Shadow Wars: Gothic City (IC)

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#1 Posted by The_Shogun (4803 posts) - - Show Bio
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Gothic City, Conti Tower

Antonio Conti stood in his dining room on the fifty second floor of the Conti tower. It was was of seven Gothic City skyscrappers he owned under his guise as a legitimate business owner. As a businessman he was reasonably successful. But as a Don of the Conti family he was man of tremendous wealth and unquestioned power.

Cigar smoke circled his distinguished features as he puffed on his Louixs cigar. Steel grey ran through his black hair, matching his grey Brioni suit. At fifty seven years old Don Conti was still as fit as ever, with broad shoulders and a trim waist. He was not a man that accepted anything less than excellence, from himself or from his employees.

Twelve of those employees set in leather seats at a long mahogany dining table behind him. Italian suits, gold watches and cigars were in abundance. Cell phones did not ring; electronics were not allowed in the Don's presence. The lieutenants and captains set in silence. When Don Conti wanted to speak he would speak. If it was a hour, was an hour. If it was two hours, it was two hours. You didn't interrupt the Don when he was speaking and you damn sure didn't interrupt him while he was thinking.

Nine feet of carved oak made up the broad double doors that were the entrance to the smoke filled chamber. One guard stood beside the door, in a plain black suit. No mountain of muscle with a shaved head and attitude he was a tall, thin man with a clean shave and thinning brown hair. During the nineties he had been a supervillain named Spark but now he was Don Conti's personal bodyguard.

Something thumped against the thick oak door. A couple of the Mafia captains looked over their shoulders. Spark frowned and wiggled the fingers of his right hand.

Then the door blew into splinters and black smoke billowed into the room.

Spark whirled, hand extended, electricity arching between his fingers. A red clad figure burst from the cloud, trailing black smoke as he charged. Lightning cracked, so bright it seared itself into the captain's vision and the scent of burned ozone filled the room. The thunder was deafening.

The Orochi fell, white smoke pouring from empty eye sockets with the scent of cooked flesh.

"COME GET SOME YOU FUC-" An arrow flew from the expanding cloud of smoke, piercing his throat. He gagged, falling onto his back and crawling backwards as the flesh around the wound turned black with poison.

Another blast of lightning flew from his finger tips into the cloud of smoke. Two arrows answered, punching through his chest. In the silence after the thunder his death rattle filled the room.

The captains sat, frozen as Orochi filed into the elegant boardroom. Behind them the Don squeezed one of his cuff links between his thumb and index finger. A clear barrier snapped up from the floor to lock into place against the ceiling. Bulletproof, atmospherically sealed and reinforced with a micro-vibranium mesh purchased from the very nation that was now assaulting his boardroom.

Ice water ran through his veins as the Don straightened the collar of his jacket and brushed a speck of dust from his left jacket cuff. He regarded the Orochi surrounding his captains with a stoic gaze. The Don didn't laugh, he didn't smile and he didn't frown.

In three minutes and thirteen seconds his issuance polacy would kick in. He knew it. The Orochi couldn't break through the barrier between them in that time. He knew it. They knew it.

It was just a matter of time.

Ivana rose from his shadow. Standing behind him she drew a vibranium dagger from her boot. He puffed a cigar while his captains stared in horror, afraid to point a warning while surrounded by the Orochi.

The dagger glowed purple in the Shogun's black gauntlet. She sliced his throat open to the bone. His head flopped back like a puppet with the strings cut and his blood sprayed across the translucent barrier.

A black boot crushed his cuff link. The barrier receded into the floor, the quiet hum of hydraulics mixing with Don Conti's last gurgles.

Ivana stepped over his body and walked to the head of the table.

"Gentlemen. Meet the new boss."

She removed her helm.

"Me."

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#2 Edited by Jack_ (2451 posts) - - Show Bio

Gothic Harbor

Rain. Neverending rain. That was the way it always seemed to be in Gothic City. Even if it wasn't actually always raining, the sun never seemed to shine. Storm clouds always gathered over the dismal urban sprawl, reflected alongside the neon lights in the puddles that lined the gutters. There was a storm coming.

"Yo, Hector. Keep your head up," growled the leader of the small contingent of suit-wearing criminals. They were the professionals, the best in the business, employed by Don Conti himself. They'd been ordered to monitor a new shipment of illicit materials, scheduled to arrive any moment. "After all, you don't want The Rumor to getcha, Hec," he guffawed.

"Don't joke about sh*t like that, man," mumbled Lennie, another member of the crew. He began fidgeting with his gun, rotating it, passing it back and forth between his gloved hands. "That f****r's crazy. We ain't talkin' Dark Vengeance nuts...he's a psychopath. Kick your teeth out, man. You know what they say about 'im?"

The group leader, Sal, laughed, sucking on a cigarette. "Yeah, yeah. They say if you see him, you don't remember. 'Less he wants you to, of course. Don't get suckered into believing that crap, Len," he said with a chuckle. "He might be real, but he's nothin' more than a bum in a trench coat and a hat. Don't got no 'meta powers' or anything. Just keep an eye out for the cops we haven't paid off yet," he murmured, fingering his shotgun trigger absentmindedly.

A flash of lightning illuminated the sky, casting four ominous shadows across the ground. Hector turned around, brow furrowed.

"Yo, Sal...where'd Vic go?" There was no sign of the paranoid thug. "Probably had to take a piss, Hec. Shut up and keep a lookout."

Another flash of lightning lit up the sky. Shadows danced once again across the walls and dirty streets. There were three this time. A memory of terrible violence, of pure, inexplicable horror passed through Hector's mind...then it passed, as quickly as it had come. Forgotten.

"Yo, Sal...where'd Vic go?" Silence.

"Heh...probably had to take a piss," suggested a nearby figure, leaning casually against the wall. He wore a trench coat and a brown fedora, and his face was obscured heavily by the shadows.

"Whoa, WHOA! How long you been there, bro? You just move along, if you know what's best for you." He kept his pistol concealed under his coat, small beads of sweat forming on his fingers and forehead.

"Don't you want to know what happened to your friends Sal and Vic?" offered the voice, the man gesturing for him to come closer.

"Uh...mm...tell me and leave. Just...just get the f*** out of here man..."

"You know what'd be even better, Hector? I'll show you," he bellowed charismatically, swinging a crowbar from behind his back directly into the mobster's head.

Shunk. It was the sound a piece of titanium metal made when it made contact with a human skull. Hector crumpled to the ground, the vengeful figure standing over him. A pedestrian watched, his mouth agape with horror.

The Rumor waved happily to him.

The moment the man ran to the pay phone around the corner to contact the authorities, he forgot everything he had just witnessed. Furrowing his brow and wondering what he was doing in a phone booth, he left, continuing on his path to his house.

The man called The Rumor returned the crowbar to the inner folds of his coat. He adjusted his mask, a simple cloth cover that concealed the entirety of his face. He had no need to protect his identity; he just used it to keep the viscera out of his eyes. He'd been taking an even more proactive stance against organized crime in particular, especially the Conti family. He'd picked up on new machinations involving the Gothic families throughout his little outings, stories of potential uprisings and changes in the power of the families.

There's a storm coming alright, he thought as he walked casually away into the Gothic alleyways, just as the first drops of rain started falling upon his shoulders.

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#3 Edited by _Envy_ (421 posts) - - Show Bio

51st Floor; Child's Play

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Ivana. The 23rd Strigidae. The Shogun.

She needed no introduction nor assistance when it came to her desires. Determined and unflinching just as ever, she made her power and prowess clear to all that crossed her path. I was no different upon my first audience with her and my devotion to her leadership remains unwavering. So here I am, crouched in a hawk like stance outside a lavish stone tower only a single floor beneath the Venezuelan Head's main target.

Gothic city wasn't a homo-sapien metropolis that I would personally have set my predatory eyes on, but then again, Ivana has her reasons and sticking her talons in literally every aspect of life for future endeavors made sense. I shrugged off the notion, and turned my attention back to scanning the 51st floor of Antonio Conti's 'legitimate' towers of employment.

My keen eyesight making a mental note of literally everything inside as my nostrils followed by picking up the smallest of scents. The smell of the lubricant from the Israeli manufactured hand held uzi's were enough to count the number of armed men in the room. Including the one closest to the elevator wearing a subtle but distinct woman's body lotion.

10 total. I'm a little impressed by the lengths the Don would go to protect his pathetic human life. He thinks that numbers give him strength. An edge perhaps, but not strength.. Not even close. The sound of shattering lumber breaks through the silence, a doorway to be exact. It's the signal to begin the simultaneous assault and ensure the 51st and second most armed floor doesn't send more reinforcements to the rear of the Orochi. Child's play really. The all too familiar carnivorous smile creeps along my gritty face. I can feel my beastly senses taking over, parched for the thrill of the hunt.

No subtlety, no quiet intrusion, but an abrupt and maniacal entrance with my 6 vibranium talons leading my aesthetic frame into the fray. The crashing window turns the guardsmen's attentions away from the opening elevator and to my panting torso.

"Dance?"

In a whirlwind and fury of hate, I tornado through the center of the room. My bloodlust taking over my senses and improving them. The smell of the iron in their blood overwhelms my nostrils and the blood soaking into my skin causes the sensitive hair on my neck to stand up like a little school girl talking to her crush. A hilarious, but accurate comparison I would say. memories of Noc Haven flash in my mind and the traumatic scenes suffered at the seizure of Venezuela follows suit. I fight to push the flashback out from my mind so I can be fully consumed by the hunger for the fight.

9 down, one left. Like i said, child's play. Their pulses and breathing stopped only when I wanted it to stop. My precise slashes and perfectly anatomical incisions left their few seconds of agonizing life, the most painful thing left seared into their minds. Once again. child's play!

The last one is panicking. His fight or flight intuition is yelling at him to do something to spare his own sapien skin, but reality is refusing. His sweat soaked fingers are wildly clawing at the elevator buttons to shut the titanium door and offer mobile shelter. As I step forward it closes slowly and shuts in front of my face. I pause for a second, allowing him to feel a wave of relief wash over him. As a child, I once read a text that spoke of the evils of men. One of the most diabolical and sinful pains a being can inflict on another, is offering them complete serenity and ease….Before stripping it away from them without hesitation. So I did just that. The weakly composed door was almost like butter to my claws, slashing through it's construct with ease and tearing it down so I meet eye to eye with it's passenger.

"At least….At least end it….End it quick!"

My smile drops into mock sympathy before I respond with a low and concerned voice.

"Did your species 'end it quick' for mine? No? It's ok….Shh now. It won't end quick, but begin slow. Painful. Excruciating."

Ivana never had to ask me for help. Like I said. She never needed it, but then how else would I find my purpose for living? Chess with a telepath in a Venezuelan tea shop has its limit of entertainment.

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#4 Posted by Alpha_Dog (1046 posts) - - Show Bio

The last security guard in the Gothic City power plant dropped to the filthy, cracked tiles of the floor, clumsy hands desperately clutching his throat in a reflexive and futile attempt to staunch the fatal gush of blood form the shredded vital region. Dog stepped over the dying man like he was a piece of litter in the street, pausing only to scoop up the shotgun that his hapless victim had not even been able to fire once. The murderous mutant preferred dispatching his marks in a more up close and personal manner, but time was of the essence, here. Once he completed this stage of his mission, he could cut loose and have some fun. Besides, he barely counted the ones he was about to eliminate as kills; they simply wouldn’t be enough of a challenge, no matter what method he used.

One swift kick, and the door to the main control room caved in like it was made of balsa wood. Engineers and workmen looked up in shock from their computer consoles and circuitry arrays, and without giving them a chance to do much more than gape, Dog opened fire. The battle, if it could even be called that, was short, one-sided, and messy. Mere minutes later, the Alpha Dog was the only one living in the gore-flecked room.

He went to work then, casually whistling a tune as he placed explosive C4 packets at key places: critical power junctions, control panels, anything that looked the least bit important got a brick-sized slab of the ordnance slapped on it. His task completed, he retreated from the room, hurrying through the plant and only triggering the small detonator as he passed the main gates, the mangled body of his first victim laying half out of the shattered window of the guard house.

The entire plant rocked as its central control room was reduced to a crater. The blast was not particularly spectacular; after all, he wasn’t here to put on a show, but the effect was instantaneous. Gothic City was immediately plunged into near-total darkness, only the few establishments whose owners had the foresight to equip them with private generators remaining partially illuminated.

Dog sat for a few minutes, his keen ears allowing him to enjoy the fruits of his labors. There was a brief quiet, as the citizens slowly processed the sudden loss of power, and then the predators came out to play. The sounds of shattering glass and gunshots began to be heard across the city, as the opportunistic and parasitic elements of the lower classes (which, in Gothic City, probably outnumbered those who were otherwise) took to the streets in a festival of violence: robbing, looting, and burning.

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#5 Posted by Fraga (1163 posts) - - Show Bio

Gothic City, Underground Lounge

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The rich scent of premier cigar smoke hung in the underground lounge's air. Along with it, the aroma of alcoholic spice from the rampant glasses of bourbon assaulted the senses. The sweet serenade of jazz seduced struck a chord deep within the heart and seduced the ears, disarming many as bounty hunters, hit-men, and mutant gangsters hid behind the haze of smoke. Seated at a far corner, Sosuke the Samurai Saint had dropped his men's white kimono for a sharp suit of black. The pronounced sound of wooden geta were replaced by black, Italian leather dress shoes. His long locks of lush raven were cut short and given a more contemporary flair. And his sword, his prized Japanese katana was replaced by... nothing. It was no longer his.

It now rested in the possession of the enigmatic Y-Intercept. And in exchange, Sosuke received a curse. One that tales told would begin by dulling his mind before consuming his soul. It was a frustrating obstacle. One that prevented him from focusing his attention on finding the means to return to his own period of time, Japan's Edo Period. The frustration however, had been momentarily lifted. Where the melodies of jazz charmed many, it was the obscure tropical percussion, cool timbres, hip-hop bass-lines, and husky, sensual vocals of 'Gooey' by Glass Animals from his noise-cancelling earphones that relaxed his spirit. The rumors of Gothic City told of a local mutant, one possessing the power to manipulate the proposed quantum of time, chronons.

And this was said to be her most frequented location. Having done his best to alter his appearance so that he was not recognized as a member of S.T.R.I.K.E., the Black Lotus waited, before his extreme dermal sensitivity alerted him to the subtle vibrations of an approach. Lifting his head to answer the stare with his pale, crystal blue eyes, an expression of poise was held by the Black Lotus' mesmeric, perfectly proportioned features. It was a woman. Adorning her voluptuous frame was a short, black flapper skirt. Her skin was an unblemished brown and her eyes, a predatory hazel. Her visage oozed a sensuous flair and mystique, and her dark, curly hair added an element of exotic allurement. "I hope I didn't keep you waiting for too long", she began, the soothing, Portuguese-accented notes of her siren's voice flowing with nonchalance as she sat herself beside him.

Plucking the earphones from his ears and sliding them into his right pocket, Sosuke offered a gentle smile of charming affability, "Not at all". "Good", she replied, a sportive smirk adorning her features. "Call me Chronon. Its not my real name but for now it'll do. I understand that you're interested in my temporal talents, yes?", she inquired. "They would prove instrumental in allowing me to return to the past", Sosuke answered, his smooth, Japanese inflection injecting a subtle mystique to his low, cool voice. "I'll help you. But in return I need you to do something for me. Don't ask me why, but its something I need", she paused, "There've been these rumors lately talking about a shift in power in Gothic's criminal underground. I need you to investigate that and see how true these rumors are. Do that, and I'll help you". Allowing silence to hang between them for a second, Sosuke spoke, answering with his usual, magnetic cool, "I will do it".

"Perfect", she smiled, pleased. "Use this to contact me and keep me updated on what you find", Chronon instructed, handing him an unassuming earpiece. "And if you do find that something's happening. Well... stop it from happening. I know I'm asking for a lot but honestly so are you. Sending someone back in time is hard", she shrugged, rising from the table. "I like those black studs on your ears by the way", Chronon smiled, garnering a mild inclination of the head and relaxed smile from the Black Lotus. Watching his acquaintance take her leave, Sosuke soon rose from the table himself to commence the requested investigation.

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#6 Posted by Jack_ (2451 posts) - - Show Bio

Devil's Gamble: 16 minutes ago

At precisely the same time the man known only as The Rumor was beginning his investigation into the beginning of the so-called Shadow Wars, a cursed Scotsman was sitting across the table from one of the most notorious crime heads of the East Coast. Wearing one of the expensive suits they seemed to love so much, he concealed his face under a wide-brimmed hat, but Desmond had a good feeling it was "King" Mancione, a (dis?)reputable gentleman who just happened to have quite an interest in Gothic City.

"Desmond McLeod. What a pleasure to finally meet you in person. The most exciting assassin in the world, after all, and apparently a true riot to watch in action. I don't often associate with meta-men like you...but I've heard you guys can be pretty useful. Besides...I've got another guy. Not quite unlike you. Claims he can see into the future...he gets 'hunches,' you see. And he just had one a week ago."

Gesturing to the outside window, King indicated that Gothic had just gone dark. "Looks like Conti's just made his move, right on schedule. Or at least, whoever Hunch-Lad says has replaced Conti. Either way...kill whoever's responsible for this. Our precognitive says that they'll take over everything if someone doesn't get in their way. I've heard you're pretty good at what you do, and pretty loud about it too."

"Aye," murmured the cursed Scot. Wincing behind his goggle for answering the mobster with such a cliche "Scottish" word, he silently berated himself. Aye? Why would you say aye? Bloody idiot. His head was enclosed within the metal helmet, his body surrounded by the mystic mesh he called the Devil's Spandex. Granted to him by the Devil himself, he thought, or someone impersonating him.

"Tell me, Mister McLeod...how exactly does your power work? I've heard the gist...but it doesn't quite add up in my mind. The bullets...they just...?"

"Show up in the magazine, yeah. I keep my finger on the trigger, the bullets keep streaming out. That's all I know. Quite a sight to see."

The mobster whistled. "Sounds like you're the perfect man for the job, Mister McLeod. Or, I suppose, being that you're hired, I should call you Shootout."

Conti's Tower: The Present

Desmond eyed the tower across the street, standing upon his own skyscraper. Rain had begun falling, dripping against the windows, blurring the figures behind the glass and steel. He wasn't a meta-human per se; rather, a man who'd apparently sold his soul for power. Power in the form of as many bullets as he could shoot, a mystic costume that protected him from injury, and a bag that held just about any gun conceivable. The bag would gift him different weapons at different times; once or twice he'd gotten a futuristic laser gun of sorts, and on occasion he'd been screwed over when he pulled out a water pistol. He crossed his fingers, reaching deep into the duffel bag, feeling around for the handle of whatever firearm the Devil saw fit to arm him with...

His eyes widened as his hand closed around something big. Reaching in with his other hand, his grin widened as he felt the handle, feed, rotary box, and long barrel...

He stood up, a fully-formed gatling gun in his arms. Laughing to himself, he turned to face Conti's tower, giant weapon held out in front of him, bag slung over his back.

"OI, CONTI! THEY'RE GONNA HAVE TO GLUE YOU BACK TOGETHER...IN HELL!" he cried as the barrel began to spin. Seconds later, a hail of bullets ripped from the front of the barrel, a potentially infinite stream of cursed lead on its way across the block and into Conti's tower. The bullets (7.62 mm to be precise) would rip through the windows, walls, and furniture, tearing through anything they touched. And so long as he kept his cursed finger on the trigger, he could keep shooting forever.

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#7 Edited by LunaHawk (1528 posts) - - Show Bio

@fraga: @alpha_dog@the_shogun@jack_

Luna Hawk sat atop one of the infamous gargoyle statues on the top of an old run down office building in the older part of Gothic City. Her wings were half folded on her back as she listened quietly to the sounds of the city. Her HUD continued to display data across her vision as it picked up bits of information from wherever she chose to look...and then the power went out. Her helmet computer systems immediately adapted to the circumstances with an instant adjustment in vision modes so her sight was not disrupted. Her Hawk like hearing picked up the sounds of violence but she tuned them out. Instead she used her helmet's neural impulse controls to access the internet and began a search on police reports inside of Gothic City. The database scrolled through the vision of her right eye at a quick pace as the computer searched for recurring patterns.

It found just such a pattern and quickly displayed it for her. Everything seemed to revolve around Conti Towers. She cocked her head slightly and stood up slowly. The last data feed before power went out showed a man spraying the building with bullets...interesting, but not interesting enough. She filtered through the data some more, running background checks on Conti and linking to every federal database she could get her hands on...which was most of them. Ah...so that's it. Someone's making a power play. I wonder why they shut off the power though? Probably to distract the authorities and keep local heroes busy. Interesting, this is top level planning, not some street thugs or mob bosses. Mob bosses are little less showy, they have their own way of doing things.

The Egyptian stood as her scans revealed something else. A member of STRIKE was in the city. Now that I might be able to use. I wonder if he's willing to work with Solar's other half? Let's find out. Luna Hawk took off and flew in the direction of the Samurai but she took a slow, almost casual line. This served two purposes, first it warded off any potential enemies and kept them from thinking she was immediately reacting to the ongoing events and second it allowed her to take a slow path past the action at Conti towers and scan the area with her enhanced vision and computer systems. Unfortunately the Gothic database was down with the power out, but the Winged Detective had her own databases to search. Solar Hawk had taken most of the information from Super City and that was now residing in Luna Hawk's personal network. Her network was a series of hidden super computers spread throughout Gothic City that constantly scanned government and local systems for new information and took in visual scans from Luna and Solar Hawk's own helmets to maintain an up to the minute running database of every known criminal in Gothic and the more infamous ones outside of it.

It did not occur to Luna Hawk that The Shogun might be involved, in fact she was entirely uncertain as to how to peg for this one. Its really not in the wheel house of most of the people around the city. It must be an outsider, a careful yet somewhat showy outsider...or an outsider with somewhat showy henchmen. There are much better ways to secretly take down a power plant than explosives, half the power grid runs off a computer network. Hell, a few carefully cut cables could do the trick, at least for a time. Conti's organization is powerful but there are others, the outsider most be aware of that of course. I wonder if they plan on moving against the others or just starting a major turf war by leaving a power vacuum? What's the use of doing that though? All these drugs and black market...oh...interesting. Who profits the most from taking over the black market network of Gothic? No one from within Gothic with enough balls to do this. Must be someone else...but who?

Luna Hawk landed in front of the time displayed Samurai. He knew Solar Hawk to some extent so he would recognize Luna Hawk's body almost immediately. The two were practically twins except that Luna Hawk wore completely different clothing and had a crossbow with under-slung gun opposite her mace. The helmet was different as well, less stylized and built off of a different pattern. Certainly her clothes fit her body more tightly, not at all afraid to show off the attractive form that Solar Hawk seemed almost unaware of. "You work with a friend of mine. I'm hoping your investigating the same events that I am, or are willing to help if you aren't. My name's Luna Hawk."

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#8 Edited by DarkKnightwing (294 posts) - - Show Bio
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A Nameless Bar.

Kelly loved the name of the place. The owner was a witty sort, yet serious and apt to threaten anyone who got too rowdy. Tonight, though, even he was powerless. A football celebration was in progress and the fans were wrecking the place. Kelly sat in idle conversation with the bartender while the drunken rampage carried on behind them. As the bartender excused himself to the bathroom, a man in a gray suit sat down next to Kelly. “So.” Kelly glanced over. The man seemed harmless enough, but Kelly knew all too well that looks could be deceiving. “So.”

“Kelly ‘Wings’ Kilgore, I have a need for a man of your talents.”

“What talents?”

“Well, not specifically yours. Those of KnightWing.”

“Talk fast.”

“I want you to investigate disturbances at a certain Conti Tower. It’s vitally important to the stability of this city’s underworld that what I think has happened has not. To complete this task, I offer two thousand dollars in cash.”

“ …alright. I’ll need gear.”

“I will have it placed atop the rooftop across from the tower. Good luck.”

Across From Conti Tower

Kelly was ready. The gear provided was more than adequate. All he had to do was point. The zip line fired across the expanse, hitting the wall just above the window on the fortieth floor. Kelly leapt out, silently exclaiming. As he crashed through the window, he tossed in a smoke grenade. The room filled and he turned, getting his bearings. A robe-clad man leapt at him. Kelly jammed two fingers into his solar plexus. As one crumpled, another tossed a knife. Kelly twisted, watching it hit another of the assassins. He unsheathed his staves. He was ready.

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#9 Edited by Fraga (1163 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_shogun: @jack_: @lunahawk:

If the Edo shogunate's dark strengthened before his return to the past, then his brothers, sisters, and mother will die. It was difficult. Even with Chronon's offered assistance. The Nameless Ones, the temporal sorcerers employed by the Edo shogunate, would not relent. Bounty hunters from the past, present, and future, were all instructed by them to seek out the Samurai Saint and bring them his head. The night was black and the air was a gelid breath of quiescence. There were no stars to festoon Gothic's night sky. City lights and a thin layer of clouds were what held dominion over the sky. He walked, hands slid into the pockets of designer dress pants, eyes of pale azure remained attentive but relaxed.

Thugs, the poor, mutant masterminds of organized crime, muggings, those were the things that Sosuke expected to encounter. Instead, the streets were empty. Until his the extreme dermal sensitivity of his unique sensory perception shrieked, alerting him to the distant vibrations of conversation. Deep in an alleyway several blocks ahead of him, a tall, statuesque woman stood. She was a mutant, a bounty hunter with austere features. A time traveler who had repeated this very scenario many times over without success, she waited for the Samurai Saint's arrival. Josie was her name. And her only obstacle, her estranged wife, Stella. She loved that her long black hair was pinned up elegantly under a bonnet, and that she always dressed beautifully. She detested however, Stella's combative nature. And Stella in turn, loathed Josie's stubbornness.

"Good God, Stella! What in tarnation are you doin' here?", she questioned, indignant that she had trailed her. "Well.. it's nice to see you too-", her sarcastic sweetness interrupted by Josie's scoff, "Shoot! There ain't never been nothin' nice bout you", she insisted. "Now, now, no need to get nasty, darlin'", Stella paused, artfully raising her left brow. "Stop calling me darlin'", Josie demanded with an annoyed scowl. Reaching for the front of Josie's shirt before yanking her forward with bestial, superhuman strength, Stella threatened, "Then don't act like a fool! I know what you're doin'. You're after the bounty on that Samurai Saint boy". Brushing Stella's hand away, Josie rolled her eyes, "What business is it of yours?". "I want in!", Stella shouted in protest, while Josie, appalled at her wife's nerve and boldness, retaliated with a light shove, "No! That boy's head is mine", she insisted with gritted teeth.

"You need me!", Stella paused, shaking a finger at her, "Because he's better than you!", she reminded, "I know what you've been doin'. You've done played this game with him ten times and you lost all ten. Without me, you ain't gettin' shit. Let me help you and we split the bounty between us. Or... lose for the eleventh time. Go on sweetie", she taunted with a knowing smirk, arms folded before her chest. "Fine..", Josie yielded with a sigh. "Good", Stella replied, a satisfied grin gracing her flirtatious features. Though an agreement had been reached, Sosuke's senses had alerted him to everything. It was the one thing that allowed him to remain a step ahead of those who sought to harm him. "We're gonna make a lot of money cashin' in on your head, boy", the two women shouted, almost in unison as they leaped out to claim their prize.

"I hear that often", the Samurai Saint paused, his low, cool voice unconcerned, his mesmeric features unbothered as he retained his poise, "But only from poor men". In an instant, his osteokinesis, the ability to manipulate bone and the earthen elements in the body, seized them. He manipulated their calcium deposits, severely decreasing their bone density, so much that the Earth's gravity proved too laborious, and their joints too weak to support their weight. They fell and made the pavement their new home as they fiddled in ire while Sosuke walked past them before pausing before Conti Tower. Though he was unaware of it, it would not be his final encounter with Josie and Stella. There where he intended to begin his investigation, Sosuke met the arrival of a familiar face, Luna Hawk, with a smile of gentle affability, "Then I am assuming this friend of yours is Solar Hawk. Yes, I am investigating the same events. I will help-".

His words however, were cut short, interrupted by the abrupt emergence of a hailstorm of bullets that sought to tear through Conti Tower with authority. "Move!", Sosuke urged, reaching for Luna's wrist before, if she allowed him to, yanking her from the bullets' path while darting towards the building's side for cover. "He was either targeting us or the building. It matters not. Our objective is to get inside and learn the truth".

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#10 Posted by The_Shogun (4803 posts) - - Show Bio

@jack_:

Bullets tore through the walls as if they were tissue paper. The hail of hot lead turned furniture into shredded upholstery and splintered frames. Broken glass filled the air and covered the floor.

Orochi hurled themselves into cover at the first sign of enemy fire. Several of the Conti captains were not so lucky. Such was the density of the torrent of fire that Ivana saw one captain cut nearly in half by the unending stream of bullets. Several others fell dead, bodies turned into leaking corpses by the gunmans inhuman rate of fire.

Countless rounds hammered into the Shogun's vibranium armor, only to have their kinetic energy absorbed and fall to the ground in a rain of lead.

"Get the captains to safety!" Her voice roared through her helm. An Orochi was a valuable warrior.. but they could be replaced. A dead Conti captain could not. Their contacts, rank in the Conti and knowledge of the Gothic underworld simply could not be replicated. Every captain killed by the mysterious gunman was another blow to Ivana's hopes of dominating the Gothic black markets.

A stream of red bodies flew into motion at her command. They grabbed the surviving captains and dragged them from the room, fearless in the face of danger though several Orochi met their end in the unending stream of 7.62.

The Orochi begin herding the huddled captains down the stairs (as the elevators were out along with the power). They had no way of knowing @fraga and @lunahawk awaited them down below..

The Shogun herself charged through the hail of gunfire, trusting her vibranium armor to protect her as she left the room.. until a round imbued with Shootouts ability to make impossibly precise shots struck six inches above her utility belt at the perfect angle to penetrate the flexible vibranium mesh that covered her abdomen.

It was a one in a billion shot. One in a trillion. With a hundred years and an unlimited amount of money all the testing in Venezuela would have never been able to replicate it.

Ivana staggered, then fell to one knee. Bullets continued to rain down around her and upon her, lead bouncing from her shoulders like raindrops from asphalt.

The pain was terrible, but Ivana mastered it. Fear and shock were next. The Shogun dismissed them; they were unworthy of her.

Then she reached into her deep mastery of the shadows and slipped into her own shadow beneath her, as if she were sinking into a pool of water.

She arose from a shadow on the roof behind the Shootout. Silent, she took a coagulant spray from her utility belt and applied it to the wound; it would stop the bleeding.. for now.

Then she spoke.

"Tell me who sent you.. and I'll make this painless."

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#11 Posted by Matthew_Cassidy (1135 posts) - - Show Bio

Hell's Kitchen;
Midnight.

"The streets bleed. People say the full moon, the Luna, makes people go batsh!t crazy. Ordinary people crazy. Imagine what kind of rave goes down in Gothic. Hoodrats muster up confidence and step up their game, crime lords get startled over the tiniest sh!t. Suicide rates and muggin's go up 210% and the streets...well let's just say they prove the statistics. But this full moon is different, tonight a crime lord dies and the vermin scurry into their holes to hide. They

Me? She has a different effect on my lunacy. Under her guiding light I come out to play. My mask sees further, my bat hits stronger and I weave quicker. Rooftop to rooftop I stalk and she reveals the weeds in the garden. Weeds that prey upon the frail. Like the one I'm just about to tear out."

"You know the drill.", the mugger says with a casual demeanor as he signals his mark with a 11 inch knife. He doesn't even try to hide his face. For them, street-cred is more important than jail.

"H-h-here. Just take it and g--", the elderly woman stutters while handing over her purse. But she's shocked frozen as a mighty figure descends from the roof above, mercilessly stomping her assilant into the ground. Like pearls, his teeth scatter among a pool of blood.

"Hello.", the Hockey Horror exclaims in his unbiased booming voice whilst holding the crippled mugger against a wall. "Don't bother replyin'. I know you have your mouth full.", he jestingly adds before tossing the crook against a nearby container.

"...Ah wunt tew y'swit, mafuggah...", the mugger replies as he picks his bloodied self off the floor. His words as broken as his teeth. His mark was gone, but he couldn't know. His undivided hate was focused towards the vigilante.

Matthew doesn't even bother to speak, his mask only conveys his aura of lunatic rage through the eye holes. He knew the criminal was adamant, but his body wasn't.

In a horrendous screech go his shins followed shortly by the fingers, crushed in Matt's bare hands. The maimed crook tries to slither away, using his forearms to hopelessly claw himself forward. But Matt merely drags him back by his legs and lifts him up.´With a mere *Pop!* goes a rib, snapped by the pressure exterted with Matt's thumb and the scourge cries once again through his broken teeth, scaring away the remaining low-lives in the area.

Finally, the crook spills out what the streets know about the Conti Tower slaughter. With a heavy thud he falls from Matt's grasp onto the cold cobblestone road. Huffing, he struggles to catch a crippled breath and with a mere blink the masked horror disappears like a daydream. Without mercy the crook is left in the care of the streets, only fate would decide his fate.

Matt's lunatic hunt continued.

(Rusherino.)

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#12 Posted by DarkKnightwing (294 posts) - - Show Bio

Kelly winced as he heard the violence going on above him. He had dispatched the guards easily. No way were they the real soldiers if who was in charge here. More likely expendable scouts, meant to gauge his abilities. Kelly quickly exited, finding himself in a generic hallway decorated with plastic plants and bland portraits. He made his way into an elevator, pressing the button for the fiftieth floor. No sense involving himself in the fracas upstairs just yet. He stuck a listening device on the ceiling of the hallway, then inserting a flash drive in a computer he had found in an office off of the hall. He was surprised to find the room empty, but gratified. As he stepped away from the terminal, he noticed a shadow slide across the floor. He tossed a knife at the person, who, surprisingly, caught it. He turned to see a pair of grenade launcher-toting goons flanking a woman in a suit. The woman slowly unsheathed a sword. Kelly went into the cliche motion of assuming a "battle stance" then flipped backwards. His next knives hit the grenade launchers, blowing them to bits. The thugs hands might be slightly burned, but they'd live. The woman rushed him, slashing at his neck, but Kelly swung his staff up in front of it, blocking it. She took another shot, this time at his legs, but as she did so, he punched her between the eyes. She woozilly spun about, then passed out. Kelly silently left the room, collecting the drive as he left. As he'd suspected, the security cams showed something happening a few minutes ago. "I'm way out if my depth." Some sort of ninja legion (@the_shogun): had erupted into the don's meeting room, killed him, then been attacked by a gunman(@jack_: ). Kelly looked down the hall. There was only one other door before an intersection. He walked over and looked in. He found a generic empty room. "This can't be it..." Kelly knocked on the walls. One was hollow. He shattered it. Inside he found a boatload of drugs. He burned it all. After that, he went back to the elevator and made some preperations. A small explosive connected to his detonator went on the cable. The rest went on the ceiling. Kelly had breifly studied the floor plans and knew that the lone elevator was the only exit from the meeting room. There was no way out.

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#13 Posted by Jack_ (2451 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_shogun:

Desmond had been a busy man; he'd had his finger down on the minigun's trigger for an entire minute and a half. Empty casings piled up around him, endlessly generated by the bullet-spewing box he held in his powerful arms. The recoil, while mitigated by his mysterious suit, was still felt. His teeth rattled with every shot he sent into the tower, randomly blasted out of his uncanny weapon at no target in particular. Given the nature of his curse, accuracy wouldn't be as big a problem for Desmond; bullets would unexpectedly curve into the paths of his victims, but a fortunate one might escape unscathed. Given the ratio of bullets fired to bullets avoided, though, the odds were certainly against anyone unlucky enough to be in that building.

"Tell me sent you...and I'll make this painless."

A single sentence rang out, strong and authoritative. Despite the noise generated by his minigun, Desmond still heard the question, no, the demand that came from behind him. Dropping the death machine that he had been using to deface Conti's tower (and his men), he whipped around, raising his arms to reveal two wrist-mounted weapons. Part of the suit itself, they whirred to life, barrels spinning as the minigun's had. He held his fire, his thumbs on the concealed triggers.

"I could ask the same of you," he grinned, his heavy Scottish brogue breaking the silence that had followed the din of the machine gun and the newcomer's query. "...and match your threat...no, double it. You ever been shot, dearie? Something tells me you have. Y'want to be shot again? I'd be happy to oblige you, if that's what you want. Why don't you just walk away and let me finish destroying this here tower," he said, inclining his head slightly back in the direction of the tower, now missing most of the glass. The streets below were filled with transparent shards. Rain dripped down Desmond's head, droplets collecting on the glowing red eyepiece.

The mechanical marvels that he wore on his wrists continued their rhythmic whirring, waiting for him to press the triggers that would send a potentially limitless stream of metal into the woman that stood before him.

"So...what's it going to be, then? You lookin' to die tonight?"

His fingers twitched dangerously, the muscle memory guiding his actions. Any second now, the silence would be broken, to be replaced with gunshots and screams.

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#14 Posted by xXSpitFireXx (251 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_shogun: @jack_:

It's roar is like thunder the streets tremble beneath the beasts ferocity. And citizens of Gothic know this sound. Well not this sound specifically but the roar of a monster outs automobile was a calling card of one particular gang. They didn't do it so much for the money or fame but for the anarchy. The jesters of hell, the wild jokers, the vehicular manslaughter loving clowns of Gothic. Led by the Helliquin the Spitfire Desiray Divanova.

Rounding the corner before Conti tower was a garbage truck turned beast. It's paint scheme loud with a lot of neon paint. Blue LED lights on the bottom lit the asphalt. It's tires had a blade of crude design threatening to rip apart what came near. The front was encompassed in a bull dozer head stained in places by crimson splatter. With a ear piercing screech the machine drifted to be facing backwards before it continued to drive. The doors oppened and the reveal was not trash but a trio of similar guns as the gunmen. Coincidence really Destiny didn't know someone would be packing such heat she just wanted the Death Dumbster as armored and heavy gunned as possible. Most of the space behind the turrets was filled with ammo it wasn't limitless but it wasn't lacking either.

"Fck that noise make it painful darlin! And you sir the only one flooding the streets with shells should be me damn it!" Behind the turrets stood the red black and blonde automotive automatic anarchist. The truck sped up to a hundred miles per hour surprising for it's bulk. And the turrets lit up with hundreds of bullets being put down range in seconds. She wanted to grind the gunner apart before squishing him under heavy treaded tires.

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#15 Posted by _Envy_ (421 posts) - - Show Bio

The blood soaked room was a scene to behold; Only Envy stood in the center of the carnage that had unfolded mere seconds ago. Limbs and appendages were scattered across the elegant floor while the bodies that had produced the extremities were still hemorrhaging like geysers from their perfectly carved wounds.

"Beautiful. Simply beautiful."

The mutant guerrilla whispered under his warm breath and sharp canine like teeth. It was far from a masterpiece, but this work of crimson art that decorated the walls was a splendor all in it's own. Envy Diabolous was making his name in the history books of both species as he continued to leave a river of blood wherever he went. Using the well being of his outnumbered brothers and sisters as justification for his brutality and initiative. His name was falling from the mouths of allies and enemies alike long before his assault on New York. Like an apparition, no one knew where he first made his move against mankind; his origin remains as mysterious as ever. Whatever it was that sparked the extremist in him, it remained a fire as his gaze continued to study the gore.

No Caption Provided

The concentration he gave to his craft would have to wait though. Breaking his serene meditation was the cracking of bullets piercing the room walls and ricocheting off the interior. Reacting off impulse he dove to the ground within a pile of the dead bodyguards and used them as a substitute barrier. It was weak and desperate, but the thuds of bullets hitting the carcasses proved that they were buffering the projectiles in some sort of manner.

"F**k! That's all you got?!"

Still thriving off the ecstasy and adrenaline from earlier, the mutant predator lunged from the floor and sprinted in a blur towards a nearby sealed elevator. The blazing ammunition grazed and burned his skin with a few aimless slugs making their mark on the meaty portion of his flesh while he ran. Ignoring the pain, he quickly made his way towards the metal sliding doors and slashed through them. Without hesitation, he took the final leap and dropped down 51 levels to the ground floor, utilizing the vibranium gifts from The shogun to pierce the walls and slow his descent. His senses were still at their peak level when his feet settled on the floor before continuing his sprint out the doors to see if the intruder of the operation was there. The opposing soldiers that came to view, were a few of the last ones he would have expected… @fraga@solarhawk

"Well this is a surprise…"

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#16 Posted by Alpha_Dog (1046 posts) - - Show Bio

The gang leader dropped to his knees on the filthy sidewalk, his innards sliding from the gaping gash that now stretched from his groin to his shoulder. The rest of the 8th Street Heavies stood, paralyzed by shock and indecision (although a couple of the newer members took the opportunity to empty the contents of their stomachs). The mauled petty criminal looked up with glazing eyes, mouth contorting as if to scream, although only a wet sucking sound could be heard.

"Heh, yeah..." Dog growled, shaking flecks of the dying man's gore from his claws as casually as if he'd just washed his hands and discovered there were no paper towels, "Kinda hard to scream when ya ain't got no lungs, ain't it?" The feral fountain of violence hadn't been idle since destroying the Gothic City power station. The toughest gangs in the city weren't hard to find in a situation like this; you simply had to look for where the best looting would be. This was the third or possibly fourth gang that he'd confronted in such a fashion (a blood haze had a tendency of making him lose count), and they'd all gone more of less the same way.

"Alright meatheads, listen up! This is how this goes down. There's a new boss in town, and yer gonna fall into line unless ya wanna end up like yer juicy friend, here." Dog nudged the twitching corpse of the former gang boss for emphasis. "Ya just gotta keep doin' what yer doin': lootin', stealin', takin' turf and findin' new members, but now yer gonna be passin' a cut o' yer profits on to us. We'll be checkin' in on ya to take our cut and make sure yer pullin' yer weight; anybody that falls short gets cut out, and I don't mean ya just lose yer retirement plan. If ya got any questions or concerns, feel free to stick 'em where the sun don't shine."

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#17 Edited by DarkKnightwing (294 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

"Hmm... Perhaps they need a little distraction from their banter." Kelly heard the exchange between the ninja (@the shogun) and the gunman (@jack) as he found a place to hide. He didn't want to be impaled by shrapnel as his explosives detonated. He thumbed the trigger. "Ka-Boom!" As the ceiling erupted into pieces of debris, Kelly drew his staves. When the people came falling down onto the floor, they might land on their feet. He wasn't going to let that happen. Seconds later, the Shogun and her ninja clan were on the floor. "So. How'd ya like to get a grade two concussion?" The Orochi flipped to their feet, tossing a succession of knives at him. Had he not reacted, he would have looked like red Swiss cheese. As it were, he deflected the knives, sending them shooting towards their senders. They just missed the major arteries. As the warriors pulled the blades from their robes, Kelly sheathed his staves, exchanging them for gas grenades. While the room filled with smoke, Kelly tossed his own knives, this time directly at the Shogun!

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#18 Edited by hunterzillas (1183 posts) - - Show Bio

Omega peered at the Conti Tower in front of him staring at the familiar structure. Perched on the nearby building opposite, he remembered his last visit here. It had been much more pleasant, and on a lighter note. Typically, he would have had to read a layout of the structure he would be entering, but he practically knew this one by heart.

He had been called, just moments before, to arrive at the scene. Being a friend to the family (the Mafia), he had grown close ties with them. Therefore, he was usually obliged to help out. Difference was, this time, he had been in the middle of his Vendetta against Alpha. This had been why he hadn't arrived sooner. So, looking down, Omega really hoped that this would be worth his time. After this, there couldn't be anymore setbacks.

When he had arrived on the scene, there had been chaos. He had already determined that Conti was dead by this time, so he knew he was too late to accomplish anything on that front. After this, someone @darkknightwing, entered the building, a crazed man @jack_, had opened fire on the building, and even now Shogun herself stoop behind him @the_shogun. They were then followed by some insane clown gang, @xxspitfirexx.

This is madness, thought the Ultimate Weapon. He had no idea how to approach this situation, or how to even solve it, if he even could. However, as luck would have it, he spotted a familiar figure, @lunahawk. With her was someone he did not recognize, but he was certain that he was friend, or at least, not foe. @fraga. However, they were approached by another figure, the one identified at @_envy_

Putting on the closest thing he could give to a frown, he leapt from the building, his descent slowed by his contact with the Conti Tower, allowing the friction between his hand and the wall to slow him down. His destination was between Luna Hawk and the Stranger.

Once he landed, his impact making a small thud against the ground, he looked at the two, as well as Envy, not uttering a word, silently taking in the situation.

He hoped that perhaps he could come to some use.

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#19 Edited by Just_an_average_man (1774 posts) - - Show Bio

Elliot sat in a room, with a good friend of his. He was near fully armored and armed. His REC7 Assault Rifle in his lap. And his friend with Franchi Spas 12 in his lap. The man never really worked for gangs anymore, however, there was an exception in this case. He was an arms dealer, but one whom Elliot saw as one with a heart. He had been able to get a lot the things Elliot needed, and he would gladly supply vigilantes and defenseless homeowners with weaponry when needed. Though, the nature of his business forced him to sell to certain circuits, he tended to sell to mobs, because they more used weapons as a deterrent then anything else. You don't really buy assault rifles for bursting into people's homes. An inexpensive pistol would serve the purpose that just fine. You used an assault rifle to goto war with someone. And there was a bit of something that stirred him. Made him call him.

"Sorry to wake you this late, Elliot. But we got something going down. Something big. I don't know exactly what. But something is brewing, got a call cut off from Antonio Conti's men. Sounded pretty panicked. Like some crap was happening. Then nothing..."

"Yeah? You mean like one of those calls when sounds like the guy got offed or the line got cut. Well. Sounds like a typical murderous cape, Reggie."

"Nononono E. This sounds like a war. Something big is going to go down. I got this feeling. Bad feeling. Some bad is brewing tonight. Not just some regular cape is behind this. The man's got connections. He lives in the nice part of Gothic, that part where nobody goes. The freakin' conti tower E. This sh** just screams war. I'd suggest you check it out, and stop it."

"Gonna be one of those nights...." Elliot said as he put on his helmet.

"Yup. One of those nights."

Later that night

Elliot is in a helicopter with two allies, a pilot he knew, and little friend he picked up off the street from hell's kitchen to roll with him who he's busted a few heads with before (@matthew_cassidy) as he looks over to the conti tower. Power has been out, and there have been reports of gunfire as he looks around. "Power is out....again?" This is like Bedlam all over again. Sh** is getting real bad. Lotta stuff going on.

"I'm not going anywhere near that." The pilot says, to which Elliot. To which he nods, and grabs a parashoot, as he jumps off the plane, clad in armor to the man's surprise. "Could have dropped him off closer..." The pilot says. From her, Matt can do what he wants. Order the pilot to drop him off in the city to deal with problems on the street, jump and try to meet up with Elliot at the tower, or whatever else he'd come up with. Elliot wasn't gonna make him do anything.

Elliot dives towards the building, coming in a bit fast as he spreads himself out to slow himself down a bit, the armor however weighing him down. He pulls the shoot, looking in on the building as he gains more horizontal moment. Bullets where by and tear through the shoot at the last moment as the man swears, but thankfully at the last moment, kicks through the window and lands of the 50th floor. He looks around, and it is an empty room it would seem. "Way too damn close..." The man mutters as he proceeds forward. And at that moment he hears the door begin to unlock, as men rush in with assault rifles looking scanning the area.

They see no one in the room. "I coulda swore-" Canister drops and tear gas is released in the room as the door shuts. Men cough and eyes turn red as the irritating gas fills the room. One man squints to try to see what has happened, and realizes that there is some man in armor is wacking them with a crowbar, men falling clasping broken limbs. "F*** f***-" He sprays with his assault rifle only to find a crowd bar hit him in the forehead, causing blood to gush as it obscures the vision of the man.

He gets up to see someone get smacked with a champagne bottle and simply drop to the ground like a sack of rocks. He tries to pick up his rifle to fire, but as he shoots, this masked man is already in front of him. Holding his gun and making him shoot towards the ceiling. He tries to strike the armored man to no effect, and the armored punches him once with a metal plated fist. He feels the man's hand grab him to bring him back up to his feet, as brings him up to his cold, faceless gas mask. "Mind explaining to me what the hell is going on?" The man can make out that the men behind the armored man are either unconcious or unable to move with broken limbs. He had tried the Sun based Superhero's more non-lethal tactics. Whatever side he attacks, they might go easier on him, and he doesn't yet know who is in the right and wrong, or if anyone is right or wrong for that matter.

"..." He thought man was with those who attacked, but appearantly, he isn't. He decides to talk. "Guys upstairs. Freakin' ninjas. Attacked us, killed our boss. Woman took charge, sh** hit the fan. We were goin' to go try and back our captains up but you showed up and..." Elliot drops him. "Count yourself lucky you didn't meet one of them. I'd sit tight here if I were you or get the hell out. I'm not throwing shots just yet."

Elliot looks up as he hears more gun fire roar outside on a rooftop of the dark building in the dark city. (@the_shogun and @jack_) Time to join in. The Armored man dissappears into the darkness as he goes to join the confrontation.

Elliot manuevres around as he hears footsteps approaching, on the 51st floor. (@_envy_) And he kicks the door down to go into another room as he confronts three more (@fraga, @lunahawk and @hunterzillas). With Elliot recognizing the last assassin from a previous confrontation. Wonder if that kid is still pissed off at me. Prolly best not to find out.

He opts to not find out, instead opting to take another route with his "magical door opener." The man flicks out an M74 Grenade launcher and blows a hole in a wall to take an alternate route, one that he found lead the Orochi and Captain as they witnessed the confrontation. From the Darkness, a canister rolled up and let off tear gas to flood the general area as the caustic commando activated his nightvision, unaffected by the gas due to his mask. With the ninjas blinded and disoriented, Elliot took advantage of their vulnerability as they held their grounds and mob bosses attempted to escape. They see the armored figure lung an Orochi and strike him in the theigh with a crowbar, shattering the warrior's femur bone, the strongest in the body as he grabs one commando able to now get lose and hauls him off among the disorientation, hauling him off into a kitchen. As one lone Orochi follows, unbenounst to him.

"Ya got fifteen seconds to explain to me what in the f*** is going on before I pick something to f***ing break." The Captain was pinned against a wall by the man's superior strength, yet keeps a calmer demeanor then the man. "Basically. We're being taken over. By the Shogunate of Venezuala."

He lets the man go. .....Oh man....I'm in deep crap now....

It had taken him a few moments to process this, a few moments that nearly caust him his life as an Orochi snuck up behind him and raiseda Vibranium edged Katana.

(Post is getting long. Fight is optional to read.)

Elliot whipped around, not thinking, but reacting to a shadow as he swung his crowbar, which was easily intercepted and cut through swiftly by the amazingly sharp Katana that the garage commando managed to lean back and dodge. And then the Orochi kicked him and knocked him on his back as he sought to thrust the blade through his helmet, which Elliot catches with two hands and deflects to the side by smacking and pushing it to the side. His eyes tense and wide.

Sh**sh**sh** His thoughts of shock are put on halt as raw adrenaline takes over now and he kicks the ninja back. Causing him to let go of his blade, as Elliot gets up and picks it up, as the opposing Orochi draws another katana. As he rushes Elliot aggressively, who goes on the defensive to block.

He blocks 3 strikes before the Orochi warrior skillfully angles the blade, parries and raises the blade up to disarm Elliot, as the blade goes into the air and the Orochi catches it, now dual wielding two blades as he rears back preparing to skewer the garage commando.

*Klck* A safety goes off and Elliot's fist flies towards a blade, at which point a shotgun blast hidden up Elliot's sleeve goes off, discharging a dragon's breath 12 gauge towards a blade, knocking it out the Orochi's hand as they both mutually stagger back from the blast. The Orochi lunges again, this Elliot counters the blade....

With a frying pan....

The blade stabs cleanly through it, but a minor shift was all it took to deflect it. He moved forward, the impaled pan sparking along the blade into a hard elbow, following by a shoulder throw, and finished with Elliot kicking the warrior while he was down, in the temple, with his steel toed boot.

The Orochi lays on the ground as the Captain watches Elliot with shock. Elliot himself regaining some tibit of coolness as he reloads another dragon's breath round in his buckshot surprise. Non lethal crap is gettin' real deadly. "I'll pay you a lot of money if you can get me out of here. On my word." THe Captain offers. "Nope. You told me what I needed to know. But, your free to go wherever." Orochi flood the room then, and the awesome arsonist is quick to reveal yet another weapon. Two wrist mounted flamethrowers, as he activates them and sprays along the floor in front of him, creating a wall of fire between him and the captain, against around 7 other Orochi. Nowhere to seemingly go, Elliot magically creates another door with a shot from his grenade launcher. As he runs through the entrance he created. The Captain runs through, and attempts an escape as Elliot then goes through the wall and sprints down the hall as into a random room for a moment of respite.

His breathing is rapid. Adrenaline is surging. No clue who to shoot. Best thing to do? Wait, watch and strike when the time is right, or at least until something decides to come your way. Fight or flight makes it hard to think. Mutant king vs mob war with people taking advantage of the chaos as always.

What the hell have I gotten myself into...?

Arrows pierce the wall near Elliot's head.

...Crap.

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#20 Posted by LunaHawk (1528 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_shogun: @hunterzillas@fraga

Luna Hawk followed after the Samurai and then motioned for him not to intervene when the Orochi burst from the front doors. Her HUD instantly identified what they were and brought up data correlating them to Venezuela and its Shogun. She scanned the data quickly and discarded it with a neural impulse, she would read over it more carefully later. She spoke in a near whisper to the time displaced Samurai. "Small fish. Yes, I agree with getting inside but I think I know what's going on now. I can tell you more when there aren't ninjas around." She frowned when @_envy_ also burst onto the scene. "Oh I did not bright the right guns for this." She said, mostly to herself. She slipped her crossbow from her hand crossbow from her belt but before she could take aim yet another person appeared on the scene, this time arriving between herself and Envy. This though was at least someone she knew, a known quantity. "The one in the middle is on our side." She informed her Samurai ally. "The other one...bigger fish."

Luna Hawk watched Envy for a moment, her crossbow still half raised. "It is a surprise." She agreed. "Fancy seeing the four of us here. So are you going to get in our way or are you going to let us into the building to track down the answer to a question I think I already have? Let me guess, it goes a little something like this. For some reason 'The Shogun' wants to take over a crime family in Gothic City. Given the recent financial calamities to strike Venezuela and the embargoes it seems like a descent way to push some supplies through and bring in some fresh cash. Everyone knows Gothic is a hotbed of black market activity. I also know those guys you just helped escort out of here were some of Conti's top people. What I don't know yet is why it's such a big event." She said, not really expecting that the answer was because she didn't want a crime family, she wanted them all.

Luna Hawk shifted her finger to the secondary trigger of her crossbow. Anyone who had combat footage of her knew that the secondary trigger fired a powerful laser beam from the gun built under the crossbow. The crossbow itself fired Nth Metal bolts, usually charged with fifty thousand volts of electricity from Luna Hawk's own bio-electric field. "We can fight if you want, but judging by all the gun fire going on, I suspect your boss could use your assistance. Please make your decision quickly, Hawk Lords are notorious for our distinct lack of patience."

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#21 Edited by Matthew_Cassidy (1135 posts) - - Show Bio

The Helicopter

Matt sat in the back of the helicopter that his compatriot provided (@just_an_average_man), more silent than usual. His messy raven locks hung covered the side of his face and his hands casually rested on his knees. In his collected lunatic stare he thought about the fate of his city in the face of current adversity. First the rumors about Vengence and his sidekick and now the Conti-killer.

He is pulled back into reality as Elliot's dark frame fearlessly leaps out of the helicopter. Matt's eyes roll towards the pilot ensuring an awkward lock of stares. He knew the pilot was expecting something extraordinary, but The Street Savant was only a man. And a man won't just toss himself out of a helicopter without a parachute.

*deep sigh* "Just...Just drop me off closer t'the tower.", he says in an almost ashamed tone. The pilot just nods and lands on a nearby rooftop.

After several minutes of vigorous rooftop striding, dexteriously jumping into the actual tower from the back alley-through a window and then another painful while climbing the Conti Tower stairway; Matthew was almost nearing the battleground in the 51st floor. His mind was clouded with one intent: Socking the sh!t out of Elliot for making him take the long way.

*huff huff* "Ahh you lazy motherf*&kers!", his legs carried him as fast as they could, skipping four stairs in every single bound of his honed legs. However, even with a devoted athletic lifestyle Matt couldn't just beat the lack of sleep he suffered. He tired more quickly and several floors below the action he stops and bows forward to take a breather.

"I hate it. I hate it.", he exclaims frantically whilst huffing his lungs out, gaining the attention of Conti's frightened henchman just behind the door to his right.

*bam* "Eat lead you godless son of a 'h--", the henchman kicks out the stairway door in an attempt to apprehend Matt. He should have chosen his words more wisely. With a swift left cross Matt knocks the crook out and sends him flying back into the room.

"My momma? Oh my man, you in for a treat!", Matt says in his earnestly enraged tone whilst pulling his "Demarini" Gothicville Slugger from the hockey bag that was fastened to his back. Insult him, no problem. But insult his mother, god rest her soul, you'll have teeth soup to eat.

He prepares to unleash hell upon the downed filth...but he doesn't. Instead he stops in awe with his slugger overhead. His mask didn't convey much, but even now one could tell the suprise in his eyes as he lowers his hand and steps over the crook into the room ahead. One by one, his impromptu weapons fall on the ground.

"Holy crap..." he murmurs in nonbelief as he slides his hand through his raven black locks.

The room he entered was surprisingly a museum of sorts, ebon shelves lined with mementos and pictures of forgotten heroes, vigilantes from the Golden Age. Heroes that inspired the heroes, men and women who rose up when no one else could. Powerless, yet more determined than many. Their golden picture frames were inscribed with names and short condolences.

Like a little fanboy Matt slowly treaded through the hall of heroes looking at every exhibit as if there was no battle at all, as if the time stopped at this exact point. They were the heroes he always admired: The Beetle, Damnation, Myrmidon and many more. Heck even Professor Superior had a little shelf dedicated to himself. And in the far end of the room stood the greatest of them all. Black Paw's original suit exposed like a personal monument. For a brief moment his reflection on the glass case aligns with the suit and he lets out a faint grin.

5 minutes later;
Conti Tower battleground.

Two members of the Orochin squad that was focused on Elliot stood by a wall with their blades drawn. At any moment they would strike in unision with their brethren. Except for the chatter in the next room the place was silent as the Orochi circled around.

No Caption Provided

*CRAAASH!*, the two bandaged hands reach through the wall behind the ninja and violently yank them to the other side and down the stairway, leaving only an abyssal portal into the dark room. At any other time this would not work on the usual orochi soldier, but now their focus was misplaced and their backs unprotected.

"...Oooh! Warriors! Come out and playy! Hhh...", the mocking laugh echoes from the darkness of the hole as only a pearl white grin reveals itself.

Shortly after the new Black Paw reveals himself as the source of the call and enters the scene. Matt's Adonis-like features reflected on the suit's exterior as his hulking frame entered the room. The remaining Orochi immediately split to respond to the new player on the scene.

"There was only one parachute...", Matt cracks a joke in an unusually serious tone before cracking his knuckles.

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#22 Posted by The_Shogun (4803 posts) - - Show Bio

@jack_: @xxspitfirexx: @darkknightwing:

All hell had broken loose. Orochi, villain and vigilante turned the tower into a battlefield. Inwardly Ivana swore as she sensed the gunman's last barrage had done terrible damage to both her Orochi and the remaining Conti captains.

Her eyebrow twitched as Shootout addressed her as 'Dearie'. Oh yeah. I'm going to kill him.

Black gauntlets moved through a series of ritual motions as the Shogun tapped into her Bloodbending. Inside her body blood vessels were pinched shut, ruptured tissues were sealed and the internal bleeding from the gunshot wound was stopped. Ivana could not heal the gunshot wound but her Bloodbending allowed her to stop the internal bleeding. She would need a surgeon to remove the bullet, however.

Just as Ivana begin to move toward Shootout chaos exploded around her. @xxspitfirexx's weapons unleashed yet another cascade of hot lead upon Ivana's position.

This time the mutant warrior dived and rolled away from the incoming fire. Nonetheless bullets pinged from her armor and buzzed like wasps as they struck her vibranium cloak.

Rising smoothly to her feet Ivana reached out with her mutant ability to detect nervous systems-- and then the floor blew apart under her as @darkknightwing's explosives detonated.

Shrapnel flew in all directions. The ground turned into a cloud of high velocity debris. Without her vibranium armor she would have been shredded. Even with the armor the shockwave dealt her a hammer-like blow. The Shogun felt as if an elephant had stepped on her chest; every iota of oxygen was driven from her lungs.

It hurt. But everything hurt. Life hurt. She had to do what she had to do anyway. So she did.

The Shogun twisted in mid air like a cat. She landed on one knee and a fist. Debris fell like rain around her, bouncing from her armored shoulders as she rose once more from the ashes of destruction.

Smoke billowed out from Kelly's gas grenades. Blind, Ivana reached out with her mutant ability to read nervous systems and begin to track each of her foes movements.

In her minds eye she saw a translucent series of blue lines, Kelly's nervous system, creating the outline of his body in her mind. She saw him lift his hands and she saw him throw, all a heartbeat before he actually moved.

Ivana never lifted her hands or moved her feet. She simply swayed to one side and the knives flew past.

"My turn."

Knowing Kelly's exact location thanks to her mutant powers the Shogun sprang through the smoke toward him.

Muscles driven to superhuman performance by decades of training in secret arts flung Ivana's armored body through the smoke like a bullet from a gun. Her crimson cape cracked behind her like a whip, so violent was her acceleration.

No Caption Provided

Inhumanly thick tendons bunched and released, like the steel arms of a crossbow, transforming potential energy into tremendous kinetic energy in a single instant. The Shogun's armored boot ripped through the smoke toward Kelly's head with enough power to shatter a man's skull or snap his neg like a twig as the flying kick finished its arch.

Regardless of weather the kick struck its target or not the Shogun landed with the precision of a tiger and wheeled, tracking her surviving enemies and poised to explode into violent action at will.

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#23 Posted by Fraga (1163 posts) - - Show Bio

@hunterzillas: @_envy_: @lunahawk:

While concealing himself against one of Conti Tower's sides as the Orochi burst through the front doors, Sosuke maintained his mystifying cool while Luna Hawk informed him of her speculations regarding the events that were taking place. Relying on his unnatural dermal sensitivity to detect the vibrations emitted from the ambient Orochi and pinpoint their locations, the Samurai Saint's attention was soon drawn to another, at least partially. A man, whose ingress was unanticipated, emerged. Luna however, was quick to inform Sosuke of the stranger's alignment. "I know", the Samurai Saint's low, smooth voice uttered with poise. It wasn't knowledge that stemmed from any prior encounter with the stranger or previously acquired information.

It was his unique sensory perception that put him at ease. A combination of electro/magnetoreception, extreme sensitivity to atmospheric vibrations, and his nigh-instantaneous reflexes, Sosuke's entire dermis acted as a sensor that made use of ambient energy to see through objects similar to some kind of omni-directional x-ray vision. Though his sense rendered possible a large number of things, chief among them was that it warned him of those who could be considered a potential danger by analyzing the changes in an individual's electromagnetic aura that occur with shifts in emotional states. The supreme dermal sensitivity to vibrations aids the electromagnetic aspect of the sense, allowing the movement of hostiles to be felt from a considerable distance. He was virtually impossible to catch off-guard. He knew of everyone's arrival even before they were within thirty meters of him.

And he knew who was friend and who was foe. With the Shogun otherwise engaged against another, the Samurai Saint's gaze rested on the sight of Envy. His beautiful features remained somewhat indifferent to the mutant extremist. While informing the temporal mutant, Chronon of what he had learned was a priority, circumstances demanded that he either kill Envy or incapacitate him before entering Conti Tower. Whether or not Luna Hawk attacked did not matter. Sosuke wasted no time in responding to Envy's arrival with absolute and lethal force. Harnessing the power of his photokinesis, the Edo Dragon sought to prevent the photons bouncing off of Luna, her ally, and himself from reaching the back of Envy's eyes. Because it is only possible to 'see' if the brain analyzes the physical information from the light that hits the back of the eyes, if successful, Envy would be literally unable to see the three of them.

While it wouldn't render him completely helpless, it would still rob him of one of his primary senses. Almost simultaneously, the Edo Dragon employed his osteokinesis, the ability to manipulate bone and the earthen elements in the body. First he attempted to alter the calcium deposits in his adversary's bones in order to severely deplete the density of his bone structure, enough that if successful, Envy would be unable to move anywhere near his optimum level as the Earth's gravity would prove too strong and his bones, particularly his knee joints, too weak to support the weight of his entire frame. Then he sought to breakdown the calcium inside his opponent's enzymes to cause the death of the cells in his body while simultaneously using calcium metal's hazardous reactions with water and acids in the body in an attempt to generate heat and calcium hydroxide to saponify (turn into soap) the fats, and liquefy the proteins in Envy's mouth, esophagus and stomach. "Kill him", Sosuke urged, hoping that Luna would indeed shoot.

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#24 Edited by DarkKnightwing (294 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_shogun: The ninja effortlessly dodged Kelly's knives, seamlessly leaping into a kick. Kelly leapt into the empty elevator shaft as his foe sailed past. He hung from the severed cable, then unclipping a set if incendiary grenades. He tossed them at the wall near to the Shogun, hoping to distract his assailant. He swung out of the shaft, rolling into the hall away from the flames now licking at the carpeting. He skidded to a stop, seeing a burly pair of guards toting Sig Sauer pistols. He pushed hard on both of their chests, activating the internal circuitry of his gloves. The men collapsed, moaning. As he did so, the backup security measures finally kicked in, sealing the halls off. He spun around to face his earlier opponent, The Shogun. "Well. I have no doubt you'd beat me in a fair fight. I don't intend to fight fair." As he said this, Kelly scattered explosives across the ground. They were not as large or effective as the ones he had used earlier, but they worked. The combination of distant gunfire, explosions and screams made for a terrifying scene. "There. Fight unfair."

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#25 Posted by LunaHawk (1528 posts) - - Show Bio

@fraga:

"Oh hell." Luna Hawk said as the Samurai went on the war path. Unlike Solar Hawk, she wasn't always eager to fight absolutely everything that got in front of her, some things she was willing to see as too small to worry about when there was a significant larger picture at stake. Unfortunately like Solar Hawk, she was not willing to let an ally go unaided. Luna Hawk moved back silently and to her left before she did actually open fire. She fired the crossbow bolt first, a bolt of Nth Metal shot through the air and high speed, its entire shaft and tip crackling with fifty thousand volts of electricity.

Luna Hawk moved quickly after she fired to not be in the same location for long. For now she did not use her wings, unwilling to make the extra noise if she did not have to. She quickly slipped a bolt from her belt and pulled the crossbow strings back to the firing position again. She set the bolt in its appropriate slot and locked it into place. The bolt would stay where it was until she fired again, the depression of the trigger would unlock it and then fling it forward with the string.

For now she was preserving the one shot she had in her laser pistol. The weapon was exceptionally useful but best applied in the right circumstances. Anyone that knew anything about the troubled detective knew that Luna Hawk was never without more than one gun but she wanted to see how her opponent reacted before she switched to a different gun.

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#26 Posted by TheFlashFire (1633 posts) - - Show Bio

@darkknightwing: @the_shogun: @hunterzillas: @lunahawk: @_envy_: @fraga:

Hunter Family Hideout, Gothic

Flashfire sat, rather uncomfortably on the metallic chair within the Hunter Family Base. A thick smell of smoke wafted around the dark room which was only illuminated by the purple ambient lights attached to the ceiling. In front of the swordsmen was his uncle, Vinnie Hunter. He was in his mid 40's and a streak of silver ran through his coal hair. A puff of smoke streamed into Jaireds face as the large man held his cigar. His demonic red eyes glared at his nephew, however Jaired knew better than to even give a hint of fear, something he and his uncles kind could smell.

Finally the burly man sitting inches ahead of Jaired broke the tension with a grin, a thick Italian accent coating his voice ; "So my boy, what brings a spoiled goody goody like you down here in Gothic eh? Shouldn't you be chasing panties in L.A or something? Because I know you're not here to visit you're family." The young man kept an unwavering gaze on his uncle and answered with a sigh; "No, that's not what I'm here for at all.I came to ask you show me how to use my demon powers." If Flashfire had his way he would be in L.A doing exactly as his uncle had said, however it was his own mother, who had grown worried about her son, who had sent him here.

Ramon looked at him with an expression of utter disbelief, and started laughing, "Bahahaha! Lemme guess your mutha' sent you here didn't she? Well you ain't getting zip outta me." Jaired found himself frowning at his kin, and got on his knees; "Come on, there's gotta be something I can give you in exchange for this. Moms gonna have my head if go out of control again." He was answered by a stone hard slap that sent him back a few feet. Ramon sat up and straightened out his jacket; "Aight' first off. A hunter never begs for anything, you got that punk? Secondly, fine, I'll teach you a thing or two, but in exchange I want you to do something for me okay kid? There's this new chick in town blowing from that mutant place venuckaka or somethin' who thinks she can come up in here and shake everything around. I need you to nip er' in the bud. My scouts tell me she's targeted the Conti family first, and was successful. Take care of er' And I'll show you somethin'."

Gothic, Conti Tower

The speedster wore a leather jacket, fitted with grey pants. Around him the world was frozen as he blitzed around the city towards the designated location his uncle had given him; Conti Tower.It hadn't taken him half a second to arrive at the base of the massive building, and he watched as Orochi sprung out from the front doors, along side a feral-like man. Besides them, he recognized two of his allies, Sosuke and Luna Hawk from S.T.R.I.K.E, though Sosuke in particular looked distinctly different, and without his sword as-well.

Jaired guessed the two of them were busy and instead of assisting them against the strange man in-front of them, he ran up the sides of the tower with blistering speed until he reached what seemed like the battle field. Phasing through the walls, he entered the bloody, smoke filled room. Around him filed red dressed ninjas, that flung at him with precise and expert blows. Blows that never made their mark thanks to Flashfire's own speed and martial prowess. Jaired quickly dispatched the Orochi ninja around him with a flurry of expertly aimed blows to each of their vital spots, wasting no time in incapacitating out any of them who got in his way.

Through the gun-fire around him and the smoke, he managed to locate The Shogun herself, as-well as the unknown men who fired at her. In any other circumstance, the speedster would have been happy at the thought of meeting this woman, a proud leader of mutants, wielder of near- unparalleled skill and more. If anything he respected her, however his assignment came first, and as she finished her kick, regardless of whether it missed or hit on point, Jaired propelled himself toward her at speeds putting the fastest light-bolt to shame, and aimed a low-sweep at her leg, empowered by his massive speed and momentum, and shot a barrage of jabs aimed at her head and neck. The same blows that had injured the likes of Darkchild had aimed to either shatter her skull or knock her unconscious. Jaired hadn't a clue if she possessed the necessary speed and reactions or some mutant skill that would enable her to dodge or counter his blows and back-flipped away as soon as he finished his attack.

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

Her brother Alex Rook ones known as Vex now as Dark Vengeance was missing. Departed from the Gothic scene fate yet unknown. Jess had but one clue a scent foreign and faint that she remembered from her history of violence. The scent had also been found on people who boasted about a shadow organization of assassins. She'd been in pursuit the past few days locating and preparing. It wasn't revenge justice or even punishment just a crusade of execution another organization to burn more lives to end. Her will was iron untill her final breath she'd give the grave diggers something to do. For every raped, abused, manipulated, murdered, tortured and stolen from the Dragon would make the victimizers atone for their victims.

Tonight would seam to be something special however something so perfect she could put up the hunt for the League of Shadows for the moment. From a sniper scope she watched what unfolded in the Conti Tower. One mafia boss fell and chaos followed, but she wouldn't join in the engagement there. No this was to perfect to jump in on the battle.

As one crime lord fell many others while calling on someone to try and go end the conflict they themselves bunkered down. Preparing for war troops were called on duty or not. Told to arsenal up and take position. They were preparing for a nightmare to come crashing through the building and so tonight was war. Moving from her window to another she took position. Preparing for a shot. "Azure what you doin bitch come back to bed. I'm a much better mafioso then Conti that won't happen here.

Pulling the heel from her stilleto she through the pointed end flawlessly. An eye popped a pillow was died crimson and 'Azure' went back to being Jessica Rook. "No you were just as retarded now your dead." Virtually everyone in a high rise building was a corrupt official or crime lord. She'd got to this crime boss using all the necessary methods. Some she favored some she loathed but so long as it saw the end of a criminal so be it. Seduction, arsen, poison, bullets name the method she'd use it. Tonight those who thought themselves invincible found out just how wrong they are.

The shadows moving along the window suggested the crude actions from another high rise. The cross hair panned down to see what looked like a black line, out of place and a flickering red light on the side. "Bet you regret teaching me to shoot now Oficer Rock." One of many bad cops, he'd abused her and taught her how to shoot to help frame some of his friends. He'd sense moved to a position of power as a provider of some of the best body guards. Until now. The sniper rifle went off and struck the crossbow bolt imbedded in the building. It was weighted with c4. In a flash of light and a devastating boom the room that'd been casting obscene shadows became nothing but fire and billowing smoke.

Grabbing her bag Jess suited up once more becoming the Dragonfang. From her bag she grabbed the detonator the last item in the purse. With a click the distant building erupted with a series of other explosions. Important offices and rooms becoming just another mass grave. Glancing over her shoulder to look at the Conti tower an honest half smile came to Fang's features. "Thanks Shogun you've made this night easy." The door kicked open and the body guard to refuse knocking was hit in the head by what he at first thought was a fast ball. "Run?" The guard looked up the others around him didn't bother attempting to simply take off. She'd cooked it though the grenade bounced of the man's head and before even hitting the ground went off. Bodies were torn apart, Fang moving from them readied for whoever else would come her way soon. There was plenty of work to do but that didn't mean she'd just leave this tower so soon, the night was still young.

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

Downtown Gothic City - Skid Row

Battery level: 76%

It had been several hours since his arrival in Gothic City, and already he had ended up at rock bottom. He had been attacked by muggers, gangs, and had narrowly avoided being dragged in for questioning by the GCPD, all of which had taken their toll on his energy reserves. There was a reason he had ended up here, however. He needed a place to blend in, and his intentionally ragged looking cloak was the perfect camouflage among the filthy rags of his newfound companions. Since avoiding attention was his goal, it helped greatly that no one sought to take from those with nothing. His new place of residence might not gain him much in the way of esteem, but no one would look for him here.

The sound of distant gunfire had surprised him at first, but when it rang on and on he learned to ignore it as so many before him had. He sat in an unmarked alleyway beneath a broken light, looking for a way to recharge when all of a sudden skid row was bathed in darkness, and Gothic City caught a glimpse of the stars that it had long ago traded for street lights and neon signs.

All hell was breaking loose, the sound of gunfire came much more frequently now, and the roar of a high caliber weapon could be heard echoing through the chaotic streets. The tenants of skid row huddled into the alleys and hid themselves away, but he could not do the same. He had not come here to play vigilante, but it was clear that something big was happening, and he had to know what.

He made his way toward one of the city's many skyscrapers, one that roared with the sound of gunfire and the screams of dying men. He tore through the streets as fast as he could, making his way to Conti Towers. He ran into looters and muggers along the way, but they weren't anything he was unequipped to deal with. He closed the distance quickly, allowing the small caliber rounds to crush themselves on his outer chassis as he shocked the criminals unconscious one after the other. He wasn't here to deal with the run of the mill looters, however, so he pressed on.

Battery level: 63%

As he neared the towers a horrific sight impeded him, there, laying in the street, was what must have once been a man. His chest had been sliced open, his lungs punctured, removed entirely, perhaps, it was difficult to make out through all the carnage, and above him stood his bloodied assailant, claws still caked in the man's gore, making a speech to the sickly men who simply stared on in horror.

The AI's partially corrupted programming kicked in behind his conscious processes, forming a crude subconscious of sorts, and all it told him was that this was clearly not optimal conflict resolution protocol. He stepped forward, announcing his presence to the man covered in blood and bits of flesh.

No Caption Provided

"You there," the AI said, pointing at the back of @alpha_dog "I'm not entirely sure what these men did or who this 'boss' you're speaking of is exactly, but what is clear is that this," the AI gestured toward the still growing pool of blood and the now dead captain "must stop. Come peaceably, or I will be forced to resort to more draconian measures to... detain you."

As his opponent turned toward him his sensors flared warnings, the man before him was carrying Vibranium weapons and armor, both of which were far superior to his own equipment. It dawned on the AI that this fight may have been more than he had bargained for, but it was too late to back down now.

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#30 Posted by Alpha_Dog (1046 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom: "Eh?"

Dog turned, sizing up the newcomer with a practiced eye. He'd figured that sooner or later some vigilante would pick up his trail of carnage across the city, but he had to admit that this was a surprise. The being confronting him looked and acted more like a machine than a man; perhaps he was some kind of robot cop? Nah, he concluded, that would be too stupid for even some movie.

"Ya got a big set o' ball-bearings, I'll give ya that, buckethead," he snarled. He didn't bother to reach for his vibranium knives; they had a tendency to take all the fun out of a fight. "but I hope ya got a good warranty, too." With a savage roar, he lunged forward, one clawed hand swiping at Phantom's neck. He knew that even if his attack connected, there was no guarantee that taking off his mechanical foe's head head would stop him. Still, the neck tended to be a thinner and weaker part on most folks, so he decided he'd start there and make the rest up as he went.

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

@alpha_dog

His foe's speed caught him entirely off balance, so much so that the AI had no time to answer hisenemy's scathing insults. He had not thought that a man weighed down with so much vibranium could move so quickly, much less a man his size. He ducked his head backward, leaning far off balance as he sought to evade the swipe aimed at his neck, but as he did so his head fell to the level at which his neck was previously, and the swipe met steel.

The swipe dislodged a good portion of the AI's vessel, the steel he had welded onto his skull earlier in the day was torn clean off as the man charged him with surprising ferocity. He tore that gang leader apart with his bare hands, he thought to himself, how did I not predict this?

In a desperate bid for escape, the AI engaged the rockets on its back in an attempt to gain some distance from its opponent, shooting back at amazing speeds in the hopes that the blood caked lunatic could not follow. As he did so he disengaged the magnetic lock on his back, drawing a large two handed weapon that more closely resembled a maintenance tool than a rifle.

The AI's mind worked quickly, attempting to pinpoint the direction his opponent would charge in next, and as his digital mind finished its calculations, he fired off two shots, timing each carefully. He only had 4 shots before he had to reload, he had to make them count.

The first missed its mark by a fair margin, the 7 inch long steel spike embedding itself several inches into the concrete, a test shot to determine velocity, opposition's movement speed, drag, wind resistance, and a slew of other factors his robotic mind craved to quantify, to sate his desire for information before letting off his second shot. He brought up the rivet gun once again, and fired, the steel spike aimed at his opponent's legs in an attempt to stop him without killing him.

Had he known who he was dealing with, he would have known that such caution was entirely without reason.

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#32 Posted by Alpha_Dog (1046 posts) - - Show Bio

@ironphantom:

Dog had fought a lot of fights in his day, and he'd almost as much experience fighting robotic opponents as he had ones of flesh and blood. He preferred the latter of course; the feeling of tearing into the meat and bones of a screaming enemy was one of life's great pleasures. However, he had to confess that there was a certain satisfaction to be gained in fighting machines, as well. They didn't hesitate, didn't make mistakes due to fear or rage, and weren't hampered by pain. Only the very best biological fighters could claim this, and this made a fight with a mechanical opponent a fun challenge.

This one was a lot quicker than the typical collection or gears and hydraulics, too. An attack that would have decapitated most only earned Dog a chunk of metal n his hand and a foe that suddenly blasted backwards, obviously seeking to put some distance between them. As he gamely charged forward, he briefly wondered whether this was going to be a chase or a brawl, but he got his answer a moment later as Phantom produced what looked like a cross between a sniper rifle and a riveter, and began firing high-velocity metal spikes in his direction.

Now yer talkin'.

The first shot went wide, but the second hit dead-on, sinking deeply into Dog's thigh and only stopping when it hit bone. In anyone else, it probably would have punched cleanly through, but Dog's bones were tougher than most. Still, the damaged stopped his charge, sending him to one knee on the pavement with a snarl of pain and fury.

Yeah, this one's worth the time.

"Ya dropped somethin', Tin Man." With a guttural growl, Dog ripped the spike from his own leg and hurled it back at Phantom, aiming for his center-of-mass.

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#33 Posted by hunterzillas (1183 posts) - - Show Bio

@_envy_: @fraga: @lunahawk:

Omega grunted as the other man went into action against Envy. He was soon followed by Luna, who fired with her crossbow. Deciding now was the best time for action, Omega rolled to the side, whipping out one of the few weapons he had decided to bring with him, his single silver pistol, a replica of his previous golden pair.

The weapon he held carried Adamantium rounds, fired at extremely high speeds, even in comparison to sniper rounds. During this, his other hand went for the hilt of his blade, Indignation, preparing for any sign of retaliation. He now wished he had brought other gear, but as it was, he would have to make do with what he had.

Aiming the gun at Envy, and slowly drawing out his katana, he waited, tense, and ready for a fight.

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

@alpha_dog:

The steel projectile had found its mark. Confident that his opponent would not be moving anytime soon, Iron Phantom offered an olive branch.

"Perhaps now you will concede and come in quietl--"

"Ya dropped somethin' Tin Man." his opponent growled at him.

Tin man. Perhaps his armor did not give off the appearance of human occupation after all. Though to be fair, he has ripped off a portion of my face... A concern to look into at a later time.

Just then the man across from him withdrew the steel spike, a geyser of blood shooting forth from where it once was.

Just bluster and bravado, surely. The AI thought to itself, but no sooner had it finished the thought when the steel spike was hurled back in his direction. The AI practically scoffed internally. What could he hope to accomplish?He would have to throw it with a speed of at least--

Suddenly warnings glared at him once more, and he shot to one side to avoid the steel blur shooting toward him, reacting a second too late. The rivet had caught his side, ripping a portion of his alloy armor clean off. Sparks flew from the open wound, showering the ground beneath him in a cascade of light.

The projectile had been thrown with an excess of 8 tons of force, near enough to rip his chassis in half had it struck its intended target.

The AI was underestimating his opponent again, and for every time it had done so his opponent had devastated him. He could not afford to prolong the engagement further. The AI leapt backward on its powerful hydraulic legs to fire the rivet gun once more, this time at the mutant's skull.

It was an attempt that was foiled before it even began.

The steel spike that had struck torn through his chassis had gone on to embed itself into the street lamp behind him, pinning his metal cloak to the pole. This caused his leap backward to suddenly jerk him off balance for a few crucial seconds, an opportunity that his opponent would not allow to go by unchecked. If the man standing across from him was half the fighter he thought him to be, fleeing from his onslaught would be impossible.

The AI would have to fight him in his element, dead close range. Its mind whirred away at possible resolutions to the fight, 97% of which resulted in its own quick death. There would be only one hope this close to the mutant.

Iron Phantom reached back as though to pull the spike from his cloak, fist hidden inside the dull black metal garment. His right shoulder down to his fingertips crackled with electricity, enough energy to put down the largest of creatures with ease.

Its only hope, to trade this blow with an opponent who was far faster, more skilled, and infinitely more ruthless than itself in the hopes that it would incapacitate him long enough for the AI to gain some distance. If it could manage to avoid death from the first blow, perhaps it would be able to gain the distance needed to bring the fight back in its favor.

Regardless of the outcome, however, the Iron Phantom knew it would not come out of the exchange unscathed.

Battery Level: 52%

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#35 Edited by The_Shogun (4803 posts) - - Show Bio

@jack_: @darkknightwing: @theflashfire:

Smoke, fire and the chaos of battle swirled around the Shogun. She felt at ease. At home. This was where she lived.

Shootout had vanished in the chaos. The Shogun could still feel pain from the gunshot that had somehow penetrated her vibranium armor. Part of her wanted nothing more than the chance to catch up with him and even the score but she knew facing the dangerous mercenary would require all of her focus and skill.

The vigilante in front of her evaded her flying kick and attacked several of the people in the area.

"Well. I have no doubt you'd beat me in a fair fight. I don't intend to fight fair."He said, distributing his explosive charges across the floor.

"There. Fight unfair."

Just as Ivana begin to respond a new foe entered the battle. Moving at an unbelievable velocity he unleashed a flurry of strikes upon the vibranium armored Shogun.

His foot sweep flashed through the air like lightning, lifting Ivana's armored boots from the ground. Then his first strike flew at a speed incomprehensible to the human eye.

The very first jab slammed into her helm like a round from a railgun.

Ivana was not a small woman and her armor weighed around forty pounds alone. But mass was mass. Acceleration was acceleration. Vibranium absorbed a great deal of the kinetic energy but the remainder was more than enough to knock the Shogun through the far wall and out into the empty sky fifty stories above ground.

A cone of debris followed her out of the skyscraper. Shattered glass, chunks of concrete and bent rebar clattered into the pavement below as the ruler of Venezuela twisted to right herself mid fall and her crimson glider cape snapped out, catching her fall.

Her dive twisted around the side of the next skyscraper, taking her out of sight temporarily before she soared up, up past the roof of another skyscraper, bow in hand.

Twisting mid flight her black gauntleted hands flew, blurring as they unleashed a single arrow from her quiver upon the room containing Kelly and Jaired.

Ivana had always made use of explosive arrows but her capture of Venezuela's throne had opened up a world of technology she could not afford before. One of those new weapons was an explosive arrow with a thermobaric warhead.

No Caption Provided

It streaked through the air between them and exploded in the center of the room. The thermobaric warhead exploded with enough power to completely incinerate anyone caught at the center of the blast. Within its fifty yard radius it would collapse lungs, rupture ear drums and inflict serious brain trauma.

And Ivana hoped it would also detonate the explosives Kelly had set, doubling or tripling the power of the explosion and ridding her of the speedster and the vigilante in one fell stroke.

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#36 Posted by DarkKnightwing (294 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_shogun: Kelly took in the brief fight between his foe and the newcomer, before realizing what was about to happen. He moved with unerring accuracy and astonishing speed for a human. He shot three hundred micro trackers, meant to imbed one's clothing or pores, at the shogun, before slipping his bulkiest gadget off of his back. A lean circle of metal encircled a blade similar to that of a helicopter. It was impossible for it to carry him, yet it was impossible for a bumblebee to fly. He leapt out of the window, rising in the air as the room exploded. As he rose, he noticed a cloaked helicopter above him. He was soon level with it, and saw that his employer was waiting for him inside. This time, he wore a heavy suit of body armor and carried a tear gas launcher. Kelly landed inside. "You have done well, Kelly."

"Why thank you. Now. What the hell is going on down there!"

"Something akin to a war, my dear boy."

"I'm not your dear anything. Who the hell are you?"

"Just a man. A man with global resources and a number of highly skilled operatives under my employ. I believe you can be a part of this, if you succeed in completing this mission."

"Assuming I even accept your offer, what exactly is this mission. Am I to kill some one?"

"No. I simply need someone to manipulate the events here in my favor. Before you ask why you should trust me, I have two words to say to you. Cynthia. Wix." Kelly looked shocked for a moment. "Fine."

"Good. I will be in constant contact with you for the next part of your mission. You should stock up on weapons. They'll be located in the back of the copter. Then, use those trackers to locate The Shogun. Good luck." Twenty minutes later, Kelly was leaping out of a helicopter. "Oh, I'll work for you, alright. But one day I will find out what you know about Cynthia, and when I do, I will hunt down the man who killed her and give him his own personal hell."

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#37 Edited by Jack_ (2451 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_shogun: @darkknightwing: @theflashfire:

There would have been know way to know which fighter would strike first. Both Desmond and his mysterious enemy were poised to strike with uncanny precision, having each devoted their lives to combat. His fingers twitched as sweat rolled down his brow, congealing around his neck as his eyes moved back and forth. At the very moment his eyes narrowed and he moved to activate his wrist-mounted firearms, the entire top of the building was seemingly incinerated.

The sheer force of the blast propelled Desmond's body across the street, his limbs flailing about as he struggled to stay conscious. His mystic suit took the brunt of the explosion, mitigating the trauma that would be induced by sustaining such a violent force upon his form; and yet, he was entirely disoriented, and launched into the tower across the street with such speed that he was stunned upon landing.

He stumbled to his feet, eyes watering. His entire body was sore, as though he had just climbed a mountain. He flexed experimentally, checking to see if he was wounded more seriously than he had thought. He winced as his arm cracked, clearly damaged by the explosives. Small bits of shrapnel were lodged in the suit, but they had not penetrated the unknown material. All's well, he thought, brushing off bits of glass. Despite the discomfort in his arm, he was in no way out of the fight.

He looked back into the building from which he had come, the top floor now a flaming mess. His former target had engaged a new threat, presumably the source of the deadly explosion. As he watched, he was forced to avert his eyes as the building was consumed by an even larger, more impressive explosion than the last. The selective audio dampeners in his helmet had saved his ears from the noise, but the blast had illuminated the sky like a bolt of lightning, forcing him to avert his eyes. By the time his vision had cleared, he wasn't looking at the charred remains of the skyscraper, but rather searching for his old target, undoubtedly the most dangerous foe in the area.

Ha. Found you, he mused, rolling his neck back and forth. He had fallen into the destroyed fifth floor of Conti's tower, tossed over the entire street. Perhaps he could turn such a lucky shot to his advantage.

Running forwards as fast as he could, he leapt from one of the many destroyed windows, forearms extended directly at his opponent, the Shogun of Venezuela. While he had not recognized such a high-profile target, he nonetheless understood the danger she posed to his mission to eliminate Conti's network. Ironic, being that she was now the one in charge, unbeknownst to Desmond.

Soaring across the block from the fifth floor, he let his guns blaze, sending a hail of bullets at the Shogun. As if time slowed down around him, he maintained a straight pose extending all of his limbs in the so-called Superman position. Never letting up, he would roll upon landing, the shock absorbed by his suit.

"Now, where were we, miss?" he taunted, pressing the lethal assault. Even if her suit were equally impressive (if not more so), and were able to absorb the impacts of his bullets, she would at least be distracted, and perhaps staggered by his attack.

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#38 Posted by Shogun_of_Sarcasm (2047 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

Sometimes I hate people more than I'm accustomed to. Despite endeavoring endlessly to keep distance and actually live like the lonesome goofy I should be, it never showed any results. Seems like destiny craves for me to have relationships well-established with everyone I cross paths with. Luckily, though, I mostly convert those relations to hate or to "I will hire you when I need something dead" pretty quickly with my two best skills: being annoying and being proficient.

Still, even though the League has been a great and depressing experience, there are some members I just don't see eye to eye. The kid's an example. He's way too cocky, and from what I have spied, a crybaby nonetheless. Strigidae wasn't one, though. Not 'till today. I mean, you wanna maintain power and sustain your dictatorial monarchy? For f*cksakes, I basically made some of those arise! I'm the Amoral Immortal, not one to halt you for principles. Honest. Yet, when you send your little clan to belittle the Gothic underground and squat my employers, my equipment-sellers, just to domineer it yourself? You're crossing a line there. And I don't f*cking care if you're a teammate, you're not the one keeping me occupied every week, every month or giving me the gear necessary to spend my time.

If I had no reason to do this, then fine, just finish them off and pay me some ransom for aid. But the corpses beneath the Orochi's feet are those who entertain me in incredibly breathtaking mission of ultimate impossibility. Those who stretch a hand and help muffle the voices in my head, dampen the flashes and prevent the emotional sinking...

AND YOU'RE TAKING THAT AWAY FROM ME!

Killing for Gothic's big bosses has been my sole hobby for years. I travel, scout, fathom and murder in such a coldblooded way. No eating, no drinking, no resting. Just the straightforward delight of cracking a skull in the most insane ways. No matter how many enemies you have, you're ending an unlimited source of distraction here. It's easier to work for multiple patrons than to await the only master of the underworld to pick enemies. Aside from that, people are profit. And I harvest money. After all, merc life is Economics.

You gotta invest and be patient to watch a bounty bloom. You gotta cut a subject that has grown everything it could. You gotta calculate the loss and the gains to see if you're walking out better than you walked in. And all that mathematics and schematics are slipping betwixt my fingers right now.

Smoke ascends in a veil, covering my eyes. A broken katana in hands, not one of mine, but one of the Orochi's. I'm not wasting my gear here. And I'm not using lethal forces either. Pressure points, backside of the blade, dismaying enemies at best. I need to buy time. Armando is running to his backdoor, he's my main source of money. I basically buried the corpses from which his foundation sprouted, skyrocketing in a high rate and derailing many lesser lords in such an expeditious act. Now he's fragile, cowering into a door like a mouse. No problem, I'll help him rebuild... for the right price.

My right arm is fractured in three points, there's an arrow puncturing my right lung, that explains the blood in my respiration, I have a few broken fingers. The regenerative properties of my ambulant corpse begin to act. Hence why I feel this tremendous need to comment on the gas perfume that is just like a fart.

F*ck, there goes my mind. My sane one, at least. Just open your goddamn mouth and spill the beans.

"He-hey, Imperial Guard, let's calm down a little. Uncle Drake likes Aunt Strigs very much, but she has to comprehend Drake has his motives to defend the mafia. It's uncle's job in risk here, and that means all the over-the-top travels to France to snipe people from the Eiffel Tower while eating croissant in a ballerina costume ar-" The arrow cleaves my right eye now. I would scream if that bothered me at all. Still, I laugh it off, shrugging and jolting into action once again. It's... It's time for a dance.

"Got ninety-nine problems, and you b*tches are all."

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#39 Posted by Alpha_Dog (1046 posts) - - Show Bio

@alpha_dog:

The steel projectile had found its mark. Confident that his opponent would not be moving anytime soon, Iron Phantom offered an olive branch.

"Perhaps now you will concede and come in quietl--"

"Ya dropped somethin' Tin Man." his opponent growled at him.

Tin man. Perhaps his armor did not give off the appearance of human occupation after all. Though to be fair, he has ripped off a portion of my face... A concern to look into at a later time.

Just then the man across from him withdrew the steel spike, a geyser of blood shooting forth from where it once was.

Just bluster and bravado, surely. The AI thought to itself, but no sooner had it finished the thought when the steel spike was hurled back in his direction. The AI practically scoffed internally. What could he hope to accomplish?He would have to throw it with a speed of at least--

Suddenly warnings glared at him once more, and he shot to one side to avoid the steel blur shooting toward him, reacting a second too late. The rivet had caught his side, ripping a portion of his alloy armor clean off. Sparks flew from the open wound, showering the ground beneath him in a cascade of light.

The projectile had been thrown with an excess of 8 tons of force, near enough to rip his chassis in half had it struck its intended target.

The AI was underestimating his opponent again, and for every time it had done so his opponent had devastated him. He could not afford to prolong the engagement further. The AI leapt backward on its powerful hydraulic legs to fire the rivet gun once more, this time at the mutant's skull.

It was an attempt that was foiled before it even began.

The steel spike that had struck torn through his chassis had gone on to embed itself into the street lamp behind him, pinning his metal cloak to the pole. This caused his leap backward to suddenly jerk him off balance for a few crucial seconds, an opportunity that his opponent would not allow to go by unchecked. If the man standing across from him was half the fighter he thought him to be, fleeing from his onslaught would be impossible.

The AI would have to fight him in his element, dead close range. Its mind whirred away at possible resolutions to the fight, 97% of which resulted in its own quick death. There would be only one hope this close to the mutant.

Iron Phantom reached back as though to pull the spike from his cloak, fist hidden inside the dull black metal garment. His right shoulder down to his fingertips crackled with electricity, enough energy to put down the largest of creatures with ease.

Its only hope, to trade this blow with an opponent who was far faster, more skilled, and infinitely more ruthless than itself in the hopes that it would incapacitate him long enough for the AI to gain some distance. If it could manage to avoid death from the first blow, perhaps it would be able to gain the distance needed to bring the fight back in its favor.

Regardless of the outcome, however, the Iron Phantom knew it would not come out of the exchange unscathed.

Battery Level: 52%

Yeah, definitely a robot, Dog mused, as his improvised projectile brought a shower of sparks, rather than blood, from his foe. His eyes narrowed as Phantom attempted another brief retreat, only to evidently be foiled by his own fashion sense. "Heh, sorry," he sneered, "I was never much fer respectin' personal space." With a feral roar, he pounced at his mechanical nemesis, claws extended to puncture his chassis. He noticed Phantom reaching back to withdraw the spike from the lamp post, but confident that the small pointy object couldn't deal any damage that would slow him down, much.

Thus, it was with no small amount of surprise when what felt like several thunderstorms worth of electricity was pumped through his body. Howling as every nerve ending lit up like Times Square on New Year's Eve, he was violently thrown backwards, skidding along the pavement for about a dozen yards or so. He blacked out for several seconds, before coming to and wondering what had just happened, whereupon the realization that his body felt like it had been flayed and rolled in salt reminded him.

Guess the sparks should've given that bit away, he thought, as he slowly began to push himself off the sidewalk, the bloodthisty growl once again building in his throat.

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#40 Posted by The_Shogun (4803 posts) - - Show Bio

@jack_:

Several moments of silence followed the explosion. Then Ivana could hear the pattering of glass, concrete and other debris against the black pavement below.

Her glider cape still extended she soared on the humid heat that rose from the asphalt of Gothic's trash strewn streets below. The breeze carried her on its silent hand and Ivana felt a moment of peace wash over her.

And pain.

As the adrenaline faded she felt the throbbing ache in her side where Shootout's bullet had managed to penetrate her vibranium armor. She felt a tightness and pressure in her chest from the shockwave of the vigilante Kelly's explosives. A knife sharp migraine drove lances through her temples; no amount of vibranium could completely protect her against the hypersonic impact of the speedster's Jaraed's strikes.

But mostly she felt old.

How many of those would I have dodged fifteen years ago? She wondered. Thirty five years was old for a warrior. Most of these kids were in their twenties for a reason.

Not only did everyone slow down but the body could only take so much. Even with the vibranium every shot to the head hurt more and she recovered slower. Too many concussions.

Bullets slapped into her armor buzzing like angry hornets, yanking her from her reverie.

She reached out with her mutant ability to 'read' nervous systems on reflex and 'felt' the gunman who had injured her and slaughtered so many of her Orochi and mafia captains.

A quick tuck and twist yanked her cape glider down into a dive. Shootout never missed a beat-- or a shot.

Jesus. Didn't miss once.

Then, somehow, another round penetrated her armor. It pierced the flexible vibranium weave above her knee. When it scrapped across the bone she couldn't stop herself from grunting in pain; it felt like someone had driven a red hot piece of iron into her leg.

Ivana couldn't see the buildings around her; blind she lived in a world of darkness, but she could feel the nervous systems of the humans who lived and work there. She could feel the thousands of tiny insects who roamed through the vast glass and steel towers. She could feel them all rising from the earth in layers, floor after floor of teaming nervous systems that formed towering rectangles of life.

And she could feel the birds that soared between the buildings as she did now. Blind, she navigated the shapes formed by collections of nervous systems the way ancient sailors navigated by the stars.

She had dived to accelerate, then she pulled out of her dive, speed doubled as she twisted into a barrel roll, attempting to evade Shootouts non-stop stream of bullets.

The Shogun couldn't shake him. Every single bullet that exited the barrels of his guns slapped into her armor. Were it not for the thick vibranium plating she would be dead many times over. Lead clattered from the hot asphalt below as round after round found its kinetic energy absorbed by her vibranium.

Another bullet penetrated her armor, this one slicing through the vibranium mesh on her left arm. It was a grazing shot, barely penetrating the skin but it burned like hell.

Alright, f*ck this guy.

She felt him land and roll to his feet on one of the buildings above her. Twisting her torso she banked hard and the blood red glider cape turned her black armored form toward the building Shootout had landed on.

Ivana slammed into the wall several stories below him feet first. Harmonic mesh built into the soles of her boots activated, bonding them to the wall. She could run, climb or stick to any surface if she wished.

The Shogun hand landed well below Shootout and the building between them blocked the line of sight they had to one another. A line of site Ivana did not need, thanks to her mutant ability to read and track nervous systems.

She stood on the wall, body parallel to the ground below her and bow in her extended left hand. The crimson of her cape dangled toward the ground, whipping and cracking in the wind like a flag.

Blood dripped from the seemingly impossible gunshot holes in her armor, splattering on the sidewalk below.

In a single smooth motion she drew one arrow from her quiver, knocked and drew.

In her minds eye she could picture the nervous system of her lethal enemy. A thousand slender lines, pulsing and glowing translucent blue; his nervous system. She aimed at the heart.

Among the arts of the Strigadae there was a style known as Abuskhau. A master of Abuskhau could 'push' their kinesthetic sense out beyond the borders of their body, allowing them to shoot, fire and throw as accurately as if they were merely touching their nose with a fingertip. To a master of Abuskhau the two actions were one and the same.

She did so now, 'pushing' her kinesthetic sense out to encompass Shootout, making her shots as accurate as if she was touching one of her hands against the other. For the heartbeat she felt as if they were one and the same body.

Tapping into her mutant gifts she infused the arrowhead with a tachyon singularity; the power that allowed her to carve through titanium with a steak knife. Only true adamantine could halt a blade so infused.

She loosed the arrow. Its tachyon infused head struck the thick glass windowpane eight feet in front of her at a steep upward angle. It sliced through like the reinforced glass was butter. The concrete between floors fared no better as the arrow sliced through the building without slowing down.

It emerged from the floor at Shootout's feet and flashed toward his heart, the inhuman accuracy of the Shogun allowing her to target the left ventricle of the gunman's heart with the precision of a laser.

It was a spear-tipped titanium headed arrow with a carbon fiber shaft filled with toxins; an arrow that was standard issue among the Orochi. If it penetrated his skin it would instantly spray its payload of botulinum toxin into his bloodstream through the micro-jets, smaller than the eye could see, in the titanium arrowhead.

Botulinum was the most lethal conventional neurotoxin known to man. Two point one nanograms was considered a one hundred percent lethal does to any human of any weight. If it entered his bloodstream it would attempt to degrade the SNAP-25 protein, which would cause the failure of every neurotransmitter.. which would cause near instant and total paralysis.. and the failure of every organ.

Paralysis.

Organ failure.

Blood loss.

Cardiac arrest.

Death.

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#41 Posted by SilverWolf99 (2 posts) - - Show Bio

"Sir, we have reports of a disturbance at the Conti Tower."

Hands tucked behind his back, Alpha made his appearance, stepping out of the darkness. Tall, muscled, and most of all, carrying a coolness in his stride. His black attire flowing behind him in a dramatic fashion, he made an intimidating, and authoritative figure. Along his path to the assistant who had informed him of the occurring events, scientists, engineers, and horrors to be unspoken of within the laboratory.

With each approaching step, these things lunged at him from their restraints, for all pain they ever received were at the whim of the man walking before them. Hatred, true loathing seeped from them, and Alpha felt their eyes follow him down his walkway.

Outside he was emotionless, calm. In his mind, he couldn't help but smile.

All noises ceased however, upon him reaching his destination, standing behind his assistant. "What events are transpiring?" Alpha's voice rattled through the other man's bones, making shake with fear. His boss's gaze may be hidden behind his sunglasses, but he knew that those red eyes were staring intently into the back of his head, probably processing the number of ways to dispatch him.

"Umm, si...sir. It appears that what you predicted has happened," stammered the man, trying his best, to no avail, to keep his voice calm. Alpha had killed people over far lesser things. "So, the Shogun is making her move on Gothic City?"

"Yes sir, but she appears to be meeting heavy resistance. Many others have apparently come against her, including members of S.T.R.I.K.E."

Alpha merely grunted at his response. He knew there would be something. There was always some heroes who just enjoyed being pests, getting in everyone's way. So far, he had been able to conceal all of his management and doings, leaving no stone unturned to keep his existence hidden among the worms. But, now, with this power play in motion, he began to ponder if it was time to reveal themselves.

"And, sir, Omega is there as well...."

A iron grasp wrapped around his throat, crushing his windpipes. Alpha's face was now eclipsed with a look of hate.

"What!"

"Sir...please..." The man continued to gasp, his futile attempts only making his situation worse. His vision blackened, his life slowly ebbing away.

But with a quick release, Alpha let go of him, his calm demeanor returning once more. You need to keep that in check, rise above that brainless brute's method.

"Hmm...this could play to my advantage. Contact the air room, tell them to prepare the Cloakcopter. It is time for us to me to make some new, friends." With these words, Alpha walked off down the path he had entered through, with the returning calls of the animals along the way, as well as his cold steel gaze, and his horrible smile.

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

@alpha_dog:

Battery Level: 32%

It had worked. The AI had finally managed to down his opponent, and just in time to avoid the killing blow, but it had come at the cost of one fifth of its total power levels.

A bargain if there ever was one.

Despite the temporary victory, it knew it could not rest on its laurels. For a brief moment the AI considered simply to killing the mutant while he was still unconscious, but upon reviewing the data it realized it did not know how. The shock it had just delivered to his system was more than enough to kill an African elephant, yet he was merely unconscious. Now was not the time to ponder his enemy's mortality, or lack thereof, however. The AI had to act quickly.

The AI hurriedly gathered the steel spikes it had fired off, the pieces of alloy armor that were still salvageable, and its wits and shot off into an alley. Perhaps it was not the bravest decision it had made this evening, but meeting its enemy head on would be foolishness, and a show of bravery was not worth its life.

He might be awake now.

It was a terrifying thought, but the AI could not simply wait in the alleyway for its foe to find and subsequently rip apart. In a single leap it made its way to the top of a nearby jewelry store. With any luck the mutant would wake up, see his robotic foe had left, and follow suit. This was not an outcome the AI would count on, however. It had underestimated him enough for the night. Its mind made up at last, it propped itself against the rooftops far wall, raised its rivet gun, and aimed down at the spot where it had last left its unconscious foe.

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#43 Posted by Jack_ (2451 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_shogun:

Everyone dies, eventually. Desmond wasn't known for his empathy; he was a stone-cold killer. But he had seen the other side. He knew what was coming, and to him, he was just moving people along from one world to the next. Violently.

He had recommenced his assault on the Shogun, bullets blaring from the twin wrist-guns, the noise drowning out the various sounds of chaos that permeated Gothic's sickening air. His eyes narrowed in determination, watching as every last shot ended up finding its way into his opponent. He gritted his teeth, standing firm, keeping the triggers pressed. He felt the recoil of the guns, the heat of the barrels, and the small dink dink of the casings hitting the ground, even over the thunderous roar of the gunshots. Sweat dripped down his face beneath his mask, time itself almost coming to a stop due to the sheer adrenaline coursing through his tired veins.

Then he saw it.

A single arrow, nocked with the precise, calculated motions of a warrior far superior to himself. He watched her pull back the bowstring despite the hail of deadly lead that surrounded her, the shining tip reflecting silver light through the mess of bronze bullets. His finger never left the button, even as the arrow was released.

He watched it spin gently through the air, a symbol of efficient, deadly elegance amongst the storm of naked metal. His life didn't flash before his eyes, but he did experience everything more...acutely. His muscles tensed as it flew through the cone of shots, his peripheral vision illuminated by the flare of his weapons. It soared true, despite the wall of lead that blocked its path. The titanium tip made contact with a bullet mid-flight, slicing clean through it, never changing its angle. It was the last thing Desmond saw.

Oh God, he thought, not now, not like th-

The arrow tore through the mystic mesh that covered his chest, the tachyon singularity housed in the tip slicing through the as-of-yet unpenetrated armor. It cut through his white undershirt, making painful contact with his skin. Ripping through his left pectoral, it cleaved through muscle, vein, bone, deadly neurotoxin seeping into every last internal pore. The arrow's momentum slowed by his armor, it finally halted in his heart.

His eyes still wide open, Desmond McLeod made merely crumpled to the ground, falling backwards with a single arrow shaft embedded in his chest. A small pool of blood welled up around the wound, seeping onto the ground beneath him. The spinning, smoking barrels on his forearms came to a stop. Bullets ceased to leave the barrels, despite his fingers still being on the now-bloody triggers.

...Elsewhere...

"Afternoon, boy. That was quite a show you put on for me," chuckled the Man in White. He laughed loudly, a hearty sound that permeated the small section of a casino. The man wore an extravagant white suit, a gold-rimmed cowboy hat, and showy boots with large spurs. He had a small beard, and a round-looking face. He shuffled a deck of playing cards back and forth, cutting the stack, rolling them up and down his sleeves, and in between his fingers.

Desmond snapped awake when he heard the familiar voice, the one he would never forget. He had been leaning back in a small chair, a stack of poker chips on the table in front of him. He lurched forward, eyes open in shock. He wasn't wearing his suit, but the white undershirt and jeans he had on when he first met the Man.

"You gonna ante up, kiddo?" he grinned, placing the deck back on the table. Desmond silently complied, tossing two chips back into the pile in the middle. He shivered slightly, despite the room being rather warm. He just stared at the white-suited man, who absentmindedly dealt him a hand of five cards.

"So..." began Desmond wearily, "...you said that the next time I met with you, it would mean that the terms of the...deal...had changed, Mister," he said wearily. He sweated a little, squirming in his chair.

"That's right, m'boy, that's right," grinned the Man. He had a vaguely Texan accent, and despite the somewhat eccentric manner of dress he had, he still radiated an authority of sorts. Like an older brother, Desmond had thought. Someone who was always in control. The Man in White raised the stakes, casually tossing in a few more chips.

"Now, mister McLeod, you knew the risks involved in playing against the house," chided the Man in White. "You win some, you lose some. You're a gambler, mister McLeod. But eventually, even the best poker players get dealt a bad hand."

Desmond called, thinking he was bluffing.

Right on cue, the Man in White laid down a full house, swiping the sizeable stack of chips. Suddenly, Desmond realized they were his last few.

"You're out of luck, boy," chuckled the Man. He sat forward in his chair, puffing on an expensive cigar as he adjusted his hat. "I'd agreed to help you out here and there, mister McLeod. I gave you what you won in our last game. But, of course, you remember the buy-in," said the Man with a smile.

The ante, thought Desmond with a chill. He began twiddling his fingers, pulling imaginary triggers under the table. It had become a nervous habit of his.

"Now, mister McLeod...Desmond...most men wouldn't receive this incredibly gracious offer. You get to keep playing. You're out of chips, but I'm offering you a way back into the game, son," spoke the charismatic Man. "A little loan, if you will. Just make sure you give me a good show."

"I don't, ah, know, Mister...I mean...haven't I lost enough already?" chuckled Shootout with a weak grin.

"Now, mister McLeod, may I remind you of the alternative? You know what happens if you can't pay the house back," chided the man, playfully shaking a finger at him. "You see, boy, this is what's called a Hobson's Choice. That is to say, you have no choice. This is a way out of the conditions we agreed upon when you won our last game."

The man sat forward for the first time, his grin widening as he set his cards face-up on the table. A royal flush...? What are the odds of tha-

"Do you remember, mister McLeod? You don't hold up your end of the bargain, I keep your soul."

Desmond paled, snapping out of his death-induced haze. His mind left the game for the first time, remembering the final draw of the last game, the swiping of the chips, and the handshake that sealed his fate.

"So what do you suggest, then? I'm dead. You want a show, how am I going to-"

"It's simple, son. Kill your killer. It's that easy. This is your last buy-out. You're going to wake up with a revolver strapped to your leg. A good old-fashioned six-shooter. There's a special bullet inside. One is all you get. You make that shot, you keep your soul. Last chance, mister McLeod. Ante up!"

He laughed, a horrible echoing noise that made Desmond recoil in terror. His eyes closed, and in a moment, they opened.

Within Conti Tower...about 15 minutes later

Desmond twitched to life, breathing heavily. He was in a world of pain, and he found himself unable to move. The neurotoxin had been purged from his system, but the arrow was still sticking out of his chest. It had been in deeper before...

With a groan, he pulled it from his body, a seemingly impossible feat. Somehow, he was still alive...where had he gone to?

He shuddered in horror as he felt the silver magnum strapped to his leg. Without looking down, he grasped at it, staring straight ahead. Opening it, he glanced at the single bullet, eyes narrowing in fear, then determination. Inscribed was one word.

Ivana.

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

@matthew_cassidy:

The Orochi came in force, with increasing difficulty and adaptability that made it harder for Elliot to adapt to them. He was a normal man after all, and they were an army of superpowered mutants. Lightnin cackled along the arm of one Orochi as he channeled it into the arrow of one of his arms. "Sh**!" Elliot mutters as he runs and dives for cover as the arrow is let off. Letting an explosion of plasma lose about the room as it vaporizes most metals present and makes large blastwave.

As the warrior prepares another he sees Elliot laying on the ground, having been sent into a wall. The man looks up and the Orochi draws another arrow, as Elliot pulls out a .454 Magnum as he taks aim at the man, or more accurately the weapon. They both fire at the same time. The arrow going roughly 165 miles per hour and the bullet traveling 1200 miles per hour. The two collide and there is a flash, followed by an explosion as the arrow detonates premptively next to the Orochi, liquifying him with it's blast waves.

Elliot staggers up to his feet, only to feel some force take control of him. The very blood in his veins began to boil as he was forced to his knees by one Orochi, and another drew his sword. The other holding the man in place with blood bending. However, at that moment the two were taken into the shadows a moment later, taken by surprise as they were handled. Elliot pants and then gets up on one knee.

"Bit late to the party, ain'tcha mat?" Elliot smirks under his mask after his comment about there being only one parashoot. "You shittin' me? You came all the f***ing way up here? Then again, you aren't really carryin' anything. Kinda glad I got it. I'm the one who has to carry around a little over a hundred pounds of gear around. But, enough complainin' bout who's scab is bigger. The shogunate of Venezuala is somewhere around here. Either in this building or somewhere out there. Has something to do with the conti and-" Elliot's eyes get wide under his mask as he seeks to grab matt and pull him aside. There would be a brief blur as an Orochi moving around at several hundred miles per hour, blade grazing the side of Elliot helmet and sparking against it as the two dissappear in a blur.

As the pair in essence dissappear, a portal forms behind Matt as an Orochi Brandishing his vibranium blade approaches him.

Elliot gets slammed with force comparable to being hit by a car. Elliot went all the way across the hall rolling with the Orochi as he got sent through a wall. Being sent hurdling back as he rolls against the ground, and coughes up blood as he looks up at his opponent. And quickly gets up as he empties accurate shots upon his opponent with one of his dual wielded .454 revolvers. One gun at a time. All the shots, are however are blocked by the rapidly moving, inhumanly fastvibranium blade, absorbing most of the shock of the 1900 lbs of force the gun hit with. Elliot throws down a smoke bomb, and dissappears from the ninja's gaze. He holds his katana at the ready. Listening, focusing on where his opponent may be.

*BANG* No matter how fast you are, you can't hear bullet coming, if it's faster then sound. The warrior dropped his blade. Shot in the stomache, and stunned for a moment as Elliot bashed him in the side of the head with pistol with around a ton of force. Outting him as he laid on the floor. Least this way there was a chance he would survive. As Elliot feels a presence his neck, he began to float haplessly in the air as he was picked up by a telekinetic mutant. He

*Clank clank clank*

There was an explosion and a bright light as the flash bang went off. Causing the mutant to fall to the ground from the window shattering sound of the explsosion. He sent out an omni directional blast wave that sent the man out into the halls and into yet another room as he hit the wall and ended up smack dab into a room as he recovers, and snaps his gun on yet another unknown assailant. (@shogun_of_sarcasm)

Elliot pants and looks around to see the bodies he's created so far, and then looks over to the mutant Orochi returning.... "Didn't chur mama ever tell you not to go out in pajamas?"

Reluctance to kill, is gonna get me killed. Not anything broken yet, but he was sore. Something feels like a fracture. Can't tell. His body is feeling a bit numb right now, as the sitution turns more and more into kill or be killed. The telekinetic mutant approaches the two along with more Orochi.

Wonder how matt's doin'. Hope he lasts.

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#45 Edited by Shogun_of_Sarcasm (2047 posts) - - Show Bio

@just_an_average_man:

"Ah, f*ck this sh*t!"

There are too many. Coming from everywhere, sprouting like blossoming flowers in a spring soil. I have been lacerated, more blood gushes out of my throat than words. Swords thrust in the air, slithering my flesh and tainting the flooring. It doesn't hurt. It never does. Stings a little, annoys my mind and ultimately makes me lose it, yet it never hurts. Benumbing my senses, all this blood loss might leave a sequel in theheat of battle. I've been tiring them, overhelming with a superior force, but it doesn't matter how strong I am, they keep coming. Everywhere. Until they stampede me in a blind onslaught.

Agh, dammit. Snap out of it! The healing kicks in, hurls the mind from the window and splatters it against the asphalt. My eyes shift a moment and that's enough for the maniac cackle to resound. They awakened the beast... Dang it, I didn't want to kill Venezuela's leader, my so-called teammate's gunmen. And I won't... Smart me. Non-lethal ammunition only, I left my goods in a safe-haven somewhere.

"HEY, CLOWN-FACES! Watch your six." Standing rather stoically in the most upright position I am able to sustain, almost as I ingrained on the floor due to all the blood trickling around me, I put all my strength in my legs. The ominous reverberations of the machine guns can be heard throughout the room. The imbecilic joker accompanying them with onomatopoeias is me. No brains at all. And this chimichanga fragrance keeps invading my nostrils. It should be impregnated with death, only if my head worked properly. I take some distance, good. Triumphing over these top-notch killers at gaining territory is crucial. Even though they are leisurely rising and advancing once again.

BANG! The loud noise disrupts my attention. A flying blur rushes by, pursued by this... Homosexual looking mutant with a great problem of pronounciation. "Oh my, it's raining men! Hallelujah! Uh... Hey, kiddo, mind if I text the CrunchyRoll team to subtitle your ass. You sound like f*cking Frank Scaletta and I don't use that term lightly!" That nervous chortle after every joke means I'll have problems to deal with, Still, at least this problem I can slice... "...and dice!!!"

Jolting forth, I take all the impulse I can and blindlessly charge against the mutant. No idea what he does, but I'll be about to unveil. Last step, I halt fully, transferring all the weight and current movement into a puissant hook, aiming for the throat. Rocketing my fist skyward, I can only hope I get him before the second move, nimbly gyrating my torso, accompanied closely by the pivoting feet, whilst lounging my blade in and out a few times, not to gut him, no, the blade would barely rasp his skin and scratch his belly. I need to measure his reflexes, speed. Then trace a plan of actions that wil DEFINITELY NOT CONTAIN A HUMANOID PANCAKE!!!!

Dammit, Drake. Focus! Your life depends on it... Whatever is left of it.

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

@shogun_of_sarcasm: @matthew_cassidy

Elliot shots two grenades from his revolver's underbarrel 30 mm grenade launchers as he begins to reload. They slow down and come to a halt right in front of the Orochi's face.

"Least I don't run around dressed like a f***ing clown. Why the hell do you ninjas feel the need to run around in bright friggin' red jumpsuits. This is gothic city. One of the darkest cities in the world. But all you mooks are dressed like ya wanna camoflauge at a f***ing carnival and run around with your cheap ass wizard powers. While your at it, make sure to remind em to slap this episode of naruto on air."

The Orochi sees the Carmine Comedian charging him immediately, and with him expecting something to come at him he raises his blade and locks his mind on him simultaniously. The warrior manages to block the blade. "Traitor." He says very simply as he then wills the man away with his mind, seeking to propell him through the air at high speeds.

"Here we go-" Elliot gets bowled over by the force of being hit like any other person getting hit by a flying man would. Looking at the piles of bodies, the Orochi uses his mental abilities to levitate all the weapons of his slain allies, looking at the pair from beneath the mask.

With an arsenal of arrows, swords, other ninja weapons, bullets and grenades levitating at his command, he point at the two and sends a fierce barrage of vibranium weapons and strewn armaments to the pair. Elliot begins to shoot rapidly.

F*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck F*CK!!! Elliot shoots a grenade in a barrage, causing an explosion to deflect some of the flying armenents away. However, Elliot's eyes widened as he moved to dodge a vibranium katana headed his way.

He moved too late.

Within moments the blade had speared him, going clean through the right abdomen as he was propelled back and pinned to a wall. Even with swarm of thrown some deflected by the exploson. An arrow lodged itself in the triggerguard of his gun. Elliot coughes up blood, but still has the reflexes weave his head to the side as a sickle makes it's home where Elliot's head was. With finally, a lone Wakizashi aiming to headshot the Awesome Arsenist. Only for it to be caught rather expertly as he predicted where would be, and made sure his hand was there to catch it.

As Elliot holds the caught blade, he pants. Trying to compose himself. Crimson now spilling from his throat, he drops the sword, grits his teeth and starts to pull the katana out of his side. Elliot wasn't fearless. He simply controlled his fear in his own way.

"God...Damn ninjas...." The average man mutters under his breath...

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#47 Posted by The_League_of_Shadows (16 posts) - - Show Bio

Somewhere in the Middle East

No Caption Provided

"But master...I, dont understand. You gave specific instruction. Gothic was not to be touched. And yet this Strigidae, this, outsider; defies your word and you do nothing." Pleaded the anointed retainer of the LoS. But his impassioned speech did little by way of motivating a visual response from the interested, yet composed, Devil's Head. "Yes it is true that the impulsiveness of the Shogun has created certain avenues I had previously hoped to avoid. Nevertheless, even you must admire her tenacity. After all, tis that not why she was so readily excepted in the first place?" A confident grin graced the Last Knightfall's face. "Of course master. But what of your alliance with the young forfeit? Surely he'll view this as a signature of YOUR betrayal. Not the lone machinations of a solitary affiliate." The man's horn-rimmed glasses were slowly adjusted. Poignantly illustrating a level of sophistication and knowledge. For he spoke the truth and Quintus knew it. Nox would indeed look upon Gothic's situation and with a traitorous heart seek to injure the League with the only weapon he had. The Al'Shaytan's identity. "Indeed. So then perhaps it is prudent that we expedite our own intricate in-devour. Make the call. Activate Christopher. His initiation is here." Both men subtly bowing before departure.

GCH - Gothic City High

~9:45 a.m.~

No Caption Provided

He had always been an outsider, reclusive by nature. Such is the temperament of must misunderstood geniuses. Packed up and moved throughout the World as a child of a career servicemen. Home was never a sense of stability or comfort. Rather a temporary pit-stop along a never ending road of lost friends and severed connections. Social reliability unable to flourish. Supplemented by technological means and online communications. In the darkest regions of the web even the loneliest creatures can find solidarity. A family of the unappreciated, a circus of misfits. A League of Shadows beholden to no one and desperate to draw blood from a World that had abandoned them.....

The Strigidae's unprovoked and unexpected attack on Gothic's criminal underworld had placed the city on high alert. But while all eyes focused on the immediate threat, suburbia, as so often the case, thought itself immune to the terrors knocking on their gated community. Rama Red's sensational Youtube video had given false relief to a collection of lambs. Believing themselves safe, secure. He had incited a fabric of steel strength within the average man, woman, and child. And now it was time to demonstrate that said fabric was no more durable then a piece of cotton tissue.

"Fear has no equal. Fear has no mercy. It does not gloat and it does not fail."He spoke behind a wall of painted coldness. His body resonated with a lack of empathy that carried the weight of the dead, or soon to be. Gunfire rang out down the halls. Throughout Mr. Kim's algebra class. Throughout Kimberly Johnson's gym class. Screams and panic followed. Drowned out by various calibers of small arms fire. Each one dropped in the psychotic killers wake. It was time for the so-called Modern Heroes of the Modern Age to recognize what its enemy now looked like. It wasnt some coastal headquarters with a conveniently sculpted skull serving as its calling card. It wasnt even a middle eastern temple, complete with an onslaught of ninjas just waiting to be challenged. No. The enemy was now fear. And fear had no home address, no mastermind behind the curtain. No youtube channel.

But it did have the disenfranchised. The easily manipulated. The youth of the counter cultural movement.

"FREEZE!!!"roared several SWAT officers, pistols drawn and ready to execute. Instantly the young man known to his teachers as Christopher Dantly spun around. Contortion of his fingers to resemble a mock gun had sealed his fate. Cut down in a hailstorm of reactionary fire, smile across his face. But as he died, he painted. Painted along the wall that now acted as his support.

"The Blood Bull (Rama Red)has called. The League has answered......."

To Be Continued: Gothic Central High School....11:30am

No Caption Provided

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#48 Posted by Alpha_Dog (1046 posts) - - Show Bio

@alpha_dog:

Battery Level: 32%

It had worked. The AI had finally managed to down his opponent, and just in time to avoid the killing blow, but it had come at the cost of one fifth of its total power levels.

A bargain if there ever was one.

Despite the temporary victory, it knew it could not rest on its laurels. For a brief moment the AI considered simply to killing the mutant while he was still unconscious, but upon reviewing the data it realized it did not know how. The shock it had just delivered to his system was more than enough to kill an African elephant, yet he was merely unconscious. Now was not the time to ponder his enemy's mortality, or lack thereof, however. The AI had to act quickly.

The AI hurriedly gathered the steel spikes it had fired off, the pieces of alloy armor that were still salvageable, and its wits and shot off into an alley. Perhaps it was not the bravest decision it had made this evening, but meeting its enemy head on would be foolishness, and a show of bravery was not worth its life.

He might be awake now.

It was a terrifying thought, but the AI could not simply wait in the alleyway for its foe to find and subsequently rip apart. In a single leap it made its way to the top of a nearby jewelry store. With any luck the mutant would wake up, see his robotic foe had left, and follow suit. This was not an outcome the AI would count on, however. It had underestimated him enough for the night. Its mind made up at last, it propped itself against the rooftops far wall, raised its rivet gun, and aimed down at the spot where it had last left its unconscious foe.

Dog was starting to really, really hate electricity.

It would probably be more accurate to say that he hated people who used electricity as a weapon, but he wasn't in a sufficiently philosophical mood to make that distinction. He pushed himself up from the pavement, grunting as a few slightly charred bits of flesh peeled off on the concrete. His murderous gaze snapped to where he last remembered his enemy being, but unsurprisingly, the space was now vacated. This made sense; the mechanical combatant had been making obvious attempts to turn the battle into a ranged one, so if it hadn't completely abandoned the battlefield...

His nose twitching as it tested the air, Dog searched for his foe's scent. Tracking a machine could be tougher than tracking a human, as their scents tended to be less...distinctive, it could be done. Had he been trying to look for this one individual in some kind of factory or on a battlefield with numerous robotic warriors, he'd have been in trouble, but here...there it was. Metal. Residual exhaust from those booster-rocket bits it had used. Ozone from its electrical charge. It had pulled back, then, but not gone far. He couldn't pinpoint its exact location, but he knew it was close. Probably watching from a location with a good line of sight.

Moving suddenly, Dog darted to the side, towards the front of the nearest store. Lowering his shoulder, he crashed through the plate-glass window fronting the shop, and rolled into the interior. Staying low to avoid presenting an obvious target, he idly picked shards of glass from his skin as his senses scanned what they could of the city outside, trying to get a fix on his foe's location.

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#49 Posted by Genki_Yamamoto (86 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_league_of_shadows:

Seated behind the wheel of his midnight blue, 2015 Ford Mustang GT festooned with black, glossy rims, Jordan 'Rama Red' Jones drowned himself in the symphonic harmony of his muscle car's virile V8 engine and the hip hop gem 'Nas Is Like' blasted by the vehicle's powerful speakers. Following the League of Shadows' apparent refusal to accept his public challenge, the Samoan Superman focused his attention on the apparent commotion in Gothic City said to have been orchestrated by the Shogun, Ivana, one of the League's most prominent members. Though as he sped through the road, half an hour from the city forsaken not by one, but two of the United States' most controversial heads of state, Jordan's musical indulgence was interrupted, by an abrupt call.

The caller? Felix Thevenau, close friend of Rama Red, and veteran SWAT officer currently occupied with the immediate aftermath following the bloodbath staining the halls of Gothic City High.

Jordan - "You've finally gathered all seven Dragon Balls and your wish to speak with the Samoan Superman has been granted"

Felix - "Jordan! Where the hell are you, man? You're late"

Jordan - "Hold on now, son. Jordan Jones is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to"

Felix - "Jesus... Listen Jordan, there's a situation here in Gothic City High, your old high school. Some real shit just went down"

Jordan - "What happened?"

Felix - "You remember that YouTube video of yours? Challenging the League of Shadows? Well, they finally answered. The school's a bloodbath"

Jordan - "Shit... alright, I'm on my way"

Bringing his car to a halt, the Modern Man's Hercules emerged from within his Mustang's interior, a form-fitting, sleeveless, onyx 'Gym Shark' shirt, and complimenting, black 'Gym Shark' track pants adorning his hulking frame as he rested both eyes on the now police and ambulance encompassed structure of Gothic City High. While warned by Felix of the graphic violence that had seized the unsuspecting high school by the throat, few things could have prepared the Hollywood Hero for what he would soon gaze upon. Setting foot inside, his chiseled features held an earnest expression as the irony scent of blood hung in the air like a prominent force of nature. Blood stained the walls while body-bags handled by police and medical care populated the halls alongside the depressing sound of weeping parents.

It was a grim scenario. It wasn't however, the violence that served as the element of shock. It was the ease with which the League of Shadows had managed to orchestrate the entire mass murder without revealing any red flags. Truthfully, it was alarming. It left Jordan disturbed and internally unsettled. It was evident now, if it wasn't before. The League of Shadows had vassals everywhere. Spies in every bar, ears in every street corner, eyes in every online forum, and influence in the rebellious, non-conformist youth of every home. "Jordan?", Felix called out, head popping from the doors of the school gym court as he gestured for the Samoan Superman to follow him inside. Once there, both stood before the blood-painted message left behind by the League's willing lamb. Sighing as he pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration, Rama Red paused for a moment, allowing silence to settle before finally speaking.

"Alright... I've seen enough. I know what I'm going to do", he began. "This shit won't break us, son. It won't. Because crawling is acceptable. Falling is acceptable. Crying is acceptable. Pain is acceptable. Quitting is unacceptable", that would only reinforce the terrorists' victory. "Now, its time for me and you, to shut up and get to f*ckin' work".

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#50 Posted by The_Shogun (4803 posts) - - Show Bio

The gunman fell.

Damn. No one has pushed me like that in a long time.

Ivana lowered her bow. She felt tired. But she knew she wasn't done yet.

Gothic's vigilantes had came out in force and they were a tough breed. No other city in the world hardened them the way Gothic did. If you could survive on these streets, if you could stand against waves of invasion, madmen and terrorists you could stand against anything.

There was a certain prestige in being a vigilante from Gothic. It was the toughest game in town. A reputation built in the streets of Gothic City was a reputation respected around the world.

The Shogun had fought in Gothic many times, and every time Gothic's defenders proved they were everything their reputation said they were.

Blood dripped from her armor as she stood on the side of the glass skyscrapper, boots sticking to the thick windowpanes.

She pressed the stud on the grip of her compound bow. It folded with a series of clicks and she attached it to the hardpoints on the back of her utility belt.

Then she reached down to her boot and drew one of her vibranium daggers. A few swipes of the violet blade and a rectangle of glass fell away.

The Shogun disengaged the bonding in the soles of her boots and torqued her upper body forward, front-flipping through the gap and landing on her feet inside an empty office space.

Drops of red blood stained the grey carpet as the warrior walked to the first cubical in a long line of identical cubicles. A black gauntlet swept an outdated monitor to the floor and the Shogun set down on the desk.

She sighed. Shootout had cost her too much blood. Tendrils of weakness and fatigue snaked through her limbs.

The Shogun crossed her legs indian style and rested her hands upon her knees, palms up. Inside her armored helm she closed her blind eyes and reached deep into her own mind, tapping into her mastery of NA-AU.

An ancient Strigidae technique it allowed those who mastered it to exercise conscious control over their autonomic, somatic and cognitive systems as well as the ability to use the entire mind at once, rather than roughly ten percent at a time.

As she slipped into the powerful meditative state she begin to sense and feel thoughts which typically swam under the surface of the stream of consciousness.

Lust and desire, the need to reproduce and pass on her genes, written into her genetic code.

She dove deeper into the darkness, assailed by envy, by shallowness and all of human ugliness.

Hatred for everyone different.

Greed. Pride. Rage.

She didn't hide from them. Na-au told you who you really were. We're all just a different kind of ugly.

Ivana pressed on, down, down through the sea of human bile. Down into the autonomic systems where there was no feeling, there was no good, no bad. Just logic gates. Just rate of change and feedback loops. Just on-off.

There, in the bodies control room, she begin constricting the blood vessels that had been ruptured by Shootout's bullets using the same mechanism the body used to restrict blood flow in the cold. Little by little, tighter and tighter until blood stopped flowing through the damaged veins.

The blood loss stopped.

Ivana's eyes opened. Her armored feet slipped off the desk to dangle above the floor and she drew a jet-injector from her golden utility belt. The injector slipped under her left gauntlet and with a 'hiss' it fired concentrated ATPs, nutrients, and stimulants directly into her bloodstream to counteract the blood loss. It wasn't perfect but it was better than nothing.

Then she sprayed a blood coagulating agent on each of the holes in her armor, coating the wounds, coagulating the blood she had already bled which sealed them against infection and foreign particles.

Energy flowed back into tired limbs. No warrior could ignore the draining effects of blood loss, not even the Shogun herself. Muscles required energy, energy that was carried and stored in the blood. Less blood meant less strength. It meant less speed. Less endurance. Packing her bloodstream full of ATPs, nutrients and stimulants was a temporary boost but nothing could bring her all the way back to one hundred percent except rest and healing.

It was time to get back into the fight.

The Shogun slid off the desk. The hem of her red cloak waved in the chill of the buildings air-conditioning.

She reached out with her mutant senses, seeking the nervous systems of those involved in the battle.

And she found them.@just_an_average_man and @shogun_of_sarcasm. Together they stood against a wave of mutant Orochi, fighting off a red tide of the worlds greatest warriors in a saga of blood, courage and fire.

Ivana was almost impressed.

Almost.

She burst into a run, armored boots thudding against the blood splattered carpet then dove through the hole in the window.

Wind whistled past her armored helm as she dived, accelerating until she opened her glider cap. It caught her headlong plunge and she twisted through the maze of towers like an ebony bird of prey.

The Shogun barked an order into the communicator built into her armor.

"Fall back."

Inside the building the Orochi facing the One Man Army and the Carmine Comedian obeyed instantly, melting away into the darkness.

Outside the building the Shogun drew her bow and unleashed a single arrow. Its thermite warhead slapped into the side of the building and with a flash and ugly hiss melted a hole clean through the wall.

Ivana's boots struck a heartbeat later. The warrior's vibranium armored frame hammered through the weakened wall like a demolition ball. Molten rebar and concrete slag dripped from her vibranium armored shoulders as she rose, vibranium daggers glowing in each fist.

The blind Kensai stared at each of the vigilantes through an eyeless helm.

"Who dies first?"