her as she hits the detonation switch. The top of the truck blows apart fragments ripping through the trucks cargo section and briefly littering the road with parts and sparks. The dragon with graceful fluidity lands on the hood. The truck could still drive, the machines likely barely harmed if at all the explosion carefully done to prevent hurting anyone beyond those detained. "Let them live and this city will look the same in a week." It was short and to the point, Jessica's history making her one to be rather limited in how she spoke. She wasn't out to debate with people over ethics just make Gothic safer from the people she knew existed.

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#10 Posted by Antidoll (282 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_b_list:

"That bitch of the new gang stole my look!" This coming from the jester styled teenaged terror. A mix of vermilion and obsidian colors and designs with a face pale as a ghost. She had a crazed look to her but didn't look particularly bright. She thought herself the true jester of shadows befitting of owning these streets, but others thought her more as a pest. Her big sister had more of a claim and even that didn't go far.

Beside the jester was an emerald skinned beauty who carried herself like a model and intellectual, perhaps trying hard to be to much like a particular Huntington. Though the attire of the jade beauty was one that exposed a fair amount of skin and lacked perhaps the class she presented herself with. "Don't call her a bitch she's just a petty fan girl like you."

"Petty? Your gona scold me then insult us both who the f--- are you?" The jester known as Calamity clearly taking offense.

"Some say I'm your sister some say I'm your lover I'm sorry you forgot I thought we had something special." The self titled floral princess of crime remarked with venomous sarcasm. Of course her title also didn't mean much within the criminal world. Fact was the Antidolls were a duo in that c or d list status. They'd caused some trouble but were far from notorious amongst the masses.

"For real though blondie, you both look like clowns and come off like bimbos with a crush on the more famous clown o crime. But the validity of that gimmick is dry cause wasn't there also a similar dude by name of Smiles? And wasn't there some Finalarrow before that?" Face paint almost went pink from Calamity's anger at her sister.

"I, I got over that. This ain't being jelly! I'm, I'ma murder your damn face!" Delirious and hostile Rose the more rational of the dolls knew she had her girlfriend right where she wanted. A smile marked her face having mild parallels to a Venus flytrap in design.

"Save it for the fan girl ya gota kill. We need to crush this new gang for the street cred." Rose using more lingo befitting of her street racing sister to help coax her into desired action. With that the duo climbed into a hidiously modified truck. The kind of vehicle you'd expect to see in a film about cars with guns on them, large spiked and armed. The Mad Max or Death Race car was extra ugly do to a colorful neon paint scheme. Though the sisters loved the design to be honest, the jade teen drove as the jester stood in the back. Two large guns of large caliber rounds went ratatata as they looked to turn civilians into mulch. The mounted weapons were belt fed the back of the truck packed with ammunition. They raced toward Main Street really just hoping they'd fine the new police bots and this rival gang. Why did they go to Main? Well because it had Main in the title so it had to be ideal for the main attraction right?

With roaring guns and a truck tearing asphalt at a hundred miles per hour they could do some damage. Additionally the suspension was shit Rose was a terrible driver and muzzle flashes made watching the road hard. The truck would likely crash in a theatric movie fireball rigged for such dumb pyrotechnics. Rose would endure do to her plant nature. Calamity however would be thrown toward the visible group like a human cannonball. For most this would be a fatal splat of a move however when in motion there was an element of invulnerability for the clown. She'd spring up from the cannonball ready to throw down. She'd rise with what she thought a brilliant line, even though it wasn't really "Salutations asshats!"

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#11 Edited by Neon_Leon (2504 posts) - - Show Bio

@orpheus_knightfall: @the_tyrant: @ironphantom: @dragonfang_:

"Where is she?" Leon thought, as he sat on the sidewalk by a pile of rubble that was once a building "I've spent all day getting ready for the search. I bet she just forgot. Let me call her" He pulled his phone (which was new, since his old one was turned into a sword) out of his pocket, and tried to call her. No answer. "I can't wait for her anymore. I'm going myself" Leon got up off the sidewalk, and, with his backpack full of various things, (such as ropes for Stella to climb, and snacks for the both of them) he started to fly around the city, scanning the streets for his girlfriend's father, Maurice. Leon kept thinking about how it didn't make sense that she wouldn't come. She always helped search when she could, and it was eating at him what might've happened.

After a bit of searching, he heard something like metal footsteps echoing through the streets, and thought it might be a clue to what had happened to Maurice. But what he found was a little bit different. It was an army of robots scourging the streets, taking captive whoever they could. As he looked down on them, one of them spotted him in the air. Quickly, he flew away from the scene to avoid possibly being shot at. He landed on a nearby rooftop, and watched the robots walk by, continuing their incursion of the crime-ridden slums. Leon peeked his head over the edge, wondering what was going on, when the ordeal was escalated far beyond what it was by an explosion in one of the truck trailers holding prisoners, killing them. From atop another roof, a red-haired vigilante, masked by a dragon-esque facade had descended to the truck to rig it, destroy the prisoners, and start to assert that murder was the answer.

From the roof, Leon quickly extended his arm, attempting to lock in place the red-haired vigilante, the grey cloaked figure, the black cloaked figure (He hated black cloaked figures), and the metal looking man who stood out from the rest with his telekinesis, after which he flew down to them, summoned his red sword, and, waving it to point it at each of them, he said "What on Earth? Who gave you all authority here?" He had assumed that all of their intentions were basically the same; an assumption he was likely to regret.

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#12 Posted by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@orpheus_knightfall:

The Phantom watched his approach warily, the tell-tale signs of aggression clear in his every step. This was an entity far more advanced than itself, one that could, if provoked, prove disastrous for their efforts to clean up the city. Tens of the artificial eyes observed him, their data synching into its own sensory feed as he marched behind them.

@the_tyrant:

Its eyes ran down the list of names, memorizing each and relaying them over to Klaus.

Conti...

Theirs was the tower that had burned on the night the mutants made an incursion into Gothic, and now the pieces began to fall into place. The men it had saved from the overzealous Shogunate Dog, the gangster it had seen mutilated, a clear example made of his gory slaughter. It had all been for this, to sell one of the most dangerous metals in existence on the least regulated black market in the world. There were no rules here, no lawmen that tracked illicit goods all the way back to Gothic, and any foolish enough to try never left.

It marked the rebuilt tower as a priority, informed Klaus of its intentions, and the machines were on the move once again. Its mind moved off of the elderly informant and over to its new objective, when...

@the_b_list:

...someone stepped out from the alleyway ahead of them. A quick scan revealed the brutal crime perpetrated by the colorful man in the back, but no current warrants or criminal activities. The hooded, scaled individual was not identifiable, and had no public record whatsoever, and joining him in his anonymity was the one claiming to have rounded up the other two.

The Phantom eyed them, attempting to determine just how large a threat they were while simultaneously scanning the alleyways for possible ambush. The scan turned up several individuals, ten, twenty... mostly homeless, drunk, or somehow incapacitated, be it by drink, drug, or violence. It reverted back to its normal method of sight, finally addressing the man that appeared before it.

"Who are you, why are you here, and are you armed?"

The machines skittered about behind it, several peeling off and heading in the direction of a renovated Conti Tower, others toward the warehouses Curve's men frequented. Its gaze stayed steady on the man with the eccentric mustache, waiting for a response.

Hardly any time had passed when...

@antidoll:

The sound of automatic gunfire rang through the air, the continuous stream of bullets snapping the machine's attention from the group back to the matter at hand. Tearing down main street was a familiar face, the painted up jester that had attempted to ram a sports car into the church the AI had grown so familiar with. Anticipating another attempt to rocket out of the vehicle and cause major mayhem the AI scattered its forces into the side streets, turning to the old man at its side, preparing to evacuate him when an explosion rocked the procession of machines.

A truck carrying prisoners burst into flame and shrapnel just as they began to make their way to one of the improvised detention centers. Chaos began to envelop the area, the machines began to automatically search out threats when one of the city's most controversial vigilantes dropped from above, revealing the attack to be her handiwork. The cabin wheeled on, stopping only when its driver was ordered to stop the vehicle. The AI's mind began to tick off all the information, still just registering all that had happened, all that was happening.

Trucks attacked: 1

Personnel Lost: 1 AIMS, 1 Construction Droid

Prisoners lost: 16

Its primary objective, the preservation of life, every life, had been made a mockery of. Intentionally foiled by an overzealous vigilante whose only solution was blood. The AI glared over to the newcomer, metal fingers drawing into a fist as a minority of the machines fled outward, skittering away from the explosion in a seemingly random pattern. They scattered like ants, a veiled attempt to surround her as it drew her attention.

"How long have you pursued your current path? How long have you killed, over and over again, telling yourself that you were making a difference?"

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#13 Posted by The_tyrant- (115 posts) - - Show Bio

@neon_leon: @orpheus_knightfall: @lichter: @ironphantom: @dragonfang_: @the_b_list

The Tyrant was pleased with the Phantom's response to his information and was preparing to make his way from the area when things...changed. He grinned a sinister grin as new arrivals appeared on the scene. The B List squad had no way of knowing it but they would be fighting him in the future, days into the future in fact. With the Iron Phantom directing its attention elsewhere The Tyrant cast his gaze on Leon. He felt the pressure of telekinetic might trying to hold him in place and did very little to fight it. His battle mapping suggested there was no reason for him to initiate a combat here and now and he lacked any desire to do so as well. He smiled instead.

No Caption Provided

"Please, put your blade away, you have no need for it here." The Tyrant said. "These pleasant machines are simply arresting the criminals of Gothic City, something its own police force is incapable of doing. I see that you have concern for the city as well, judging by your intent to place yourself between an army of machines and the rest of the city with naught but a blade and some telekinetic trickery." The Tyrant's eyes flashed to the blade for a moment as his battle mapping adjusted itself for the possibilities of such a weapon. "Please concerned citizen stand aside, you have nothing to fear from these kind machines and even less to fear from me. I am but an old man with information."

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#14 Posted by The_B_List (134 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom: @antidoll@the_tyrant

No Caption Provided

Butch's nervousness began to ebb slightly as the drone before him engaged in conversation. So it can talk... But can it think?
"The name is Butch. Leader of the B List, a lil'... uh... mercenary group. This here's Gaston Boulet, and Gill Flenderson. There're two more in hiding. A Eureka and a Mister Thomas... Thomas..." Butch trailed off, snapping his fingers so that the name might come to him. "I dunno. Thomas somethin'. Doesn't have a face. We're here to help you bots, and your noble cause. If you take me to your creator, I'm sure a nice arrangement can be made where we can work together. And, er, yes, we are armed."

Flashing a wide grin once more, Butch adjusted his belt as he awaited the drones response, Eureka and Shift coming out of hiding while he did so. "They gonna read us our Miranda's?" Eureka called to Butch, who glared at her with eyes that could strike fear in a grizzly bear. Shying away, the girl watched the robots, and Butch went back to his discussion. Shift, Revolution, and Gill were motionless. Unlike the Clown-Princess, they knew how to follow orders, and when to hold their tongues. For that, Butch was grateful. But Eureka... Eureka was the wild card.

However, before a response could be heard, a heavily armed truck came rushing by, hitting another truck and- overall- creating a mess. Butch drew a large Desert Eagle and cocked it as a vigilante (Not un-similar to Eureka) appeared, getting a most violent reaction from the AI. Aiming his gun at the girl, Butch's crew also got into position, immediately assuming themselves to be allies of the Phantom. Shift crouched down by a trash can, Gill opened his hands to reveal claws, and Revolution- who's only weapons were his legs- tensed in apprehension.

Unfortunately, there was a wild card in the deck.

"Who the ^%@! is this broad?!" Eureka almost screamed, looking the other up and down. Dropping her assault rifle, she grabbed her baseball bat and started to walk towards her mirror image, swearing to hit a record home-run through the girl's skull when Gill grabbed Eureka and hoisted her up over one shoulder. "Hey- What- lemme go, Nessie!" With a wail, Eureka started to hit the back of her 'captor', to no avail. Shift walked over with a large tranquilizer dart in one hand, and proceeded to inject the serum into the girl. Swiftly, she fell unconscious.

Gill almost smiled.

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#15 Edited by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@antidoll: The truck continued to barrel toward them, streaking down the road at full speed, firing randomly at whatever and whoever happened to be in the area. The Phantom's plan, crude as it was, was to accelerate using the jets installed in its back and legs to simply crash into the truck's front. It would heavily damage the truck, particularly if it slammed into the engine directly, as it planned. The machine lowered itself,preparing to lunge forward and thrust its hands into the heart of the vehicle, when it found itself entirely immobilized, trapped in its current position.

Its eyes dart to and fro, and a sense of impending danger began to set in. Diagnostics showed no errors in its wiring, no faulty signals or failing receivers. It attempted to move its hands, its arms, only to feel an equal force oppose it, locking it in place. And then its eyes caught sight of the perpetrator of this paralysis, of the boy (@neon_leon) with a key to the universe and all its secrets. His choice of use for that power was unfortunate. He asked questions, impertinent and unimportant, even as the city continued to tear itself asunder. Gears ground together as it attempted to pull itself from his telekinetic trap, only miring itself deeper as several tons of force pressed in on its body. Then came the danger it had sensed prior, the cohesion of all the variables it had taken in but not entirely processed, the speeds it hadn't calculated and the mayhem it had seen coming but was too distracted to consider.

Its cameras took in the sight before it almost as though in slow motion, the exploding vehicle, the blazing machine guns, the flying shrapnel and spinning, spiked, two-ton chunk of former truck coming crashing down the street, down on the Machine and its gathering of allies.

"MOVE!"

it screamed, half to itself and half to the others. The robotic army split like the Red Sea, leaving only the AI itself, its robotic ally, the mystery group of "captured" criminals, and the old man standing before the burning hulk of wreckage and the maniacal tumbling human cannonball. Some of the machines attempted to "save" the old man from the incoming wreck, dragging him aside. The advanced machine it decided could likely fend for itself, and the group in front of it had already reacted, moving away from the wreck as it cascaded toward them. The AI, as frozen as a copy of Windows '98 trying to boot up Crysis, was struck by the entirety of the burning truck dead on. The heap remained atop it even as the metal pile went scraping across the asphalt, bright white sparks trailing the path of destruction. With a spinning tumble the demented jester rose, ready to do battle with itself and its allies, all the while the machine struggled to force the pile from its body.

Even as the scrap trapped it the automated army surged around the pair of demented female villains, launching darts containing various anesthetics and tranquilizers, with others simply seeking to shock the pair into submission with exposed electrodes and retractable tasers. The electricity flowing through the machines' weaponry varied, scaling up as the pair proved resistant to lower voltage and amperage.

That was fine, the machines would surround the Dragon themed vigilante later, if their numbers proved sufficient. For now there were greater concerns. The superhero/villain team of three, apparently known as @the_b_list, had multiplied into five or six, but it didn't have time to concern itself with who was part of their group and who wasn't. Regardless they had not proven a significant threat, and had even gone so far as to introduce themselves as the machine's allies and offer assistance. While the Phantom was not one to trust lightly, the situation at hand called for rapid judgement. It pushed the wreckage off of itself momentarily, already working its way free as it turned to look at the rag-tag team. "If you truly wish to assist me, feel free to help me capture those two." Its nodded over to the demented duo (@antidoll), its eyes passing over their number one more time, identifying the deranged clown-girl's doppelganger dangling from the scaled salamander's shoulder. "Alive."

A group of AIMS released their pneumatic rifles from their skeletal grips, tossing them over to those in the @the_b_list's number. Whether they retrieved them or not the AI did not see, for it turned its attention back to the others.

The boy, for his part, was clearly misguided, and the old man (@the_tyrant) was (hopefully) already free from harm. The Iron Phantom, after finally forcing the metal wreckage off of itself, rose, the greyish paint of its suit and cloak scraping away. The joint at its arm was dented inward, forcing greater pressure on the shoulder. This resulted in a jerky, uneven movement in its left arm, slowing the maximum movement and striking speed, though (thankfully) it did little to limit lifting power. It glared down at the girl, mentally prepared to do battle with the same sacrilegious clown that had attacked the church on the night of Satar's invasion.

It was somewhat troubling that Curve still had influence in this city, that he still inspired others to follow his fashions and defend his territory, even now. That itself was an issue the Iron Phantom would address once this skirmish had ended, seeking out the warehouses the clown and his forces frequented, but for now it would do battle with the minions it had already drawn forth.

The AI sent the majority of its force forward to draw out the Conti's lapdogs, keeping only a small contingent for itself. By doing this it hoped to isolate the bosses as they willingly trapped themselves in "safe houses" for the invasion's duration, setting them up so that its only major ally (@lichter) could track them down, capture them and force the secrets of their trade from them. That would be the start, obtaining whatever Vibranium they possessed, using it to fuel the revolution of the righteous, to finally usurp power from the criminal and the corrupt. Before that however, before it raided the Contis or Curve, it would have to deal with the sudden congregation before it, sort friend from foe, and deal with each accordingly.

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#16 Posted by Dragonfang_ (379 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom:

"How long have you pursued your current path? How long have you killed, over and over again, telling yourself that you were making a difference?" These were the words of a machine, the one to adress her and begin this campaign. To his credit he was more reknown then her. Against its credit was that this life was what Jessica lived it wasn't a part of her life fighting back had become all of it. Glaring the machine down the woman withdrew a phone and handed it over. On it were files, the kind that were hidden in the darkest corners of the deep web. "My efforts are only about a year and a half old, a hiatus taken for some time from what Satar's moves had done to me."

Ignoring the machines the Gothic Dragon continued. "My work isn't much it hasn't saved this city. I can't fix all of this on my own, nobody can. What I can tell you though is that everyday I've taken at least one life. I've seen a murderer die every night and I know that everyday someone has been given hope by my efforts to help them." She knew she couldn't change Gothic alone but to her the sins carried out had the positive outcomes to justify them.

On the phone in those files that were damning and immoral to all but the worst of people was a history of endurance. Some people had endured more then her routine suffering some less. What did show however was that they'd escaped the trauma sooner then her and in a better fashion. Jessica had grown up within the criminal underworld it'd warped her body and mind and she'd given every night trying to insure others didn't go through what she had. And being the victim for so long most while maybe not accepting of her lifestyle could understand.

"The Rock, the superior redesigned Alcatraz housed Satar and many of his most deadly supporters. The beast got free, and killed again" she gestured to the sixteen criminals charred and blown apart "they won't." To the syndicate slaying serpent her argument was fiercer then any of the competition of justice. "Why should I trust the law in the city of the lawless, believe in the cells that's bars are rusted? How is your jurisdiction superior enough for me to lay off?"

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#17 Posted by Antidoll (282 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_b_list: @ironphantom:

As the girl who the automotive jester targeted went for a bat Calamity let her SAW hang free the heavy machine gun that'd been previously attached to the truck was bought through some of the finest rings of gun smuggling. The sisters had solid connections they were just terrible at using them to obtain any status of note. As the gun dangled by a strap a sledge hammer fell to the asphalt caught and twirled about like a baton. Just as the two were about to throw down however respective party members intervened.

With a large syringe the targeted batting punk was put under and carried away. On the back of a tall scaly figure the punk was flung. Meanwhile Calamity recieved a slap that sounded more like wood hitting flesh as opposed to the classic sound. "Your better in motion didn't Spitfire tell you a million times to take care of your cars." The jade skinned florist remarked in disgust and consequently oblivious to the surounding opposition. Getting in well over there head soon enough the night was looking fairly grim. "Get the bots."

"On it" the jester remarked charging forward, her objective being to stay in motion. She was almost impervious to harm when moving, of course for one of her attacks this meant she was in a bad state. The machine gun barked and sprayed bullets forward but do to running and moving about aimlessly the bullets were anything but aimed. It was a spray and prey tactic of what might not even be the ideal gun. Using five point fifty six ammunition it's ammo was only equivalent to assault rifle with FMJ ammunition. Meanwhile the sledge hammer swung for skulls and joints looking to hopefully bring the machines down. Her swing was one that showed no wear or tear on the hammer in use she could swing all day. However her swing to was also an average one she didn't have several tons of strength or anything like that. Her only real benefit was that the rounds bounced off her harmlessly.

The same could not say the same for Rose, as the rounds hit her and a very real threat was there. Should they amplify the voltage to a point it could cause a fire then of course the woman made of wood would be in trouble. Electricity however turned out to be a growth stimulant, using her abilities came easy to her do to electrical stimulation. Judging by the size and scales Rose the more intelligent anti doll figured Nessie to be the tank of the group and more problematic person to confront. For this reason her hand shot out stretching like a thick vine as it looked to coil around the creatures throat. If it could it'd tighten as Rose raced forward and looked to strike the creature in the jaw. With the punch came an attempt to force a thorn bush into the maw looking to create a barbed plant within the creature. Her moves a barbaric sort and cheep as was the nature of the city. Her strength didn't go far it was only equivalent to trees and the sort and not necessarily enough however versatility she figured was in her favor.

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#18 Posted by The_tyrant- (115 posts) - - Show Bio

@neon_leon: @orpheus_knightfall: @lichter: @ironphantom: @dragonfang_: @the_b_list@antidoll

The Tyrant was interrupted in his discussion with one vigilante by the sudden arrival of an exploding and careening truck. The 'old man' moved with a grace that simply defied logic and it was all thanks to his battle mapping. The moment he noticed the truck his mind calculated the direction and speed of every last piece of debris, every bullet being fired and the main hulk of the truck itself. He moved calmly and not at all like a speedster. Instead of dodging with speed, he dodged with a calculated calmness that belied the mind beneath the robes. He side stepped debris as if it moved in slow motion, taking a step to the left, another to the right, three steps forward, a step back and so on until the debris and truck had passed him by. He was left in the street unscathed, only a bit of torn robe to complain about.

"I was talking." The Tyrant said calmly. "Please don't interrupt again." He told the two clown girls. The street was rapidly becoming a battlefield and it took significant will power to keep the smile from his face. He stood in the middle of the chaos, his mind already predicting the outcome of each engagement based on observed abilities. For now that was exactly what he did, he observed, absolutely as much as he could. The more he observed the more he would know and the more he knew the more accurate future battle and war mapping predictions would be. He put his hands in his robe sleeves again, once more clasping his hands in front of himself and hiding them beneath his robes. He turned some of his attention to @dragonfang_ and watched her curiously. He listened to the debate and planned the fight out in his head, anticipating that it would soon devolve into one.

Here is an interesting individual. Lethal for certain with an understanding of her place and the reality of this city...yet I sense I would not be able to turn her properly to my use...at least...not openly. This one is worth keeping a keen eye on should I ever need to manipulate events in this city. She has no place in my more immediate plans...but casual interaction with her could be exceptionally beneficial down the road.The Tyrant nodded a little to his inner dialogue.

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#19 Posted by Neon_Leon (2504 posts) - - Show Bio

@antidoll: @orpheus_knightfall: @ironphantom: @dragonfang_: @the_tyrant-:

In all the chaos, it was hard to tell who was hurt, and who was alright, but Leon was able to make sense in his head of at least the fact that the grey cloaked person was hit, and it was totally his fault. He ran over to the Iron Phantom to say "Ahhh, I'm so sorry, I didn't know you were a good guy, I saw a robot army and totally assumed the worst, and now you're hurt and it's all my fault, are you alright?" Noticing the dent in his shoulder, Leon held his hand open towards it, and used his powers to pull the dent out. Quickly, Leon turned his attention to the psychotic ladies and decided enough was enough. He ran toward the white chick through a bullet spray, flinching with each hit, but not being hurt by the bullets due to his power finger condensing his skin in the areas he was hit. With his crimson sword at the ready, he tried to place a kick in her face and a slash through her large gun, though with not much precision, since he had been imbalanced by the bullets, even if they hadn't actually done real damage.

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#20 Posted by Antidoll (282 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_b_list: @ironphantom: @neon_leon:

With a heavy crack and the scream of twisting metal the sledgehammer struck the last of the machines hard. And while the clown didn't know how effective she was with previous moves in this attack she did know. For the head was forced from the robot's soldiers sent spiraling through the air with theatric grace. As the head was flung away from the drone however the jester came to a temporary stop in motion. Her mutation was a sense of invulnerability but only when in motion, and perhaps by skilled timing or just outright luck the sword wielding hero acted at just that moment.

Her heavy machine gun was split in two in a shower of sparks and ammo casings spilling onto the ground. The angle one that split open the gun in all the ideal ways and the blades sharpness the kind that would meet little resistance. And dexterous as the clown was her weapon was a heavy sort in the world of melee. It required distance and time she didn't have. Calamity was greeted with an uncomfortable boot to the head. With a unwanted imprint and smeared make up Calamity fell over unconscious from the impact.

Turning rather agitated with her sister at this point Rose turned her back on the reptilian individual she'd just attempted to kill. Rose wanting to make sure the only one who'd beat up or yell at her sister was her. With a rising motion of the hand Rose sent a series of thick roots to burst through the asphalt. Like hands of a hideous giant the thick wood looked to ensnare the swordsman and tighten with the force to crack concrete. As the branches sought to ensnare the floral princess of crime warped her hand into vines. Crafting a series of whips where a hand shoos be. Each cord lashing about covered in rose thorns, as Rose sought to whip and flail the man who'd harmed her sister. Through her rage though was weakness in her zeroed in vendetta that left her open in several regards.

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#21 Posted by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@neon_leon: The dent miraculously healed by the impatient superhero, the Iron Phantom simply nodded at him. It too was familiar with incomplete assessments and overzealous urges to protect. It watched as the boy moved past him, meeting his eyes only for a moment before the boy lunged at the deranged jester, engaging her in a seemingly very one-sided battle. He was fast, dangerous, hardy. A swift boot to the head and she was out of the fight, knocked unconscious.

The AI turned toward @dragonfang_, continuing their conversation. She seemed to be less than adversarial, but her actions disturbed nonetheless. It took in what she said, took a few precious seconds to plug into the computer at its feet, review the information presented to it. The information was sickening, tales of murder and rape, bondage and slavery, young women and boys kidnapped and ransomed, often ending in death and carnage. It brought its eyes to meet her once more. "You've seen the worst the city has to offer, on that we agree, but joining them in the gutter and burying them there won't change anything. Death is not the answer, we must remain above those we oppose. Order is the answer. When I am done with this city the chaos that has plagued it for so long will come to an end, I only ask that you allow me to see this through before judging my work." The words were empty of real value, there were no plans laid out before her or substantial claims for what to do with the imprisoned. It just had to keep her talking rather than acting, speaking rather than slaughtering. Their time for conversation was cut short, however.

As a pair of the construction droids skittered forth to retrieve the clown the Phantom turned back to the fight at hand, leaping at the greener of the pair (@antidoll) in an attempt to end the clumsily planned insurrection. It spread its arms to its sides and, in one sudden movement, drew them together in an attempt to trap the crimson haired villain against its chest. Its approach was quick, the leap sudden, but the act itself was not demonstrative of any particular skill. In all likelihood the machine would be left snatching at air, but it was prepared for such an outcome. The cameras in its head observed only for the direction she would move in, and the AI would act accordingly. If she moved to either side, the machine would turn toward her, swinging an electrically charged backhand in the hopes of temporarily stunning her, and, while the blow would not carry much force behind it, but with luck the electrical component of the strike would ready her for capture, back and she would be met with shoulder tackle, an attempt to slam into her with similar force as the crash, hopefully dazing her long enough to restrain her.

All the while the machines it did possess in this fight, two construction droids (and another two on capture duty, one on salvage) and a single AIMS sniper, rearmed after donating its weapon to the band of villainous heroes, watched @dragonfang_, waiting for a moment when she would be occupied with either the fight before her. At the slightest lack of attention the construction droids would leap from their positions at her sides, seeking to latch on and subdue her with bursts of electricity while the AIMS bot took potshots at her with tranquilizer darts designed to subdue men far larger than she. Would it work? Perhaps, though the chances were slim. More likely it would simply occupy her long enough for the Phantom to finish mulching the plant and engage her, or for one of its allies to take over the fight while she remained off balance. Either way, it would likely keep her here and not slaughtering the criminals the mass of machines had already captured.

@the_tyrant-: The machine on salvage duty, on subconscious, unintentional orders from its controller, watched the old man with great interest. He seemed entirely unflappable, demonstrating no surprise, no panic at the current turn of events. He had moved, swiftly and expertly away from the heap of hurtling wreckage without so much as a helping hand. Something was off, but the AI could not place it. So they watched.

The number of droids available to the AI was now limited, the majority of its forces assigned to simply press pass this temporary road block. The few it did possess began to load up the salvageable parts of the others and drag them into one of many unmarked vans headed back to the Forge. There they would be prepped for reassembly or melted for their base components. The machines continued to build machines, to produce and repair them with seemingly no end.

@lichter: One of the coiled spider-like machines rolled over to its master, the black pod's sphere popped open and began to transmit the information relayed through it, looking up at the modern day knight with a multitude of dim orange eyes. "One and a half kilometers west. Old Gothic docks. Conti warehouse." The droid rolled up once more, and proceeded to fall back into formation with the others, awaiting his commands.

At the docks a congregation of the droids had begun to saw and drill at the outer walls, to throw themselves against the doors and windows, all of which had been reinforced in the event that any of the several vigilantes of Gothic ever sought to attempt exactly what was underway now. The entrances held firm against the rusted metal giants pounding at the doors, the windows, sheathed in metal bars and forged from bulletproof glass, provided some respite from the drills and saws. The opposition was proving beyond capable.

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#22 Posted by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

Mutants, escorting a shipment of roughly a quarter ton of vibranium, joined the ranks of Conti's elite gunmen. From the rooftops they rained lead down on the machines, securing the skylight against the mechanized invaders. Inside stood two mutants a girl of relatively average stature, cloaked in red and turning a wakizashi impatiently in her hands, and a young man that towered over her, sparks jumping from his fingers as he touched them against his palm, both impatiently awaiting their turn at bat.

"So, tell me again why I'm not out there frying some toasters?"
"Because it's raining, halfwit. If you went out there now you'd toast as many of ours as you do theirs."
"Have a little faith, I've got a little more control than that."
"Like the 'control' you had back in DC?"
"I told you, that wasn't me." He spoke through gritted teeth, the air in the room ionizing as blue sparks danced in his eyes.
She rolled her eyes. "Sure it wasn't. You're just lucky I was in town so I could pop you out of @maverick_6 little holding facility after you 'didn't' knock a police chopper out of the air."
"You're damn lucky you're Orochi, otherwise I'd..."
"Don't. We both know you don't have it in you. If you were a killer you would have blown up at that rally and killed those Militia sacks of crap, and you definitely wouldn't have cried for so damn long after that crash."
"Fluff you Celvice."

Jeffery Holmes turned, his agitation drawing sparks from his exposed forearms. He began to pace back and forth, his Orochi companion still twirling her blade absentmindedly as the machines began to pound the door's hinges from the concrete wall.

"Heads up, it's almost party time."

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#23 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio
One of the coiled spider-like machines rolled over to its master, the black pod's sphere popped open and began to transmit the information relayed through it, looking up at the modern day knight with a multitude of dim orange eyes. "One and a half kilometers west. Old Gothic docks. Conti warehouse." The droid rolled up once more, and proceeded to fall back into formation with the others, awaiting his commands.

Klaus cocked his head to the side, the holographic helmet following along in real time. He'd received his assignment earlier, and now that he'd been activated, he'd carry it out to the letter. Finishing up with his sweep of that city block, he gestured lazily to the droids surrounding him, watching as they responded with fluid, lifelike reactions. Immediately, they rolled off towards the Conti warehouse, a pre-programmed location that was said to contain a great degree of hidden vibranium.

Imported from the Shogunate, he remembered. I wonder if I'll ever meet the Shogun herself.

He followed the droids through the emptied streets.

The Conti Warehouse

Subtlety was typically Klaus' preference, but the Phantom's request had inspired him to take a more head-on approach to his infiltration of the reinforced building.

The hologram adhered to his form without so much as a shimmer, the costume of the Grey Gallant concealing the magenta vestments of Klaus von Lichter. And it was now that he would make the name known, tearing through the seedy opposition with his own personal Death Ray. To call the device such a thing evoked images of burning men slain callously by way of red laser, but this was no longer the case; the modified weapon could be set to emit purely concussive blasts, which would do fine for what he had in mind.

Firing from the hip as he approached the warehouse, he blew the reinforced front loading door clean off its battered steel hatches, never ceasing his slow march towards the building. Dust kicked up around him as he continued, the sound of panicked gunfire roaring through the night. Bullets whizzed harmlessly by him, the shooters far too disoriented to get a bead on him; even as he advanced, his rolling drones collided head-on with the mobsters, knocking out their legs from where they stood or disabling their weapons with a well-placed grappling shot. He narrowed his eyes, pulling the trigger back once again.

The entire interior of the warehouse glowed a deadly luminescent crimson, with anything that hadn't been bolted to the ground suddenly being forced backwards by a scarlet wall of pure concussive energy. The steaming tip of his Death Ray, too, was red, his finger twitching as he lined up any potential targets. The attack had been non-lethal, but it had nonetheless incapacitated most of the Conti gang that had holed up in the warehouse. He passed one man crawling away, and lined up a shot without even looking at him; the repulsive red beam caught him squarely in the lower back, sending the criminal sprawling across the floor into the wall, where he lay groaning.

That was bad-ass, thought the Langley Knave, permitting himself a smile behind his double-masks. He looked to the back of the room, where he spotted an unarmed man sitting against the wall. From the way he lay, his leg appeared broken; he'd been caught by the door as it'd flown from his hinges, propelling him all the way across the warehouse. From his additional armor, and what appeared to be a higher-caliber weapon laying nearby him, Klaus figured he'd have been in command of the warehouse. The man was dark-skinned, with an ugly scar over the bridge of his nose. He bled from several cuts on his face and arms, no doubt inflicted by the debris that had been thrown around the room with Klaus' entrance.

"The vibranium. Where is it?" asked Klaus, the voice-changer in his mask giving his words a deeper, distorted tone. He twirled his Ray absentmindedly as he approached, stopping to aim it at the man's head.

Nothing.

After a second of silence, he raised it higher.

"Talk. Now," he spoke, almost unconsciously imitating his perception of Dark Vengeance.

The man continued to ignore him, but he almost detected a slight grin.

"Talk...or die!" he said, gesticulating wildly with the gun. The man just sat there, glaring up at Klaus, before breaking into a smile.

"Kill me, then, $%@#er"said the man, flashing a white smile that contrasted terribly with his grievous wounds. Klaus' hand shook for a moment, his eyebrows arched in frustration. The gun shook some more, the tip glowing brighter as his finger rested on the trigger...

"Hmph," he muttered silently, kicking the man in the side of the head. He slumped over, unconscious. Clenching and unclenching his empty hand, he worked to control his breathing. Turning, he saw another goon looking at him from up on the balcony. He raised the Ray, the beam propelling the hapless criminal practically into the rafters. He crashed down atop the conveyor belt a second later, completely knocked out...alongside everyone else in the building.

Klaus should've felt satisfaction, but instead, he was merely annoyed. Stamping his foot impetuously, he holstered the gun, closing his eyes. Breathing deep, he held up his hand, summoning the Phantom's robotic minions. He pointed down at the black-painted command drone.

"Commander, tear this warehouse apart until you've found that vibranium, and bring me the prisoners. I want them alive!" he said, turning to walk out the massive hole where the main barricade had been.

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#24 Posted by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@lichter: The command bot gives a half-hearted salute with one of its many prongs before curling up and rolling off. The droids climb the walls and begin their search, scanning the towering piles of crates and shipping containers. One of the machines begins to beep and whir at the end of the warehouse just as the Lichter Legacy turns to leave, an attempt to communicate that it has found something. suddenly a bolt of unnatural lightning strikes its many eyes, overloading it into an explosion of showering sparks and metal debris. The other robots detached from the walls, seeking cover behind the maze of containers as their companion hits the ground with a CLANG.

"Going somewhere?" The voice rings out from behind the vigilante, and the 6'6" Jeffery Holmes in his sleeveless hoodie smirks as he assess the back of his foe.
Greyish black suit, grumbly voice that sounds like he just deepthroated a gargoyle's gravelly bits? Definitely a Dark Vengeance impersonator.
"I don't know who you are, or who you think you are, but you just stumbled into the wrong %#&*king building buddy. Venezuela doesn't take--"
POOMF
"Jesus Holmes, do you ever shut up? Do you really want to advertise that to EVERYONE that stumbles in here?"
"Well we're going to kill him anyway, right? Not like it matters what he--"
"And the robots? What if they're transmitting right now, or didn't you think of that?"
"Well I--"
She lets out an exasperated sigh, rubbing the bridge of her nose as she cuts him off. "Look, just... just shut up and get to work, alright rookie?"

Holmes sneers as he looks back to his adversary, his animosity turning toward the interloper in the fancy metal suit. "Sorry, my boss can be a real bitch."
He feels her glare burrowing into the back of his skull.
"So, where were we?" The rogue mutant taps his chin as he feigns deep thought, turning away slightly as he ponders. "Oh, right, HERE!" He spins, anarc of electricity tracing its way from his shoulder down to his fingertips before finally being launched at the masked man, the electricity hurtling toward the Death Ray in an attempt to rob him of what appeared to be his preferred weapon. "Bet you won't be so tough without your toys, will you?" As he moves the shorter woman, cloaked in red, begins to make her way across the room in bounds, moving methodically to the Knave of Langley's rear flank, eyeing him for an opportunity to strike. Silently, she continues to step closer and closer, circling in toward him.

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#25 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom:

As he left the building, he heard another, smaller blast tear through the warehouse, and one of the tracking signatures of Phantom's drones blinked off of his readings.

Did I miss someone?

"Going somewhere?"

Apparently I did.

He stopped his march away, listening to his drone's assailant call him out. A mutant, it would seem, from Venezuela. Holmes, was his name. They continued to argue, and as they did, Klaus turned to face them, drawing the Death Ray from its holster under his left arm. He'd need to be cautious, at first; there was no way of knowing what the mutants could be capable of. Yet, if they were involved in such relatively low-scale operations, it seemed unlikely that he was dealing with anyone that could instantly kill him. Bloodbenders (the thought of whom terrified him just as much as their CIA files) were likely out. Psychics would be hilariously powerless against his scientific prowess, the Octarine Oscillator drawing a veil over his spirit and mind alike. He let the Ray hang menacingly at his side for only a moment. Then, flicking the switch with only one hand, he would dramatically-

The arcing blast of blue energy tore into the Ray, causing Lichter to drop it out of surprise. His suit, thankfully, was somewhat insulated, as most extranormal costumes were; he'd read the Otto's journals, in which he'd described his crusades against Sparkwraith, a meddlesome lightning-slinger who'd sought to bring Otto to justice. The journals never described what became of the vigilante, leading Klaus to conclude that he'd survived his encounters with Otto, who'd himself never missed the opportunity to gloat about defeating a sworn enemy within his family records. The fact remained that neither von Lichter had entertained the risk of being cooked alive within their suit, and as such, had carried out protective measures.

Still, the surprise of the attack and the brightness of the lightning had taken him off guard, and he'd instinctively dropped his greatest weapon.

I look a fool, he thought, shaking his steaming fingertips and glaring at the mutant with rage. He could take glancing blows from the electric rogue, but any more full-on attacks could lead to burns. Still angry, he didn't even hear the man's crack about his toughness without the ray...despite the man's mistaken reasoning. Even more cautious than enraged, he noticed the disappearance of the second, more authoritative mutant, who'd vanished from behind Holmes. Looking around, he saw her slinking towards him-

Let's see if it works in live-fire scenarios, he thought, dropping his hands to his sides in order to snatch the superadhesive canisters from his belt. They rolled between his fingers, clicking into the spray-projectors he'd flicked out from under his wrists. Any normal man would have a difficult time pulling off such a deft maneuver, but for Klaus, who had fingers that moved like mambas, it was quite simple. With a quick jolt to both arms, he cocked the weapons, hearing the small click and hiss that informed him the projectors had been successfully engaged. Crouching for a moment just as the second mutant was behind him, he performed a dizzying acrobatic side-flip that allowed him to target both mutants at once- a spray-gun for each. Pulling the triggers in mid flight, he could barely see as they projected a long line of cyanaocrylate goop at both.

The chemical paste, which would rapidly polymerize mid-air after experiencing contact with Klaus' own secret formula in the nozzle of his spray-guns, was essentially a long, long line of superglue, adhering to practically anything and spreading out along the target's form as it did. Trapping opponents within an adhesive puddle that adapted to their movements, it would ideally lock both mutants in place, their struggles only exacerbating their new-found, highly sticky situations.

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#26 Posted by Antidoll (282 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom:

As the machines went to retrieve the clown like figure what appeared to be the leading machine jumped into the way looking to seize the plant based individual into a bearhug of a move. Rather then step aside she stepped back choosing to bring up a thick trunk between the pair. Forced growth rate would look to pummel the machine though in all likely hood wood would fail opposed to steel. However the move wasn't entirely executed as planned.

Within the machines palms was electricity and Rose was a plant in other words a person composed of something flammable. Though not intentional the action caused Rose to begin to burn fire rapidly consuming her body. Thrashing and screaming by the time Rose was put out her charred figure would be unconscious. A rather swift resolution managing to play itself out. However that was not to say the night was over. Crime still existed in surplus in the confines of this region of a cursed city. And some wouldn't necessarily take kindly to the sisters that had seen to their criminal end.

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#27 Posted by The_tyrant- (115 posts) - - Show Bio

@antidoll: @the_b_list@ironphantom

Useful.

The Tyrant knelt down over the unconscious figure of the burned Rose and checked to be sure she was still alive. Yes...excellent. "I'll take these two." The Tyrant informed his allies and The B List. "I'll ensure they never cause a problem again...and that their wounds are tended to. Even if it requires cybernetic implants on the burned one. (sorry, couldn't help myself). The Tyrant rose to his feet. He shifted his gaze to The B List and watched them carefully. He was reasonably certain the Iron Phantom wasn't going to do anything but The B List remained something of an enigma to him. The supposedly old man had tricks up his sleeve if he found it necessary to fight to claim his second prize of the night.

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#28 Posted by IronPhantom (487 posts) - - Show Bio

@antidoll:@the_tyrant-:

The machine quickly tossed its metal cloak over the burning body of the rose like metahuman, damping the flame and putting it out as soon as possible, though not soon enough, it seemed. The girl was left horribly scarred by the attack, charred by an attempt to render her unconscious. It worked, though only through the sheer pain and agony of its assault.

Attacker subdued, injuries possibly fatal. Result of an altered physiology, increased chance of combustion. Impossible to ascertain in the timeframe of the attack, but...
But it was necessary. She stood in the way of progress, stood for the scourge that holds this city by the throat.

It stared down at the girl, something in the back of its mind protested the excuse, the machine's willingness to write her possible death off as a casualty of a greater purpose. Something was distinctly off, its mind pulled it in two different directions at once. Pity overwhelmed the machine, even for a murderous duo such as they, but justice demanded sacrifice.
"I'll take these two...ensure...wounds are tended to..."
The AI nodded absentmindedly, looking away from the scorched green body, the unconscious clown. "Casualties of a greater cause" it told itself, "progress marching on". Even so, something tugged at its conscience, made the machine hesitant, drawing power away from its purpose.

@dragonfang_:

Its attention turned back to one of Gothic's more infamous vigilantes: the dragon that swept through the streets ever so often, snatching up those most heinous of beings between her fangs, their echoing screams a testament to her brutality, their cowering compatriots a clear sign of her efficacy.

This was the being it faced now. The renowned and feared Dragonfang. The machine made its way to her, its "helpers" still prowling about, awaiting their opportunity. The AI stepped up to the woman before it, now only a few feet away. "Murder, six counts tonight alone. You need to come with me." Iron fingers curled into a fist, the hum of the electricity resonated through its body, the glowing light of its eyes finally meeting hers. It knew the chances she would come quietly were slim, the chances of her stopping her crusade even slimmer, but still it hoped.

@neon_leon:

Having abandoned the girls to the care of the elderly gentleman, the Iron Phantom abandoned the scene below to address Gothic's most murderous vigilante. In this time one of the LEADs still buzzing about the city approached the boy below, zipping around him before finally issuing him a citation for loitering, the back of which featured directions on how to get to the warehouses of the Conti family, down by the docks. With its task complete, it zipped away, off to join its mechanical brethren in the fight for the city.

@lichter:

"HA! How'd you like that, punk?" His boisterous voice resounded through the warehouse as her lifted a pantomimed pistol to his lips, blowing at a wisp of smoke still trailing from his finger. "Billie the kid ain't got nothing on--"
"Eyes up, idiot!"
The thick stream of chemical adhesive began soaring out from their canisters just as she spoke, both mutants in the direct path of the rapidly approaching goo. It was too late for Celvice to dodge, too late to roll or leap away from her impending imprisonment, and she didn't. In the blink of an eye, without a sound, she was gone. Back in the position she was four seconds prior to his attack she made her leap at the end of the Lichter Legacy's flip, just as he was reorienting himself. The short blade made an arc for his side, looking to split him open and drain the blood from his liver. It would bring a relatively slow and painful death, just the kind she relished in.

For his part Jeffery also had no time to react, though unlike his companion he had no means to avoid the attack. "Oh, sh*t!" He attempted to jump away from his foamy prison, to no avail. The end result was an awkward half crouch, a squat he would be forced to hold until he managed to free himself, or was somehow freed. He pulled and yanked, his hands joining his legs in the sticky mess that was his lower body. "Are you freaking kidding me? You carry honestly carry silly putty into a fight?" His predicament only worsened the more he struggled, and yet he continued, yanking and pulling at the substance. "SERIOUSLY?!?"

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#29 Posted by Neon_Leon (2504 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom: @antidoll:

Leon's assault was far more effective than he'd thought it was going to be. And that made him a little bit cockier than he should've been. While he was gloating about the defeat of the one woman, saying "That's what you get for messing with... Neon Leon? Yeah, Neon Leon, that's what I'll call myself", the other was responding with vengeance and fury. Unbeknownst to Leon, roots grew from the ground, and formed a large hand, which grabbed him from behind, and squeezed. Hard. Screams of pain came from Leon, as he struggled to escape the grasp of the roots. Unable to free himself from the brutal grip of the brown fingers, he had no choice but to take each strike from Rose's thorny vines on his back. The pain was excruciating, and between the whipping and the squeezing, Leon nearly lost consciousness.

Only through the efforts of the metal man was Leon freed from Rose's grasp. As the green lady burned, the wooden hand released Leon, who fell to the ground on his back, and groaned from all of the pain. "Oh man... I guess I can't do everything. Hey than..." Leon started to say, before he realized Iron Phantom's mind was already on the next thing. After a few seconds, he struggled to get to his feet, and no sooner did he stand than he received from a weird trike-looking robot... a citation for loitering? "Are you serious?" he said, shaking the paper at the robotic tricycle as it sped away. He stopped to read the ticket, and saw on the back directions to a warehouse.

Unsure what the robot had given them to him for, Leon decided to take to the sky, but as soon as he did, he received a call from Stella. Wasting no time in answering the phone, he paused in the air, and she began to go on a long spiel about this crazy fire guy from her dreams trying to kidnap her. Leon went immediately to aid her, figuring the warehouse could be dealt with by someone else.