NEW VINDICATORS (Books I - XIII)

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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 40

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:45 pm

Chapter XL: Magic Man
Stephen Orpheus White was a man of high standing. He had graduated third in his class at Harvard Medical School. The surgeon won great acclaim with his ‘miraculous’ operations. His face has graced the cover of TIME magazine more than any other man. Truly, there are few in the world who did not know of the great Doctor White.

One of his frequent appearances in TIME reported on the tragedy that had struck his Manhattan apartment. A fire had claimed the life of his fiancée, Elaine Browning, the grand-daughter of industry’s great captain Edward Browning, Esquire. Doctor White reclusively retreated from his life’s work, sinking further and further into alcoholism and even deeper into the abyss of depression.

That was… until Elaine came back to him.

Elaine burst through his vacation home in Myrtle Beach and shook the man out of his drunken stupor. Her ghost was panicked and screaming. Some unseen force was chasing her and gaining on her. Still, as quickly as her spectral image had appeared… she had disappeared as well.

Perhaps she truly had crossed over to seek her love’s help, or perhaps she was a manifestation of his intoxication. It was enough to see Doctor White spend everything he had traveling through the Orient and the Himalayas, desperate to find a way to reestablish that connection.

It was on this search that he learned he was part of the Aurelii gen. The blood that flowed in his veins was that of Aurelia Cotta, the mother of Julius Caesar; of Clemens Prudentius, the Christian poet; of Saint Aurelius, the fifth century Christian saint… To be of the Aurelii was to be one of “The Golden” and to be able to call evoke the birthright that went hand-in-hand with such a destiny.

Doctor White mastered the forces of the arcane world to become the Aurelius for a chance to save Elaine and speak once more with his love. She told him of a young girl destined for greatest… his unborn child.

Twenty-five years later he was all but ignoring his only daughter… Atlanta Jane White would be turning eighteen soon. It was her final year of schooling—her first at the New Vindicators Academy of America. Atlanta’s mother had left Stephen when his duties as Earth’s Master Mage took precedence over his duties as a husband and a father. He had put the training of his nephew, Coup, before all else. He had sacrificed everything to raise his sister’s son up as the next Aurelius…

…but he never would have begun training him if Atlanta hadn’t de6clined to become his apprentice.

It was a difficult thing for the man to do—to love his daughter as much as he did and to be so disappointed in her all at the same time. He saw her trying to make up for it; she came to stay with him during the summer months and during Christmas and Easter breaks. He had watched her easily carry in a staggering amount of medical textbooks. She was a simple girl from the south—she had inherited her naiveté from her mother. There wasn’t a hint of his intellect in her. Still, Atlanta pushed on with hard work and strong resolve. She could have been a great doctor one day… she could have stolen away his record for magazine covers—but he knew that she wasn’t destined to be a doctor.

“How can I live without you?” he had asked Elaine.

“You will. You must,” she told him. “Your child is destined for great things, Stephen. I’ve seen a glimpse of what she will do… and I wish I could have been her mother—if even for longer respite from the grave with you.”

The Aurelius shuddered as he thought on that omen. Elaine’s last words always echoed in his head whenever he set his eyes on his precious, only child…

“Wh—where are we?” Ben asked, breaking the magus from his stupor.

“The Astral Plane,” Atlanta answered calmly. Of those the Aurelius had transcended to the spiritual region, she was the only one who remained calm and collected. Deimos seemed almost panicked and Alexa was frozen on the spot. Drew came close to accepting their current status with ease, but spoiled it by screaming as an astral wind pierced through his stomach.

“It’s nice…” Lex said nervously, his hand phasing through his girlfriend’s head. “Very roomy…”

“Ah live here,” Atlanta said.

Drew laughed until he realized the southern belle was not.

“Atlanta stays with me during school breaks,” the Aurelius said, pronouncing each syllable dramatically. “My abode rests within the Astral Plane—accessible only by the very arcana I wield!”

“Guess that means you don’t get a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses, huh?”

Drew’s joke went ignored as Atlanta stepped forward, gesturing to the surreal void encompassing them. “The Astral Plane is like a layer overtop our own. That’s why we can see the others—they just can’t see us.”

“I noticed,” Deimos growled, wrapping his body in his arms. “I don’t like it here.”

"I concur," grumbled Michuru, visibly shuddering.

The Aurelius turned and fixed the young man with a quizzical look. He studied Deimos, as if looking for a reason why the youth would be agitated standing in such a realm. Finally, noticing the typical reaction, he came across the answer: “You’re a Nephilim,” he said. “It’s no wonder you’re uncomfortable here. I could send him back-”

“He’ll have to endure it,” Lex said, slightly confused as to what a Nephilim was. “You said you could show us where Pete is holed up. I want to be able to plan this out. He’ll need to see the lay.”

“Then can we get to it?” grumbled Deimos. “I really don’t like this place…”

“What’s a Nephilim?” Drew asked.

Deimos groaned, realizing that explanations would only detain them here further.

“My boy,” the Aurelius intoned darkly, “there are wonders in this universe that you are better off not knowing—for the answers to some questions may very well shatter your psyche and leave you a hollow husk of a human!”

“Not more of that alliteration crap,” grumbled Deimos.

“Nah,” Drew offered. “I’ll be okay. I’ve died; it’s not like anything is going to beat that.”

The Aurelius threw another quizzical look Mister Bradshaw’s way. The educator only shrugged. “You get used to Drew’s special brand of thinking after a while.” Drew grinned brightly at what he perceived to be a compliment. “So… a layer?” Michuru asked Atlanta, seeking for a change of subject.

Atlanta nodded, her platinum-blonde pigtails flipping as she did so. “Basically, it’s like in A Christmas Carol… we’re in a world laid just overtop the real world. We can see and hear them, but they can’t see or hear us.”

Deimos laughed. “And just how is this supposed to find Lodestone’s Barbie doll?”

“While we’re in the Astral Plane, my daddy can fix in on certain things—like Neo-Sapiens. He just concentrates and before y’all know it, we’re gunna be lookin’ down on the closest Neo-Sapien.”

The Aurelius shut his eyes and the world blurred past them all. In an instant they were looking at Saffron Harris, Jacquelyn’s best-friend and Drew’s one-time date. Drew seemed not to recognize her, but Lex’s eyes widened as they blurred past, landing instead in a room where a man in his thirties slept peacefully. Once more they leaped and flashed into a Steak & Shake, watching as a waitress poured another cup of coffee for two chain smoking men who bared an uncanny resemblance to Ashton Kutcher and Matthew McConaughey.

They leapt past a man walking his dog and a young woman shaving her legs. Suddenly they found themselves in a dark room, illuminated only by the blue glow from a wall of monitors facing five young men- each playing a different MMORPG. “Q—Quinton?” Ben asked, his eyes widening at the sight. He turned to Michuru—the man genuinely seemed surprise to be staring at the backs of a friend they all thought to be dead. None of them could believe what they were seeing, but before they could make a move, they leapt once more.

“Go back!” Lex demanded. “Go back to the last one! That was Quinton!”

“This is it,” Michuru intoned sadly. Lex turned around and found himself standing in the lobby of an abandoned aquarium.

“But Quinton-!”

“Quinton can wait!” barked Michuru. “Saving Chienne is our top priority! I know it sounds cold but-”

“I understand,” Lex said, casting his eyes to the spectral floor they stood upon. “I may not like it but… I get it. So… anyone know where we’re at?”

“We’re in Battery Park,” Michuru intoned. “The New York Aquarium was here, until it moved to Coney Island after World War II.”

Deimos rolled his eyes. “Why would you know that?”

“In my younger days, I wanted to be a marine biologist… an ichthyologist, really. The aquarium was closed when… when a tunnel was proposed, connecting lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. The animals here were transferred to the Bronx Zoo until after the war.” Michuru’s spectral hands glided just over the surface of the glass, following the exotic fish that swam inside. “Tide must have used his powers to repopulate it again…”

The New Vindicators walked forward, heading towards a large glass cylinder in the middle of the room. The case rose up three stories and vanished into the levels below. As they proceeded forward, Drew let out a scream. Atlanta immediately began scanning their surroundings, looking for an intruder to the Astral Plane. Lex shifted into an offensive stance ready to attack any foolish enough to engage them at the moment. Deimos tried to summon his powers and was startled to find the black flames he commanded failed to respond to his summons.

“Sh—sh—sh—shark!” Drew exclaimed, pointing a trembling hand at the tank.

The group calmed down once more.

“It can’t hurt you… we’re not really here,” Alexa offered.

Michuru sighed. “Besides, that particular species is the megamouth shark; it’s a filter feeder so it only eats plankton and jellyfish. Still, there have only been about three dozen captured… Tide has one? Remarkable?”

“It’s still a shark!” exclaimed Drew nervously.

“What do you care?” asked Deimos. “You’ve died before…”

“He has an incredible collection—if anything…” Michuru mused to himself, admiring the different aquatic life forms the former New Vindicator had obtained— seemingly on his own. “Is he an ichthyologist as well?”

“Maybe,” Lex said. “After he graduated, he went off to med school.” Something stirred inside of Alexa and Atlanta—two others intent on beginning their careers in medicine come next year. For Alexa it was more disturbing; Tide’s powers were similar to her own and so were his ambitions. Would she repeat his mistakes? Would she one day be fighting off a squadron of New Vindicators herself some day?

“Ah’ve got the gal,” Atlanta said, pointing up the chamber. Near the surface hung a diving cage, a still figure held within; it was Chienne, but was she still breathing? Lex moved to rush up the metal worked spiral stairs two at a time and was startled to find himself able to float upwards to Chienne’s level.

“She’s alive,” he called down. “It looks like… a rebreather.” Lex put his hands to the glass and was startled to find his body phasing through the cylinder. “Doctor White?” he called down. “What happens if I pass through the glass?”

“The Astral Plane shows only a veil of what is on the other side. The waters pose none of the threats they would otherwise.”

With a nod, Lex pushed his face through to get a better look at Chienne’s surroundings. The current shifted through the water—a telltale sign of Tide’s presence. Were it not for the displaced image, he would not have known the man was there—concealed as he was. “I’ve got him!” he called, pulling himself back out of the aquarium. “He’s in the tank with her!”

“Going in after her would be suicide,” Michuru intoned.

“Pulling her out would be just as bad,” mused Alexa. “He’ll notice the second we start to haul her up.”

“Then there’s no way to avoid fighting, is there?” Ben asked. The young man sighed and his shoulders slumped down. “I was afraid of that.”

In no time, Lex had joined them once more; the Aurelius seemed impressed with how fast the young man acclimated himself to the Astral Plane. “If we can’t avoid fighting him then we need to make sure we strip him of any possible advantage. It’s like Mister Bradshaw said: going in is suicide. We can’t fight him inside.”

Deimos shrugged. “Then I say we bust a hole in the tank and drain this sucker.”

“No!” Alexa barked. “The ocean life inside-”

Deimos blinked at her interjection. “You’ve got to be kidding me. You don’t want the little fishies to get hurt? Big freakn’ deal, okay? It’s either us or them!”

“He has some crocodiles or alligators or something up top,” Lex pointed out. “I can’t tell the difference between them.”

“It’s the snout,” Michuru intoned. He suddenly seemed embarrassed, further regressing into his love of marine biology. “Sorry.”

“Either way,” Lex said, “we may not be able to avoid fighting the animal life he’s recruited. I could handle the crocs up top. Thing is, Pete’s gunna notice me doin’ the tango in the reptile house. Drew… you’ll come with me, mimicking my powers to go stone. That’ll protect us from the ‘gators and give Pete more to deal with. We’ll act as a distraction for Alexa to get in the tank and haul Chienne out. After that, I want Atlanta and Deimos to get her out of there. At that point, Alexa and Drew should be able to keep Tide back.”

“What about me?” Ben asked.

“Pete’s slippery—we need to deny him an escape route. Ben, I want you coating every drain, plug, pipe or vent in ice—just start freezing the place over.”

The Aurelius smiled at the other former Vindicator. “I think they’re done here,” he said softly.

Mister Bradshaw smiled proudly at his students and nodded to them in turn. “Okay, team… let’s get back to the school and get suited up. You’ve got a job to do.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Breakout.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 41

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:28 pm

Chapter XLI: Just to See You Smile
The last few months had been difficult for Magnus Loder. He was dating Chienne Bedford, not only the daughter of the biggest advocate against Neo-Sapiens, but the object of all of his roommate’s desires. Adonis Skraag claimed to love Chienne; he said he had since the two met in the second grade. For nearly a decade, she had occupied his head and his heart and not having her in his life at all was killing him.

Magnus had tried to get reassigned a new room. Still, the powers that be refused, pointing out that they weren’t going to relocate him every time he had a conflict with one of his roommates. “Deal with the problem yourself,” Mister Goodman had told him. “Good God, rookie… at least attempt to look like you have a pair—if only once a semester. I’m not asking much.”

“Will you stop pacing?” Adonis asked.

Magnus merely continued pacing back and forth, attempting to think of a way around this. He wanted to be there for Chienne. He wanted to be the one who pulled her to safety. He wanted out of this room. He wanted away from Adonis.

“Okay… just sit down all ready!”

“Make me.”

“Oh… that’s REAL mature. It really accents those leadership qualities you think you have down.”

“Bite me, Pretty Boy.”

Adonis rolled his eyes and groaned as he leaned back on the bed—supported by his elbows as he stared up into Shannon Sharp’s bunk. “You’re not going to work with me at all on this, are you?”

Magnus laughed and Adonis cringed. He hated Magnus’ laugh. The man laughed nervously, as if he were perpetually one step away from losing his grip on sanity and embracing his delusions of grandeur perfectly. “In what universe do you see us ever working together?”

“This one,” Adonis said coldly. “Now are you going to shut up and lay off the sarcasm or-”

“Or.”

Adonis stood up suddenly and flashed Magnus a dark glare. “You are such an idiot… you—you don’t deserve to be with a girl like Chienne, okay? You don’t. You really don’t. I’m trying to tell you that we need each other here. I need you and you need me and Chienne… Chienne needs us both, okay?”

“You’re crazy. Neither she, nor I, need you.”

“Then walk out of this room.” Magnus said nothing. He merely froze where he stood, inches from Adonis’ face. The blood was pumping; his face was red. Magnus was enraged. He was near to blowing his top. “What’s the matter?” Adonis asked calmly. “Is it because you know that Miss Jordan isn’t going to let you past her? Is it because you know that she’s going to obey Mister Bradshaw’s order and make sure that neither you nor I become involved in this mission?”

“Shut up.”

“That’s the difference between you and me: I’m willing to put aside my pride because I actually love Chienne. She’s not a trophy to me. She’s not some prize that I can show off to my friends.” Magnus opened his mouth, but Adonis gave him no room to interrupt. “It hurts me that I’m not the man in her life, sure, but do you know what hurts me more? Not being in her life. I made the worst mistake a man can make, Loder: I fell in love with my best friend. More than anything, I want her to be safe and I don’t think that Lex and his team can do it. I think that Lex and this Tide guy have too much of a history together and if worst comes to worst, what side will the Wonderboy really be on?

“I love Chienne enough that I can say that she needs you. I need you. More so… I’m man enough to tell you that whatever you want to think or say about me and my intentions… I’m going to use my powers on the girl outside our door and I will get us both out of here.”

“I don’t intend to take you with me,” Magnus said.

“I wouldn’t figure you would…” Adonis grumbled, “but in the end… I think that doing that only vindicates what I’ve been saying this whole time. You’re terrified of me.”

“You’ve got that backwards, haven’t you?”

“Haven’t you wondered why I haven’t told Chienne what you are?”

Magnus froze. He had never realized it, but at any time Adonis could have begun telling everyone who would listen at Eleanor Roosevelt High School that Magnus Loder was a Neo-Sapien. He could spread the word and watch as it was carried to Chienne. It wouldn’t take much effort for Adonis or for anyone at the New Vindicators Academy of America to cripple that relationship.

“You haven’t told her because she wouldn’t believe you.”

“She’d believe me,” Adonis said. “Even without my powers, I’m a genius. It doesn’t take much to realize that if I hit the Morph Buckle while you were with her you’d be up the creek.” Magnus cringed. “Trust me, Magnus: I’d make them believe me.”

“So why haven’t you told her?”

“I tried to rationalize out why she was with you and… I thought of two logical reasons: either Chienne is using you to hurt me-” Immediately Magnus started to contradict him but Adonis talked over his interjection. “-or she really cares about you.” That was enough to silence Magnus Loder. “If that’s the case and I told her what you were… it would only hurt her, Magnus. I love her and when you love someone… you’ll do anything to keep from seeing them in pain.

“Even help a guy like you be the hero.”

Magnus sighed and shook his head. “So…” he said uneasily. He couldn’t believe what that it had come to this. “Are you going to get us out of here or what?”
To Be Continued... wrote:To the rescue...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by smashed247 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:31 pm

Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! :shock:

I'm so amazed and enthralled by this story I'm struggling to form a coherent......

Really, words can't describe how much I love this storyline

Is there any chance that you will post up the character builds as I think there are some really interesting character builds. I really would like to see Tripper's as I find her powers very interesting.

I do have a question though regarding one character's continuity: Drew's power is the ability to copy those of nearby NS', I get that but right at the start of the story Drew turned into a being composed of light, showing that he'd copied the Alternate Form (Light) power from someone, but who? There didn't seem to be any NS' around so how did he turn into light?

Michuru81
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Post by Michuru81 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:29 pm

smashed247 wrote:Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! :shock:

I'm so amazed and enthralled by this story I'm struggling to form a coherent......

Really, words can't describe how much I love this storyline
Words can't even begin to describe how great it is that someone enjoys this. Thank you, so much for the kind words... they really do mean the world to me. :)
smashed247 wrote:Is there any chance that you will post up the character builds as I think there are some really interesting character builds. I really would like to see Tripper's as I find her powers very interesting.
I have a thread over in Roll Call where I try my best to post one character a day, complete with a short biography. The biography is where I have problems as I find myself debating whether or not to post certain character due to the spoilers involved. Big things are coming for characters like Amalgam, Deimos, Copycat, Loess, Adonis... things reflected in their stats. Tripper has been thrown up as she exists PRESENTLY in the campaign. There are minor spoilers- but nothing happens to Tripper on the scale that, say, Adonis or Deimos will go through before the end of this story arc.
smashed247 wrote:I do have a question though regarding one character's continuity: Drew's power is the ability to copy those of nearby NS', I get that but right at the start of the story Drew turned into a being composed of light, showing that he'd copied the Alternate Form (Light) power from someone, but who? There didn't seem to be any NS' around so how did he turn into light?
The narrative and the sessions differ in minor ways. During our first session, Drew's player ended up going through his last day as a normal human. Drew's player actually played out the events detailed by Detective John Long- just being in the wrong place at the wrong time...

Two cops (Avery St. James and C. John Holden) were undercover, trying to bust two drug dealers (Bret and Kyle Morris). Bret was a Neo-Sapien with Light Form, which he used when panicked by the no-win situation the Morris brothers ended up in. Drew's ability (Mimic) kicked in and he got Bret's powers.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 42

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:04 pm

Chapter XLII: The Tide is High
Amalgam touched at the collar of his uniform and his fingers found the hard device installed in the Kevlar. At his touch the communication link was opened; his voice would broadcast to any New Vindicator wearing their ear piece. “Lando Calrissian is in position,” he said, rolling his eyes at the call signs Drew had given then group.

“Boba Fett is in possition,” came Fathom’s voice in Amalgam’s ear.

“Luke and Leia,” replied Rumble, “waitin’ on you, boss-man.”

“Why do I have to be C3PO?” asked Frostbite.

“Because you’re a gay robot,” Copycat retorted. “Now shut up and do your job!”

If anything, Amalgam was glad that they didn’t seem too nervous. For most of them it was their first time in a serious situation. Until now, they had mostly operated under the eyes of their educators—within the safety protocols of the Wreck Room. Still, in the last few months some of them had seen their fair share of danger. Frostbite and Deimos had tangled with three members of the Affiliation; they had stood up to Blitzkrieg, Black Widow and Lurker and they had come out unscathed on the surface. Copycat had fought Suicide Dave and survived—not surprising given the pair’s powers. Fathom was the only other student present who was not in her first year at the academy; she had been there alongside Amalgam and the others—dealing with the threats life had thrown their way.

The only one Amalgam was concerned about was Rumble. The young woman was normally so oblivious to everything going on around her. As a prefect, he was privy to certain information on each of the students. Most assumed that it had been Atlanta White’s faith was what separated her from her peers. For her beliefs she kept her distance from the openly promiscuous Cassandra Goodman, the bisexual Alexa Hawk and the chain-smoking social-drinking, foul mouthed Deimos. Lex knew the true prognosis and knew exactly why it was Atlanta seemed so distant and spacey. That revelation left him worried over how she would react once immersed in the throes of battle?

“Lando Calrissian is go!” Amalgam exclaimed. The young man nodded to his partner; in a heartbeat Drew Jenkins’ ability to mimic the Neo-Sapien abilities of others kicked on and he began to piggyback Amalgam’s power signature. Alexander Sway, the New Vindicator known as Amalgam, was blessed with the power to alter his molecular structure—copying the template of whatever he touched. His bare hands touched on the steel frame of the skylight and Copycat copied his actions. The pair both had their flesh turned to steel and their density increased. Under their weight, the normally durable glass panes they stood upon shattered and dropped them onto the top floor of the former aquarium. Amalgam turned and twisted in the air, deftly landing his feet against the floor. His compatriot’s descent was not as graceful; Copycat collided with a table—the upper deck had once been a restaurant overlooking the rest of the building.

“I’m okay… I’m fine. I’m okay.” Making it to his feet, Copycat laughed as he looked down at himself. “Dude… being you freakin’ rocks!”

“You should see what I can do with Silly Putty,” Amalgam grumbled. “Keep your mind on the mission, Copycat.”

“Silly Putty? Dude! You could totally stretch your-”

“Copycat!”

“What? I was gunna say ‘arm’. Scout’s honor!”

“Lando Calrissian has made contact,” Amalgam said, his eyes scanning the dark level. Moonlight refracted through the former skylight and reflected from the water’s surface in the cylindered tank before them; the phenomena cast a wavering image on the floor and on the walls. In the Astral Plane, there had been crocodiles here. Where were the crocodiles?

Amalgam and Copycat’s alloy-coated eyes fell on the titanic shape before them. The metal-clad being spun; its hands were on the crocodile’s tail, building centrifugal force. “Don’t I get a cool Star Wars name?” a voice like garbled electronics asked. “I could be Obi-Wan Kenobi—the Ewan McGregor Obi though.” Gauntleted hands released the tail, sending the crocodile flying on its own momentum into the reinforced walls of the aquarium. Two more lunged at the armored figured, but the being seemed ready to face anything that came its way. “Nothing against Sir Alec, but… well, I guess it’s just that my generation was more influenced by the new trilogy.” Hands balled into a fist and swung down into the beast’s snout—the strength of such a punch forcing the reptile’s mouth shut. “That’s the thing about being born at the tail end of the 1980’s… you miss everything!” A well-placed kick sent another animal rolling backwards and left it deep in an unconscious stupor. “God bless VH1 and their efforts to catch me up on everything I missed while I was busy not-existing. Oh, Hal Sparks… what would I do without you?”

Amalgam could hardly believe what he was seeing. It was the inevitable part of their plan they hadn’t counted on. A Neo-Sapien kidnapped Chienne Bedford- who would respond faster than a Neo-Sapien hunter like ZERO? “ZERO!?” Amalgam exclaimed, moving to interpose himself between the armor-clad figure and Copycat.

“Why do people keep confusing us?” the being asked. “I swear… I’m going to have to get a paint job just to stop this from happening. The black and gold is cool and all but everything thinks I’m that crazed hunter…”

Copycat put a hand on Amalgam’s shoulder, attempting to calm the young man down. “It’s cool… it’s the guy Frostbite told us about! Remember at Patriot Robotics? There were two armors? You’re the one who helped Frostbite and Quint, aren’t you?” The armored figure nodded. “You were the one who stood up to Atlas too! Who—who are you?”

“Teleportational Unit 001,” the electronic voice replied. “Portal for short.”

“What are you doing here?” Amalgam asked.

“What are you doing here?” Portal asked. “You guys twins or something? Do you have rings you have to touch together to get like that?”

“Boba Fett to Lando,” came Fathom’s voice across the communicators, “what’s going on up there?”

“Why does your Boba Fett have such a sexy voice?” Portal asked.

“Did he just pick up our signal?” Copycat asked.

Amalgam sighed. “Lando to all rebels- full strike on the empire. I repeat: full strike on the empire.”

“We’re runnin’ in full steam, boss?”

Amalgam nodded to Copycat. “Our metal friend here caused enough noise, Tide would have to be deaf not to get that we’re here. We’ve lost the element of surprise. Our plan’s ruined. We have to come in hot and hope to God we can get Chienne out of here.”

Portal nodded. “She’s in the tank right? I did a thermo-scan when I got in but her heat signature is a little muted. The temperature is being controlled by the water-”

“You’ve been a big help so far but… we don’t need any-” Amalgam cut off as Fathom’s voice cut through into his ear. “What do you mean there’s no sign of him? Are you trying to tell me he took her, stuck her in the water and left her there?”

Portal shrugged. “So much for it being a challenge. Great, let’s pull up the princess and get out of here before my evil twin shows up.”

“I like his plan,” Copycat said, looking out the shattered remnant of the skylight as if expecting ZERO to swoop in at that moment. “I just don’t get how ZERO didn’t beat us here. I mean… you’d think a Bedford being abducted by a Neo-Sapien would have put a little bounce in his step.”

“Whatever,” grumbled Amalgam. “Let’s just pull her up and be done with it all…” He stood back as Copycat and Portal made their way to the main tank. Something didn’t feel right about all of this. Peter Titus was a stubborn man and wasn’t the sort to just abandon such a scheme. He had a reason for kidnapping Chienne; from what Magnus and Ben had told them, he had been passionate in his belief that her father was largely responsible for the deaths of four New Vindicators. “Knowing Pete, he was going to use her as leverage to make Forrest Bedford pay. He’d either ransom her for a confession or kill her to avenge the others… he wouldn’t just leave though.” Amalgam looked up and watched as Copycat and Portal passed an unconscious Chienne, clad now in a wetsuit, to Deimos. “He had to know someone would find her… either ZERO or the Church of Genetic Purity… someone would have come to stop him…” On wings made of black hellfire, Deimos glided to the ground floor and carried the young woman outside the aquarium… when suddenly Amalgam realized how naïve they had all been…
To Be Continued... wrote:The New Vindicators versus Tide
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Flashpoint » Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:41 am

Michuru, Im really enjoying these stories, even if I have only begun to read them. Theyre very entertaining, and have my peaked my interest :D

I was just wondering, though, if you could let me in on what the titles of the three series on your main page mean. I was curious, and wanted to know if you translated them yourself.

Radix Malorum est Cupiditas?

Sic Semper Tyrannis?

Memento Mori?
-Flashpoint-

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Post by Michuru81 » Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:02 am

Flashpoint wrote:Michuru, Im really enjoying these stories, even if I have only begun to read them. Theyre very entertaining, and have my peaked my interest :D
Thank you so much. :)
Flashpoint wrote: I was just wondering, though, if you could let me in on what the titles of the three series on your main page mean. I was curious, and wanted to know if you translated them yourself.
My Latin is terrible. :) Each is a popular Latin phrase, which pertains to the general theme of the villains. Radix Malorum est Cupiditas is "the root of all evil is desire" and encompasses the New Vindicators' battle against the Affiliation.

Sic Semper Tyrannis deals heavily with the Trials- a series of events in which the American Academy is forced to compete against the Asia and European schools to see who is worthy of being promoted to the Vindicators. It means "thus always to the tyrants".

Memento Mori can be loosely translated as "remember that you can die" and deals with a crime lord wanting revenge on the name of the Lodestone. My players should have this story arc finished by the end of February- meaning that March will see an expansion to the title page...

Dulcis Amor, which means "sweet love" is the enxt story arc planned as seven issues. It will deal the relationships the heroes have crashing down around them- manipulated by an outside force...
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Post by Flashpoint » Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:15 am

Thanks for the explanation. Its much appreciated. Looks like your game is going strong! Very cool 8)

Cant wait to see how the story goes
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Post by Michuru81 » Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:17 pm

Chapter XLIII: Wipe Out
“He’s still here!” Amalgam screamed. He rushed for the edge of the platform and stopped suddenly. The aquarium had sublevels and given his height and current density, jumping would not have him hit the floor but likely throw him through it. There was no way to make it to Deimos quick enough. “Deimos!” he screamed.

Outside he could make out lights from the press. Mister Bradshaw had warned his students of his plan. Neo-Sapiens had been presented negatively when Tide abducted her—but the damage could be repaired of a group of Neo-Sapiens was reported as risking life and limb to save her. The man intended to use their rescue mission as a platform for their public relations. Even from such a distance, Amalgam could see Deimos taking in the sight. The thought of glory and fame surged within him and his inflated ego was infecting his expression; the normal scowl he wore was twisted into a show of absolute delight as he carried Chienne out the doors.

“Stop!” Amalgam screamed.

Without thinking, Rumble assessed the situation. She sped forward at startling speed and plunged from the landing. Four stories down she dove, slamming down on the floor of the former aquarium’s lobby. Amalgam could only stand in amazement as she picked herself up, popped her shoulder back into place, and charged for Deimos.

“Dude,” Copycat said, looking from where Rumble had landed to Amalgam. “I used to think YOU were cool…”

“Get down there!” Amalgam cried, running for the stairwell. He knew the wrought-iron wouldn’t support his weight and let himself revert to his normal, flesh-and-blood form. Almost as instantly as the command had left his lips, Fathom let herself trickle down to the floor below. Still, she was not so quick as to leave Drew’s area of domain; she was still close enough that he could mimic her powers and follow her example to reach the bottom floor.

Portal had already teleported to the bottom as the two reached. Frostbite was running up to meet them. “What’s the trouble?” Frostbite asked at the sight of them. “She’s safe, right?”

“Wetsuits aren’t designed to keep water out!” Amalgam screamed. “They’re designed to keep water in!”

“Huh?” Copycat asked. Suddenly, Fathom understood.

“Wetsuits provide thermal protection in cold water,” she said as she sprinted after Deimos. “Water has a high thermal conductivity. Wetsuits trap in the water that’s warmed by body heat.”

“I don’t follow,” Copycat said. Frostbite bit his lip to keep from revealing that he too was confused.

“Tide’s inside Chienne,” Amalgam grumbled, throwing open the doors to a horrific sight.

All cameras were on the scene; Chienne’s unconscious form was on the ground and Tide’s elongated body was warping from her neckline. Most of his body seemed to be snaking its way down Deimos’ throat and clogging his nostrils. The young man was drowning on dry land.

“Stop it, Pete!” Amalgam screamed. “This isn’t right!”

Frostbite raised his arms and in an instant his hands were filled with icicles. “Stop it!” Amalgam screamed to him as the projectiles missed the battle and whizzed between two reporters, diving out of the way in the nick of time. “You don’t have the precision to fire into that!” he screamed. “You could hit a civilian… Stupid Mister Bradshaw, calling them here like this!”

“I was trying to stop Tide,” Frostbite said. His face, covered in frost, contorted to express the epiphany he had just had. “What if I tried to freeze him? You know… water and ice and all?”

“Genius idea,” Fathom grumbled. “He’s only half around Chienne’s body, half down Deimos’ throat. Way to kill them, rookie.”

“I could freeze you too, you know,” he mumbled under his breath. Tired of hearing his teammates argue Copycat took the initiative. He closed his eyes and felt out with his power and latching onto Tide’s abilities. Equipped with the kidnapper’s hydrokinetic talents, he raised his hands to Deimos and focused everything he had on his partner.

“What are you doing!?” Frostbite exclaimed. “You’ll kill him too!”

“Amalgam said Tide could use his powers to let people breathe underwater!” Copycat groaned. “I’m just trying to give tall, bald and stupid a fighting chance!”

Amalgam’s eyes widened at the idea. Drew Jenkins was far from being the brightest student at the New Vindicators Academy but he was by far one of the most creative. For once it seemed he had listened and better still: he had learned.

Rumble sprinted forward and hefted Chienne’s body over her shoulder. She was by no means super-fast, but her speed was still uncanny. She took off, forcing Tide to stretch himself to his limit if he was going to keep in contact with both his victims. “He’s gotta have a limit to his volume,” Rumble groaned. “Ah’m gunna make sure he can’t stay on both of them!”

Once more, Amalgam found himself surprised by his teammates. “Perfect, Rumble!” he exclaimed. “Keep at him!”

It wasn’t long before the end of the trail of warping water had an end. Tide had been forced to choose between remaining partially between Chienne and the wetsuit he had put her in, or suffocating Deimos. He knew that he if was going to stand a chance against his opponents, he would have to abandon Chienne for now and remained suffocating the young man who had fallen into his trap.

“Frosty!” Rumble called. “Ah’m more use here than ya’ll are! Get this girl out of here!”

Frostbite’s face displayed his agitation at her indignant tone. Still, he couldn’t argue with her that he was of little use in this situation. Besides which, he was looking for an excuse to slip out before Tide turned his attention on him. Aiming his frozen beam at his feet, he sprung up on a pillar of ice and rode a wave of frost towards Rumble. The southern belle traded off as they passed each other. Chienne was carried out of Tide’s threat range and Rumble was back in the brawl.

“Copycat!” Amalgam exclaimed. “Keep on Deimos! You’re our best shot at this point! Fathom, stay in your aquatic form so he can’t change targets to you!”

“What about you?” Fathom called back to Amalgam. The man had changed to his stone form before barging from the aquarium. Like some of the others, his uniform was not outfitted with a mask that would obscure his identity from the press. The last thing he needed was for the student body of Eleanor Roosevelt High School to know that Lex Sway was a Neo-Sapien.

“Internals turned to stone too,” he returned. “I’m as immune to his trick as you are!”

Fathom looked to the approaching blonde girl. “That just leaves Princess Peach,” she realized. “Rumble! Get out of here!”

Tide also had realized that his only available target was nearing. He left Deimos’ form and shot for Rumble. Almost immediately, Deimos dropped to his knees, gasping for air. Copycat’s efforts had kept him from suffocating but not spared him the labor of having someone cram half their body into his lungs. “Rumble!” Amalgam screamed.

As Tide neared, Rumble took a deep breath and inhaled. Suddenly, Amalgam was struck by what Mister Bradshaw had said. In fight-or-flight response, the body experienced rapid heart and lung activity. Atlanta White’s Neo-Sapien powers gave her enhanced lung capacity. Amalgam watched in amazement as the young girl inhaled Tide’s body with one breath and forcibly expelled him with the next.

Tide collided with the outer wall of the aquarium’s second story. Being vomited out of a young woman was a new experience to Peter Titus and one that left him slightly dazed. Stumbling to his feet he assessed his situation. Somehow, Lex and Alexa he recognized and he registered how ill-matched his powers were against their own. One of their number seemed capable of countering every aspect of his power, while the girl seemed able to endure just anything he threw at her. “You came prepared, Lex…” he grumbled.

“Amalgam while we’re in the uniform, Tide,” he said, all but quoting Caliber’s words to Okami that day so long ago. “I don’t see you flying the black and white anymore, Tide.”

“I guess my uniform’s in the laundry,” the aquatic man said matter-of-factly.

“That’s not what I meant,” Amalgam said. “Everything we were trained to do… everything we believed in and everything we stood for… you went against it all.”

“I was keeping a promise,” Tide said.

“Caliber wouldn’t have wanted this from you!”

“And what if it had been Donna who had died instead of Addison? Jacquelyn instead of Lucas?”

Tide was stunned by the look that blazed in Amalgam’s eyes; a fire was burning within him; it was something Tide had only seen in one other man: the only person he truly respected. “They wouldn’t have wanted this either.” Raising his fist to the air, Amalgam charged for Tide and swung into what would have been his old friend’s jaw.

Tide slammed backwards into the wall and dripped to the ground, forming a puddle under Amalgam’s feet. “You always were terrified of what would happen if you mimicked the properties of an insubstantial element. Tell me, Lex: do you still have that problem with reflexive transformations?”

Amalgam threw himself backwards and collided with the ground. From over his form shot Fathom, her body morphed into a water spear that impaled Tide. Copycat exclaimed happily, but cut off as he noticed Tide’s body had contorted to accommodate a hole Fathom’s attack had pierced through.

“Did you forget?” Tide asked. “I watched you both learn about your powers! I know them just as good as you do!”

“How well do you know yourself?” Copycat asked. Doctor Styles had said that Tide didn’t pulverize an opponent with water pressure but tear the hydration from their very body. Tide being wholly composed of water at the moment, he figured this should be easy, even given how much of a novice he was with the man’s powers.

Tide let out a scream as his body was ripped to shreds. Droplets of water splattered against the cold pavement outside the aquarium and for a moment Drew was frightened he might have gone too far; he was terrified that he might have murdered a man.

“That hurt,” Tide’s voice said, coming from one pool of what had once been him. “God, you have no idea how much that hurt…” The small puddles began to congregate, forming a larger puddle that Tide’s form slowly rose up from. “But I’m willing to teach you...”

“Forgetting someone, aren’t you?” came the electronically masked voice of the person within the Portal armor. Tide turned around and was shocked to discover an electric charge enveloping the metal-clad warrior’s hand… piercing into his side. An electric shock surged throughout the man and left him disoriented; Tide was stunned and staggered… but far from disabled.

As he turned himself on Portal, he turned his back to two newcomers to the fight. Tide was startled to find himself enveloped in sheet metal—magnetically sealing around him into a ferrous prison. “Hey, Tin Man!” Lodestone called, levitating to the ground with Adonis in tow. “Any chance you’re Swiss Army Knife has a spot welder on it?”
To Be Continued... wrote:Letting Go.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 44

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:21 pm

Chapter XLIV: Hard to Say I’m Sorry
“This is Cameron Kirk, coming to you live from the old New York Aquarium here in Manhattan’s Battery Park where a band of teenaged Neo-Sapiens has just rescued Chienne Bedford. Miss Bedford, daughter of the Church of Genetic Purity’s founder and leader Forrest N. Bedford, was kidnapped this evening from her residence, during a private party celebrating the victim’s eighteenth birthday.”

Doctor Natalie Styles grinned as the monitor displayed the earlier footage, showing two of her students in pursuit of the kidnapper—one of her former charges from the days when she advised a squadron. To say that she couldn’t have been prouder would have been an understatement.

“Earlier mistaken for conspirators in the Bedford abduction, the two now identified as ‘Frostbite’ and ‘Lodestone’ were merely attempting to stop one of their own before the situation became worse.” The replay ended and the woman once known as Halogen grinned at the sight of her charges as she brushed her long, white hair out of her red eyes. “The two are part of a group known as the New Vindicators—teenagers training to become the next generation of Vindicators.”

As the camera panned over the gathered heroes, their names scrolled under the screen: Amalgam, Rumble, Fathom, Copycat, Deimos, Portal, Adonis and Lodestone. Amalgam remained in his stone form and Copycat had adopted one of steel to obscure his identity. Portal’s entire body was hidden within the gold and black armor that enabled the user within to fight as they did. Fathom remained in her liquid state while Deimos merely wreathed his entire body in glowing black energy dubbed hellfire by the Aurelius. Lodestone wore a mask, hiding his identity as Magnus Loder, while Adonis had pulled his the hood of his uniform low over his face. While each of the New Vindicators wore a uniform, slight variances allowed them their individuality.

Adonis and Lodestone wore the standard uniform, with no alterations made. Theirs was a one-piece suit, black as night and with a white ‘V’ slashing down over their shoulders and forming across their chests. In Lodestone’s case accessories had been added; a short cape, white, trailed off behind him and he wore a belt decked with pouches that contained ferrous objects he could command with his powers.

Rumble also wore a belt, though hers contained only a single pouch and rested below her back. In it were various first aid supplies. Her training made her an appropriate field medic even if she lacked the focus to utilize it efficiently. Her uniform was sleeveless and her gloves were considerably longer than Lodestone’s; while his cut off before the elbow hers nearly reached her shoulders. Her boots were longer than his as well, comparing his which stopped below the knee to the thigh-high boots she wore and let vanish under the skirt her uniform became.

Amalgam’s uniform was similar to those wrestlers wore to the mats, yet sporting the same white ‘V’ as his teammates; Copycat’s was as simple as Lodestone’s, save that his uniform was short sleeved and lacked the cape and belt Lodestone had added.

In her aquatic state Fathom’s uniform was not visible; were she to revert back to her natural state the camera would have taken in the view of the blonde standing in the equivalent of a one-piece swimsuit.

Frostbite’s was the most radical of the bunch. He wore black pants reminiscent of those officers in the German military paraded in. A long black trench coat hung over the baggy T-shirt he wore, done in the style of the other’s uniforms.

“Miss?” A reporter approached Rumble, who, aside from Adonis, was the only member of their group not masked in any way. “Is there a reason you don’t hide your identity?”

Rumble shrugged. “Ah guess Ah don’t see much point in hidin’.”

Doctor Styles cringed and wondered what repercussions Atlanta would face when she returned to Eleanor Roosevelt High School. The young woman could look forward to a life lived much in the way Adonis carried on: enduring the scorn and rejection of an ignorant society.

“Peter Titus, a med student at NYU, has now been identified as the Neo-Sapien terrorist known as Tide,” one of the other stations was reporting. “Tide made his mark on the world tonight, when he ambushed Bedford in her home, assaulting guests and stealing her away-”

“Emergency response teams are telling us that Miss Bedford is receiving an all clear,” another reporter on another channel was saying into a camera.

“-when the one in armor, Portal, used electrical charges to weld the metal case together, forming an air-tight prison that prevented Tide’s escape.”

“Tide has been delivered into police custody and is expected to be transferred to Alcatraz—the only institution on this planet capable of holding SPBs.”

“Which one of you is the leader?” a reporter asked.

Fathom moved to present Amalgam, but Lodestone wasted no time in stepping forward. “Was there any doubt?” he asked.

“Are you the son of the previous Lodestone?”

“I’m a fourth-generation dynasty,” Lodestone explained. “Unlike most of my companions, I’ve had a long time to adjust to my powers and to answer the call placed upon the men of my family. It’s a heavy burden… but one I can carry with good friends like these.” He put an arm around Adonis and received a mixture of cold and confused looks from the rest of the team.

“What about Michy?” asked Breanne Jordan, the Vindicator once known as Rift. “He’s there! Why aren’t they talking to him?”

“He doesn’t want to be pulled into the lime light,” Natalie explained. “It’s why none of us went in there with so much riding on the mission. Nothing would have happened if the press saw former Vindicators back in action… the torch needed to be passed to repair the damage Tide did.”

Breanne yawned. “They’re going to be back late, huh?” Natalie only nodded. “Guess I’ll get on up to bed…” The young woman rose up and began walking on air, phasing her way through the floor of the compound. “You turning in?”

“I’ve still got something to do,” Natalie said, turning off the monitor as she rose out of her chair. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

She never got an answer—only a cold, suspicious look fixed on her back as she slipped out the door of the War Room and into the halls of the New Vindicators Academy compound.

For a glimmer of time she forgot herself. Beyond the left wall of the lower level was the East River, flowing by Roosevelt Island—the neck of New York that the New Vindicators called home. Still, the lower levels contained the Transportation Bay. It was there that a battery of cars was stored—with a single ramp connecting them to the minute garage used as a cover above ground. To the casual passerby, the New Vindicators Academy was a simple private school connected to a double-stall garage. No one paid any mind to the number of different cars that had gone out and come in however. If anything, they merely found it peculiar that they owned vehicles; vehicular traffic on the island was slim to none.

Michuru’s motorcycle was gone, as was the new pickup truck Amalgam had used to transport his team to the aquarium in Manhattan. She had joked with him not to wreck this one; the last time he had taken one of the school’s vehicles out, it had been eviscerated in a brawl with Singe and Lazarus, representatives of the villainous Affiliation.

Doctor Styles chose a Subaru Baja for her mode of transportation; the custom blue and black paint scheme was far from the light, airy colors she normally preferred—but anything was an improvement over the colors offered on the standard Baja. Crimson and silver or yellow and black didn’t suit her; she doubted if it suited anyone. Turning the key in the ignition and opening the garage door at the top of the ramp, Doctor Styles made her way out of the school… through the silent streets of Roosevelt Island, and across the Queensburrough Bridge.

Eventually Doctor Styles found herself in Turtle Bay—the official home of the Vindicators. It was a team the world had been without for years, since Michuru and Rift’s team had called it quits after Atlas killed two of their teammates and left one a shattered shell of a man. It was here that a motley crew of past Vindicators had recently banded together. Led by Crusader, the team dubbed the Vindicators Elite by the press was devoted to fighting on against the big stuff.

Crusader and her team, Halogen, Michuru and Rift and all their teammates had put their lives on the line to defend this world from the threat of Neo-Sapiens who sought to use their powers to birth chaos or for ill-gain. They had sacrificed so much and some… some had lost their lives for that great responsibility. Those Vindicators who had been cut down in the defense of humanity were buried here… and it was here that Natalie Styles cut the engine and stepped out of the car.

Doctor Natalie Styles held her coat closed, saving herself from the cold as she crossed the cemetery. Any man, woman, or child who had ever served with the Vindicators was inferred here upon their leaving this world behind. A few of the graves were empty—graves like William Loder’s. He and his team of Vindicators went missing in the 1950s, never to be seen or heard from again. Only Bernard Fokke, the immortal pirate Falkenburg, had survived the incident… though with no memory of what happened. A young man resembling Joseph Higgins, better known to the world as Tick-Tock, had been found in Canada recently—living out his life as a clockmaker, unaged, and with no recollection of his past.

Doctor Styles was visiting one such empty grave. Bridget Hart, the Vindicator known as Bio, had been killed by Atlas five years ago… and her body was buried under a mountain in the Himalayas. Both she and her teammate Silvia Lee-Jorgenson, Xianbei, had lost their lives in that battle. Now, both of them had empty graves set up in memory of them and their sacrifice.

“I want to hate you, you know…” Doctor Styles said as she looked down at Bridget’s grave. “I want to, but I can’t. I can’t because… because you were too good of a person. I actually think that’s why I want to hate you. It’s a vicious circle, I know…”

A cold wind began to blow and the woman stopped to moved her long, white hair from her face; tucking it behind her ears, she gave up on any attempt to compose her appearance against the gale and sat down on the grass before the young woman’s grave. “I’m sorry… we—we’ve never even met. I’m Natalie Styles. I was on the team of Vindicators before you. Not that I’m old or anything. We’re about the same age, actually. I was… I was really young when I joined the Vindicators.” She laughed, in spite of herself. “Everyone always jokes that the Aurelius must have used his magic to make my parents let me go with him. He could—he could do so much with his magic… but he couldn’t heal. I could. I manipulate light and somehow that—that heals people. I don’t get it either, but there you have it. That’s why he wanted me on his team though. That’s… that’s how I became a Vindicator. That’s how you became one too though, isn’t it?”

It was. Bridget Hart had been in a catatonic stupor when the seventh generation of heroes—the Vindicators VII—was formed. Her twin brother Brian could siphon the powers of nearby Neo-Sapiens and it didn’t take long for their superiors to realize that if Bridget went on their missions, Brian could use her healing powers on her behalf. She was more than her power to heal though—her regenerative powers healed almost any wound she received instantly. So long as she was near enough, Brian was possessed of that as well.

“Sometimes I—I think about how things would be different if you hadn’t died… I’m sorry if that sounds insensitive but… I do and… and there you have it. It’s just that… if the Ragnarok had never happened, the Vindicators VII would never have broken up. Rift would have been with them and the New Vindicators Academy would never have been founded. I would have just stayed a veterinarian and Michuru… Michuru would probably be happy… with you.

“If I had to trade… never meeting him for him being happy? I think I’d do it in a heartbeat.”

The air smelled of the changing months and Doctor Styles knew that December was coming. The wind brought her dried, brittle leaves. As a child, she loved going for walks in this weather. Her favorite sound was the sound of leaves crunching under her Roos. She couldn’t recall the last time she had been able to do that. She couldn’t summon the memory of the last time she had just gone for a walk in the autumn weather, crushing dried leaves under her heel. It was just another aspect of her existence sacrificed for the life of a Vindicator.

“It feels like I’m in a confessional here. I’m not Catholic, so… it’s not like I’d know what that’s like or anything. It’s just… okay—I went on a date with him, all right? I asked him out… I IMed him and asked him out to dinner. It took him a while to answer. At first, I was afraid that I’d been too forward but… he explained things later and… one of the students burst down his door. One of our students, J.T. Kirk, was up to his usual mischief and… well… we went out and… while we were out at this romantic little candlelit dinner at this Italian restaurant… two of our students were being murdered. Malachi and Quinton… After that… I think he felt guilty. I think he did before though. I think that he felt he was betraying his feelings to you by actually enjoying himself… by exploring the chance that he could move on with someone new… and he’s pulled away since and… and I don’t want to hurt him and I don’t want to rush him…” Doctor Styles pulled her knees into her chest and dried her eyes on the knees of her corduroy pants. “…But I don’t want to be alone either.

“I—I don’t want him to forget about you… I just… God, I feel so selfish… I just want him to let go.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Jacque's dream...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 45

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:04 pm

NEW VINDICATORS #6: Hungry Like the Wolf


Chapter XLV: Dreaming in Metaphors [Part II]
Okami shook her head. “I don’t like him.”

Caliber’s eyes nearly burst out of his head at the statement. Tripper began to turn a bright shade of red. How Amalgam managed to conceal his surprise was beyond anyone—perhaps he had just become accustomed to the Japanese girl saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

“Reon,” said Caliber warningly, “now isn’t the time-”

“He smells wrong.”

“You’re not even in your wolf-form, girl! You can’t possibly get a scent off of him!”

“I don’t have to use my powers to know something smells about this guy. He looks weak; he was supposed to have been a Vindicator, right? Five minutes in the Wreck Room and I can guarantee you I could rip out his larynx.”

“You… realize I am standing right here?” asked Michuru.

“Who freakin’ asked you?” thundered Okami. “Last time I checked, you weren’t exactly sportin’ the black and white there, bud. We are. We’re the Vindicators here. Near as I can tell, you’re just some guy who had nothing better to do that take the school up on a position for… for… what exactly are you actually good for anyway? Are you applying for custodian?”

“I’m sorry?”

“You certainly are.”

“Okami!” snapped Caliber.

“Look, Ace… it’s simple: according to the dossiers on this clown, he can’t control his powers. Potentially he’s an uber-powerhouse, right? He took down Atlas single-handedly as made the world safe for democracy and apple pies. The keyword there seems to be ‘potentially’. Michuru’s powers are waggy on account of him permanently PMSing, right? Sorry, Captain Nothing but us super-gals don’t exactly have any place to keep a spare tampon in these suits but… I really gotta know… paper or cardboard applicator?”

Caliber sighed. “You realize that the four of us aren’t a smoldering pile of ash right now is as much a testament to Mister Bradshaw’s control as it is your aptitude at taunting?” Before she could fire off another retort, Tripper interrupted.

“I’m sorry about all of this, Mister Bradshaw but… Okami has her own finesse when it comes to making new friends. We apology profusely for anything-”

“It’s all right, kid,” grumbled the elder Vindicator. “Really, I’d just appreciate us getting to this school of yours.”

“Right, because you’re going to make such a good teacher at a school for kids who are trying to learn to control their powers. Hey! Does anybody know what Mister Mayhem is doing? Maybe he’s free for chemistry? Ooo! Can we see if Atlas’ll coach the girl’s swim team?”

“Reon…”

“It’s fine… J.J., was it? I really don’t mind. Miss Okami’s insults are little more than tiring. They’re far from unbearable.”

“How about if for a biology teacher, we get Bio!?” Michuru’s eyes narrowed and Tripper’s eyes widened in horror as she caught flames flash across their surface. “I’m sure she could teach us all about dissecting frogs and stuff… given that she’s apparently an expert on being torn open-”

Caliber pulled Tripper close to him in a heartbeat, his force field encased her as well. Amalgam reacted almost as quickly—his physicality altering his molecule structure to mirror the density of the concrete at their very feet.

Okami just barely leapt clear of the raging inferno that sprung up around the would-be instructor. In an instant she had transformed into a black wolf, taking no time to watch as Michuru’s temper burned hotter and hotter. “Just so we’re clear!” his words came booming from within the heart of the flames. “I don’t mind whatever you choose to say about me… but Bridget Hart is a taboo subject. Are we clear, Okami Reon?”

Despite Okami’s tenacity and unwillingness to back down before anyone, she could form no words to sling at the man.

“You spoke of the colors of the Vindicators? Of men and women who lay it all on the line to protect a world that fears and hates them? People whose hearts know nothing of selfishness? People like Bio, who died to ensure a future where stupid, insipid little nothings mock everything that they’re not? True. Just. Honorable. Loyal. Brave. Strong.” Each word was emphasized by the expansion of the flames… and Michuru taking one step closer to the cowering girl. “Okami Reon… the moment you act like you deserve to wear those colors… the moment you do something other than embarrass yourself and your teammates… then I’ll acknowledge you as the Vindicator you claim to be. Until then…” The flames died down, and Michuru returned to normal. “You, little girl… are going to have to get used to being treated like the child you’re so intent on playing the part of. Now… let’s get on the plane and get back to this Academy you’ve come to take me to.”

“Um… sir?” asked Caliber. “Okami is the only one of us who… um, actually has her driver’s license… She’s the one who flew us here.”
  • ...

Jacque Webber’s eyes shot open with a start. Her head had been lying on the shoulder of her loving boyfriend, Lex Sway. On his other shoulder, Alexa Hawk’s head rested peacefully… though by her breathing patterns and the rise and fall of her chest, it was apparent she was not asleep. “Are we there yet?” Jacque asked nervously.

Lex gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. He didn’t move much; he was not willing to rouse the blonde girl from the slumber he assumed her to be deep in. “Not quite,” he whispered. “Mister Bradshaw said about two more hours or so…”

Most of the students had gone home for the holiday break. Still, many of the students didn’t have a home to return to. Those students instead had been invited to spend the holidays with their teachers. It was accepting such an invitation that had put Jacque Webber thirty-five thousand feet over the Pacific Ocean, cruising onboard a Boeing 777 bound from New York to Tokyo.

A row ahead of the trio sat Magnus Loder, wedged between Drew Jenkins and Maria Espada. Ben Altair, Adonis Skraag and Deimos sat behind them, with their instructors Michuru Bradshaw, Pandora DiMera, Breanne Jordan and Natalie Styles in the isles adjacent to them.

“I still can’t believe that Marcos is afraid of flying,” Lex said with a grin. “I mean… part of his power IS flying… how can he be afraid of flying?” Jacque flashed him an uneasy grin. “I guess I just feel bad about him not coming with us. I mean… he doesn’t have any family but us. It just feels weird that he’s staying in New York with Doctor Bradley and Mister Lang.”

An awkward silence set over the pair and Lex merely studied the young woman for a moment. “So… are you going to tell me what’s wrong or am I going to have to continue to ramble on about whatever pops into my head?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” she said. He brought her hand up to his lips, softly kissing her knuckles and looking at her worriedly. “Jacque… I know you. I know that look you have when something’s bothering you. What’s wrong?”

She flashed a look to Alexa’s head on his shoulder and instinctively he knew. “Jacque… It’s nothing.”

“Are you sure? I mean… you don’t think that she’d be better for you than me? C’mon, Lex… I’m too short so… kissing me is probably awkward and let’s face it: I don’t have boobs and my nose is too flat and my hands are cold; my hair is a mess and I wouldn’t know how to be sexy if my life depended on it and-”

“I happen to think your nose is cute and I find you to be very sexy and… and I like holding hands with you and kissing you and-”

“And you’d like all that more with someone more like Alexa.”

“Jacque!”

“Lex! When are you going to wake up and realize that girls like me don’t end up with guys like you? That’s not how the story goes.”

“Well… this is our story… it goes how we say it goes. And in my draft you and I get to live happily ever after.”

Jacque took her coat from beneath her seat and packed it together into a pillow. She pushed it against the window, punching it into place before resting her head on it and shutting her eyes. “Good night, Mister Sway.”

A wry grin appeared on Alexa’s face… as she continued to lay with her head on Lex’s shoulder…
To Be Continued... wrote:Ganguros!
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 46

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:29 pm

Chapter XLVI: Turning Japanese
Drew let out a scream at the horrific sight. He could manage no words; he merely pointed at the beast, jaw working silently to conjure something that could do justice to his worst fears. Ultimately, he settled for a muttering of, “What in the name of all that is holy is that?”

Mister Bradshaw sighed and rolled his eyes. With his own hands, he lowered Drew’s extended appendage. “It’s not polite to point, Drew.”

“It’s hideous!”

“It’s called “ganguro” and it’s the style in Japan.” Drew could only look at the gaggle of young, Japanese girls—their skin tanned a dark orange shade and their hair bleached platinum-blonde. They were almost white-haired. Fake eye lashes and platform shoes completed the pastel eye makeup and white lipstick, all accented by the most outrageous couture possible.

Drew had already spied another victim of the ganguro fashion and had begun pointing and screaming in terror once more. “Ahhh!” he screamed. “They’re multiplying!”

“Drew…” Mister Bradshaw warned.

“Didn’t anyone tell them… you never feed your ganguro after midnight, you never get it wet… Oh! And you never expose it to direct sunlight.”

“Drew!”

“Si?” Drew asked.

Mister Bradshaw sighed. “All right… listen up, everyone: I didn’t think I’d have to say this but… we’re ambassadors here—we’re not only representing America, but we’re representing the New Vindicators Academy of America. Our bags are going to be taken to the hotel where we are all going to be staying… but first up I wanted to show you all the New Vindicators Academy of Asia.”

“The what?” Drew asked. “They have one too?”

“There are three schools,” Lex offered patiently. “The New Vindicators Academy was founded in New York, back in 2001. It was three years later that two more opened—one in Vienna and another in Tokyo.”

“The schools are administered by the five nations that founded the U.N.,” Jacque explained casually. “Professor Alston is in charge of the American school but the European and Asian Academies are split between two nations. England and France administer the European school, while the Asian Academy is tended to be Russia and China.”

“Wait—why not Austria or Japan?” Adonis asked. “The schools are in their nations, but they’re not in charge? What gives?”

“After the Second World War, five countries stood victorious,” offered Miss DiMera. “The United States and Great Brittan along with France, China and Russia are the big seats in the United Nations, and the United Nations pay the bills at the school.”

“The Asian and European academies are set up in neutral territories,” explained Mister Bradshaw. “If the European school was in, say, London, then France might throw a hissy-fit.”

“There’s a U.N. headquarters in Vienna,” Doctor Styles explained, “so that was the most reasonable place for the academy in Europe. Though there’s no headquarters for the United Nations in Tokyo—it seemed like the most agreeable place to the powers that be.”

“So… it’s a school for Japanese Neo-Sapiens?” Drew asked.

“Asian Neo-Sapiens,” Mister Bradshaw offered. “China, Russia, Japan… Malaysia and Laos, India and South Korea… there are many nations represented here.” His eyes fell on Drew as he told them, “Try not to be too insulting while we’re visiting.”

“I bet those ganguro were Neo-Sapiens from the school,” Drew intoned.

“Drew…” Mister Bradshaw said; his voice was part warning, part authoritative.

“They have the power to scare the crap out of you with a look!”

“Drew…”

“Or make a man go gay…”

“Drew!”

“Yes, sir! Shutting up, sir!”

Two large passenger vans waited to transport the group to the academy. Lex led Jacque into one and Alexa hurried in after them. When Adonis climbed in behind them Magnus made sure to move for the other. When Mister Bradshaw moved to follow Lex’s group, Doctor Styles moved to follow him. Miss Jordan hurried to climb in after them but Mister Bradshaw stopped her with a quizzical expression. “Could you help Pandora in chaperoning the others?” he asked.

With a reluctant nod she followed Pandora into the van that Maria, Ben, Drew and Deimos filed into.

Before long the Americans were coasting through the streets of Tokyo, en route to their sister school. The vans rolled up to a low wall, a large building jutting up in the distance. The architecture of the Asian Academy was nothing compared to that of the American school, many of the students noticed. The building lacked imagination; it was blockish and without form—a mass of concrete walls and window panes. Still, the students were surprised to find some representatives out front, honing their combative abilities for the world to see.

“Don’t they worry about normal people seeing them?” Adonis asked, watching as a young man with metal limbs charged for a scrawny young man. Many of the students cringed at the extent of the injuries they imagined that young man taking—only to be shocked as the wiry boy withstood the full force of his peer’s attack. “I mean… anyone could tell by looking that they’re Neo-Sapiens.”

“In case you couldn’t tell by the people at the airport… Japan is a different sort of place,” Mister Bradshaw replied. “Japanese society doesn’t treat them the way we are back home. They’re not only viewed as special… they’re seen as… cool. As heroes.”

Adonis shook his head. “Why don’t we all come here then? We could get away from all the Forrest Bedford’s and Cameron Kirk’s of the world.”

Mister Bradshaw responded as if it were the simplest answer anyone could have concluded: “Because we shouldn’t have to.”

The doors of the vans opened and the nine representatives of the American school stepped nervously onto the grounds of the Asian Academy. Almost immediately their foreign compatriots took notice of their presence. They didn’t seem surprised to see them; they had been informed of their coming in advance it seemed.

A tall, physically imposing woman appeared at the school’s entrance and made her way across the yard to greet their guests. Drew sniggered at the sight of her—an act cut short by a sharp look from his instructor. “Madam Andronov,” Mister Bradshaw said with a sincere smile. “Thank you for having us.”

“You must be Michuru Bradshaw,” the woman intoned, her Russian accent thick in her English. “The legend who felled Atlas. I imagined a man more… big.”

“My apologies for disappointing,” the man said awkwardly. “Please, let me introduce my colleges… this is Doctor Styles, Miss DiMera and Miss Jordan… and these are our students.”

Madam Andronov nodded curtly at the utterance of each woman’s name. She seemed impatient, as if she could not be bothered to be told their names. “I must apologize. My partner, Sir Huo, has returned to his homeland somewhat early for the holiday. His daughter accompanies him.”

“How is his daughter? She would be in her… third year with the school?”

“Huo Ten is a senior now—and eligible for the Trials this coming summer.” There was something about her tone that seemed like bragging to so many of the American students, but Mister Bradshaw received it with the polite smile he seemed to accept nearly everything with. “I have arranged tea for you and your fellow instructors and for some of my students to give your charges a tour.”

Mister Bradshaw appeared worried as he looked out over those young people he had brought with him into the land of his mother. “All right then,” he said. “That sounds acceptable.”

The Russian woman led the four instructors off, leaving her other guests in the care of the Asian school’s prefects: two young girls of Japanese ancestry approached in Andronov’s wake. Drew was pleased to see that neither girl adhered to the style of ganguro. They wore the uniform the Americans had come to know as the Vindicators uniform—a simple black suit of Kevlar that provided some level of resistance and insulation against minor environmental effects. It was easily recognized by the white ‘V’ slashed across the chest of the uniform, often vanishing up over the shoulders of the young heroes. Still, each uniform was specially tailored to each hero, allowing them for some level of individuality to come across in their design. For the girls before them, their uniforms were complemented with a battery of accessories, making their appearance something of an avant-guard of styles.

“Jikoshokai sasete itadakimasu,” one of the girls intoned, bowing low. “Ichigo Miruku.”

“Ichigo Kiwi,” the other said with a bow that perfectly imitated the other. “Shiriau kotoga dekite ureshii desu.”

“Um… you, uh…” Magnus wasn’t sure what to say. He settled for the simple truth. “I’m sorry but… none of us speak Japanese.”

“We speak English as well,” said the first girl who had spoken. “My name is Miruku and this is Kiwi.”

“Asian people all look the same!” Drew laughed. “You guys could pass for twin sisters!”

“We ARE twin sisters,” Kiwi offered, glaring at the youth for his insult.

As if sensing the rising tension, Lex moved to attempt to defuse the situation. “Sorry for him… he’s… he’s Drew. Hi, I’m…” Lex had extended his hand, but quickly pulled it back, opting to bow instead. “My name is Lex… I’m one of the prefects from our school. This is Jacque; she’s the other prefect… and my girlfriend.”

“Kawaii!” Kiwi exclaimed as she set her eyes on Jacquelyn. The young woman hardly knew how to take the sudden and seemingly random outburst. “My apologies… it is just that… you are very cute.”

“I think she’s coming onto your girl,” Drew said, whispering to Lex. Behind them, Magnus shook his head at their hosts.

“Japanese people are weird,” he grumbled. Only Ben seemed to hear him… and nodded in agreement with the statement. Still shaking his head, he said nothing else as he followed the group—the Ichigo twins leading them on a tour of the New Vindicators Academy of Asia…
To Be Continued... wrote:Lodestone versus Tripper
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 47

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:58 pm

Chapter XLVII: Shout
Their tour near its end, the twins opened a pair of doors that led into a large chamber. “This is the dojo where we sometimes train,” Kiwi said softly, leading their procession inside. Thus far, the American New Vindicators had yet to encounter any representatives of their sister school—at least, none beyond the twins and the pair they had seen sparring on the front yard. Here, a few others remained still. Most of the students had returned to their homelands for the holiday, but some who lived in Tokyo or close by remained still—taking full advantage of the facilities and refusing to take a vacation from mastering their Neo-Sapien abilities.

All eyes were on the pair sparring. A young girl hovered over the floor, uncanny heat coming from her graceful form. Her opponent wore traditional samurai armor over his uniform, painted black to match and decorated with the Vindicators’ ‘V’ over some plates. He swung a katana at the unarmed woman, herself merely dodging and not counter attacking.

Suddenly, he paused in his onslaught and turned to the doors. “It would seem that we have guests, Kwon-dono.” His thumb guided the blade to the sheath on his hip and the young man crossed the dojo to greet them. “Welcome to Japan!” he intoned powerfully, bowing quickly and dramatically. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“Um… Ko-Konnichiwa,” Lex offered, returning the samurai’s bow.

“You do me great honor by speaking Japanese,” the man said, bowing again, “but I have learned to speak your tongue. As your host, allow me to make you comfortable. We may speak in English.”

Lex smiled. “My name is Lex Sway,” he said.

“I am Kondou Akira,” the man said, as he righted himself. Lex was startled to realize the young man was blind, but held his surprise from being visual. Still, to one forever denied the light of the world Akira took note of the discomfort he made the man feel and shied back slightly.

His sparring partner had powered down; no longer did she fly or burn hot. Still, her smile was as warm as her abilities and she offered her hand out to shake Jacquelyn’s. “Kwon Aya,” she said, introducing herself. “I am pleased to meet you all.”

“Do you all speak English?” Jacquelyn asked. “I’m surprised… you all speak so fluently.”

“We’re taught English,” Aya explained, “and many other things. In our first years we are taught Mandarin and Russian. Only this last year have I begun to learn French. It is so we may better understand each other, yes?” Suddenly, she seemed to understand that Jacquelyn did not speak any language beyond her own tongue. The Japanese girl seemed genuinely hurt. “You—you do not speak any of these languages?”

“Elle est une fille inculte, à peine en valeur ou temps...” interjected Magnus. “Et vous sont une vision de sortilège.”

Aya began to blush at the compliment. “You speak French?” she asked.

“And Mandarin,” he pointed out. “And Russian as well. I’m trained for United Nations duty. My name is Magnus Loder, I’m a fourth generation Vindicator. Ever since my powers manifested, I’ve dreamed of serving as a Vindicator—working with the United Nations. I’ve worked hard but… I’ve learned that hard work isn’t everything.” He shot a hate-filled glare Lex and Jacque’s way. “Sometimes all it takes is to be the favorite.”

“What did he say to her?” Drew asked, whispering to Alexa.

“I may not be fluent,” grumbled Tripper, folding her arms across her chest, “but Alicia taught me enough to know when I’m being insulted.”

“Bon pour vous,” sighed Magnus.

“Why do you both fight?” Aya asked. “Are you not allies? Are you not friends?”

“We are not,” grumbled Magnus. “And fighting… heh—this isn’t fighting.”

A smile appeared over Akira’s face as he sensed the hostility between Magnus and the American prefects. “You feel as though your honor has been challenged,” he intoned. For a blind man, he was incredibly perceptive. “Perhaps the only way to solve this is to fight each other. Jacquelyn-dono, Magnus-kun… the two of you should fight each other, here in this dojo.”

Jacquelyn’s eyes widened at the notion the young man proposed. Magnus only grinned. “The idea has merit,” he said softly.

“No,” Lex said. “We didn’t come here to fight, we came to-”

“We came get to know our cousins from the east,” Magnus said, baring his teeth in a vicious smile. “This is their custom, and it would seem like an insult to tread on it. I say we fight—Tripper and me… unless you’re scarred I’m going to hurt your little girlfriend?”

“Magnus,” Maria Espada interjected, “c’mon… let’s not do this… Nobody needs to prove anything…”

“Maybe the rest of you don’t, but I do!” he barked. “I know a lot of the people on this team really never had the sort of… childhood fairy tales that everyone always wishes they had… but stop telling me that I did! Do you really want to know what it’s like to grow up a Loder? While most kids my age were playing Cowboys and Indians, I was learning mnemonic devices to mold me into a better tactician. When you were stressing over acne and the opposite sex, I was learning the finer nuances of the Russian dialect. I’m not saying my childhood was without it’s happy points—no! My mother loved me! My father loved me! My granddad… oh, my granddad… You know, he never missed a Sunday dinner? Even after mam-ma died… we weren’t expecting to see him but then he pulled up in that 1956 cherry red Chevy Nova and came walking in… assuring us that even though we’d lost someone so precious… we’d still go on. He was always so strong… I always wanted to be as strong as him.

“He took me for walks through North Bank Park or… or if the Yankees were playing the Indians, he took me to the games. W e were never Indians fans—who was? But… when the Yankees were playing in Cleveland, he took me. We never missed a game when the Yankees were at the Jake. No, I didn’t have a bad childhood… but at times it feels like I didn’t have a childhood. I was never raised—I was shaped. I was a Loder, blessed with the powers of every other Lodestone who had come before me. When pop stopped being the hero he’s always been… to be there for me! I didn’t want that sacrifice to go… to go… God, where do sacrifices go? Awe, you know the word! Fill in what you want!

“Did I come here thinking that I would just be given anything? No! My first day here, I told Drew that I knew I would have to prove myself! I just didn’t think I’d have to prove myself so many times over! Yes, our instructors know my history. Believe me, I know my history too! But I’m not expecting any sort of special compensation for sharing a genome or two with a few legends! All I’m asking—vain! That’s the word… that’s where sacrifices go. Anyway… I—all I’m asking is… for the same chances and opportunities the rest of the staff gets. I don’t want to be called a rookie. I don’t want to be seen as the son of the Lodestone. I want to be recognized as me—a man in my own right. And it feels like that’s been stolen. I wanted out of my father’s shadow… and now I’m just in Lex’s! When do I get the chance to cast my own shadows? When am I going to be allowed to use everything I’ve spent my entire life preparing for? God, maybe that starts right here and right now.” Magnus’ foot stomped on the wooden planks that made up the dojo’s floor. “C’mon, Jacquelyn… let’s do this.”

In the back of her head, Jacque told herself that if she didn’t stand up to the man now, she didn’t deserve to lead. It contradicted that voice that constantly nagged at her, telling her she was never fit to lead in the first place; the powers that be had made a mistake. Still, she walked out onto the floor and stood across from Lodestone… ready to face him. Maybe he was right; maybe they did have something to prove. He had his reasons and she had hers. She had to prove it to herself that she was worth something… anything.

The metal plates built into his shoes allowed Magnus to levitate off the floor. At the sight of his movement Jacquelyn reached out with the Trip Field, increasing the gravity around him exponentially and fighting to slam him to the ground. “It—it won’t work,” he said, struggling to maintain himself in the air. He wavered a bit, forced to concentrate more as his own energy wrestled with those she commanded. They were almost evenly matched… but Magnus had other weapons under his arsenal.

With a grin, Magnus split into his two selves—the positive Magnus Loder, recognized by his cap of flame-red hair, and the negative Magnus, represented by his blue mop. He was dressed exactly as the other was—clad in the same tie, the same shirt… the same khaki Dockers and identical loafers. “No fair!” Adonis exclaimed. “Two against one is just dirty!”

“It’s Lodey’s power!” Drew laughed. “What’s the problem with him using everything he has at his disposal…”

“Don’t!” Jacque cried. Everyone paused, confused as to whom she was talking. Even the duo of Lodestones had stopped cold in their tracks at her sudden outburst, unsure if she meant them. “I can handle this, Lex! Thank you for your concern… but I have him.”

Alexa turned. The others hadn’t noticed the large man move to join the fight but even with her attention focused on the battle at hand she was aware of her boyfriend’s actions. How perceptive was she?

“Cocky skank,” the blue-haired Lodestone grumbled. “She could use a good beating!”

At that man Jacque focused her attention. Still, she didn’t prime the Trip Field to press him to the earth. Instead she used the power to bridge the air between them—generating a shaft for her energy to run. With a thought the Trip Field rocketed across the space between them, striking the blue-haired Lodestone in the chest and sending him flying backwards and onto his back.

“Looks like you’ve been holding back,” Magnus grumbled as his duplicate got to its feet. “You’ve got a few tricks you haven’t shown us.”

“I didn’t know I was supposed to be an open book,” she said coldly. “Still, it proves it… you really don’t pay attention, do you?”

“Pardon?”

Jacque hurried forward, springing on her hands as she flipped forward, and connected the heel of her boot to the red-head’s face. “You went on and on about how you’ve worked hard to be something great… that your effort puts you above people like Lex and I!” Her barrage didn’t cease with the kick. She flipped over, righting herself and unleashing a volley of strikes to the man’s upper body. Magnus lacked any true fighting experience—he had mastered his powers, but without them he was hardly a combatant. “Did you honestly believe that what’s been given to us was just handed over!? Did you really think we hadn’t worked to get where we are?” Jacque’s hands clasped down on the man’s shoulders, pulling him forward as her knee rose up swiftly, landing itself into the man’s groin. “You made fun of me before! You insulted me! You hurt me! Yes, my mom is an Interpol agent and no, she hasn’t ever wanted to be a part of my life. But here’s the thing, Magnus: I didn’t just sit and pout about it because things didn’t go my way.”

The young woman watched as Magnus shakily got to his feet. Hands on his knees to support himself, he was doubled over and thankful that his force fields had taken the brunt of her assault. He didn’t have the experience she had… but he made up for it in raw power. “I am not the timid little girl that you see fit to paint me as… I worked hard to escape her shadow, the same as you did your father’s! The sooner that you get that through your head and get over yourself… the sooner we may actually get somewhere!”

“Get this.” The blue-haired Lodestone had used his command over magnetism to seize the metal clasp of Jacquelyn’s suspenders. For a moment she cursed herself for forgetting them. When she had begun this fight she had taken a quick mental inventory of the ferrous metal present on her. She didn’t think there was much she could do about the zipper in black dress pants, nor anything that Magnus could do either. The buttons of the men’s white dress shirt she wore were plastic and were as harmless as their brothers at her cuffs. She registered the lack of a belt… but suspenders! How could she have forgotten about her suspenders!?

The magnetic energy released and the elastic snapped back, stinging her in the middle of her spine. It wasn’t a serious attack… only a serious insult. “C’mon, baby…” the blue-haired Magnus said sweetly. “How about you get back in the kitchen where you belong and go make me a pie or something?”

With a primal scream Jacque threw the totality of her abilities at the obnoxious man. Under the sheer pressure of the Trip Field, the blue-haired Magnus was slammed into the boards. The onlookers were shocked to watch as the panels were sundered; the force of Jacquelyn’s attack was so strong it had sent Lodestone through the floor, to the foundation just beneath.

Feeling the magnetic pull on her suspenders again, she hurriedly undid them, letting the accessory snap at Magnus from the tension created by his powers. The man easily dodged the flying garment, but the volley Tripper unleashed was another story. Again, he found himself unable to do anything beyond letting his energy shields take the brunt of her aggressions… but something wasn’t right.

“Your force fields are the same energy you used to stay afloat earlier,” she explained. “The same energy you countered the Trip Field with. It’s only natural…”

Pouring on the Trip Field, Jacquelyn Webber had eliminated the nuisance that Magnus’ defenses were. Her punches connected and Magnus felt the effect of four years studying self-defense at the New Vindicators Academy. Still, he had something else…

Jacque let out a scream as the metal grazed her shoulder, slashing through the shirt and cleanly cutting the flesh. Her eyes widened at the sight- Magnus’ energy manipulated the discarded suspenders as a whip. Deftly the suspenders slashed through the air again, but now that Jacque could visualize her opponent, she could dodge the blows.

Magnus made no move. He merely stood still, directing the attacks with only his natural perception of the battle field. Jacque was hard to hit—of that he was sure. Magnus was intelligent enough to know that he couldn’t stand triumphant if he continued the battle like this. He needed a plan… and so he hatched one.

Again and again Jacque maneuvered—concentrating on the suspenders. Suddenly, she realized a crucial, obvious element of Magnus’ abilities she had overlooked. She leapt clear of the blue-haired Magnus’ grab, having just realized that the other was herding her towards his accomplice. “Is that all you’ve got?” she asked, holding her shoulder with her off-hand. It wasn’t a deep cut, but it was stinging…

“No,” Magnus said, the suspenders falling limp in the floor between them.

Jacque’s eyes widened with shock as the katana freed itself from the saya at Akira’s side and flew across the room. The handle rested perfectly in the outstretched hand of the blue-haired Magnus, who turned and pointed the blade straight at her.

Amalgam had transformed the moment the blade had cried out, bonding with a rock he kept in his pocket for just such an occasion. In no time he had cleared the distance between him and Jacque and had tackled the blue-haired Magnus to the floor. The star of Eleanor Roosevelt High School’s wrestling team, Lex was an expert grappler and Magnus was far from being physically imposing. In what seemed one swift motion the blue-haired man was pinned, locked in a chokehold and forced to drop the blade from the pressure applied to his wrist.

“Your fight isn’t just with Jacque,” Lex said, growling savagely into the man’s ear. “It’s with the prefects who were chosen instead of you… Even if I wasn’t a prefect though… the second you pointed that sword at her, I became involved.”

“How sweet,” Magnus managed. Breathing was a chore—let alone talking at this point. “Do you intend to fight all her fights for her?”

“At least I have a girl worth fighting for.”

“Girl? Wow… given that her name is Jacque and she’s flat-chested, I always assumed she was a boy.”

“You really like not being able to breathe, don’t you?”

“I think that’s enough!” someone said from the sidelines. The grapplers strained to see the speaker. He was a young man, half-Asian by the look of him, though that half did not seem Japanese. His uniform was sleeveless and cut off into shorts. By that and his shaggy mop of brown hair, Lex realized he was the youth from earlier—on the lawn with the frail-looking youth. His limbs were no longer metallic-looking, but flesh and bone. “Saya? If you could help out Mister Loder please?”

Saya nodded as she locked eyes with Magnus. Suddenly, Lex found himself barely able to hold onto the man. The others watched in awe as the red-haired Magnus was flung across the room, as if he were being magnetically drawn to his duplicate. The two slammed into each other and the force of the resulting explosion of power flung Amalgam like a rag doll. Over and over he turned, dropping into an unconscious heap near Jacque’s side. Concerned as she was for Lex’s well-being, she was shocked to watch as Magnus Loder staggered on the point of impact. Once more, long white hair hung from his head.

“What just happened?” the brown-haired young man asked. “Saya?”

“Neither of those young men were truly Magnus Loder,” Ahodori Saya said, her voice rife with surprise. “They were both a manifestation of his abilities… His power was not to create a duplicate so much as to separate himself into two halves.”

“And when you canceled out his powers…”

“…he was forced to recombine.”

“Wait—what!?” thundered Jacque. Suddenly, she turned… as if only just realizing the condition Lex was in. “Lex!”

The brown-haired young man began barreling forward, his limbs turning once more into the synthetic metal he had demonstrated upon the Americans’ arrival. As he was, he was able to heft the man and carry him to their medical bay.

As if sensing the awkwardness of the situation, the Ichigo twins moved to rectify the moment. “While your friend recovers,” Kiwi intoned sweetly, “perhaps we may treat you to lunch. There is a restaurant nearby if… if you’d follow us.”

One-by-one the New Vindicators of America reluctantly followed their Asian brethren out of the dojo—hesitating out of concern for their leaders. One-by-one they slipped out of the dojo… until only two remained.

Magnus Loder didn’t react as Maria Espada’s fingers squeezed his hand. “Magnus?” she asked. “There’s nothing we can do right now… let’s go with the others… Lex will be all right.”

“Yeah…” he said, his voice the definition of hollow. “Yeah… that… that sounds good right now. Yeah… let’s get going…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Don't fight Sclera.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 48

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:59 pm

Chapter XLVIII: We Built This City
“No, you hold it like this,” the young woman said, gently caressing Drew’s hands with her own as she helped him to better position the hashi—what chopsticks were called in Japan. Her name was Ahodori Saya, literally “sheathed albatross” as she had told Drew when he asked what it meant. “You need to use your thumb to squeeze the stick down, then let your ring finger push it up.” She covered her mouth as she giggled at Drew’s attempt. “Your stick is too wobbly, Jenkins-san.”

Ben rolled his eyes as he gazed at the pair from over his green tea. “I could have Asian girls rubbing themselves on me too if I were copying Adonis’ powers,” he grumbled.

“Dude!” Drew said, insulted by Ben’s insult. “I am not using Adonis’ powers!”

“He is not,” Saya said. “Or rather, he cannot. My own powers are suppressing his. Mine is the ability to manipulate the Neo-Sapien powers of others.”

Drew blinked. “Really, so… so you just—you just turn off people’s powers?”

Saya only nodded; one of her peers came to her aid though. “Saya-chan is too modest,” the young man said as he sat down next to Ben, across the table from Drew and Saya. His black hair was gelled out into spikes, the tips dyed blue and purple. “Saya’s father runs the family dojo, teaching Ahodori-ryu—the Way of the Albatross. Saya-chan is a master of unarmed combat and one of the top students at our school.”

“Mazui-kun!” Saya exclaimed as she blushed.

“It is true!” the young man exclaimed. “With her powers she can disable your own and leave you with nothing but your fighting ability to defend yourself. Of course, her being a master of Ahodori-ryu karate, you don’t have much of a chance.”

“You should be one to talk!” Saya said, a smile on her face as her friend raised her confidence. “Mazui-kun’s power is mastery over the odds.”

Ben blinked out of confusion. “His power is what?”

“Headmaster Huo calls it ‘probability control’,” explained Mazui, dipping the tip of his index finger in Ben’s glass of water, stirring the surface idly. The American hadn’t been adventurous enough to order anything else… not when half the drink menu brought an explanation from one local or another. “When I’m around… the unlikely because the likely and the likely becomes… well, it becomes just about whatever I want. Like… okay… Watch and learn.”

Mazui focused his everything on Alexa Hawk, laughing as she talked to two Japanese girls from the Asian school. The well of energy he could feel inside of him—his own power, he had come to recognize it as—he channeled at Alexa as his stare became more intent. “What are the odds that a button would pop off that blouse she’s wearing?”

Drew and Ben watched in astonishment as a thread weakened and a button slipped from the sweater Alexa had been wearing when they all boarded their flight at JFK International so many hours ago. “I’ll admit… that’s nothing,” Mazui said, “but what are the odds that two more fall?”

Two buttons popped and the neckline of her sweater opened more, revealing a hint of her bra to the trio of young boys and halting her conversation.

Drew spun to face Saya. “Okay,” he said, “you have got to stop suppressing my powers… because I SO have to do that!”

“Ignore them,” Umi said to Alexa across the room. “Mazui-chan is… well, he’s almost as childish as Hanabi here is.”

Hanabi stuck her tongue out at her best-friend before slurping her juice. Her glass was empty, but that didn’t stop the young girl from attempting to inhale every last drop with her straw.

Kanagata Umi wore a black leather dress, cut just over her knees and billowing out from the petticoat worn underneath. Under the bustier of the dress she wore a lace blouse, a deep and dark purple. Knee socks and Mary Janes completed the Gothic Lolita style Umi favored when not in the uniform.

Her best-friend, Inoue Hanabi, was the anti-thesis of Umi’s style. In contrast to the black lipstick and eye makeup, Hanabi wore none. Her brown hair was held back with teddy beat barrettes and her clothes were modest and bright-colored. It wasn’t that the pair seemed at all interesting to Alexa, but that Hanabi’s confidence was attractive to her. Alexa’s eyes ran down Hanabi’s form and the young woman wet her lips. Her actions seemed to go unnoticed by Hanabi… but Alexa in turn seemed not to notice Umi eyeing her almost the same way.

“It’s weird, I mean… you both have so similar powers,” Hanabi said. “I almost feel… I dunno.”

“I don’t turn into water,” Umi said, “I just manipulate it.”

“Who doesn’t?” groaned Alexa. “About a month ago we had a fight with another Neo-Sapien-”

“Oh, we know all about it!” Hanabi exclaimed. “You’re heroes over here. I mean… aside from Aya-chan, we’re not heroes. Not yet. Most of us have only just been learning about our powers.”

“Aya-chan?” Alexa asked.

Hanabi pointed out Kwon Aya, laughing with Magnus and Maria across the room. “Her codename is the Rising Sun. She—she has the power of the sun in her. All I do is make fireworks. I’m a walking sparkler. Watch the super-villains go a-runnin’.”

Alexa put a reassuring hand on Hanabi’s shoulder, stroking her arm softly to consul her. The pair failed to notice the young man enter the room; he had been the one to stop the fight between the American prefects and Lodestone. He had been the one to carry Lex’s unconscious form to the infirmary. His name was Michael Luom and he was a half-Laotian, half-Acadian student in his final year at the New Vindicators Academy of Asia. Codenamed Brass, he was blessed with the Neo-Sapien power to transform his limbs into synthetic metal which augmented his combative prowess. In his form he was stronger and faster, while the limbs also granted him some degree of protection from attacks.

“How’s Lex?”

Michael spun around and found himself facing Jeremy Carlson—the young man who preferred to be called Deimos. In some aspects, the two weren’t so different. Both had unusual powers that transfigured them into capable fighters. There, the similarities ended however. “Your friend will be fine,” Michael intoned softly, smiling sincerely for the young man. “He and his girl should be joining us shortly.”

“He’s not my friend,” Deimos corrected. “I’m not concerned for him. I just don’t want anything to happen to him before I can get my payback.”

Michael blinked in surprise. In the hour since the Americans had arrived they had done nothing but fight each other or insinuate that they wanted to fight each other. Did they know anything of teamwork? Were they in possession of anything that remotely resembled selflessness? “A few months back, when I first showed up at the school… one our teachers had us fight it out. Lex had something to prove and… he fought dirty. He got the best of me. He humiliated me and… I don’t want him to lose before I have a chance to pay him back for that.”

Michael shook his head at Deimos’ agitation. “Revenge only breeds more revenge… it’s a vicious cycle. You’d do yourself and your soul better to just let go of your bitterness.”

Deimos narrowed his eyes at the man. “What would you know? I mean… given how you were fighting that kid when we arrived… how you took command back there and carried Lex out like he was nothing? You must be the strongest person here. You wouldn’t know the first thing about what I’ve been through… about the nightmare I’ve been put through because of these idiots.”

“Not that I concern myself with fleeting things such as strength… but I am far from the strongest student at this academy.”

Suddenly, Deimos’ interest was piqued. “Who’s the strongest person at your school then?”

The young Laotian shook his head. Michael Luom was a man with a more simplified appearance than his peers. A mop of long brown hair was tied neatly in back and he wore jeans and a stained white t-shirt. Only a wristband, black with an image on it which Deimos failed to recognize, accented his appearance. Unlike all the others he didn’t wear numerous rings and necklaces. He was who he was and didn’t see any reason to cover himself in accessories that would embellish or detract from the truth. “Without a doubt, Sclera,” Michael said definitively.

“Which one is he?” Deimos asked, looking around the restaurant the combined New Vindicators had taken over. “I want to fight him. I’ll use him for practice before I beat up on Amalgam.”

Michael shook his head. “He went home for the holiday. He didn’t want to, but his sister made him.”

“So… does he live here? In Tokyo, I mean?”

“Sclera’s a Bengali,” Michael said. “Look… I don’t know about you or how much they’ve taught you in New York, but… forget about fighting him.”

“Why?” Deimos’ right eye widened and Michael almost laughed at the young man’s attempt to intimidate him. “You don’t think I’m strong enough? Lex beating me was only a fluke! I’m the strongest one at my school. I could rip open any one of you!”

Michael shook his head. “I’m sure you could…” he lied. “I didn’t mean to insult you, it’s just… nobody’s strong enough to take on Sclera. He’s a rare kind of man and… if you fought him one of two things would happen: either you’d lose… or he’d kill you.”

“What’s his power?”

“He sees through things.”

Deimos stopped, unsure if he had heard right. “Wait—what? His power is he sees through things? You—you’ve got to be kidding me.”

Once more, Michael Luom found himself shaking his head. “No. Sclera and his twin sister, Shaheed and Minar Raja, are both blessed with the ability to see through any substance. Only Minar had ever been defeated in sparring practice… and only by her brother. The two are invincible and Shaheed… he has no care for life—neither his nor his opponent. That the people he fights live to tell others of the experience is a fluke. He never holds back. He gives everything he had his full power.”

“But… his power is just to see through things?”

“They are both trained in Varma Kalai—the Art of Vital Points. It’s an ancient martial art originating in Tamil Nadu, in Southern India. It started out as a healing art, but quickly transformed into a defensive martial art that focuses on targeting vital points throughout the human body. For people like the twins, who can see through anything, they target the central nervous system—paralyzing their opponents with a touch.”

“If they can hit you…”

“Shaheed is worse,” Michael said, ignoring Deimos’ attempt to bolster himself over Sclera. “He’s also mastered the art of Kuttu Varisai and incorporated it into his Varma Kalai. He’s not just a Neo-Sapien; he’s regarded as being one of the most dangerous martial arts on this planet. That and… he has THAT training…”

“What training?” Deimos asked, interested even more. “Where did he get it? At the school? How can I get the same?”

Michael shook his head. “If you want to live… you’ll forget about fighting the Raja twins. Look to prove your strength elsewhere. Go to Europe; I hear their strongest student is an American-Brit who goes by Quintessence. Perhaps he will warm you up before you go fight your own teammates.” The disgust Michael felt for the Americans was apparent in his tone. “By all means, clutch your pride and hold it tightly… wear it as a badge of your ignorance and wield it as a sword to sunder your team.” Michael slipped off, moving to talk to Magnus and Maria instead.

Deimos said nothing more. He merely leaned against the wall, arms folded across his chest, defiantly glaring at the young man as he thought back on his fight with Lex…
  • ...

Michuru had lead Deimos into the Wreck Room where the bigger man was waiting. “You won’t listen to your teachers, you won’t accept help from your peers. You keep mouthing off to everyone! You’re so insistent on picking a fight with those around you… well, here you go. Fight Lex.”

Deimos had looked up at Michuru with eyes shining with disbelief. “You can’t be serious!”

“What’s wrong, Deimos? You go on about how you don’t need anyone—how we only hold you back… Here you go—it’s your chance to prove it.”

“What makes you think I want to fight him, you moron?”

Michuru shook his head at the young man. “Because you’ve mouthed off to him at every turn and called him things that would have made Andrew Dice Clay shudder.”

“Who?” The young man had never heard of the raunchy comedian.

Michuru sighed. “Just fight him.”

Even without transforming, Lex’s experience in traditional wrestling was enough to put Deimos under. Before the young man could lay a hand on Lex Sway he was hitting the mats. His hands were twisted behind him and his wrists locked under Lex’s strength. “Look at that, Deimos…” Michuru articulated. “He doesn’t even need his powers to deal with you!”

“Shut up!” screamed Deimos from under Lex. Suddenly, Lex was up, letting the youth have another chance. Deimos quickly scampered to his feet and channeled his hellfire—the black energy coated his body and formed a scythe in his hands. With a guttural roar, Deimos charged for Lex once more. The youth still refused to transform though. He merely side-stepped the reckless assault and hooked his foot into Deimos’ ankle. Once more, Deimos had hit the floor and once more Lex had put the youth in a lock.

Cursing under his breath, Deimos did the only thing he could: his hands felt for his zipper…

“Uh!” exclaimed Lex, leaping clear of Deimos. “Mister Bradshaw… he just—he peed on me…”
  • ...

A curse escaped Deimos’ lips. It had been the only means of resisting them that he could think of. It was his only weapon in his arsenal of defiance. He got the message they were trying to get across: he needed them. His powers had been useless against someone who hadn’t even needed to use their own. A mere human who knew how to fight could easily dismantle any threat Deimos posed. He knew what Michuru was telling him but he refused to admit it…

He was nothing… but he could become something.

“Screw this…” he grumbled, watching his teammates laugh and talk and get to better know the students of the Asian Academy. Slipping out the door, Deimos made his way into the streets of Tokyo alone… and looking for some fun…
To Be Continued... wrote:Deimos versus Sarutobi Sasuke
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 49

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Jan 20, 2007 8:46 pm

Chapter XLIX: Sledgehammer
“Konnichiwa!” the middle-aged man exclaimed as Deimos pushed aside the half-curtain partisan, dividing the bar from the street. Poking his head inside, Deimos had found what he was looking for. The place was a dive—it was just the sort of atmosphere he reveled in. The rotund man had his back turned to his only patron—his stain-spattered apron being used to dry dishes at the moment.

Deimos dropped into a booth away from the counter and began debating whether he could pass for the legal drinking age in Japan. He had turned eighteen-years-old only a month prior—maybe he was the legal drinking age here. “Ikaga desu ka!” called the man energetically over his shoulder.

“Sorry,” Deimos called back. “I don’t—um… no speak Japanese…” He emphasized each word slowly, as if that would better help the man to understand him.

The man turned around and his sharp eyes immediately fell on Deimos. “I, for one, have always at least attempted to learn the language of the place I am visiting. When I know I am going to be meeting someone who speaks a different language—I make the best effort to speak their tongue.”

Deimos blinked in surprise. “You—you speak English?”

The man nodded. “Hai.”

“Perfect… what’s that Japanese booze? Sake? Get me some sake.”

The man shrugged as he turned, grabbing at a pair of small white bottles for his guest. “We’ll call it a belated birthday present…”

“What?”

When the man had come around the counter, carrying the pair of bottles, he had a mischievous grin on his face. “Tanjoubi omedetou,” the man said, putting one before Deimos. Rather than pour them into the little cups Deimos was positive the Japanese drank sake from, the man raised the small bottle to his lips and let the rice wine roll down his throat. “Sorry… I prefer my nihonshu cold…”

“What?”

“Nihonshu. Sake, boy. Some heat it. Some drink it out of sakazuki, masu or ochoko… too much ceremony for booze though. It’s best to just grab the bottle and go, yes?”

Deimos grinned. “I like the way you think, old man.”

The man grinned. “Good… you’re going to be spending quite some time with me.”

“Pardon?”

“Drink!” the man commanded. Deimos didn’t have to be told twice. He raised the bottle to his lips and pounded it down. “My name is Sanada Saemon-no-Suke Yukimura, the Crimson Demon of War. I’ve been waiting for you to appear before me, Deimos.”

Deimos looked to the bottle in his hand as if it had been the cause of the words he had just heard. He didn’t recall giving the man his name—how had the man known? “I can’t be drunk already…”

“No, you can’t.”

“Well, then get me drunk. Get me another.”

“And with what money are you going to pay me? The first I’m willing to consider a belated birthday present…”

Deimos narrowed his eyes in suspicion. “It’s not my birthday…”

Yukimura grinned. “I’m aware. Your birthday was on the twenty-fifth of Nevember. You turned eighteen-year-olds.” He shook his head in disgust. “Eighteen… and you’ve never had your Genpuku.”

“Who—what are you?”

Yukimura grinned. “I already told you, Deimos: I am the Crimson Demon of War. Now… are you going to sit there—fighting the urge to wet yourself—or are you going to get up and let me take you someplace where you can learn to fight?”

“Wet myself? You think I’m scared of you? Please…”

“You are.” Deimos barely turned his head to take in the newcomer to their conversation. The young man seemed close to Deimos in age, though with long white hair that hung to his knees. Though braided up, it hung over his shoulder as he leaned against the wall, idly watching their exchange without anything that so much as resembled interest.

He wore a tight-fitting, sleeveless leather shirt; a pair of swords was crossed over his back, suspended by the belts that slashed over his chest. His form was long and lithe; the youth did not make a motion that was not sinuous and graceful… or unnecessary. As he moved forward, Deimos was surprised to find the Asian stood at his height. Then Deimos’ eyes fell on the geta—wooden sandals with platforms added to the bottom. “The only reason you didn’t wet your pants when you faced Amalgam was because you went over his boots instead!”

“Sasuke!” barked Yukimura warningly; the youth seemed either not to notice or simply not to care.

“You want people to fear you,” he said as he took the earphones of his iPod out, idly putting them in the pocket of his loose, baggy breeches instead. “You want them to see you as this imposing figure… this master of combat? You couldn’t do a thing against Sway-kun! When you met Blitzkrieg, all you could do was bluff and attempt to intimidate him into backing down. What would you have done if that man had engaged you, I wonder?”

“Shut up!”

“Or Tide… you were at the top of your game right then, weren’t you? So amiable of you to take his bait and… tell me, Deimos: how does it feel to have to be saved by someone like Drew Jenkins?”

“He didn’t save-”

“No, Deimos-chan… no! You need to stop running from the truth! You’re weak! If Jenkins-kun hadn’t thought so fast, you’d be dead! You don’t think—you just shoot off your mouth and hope to God that nobody notices how ridiculously weak you are! You want to become stronger? Then stop lying to yourself! Admit your weakness and you’ll finally begin to grow!”

“I am not weak!”

“You are!” Sasuke snarled. His hands grabbed at the collar of Deimos’ shirt and the youth was dragged to his feet and pinned against the wall. Sarutobi Sasuke moved in—his eyes more piercing than they had been before. They were like the eyes of a rabid animal, daring Deimos to move. The youth trembled at the sensation of hot breath on his face—emphasizing every syllable of what the man had to say. “You are, Deimos-chan… you are! You are by far the weakest one of your team! The others can hold their own. The others know how to work together. You though… you strut. You pretend. You’re so blinded by your pride that you don’t even realize that the others… the others are all laughing at you!”

“Screw them… Screw you!”

“You think you’re so strong…”

“I’m stronger than you!” Deimos barked, grabbing Sasuke’s wrist and breaking free of the young man’s grip. The action only brought a fiendish grin from Sasuke.

“Good… then let’s fight it out. If you’re so strong, you should have no problems with fighting a weakling like me!”

“Sasuke!” Yukimura snapped.

“Relax, Ojiisan. I won’t kill him… I just want him to see what real strength is.” Clapping his hand on Deimos’ back, Sasuke led him behind the counter. Deimos craned his head, attempting to catch Yukimura’s eye. The man seemed like the more sensible of the pair. Sasuke pushed aside the curtain that led into the inner kitchen. Here, a pair was working—their labors undisturbed by the chaos that had erupted in the outer room. Here Sasuke did not stop. He merely pushed Deimos forward, past the two men and up a floor to living quarters above the bar.

“Hey!” Sasuke called out. “Jinpachi-dono! Deimos-chan san ni, shoukai sasete kudasai!”

“What did you just say?” asked Deimos. “You said something about me…”

“I told Nezu to get his fat rear out here and meet you… Jinpachi-dono doesn’t exactly speak English.” Sasuke turned then, still calling out, “Jinpachi-dono! Jinpachi-dono!”

Deimos was surprised when he turned and found the rotund Japanese man merely sitting in the middle of the room, as if he had been there the entire time. “Took him long enough,” Sasuke grumbled, crossing the room to Nezu Jinpachi’s side and kneeling next to the man. Cupping his hand, Sasuke whispered something into the man’s ear—something that made him begin to chuckle with a low rumble. Deimos failed to see why his companion felt the need to whisper—if Nezu truly only understood Japanese, what they had just shared would have been lost on Deimos anyway.

“Joudan desho?” Nezu asked. Sasuke shook his head and Nezu laughed more. “Hontou!”

“Honki desu yo,” grumbled Sasuke.

“Gokigenyou,” Nezu said sadly, clasping his hands together in an odd fashion. Before he knew it, a light had swallowed the room before Deimos’ eyes. When his vision slowly began to return, he was shocked to find the pair now standing in a forest.

“What was the last thing he said?” Deimos asked.

“He was saying farewell,” Sasuke said dryly, easing the swords in the sheathes on his back. “He seems to have little faith in my control…”

Deimos laughed. “He actually thinks you can beat me?” Deimos’ eyes widened with shock as Sasuke spun around, double blades slashing through the air. Reacting quickly, Deimos conjured the energy scythe he was so fond of. The weapon was composed of the same black, glowing energy he commanded—hellfire, the Aurelius had called it. Atlanta’s father had seemed so familiar with it and he had called Deimos a Nephilim… was there something special about him and his abilities?

The muscles in Deimos’ arms were strained to their limit as he attempted to hold against the force of Sasuke’s attack. “Ugh! You’re—you’re not that bad!” Deimos said. “You’re still nowhere near my level though…”

“Funny… you’d think after around four-hundred years of practice, I’d be able to take an insolent brat like yourself…”

Deimos couldn’t believe it. There was no way this young man had survived for over four centuries. It was impossible. “Kanpai, Deimos-chan…” Sasuke said, raising his swords from the shaft of the scythe and moving in for another strike. His movements were gaining speed. He had held back with the initial blow. How strong was he?

Sarutobi Sasuke’s steel found flesh and Deimos shuddered as his blood, cold and wet, began running down the length of both the young man’s blades. One sword had pierced his left shoulder. The other had slashed across his stomach. “Gokigenyou… Deimos-chan…”

Deimos’ hand left the shaft of the scythe he had generated and felt as his stomach; the cold, stickiness of blood greeted him there and as if on reflex, he staggered forward. “Oh, don’t tell me that’s it!” Shakily, and with the scythe’s support, Deimos remained on his feet. He lifted his eyes, narrowed and filled with rage, to his opponent.

Sarutobi Sasuke claimed to be over four-hundred-years old… yet he didn’t look that much more older than Deimos. “Komatta! For all your bolstering and strutting about… a couple of hits is your limit?” Not giving the young man the opportunity to savor his hurt, Sasuke took the pair of katana he so deftly wielded and his onslaught began again. “We’ve been watching you!” he barked. “A few decades ago, Ojiisan had this prediction—he gets those from time to time… He saw that our meeting you would be one link in a chain of events leading to the death of one of the Seven Fallen… YOU!” Sasuke’s strikes came quick and hard. Deimos had barely raised the scythe in time to block them. If anything, the man was relentless…

“When Anayama started using her scrying abilities to watch you over the years… I could hardly believe it…” Faster and faster the attacks were coming. It was as if Sarutobi Sasuke had been holding himself back at the dawn of this battle. Slowly but surely he was revealing his true warrior’s instinct. Each time he swung his sword, he wasn’t hacking away at Deimos’ flesh and blood… he was shaving off the prison that had held him back for so long… “We watched you move in with your aunt and uncle!” Deimos’ eyes widened in shock. How else could they know that? These people… Yukimura, Sasuke, Jinpachi… who were they? “We saw your first meeting with Bogart! We saw the car bomb and when we saw you join the school we knew you were getting closer to us… We had not expected to see him in the visions but… there he was. We knew that he would bring you to us…”

“Who?”

Sasuke’s steel crashed against the energy scythe Deimos’ powers, the manipulation of a malleable energy known as hellfire, had created.

“Him who!?!” Deimos demanded.

“Michuru,” Sasuke said, sounding out each syllable.

Something flared inside Deimos then as Sasuke pulled back, launching against into the relentless assault of steel. Again and again he swung and Deimos found himself giving his all to blocking. As he wanted he realized that Sasuke’s talents weren’t with the sword. The man knew how to fight—that much was apparent—but he wasn’t a skilled swordsman. Little by little Deimos caught the pattern of attack. Sasuke had fallen into a rhythm. Swordsmanship was nothing more than testosterone-fueled ballet of death and in that Deimos found himself—his true nature—the fragment of his shattered soul he had been looking for.

“As we watched you I became agitated… I still don’t understand how a weakling like you has anything to do with the death of one of the Fallen!”

Sasuke hadn’t noticed it—that each stroke he made was becoming increasingly easier to block. He was fast… but he well into patterns. Confident, Deimos made his move—blocking and immediately moving to break Sasuke’s stride and counterattack.

Whether Deimos had narrowly missed decapitating his opponent in one stroke or whether Sasuke had just barely dodged remained unseen. Sasuke’s eyes showed surprise that Deimos found room to strike back. “How is Michuru involved with you people?” Deimos demanded.

Sasuke grinned. “We helped him a few years ago. He was using his powers to dredge the Shimonoseki Strait, looking for a legend. A war erupted over what he had found and we fell in behind him.”

Deimos was somewhat alone in his theory that Michuru was the mastermind behind the Affiliation. The man had his secrets and Deimos had resonated with the darkness brewing in the man. He recognized the imprint left by a tainted soul. He knew what Michuru was capable of. It stood to reason that the man had only taken the position teaching at the school to recruit from its students—something he had already done with Lurker and Black Widow.

Black hellfire seeped from every pore on Deimos’ body; deep pools of black merged and hardened into a flexible shell. From head-to-toe, Deimos was encased in the glowing black energy. It augmented his own fighting ability. Of defense, Deimos knew almost nothing; it merely was not a part of his fighting style. Instead he emphasized endurance and durability—while at the same time throwing all of his power behind wild, dangerous swings and blacks.

Shimmering wings of darkness, glittering like stars in the deepest sky and shaped like those of a moth erupted from his back. Those wings flapped and Deimos left the ground, taking their battle to the sky. Rather than concern, a look of relief appeared over Sasuke’s face. “So that’s how you want to do this?”

“You’re going to tell me everything I want to know about Michuru,” Deimos growled. “Even if I have to beat it out of you… God, I hope I have to beat it out of you…”

Sasuke flipped backwards and landed on his katana, now stabbed into the base of a tree. Sheathing the other, his hands felt at the sides of the tree and he began expertly climbing.

He was like a monkey, scampering up the tree and leaping across branches. His talent was uncanny and one that left Deimos slightly perplexed. How could a man have so much natural agility that he treated such a precarious teeter the same as having both feet planted firmly on the ground?

Sasuke erupted forward, katana drawn as he lunged for Deimos. With his free hand he grabbed for a nearby branch, throwing himself up and over Deimos as his blade glinted off the armor. Deimos was shocked to feel the blade’s touch caress his flesh—it had actually torn through the energy!

Spinning around to slash Sasuke with his scythe he was shocked to find the man gone. Scanning the tree lines brought him nothing of his opponent’s location. Then, suddenly, birds in flight brought his attention up… and to the swiftly-descending figure.

The branches shook and swayed as Sarutobi Sasuke flipped and catapulted himself through the canopy, occasionally flying past Deimos and slashing idly at him. Most distressing was that the tiny white earphones had returned to Sasuke’s ears. The man seemed so unconcerned with Deimos’ own level of ability that he could listen to music whilst they fought.

Again and again Sasuke danced in and out of Deimos’ field of vision. The young man merely hovered, his moth’s wings flapping to keep him stationary. If things worked out as they had, Sasuke would fall into a pattern again and once more he would leave himself open. When that opportunity arose he had to make it count!

“Admit that you’re weak and this will be over!” Sasuke barked. Deimos spinned and was able to barely block against the lithe man’s attack.

“No!” exclaimed Deimos. “I’m not weak!”

“Stop lying to yourself!”

“Screw off!”

“Admit it!”

Deimos pushed back with his weapon and Sasuke rotated. His foot caught Deimos’ face and sent the young man flying back into a tree. Branches snapped and leaves rained down around him—their respite disturbed by their melee.

Once more, Sasuke had vanished.

“You keep calling me weak, but you’re the one running and hiding! You’re a coward! Why won’t you show yourself?”

From the foliage below, Sasuke erupted—his steel roared as he climbed the distance between them. Deimos swung his scythe around—not moving to block but to deny Sasuke of one advantage he had. The curve of the scythe caught Sasuke’s sword and with a flick of the wrist and a twist of the hips it was ripped from the agile man’s hand.

Sasuke crouched and planted his feet on the scythe’s staff. Even without a blade he charged forward. Deimos had lost the advantage of his weapon—all that kept Sasuke from reaching his target. It was too late to move—to use the threat of the sickle as a shield. He could do nothing to defend against Sasuke’s attack.

“Honk!” Sasuke said, laughing as his fingers pinched around Deimos’ nose. He rode his momentum, flipping over Deimos and landing his feet against the side of a tree. Only agitated even more by the man’s taunting, he spun around in time to watch as Sasuke ran down the vertical trunk of the tree. His sword lay hidden in the shrubs far beneath Deimos… but he had another.

“No!” The word escaped Deimos’ lips like a curse as he watched Sasuke flip in the air, his hand closing around his other sword and drawing it from the tree. The man never slowed. He hurried through the brush and tore from the other side—other sword in hand. “No!” he snarled. “No! No! NO! NO!!!”

The headphones of his iPod still in his ears, Sasuke leapt and swung himself up through the branches of another tree—gaining altitude and climbing over Deimos’ own position.

With a hellish scream, Deimos’ armor shattered… and the fragments began to blanket the forest. Encased in darkness… Deimos grinned as Sasuke stopped… and removed his headphones. Instantly Deimos knew the measure of the warrior which he faced. Sasuke was not caught off-guard by the new trick. Instead he merely acclimated; if he could not use his eyes to navigate the frenzy, then he would steer by sound.

Knowing he had to take things slowly… Deimos crept towards Sasuke. Suddenly, he dashed left and then back. He ascended—climbing through the canopy on his black wings. Then, releasing the energy staff, Deimos raised his hands towards Sasuke. From his palms rocketed a blast of hellfire. It seared through the tree limbs and the snapping and splintering gave the man enough forewarning. Leaping clear of the blast, he had walked into Deimos’ trap. Dashing forward, he would be on top of Sasuke and ready to attack. In midair the man couldn’t dodge. He couldn’t stop his fall or reverse the move. He was a sitting target.

“Found you,” Sasuke said softly, thrusting his sword out as Deimos rushed for him. With a scream, the darkness was dispelled and Deimos plummeted for the earth. Sasuke reached out, grabbing a branch and swinging himself onto the limb. Deimos tumbled past him.

Deimos’ unconscious form dropped into the outstretched arms of Sanada Yukimura—a disgruntled look was plain across the man’s face. “Well?” he called up to the canopy’s ceiling. “Will you agree to train him now?”

Sasuke landed in a crouch, one hand cradling his stomach. He moved it back and Yukimura was visibly shocked to see crimson staining around the leather shirt his companion wore. The slash from Deimos’ scythe was not deep… but no matter how deep the wounds Sasuke received, he was never concerned. It was all a part of the immortality he had long ago obtained. No… this was not a cause for concern… just amazement. “I already told you,” Sasuke growled as he rose to his full height. “I wouldn’t train him unless he asked for it… He’s still too stubborn… Perhaps Saizou should beat that quality out of him?”

“In due time. At one point you will all have to train Deimos. At the moment though, Saizou is attending to other matters.”

“What could be more important than-”

“Kusanagi no Tsurugi and Yata no Kagami have been stolen.”

Ignoring his wound, Sarutobi Sasuke turned to speed off. “Where are you going?” Yukimura called after him.

“Kokyo!” Sasuke called back.

Yukimura shook his head. “Idiot… where do you think Michuru already is?”
To Be Continued... wrote:Drew makes some enemies...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

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