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CCC Entries by cbishop, Part 8

I decided that I wanted all of my Character Creation Contest (CCC) entries in one place. These are the entries as they were posted to the original contest threads, no embellishments, no edits. Many of these entries have appeared individually on the Fan-Fic forum, retitled and edited for better reading (the others will be edited and appear there eventually). I'll update this as each new contest ends. I hope you enjoy them, and as always, thanks for reading. -cb
Last Issue:#120-133: .Part 7.

All of my CCC entries, from CCC #120 to CCC #133:

134Dial "H" For Hero2,91731stT

The Monster Who Would Be Mayor!

Part 1: Patti Smith and What She Finds

1:32 a.m. - The alley behind the headquarters of the Justice Society of America:

Big bad superheroes...
Big bad superheroes...

Patti Smith is leaning halfway into the dumpster, digging for whatever she can find. "I can't believe people don't do this more often, Daisy," she says to her dog who sits watching her. "It's free, it's recycling, it's relaxing, and if you pick the right place, it's kind of a thrill. I love hitting the JSA's dumpster. Big bad superheroes fighting crime all the time, and here I am taking their trash." She stops, and looks down at Daisy. "You remember that time I found all those replicas from their museum? Green Lantern's ring and Doctor Fate's helmet brought a pretty penny on Ebay." Looking dubious, she says, "Still can't get rid of that Flash helmet though." Smirking, she adds, "You'd think that would have gone fast. Ha!"

Daisy cocks her head to one side.

Patti says, "Come on, that was a good one."

The dog whines.

"Hater," Patti says with a smile, and she leans back into the dumpster. A minute later, she says, "Whoa! Daisy, look at this!" She stands up, and is holding a pen and a watch. "Pen's kind of wild. It looks like the ink is... glowing?" She shakes it, and it seems to groan. "Ha! A novelty pen! I'll put it on my desk at home. And then this watch. Looks like it's gold. And analogue? Who even has these anymore?"

She tsks, and reaching for the watch face, she says, "It's a little dirty th-- What the heck?!" As her finger is about to touch the face, the clock fades, and reveals the letters H-E-R-O in white, recessed circles that are arranged around a gold "H" in the center. "What is this?" asks Patti, clearly happy with her find.

Daisy cranes her head forward, sniffing at the watch.

"I read once that a photographer for this newspaper in Metropolis had a signal watch that let him call Superman." She turns it over in her hand to look at the back, then back up to see that the watch face has reappeared. "You think this is something like that?"

The dog whuffs as it draws back from the watch.

...she spins the letters H-E-R-O...
...she spins the letters H-E-R-O...

Patti reaches for the watch face again, and it fades back to the H-Dial. It looks sort of like an old rotary phone dial. Could this thing really call superheroes? "I have to know what this does," she says as she dials the letters. As soon as she spins the letters H-E-R-O, she feels herself changing; transforming into someone else. "Wow!" she exclaims, "I'vebecomeMs.Quick,withthepowerofsuperspeed!Whattheheck?WhydoIsoundlikeachipmunkoncrack?!"

Seeing that Daisy had taken off running when she changed, and was nearly down the alley, Patti goes to run after her, and suddenly she is there holding Daisy's collar. "WHAT?" she exclaims. Superspeed- right! she thinks to herself.

Just then, there is a bright green glow from above. Panicking, she thinks, Oh, no! Green Lantern! Looking up, she sees someone that looks like a scarecrow with a jack-o-lantern for a head, green energy emanating from his hands, eyes, and mouth. Not Green Lantern, she thinks as the new arrival spots her.

Part 2: The Speed of Fear
You can be his first victim!
You can be his first victim!

Landing, the pumpkin-headed man says, "The Lord of Fear has come to destroy the Justice Society! You can be his first victim!" and the green energy washes down the entirety of the alley until it engulfs Ms. Quick and Daisy.

Completely overcome with sheer terror, Ms. Quick touches Daisy, imparting speed to the pooch, and screams, "RUN, DAISY!" The dog takes off in a blur of motion, and Ms. Quick is right behind her. They don't stop until they reach home.

Patti sits in her recliner, trying to tamp down the terror that she’s feeling. Daisy jumps up on the arm of the chair, and is still moving in a blur. Reaching out to the pup, she takes the speed back, and Daisy returns to normal. The dog then presses herself against Ms. Quick, whining.

“I know, girl. I know. It's okay. We left that thing way behind. The Justice Society will handle him!"

...she takes the speed back, and Daisy returns to normal.
...she takes the speed back, and Daisy returns to normal.

She pets Daisy a little, then looks at the costume she's wearing- light blue with red lightning bolts around the open ends of her gloves and boots, around the waist, and looking to a mirror she had on the wall, she sees a small red bolt on her forehead as well. There's a red "Q" on her chest, the typography tail also being a lightning bolt. "Crazy," Patti says to herself. Pulling the left glove off a little bit, she sees the watch is on her wrist. Did I...? she thinks. Then, No. Must have happened with the change. Speaking of... how do I change back?

In answer, the "O" flashes. Hesitantly, Ms. Quick dials it. The "R" flashes, and she dials again. The "E" and "H" follow, and she dials those. She finds herself changed back to Patti as quickly as she had turned into the hero. "Some hero," she says to Daisy. "I ran like..." She looked at the canine. "Like a whipped dog. No offense," she says, scratching Daisy's head.

Daisy whines, then whuffs, and lays down on the arm of the chair.

Overcome from the adrenaline of both moving at superspeed, and from the terror induced by Lord of Fear, Patti and Daisy both fell asleep in the recliner. Their sleep is fitful, and filled with nightmares.

Part 3: Ice and Brass

6:54 a.m. - The home of Patti Smith (and Daisy):

Waking with a start, Patti takes a few seconds to realize she is still at home. Thinking about the activity of a few hours before, she feels a twinge of guilt that she ran from the fight, and wonders how the JSA fared in the attack. Figuring that it would have made the news, she picks up the remote, and starts flipping channels.

"Good morning, Amer--"

"No," says Patti, hitting the channel button.

"Today's Famer's Almanac Forecast is calling fo--"


...zombie mayor Rudy Ghouliani made this statement...
...zombie mayor Rudy Ghouliani made this statement...

"...ociety has dis--"

"No." Then, realizing what she heard, she says, "Wait," and goes back to the channel.

"...ain, our top story this morning: the Justice Society has disappeared from their Battery Park mansion, and it is currently in flames! But these flames have a strange green tint to them. Unsure what has caused this; whether it's a chemical effect, or magic, or any number of possibilities, zombie mayor Rudy Ghouliani made this statement just an hour ago."

The scene changes from the newsroom to the podium outside of City Hall, and the mayor shuffles forward to the mic. With a bit of a growl in his voice, Ghouliani says, "Until we can ascertain the nature of the flames currently engulfing the JSA headquarters, we have no choice but to let it burn. We are awaiting the arrival of a DEO HAZMAT team, and representatives from the Justice League. In the interim, the fire department is working to protect the surrounding buildings from burning also."

Back in the newsroom, the reporter says, "That's the statement of zombie mayor Rudy Ghouli--"

Patti mutes the television, waiting to see if they show the JSA headquarters again. "Oh, no," she says. "Daisy, the JSA must have ran from Lord of Fear just like we did! They're gone, and I didn't do anything! I should have tried to help!"

Daisy whines.

...making its way towards City Hall.
...making its way towards City Hall.

Just then, the scene changes on the television, and Patti gasps, unmuting the report. "This just in: with the Justice Society missing in action, the city is now besieged by a giant robot in the shape of a gorilla. The Beastie Boys song, 'Brass Monkey,' is playing from a speaker in the robot, seemingly announcing its name. However, it has not broadcast a purpose for the attack, but it does seem to be making its way towards City Hall."

Patti jumps up. "Stay here, Daisy! With the JSA gone, I have to help this time! I might be the only person who can!"

Daisy yips excitedly as Patti heads for the door, bouncing after her as she runs, begging to go.

"No, Daisy, you have to stay!" When the dog slinks back to the living room, looking dejected, Patti says, "Good girl." As she exits and closes the door, she says to herself, "She is so going to poop on my floor."

Running to the treeline of the woods near her home, Patti goes in far enough that she won't be seen, and once again dials H-E-R-O. As she changes, she grows to a massive eighteen meters tall, her body completely covered in a blueish ice. "Wow!" booms her voice. "I've become Frost Giantess! And I think I have just the power to stop Brass Monkey!"

She goes to run forward, and kicks something. She looks down, and sees that her change has destroyed a small section of trees. "Whoops," she says. Looking around the neighborhood, she sees various people in their yards, pointing and craning their necks skyward. "Sorry," she says, and then, "I have to stop Brass Monkey!" Forming an ice slide to propel her, she heads for downtown to stop the giant robot.

Downtown, thirty minutes later:

Bringing her ice slide to a stop in front of City Hall, Frost Giantess sees the giant gorilla robot just three blocks down. "Brass Monkey! Frost Giantess commands you to STOP!" she shouts. Corny, but I hope it works, she thinks to herself.

The robot registers her, and swings a massive arm in a backhanded sweep, taking out a section of the building it is next to. Debris and people go flying.

"NO!" screamed Giantess, and she sent a giant mound of slushy snow to break their falls. "Sorry, folks! Best I could do!" she booms.

Just then, Brass Monkey picks up a red Volkswagen Beetle, and throws it overhanded at Frost Giantess. She hits the Bug with an ice blast, shatters it with a punch, and catches the driver in her hand. She sets the blonde haired woman down, and says, "Run!" just as a cab hits the hero in the back of the head. Turning to face her attacker, she says, "That's it! I have had enough!"

With a snarl, she charges the robot, and Brass Monkey charges back. They clash, Frost Giantess catching each of the robot's arms in her great hands. As they struggle, ice begins to creep down the robot's arms, rapidly spreading across its body until it is completely encased in ice. When it finally comes to a stop, she hauls back and punches the frozen form with all of her might. Like the Volkswagen before it, Brass Monkey shatters into several large pieces.

Fools! You think you've stopped the attack?
Fools! You think you've stopped the attack?

Mayor Ghouliani comes out to the steps of City Hall, and calls out, "Frost Giantess! Thank you for stopping that menace!"

Before she can answer, tinny laughter comes from the nearby head of Brass Monkey. "Fools! You think you've stopped the attack?" The laughter continues as a portal opens up. Out of it comes Lord of Fear, and another.

Remembering the terror from her previous encounter with the villain, Frost Giantess says, "Oh, no." Just then, she feels the change back starting to happen. "Mayor, I'm sorry, I can't stay."

"What?" says the mayor, a bit panicked.

"I'm sorry!" she says, and she uses an ice slide to get to the park where she can hide, and conceal her change.

Part 4: The Capture of City Hall

Fifty-Five minutes later:

I've become Starfall!
I've become Starfall!

Patti stands in an electronics store not far from the park, watching the news on a big screen television. "...Hall right now, as a villain named Ogre has launched an apparent coup for mayor. The pumpkin-headed Lord of Fear is keeping police and bystanders at bay while the giant robot, Brass Monkey, previously defeated by the hero Frost Giantess before she inexplicably disappeared, has reformed itself, providing further defense of the beleaguered government building. How long Ogre can keep up this defense, and what he plans to do afterwards, is anyone's guess.

"There's still no word from the JSA at this time. The National Guard has been called, but won't arri--"

This is terrible! Patti thinks to herself as she leaves the store. What's wrong with this dial? Could it have picked a worse time for me to change back? And now, I can't get it to work! I've been dialing this stupid thing for close to an hour! Come on! Come on! I have to change into anoth--

Just then, the dial responds, and Patti is changed once again. "YES!" she hollers. "I've become Starfall!" Looking to the ebony sword that has appeared in her hand, she says, "And this is Godslayer! Yes, I know what I'm going to do now." She takes to the air, and flies to City Hall.

Ten minutes later:

As Starfall comes diving down upon the villains, Brass Monkey throws a black SUV at her, but she cuts it in half with her sword. Flipping her body around so she can land on her feet, she holds her sword in both hands for a downward stab. As she reaches Brass Monkey, she plunges the sword into the robot's head, and rides the sword's momentum down the full length of the body, splitting the robot in half. The halves fall to the ground as she lands across the street from the building.

...take care of that, would you?
...take care of that, would you?

She calls, "Ogre! Give up City Hall, or face the wrath of the Godslayer!"

Ogre stands at the top of the steps, legs apart, arms out by his sides, and he looks only slightly amused. "Hmph. 'Godslayer.' Lord of Fear- take care of that, would you?"

"My pleasure," says Lord of Fear. As his green energy flows towards the heroine, he says to her, "But it won't be yours."

Starfall stands her ground, her sword pointing up, gripping it in front of her with both hands. She says nothing as the energy reaches the sword, and is swallowed by it like a black hole swallowing light. When Lord of Fear sees his power having no effect, he blasts even harder. Starfall puts one foot back to brace herself, and leans forward a bit. The sword continues to drink the energy in.

She concentrates, commanding the sword to transform the energy, then wills it to release a blast towards the hulking halves of Brass Monkey that have already started to knit themselves back together. On contact, the robot starts to disintegrate. It shudders, explodes, and nothing but dust rains down on the area.

The jack-o-lantern-faced villain roars with anger, and dives from the top of the steps straight towards Starfall, his hands glowing bright green, blasting right at her. The sword continues to drink the power in until she suddenly swings the sword around in a wide arc, and lops off the head of the Lord of Fear. His body falls to the ground, and the pumpkin rolls out into the street and comes to a stop, the green light in its eyes and mouth slowly fading to nothing.

His protection now gone, Ogre growls, and yanks the mayor in front of him. "You can't beat me, hero! This is what awaits you!" he screams, and then bites into Mayor Ghouliani's neck. His massive mouth bites almost all the way through. Having severed the spine, the mayor falls limp, and Ogre throws him aside. "If I can't be 'The Monster Mayor,' then neither can he!" His smile was terrible, and wicked.

Cameron Chase: DEO.
Cameron Chase: DEO.

He leaps at Starfall, and she stands her ground, only moving to thrust her sword upwards when he gets close. It goes in through his chin, and exits through the top of his head. Ogre's momentum carries him into the heroine, and they fall roughly to the ground. She manages to roll with it, and kicks him over her head before rolling to her own feet.

As she stands, she hears, "Cameron Chase: DEO. I need you to answer some questions before you take off."

"We have some questions of our own, Agent Chase," comes a voice from above.

Looking up, Chase and Starfall both see The JSA descending towards them.

"Green Lantern!" calls Starfall.

"Miss. Thank you for taking care of things in our absence, but who are you?"

Feeling that she was about to change back she said, "I'd like to tell you, but right now I have to go." Then she leapt to the sky, and flew over the nearest building.

Chase looked at Lantern, and said, "Is she serious?"

That sword... secure storage.
That sword... secure storage.

"I'll check on her," said Lantern, a green aura surrounding him as she lifted into the sky.

The agent watched the hero rise for a moment, then looked around at the scene. "Agent Stanley!" she called out to the nearest DEO man.

"Yes, Agent Chase?"

"That sword in Ogre's head? Photograph it, contain it, transport it, catalogue it, and get it into secure storage."

"Yes ma'am," said Stanley, heading towards Ogre.

Two hours later - the Smith home:

Patti sits, petting Daisy's head. "Well, girl, I may have failed at first, but I finally got it right. And I got to talk to Green Lantern!" she said excitedly. Then she sighed. "He made me give the watch back though."

So cool.
So cool.

Daisy looks up at her master.

Smiling, Patti holds up the pen, saying, "But I've still got this!" Looking at the pink energy coursing through it, she says, “So cool."

135Villain for Blade1,57731stT


I've been on the trail of Count Wolfenstein for the better part of two months. He's the quadfecta of monsters. He started as a cursed mummy that was blown to pieces, then reassembled by a mad scientist. Only, she didn't use all of his parts. Some of them were werewolf, and some of them were vampire. Now, he has the looks and strength of Frankenstein's monster, plus the abilities of a werewolf and vampire.

I just want to make him a ghost.

Wolfenstein's been uniting the werewolf and vampire communities in the city, and since he's a little bit of both of them, they're drinking the Kool-Aid. The mummy part of him just wants to be pharaoh again. That's not going to be good for anybody.

I've managed to track him to this warehouse where the monster nations are meeting to hear his latest rallying cry. There's a stage, speakers, mic, podium, lights- the whole setup. I'm crouched in the shadowed rafters watching a sea of werewolves and vampires mingle with trepidation as they wait for the mix-n-match monster to make his appearance.

At last, he steps out on stage, and the monsters are actually cheering for him. He raises his hands, drinks in their adulation, and they fall silent. "My friends," he starts, his voice surprisingly deep and smooth. He must have gotten the voice box of a radio announcer. "This is the beginning of a new day. With the alliances made between vampire and werewolf, we have only become stronger. And soon, this very city will tremble beneath our onslaught!"

"Right. I've heard enough," I mutter to myself as I stand. I draw my sword, step off the rafter beam, and drop right on top of a werewolf, my blade piercing through his back as I land in a crouch. As I stand fully, the wolf's body disintegrates from the silver of my weapon. "That's new," I say to no one in particular. That disappearing act is usually reserved for vampires. If the wolves are doing it now too, then they must be more united than I thought. This is very bad.

I take in the room, looking at the monsters that surround me. The fangs on the werewolves elongate, and the vampires start growing fur. This is very, very bad. "Wolfenstein," I shout without looking at the stage, "You and I have business."

"Business? You're not 'business,' Blade," he says with amusement in his tone. "At best, Daywalker, you're a business lunch." The mirth leaves his voice as he says, "Someone bring me his head. Or just his shades."

The first few leap at me, and I make my cuts with a single arc of the sword, watching them disintegrate. Before the next wave can make their move, a woman in a light-green-and-dark-pink bodysuit with a matching hood and cloak drops from the rafters, landing back-to-back with me. "Surprised?" she asks as she takes up a fighting stance.

Yes. "No," I tell her. "I knew you were up there." I did not know she was up there. "I was just waiting for you to make your move."

"Well, here I am," she says, a faint accent putting an exotic lilt to her voice.

"Hope you're ready," I tell her.

And then the next wave leaps. I slice, they disintegrate. She fights them hand-to-hand, and she's holding her own. I'm surprised again when she starts choke-slamming vamp-wolves, and ripping their hearts out with clawed fingers. She looks up at me with a predatory smile. I raise an eyebrow, and nod my appreciation at her power. We continue to fight, and the monsters back us against a wall.

"I don't know about you," she says, "but I'm having a lot of fun."

I look at her over my sunglasses like she's crazy. "Oh, yeah. This is a real cut-up," I say as I disintegrate another wolf.

"You're bored?" she asks as she swipes her own claws through a vampire's throat.

"Just ready for the fight to be done," I say as I behead a vamp, and stab the wolf that jumps in while the vamp disintegrates. The wolf disintegrates in like fashion.

"Why didn't you say so?" she asks, stepping in front of me. Throwing her hood off, and holding her cloak open, her entire body opens up- from the top of her head, right down to her crotch- just opens like... well, like the giant Venus flytrap that she appears to be. Complete with teeth up one side and down the other.

It gives the vamp-wolves pause. Long enough for me to ask, "Lady, who... or what the hell are you?"

"My name is Nepenthes," she answers, although I'm not sure how in that state. "But you may call me what these monsters will call me. And they will call me: YATEVEO!" As she yells her name, a tangle of appendages shoot out of her body, looking like a mix of plant and human tissue. They grab the closest six or seven monsters, and draw them in all at once, her body slamming shut on them. Any pieces that weren't fully inside of her chop off and go flying. One 'vine' remains, trailing the length of her body, wiping away gore from her feet all the way up, and pushing towards her mouth. She licks the tip of the vine, and as two long, green, stem-like fangs protrude from her upper gums, she says, "That's... delicious."

She smiles, takes a step forward, and all of the vamp-wolves turn to run.

Laughing, her body springs open again, and there's surprisingly no trace of her former victims. The vines shoot out again, grabbing twice as many as before, and draws them in. Her body slams shut, she rolls her neck from one side to the other, and then she goes back for thirds. And fourths. And fifths.

When she's on her ninth helping, I remember that I'm supposed to be fighting too, and I run after some stragglers. I give them the easier death of disintegration by silver strike. When it's all done, I face her warily.

She smiles at me and winks, vines reaching out from beneath her cloak, and picking up all of the pieces that her attacks left behind. Then they withdraw beneath the cloak where vines and body parts alike disappear. She inhales deeply, as one does after a satisfying meal, and then turns her gaze towards the stage.

" 'Wolfenstein,' was it?" she asks the monster man.

"My dear," he says smoothly, "you are a delightful creature. What can I do for you?"

"You can spare me your attempts at gaining my confidence," she tells him, all traces of her former playfulness gone. "I have none for you. You are as much an abomination as these monsters you helped make."

"Says the human flytrap," counters the Count.

She takes a step forward. "My name," she starts, taking another step, "is Yateveo," she adds on the third step.

With the same rhythmic pace, she makes her way to the stage saying, "I am the vengeance of the plant world that has been systematically shoved aside to make way for... creatures... like you." Now at the stage, vines reach down from beneath her cloak, and push against the floor. Raising her body up, she steps lightly onto the platform. As the vines recede, she continues walking until she is face-to-face with Wolfenstein, who is unmoved.

"I will remove your kind from the face of this Earth, that my kind may flourish once again."

I don't like the sound of that, I think to myself.

"I don't like the sound of that," echoes the Count. With a lightning-quick move, he grabs Yateveo by the throat. "I simply can't allow it."

Yateveo chuckles. Her body springs open again, breaking Wolfenstein's hold. Vines shoot out, entangling him. The monster roars as his body grows a bit larger, and becomes covered in fur. His strength is great enough that he resists being pulled in. As they struggle, he slashes vines loose, and others stab into him. It only takes a minute for him to growl savagely, and turn to mist to escape her hold. As the mist flows out of a warehouse window, Yateveo withdraws her vines, and literally puts herself back together.

Then she turns to me. I stand near an exit, holding my sword out to my side, tip resting on the warehouse floor. "So, what now?" I ask her.

"Just what I said," she answers. "I remove the monsters from this world... and then the humans."

"I'm a part of both of those worlds," I tell her as I draw the tip of my sword along the floor in front of me. "Looks like you are too."

"And that's the only reason you get a pass," she says. "For now." Vines snake down to the floor again, and raise her up once more. As she backs towards an exit on the opposite side of the warehouse, she says, "Though like me, Blade, eventually you'll have to choose a side."

"Already have," I tell her as she reaches the door.

"Then we'll meet again," she warns as she slides through an open loading dock door.

"No doubt," I say to the air, and then leave through a door on my side of the building. I'd go after her now, but I'm going to need some phosphorous grenades, and maybe a flamethrower. Time to find Whistler.

136YOU DIE WHEN I DIE2,90613rdT

Bubba Gum: You Die When I Die

Larsen Penitentiary:

I wait for the guard to buzz me in, then walk into the prisoner visiting room. It's empty except for the person who's sitting four booths down, and the guard. I make my way down there, and look at the man in the wheelchair smirking at me from behind the glass. The man points at the phone, and picks his receiver up. Picking up the phone on my side as I sit down, I say, "What are you smiling about, Mohne? You're the one on the wrong side of the glass."

Mohne chuckles even though his smile fades. "Hey, Bubba. What'd you do to your hand?"

"I think I'd prefer you call me Mister Gum," I tell him.

"And I'd rather you call me Big Wheel," he answers with derision.

"No, scratch that," I counter. "I'd prefer you didn't call me at all." I rub the square gauze taped to the back of my hand, and I tell him, "Guard bumped into me as I was going through a gate, and I cut my hand on the latch. Danged thing was rusty, so they insisted on giving me a tetanus shot."

You got my note?
You got my note?

Mohne nods. "Think you'll live?" I didn't answer, so he asked, "You got my note?"

I nod back. "Yeah. 'You die when I die?' I'm not going to the next chair with you, Lowell."

He snickers my jibes away, and says, "It's something my Mary used to say to me. I was in this chair as a young man. I became so bitter, and was so busy feeling sorry for myself, I didn't even notice she was fighting her own battle." He looks to one side for a minute, and then down at the table in front of him. "At least... not until she couldn't hide it anymore."

Looking back up at me, he continues, "Once I realized, and we talked, she says to me, 'You old fool. Someone always has it worse than you do. You're worried about dying? We all die. And you? You're probably thinking that you'll outlive me now, but I tell you the truth, Lowe: you die when I die.' "

"Ain't that somethin'? I asked her what she meant, and she wouldn't tell me. She just says ta me, 'You die when I die, Lowe. You'll see.' She never did explain it."

I slump back in my chair. "That why you wanted to see me, Lowell? To tell me a story?"

"Yeah. And nah. Mainly, I want you to do something for me," he says, looking at me expectantly.

"That's unlikely."

He waves one hand to the side, and says, "So, humor me, and listen to the rest of my story. Like I was sayin', Mary never did explain what she was talkin' about, but once she passed, I knew what she meant. You see, when she died, I did die with her. Or leastways a part of me did." He looks down at the table again, then he sneers back up at me, and says, "The good part."

"You're an evil P.O.S. because your wife died. Is that it?" I ask him.

Lowell leans forward and punches the thick glass between us with his free hand. "Mary never had nothin' t'do with what I am, you louse! She didn't even know the business I was really in until well after we were married. Even then, she'd have left me if her religion didn't tell her that she couldn't."

He settles back in his chair, and says, "That's why most everyone called her 'Proud Mary,' y'know? She was too proud to divorce me, and too proud to admit that I was a gangster, and not the upstandin' businessman she thought she married. So, she went on pretendin' like she didn't know. She made me promise never to bring my real business into her house, and in return she promised to stand by me as my wife."

He purses his lips for a moment, then admits, "I was so touched by her loyalty, that I not only kept that promise, I made sure all my boys did too. Not a one o' my guys ever spoke about business under my roof, and Mary played the dutiful wife, cooking them meals like they were merely colleagues from the office over for supper. And she pretended not to notice when we stepped out to the poolhouse after dinner to discuss our real business. Even my enemies abided by this act the few times we had them over, because they knew that breakin' my Mary's proud heart would be the one thing sure to bring down a war."

"Mm-hm," I say, giving him my best bored face. "And what does this have to do with me?"

"Because you are going to do something for me, detective. You're going to get me outta here."

My reaction climbs out of me as a chuckle full of contempt. "Right. Even if I could, why would I?"

He taps the glass, pointing at the note laying in front of me. "Because: you die when I die."

"What are you talking about? I had nothing to do with your wife dying."

He sneers at me like I'm stupid. "No, but if you don't get me outta here, you're going to have something to do with me dying. That 'tetanus shot' you got? It won't the only thing in the needle."

My face falls to deadly serious.

"I got your attention now, Mister Gum?" His eyes narrow. "That shot was full of those microbot things. Whattaya call 'em? Um..." he snaps his fingers a few times.

"Nanites?" I offer.

"Yeah, those. I knew you was smart. You see," he says, lifting his shirt to reveal a scar down the middle of his torso, "I got a new ticker- a pacemaker. Only, it's a transmitter too. Those nanites are attaching themselves to your heart. As long as my ticker keeps ticking, then so does yours. But, should it be interrupted? By, say: twenty-three hundred volts from an electric chair? Then we are both gonna have a very bad day." He smiles like a cat about to pounce. "You see, Gumshoe? 'You die when I die.' Or more to the point: you fry when I fry."

Incredulous, I ask, "Are you kidding me? Look at you. You've got one foot in the grave even without your upcoming date with Sizzling Sally! I could save you, and you might keel over from joy the moment you wheel out of here!"

"I'll live, smart guy!" he says, leaning forward. "And the moment I wheel outta here, I can send a signal that will zap those little buggers right out of your system."

Matching his lean, I say in complete exasperation, "Your execution is in two days! How the heck am I supposed to get you off of Death Row?"

"Y'find someone else to pin my rap on, that's how," he says, leaning back in his chair again.

"You want me to frame someone?!" I hiss, half-standing, and my voice reaching a higher octave. I look around, and wave at the guard that's scowling at me, and I sit back down. Then I whisper, "You're not going to at least tell me that you were framed, and there's someone else responsible for killing Earl Byrd?"

"Would you believe me?" he asks, looking at me like I'm stupid again. "I don't care if you make it look like Sawed-Off and Shotcut came up with the idea themselves. Just get me outta here."

My neck jerks back involuntarily. "You'd sell out your own sons to save your worthless, sorry hide?"

"Have you met Waylan and Wynan?" He looks at me like he really doesn't understand my objection. "Those two pugs are evil, even by my standards."

"Nah. I think you just reset that bar," I say with disgust.

"Oh, cry me a river, Gumshoe. They're on Death Row too. They actually used the gun and knife. All I did was point them in Byrd's direction. Should I really get the Hot Seat for that?"

I look at him with a stink face like he just spoke in tongues at a mosque. "Um, yeah."

"Well, tough. I'm not going out like that," he says, jabbing his finger against the glass. "And since you were the what got me in here, you get to be the one what gets me out! So, get me outta here, or we go out together!"

I sit back. "What if I'm okay with that?"

"Wha'?" he asked, confused.

"You're a blight on humanity, Mohne. What if I'm good with shuffling off this mortal coil if it means being sure that you shuffle off too?" I lean forward again, and with complete disdain, I say, "What if I'm good just looking at you and saying, 'You die when I die,' huh? What then?"

He rests both elbows on the table, and rasps into the phone, "Then maybe I call one o' my guys, and they pay a visit to that cute little secretary of yours. What's her name?"

"Bubbles," I say, sounding a little hoarse.

"Yeah, Bubbles. I don't get that," he says, pulling a picture out of his shirt pocket, and putting it against the glass. It's Bubbles walking across the street from the diner back to the office. "She don't got none, after all. Does she like to blow gum, or what?"

She does, but I'm not telling him that. "It's because she's always thinking. Thought bubbles, y'know? Like in the comics? Best Girl Friday I've ever had."

"I've spoken to your secretary, Gum. She ain't that smart. And she's not much longer for this world than we are, if you don't play along."

I hold my free hand up. "Okay. Okay. But I get this done, and you zap these things out of me? That's what you said, right?"

"Yeah," he says with a nod. "Remote signal activates a mild electric current that fries the bots, and that's that."

My eyes search the ceiling for a moment, and then I look back to him. "Fine. I can hang it on your bartender, Harden."

"Hard Knox?" he asks. "Hmph. If I could watch my sons go down for it, my son-in-law ain't gonna be a problem."

"I figured. But it's going to take every bit of the next two days. This is going to be so last minute, you'll be able to feel the static from the chair. Can you handle it?" I ask as I stand.

"Yeah, I can handle it. Start pounding that shoeleather, Gumshoe." He waves a hand over his shoulder, and the guard comes over to wheel him back into the cellblock. It's the same guard that bumped into me on my way in. I see that his nameplate says Lovelady.

As he's backing up, I pick up the receiver again and knock on the glass. "Big Wheel!"

Mohne motions for Lovelady to wheel him back up to the booth. He picks up the phone, and says, "What?"

"You need anything in here? Or do you have all the guards in your pocket, like this guy?" I ask, looking up at the scowling guard.

"Nah, Quentin here's more than enough," says Mohne. "Thanks for askin' though."

"Economical," I answer with a grin. "And you're welcome. I'll get back to you in a couple of days." I hang up, and nod at him.

He nods back, hangs up, and the guard starts to wheel him back again.

I exit on my side, look at the redheaded guard's nameplate, and say, "Hey, Barnes, you going to be at Mister Mohne's electrocution?"

"I wouldn't miss it," he says. " 'Bout time they burned the rubber off his wheels. That blighter did my dear Aunt Petunia wrong when they was younger, and she went to her grave never gettin' t'see him get his comeuppance."

I pull a fifty out of my wallet, and offer it to him. "If I give you this, will you see that he gets a note when he's taking that last roll?"

He doesn't take the money. He just looks at me and shakes his head. I was feeling my plan fall apart when he held up two fingers, and said, "Double. It could mean me job."

I smile, and pull out a Benjamin. "Triple. It's worth it as long as you have a beer with me later, and tell me about the look on his face."

Barnes smirks. "Well, a'right," and takes the money. Extending his hand, he says, "Name's Horace. Y'can call me Red."

I return the handshake, and say, "Pleasure, Red. I'm Gumshoe to my friends. Bubba if you like that better." I pull Mohne's note out of my pocket, flip it over, and scribble my message. I fold it in half, then I pull something in a small brown paper bag out of my pocket, and hand them both over. "Make sure he gets that too, will ya?"

He peeks in the bag, gives the item a strange look, and then reads the note. He chuckles, and says, "I'll see you for that beer, Gumshoe." Then he buzzes me out.

Bubba Gum Detective Agency:

I hustle into the office, and prepare to give my secretary the gift of a lifetime. "Hey, Bubbles, you want to make a quick Grant?"

She drops her pen on the desk, and sighs. She blows a pink bubble as she looks up at me. When it pops, she says, "Again?"

"You're going to like this," I assure her.

She looks as bored as usual, just chewing her gum and staring at me. "That's what you always say."

I roll my eyes, and move quickly to her desk drawer. I yank it open, riffle through it for a few seconds, and pull out her Taser. Offering her the fifty and the weapon, I say, "I need you to shock me with this."

She smiles broadly, taking both. "Oh, hell, I'd have done that for free!"

I reach out for the money. "Well then--"

"--Too late," she says, firing up the Taser, and jabbing it into my neck.

When I wake up on the floor, it's dark outside, the lights are out, and Bubbles has gone home. And she's still going to want a raise this year.

A few days later, at The Paper Umbrella:

Summer Bries is singing one of her best crooners, and Red Barnes and I are having a beer. "You should've seen him," he laughs. "It was great..."

The day before, at Larsen Penitentiary:

Quentin Lovelady pushes Lowell Mohne's chair down the long walkway of Death Row. He whispers, "Geez, Big Wheel, I know you told me he'd be cuttin' it close, but this... this is... wow."

"Shut up," he mutters under his breath. "He'll be here."

Just then, Red Barnes comes running down the hall. "Mister Mohne! Mister Mohne! Quentin, wait up!"

The crooked guard stops, and turns Big Wheel's chair around. Red catches up to them a few seconds later, and pulls the note out of his pocket. "Mister Gum asked me t'give you this."

The gangster smirks up at Barnes. "See? I told you."

Red hands him the small paper bag.

"Huh? What's this?" he asks, confused.

"It goes with the note," Red answers.

Why that son-of-a...!
Why that son-of-a...!

Lowell narrows his eyes at the guard for a few seconds, then unfolds the paper. "Cute," he says. "He used my own note." Turning it over, he reads aloud, " 'Hold this in your lap so it cooks evenly.' "

Mohne looks up at Barnes suspiciously, then opens the bag. "Popcorn?! Why that son-of-a...!" he screams, the last word choking off in a sob as he realizes that Gum is not going to come through. He jams the note into the bag, and crumples it down as far as he can in frustration. Then he jerks his head up at Barnes, wide-eyed. "You motherless son-of-a--," and throws the bag at him, which the guard catches and pockets.

"--Carry on, Quentin," says Red, and waits for them to turn around so he can follow.

"I'm sorry, Mister Mohne," mutters Lovelady, turning the wheelchair back towards the execution chamber.

Big Wheel screams and curses all the way. Barnes just grins, imagining his Aunt Petunia looking on from above.

Back at The Paper Umbrella:

"And that's not all," says Red. "Big Wheel was so pissed, that while they were strapping him into the chair, he threw Quentin under the bus for helping him. You should've seen Lovelady's face! Now, he's wearing an ankle bracelet, and he's on house arrest while I.A. does a full investigation on him. As soon as they find the evidence backing up what was essentially Mohne's 'deathbed confession,' he's bound for Gen-Pop for sure. And you know how that's likely to go."

I laugh, and clink my glass against Red's. "That's beautiful! Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Clover!" I yell at the bartender. She doesn't hear me over the noise, and I holler, "Blossom! Clover Blossom!"

She looks up, and gives her head an upwards tick to ask what I want.

I hold up two finges, and call out, "Two more over here, please!"

She waves, and heads to the tap.

I turn back to Red, and we drink and laugh it up into the night, celebrating the end of a very nasty man.

137A Terrifying Vacation97704thT

The Door Prize

I decide to get out of the house for a while. I've been scraping by for well over two years, and every so often, I feel like I have just enough to treat myself to something small. So, I'm walking towards my favorite used bookstore when I notice a new place next door. Calgon Games - a video game store.

I know: a store, right? That's why I go in, because most people just download or stream their games anymore. The game store is becoming a unicorn. So, really, I just want to see what's left; if it's thriving, or if it's nearly empty. To my surprise, their shelves are full, and they have nearly every game I could think of.

I find a cheap one to buy, and as I'm paying, lights and sirens go off over the cash wrap, confetti cannons pop, and balloons fall from the ceiling. A sign unfurls just over the register declaring that I'm the first customer! More employees come out of the back room, singing a variation of that happy birthday song that chain restaurants like to sing, and a couple of them are filming me with their phones. They're all jumping up and down around me while I'm standing there in that happy shock that happens when something cool but unexpected happens to you.

Finally, a man with a nametag that reads "Ben" and "Manager" on it says, "Congratulations, sir! What's your name?"

"Hunter," I answer with a grin, looking around at all of the employees pressing in.

"Well, Hunter, we're so excited that you are the first person to walk through our doors! And to show you how excited we are, you've just won one thousand dollars!"

"Wow," I say, overcome by this news. "You have no idea how much I need this right now! I've been job hunting for almost three years. Thank you! Thank you!" Tears start to well up from the sheer relief that this prize money will bring.

"Well, wait, sir- there's more," says the manager. "Teaming up with us for our opening, Japanese game developer Batan Switch Games is offering a chance to win even more money!"

"Oh my God," I half sob in disbelief.

"The good news is, Hunter: the thousand is yours either way," Ben says with a smile. "Batan Switch Games is developing a brand-new video game due to come out in the next two years, and to generate buzz for the game, they've built a huge complex where people can spend an all-expenses-paid two-week vacation competing in all of the games for real! You get paid another five thousand dollars just for participating! When was the last time you were paid to take a vacation?"

"Oh my God," I say, adrenaline flooding my system.

"You and five hundred other players will wear motion capture technology that Batan will use for their new game to help it look more realistic. You'll be listed in the game's credits, AND..." he pauses, leaning in with a big grin. "Are you ready for this?"

"I don't think so," I say, my voice trembling, "But go ahead."

"AND," Ben says again, "these are elimination-style contests. Each game dropping the contestants that don't complete the challenge, until they get down to one lucky player who will win thirty-five MILLION DOLLARS!"

My knees go weak, and I start to drop. Employees on either side grab me under my arms and hold me up. "Oh... oh my God," I say again, fighting the urge to pass out. "I don't... I don't know what to say."

"Say you'll do it!" says Ben.

"Y-yeah. Yeah! Of course," I say.

Just then I feel something sting my neck. I can't smack at it because of the employees holding my arms, and then my vision starts to cloud over.

Before I go to sleep, Ben says, "It's okay, Hunter, we're going to take care of you."


I wake up lying on a bunk bed, and one of the Calgon employees is holding a warm compress to my head. "Hi. I'm Sun Yi. You gave us quite a scare, Mister Peck," she says. When I look at her strangely, she says, "We checked your I.D. when you passed out. But good news: you're here!"

"Here? Where?" I ask as I sit up.

"At the Batan Switch Gaming Complex! Are you ready to start?" she asks excitedly.

"You brought me here while I was passed out?" I ask, now a little worried. Then my stomach grumbles. I smile, a bit sheepish. "I'm actually kind of hungry."

Sun Yi hands me something wrapped in foil. It's warm. I go to unwrap it and, notice that I'm wearing green sweats with motion capture dots all over it. "You... you guys changed my clothes?" I say, embarrassed and distressed.

"We had to get you ready for the games, silly!" says Sun Yi. "Eat, eat! We have to go! You're missing the orientation!"

Hesitantly, I unwrap the food, and bite into it to discover a breakfast burrito- eggs, sausage, and bacon with salsa and guacamole. "This... this is actually my favorite," I say as I bite into it again.

"I know!" she says with a big grin.

"You know?" I ask, confused, removing the compress.

"But come on!" she shouts, grabbing my hand. "They're ready to start the first game!" She pulls on my arm with her other hand, and the burrito pulls from my mouth, dropping some egg on my clothes.

We run through a door, and we're outside in a field full of sand that is surrounded by a high wall. Sun Yi pushes me excitedly towards the group of contestants, all dressed the same as me, and I hear the person giving the orientation say, "The first game is Red Light, Green Light."

"This should be easy," I say aloud.

The first game is Red Light, Green Light.
The first game is Red Light, Green Light.
138Villain for Wolverine1,67331stT

Wolverine: The Organ Grinder and the Monkey

Muir Island:

I walk into Doctor MacTaggert's treatment room with a deer-headed mutant slung over my shoulder. I dump him over onto the table with a thud. "Calls himself Warbuck, Doc."

"Seems the war was lost," she says, spreading one of his eyelids apart with her fingers, and shining a light into it. Then she looks at all of the holes he put in me with his antlers, and says, "I see you're no worse for wear, Logan."

"It's already healing," I tell her. "Gotta go. I gotta vacation ta get back to."

"And what am I supposed to do with him after he's treated?" she asks incredulously.

"Moira, I'm on vacation, so I don't give a rip," I say without looking back.

"Logan!" she calls after me.

I turn back, and fix her with a bored look. "Call Charlie and ask him. If he's taking votes, I say hit him with that neutralizing gun that Forge gave you, and call it a day. The stag's a pain in the rump."

"Logan!" she scolds me. "That's not funny."

"It kinda is," I assure her as I walk at the door.

I pull a cigar from my pocket and strike a match to light it. I puff on it, and head for the nearby edge of the island. Gateway sees me coming, and whirls his bullroarer to open a gate back to the Rockies, and the cabin I've got there. "Thanks, Gate'," I say as I step into the portal.

The Rockies:

As I exit the gate, and step back on my familiar mountain territory, it occurs to me that Warbuck is a mercenary. He hardly ever goes anywhere he doesn't get paid to. I'm distracted from that thought by the sound of merry-go-round music. "What the blue blazes?" I say to myself, looking around. I turn to look behind me, just in time to see a four hundred pound gorilla coming right at me. It roars as it charges, plants a haymaker on me, and the lights go out.

Undisclosed Location:

I wake up to the smells of ape and an otherwise sterilized room. I go to reach for my head, but my hand doesn't move. I'm lying on a surgical table in restraints. I see a small man in a labcoat in the corner, prepping surgical instruments, and laying them on a tray table. He's bald, has a handlebar mustache, and is nearly hunched over at the table. "Hey!" I shout, and then my head pounds. "Owww. What the flamin'...?"

"Ah," came the Italian accent of the man, "you are awake. Good."

"What the heck hit me?" I ask, wincing. My healing factor is starting to kick in on the headache, thank goodness.

"That would be Mikko," says the man.

"I told you: that's not my name," growls the gorilla as he lumbers up beside the table.

His voice is loud, and his body odor is overwhelming. "So, what's your name then, bub?"

He turns on me quickly, and blusters, "MONKEY!" His breath stinks too.

I turn my head away a bit, and ask, "You like 'Monkey' better than 'Mikko?' "

He turns away, leaning on all fours. His head bows a little, and he looks back over his shoulder. Sounding like a big child, he says, "I like the irony."

I laugh, and he turns back and roars in my face. "Hey! Take it easy, fella! I'm just laughing at your joke. You're funny."

Breathing hard, his eyes narrow for a moment. Then he grunts in my face, his breath puffing right at my nostrils before he walks on all fours to the foot of the table.

"Okay," I say, my head clearing. "So, who the sam hill are you?" I ask the labcoat.

"Well," he says happily, walking up to put a hand on the gorilla's shoulder. "You have already met the Monkey. So, that makes me The Organ Grinder, doesn't it?" He titters at his joke.

"What do you want?" I ask, annoyance in my voice.

His eyes go wide, and his eyebrows raise. He smooths his mustache with his thumb and forefinger, and says, "I thought I made that clear? Your organs."

"Look, ya kook, organ donors have to give consent, and they have to be dead."

"Please let me kill him," says Monkey.

"Monkey," he says, looking at the gorilla, "behave. Go get the tray table, please."

The gorilla looks at the Organ Grinder for a moment, then looks at me. Grunting like he did earlier, he casually reaches for my foot, and twists it one hundred eighty degrees.

I scream.

"Monkey!" scolds the Organ Grinder.

"What?" he says as he walks away. "We don't need his feet."

"I'm so sorry about that," the man says pleasantly as he watches my ankle untwist itself. "Monkey heard a great deal about you before we came to your cabin. He was hoping for more of a fight. He was quite upset when it only took one hit to knock you out."

My lip flares into a momentary sneer, but I answer rather than lose my cool. "Something big enough hits me, I go down. He hits like the Blob. I am surprised that I didn't wake up before we got here though."

"Oh, you did," he says. "Several times. Monkey just hit you to knock you out again."

The gorilla wheels the tray next to my table, then gorilla-laughs at me- his bottom lip poking out, and his chin raising.

As he shuffles back next to the Organ Grinder, the man says, "Yes, I think he enjoyed it."

"Good for him," I say dryly.

"In any case, Mister Logan, you are wrong," he says, moving to the tray table.


"You do not have to be dead before I take your organs." He smiles. "That's why you are here."

"Come again?" I say, the shock all over my face.

"Just before you went on your little vacation to the great outdoors, you gravely wounded several men working for the Hellfire Club. The ones who still live need organ transplants, but don't have time to get on the waiting list. So, you are going to be the solution to the problem that you created." He shrugs as if that should be all the explanation I need, but then adds, "And then I will let Monkey kill you."

Monkey gorilla-laughs at me again from the end of the table. I pull the restraint up the few inches it will let me, and flip him the bird. He twists my other foot one-eighty, and I scream.

"Please stop doing that," protests the Organ Grinder. "His blood pressure is going to be high enough in a minute. Start the music, will you?"

The ape slaps my foot while it's twisting back into place, then lumbers over to the corner of the room where the mad doctor had been. He pulls out a stool, and an actual barrel organ. Sitting, he turns the crank, and the merry-go-round music starts up again.

The Organ Grinder leans in, and in a low voice, says in my ear, "Confidentially, I don't enjoy the music as much as you might think, but it keeps him busy while I do the surgeries." He stands up, winks at me, and in a normal tone, he says, "Now, we are going to have to do this a few times. More than one of those men will need a kidney. I'll need your liver, and both lungs." A look comes on his face that says he's only just thought of something, and he looks at me curiously. "How long will it take for you to regrow those? I might need a couple of sets."

I raise my head towards him, and wave my hand from its restrained position, motioning for him to come closer. He leans in again, and I say, "More time than you've got, ya crazy S.O.B.," and I pop my claws into his thigh.

"Arrghhhh! Monkeyyy!" he screams.

The music stops suddenly, and the gorilla leaps across the room, smashing both fists on my chest, causing me to pop my claws back in reflexively. He sweeps the doc away from the table with a backhand movement, then he pulls me out of the restraints, and throws me across the room.

I hit the wall back-first, and slump to the floor. Monkey charges me, and I pop my claws again. I reach out and stab one set into his foot, and roll to stab the other one into the fist he swings at me.

Monkey falls on his back, the stabbed foot in the air, and his good hand clutching his stabbed one. He roars in pain.

"Sorry, bub," I say as I scramble to my feet and stand over him, "but it's time to spank the Monkey." I put one set of claws in the closest arm, and the other in his chest.

Monkey goes limp.

I look at the Organ Grinder. He's clutching his wounded thigh, blood running out over his fingers. He looks terrified, and he should be. "Well, doc, I believe we have an appointment."

"No," he says as I start towards him. "No!" he shouts. "Noooooo!" he screams. I put my adamantium-laced fist in his gut, and he stops screaming, doubling over to the floor.

I raise him up to his knees, and put my fist against his chest. I pop a claw through his right lung, and his eyes go wide. I growl, "Take two, and call me in the morning," and pop a second claw through his heart.

He goes limp, and I pop my claws back in, letting him fall to the floor.

I look around the room, and sniff. "Where the hell am I?" I walk over to a window, and raise the shade. Looking out, I pull a new cigar out of my belt, and strike a match. After I light the stogie, I sigh. "Madripoor. Dammit. I'm supposed to be on vacation."

139Bunny Like Batman1,54912ndT
They slipped.
They slipped.

Easter vs. The Albino

Sunset Falls- The Falls Bar & Grill:

Major Freedom and Cupid are almost to the door of the bar when it splinters from a couple of guys crashing through it, and landing back first on the sidewalk, unconscious. Cupid instantly has an arrow nocked and pointed at the entryway, and Major Freedom has his shield at the ready.

As they get into view of the inside, they see a man in pink from head to toe- suit, shoes, gloves, shades, and even pink bunny ears- holding up one of his hands to chest level as he rubs his wrist. There is blood on his glove. He doesn't speak for several seconds, then quietly says, "They slipped."

"Get down on the ground!" commmands Major Freedom.

"Major, stand down," says Cupid. "You haven't met Easter yet. He's on the team."

"The Holidays haven't been a team since Holiday Inc. decided to sponsor The Calendar Girls instead," Easter corrects him.

"You haven't been on the team since then," counters Cupid, "but the Holidays still operate. You chose to go out on your own."

Easter says nothing.

"What are you doing here?" asks Major Freedom.

"Same thing you are, I'd imagine," says the man in pink. "Looking for information on Eros' killer."

Cupid nods. "How did you get here ahead of us?"

Easter just stares, his shades hiding whatever his eyes may have told the archer.

"Right. You're always a hop ahead," Cupid says, answering his own question. He steps through the doorway, and Freedom follows.

Looking around, there are various splatters of goo all over- some yellow, some pink. Some are holding guys in place on tables, or against walls. The only other person still conscious is standing, trying to pull his foot from a pile that is stuck to the floor. "Peep paste?" asks Cupid. "How in the world do you carry that many peeps in that suit? I've never understood that."

"The suit's--" Easter stops suddenly and spins. His arm lances out, and a brightly colored Easter egg flies across the room, knocking out the man who had been trying to free his foot. When he falls, his handgun clatters to the floor.

Cupid just smiles. "I love those little bricks," he says of Easter's projectiles.

Easter reaches in his pocket, pulls out another egg, and tosses it to his former teammate. "The suit's made from the same material as Secret Santa's bag. There's room for a lot of things."

"Ha," says Cupid. "I need a quiver made of that stuff."

"That doesn't excuse all of this damage," says Major Freedom.

"Major," Cupid says, "it's part of what we do. Holiday picks up the damages. You know that."

Major Freedom glares at Cupid. "As you pointed out, he's gone his own w-ugh!" The Major goes down from a punch thrown by Easter.

Cupid looks at Easter who repockets a pair of brass knuckles that are just as pink as everything else. "He's kind of had that coming," he says with a shrug.

"I don't have time for this," growls Easter. Then he seems to fold in on himself, and he seems to wink out of existence.

"Slips further into the suit!" Cupid says with admiration. "That's how he does it! I've got to talk to Secret Santa about my quiver." Then, more seriously, he says, "I hope I can find The Sparrow before anyone else does. She's been in hiding for too long now."

The Major groans as he comes to.

Cupid smiles. "Ah! Good morning, sunshine! Come on then!"

The Bolthole- one of several bases of operations for Easter:

Easter unfolds from the extradimensional folds of his suit, and walks over to a table. "Computer," he says to the room, "status on the egg activated three minutes ago."

"The egg is currently located at the Sunset Falls Bar & Grill," the computer informs him.

"Designate that egg 'archer,' and alert me if it should get within one hundred meters of my belt tracker's location."

"Acknowledged," confirms the machine.

"You let him see you leave?" asks a voice from behind him.

Without looking up, Easter says, "Angora. Cupid was right- his quiver would be more useful to him if it has extradimensional capacity. Sometimes, Secret Santa is too secretive."

"God, I love it when you talk all tactical," she says as she steps up and rubs his shoulders.

"Not now, Angora. I don't have time. The Sparrow's not the only problem I'm tracking right now. I'm hearing rumors that .someone killed Dingo. The Reynard and Vixen are on a crime spree. Double Down is back again. The Inquisition has been looking for something all over the city, and..." he sighs with disgust. "And there have been several sightings of The Albino around the dog park. Pets are disappearing." Whispering, he laments, "I really hate having to go into the sewers."

"Well, then," says Angora. "You better take advantage of this first. Because after the sewers, it will be a week and several showers before you get to again."

Easter finally looks up. Glancing over his shoulder, he pulls his shades down for a better look at Angora. She isn't wearing anything. "I... I may have a little time," he says.

Angora wrinkles her nose and gives a tight smile. "Ven aqui, papi."

Two hours later, Sunset Dog Park:

"Found the sewer access point the Albino has been using to get in and out of the park," Easter says for the benefit of a bluetooth device next to his ear. Going in to find him."

"Be careful, mi amor," he hears in the receiver. "I'd hate for anything to happen to that cute little butt."

"Angora," Easter says in a low voice, looking around him. "I didn't know you were listening."

"Then who were you talking to, pendejo?" she demands.

"I was recording my progress," he tells her, "in case I need to review it later. I need radio silence, so I can listen for the Albino."

"Mm-hm," is Angora's only response, then nothing.

Putting a rebreather between his lips, the man in pink drops into the sewer, and taps his shades. The lenses change to night vision, and he starts forward. He travels quickly about two hundred meters down the tunnel before he hears a low, rumbling growl. He gets to a large intersection with more branches leading into it than he cares for.

He reaches into his jacket, and pulls out a squat gun with a large barrel. Reaching into his coat pocket with his other hand, he brings out a handful of yellow and pink peeps. Loading them into the Peep Shooter, he fires them at each of the tunnels. Each one hits its mark, sticking to a tunnel wall, and the impact activating the motion detection laster embedded within their soft bodies. Now I'll know if the Albino comes out of one of those tunnels, he thinks to himself.

Just then he hears a louder growl behind him from the tunnel he just came out of. Spinning towards the noise, he finds himself facing the hulking humanoid form of The Albino - a white-scaled, zombie gator man, with a purple leash dangling from his jaws.

The Albino growls, and charges Easter. Dropping the Peep Shooter, an egg falls from the hero's coat sleeve into his waiting hand, and he sweeps his arm out in a wide arc, sending the projectile flying into the man-gator's open mouth. On contact, the zombie's mouth fills with expanding foam. Once he's within arm's reach, Easter grabs the leash, and yanks, slamming the Albino into the water.

Before he can jump clear, the zombie grabs him, and drags him into the water as well. He rolls over several times, but has to let the hero go to focus on freeing his mouth. Easter scrambles to the surface, spits out the rebreather, takes a deep, gasping breath of air, and immediately gags on the foul taste of the sewer air. He stumbles to the narrow walkway at the edge of the water, and clambers out of the muck.

More eggs drop into his gloved hands, and he hurls them just as the Albino breaks the water. These eggs hit like concussion grenades, causing the zombie to stumble back into another wall. Easter pulls another Peep Shooter out of his jacket, and immediately fires several, trapping the gator in piles of peep paste.

Tapping the back of his shades, he says, "Angora? Alert the Sunset Falls Police Department to this location, and tell them to bring a cage. The Albino is captured, but stuck to the wall."

"Done. Anything else?" is her only response.

"Yes, stay clear of the detox foam shower. I'll be 'porting there directly. You may actually want to go to another Bolthole for the night. This reeks."

"I'm already at another Bolthole," she informs him. "Good night." With that, the connection goes silent.

"Computer. What's Angora's current location?"

"Angora's trackers have all been disabled," the computer informs him.

Easter sighs. "Great. She's angry," he says to himself. Looking at his suit, the pink barely registers under all the muck he's covered in. Frustrated, he hurls a couple of more peeps at the Albino for good measure, then teleports to the detox shower in his Bolthole.

140Salamander (Character)Didn't Participate---
141Hero for the Kingpin1,06022ndT

The Kingpin: When Comes Retribution

Wesley. Report.
Wesley. Report.

Wilson Fisk stands in the middle of the room, waiting. He is surrounded by men all wearing gis. At the edge of the room stands one thin man in a black suit and glasses.

"Wesley. Report," says Fisk, and that's when the men attack.

Pushing up his glasses with one finger, Wesley answers, "New York runs smoothly, of course."

Fisk swings a backfist to his left, knocking away one of his attackers. While another comes at him with nunchucks, his assistant continues.

"The Hand contingent that we contracted to distract Wolverine were taken out rather quickly. Faster than we anticipated actually. They all disintegrated of course."

"Of course," agrees the Kingpin as he catches the flailing nunchuck in midswing, and uses it to pull its wielder into his grip. The man kicks him in the thigh, but the crimelord doesn't even flinch. He shakes the man side-to-side by the neck, pulls the nunchucks out of his hand, and tosses them over his shoulder. Then he smacks the man across the face, rendering him unconscious, and tosses him aside into two more attackers. "Send the Hand my thanks, and our usual fee, along with compensation for the families of those men."

Wesley punches his phone a bit. "Taskmaster reports that the former Hydra agents he recruited are shaping up nicely. They should be ready to enter your service by the end of the month."

"I want men who will work for me," says Wilson as he kicks a man in the solar plexus. "Not just anyone. Send those men to Arcade."

The current Madame Hydra is Arcade's daughter.
The current Madame Hydra is Arcade's daughter.

"The current Madame Hydra is Arcade's daughter," says Wesley. "She'll kill them for their desertion."

"Yes," is the only answer as Kingpin grabs two men by the sides of their heads, and smashes them into each other.

Wesley makes a notation on his phone, then says, "Arcade reports that none of the Thieves Guild members that LeBeau sent to him survived his obstacle course."

The boss growls in frustration, punching a man across the room with a devastating right hook. "That maniac can't control his own murderous impulses. Send the Hydra men to him anyway, but then dump him. I'm paying him to train recruits, not kill them for his own amusement."

"Doctor Doom would like to schedule lunch with you at the Latverian Embassy next Tuesday."

Fisk stomps one foot forward, leaning into a punch that sends a man flying. "Push it to Thursday, and invite him to..."

"...The Hellfire Club?" suggests Wesley.

"No," he answers, punching another man. "Sebastian Shaw is a bore, and not to be trusted. Make it Chez Mis."

"Your usual table?" Wesley asks, his thumbs moving rapidly over his phone.

"The whole restaurant. Whatever Doom wants, no one needs to hear it but me."

"Very well. Chez Mis already confirms. They'd like to know a time."

"The whole day," says Fisk, sweeping his right leg in a wide arc, knocking two men away. "Let Victor pick the time he wants to meet, and I'll see him then. Tell their chef to prepare the lobster thermador. It's all he'll eat from there."


"Already done, sir."

"Excellent," says Fisk as he fells the last attacker. "Now for the Hand."

"Sir?" says Wesley, but then he spies the red-clad ninjas beginning to appear from the shadows.

Just as quickly as they appear, shots ring out, causing each of them to disintegrate. Wesley cowers, throwing his arms up as if to block his face. The Kingpin just glares in the direction of the shots, watching as a woman melts out of a dark corner, pointing a handgun in his direction.

"Who are you, and what do you want?" he asks her.

"Retribution," she says in answer to both questions.

Unnmoving from the center of the room, Wilson merely tilts his head, narrowing his eyes. "I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage. I don't know you."

"I'm the Vanisher's daughter," she answers.

"I was sorry to hear of his untimely passing," he offers, holding his hands in front of him slightly. "I couldn't understand why he didn't teleport before he hit those powerlines."

"Probably because he was stoned out of his mind," she says angrily.

"Ah, I see." Wilson rubs one wrist, then the other. "Unfortunate. Drugs destroy so many lives."

I couldn't understand why he didn't teleport...
I couldn't understand why he didn't teleport...

Retribution steps closer, but still out of reach. "Those drugs came from the South American cartel that you had him running!"

"My dear, I have no idea what you are talking about. I have no business dealings in South America."

"I suppose you don't send men to their deaths with Arcade, either?" she seeths.

Fisk's face turns visibly angrier, and he steps forward, but stops when the woman fires. He hears the bullet whiz by his cheek.

"You're going to pay, Fisk," says Retribution, backing into the corner. As she does so, her form begins to blend with the darkness. "I'm going to dismantle your organization piece-by-piece, if I have to kill every man working for you. And when you have nothing left, I'm coming back for you." With that, she backs further into the corner, and is completely swallowed by the darkness.

"Vanessa, turn on all lights," he says to his virtual assistant. The room becomes fully illuminated, and there is no one standing in the corner.

Towel please, Wesley.
Towel please, Wesley.

Holding out his hand, Fisk says, "Towel please, Wesley."

Wesley hands his employer the towel, and looks around the room, making sure for himself that the woman is no longer there.

Wiping sweat from his face, chest and arms, Fisk asks, "Didn't we lose a couple of facilities in New Jersey and Connecticut last month?"

"Yes, sir." Punching his phone a bit more, he says, "Everyone at those locations were shot and killed. We assumed it was the Punisher."

"Get me more details. I want to know if it was her."

"I'll have an answer for you by the morning, sir."

"Put some people on every 'Porter' in the New York area. I want to know which one of them is Vanisher's daughter by the end of the week." He hands Wesley back the towel, and heads for his private entrance. "Hold my calls. I'll be in the steam room."

Send them to Taskmaster.
Send them to Taskmaster.

"And these men, sir?"

Fisk pauses to glance over his shoulder. "They were adequate. Send them to Taskmaster." Then he leaves the room.


Story and original characters © Chris Bishop, 2024. Marvel stuff ©Marvel Comics.

The Last Day of Rainbow Royce


Larfleeze looks at the blonde Earth woman before him, and demands, "Who are you?"

"Name's Royce Bivolvo," she says with a smirk. "Some call me Rainbow Royce."

"Tell me why I shouldn't just have Glomulus eat you for coming here."

"Because I'm not here for your lantern," she says.

Larfleeze looks suspicious, and clutches his orange lantern closer to him. "You're not? How could you not be?"

"Because I don't need it," she says. "I already have access to the orange light." To prove it, her glasses glow orange, and a lazy orange beam floats over and kisses Larfleeze on the cheek.

"WHAT?! HOW?!" demands Larfleeze, waving the orange kiss away with two of his arms as if swatting at an annoying bug. "Who are you?"

Tapping the goggles that she was wearing, the woman says, "It's because of these glasses. My grandfather was a genius. He built these for my dad who was colorblind, and dad used them as a crook named The Rainbow Raider. He could form solid light constructs of any color, and even affect people's emotions with them, but he never realized the full power that he was given. Fortunately for me, I inherited grandpa's genius. I made some improvements."

"Power, you say?" Larfleeze snaps. "If it's power, I must have it! It's mine!" Darting forward, he snatches the glasses off of Royce's face. He puts them on immediately, and even finds the switches hidden on the frames, but nothing happens when he presses them.

Royce tsks at the Orange Lantern. "I told you: I made some improvements," she says. Her eyes glow, and she says, "Genius didn't skip my father. He once made an external prism that allowed him to interalize the power of the glasses, but when the prism was destroyed, he lost the power. I found a way to incorporate the glasses and the prism together into what amount to contacts. They can't be snatched like you just did to my glasses. Those things are useless on their own by the way- I modified them just to focus the contacts through; I think they look cool," she says with a smile, as a blue beam lances out and takes the glasses back.

Larfleeze growls at losing the glasses, but snaps, "What do you want, then?"

"Oh," Royce says, her eyes shining blue, "let me show you." Blue beams lance out of her eyes and into the orange central power battery that Larfleeze clutches in a vicelike grip.

The battery glows blue for a few moments; long enough to subdue his avarice as he wonders at the Ophidian entity being drawn out of his battery. It is bound in heavy blue chains that practically mummify all but its head. "What? Him?" Larfleeze balks. "Krona already tried that, and he was defeated. Ophidian escaped, and roamed free in the universe until he came back here, wanting to join with the Orange Light again. He tried to take it from me of course, but I beat him again. Because nobody takes from me," he snarled, his tone signaling the return of his greedy nature as the lantern turns orange again.

"I don't want to take him," says Royce. A blue meat cleaver forms in the air, and she says, "I'm here to kill him." And before Larfleeze can say anything else, the cleaver swings down, beheading Ophidian.

"That entity was mine!" shouts Larfleeze. Then a strange look comes over his face, and he says, "But... I don't care. What have you done?"

"The Orange Light isn't Avarice. That was just Ophidian," says Royce. "Without him to fuel it, the emotional attachment isn't there for the light."

"But... what is the Orange Light for if not Greed?" asks Larfleeze.

"Whatever you want it to be for," says Royce. "Without greed behind it, what do you want, Larfleeze?"

"I..." he starts, then pauses. After a few moments, he answers, "I want to find my family." He is so taken by the swell of other emotions besides greed, he doesn't notice the Orange Lantern slip from his hands. Not until it is settling above Royce's waiting palm. "Wait! What are you doing?"

"What I came to do, Larfleeze. Ophidian has been calling out to me from your hole in Okaara. He wants the Orange Light, but also wants to roam free in the universe. So, we worked out a deal."

"But you killed him," screams Larfleeze.

"No," says Royce, as the orange light begins to drain from the battery into her hand, and flow up her arm. "I merely convinced him that reigning in his avarice, and faking his death, would get him what he wants. What you saw was a construct. I told you that I already had access to the Orange Light." The Orange Light now fully engulfs her torso and other arm, and starts to flow down her legs.

Feeling the bleed of greed energy coming off of the Earth woman, Larfleeze sneers, "And what do you get out this?"

"It's what we get out of this," she says, her eyes becoming more reptilian in shape, and glowing red. "I told Ophidian what I wanted, and he agreed that it was a worthy goal. And that's why we're joining ourselves together."

"And what is that?" demanded Larfleeze.

"My dear Larfleeze," she says almost hissing, and swaying side-to-side slightly. "I want it all. All of the light. We will consume all of the Central Batteries just as we have done to this trinket," she says, allowing the now drained Orange Battery to fall to the ground, grey and and inert.

"Bah," spits Larfleeze. "You've merely given yourself over to Ophidian."

"No," she says, "we've joined with each other. We are no longer Royce Bivolvo or Ophidian. We are now... Rainbophidian. And we will possess all of the light, for it... is... ours."

With that, the new entity rockets up and out of Larfleeze's hole, leaving him in the dark.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my entries. Participate in the next Character Creation Contest- we always love having another writer compete! -cb :^D

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