NEW VINDICATORS (Books I - XIII)

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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 70

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Feb 08, 2007 8:28 am

Chapter LXX: Start Me Up [Part I]
“Well?” asked Lodestone. “How is your Neo-Sapien power of super-people-skills going to bail us out of this one?”

Adonis could form no words at the sight before him. Walkabout had connected them to the right city- given the file the pair had been given on Everett McGee. His address was within a few blocks of where they had been deposited… but Professor Alston had misinformed them. They weren’t bound for Saint Louis, Missouri but rather they found themselves in the South End of East Saint Louis, Illinois.

In the 1950’s, East Saint Louis had been named an All-American City. Her population then had swelled to eighty-thousand and prosperity ran rampant through the Midwestern city. The shine had dimmed since then and the once model city was now the perfect candidate for the Model Cities program. A parade of Federal help initiatives slipped through the streets but none stayed long. As the factories began to close, the economy crumbled and the crime rate towered over the denizens of the once endearing would-be metropolis.

“We’re going to get shot,” Lodestone grumbled as a young urban male approached them. “We’re going to die here…”

“You know,” Adonis said matter-of-factly, “I read once that despite having a very high murder rate, the rate of assault in ESL is much more staggering. In fact, we’re more likely to be raped than we are killed.”

“That’s comforting,” Magnus whispered, the young man nearing earshot.

“Yo. What gang you with?”

Adonis and Lodestone looked at each other. The two were clad in black Kevlar, with a white slash across the arms and chest that formed a ‘V’. It was the standard issue uniform for the Vindicators as well as their junior counterparts. That he failed to recognize the symbol of the world’s sentries was an alarming notion but not as alarming as the handgun easily noticeable and protruding from under his jacket.

Magnus thought quick. With his magnetic abilities, he was confident he could stop a bullet. Still, the concentration it may demand could tax him and leave him defenseless should any of the youth’s companions from the Black Egyptians choose to join in on the brawl. “We’re Mormons,” he offered.

Adonis blinked; there was no way to have possibly been prepared for the yarn Lodestone was about to spin. “Brother Skraag and I are just out as ambassadors of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints.” Already he could see the effect it had on their newfound friend. “May I offer you some of our literature? The Book of Mormon?”

“N—no… naw, bro… thas coo. I—I gots t’get goin’…”

As the man hurried away to his gang, Adonis flashed Lodestone an exasperated look. “Mormons?” he thundered—though managing to keep his voice down.

“Hey, I don’t know about you but if there’s anyone I hate talking to it’s a religion salesman. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, door-to-door Christians… especially the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Nothing against them personally, but let’s be honest here: their religion believes paradise has a maximum seating capacity. One-hundred and forty-four thousand, I think? Well, their religion was founded in the 1870s or something and… I think I read that there are some six million JW’s actively involved in preaching. Now… my math comes out that Heaven’s probably full up by their teachings. I’m not sure what they believe but… if Heaven’s full up by their logic… where do they go when they die? Why keep practicing a religion that won’t give you the happy-ever-after when you kick the breathing habit?”

“Why have faith in something that doesn’t reward you?”

Lodestone shook his head. “You’re twisting my words.”

“I don’t believe I am. I’m merely trying to understand what you’re implying…”

The manipulator of magnetism flashed Adonis a wide grin as he steered them into a small clothing outlet. “You know, for someone who’s supposed to have this ‘unnatural way with people’, you’re not a very eloquent speaker.”

“What are we doing?”

“Proving you suck?”

“I mean here.” He gestured to the store.

“Oh. We need black pants and white shirts. We have to look Mormony.”

“‘Mormony’?” Adonis asked. “Why do I get the feeling that this escapade will only give you more leeway to drag organized religions through the mud?”

“You religious?”

“I’m an irreligious thesist,” Adonis admitted with a shrug. “I believe in God but… I dunno, I guess it’s hard to want to honor and serve him if—well… if we have to live in a world that fears and hates us and wants nothing more than to see people like you and I dead just for being born a little different.”

“Oh, yeah… I manipulate magnetic waves and you make women do whatever you want. We’re only a LITTLE different though.”

“Do you even have money on you?” Adonis flashed Lodestone as blank of a look as the clerk did at the sight of the duo in their uniforms. Lodestone had found pants in his size and pushed them into Adonis’ arms while he searched for something that would fit Adonis.

“We don’t need money—we’ve got you. It’s a small store and it looks like the only sales clerk is a girl. You know what to do.”

“So we’re stealing now? How heroic.”

Lodestone said nothing as he vanished into the sole changing room of TALNER OUTLETS, reemerging as the ideal Mormon witness, his uniform folded neatly in the backpack he had found en route towards the back of the store. He eagerly waited while Adonis grudgingly changed and flashed the infatuated clerk a quick smile. She waved playfully as she began to blush, trying to hide her dopey expression in the folds of her navy-blue turtle neck sweater. Still, she said nothing as the pair casually slipped out of the store. “We’ll put everything back before we leave,” Lodestone said in an attempt to encourage the depressing Adonis. “We’re not stealing… just borrowing. It’s for the good of the mission.”

“It’s not that… it’s just… don’t you feel bad about doing this? I mean, maybe we don’t but there ARE people who believe in this! I mean… the Mormon church has hordes of patrons, I’m sure, and it just—it just feels like we’re stomping over their beliefs. This feels really, really wrong.”

“No one’s going to know.”

“God will.”

“That’s to say there is a God.”

Adonis grinned. “So… okay, I spilled; now it’s your turn… What do you believe in?”

Lodestone shrugged and led the duo’s way out of the small store and onto the streets. “Nothing, I guess,” he said as they began to navigate their way towards the McGee’s house.

Adonis laughed. “You have to believe in something, Magnus. Even having faith that there is nothing divine about the wonder of life is still having faith. I mean, okay… let’s say you’re an atheist. You probably buy into the Big Bang and the Theory of Evolution?”

“Sure.”

“Okay. What’s evolution? It’s mutation, right? It’s when the environment favors beneficial mutations—survival of the fittest? Adaptation?”

“Sure… that sounds right.”

“That sounds stupid. Think about it: bacterium, the earliest form of life, has two-thousand enzymes. Do you know how long it would take to just spontaneously manifest the right enzymes to create life? Only a few hundred BILLION years PER mutations. Time isn’t the only problem; there’s also coordination. Like… bats, possums, sharks… let’s just take bats though. You believe in bats, right?”

“Of course.”

“Okay, well… bats navigate by sound. To do that, they need special vocal chords to emit the sounds and they need special ears to receive the sounds that travel back to them. They also need special brains to interpret the sounds and special bodies to allow them to react to the information they decipher. If all these special parts don’t evolve simultaneously, then there’s no actual advantage. By the laws of evolution and natural selection… bats begin blind. They need to eat. Over the course of a few million years, they develop those special vocal chords. Now they have a new need: hearing them. A few millions years pass and now they can make the noises and hear the noises but it doesn’t make any sense. So a few more million years pass and they develop those special little brains. You see the problem? If evolution was viable—if natural selection exists—then bats should be extinct by now.”

“Not unless they could see… they adapted to the new bodies and they no longer needed to see.”

“Evolution doesn’t work in reverse. You don’t need your appendix to live—but evolution hasn’t figured that out and weeded that out of the equation. Bats can’t see and have underdeveloped hind legs. By the law of the jungle they shouldn’t even exist… but they do. Seems almost naïve to deny the existence of an intelligent designer, doesn’t it?”

Lodestone was stunned. Everything Adonis said made sense but it clashed with a lifetime of conditioning and a world of pride.

“What do you think?” Adonis asked.

Lodestone looked down at the folder they had been given and matched the address the Academy had provided to the one on the mailbox before them. “I think we’re here… and I think maybe you should do the talking.”

With a curt nod, Adonis took the steps carefully. The stone stairs were cracked and in disarray. The windows were broken and covered with plywood. The house itself was slanting on its foundation. The neighborhood around them was disturbingly vacant. Still, Adonis dared to ring the bell and showed no surprise when the door cracked to revel a short, elderly woman. “Hello, ma’am,” Adonis began. “My name is Adonis Skraag and this is my companion, Magnus Loder and we-”

“We already go to church,” she said as she moved to shut the door.

“No, no!” Adonis exclaimed. “We—we’re not from any church… we’re from a school for… gifted youngsters. I was hoping it would be all right for us to talk to Everett.”

“My grandson is dead,” she said robotically. Adonis slipped his hand into the door and met her sad, downcast eyes with his own compelling gaze. “Would you like to come in and have some cookies and coffee?” she asked hopefully, a skip in her voice as she pulled open the door to permit the pair entry. “Everett will be so glad to have friends visit.”

Once more, Lodestone found himself uncomfortable with the notion that he was thankful for being partnered with Adonis.

“You have a lovely home, Missus McGee.”

“Oh, no… Missus McGee died four years ago. I’m Everett’s other grandma. I’m Thelma Hayden. You—you can call me Thelma.”

“Thelma!” thundered a man, just a few years senior to Everett’s grandmother and easily marked as his grandfather. “Who are they? What are they doing here?”

“They’re here to see Everett,” she cooed, never taking her eyes from Adonis.

“Our grandson’s dead,” the man boomed. “Now get off my property. Yer tresspassin’ and I’ve a right to shoot ya right here and now if’n ya don’t move.” He turned and moved towards a cabinet. Magnus felt out with his power; closing his eyes to the distraction of his field of vision, he opened himself to another world—one where he saw only glowing shapes composed of metal. Three shotguns were lined up in that cabinet.

The years had made James Hayden Junior slower than he had been in his tours of Korea. The former veteran had seen many things in his time with the military but nothing could have prepared him for his antique rifles erupting from the cabinet of their own accord. He was more stunned to watch them empty themselves of their ammunition and fall uselessly at his feet.

“We know about Everett,” Adonis said, “and if you’ll allow it—if Everett will accept it—we would very much so like to help him. You see… we’re both Neo-Sapiens too. My friend is Magnus Loder. You’ve heard of the Lodestone dynasty?”

James Hayden nodded, spellbound by what he was seeing and hearing unfolding in his living room.

“Magnus is the fourth generation of Lodestones to protect this world. We don’t intend to hurt you and we don’t want to threaten you. We’re not like that… we just want to give Everett a chance to get help.”

“You can’t,” James said, shaking his head as he began to cry. “Nobody can help our Ev…”

Adonis advanced forward and put his arms around the elderly man. “I can only imagine what you people have been through. It’s been hard, hasn’t it? Everett’s powers are raging out of control and it’s hard to hide. People know what your grandson is and you’ve had to protect him, haven’t you?” Mister Hayden could only nod. “You and your wife are truly beautiful people for sacrificing all you have for him. You love him so very much—that anyone could see…

“I grew up in New York… and when people there found out about my powers they wanted to hurt me. They came to my house and they wanted to kill me and my parents defended me. They gave their lives for me. Everett isn’t just lucky to have good, loving people like you in his life—he’s lucky that he still has you. But Everett’s already lost those precious to him, hasn’t he?”

“His—his parents…”

“Just like what happened to me,” Adonis whispered, his voice strong as he spoke of his parents’ deaths. Lodestone could say nothing as he stood back—he was amazed by Adonis’ sway over others. Professor Alston had been right: Adonis did have an effect on people. It was eerie to watch, knowing that this was an aspect of his Neo-Sapien abilities. There was a force within Adonis that compelled him to empathize with people—a part of him resonated with everyone he met.

It suddenly occurred to Lodestone that Adonis may have been the key to what he was looking for. Adonis’ abilities might render it impossible for Chimera or Blitzkrieg to withhold any information. Adonis was his key to learning just who was the mastermind behind the Affiliation.

“We’re from a school in New York. I know it’s far away but… Everett could get the care he needs there. He would be looked after and protected. They might even be able to help him control his powers.

Mister Hayden sobbed. “I’d miss him so much though…”

“And I know that he would miss you both… Especially since you have done so much to safeguard him.”

“You—you should talk to Ev… he’s upstairs in his room.”

Adonis nodded. “Take us to him.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Orbit
Last edited by Michuru81 on Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 71

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:34 am

Chapter LXXI: Start Me Up [Part II]
Loess’ eyes widened in surprise as her own earth-projectiles froze in the air, shakily hovering in place before Mackenzie Lawrence managed to turn them back against her.

“Maria!” Coriolis screamed, deftly moving to place himself between Loess and her own attack. As he skidded into position, he began to spin—generating enough of an air current to deflect the returned attack away from his companion and crush. “Heh!” he laughed, finishing his rotation with his most winning smile. “And that’s how we do it in the big leagues!”

“Just get away from me!” Mackenzie screamed. She spread out her arms and her eyes rolled back into her head as she focused herself—pouring all of her concentration on flying away. For a moment, nothing happened. She pushed harder and Coriolis was shocked to notice a crimson trickle appear from her left nostril. This time is worked—this time her manipulation of gravity propelled her upward and over the rooftops of Seattle.

Maria grunted and a chunk of the pavement tore apart to provide her a platform to follow the runaway on. Coriolis threw up a hand to stop her. “She—she’s bleeding… her powers are more of a strain on her body than ours.”

“All the more reason to stop her!” Loess cried. “We can’t let her hurt herself, Cori.”

“Maria…”

“Loess!”

“Loess, sorry… we—we chase her and she’ll use her powers to get away. Her control is fractured though. She’s hurting herself to use them. What if we push her too far? What if she’s hurt?”

“Professor Alston wouldn’t have sent us after her if we weren’t meant to bring her back.”

“That’s another thing: to whom did the good professor intend to bring her back to?” Loess’ eyes widened at the suggestion. “I mean… its a little funny that he would send two members of the Affiliation after her. Do you think it’s possible the Leader saw this girl’s file and he wants her powers for our cause?”

“Professor Alston-”

“He sent Gale with Drew… Mae he partnered with Donna-Anne and Cloud he was going to put with Ben! Out of the five of us still at the school—we’re the only ones partnered together. Maybe that was for a reason, Maria?”

Maria bit her bottom lip, unsure what to do. She was hardly a leader; though modest, she had accepted her teacher’s claims that her abilities made her one of the strongest students at the American institution. Still, none of that had gone to her head. Maria Espada was a tool to be used—she was a sword to be pointed; she struck where others told her. If he was looking to her to make the decision here, he would be sorely disappointed.

That and… she didn’t want to see this young woman entered into the rosters of the Affiliation. If Coriolis opted to make a play to recruit the young woman, Maria knew that she would be forced to sabotage his efforts. Still, how would she explain to him just why it was that she was fighting him on their clandestine course? She had been fortunate enough that he had not inquired as to the price paid to her for joining—she knew what he had been promised for his participation in the coming war but… but what if he examined her loyalties? What if Coriolis found the hole in Loess’ story?

Coriolis dropped down out of the skies before Mackenzie and Loess descended behind her. Their pursuit had been a short one—but one with benefits. In her attempts to elude them, Mackenzie had showed her hand; she had displayed a substantial portion of her power spectrum and now the Affiliation members were confident that she had no more surprises in store for them.

“We want to talk!” barked Loess. “You must understand: we’re Neo-Sapiens, just like you. We—we represent a school in New York! It’s a special school for people like us, Mackenzie!”

“How do you know my name!?”

“The school operates under the Department of SPB Affairs,” Coriolis explained. “They’re like the CIA for supers. They have a division that monitors police bands across the nation. The second the public knows about your powers, so do we.”

“So you’ve been watching me?”

“Not hardly. We only just found out about you—about you and your abilities—and we wanted to let you know there are people out there who are willing to help you.”

Coriolis stepped forward slowly, seeing his opening. “More so, we also represent another group that can help you… we can give you what you want.” Loess had heard the same sales pitch just months ago in Japan—when one of the four instructors accompanying the students over Christmas break offered her to ally herself with the Affiliation. Coriolis was drafting Mackenzie to the dark side and, fragile as she was at the moment, Loess feared that the girl would accept…

If she didn’t, they knew their orders. Recruitment was always a gamble—those who accepted were accepted without question but those who refused, however politely, could not be allowed to keep such knowledge. By declining, they walked away with the identity of a member of the group. Addison Truman had refused to join and had died because of it.

If Coriolis continued… either this young woman would become a member of the Affiliation or she would be committed to the earth. She would not join the ranks of the New Vindicators.

Mackenzie struggled to focus her concentration on Coriolis. Her abilities sparked and the young man fell prone to the earth below him. Loess found herself fortunate enough to be on the outer cusp of Mackenzie’s area of effect. It allowed her the chance to fight back—summoning up a chunk of the earth and propel it through the air. The clump struck the girl in the back of the head, knocking her unconscious and freeing Coriolis from the child’s grasp.

“Mister Long?” Maria asked, touching her communicator, “the girl was running scared. In order to save Coriolis, I have incapacitated her. We’d like to bring her back with us to the school as… she has trouble using her powers. Without proper training, she could hurt herself.”

There was a long pause which gave birth to an awkward silence between Coriolis and Loess before Walkabout’s voice cut back through again. “Right… I’ll be there in a bit.”

Coriolis shook his head as he looked down at Mackenzie’s unconscious shape. “Its gunna be hard to tap her for the Affiliation once she’s at the school.”

Loess shrugged. “She couldn’t control her powers; I can’t see her being much use once the battle begins...”
To Be Continued... wrote:Midas
Last edited by Michuru81 on Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 72

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:49 pm

Chapter LXXII: Start Me Up [Part III]
Hourglass continued to grumble under her breath as she as Fathom made their way through the streets of Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill neighborhood. Walkabout had not been able to deposit them any closer to the target—at least not without compromising their covert activities. Kayla King was a ten-year-old girl whose powers had just manifested. She had inherited them from her father, Sergeant First-Class Michael King, whose life had been claimed in Iraq only four months prior. Her mother had struggled to make ends meet but she was fighting a losing battle with collection agencies. They needed money and they needed it now… and from necessity came a Neo-Sapien’s abilities.

Whatever Kayla King touched turned to gold. At first, it was a blessing. A handful of rocks kept the power on while a ceramic vase had held the water company at bay. Everything was fine until Kayla had attempted to pet Ghost, the family’s cat.

For a ten-year-old, it had become increasingly difficult to cease touch anything. Sleep had become a challenge—after a brush of her fingertips rolling over in her slumber had turned the mattress to gold. Her favorite doll—a raggedy old Kermit the Frog that had belonged to her mother—had been transformed by her curse as well. She had to have her mother dress her now, least her touch transfigure her simple garments into the precious metal.

The worst had come one day at the grocery store when Kayla tripped and caught herself against the cart her mother pushed. As the store’s other patrons realized what the young girl was capable of, word spread throughout the neighborhood. Kayla transformed more than what she touched—she could enable a middle-class family to become millionaires in a matter of minutes. If anything, such realizations helped Fathom and Hourglass to understand why so many of Brooklyn’s residents were lined up, congesting the streets surrounding the home of Arleen and Kayla King. In their arms they held boxes filled with objects they hoped the young girl could be persuaded to touch—her golden abilities could make them rich and that was enough to make them look past her status as a Neo-Sapien…

“It’s the same with the Vindicators,” Fathom grumbled. “I mean… someone like Crusader? She’d probably get spit on and cussed out on the street… but the second the Order of Chaos or the Shadow came out to terrorize humanity, the same people would be right behind her, cheering her on.”

“It’s just the human condition,” Hourglass said haughtily as she meandered through the throng. “I mean, we’re all hypocrites at our core. I mean… experience has showed me that it doesn’t take much—men loyal to their wives or pious men of faith—no matter how adamantly good they try to make people think they are, I still catch them looking at me, playing scandalous scenarios through their heads. You can just look at them and tell that—if I’d let them—they’d cheat on their wives. They’d sin. They would go against their own nature. They’d do anything to be able to have it their way and get what they want. It’s the same with these bigots! Sure! They hate Neo-Sapiens three-hundred and sixty-four days out of the year but the second they want to live or they want to be rich, they’re not above letting go of that pride and hatred and look to us to deliver what they want.”

“You’re incredibly jaded, ‘Glass.”

“Look who’s talking, Little Miss Down-with-Love.”

Fathom rolled her eyes and she fought to press her way through a married couple. “No cuts!” the man boomed, holding a box containing a long, plastic chain.

“You know what will make this a lot easier?” Hourglass asked. Fathom nodded, knowing exactly what the other girl was thinking. With a thought, the pair transformed every molecule of their body into another form. For Fathom, she transformed into a liquid state, while Hourglass became a living, shifting mound of sand.

The people around them began to scream and jump out of the way—throwing themselves into others and knocking a few down. Some pushed to get away from the Neo-Sapiens. Others hurled what they could at the pair, cursing their kind as the duo snaked their way through and towards Kayla King’s residence.

Once there, the two found people thundering on the apartment building’s front doors. On the fire escape were more people fighting to get inside. The windows of other residences were boarded shut; some of the hopefuls had scaled the side of the building and attempted to break in through other apartments—all to get into the halls and find their way to Kayla’s front door. It was nothing for the pair to get in—the apartment was hardly air tight, giving them an entrance.

Inside the humble abode of the Kings, the girls rematerialized, evoking screams out of Arleen King. “It’s okay!” Fathom said, throwing up her hands and slowly advancing as she attempted to calm the woman. “Everything is going to be fine… Listen, my name is Fathom and this is Hourglass…”

“Yo.”

“…and we’re here to help you both get out of here.”

Fathom surveyed the room; her eyes fell on the destroyed bookshelf—the back had been nailed over the window leading out to the fire escape. Even that the Kings knew wouldn’t keep the people out—the wooden blockade had been transformed to gold in an attempt to strengthen it. The locks on the front door had been torn from the frame—a telltale sign that the door had been kicked in to get to Kayla. How Arleen had kept the girl safe to this point was an enigma. Furniture had been pushed against the door now, all turned to solid gold to give it some more weight.

“You both don’t look so good,” Hourglass said, looking the Kings over. Suddenly, she realized just why the pair looked so ghostly sick. It went beyond the sleeplessness and the stress from being hounded by hordes of people looking to retire early on Kayla’s powers. It went beyond blocking off all windows to prevent light from slithering into the room. “When was the last time you ate?”

“Mom’s been saving everything for me,” Kayla said. “We rationed everything out but… but she’s stopped eating so that there’s more for me.”

Fathom sighed. “You can’t live like this… Listen, we want to take you away—both of you—to a school. It’s a school for Neo-Sapiens; ‘Glass and I are students there.”

“A—a school?” Arleen asked weakly. “I’m a teacher.”

Fathom grinned to Hourglass. “We’d like to have you on staff,” Hourglass said. “Our administrators are bound to have something for you. Plus, Kayla would be around other kids like her. Most are a little older than she is but… she’d be around people with powers. You wouldn’t have to worry about being badgered like this. You wouldn’t have to worry about people giving you weird looks or saying mean things; you’d be accepted for who you are.” Those words were hard to say for Hourglass. When she had begun her education at the New Vindicators Academy, she hadn’t been accepted for who she was but rather for who her parents were. She had been forced to invent a new identity to get people to see her as an individual and even then they weren’t recognizing the real Cassandra Goodman.

Saying one thing contrary to what she believed her heart sank as she realized she was no better than the hypocrites outside or those she had mentioned to Fathom.

“But how are we going to get out?” asked Kayla.

Hourglass slithered under the door and rematerialized in the hallway, grinning to those who sat anxiously outside Apartment 137. “Hi,” she said. “Just to let you know… the Golden Girl is on the fire escape, throwing gold into the streets.”

The people camped outside were off like a rocket, stampeding over those slow to rise and making their way down the stairs and for the street. Giving those inside the all-clear, the door opened slowly and Fathom escorted the Kings outside of their apartment and up towards the roof.

On the streets below them, the rioting had begun. Fathom had pulled back the blockades from the windows and was dropping sheets of loose-leaf, college-ruled notebook paper into the streets below. Each had been transformed by Kayla’s powers and each was enough to pit neighbor against neighbor in a mad dash to collect on the misfortune of one little girl.

The space before them distorted then, via the power of the Aborigine known as Walkabout. The aged man bent and stretched the dimensions of the earth- connecting the rooftop of an apartment building in Brooklyn with the northern shore of Roosevelt Island. The Kings had arrived safely, and Fathom and Hourglass’ mission was complete.
To Be Continued... wrote:Magnitude and Propel.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 73

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:50 pm

Chapter LXXIII: Start Me Up [Part IV]
Mae’s casual interrogation had ended as she detected Donna-Anne’s somber silence. Jetstream’s homecoming was hardly the joyous spectacle Circe had assumed it would be. Instead of catapulting herself through the sheer blue skies, she skulked her way under the canopy of birch trees that jabbed up from the fresh snowfall the Clinch River basin had seen two days prior.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, slowing her own pace to match Jetstream’s. “I mean… you’ve been so… bleh. Aren’t you happy to see your parents?”

Donna-Anne shrugged. “I guess.”

Circe sighed. “This—this is about Cloud, isn’t it?”

Donna-Anne said nothing. For four years she had attended school at the New Vindicators Academy of America. Her first year was an awkward one—getting adjusted to her powers took a long time. For what felt like forever she had only been able to fly in a straight line; her powers made her a human bullet, shot forward and unable to turn or maneuver, due to the sheer momentum that carried her. It had taken a long time to adjust to those abilities; she still found herself unable to control her speed.

Her second year she had begun dating Maximilian Fitzpatrick. Their relationship had been a secret—one the senior was glad to keep as the pair became increasingly sexual. Still, Donna-Anne Manther had not been concerned with what her older brother, Max’s field commander, would think. She had been afraid of how the other students would treat her, knowing she was involved with Max. Max’s powers had disfigured him; his molars elongated and protruded from his mouth like two elephant’s tusks and his skin was wrinkled and grey—rough to the touch and highly durable. His abilities also augmented his size. In short, Max looked like a freak and Donna-Anne had been embarrassed to be with him.

Still, she couldn’t imagine anyone else wanting her.

After their breakup she had begun a flirtation with Lucas Howell; his psionic abilities alerted him to her real motives though. He had learned that Donna’s fractured self-confidence left her convinced that she needed to date from the bottom of the social ladder. Lucas’ weight made him a prime target for her; she believed he would return her attention because he didn’t have a chance with anyone else.

Donna-Anne Manther didn’t like to take risks… but she didn’t learn from life’s experiences either. She tried a similar approach with Malachi Brown before finding Cloud Goodman receptive to her odd wiles. The two had gone to homecoming together; their first date had been interrupted by an attack from a Neo-Sapien capable of conjuring illusions.

For weeks after, the pair had spent every waking moment together… up until the night that Cloud left to go to his friend, David Meinstein’s house. Along with Ryan Mueller, Quinton Jorgenson and Ben Altair, Cloud had left for a night with the guys. According to Ben, David had begun to insult him, for no reason as Ben had claimed, and Ben had left. “Cloud and Quinton thought David was a big jerk so they left with me. He begged us to stay—he even said he’d pay us to be his friends. I thought that was pretty pathetic… so we left. We were walking back to the school when I saw this girl get mugged. The others just wanted to get back to the school so… I like, took off to save her and used my powers to take out the mugger.”

Not that Donna-Anne had bought Ben’s farfetched tale of heroism, but she knew the gist of what had happened. The trio had left David’s house and gotten split up. Cloud had come across Quinton’s still form, burning on a pyre erected in the streets of Roosevelt Island. Since then, Cloud hadn’t been himself; it was like he was a completely different person. Partly she could understand—he had witnessed his best-friend’s death. It had shaken him to his very core. Donna-Anne considered Jacque Webber her closest friend—if anything had ever happened to her, she wasn’t sure how she would come through it. She couldn’t blame him but something else was eating at her…

When Chienne Bedford had been abducted by Tide the Aurelius had come to help them find where she had been spirited to. In their search the heroes Lex Sway led into battle discovered that Quinton Jorgenson was alive and untouched by the flames Cloud said consumed him. The revelation that his best-friend was alive didn’t seem to faze Cloud—it didn’t even come as a surprise to him.

Before that though, on the morning of Chienne’s abduction, something else had happened: almost four months ago, Drew Jenkins’ powers had raged out of control. Donna-Anne remembered running around the field, making sure everyone was all right after the incident. Cassandra Goodman, Cloud’s twin sister, was shaken up by something… “What’s wrong?” Donna-Anne had asked. “Cassie? Is everything all right?”

“C—Cloud,” Cassandra managed. “I—I was drifting up… I was so scared. I was so afraid that I was going to drift up and up and never come down. I thought I was going to die and… and there was Cloud. He had reached out with his left arm—he had grabbed one of Prism’s shards and… and… he just… I had Doug Hershey with me and all he had to do was just—reach out with his arm and pull us in. He could have saved us but…”

“He was probably just terrified,” Donna-Anne had said, trying to find a way to excuse what her boyfriend had done. “I mean… I just saw him with Coriolis. He was puking up everything.”

“Something scared him,” Cassandra said, “but I know my brother… no matter how much he’s changed. I know Cloud and… something scarred him, all right… but I don’t think it’s what was scaring all of us.”

Donna-Anne shuddered as she recalled that day. Drew had howled in pain as his bones melted down and reformed again and again. He said it had hurt like nothing he had ever felt—changing between Magnus and Addison, Adonis and Suicide Dave… Drew’s power was to mimic the Neo-Sapien abilities of those nearest him. At the time, only the students had been on the quad and none at the New Vindicators Academy of America had such an ability.

Still, Drew had mimicked someone’s ability to morph his body—altering his appearance to perfectly impersonate others. Was it so illogical to believe that a shapeshifter could easily slip onto the school grounds? Was someone with those abilities impersonating someone at the school?
Jetstream froze in her tracks and Circe turned to look back at her. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “C’mon… we’re close to your house. We’ve gotta be. I can smell smoke from that fireplace you were always talking about sitting around.”
  • ...
Magnus hurled the football perfectly. A seasoned gridiron warrior, Lex had frozen to admire the pulchritudinous throw that came from the young manipulator of magnetism. Still, it had counted for nothing as it grazed off Cloud’s fingertips and sailed into Gale’s arms. “Two hands!” Magnus had cried to cloud. “Two-!”
  • ...
With his left hand, Cloud had grabbed onto the shards Prism had flung into the side of the tree… and with his right arm he declined to pull Cassandra to safety. Everyone had noted that he had been a completely different person since the night Quinton had died… but to fail to save his sister in such a time of need? Then again, after Quinton’s death, some had joked that he barely seemed to realize he had been dating Donna-Anne for the last few weeks.
  • ...
“I thought it was weird,” Lex had said. After his quasi-break up with Jacquelyn, Donna-Anne had gone to him to talk about what had happened. If she understood the circumstances, she hoped to be able to do something to repair the damage that had been done. Their talk had drifted from Jacque to Cloud though. “He seemed just as sad as Doctor Styles and Miss Jordan to see Mister Bradshaw leave the school. I mean… I thought Cloud hated those training sessions in the Wreck Room. He was coming up with the worst excuses imaginable as to why he couldn’t join us. I’m worried about him, Jet. I haven’t actually seen him use his powers in months… I think something might be wrong with him.”

According to the official report of what had happened five years ago, Breanne Jordan, then a sixteen-year-old girl and a Vindicator known as Rift, had been using her powers to navigate the labyrinth the Vindicators VII had been plunged into. She was desperate to find her companions and the first she found were Richard and Silvia Jorgenson—Chimera and Xianbei.

Silvia had been killed—her body had been shredded by Richard’s own throwing knives. The Vindicators had been going up against Atlas, a young man close in age to Rift and capable of controlling gravity and magnetism with equal power. With his strength, he had moved the moon. He had held the earth in rotation. Commanding Chimera’s knives to tear Xianbei’s body apart was no small feat.

One of Xianbei’s spears had been used to cut off Richard’s arm—the shapeshifter had lost his right arm at the elbow.

Drew had mimicked a Neo-Sapien’s morphing abilities… and the Vindicators only had one Neo-Sapien on file with such talents… It was obvious that Richard Jorgenson was posing as a student to remain undetected on campus… but Donna-Anne Manther had just realized which one he was posing as.

She only prayed that the real Cloud Goodman was still alive… and unharmed…
To Be Continued... wrote:Stockholm.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 74

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:53 pm

Chapter LXXIV: Start Me Up [Part V]
Alexander Sway’s strong hands slapped against the hood of the car and used it to propel him up and through the air. He had to get away—Lex had a slight vulnerability against mental attacks. If Aurora Leigh got her hands on him, then there was no hope. There would be no hope for any of them—the only thought more prevailing than escape and survival was desperation. His partner for such an exercise—his partner and ex-girlfriend of nearly three years—Jacquelyn Webber, had been touched by their target.

Aurora Leigh’s power was one she had no control over. If she touched another person, she rewrote their memories, transforming their mind to duplicate her own thought process. Worse, Aurora had convinced herself that reality was a dream; she suffered from Solipsism syndrome and was currently under the impression that there were no repercussions for anything she performed now. Worse still, Aurora was a well of bitterness and self-loathing.

The Department of SPB Affairs had dubbed Aurora ‘Stockholm’, after another disorder of the mind. Stockholm syndrome was a response system wherein a hostage became adamantly loyal to their abductor. In a sense, that was what Aurora did to those she touched. It was an applicable name, but so was the codename Alexander Sway had been given.

For three-and-a-half-years, Alexander had been known as Amalgam. His Neo-Sapien ability had been to mimic the molecular structure of anything he touched. Though he had developed a level of control, Lex’s abilities were reflexive. If he tripped and caught himself on a chair, he could have subconsciously adapted to the materials the chair had been constructed from. For years he had been terrified of what might happen should he ever be burnt or unexpectedly slip into a puddle of water. He had slipped on ice and adapted its density—it was not the elements Lex feared but insubstantial matter. If he became flame what would keep him from spreading; what protected him from dispersing as water? More than anything, Lex feared taking on a form he could not revert back from.

Two months ago, he had done just that. He had intercepted a stray blast of gravitational energy, interposing himself between the stray attack and his teammate Alexa Hawk. His body had permanently adapted and no longer could Lex adapt to whatever he touched. Instead, he had but one single form he could take… Lex became a mass of living gravity. When he initially transformed, the power surged through out him, drawing those around him towards him. He feared what would have happened if they had gotten too close—was he truly a living black hole? Was there an infinite void contained within him now? Since then, he had been able to transform without showing signs of fully becoming a black hole. His own center of gravity increased, magnifying his density considerably and turning his skin a shade of black unlike any his companions had ever seen. His own gravitational field was so massive that light couldn’t escape him.

He had become an Anomaly.

Aurora scampered around the car and ducked down beside him; she was out of breath and her face reflected the fear that had set in. It was safe to say that she no longer considered herself trapped in a dream world—Aurora Leigh was now convinced that this was a nightmare.

The cab of the car crushed against the sheer force amplified around it. “Run!” Anomaly screamed. He moved to push Aurora before reminding himself not to touch her. “We have to move!”

Aurora chanced a look over her shoulder, baring witness to their attacker. Jacque Webber’s mindset was gone now—only Aurora Leigh remained in her place and there was no being on this earth Aurora hated more than herself. What the New Vindicators had found upon arriving had explained so much. Aurora’s powers had triggered because of her mother’s abuse but had been the trigger TO her abuse. Aurora’s abilities had triggered and she had rewritten her mother’s mind—replacing it with her own. Her own self-contempt following her father’s death led her to mentally abuse her natural self, leading to the real Aurora’s development of the disorder.

When the pair had arrived in the bayou, they had found two dozen normal humans hunting Aurora—each looking to claim her head. She had replaced their minds with her own and her own mindset was one of self-contempt. They each sought to destroy the real Aurora Leigh. Until their arrival, Aurora had not used her powers on another Neo-Sapien. It was one thing to have the cashier at Burger King hunting you down and quite another to have Tripper seeking to end your life.

“This doesn’t make sense!” Anomaly screamed back, doing his best to stay out of reach of his ex-girlfriend’s powers. “If that’s really you in there, how do you know how to use Jacque’s powers?”

“Uhdunno,” the Cajun offered. “Neva’ada Nu-Sapiun befoe.”

“I actually think you’re using them better than she is!” Anomaly exclaimed, ducking around a corner and scanning for a path that would get them away from her. “When this is all over though… don’t let her know I said that. If there’s anything Jacque doesn’t need, it’s more insecurity. Um, how—how long does this usually last, anyway?”

It had to wear off at some point; the citizens Aurora had possessed had already come around—dazed and confused by all that was transpiring around them. Aurora shrugged. “D’pends ‘ow long uhtouched de girl.”

“Wonderful.” Gravitational pressure slammed against the pair, throwing them painfully to the pavement beneath them. Anomaly was familiar with the phenomena; Jacque seldom got angry and she was the sort to allow people to walk all over her without saying a word—she only used her abilities when she was in combative situations or being flirtatious. “Hi, honey…” he said, grunting under the pressure. “I love you too.”

“Uhdunevanoyou.”

Jacque’s mousey voice and soft features weren’t built for the subtle intricacies of Louisiana speech. Anomaly didn’t like this twist in her; he craved her reading him sonnets—they had spent a night doing that, sitting on the front lawn of the school, sharing a blanket, taking turns reading poems of love and watching as the rising sun revealed a dew-drenched world to them both. Jacquelyn always said sunrises were more romantic than sunsets. Any couple could watch the sunset together—too many often did—but too few watched the sunrise together though. It was a thought that Jacque used to justify the sunrise as belonging to the two of them.

“I want my girlfriend back,” he managed through the force of the Trip Field.

“It… should… wear off… soon…” Aurora was having a considerably harder time under the effects of Jacquelyn’s powers than he was. Perhaps it was because he was stronger… or perhaps…

“That’s not what I meant,” he snarled. “I want to smell her hair again. I want to hold her hand. I want to make her smile…” Lex transformed into Anomaly and immediately he felt the effects of the Trip Field leave him. He advanced towards the frightened girl slowly. “You’re not you right now, Jacque… but you will be. I’m not going to stop fighting until you are…” Aurora screamed from the ground behind him; Anomaly could feel the Trip Field pushing harder down on them. He struggled for only a second before adjusting to the sudden increase in gravity Jacquelyn’s extra effort had brought. “Do you know why?” he asked, trying to put the sound of Aurora’s pain from his ears. “Because you’re worth fighting for.”

Aurora screamed out once more and Anomaly dropped to a knee, bracing against the ground as the pressure was poured on. “And because… I believe in you. I believe in us. I can’t except that you and I aren’t going to grow old looking into each other’s eyes, Jacque… I can’t and I won’t. I believe in you… I know you can hear me and I know you still love me… so fight her! Fight her with everything you’ve got and more…”

The Trip Field pushed harder and Anomaly slammed against the concrete, just inches from her boots. His density added to the force he was thrown down with began to crush the pavement around him, embedding him deeper and deeper into the ground. Aurora howled meekly in pain, fighting to free her arms from the invisible grappler to claw her eyes out or snatch her throat open. Her voice was weakening as she slowly began to suffocate.

“Come back to me.”

As Anomaly turned back into Alexander Sway and his eyes slowly closed, Aurora ceased to scream. She ceased to move—to fight against the power of the Trip Field. As they both lost consciousness, Tripper fell beside them, dropping to her knees and struggled to pull Lex’s head into her lap. “Lex?” she asked, a timid, mousey voice laced just slightly with fear. “Lex!?”

Her eyes fell on Aurora then. Jacque struggled to remember just what had happened and she came up lacking anything resembling an answer. They had been sent to save one frightened, tragic girl and take her to the New Vindicators Academy where she could get help and training… They had come to save her and now… she was unconscious and barely breathing.

Jacque knew what would happen if they touched. She suddenly had a flash, registering that Aurora had touched her—she had grabbed Tripper’s face in her hands and then… blackness.

They called themselves heroes. That was reason enough to move to Aurora’s side and put her hands on Aurora’s chest. Her gloves and Aurora’s shirt protected her there… but she knew what was at risk as she put her mouth to the unconscious girl’s and began to breathe life into her.
“Come back to me.”

Tripper blinked as she found herself still herself. She continued with the CPR, acting almost like an automaton. She moved as she had been programmed to—reviving the girl while her mind dwelled on that voice. Had that been how she had snapped out of Aurora’s control? Had that been what had protected her? Aurora had lost consciousness—had it been that which had saved her… or…

Something else tickled at the back of her mind as she radioed to Jacob Lang to distort space in their retrieval. “I believe in us too,” she whispered as the aged aborigine stepped down mere yards from them, Mister Goodman with him to carry back Anomaly. “Just come back to me, mister…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Wilt.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Manintights » Sun Feb 11, 2007 11:50 pm

DUDE!!!

I can't even begin to describe how much this rocks. I kinda allready made the cloud/chimera connection, but I still loved reading it. The affiliation is coming along nicely as well, can't wait to read more.

Greetz,

MIT
"As my father taught, 'Training will raise your shield to the blow, but courage fills the gaps the shield leaves open.'"

Play by post games:

New Vindicators: [Gae Bolg]

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Post by Michuru81 » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:06 pm

Manintights wrote:I kinda allready made the cloud/chimera connection, but I still loved reading it.
Thanks a ton! Actually, I'd love to hear other theories you (or anyone else) has come up with. When this campaign was originally played, there were three characters hinted at being the Affiliation's leader. Two, of course, were red herrings. One was always very plausible. Leading up to Issue #11, I considered using them instead of my original intent (as it could have went both ways) and it was something I explored as well in writing the narrative. I suppose you could consider it an alternate ending.

Still, I'd be interested in hearing back who people think the Leader, ZERO, Portal, Samael, ect. really are... what really happened five years ago, why didn't Loess want Mackenzie recruited, what's the secret behind Bltizkrieg's family, who's name Blitzkireg stopped Lazarus and Singe from blabbing or anything else.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 75

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:07 pm

Chapter LXXV: Start Me Up [Part VI]
Ever since Missus Leo Tedesco had lost her husband she had had begun to fill the void left in her life with ceramic dogs. She would have gone the route most stereotypical widows went and collected cats but her allergies would not have enjoyed that very much. She found dogs to be cute but at the same time she found them to be loud. Ceramic dogs seemed the best way to go for her… except that in her loneliness she had created personalities for each of them. “I heard, I heard!” she boomed to Sniffles, the boxer who sat beside the credenza in the hall. “Stop your barking!”

Looking out the peep hole, she watched as her two visitors gave each other a worried look. At the sound of her sliding back the locks to allow her to open the door, the pair clad in black spandex flashed her warm, inviting smiles that didn’t hint at all that either believed her to be mentally unstable. “Hello, ma’am!” the boy of the pair said cheerily. “My name is Drew and this is my associate, Gale and we-”

“The Bible condemns inter-racial marriages!” the aged woman growled. Gale’s eyes flashed furiously—she was proud of her African-American heritage, almost to a point where she believed it put her above her peers. She embraced her culture; she knew her culture. The rest of them were mutts—an eighth Welsh, half Danish, a fourth Navajo—white people seldom knew who they were or where they came from; worse, they seemed not to care that they didn’t.

Despite the woman’s cruel claimant, Copycat continued without missing a beat. “-represent a special school. We’re looking for your next-door neighbor, Owen Reagon?” Missus Tedesco promptly closed the door. “Might you know where we can find him?”

Forecast sighed dejectedly as she shook her head at her companion’s persistence. “Why don’t you just face facts? The entire community knows he’s a Neo-Sapien and his BIGOT of a neighbor wouldn’t have anything to do with him beyond spitting on his grave.”

Copycat blinked in surprise at her reaction. “You’re a half-empty kinda girl, aren’t you?” She said nothing else; Forecast merely turned from the house and made her way back towards the street where Fog awaited them—his left arm was holding his right, pinching it to deaden the pain.

Across the street, Deimos and Rumble made their way from house to house, coming up with just as much information as the others were. “This is pointless!” Forecast thundered. “Owen Reagan’s house is in shambles! His furniture is destroyed and there are holes in the wall… it’s preposterous to believe that NOBODY saw or heard nothing!”

“Considering Adonis’ story,” said Fog coldly, “I find it very palpable. I’m not sure that the Reagan’s sweetly neighbors didn’t have something to do with the sorry state their abode is in. Think about it: a community rallied together and murdered Adonis Skraag’s parents merely because they found out he was a Neo-Sapien. What intelligence we have suggests that Owen Reagan’s powers killed upon manifestation.”

“That’s a problem for me,” Forecast grumbled. “Our powers manifest out of necessity, right? Well, the file says this kid’s girlfriend got killed. Just what did he need to kill her for?”

“Maybe that’s not the trigger?” Copycat offered. “I mean, maybe we’re wrong and maybe it doesn’t take anything to bring out our powers.”

“Evidence would suggest otherwise,” Fog said. “There isn’t a Neo-Sapien alive today who’ll say his powers didn’t manifest right when he didn’t need them. Adonis’ powers manifested when he needed to be with Chienne Bedford. Anomaly’s powers manifested to protect himself from his drunk father—back when he was Amalgam, at least. Tripper’s powers manifested to save him—again, back when he was Anomaly. Neo-Sapiens who fly will manifest their powers in a freefall and those with super-thick skin manifest in reaction to a gun fired or a punch swung…”

“How did your powers manifest, Fog?”

Fog froze at Copycat’s question; his jaw worked to produce an answer. “Did you manifest before your sister or… yeah, she probably developed first. In more ways than one, am I right?” Drew’s grin only continued to grow wider and wider. “I’m right aren’t I? You can tell me if I’m right.”

“You’re an idiot,” Fog grumbled. He waved to Deimos and Rumble, signaling to them to join the others. “Right now we need to figure out what happened. If they had killed Owen, they’d likely be proud of the fact. They would cite his death as a warning to others—as if we have any choice about our genetic makeup. No, they’re all locking themselves up, afraid to open the door… They know he’s still out there.”

“And they know he’s close,” Deimos said, flashing the rest a fiendish grin. “Everyone we’ve seen has been tense… I think they acted against him. They pushed him too far and he suddenly pushed back.”

“Way Ah see it, we got us more’n a few problems.” Rumble mulled over everything they knew. She computing it all quickly as she looked towards what needed to be done. “We don’t know what Owen’s powers are—only that they’ve killed and whatever he can do has everyone shakin’. It can’t be anythin’ big though—the neighborhood feels safe behind walls and locked doors. Ah don’t think Owen’s anywhere near as strong as Ah am and Ah don’t reckon for a minute that he manipulates energy. It’s plausible his power is an aura, like Shannon Sharp back at the school.”

“Who?” asked Deimos. Shannon was a junior and Deimos hadn’t bothered to debase himself by communicating with the underclassmen. He had barely bothered with most of the seniors at the New Vindicators Academy.

“Bramble?” Copycat offered. “He’s my roommate. His body is covered in thorns. Normally they’re just sticker burrs but if he pushes it they become pretty big.”

“That still doesn’t explain why he would need to use that power on his girlfriend.”

“Maybe he didn’t intend to use it on her,” Rumble offered. “Accidents happen. He might have needed to protect her and… who knows? That’s not our problem. Our real problem is that given the way these people are actin’, he’s near. When Deimos and Ah tried to ease one woman, tellin’ her we could protect her… she said nothin’ could protect them from him. Ah think these people pulled a Forrest Bedford, but this boy’s got more guts’n Adonis did.”

“His powers are probably useful too,” Deimos said with a shrug. “I mean… it would help.”

“So what’s the plan?” Drew asked, looking to Rumble and Fog. It was startling to Drew how intently focused Atlanta could become when it really mattered; going into this he had written both her and Deimos off as muscle and looked to Fog as their leader. Now it seemed there was another in the running for Drew’s respect.

“He’s near right?” Fog asked. “Unless his powers render him otherwise, he has to eat and he has to sleep. Let’s lay low at his place and wait for him to show up.”

“And what do we do about Mistuh Reagan’s powers?” Rumble asked.

“We worry about that when the time comes,” Fog offered without looking back. He merely led their strange procession towards the disheveled remnants of the Reagan residence and set up a shift for them to take guard. Copycat and Rumble were told to try and get sleep while the others kept watch. The shift would change every three hours and two hours into the first watch, Drew was finally out… but Rumble professed being unable to sleep. As the others argued that she needed sleep, Fog was quick to take her side. “Her body is different than ours,” he said. “She’s in her zone… hormones are firing to keep her awake. She’ll be more focused than any of us. She’ll make a good guard tonight.”

Almost on clockwork, as the sun took its leave beyond the horizon, Rumble shifted. Her enhanced senses quickly caught the sound of someone skulking about on the floor beneath them. “He’s here,” she whispered, picking up on the sound of cereal being poured into a bowl.

“Remember we don’t know what his powers are,” Fog said as Deimos rose up, sheathing himself in black hellfire. “Everyone be careful.” Deimos had paid no mind to Fog’s warning; wings tore from his shoulder blades, glistening with the dark energy he commanded. In his hand blazed a long staff, the end curving into a razor-sharp scythe. The floor boards creaked under his weight, giving Owen just a fraction of a moment’s notice before Deimos leapt over the railing and descended into the foyer of the once modest home.

Owen let out a scream as Deimos rushed towards him. He had little experience with other Neo-Sapiens; seeing a man covered in blazing black flames, rushing towards him with a scythe raised was like something from the darkest abysses of the mind. Deimos was the personification of fear—it was an identity he reveled in and one he represented well this night.

Rumble said nothing as she realized the fool was caught in his own blood frenzy. It had been a mistake to assign Deimos to such a mission: the man’s mindset was to kill—the notion of helping someone was an alien concept to Deimos. Her leg muscles tightened as she flew forward in an incredible burst of speed; Rumble smashed through the banister and slammed down into Deimos.

Owen wasn’t sure what had happened, all he knew was he had a guardian angel. Still, he didn’t waste time in waiting for their brawl to dissipate. Owen Reagan hurried through the broken kitchen door, into his backyard and running for the cold embrace the shadows offered.

“He’s getting away!” Fog screamed, trying to spy the youth through an upstairs window.

“We can track him.” Forecast’s eyes rolled back in her head as she summoned the totality of her powers. Gale Weathers was possessed of an ability that allowed her to alter and manipulate the environment. In short, she controlled the very forces of nature: she dominated the weather and bent it to her whims. In synch with nature, she called upon a rain storm. Clouds gathered quickly and thunder rumbled in the distance. In seconds, the ground was pelted by the rain and her part was played. “We’ll track him through the mud,” she offered to Fog.

“I’ll follow,” Copycat said. He closed his eyes and reached out for Fog’s powers. Cloud Goodman had been born with the Neo-Sapien talent for turning his entire body into a mass of vapors. In that form, Copycat knew he could follow easily, all the while spared from whatever dangers Owen’s own abilities posed.

Too late, he recognized that familiar signature. Morphing and mind swapping, manipulation over magnetism and command over gravity and… and something else… something so small and so insignificant… and yet so familiar. Drew blinked in surprise: it was the power that had spared him from Atlas’ powers so many months ago at Patriot Robotics. There was something about it… something he had sensed in Lodestone and Quint before…

And suddenly, Drew understood what those powers were that had ravaged his body back last November. He had distorted the earth’s gravitational field, juggling the New Vindicators in the air one weekend afternoon in the autumn. That ability that protected him from Atlas’ powers he had copied from Atlas… and the powers that raged out of control were Atlas’ as well.

But Atlas wasn’t here now… and Drew realized that he hadn’t been at Patriot Robotics either.

Fog cursed in Mandarin as his back struck against the ceiling of the Reagans’ home. “Chimera!” Forecast screamed to him. “Turn it off!”

“It’s not me!” Fog screamed. “It’s the same as last time: Drew synched up with my powers! They’re too much for him to contain.”

“Then contain it!”

Fog morphed then, his body growing and becoming heavier as he took the shape of Chimera—the man who had once been known as Richard Jorgenson. Of course, Richard Jorgenson had died five years ago… At least, on a mental level he had. His wife had been codenamed Xianbei, for the nomadic tribe of Chinese she had descended from. As a teleporter, it was impossible to hold her down to one place for too long; her ability to switch bodies with any she could lay eyes on only helped to further prevent her being rooted to any one place for too long. Five years ago, as her body lay dying, she switched bodies with her husband. Richard had died in Silvia’s body and Silvia had lived on in his.

Since then, she had spent years playing at being someone she was not. Her husband’s powers made that all the easier to accomplish. Richard could be anyone so long as it was anyone he had ever touched. As a former costumed villain, Richard had employed it as the greatest tool an assassin could have dreamed of possessing. Silvia had used it in a like manner. There was few Addison Truman trusted more than Lawanda Murphy. It had allowed her to get close to the girl… close enough to kill. Not long after she had posed as Deimos, murdering Lucas Howell in video to incriminate the youth further. It hadn’t worked though; despite her best efforts to confuse the other teachers at the New Vindicators Academy, she had become a suspect. Even after Chimera’s own son had appeared to become one of the targets, Richard was still suspected.

Unfortunately, Chimera and Quint’s attempts to fake the junior’s death had been witnessed by another: Quint’s best friend, Cloud Goodman. At first, Quinton had refused to help any further; he watched helplessly as his parent savagely beat his best friend into a stupor. He had refused to help when Chimera commanded him to reconfigure the Morph Buckle stolen from Addison’s body. Chimera had taken it to create confusion but now the former hero was glad for the pilfered device. It had taken some prodding to convince Quinton to alter the machine to give off his own appearance. Soon Cloud’s still form resembled Quinton’s; his body was set adrift on the East River, lit aflame.

For months, Silvia had used Richard’s powers to pose as Cloud Goodman and for months few had suspected the truth. Chimera had become dangerously close to being exposed every time Drew used his powers—each time she feared he would notice that Fog’s abilities weren’t present around him, despite Fog’s apparent presence. Her fears amalgamated into reality the day Drew touched Chimera’s other gifts… and shattered the gravitational pull around the school.

Fear had condensed into another hellish manifestation once more though.
Forecast hurled everything her power had at Drew. She generated a gale force wind and hammered it into his body. Still, as the very forces of nature tore at him, the power he commanded was akin to those she channeled. A magnetic deterrent deflected Forecast’s worst.

Chimera focused everything at Copycat. Magnetism countered gravity and gravity countered magnetism. The raw forces that moved the earth collided with each other and the unimaginable happened. Forecast’s scream was cut short as she lost consciousness. The impact of the blast had thrown her through the drywall and her body splintered floorboards as she erupted into the attic.

Chimera was drug along the ceiling and flung through the wall. As the man spiraled through the air, his form collided with an elm Leo Tedesco had planted when he returned home from Poland in 1945, telling tales of how the Fuhrer of the Fourth Reich had raped his mind. That his consciousness had been saved by the Vindicators had done nothing to change his, or his wife’s, perception of the Neo-Sapien populace.

The late-winter weather had left the tree’s branches bare and brittle; there was little to stop Chimera’s plummet towards the earth below. Chimera landed on the bad arm—the one that had been severed five years ago in the Himalayas.

Copycat had been embedded into the floorboards and then some. The force of the resulting explosion hurled him through the floor and his subsequent crash destroyed the glass coffee table in the Reagan’s living room. What remained of their home came crashing down around him… him and his human shield. At the last second Rumble had raced inside, throwing herself over his unconscious form.

Deimos had been propelled forward. He had wrestled his way away from Rumble and made it outside, ready to follow Owen Reagan with all he was and more. Flung face first, his body slid through the mud, pushed by the momentum of the blast. He finally came to a stop… inches from a patrol car driven by a police officer stunned by all he had just seen.

Deimos staggered to his feet and the patrolman had come to his senses. He moved with a grace that did not do his training justice, but his quickness at the draw counted for all that and more on most nights. “Don’t move!” he screamed to the glowing black form before him.

As Deimos closed his hands around the spark of energy that would become his energy scythe, he was surprised to see hands slip around the officer—one over his shoulder and other over his eyes. With one quick move his neck was snapped and his body collapsed in a heap at the robbed figure’s feet. “What the f-”

“Naughty, naughty, Jeremy,” came a familiar woman’s voice from underneath. It summoned vague memories of being read Richard Scarry books by that voice and pages turned by those hands. “Such colorful language you’ve developed.”

Deimos trembled on the spot. “It can’t be…”

Leathery, bat-like wings erupted from under those burlap coverings—tearing through the fabric and flapping madly to heft the figure into the night. “No,” Deimos whispered. “No, it can’t be… you- you’re dead…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Valentine's Day
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Manintights » Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:09 am

There's one more theorie I kinda think is very plausible. In one of the early issues it was hinted that forest bedford also had a son who died. We know that blitzkrieg had a younger sibling (chienne maybe?) and his father was a bigot.

Well I don't think there are any bigger bigots in your game then forest bedford. So I think blitzkrieg is Bedford's son

Greetz,

MIT
"As my father taught, 'Training will raise your shield to the blow, but courage fills the gaps the shield leaves open.'"

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New Vindicators: [Gae Bolg]

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New Vindicators, Chapter 76

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:57 pm

Chapter LXXVI: One Week [Part I]
More than a week after their recruitments, life had returned to normal at the New Vindicators Academy. Or at least, what often passed for normal. For most, something was hanging over them. They had come to disturbing revelations about the people around them. Magnus Loder was looking at Adonis Skraag in a new way; Adonis’ power to know what people wanted to hear and what they needed to hear made him the prime weapon in his war against the Affiliation. If he could corner Blitzkrieg again Adonis was his best chance to garnish who their leader was.

Marcos Verón had begun to question just how loyal Maria was to the Affiliation. He had noticed the hesitation present. He had seen through to the true motive behind her rash actions. Like him, she had betrayed the New Vindicators Academy by joining on for the Affiliation’s plot… but had she betrayed the Affiliation by turning everything she was told over to the New Vindicators Academy?

Donna-Anne Manther had registered that her boyfriend was not truly her boyfriend. There wasn’t a doubt in her mind that Richard Jorgenson had done something with Cloud Goodman and that the shapeshifter was posing at the seventeen-year-old now. Still, the consensus was that Addison had died because she had trusted the wrong information to the wrong person. If anyone, the girl hoped she could trust Cloud’s own parents but Addison had trusted Lawanda and Deimos had trusted Lurker. Never in all her life did she think Maximilian Fitzpatrick would turn traitor. Besides, if Chimera had been able to successfully pose as Cloud for this long who else could he have been posing as? Who else could he still be?

Atlanta White’s enhanced hearing had been what made her abandon her chase of Owen Reagan. There was no doubt in the girl’s pretty blonde head what she had heard Forecast and Fog say. “Chimera!” Forecast had screamed. “Turn it off!”

“It’s not me!” she had registered Fog’s voice cry. “It’s the same as last time… Drew synched up with my powers! They’re too much for him to contain.”

“Then contain it!”

Fog, or Cloud Goodman, was really Chimera, or Richard Jorgenson. Worst still, Gale Weathers, Atlanta’s roommate, had known. Atlanta’s own intuitive abilities told her that the pair was involved in the Affiliation. It was the only explanation for such behavior. She did nothing to give away that she had concluded such facts; she continued to act as she normally did around Forecast, knowing that one wrong move would have her treated the same as they had Addison Truman.

Still, some good had come from the senior class’s attempt to recruit new students to their school. Aside from Owen Reagan, all of the potential students were attending classes at the school. Arleen King, the mother of ten-year-old Kayla, had accepted the position of history teacher.

Of course, for Lex Sway, something even better came out of his trip to Louisiana…

Alexander Sway thanked Jacob Wright, a sophomore with an uncontrolled mastery over kinetic energy, for pointing him in her direction. Through the front doors he could see her, enjoying the chilly weather with Saffron Harris. Saffron was unaware that either of them were Neo-Sapiens, nor that their school was one for such young people. As such, Jacque fought to keep her away most times, which usually meant arranging to meet somewhere more public or just meeting at Saffron’s house.

“And you get one-hundred and thirty-seven,” explained Jacque. “Get it now?”

Saffron stared at the dark-haired young woman with a confused look. “Can we just go inside? It’s cold out here.”

“Gee, Saffron… maybe you should just go home. I’m sure it’s plenty warm there.” Lex bit his tongue to keep from suggesting she return to the sixth circle of the fiery abyss wherein he was sure she had been spawned. He needed to be back on Jacque’s good side.

Jacque sighed at the sound of her former boyfriend’s voice. It was strange that something could make her heart soar and drag her down all at the same time. Two of the younger girls, Jessica Martin and Julia Bleau brushed past him as they stepped through the Lighthouse entrance, giggling all the way. Everyone knew about the pair’s breakup and everyone was eagerly anticipating them getting over themselves and getting back together. It wasn’t only because the pair happened to be the school’s prefects that so many of the younger students looked to them as a surrogate mother and father. It wasn’t even due to their overpowering sense of responsibility. It was largely in part due to the way they received everyone and the way they looked past everything to accept each and everyone at the school for who they really were. There were few who didn’t see either of the couple as a good friend and in an environment without parents so many of the students had adopted the two to fill that which was missing.

“Why don’t… you go home?” she offered in place of a comeback.

For a moment, he considered the obvious, “I am” but settled instead for locking eyes with Jacque and softly saying, “I’m working on it.”

“Oh, please… bored with Alexa already?”

“There’s nothing going on between me and Alexa!”

“Cheater,” Saffron barked.

“Annoyance,” he grumbled.

Jacque rose up from the bench and fixed Saffron an apologetic look. “Give me just a minute with him,” she said, excusing herself for a fraction of a moment. When she was sure they were out of the girl’s earshot she spat the argument she had been bottling up for so long. “Lex… she—she seldom sleeps in our room anymore. She usually slips back in—literally!—she literally slides under the door and reforms under her sheets! She’s always going on about how amazing it is you two get any sleep!”

“Did you ever think that maybe she just… sleeps on the couch?”

“Come on! You have your own room now thanks to—to what happened. We all know what the two of you are doing! Besides… why would she lie about something like that?”

“Gee, maybe because Alexa is a jaded little girl who isn’t just happy not believing in love but feels the need to destroy it too!?”

“Lex-”

“God… since—since I was fourteen there’s been only you in my heart, Jacque. I go to sleep thinking about you and I wake up thinking about you. I’ve never even kissed another girl—well… well, there was Cassandra back in our junior year when she and Alexa went to that party and she had A beer and came back drunk… Look, my point is…” The man sighed. On some level, even he didn’t know what his point was. “My point is… I’ve never even thought about being with any girl other than you, Jacque. It’s hurting me—it physically hurts me that we’re not together. I don’t want anything to come between us. Not Alexa. Not Saffron.” He shot the young woman an angry glare. Saffron took it as her cue to interrupt them and save her friend from what she interpreted as an annoyance. “Not Jack.”

“What?”

“Jack Olsen. He—he said he was going to swoop in.”

“News to me.”

“What’s it going to take,” he asked, motioning with his hands from him to her and back again, “to fix this?”

“You’re sure you and Alexa never…?”

A devious grin appeared over his face. “Well, gee, honey, I think I’d remember something like that.”

And the eye rolling commenced from both members of the female persuasion. “Jacque… come out with me. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and… and this—this entire thing is my fault.” His face showed how truly guilty he felt. “I’m not going to throw all the blame at Alexa’s feet… I get what happened. I get how you could think that—that something had happened. I wasn’t doing my job here. I wasn’t making you feel that—that I loved you more than anything else in this world. Maybe if I had done right, then maybe we could have survived this. I get what I did wrong… so please, just… just let me spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you.” Lex crossed the short span between them and knelt in the snow before her. “Let me spend forever and ever making you feel how I feel and more. Let me start tomorrow.”

The man chanced a look up and caught that twinkle in her eyes he had been terrified he had lost. In that sanguine expression he lost himself. Hope had been renewed and his heart skipped a beat as she managed to hold back a well of tears, smile sweetly and nod her head ever so slightly. “So… can I pick you up at six?” he asked.

Jacquelyn dropped down beside him, draping her arms around his neck and brushing her face against his shoulder, letting his cologne waft into her nostrils. She loved the smell of him; she had missed the smell of him. “Just be sure to wear something slutty,” she teased.
To Be Continued... wrote:Love is in the air.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 77

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:25 pm

Chapter LXXVII: One Week [Part II]
Alexa leaned against the wall of the bathroom the girls shared and sighed at the sight of the pair. It seemed that as soon as three-thirty had struck, Jacque and Maria had checked out mentally. Both girls’ heads were filled with the anticipation of what their respective beaus intended for them. Despite the wave of celebrations splashing over into school, Valentine’s Day had officially begun. No longer bound by Eleanor Roosevelt High School’s stringent enforcement of the school’s policy on PDA, the two lost themselves to the spectacle of the holiday. “It’s all a giant marketing scam,” Alexa grumbled, throwing up her arms in vexation. “Really, you’re just helping to support card and candy companies!”

“Said the bitter, unwanted, emotionally-dejected bisexual,” Jacque said coldly as she leaned over the sink to better apply her makeup in the mirror. It was far from her usual meekness; she was normally content to let anyone walk all over her. Since beginning to see that it as Alexa’s efforts more than anything that had torn her and her boyfriend apart for close to two months, she had a warehouse of stockpiled venom to inject into the girl.

“Bi-curious,” hissed Alexa.

Maria spared a smile for the jaded blonde and motioned for her to help her with her necklace. “You need to learn to not be so opinionated,” the Spanish girl offered sincerely. “It is one thing to be passionate about your beliefs and quite another to cram them down everyone’s throat. Can’t you please just be a little happy for us?”

Alexa’s fingertips glided down Maria’s spine, sending the girl spinning around to fix her classmate with a furious glare. “Párelo!” Maria snapped. She had been willing to be Alexa’s friend—willing to play mediator in this war between Alexa and Jacque. Suddenly, she found herself frustrated with the young woman and her constant innuendo and advances. Grabbing the jacket her older brother J.R. had bought her for Christmas, she stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

Alone with Jacque, Alexa grinned fiendishly as she leaned back and took let her eyes drift up and down the girl’s body. Still, from where Jacquelyn was perched, perfecting the mask of her makeup in the mirror, Alexandra Hawk was clearly visible. “So,” she asked as Jacquelyn twisted the bottom of her lipstick, “aren’t you going to threaten me? Tell me to stay away from your boyfriend and all that?”

Jacquelyn smiled as she applied the crimson passion shade to her lips. “Nope.”

“Then I guess I can keep on sneaking into his bed at night.”

Jacque shrugged. “If you want to believe that, you’re more pathetic than I’ve given you credit for.” She turned, the stool swiveling her around to fix Alexa with a calm, collected look. “You want the truth here, Alexa? He doesn’t want you; he wants me! And all your talk about how attracted you are to maturity just gets the point across more and more: you’re not looking for a lover here—you’re looking for surrogate parents.”

With a thought Fathom shifted into her aquatic form. Her arms morphed into tendrils of water and elongated to slash through the air dead set for Jacquelyn.

The dark-haired girl dodged her easily enough and Fathom’s arms shattered the mirror. Soon Fathom was a puddle on the floor, taunting Tripper with a thick, muffled voice: “What’s the matter? Your pathetic powers can’t work on someone already on the floor?”

“My powers take people down… you’re already at the bottom!”

“Ooo, clever too. Gee, with witty repartee like that I can see why Lex would pick you over me. I mean, it certainly can’t be for your bra size!”

Tripper focused the Trip Field to a fine point, just as she had seen her mother do months before in Japan. It had been the attack that permanently altered Lex’s molecular structure but it was an interesting way to apply her abilities. Fathom shifted, her body warped to avoid the beam but it was to no avail: the blast struck her and exploded within her core. “That’s the best you have? That didn’t even hurt!” Suddenly, Fathom could feel it. She could feel her entire physicality being tugged towards the blast’s point of origin. Tripper had not merely created a small wound but gave the wound its own center of gravity. Fathom could feel her insides being pulled towards that spot. She felt as if she were about to collapse on herself. “You-” The rest of Fathom’s words cut off in a scream and slowly her body began to emerge from the puddle’s surface as she pulled herself back together.

Tripper shook her head at the girl, curled in the fetal position, holding her stomach on the floor of their room. “It only works on life forms with altered biology,” Jacquelyn said. “It took me a while to figure out what had happened to Lex. It wasn’t so much that his powers had adapted to the blast… so much as his body was being dissected from within and his powers adapted to save him. I’d been curious to see how it would work against someone else with alien biology. Thanks for the lesson.”

Fathom attempted to glare through her eyes, widened as they had been by fear of what Tripper had done to her. “I’ll ask Doctor Howell or Doctor Styles to take care of you.” Grabbing her coat, Jacquelyn blew the young woman a kiss good-bye. “Arrivederci, Alexa.”

As Jacquelyn skipped off happy and confident, she was oblivious to the shouting coming from further down the hall. “Just get away from me!” Adonis screamed.

Cassandra advanced again and Adonis shook his head as he stomped away. “But why?” she cooed. “You made those beautiful plans for us tonight… I—Adonis, I—I love you. I wanted to-”

“Don’t you get it?” he thundered. “How do you know you love me? Huh?” The young man threw open the door of his room, startling Magnus Loder, using his powers to button his shirt and cuffs while he brushed his long, white hair. “It’s my powers, Cassandra! I can’t control them! I can’t turn them off… I just… how do you know that you feel the way you claim to feel is something you feel of your own volition? How do you know that—that-”

Magnus watched with bated breath as Adonis hung his head to hide his inability to hold back tears. “Can I ever be with any woman?” Adonis asked the floor beneath him. Sweet droplets formed tiny pools before where he knelt there; the young blonde man’s arm raised up to dry his eyes on his sleeve. “How do I know that every time she says those three little words… my powers aren’t coercing them out of her? My God… nobody can ever love me, can they?”

“I do,” Cassandra said, stepping forward slowly, reaching for the young man. Her eyes were dry as he emptied his soul before her—further vindication that she was not in command of her own emotions at the moment. “Adonis, I love you.”

“Adonis, man…” Magnus wasn’t sure just what to say as he moved towards the door. “Is there anything I can do?” He was asking Cassandra as much as he was Adonis.

“You can close the door on your way out,” came the hollowed response.
Magnus flashed Cassandra an apologetic look at he closed the door. Denied Adonis’ visage, she seemed to slowly recuperate and instantly Magnus knew Adonis had been right. It wasn’t love or affection that had attracted her to him—it had been his powers. They worked on a subconscious level; Adonis was not able to turn his charm on or off. The young man turned back, as if able to pass his regrets and condolences through the inch-thick wood. Only silence responded, causing the young manipulator of magnetism to hesitate before trotting off to meet his date…

Once Cassandra and Magnus had cleared from the hall, Deimos slipped out of his room. “Coast is clear,” he whispered back to Shade.

Since Deimos had slowly begun to lose roommates, his dorm had been surprisingly comfortable. That may have been largely in part to his sharing a bed with the raven-haired young woman who kept her past as much a mystery as he did his. Neither of them used their birth names but at least she knew his. Still, their relationship was kept secret from the New Vindicators—both faculty and student body alike. She came and went as she pleased, slipping through the shadows and stealing in and out of their room. Tonight he had promised her a night of passion; still, Deimos had a different definition of passion than most. For some, thoughts of a passion-filled Valentine’s Day evoked fantasies of romance: candlelit dinners and rides in a horse-drawn carriage, a walk through a moonlit park arm-in-arm or the exchange of eternal promises.

Shade was far from surprised that Deimos’ night of passion amounted to a box of Champagne and the cheapest room the Davy Crocket Motel had—all accompanied by a meal extracted from the nearest Long John Silver’s. “A hushpuppy, m’lady?” Deimos offered, procuring the fried ball of bread and popping it into her mouth while he expertly rid himself of the annoyance pants often were.

“Sheesh,” she managed after choking down the orb of goodness, “it’s like you’re paying for the room by the hour.”

“Just shut up and get naked,” he growled, forcing a golden fry into his mouth.

Shade laughed and turned before she pushed Deimos backwards onto the bed. “Gimme a second, okay?” she said as she slipped off towards the bathroom. “I won’t be long.”

Deimos ravenously forced what he could into his mouth as he poured the cold drink into two plastic cups left in air-tight plastic bags for their sanitation. Looking around the room, Deimos felt they might actually have needed them. For a split-second, he thought he had actually seen bacteria moving and had to squint to be sure it was only bugs.

Forcing a plank of fish into his mouth, Deimos tugged his coat and shirt off, leaving him sitting on stained bedcovers in nothing but his denim-print boxers. For a moment, thoughts of the future invaded his cranium. Michuru’s incessant whining about what Deimos intended to do with himself managed to worm their way in. The other New Vindicators seemed to have their acts together. Alexa and Atlanta both were dead set on medical school while he had overheard Jacque speak of working her way through law enforcement. Magnus had mentioned staying on as a graduate of the school—helping to further educate the younger students while working his way to the ranks of full-fledged Vindicator. If anywhere, Deimos knew he’d be safe there—thoughts of graduating and being forced to leave frightened him. It was surrounded by the cream of the crop of the super hero community that he was safe from that man…

A knock at the door brought Deimos back to reality. He chanced a look towards the bathroom; not only had Shade apparently not heard, she seemed no quicker to exit into his arms and under the sheets. Grumbling he slipped off the bed and meandered his way to the door, opening it just a hair to peek outside. “I’m about to bump uglies so make this quick…” Almost instantly he sobered up from the mere sip he had stolen whilst waiting his lady. At the sight of her, what he had forced down came hurtling back up, spattering on the door and his naked chest and plopping on the floor. “You’re dead!” he whispered, hoping to everything he held holy Shade didn’t find him communicating with a ghost from his past. “You can’t be real! Stop following me!”

Josette O’Reilly’s gnarled, arthritic arm shattered through the door, letting splinters of wood rain against Deimos’ form as her shockingly strong hands hefted him off his feet by the throat. “Does this feel real to you, Jeremy?”

“You died!” he screamed. “You can’t be here! This is impossible!”

“You should know better than any, Jeremy,” Deimos’ dead aunt said coldly, “nothing is impossible.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Tortured souls.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 78

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:33 pm

Chapter LXXVIII: All Jacked Up
  • FOUR DAYS LATER
Doctor James Howell shook his head at what he was reading on the screen. “At least on any level I can investigate, her story checks out. Miss Peters IS a Neo-Sapien and she IS on some sort of designer drug. Further, this drug has done something to her Neo-Sapien abilities… but anyone could tell that just looking at her.”

Erin Peters’ right arm was bigger than her entire body. Her veins were not only bulging through the flesh but they were pulsating and throbbing. She had arrived at the Lighthouse only hours ago, asking for Drew Jenkins. She had claimed to have found out where he was from Drew’s father; Drew and Erin had been dating—at least up until he had suddenly disappeared from her life. As she told it, everything had happened so fast… the night that his abilities manifested.

Drew’s status as a minor had kept his name from news stories surrounding his exploits that night all those months ago. He had just been shopping at White Pawn, browsing through Sam White’s selection of used, old school PlayStation classics. Bret and Kyle Morris came busting in, needing a place to hide from the cops. They had been busted for dispensing illegal substances, killed one of the two cops and made their way across DUMBO to the White Pawn. They had taken the store hostage and as time passed grew more and more desperate. Sam White put his hand on Drew’s shoulder, said a few encouraging words and suddenly Drew found himself taking the pair on and using their own Neo-Sapien powers against them.

For Erin, all the pieces of the puzzle came together now that she was reunited with Drew… and the pieces were coming together for him too. Bret and Kyle Morris were Erin’s dealers. She was a Neo-Sapien and they doled out the best drug for Neo-Sapiens. BOOST came in the form of small, adhesive squares slapped on the skin. Upon contact a Neo-Sapien got a tremendous boost of power—some humans had ever reported manifesting their latent NS abilities upon taking the drug. The surge was a high unlike anything and even for normal humans there was a euphoric high that accompanied the effects.

“It seems that prolonged exposure brings multiple stages,” Doctor Howell said as he presented his findings to the staff and the seniors in the war room. “The first stage is the normal one. Latent Neo-Sapiens manifest and powers get a big boost—albeit a temporary one. At the second stage powers mutate; it’s like having a window into the future—seeing what your powers could become. We’ve all been afraid Lex may very well transform into a black hole one day—exposure to this drug could speed up the process. Once the third stage is reached Neo-Sapiens lose control of their powers. The abilities act almost as a sentient force, operating on their own. Miss Peters appears to have been blessed with Super-Strength but… she’s become such an addict of this drug that she has no control over her own strength at this point.”

“Why is only one arm swelled up?” Miss Jordan asked.

“Miss Peters is left-handed,” the ape responded, removing his glasses to clean them on his lab coat. “She would apply the drug with the left hand, to the right arm.”

Mister Goodman shook his head. “I don’t like this one bit. This is dangerous! We know she’s an addict and she knows where we live! How long before she goes ringing Forrest Bedford’s doorbell, selling out address for another fix?”

“She’s trying to get help!” Drew thundered. “That’s what she’s doing here!”

“Indeed,” Doctor Howell intoned, “that is what Miss Peters says. She claims that she went through a slight withdrawal whilst Mister Morris had his day in court. Upon his acquittal, things picked back up and so did prices. They’ve been fixing her up on credit but now… she apparently owes so much to their gang that things have become ugly. The Morris brothers’ boss wants what she owes tomorrow or he’s threatened to kill her family. The trouble, Mister Jenkins, is that while Miss Peters asserts to wanting to prevent the deaths of her family she’s given no indication that once their lives are spared she won’t be asking for another fix.”

Drew sighed. “They want a lot. Where are we going to get that much?”
Professor Alston pressed a button, displaying the map he had brought up on the War Room’s computers. “You misunderstand as usual, Drew. Our intention is not simply to sustain these events but to stop them. I want a cell of New Vindicators taking this group down.”

“You want us to start a gang war?” Adonis asked, raising an eyebrow. “Are you sure that’s wise?”

“We’re devoted to improving relations between humans and Neo-Sapiens, right?” Magnus fixed Adonis with a sad look. He hated taking this side, knowing what the man had been through four nights ago on Valentine’s Day. “This drug has the potential to cause a lot of Neo-Sapiens to lose control… turning them into exactly what society things we are: reckless, dangerously-armed people with a trigger finger and no safety. Forrest Bedford isn’t leading a church but cultivating an army.”

“You can’t spell ‘cultivate’ without ‘cult’!” Drew added.

Magnus ignored him as he continued on. “You only have an army when you plan on going to war. He wants one and I’d just assume we not give him one.”

“We’ll split into three cells,” Professor Alston said. “The first wave, Lex will lead. His group will consist of Copycat, Coriolis, Fathom and Lodestone. Tripper? You’ll hold back here at the school to be used as backup. If things don’t go well, take Forecast, Hourglass, Loess and Rumble.”

“Go team estrogen,” Cassandra whispered. Jacque and Maria grinned to her—the others had likely been too far out of earshot to hear.

“Mister Skraag? You’ll lead Circe and Jetstream.” Magnus scoffed at their appointing Adonis as a cell leader. “Go to the hospital and pull Frostbite away from his girlfriend and continue to search for Deimos. It’s been four days since anyone’s seen him and either bring back a body or bring back the boy. Any questions?”

Lex shook his head and the New Vindicators were scrambled. The first wave moved to suit up—separate locker rooms were adjoined to the Wreck Room. There they each found their uniforms: the black Kevlar bodysuit slashed with a white ‘V’ that pierced across the arms and down the chest. Anomaly tugged on his finger-less gloves, ignoring Fathom’s slow saunter towards him as the men emerged from their respective locker room. “Coriolis will drive,” he said authoritatively.

Fathom grinned. “So we can sit in the back and make out?”

“What are we driving?” Lodestone asked as he draped a pair of chains over his chest.

“I’ll make out with you,” Copycat offered, sensing Fathom’s feelings hurt by Anomaly’s cold shoulder.

“Let’s take the Le Baron!” barked Fathom. “Cassie and I got Kayla to turn the seats gold.”

“Do we even know where it is we’re going?” Coriolis asked.

Anomaly looked through the file Professor Alston had given him. “Originally, Turtle Bay was a ship-building site on the East River. By 1868 the bay was developed commercially—railroad piers, cattle pens, slaughterhouses—seems like some of the buildings remain to maintain the historical integrity of the neighborhood. According to Drew’s girlfriend-”

“She’s not my girlfriend anymore,” Copycat whispered to Fathom. “I’m totally available.”

“-the dealers have set up shop around here. We’ll take the van, Coriolis. All right team… let’s move out.”

It was a shaky drive across the Queensborough Bridge—not merely because of Coriolis lack of driving ability but largely in part to Fathom’s persisting advances. “Isn’t the sunset romantic, Sexy Lexy?” she cooed as they crossed from Queens to Manhattan, scooting herself across the seat to brush against his body with hers. “Doesn’t it make you wanna-”

“Nope.”

“Not even a little-”

“Not really.”

Though Anomaly was impervious to her advances, Copycat took the bait. “It makes me wanna-”

“Couldn’t care less, Drew,” Fathom grumbled, folding her arms over her chest as she descended in a pout.

Eventually, their ride came to a stop and their conversation followed suit. One-by-one they filed out, looking out over the frozen shoreline and the warehouses that lined it. “We know that at least one of the dealers is a Neo-Sapien,” Anomaly intoned, “it possible there’s more. Copycat? You’re going to be our bloodhound. Do your thing.”

Copycat closed his eyes and whined as he felt out for any nearby powers. The last time he had used his abilities, he woke up in a hospital bed with a gorilla looming over him. According to Doctor Howell, his powers had triggered an explosion and he was alive only because of Rumble. Not only had she shielded him from the blast and the subsequent fallout, she had retained her consciousness and pulled the pair from the wreckage. Somehow, he hoped he could become as selfless as she was; he wanted to be the sort of person who put himself between his friends and danger…
Ignoring the collective of abilities at his side, Drew felt out further towards those distant stars in his ocean of darkness. One was very familiar: a being of light that could have only been Bret Morris, the Neo-Sapien whose powers Drew had copied the night his own powers first manifested. A little further still Drew found an odd collective of powers: some healing and blending, agility and wall-crawling—the man was a human lizard! Further still, Drew found something stranger. Siphoning… power theft… his star was brighter than most but then… Drew was distracted by another. Like their own group, those stars had all be in one area… but further still away—off by itself—Drew found another.

In the midst of Drew’s ocean of stars was a sun and though it blended in with the darkness, the black sun illuminated brighter than anything Drew had found here. It was nothing new to him though—he had seen this phenomena three times before… one, when he first came to the school and met Pandora and again when the New Vindicators had been required to attend counseling sessions with Doctor Pickford. Still, he knew this effect best as…

“Deimos!”

“What about him?” Fathom grumbled, glaring at Anomaly.

“He’s here?” Anomaly thundered. “He’s working with the dealers?”

“No, he’s… he’s separated from them, but he’s definitely close by.”

“Great,” Anomaly grumbled. “Well, what about them? Do they have-”

“Three,” Drew said. “One isn’t a threat—it’s… odd but his powers… they’re so non-threatening. One of them is Bret Morris. I already beat him down. The other… I dunno.”

“Shouldn’t be too bad,” Anomaly mused. “All right… Coriolis: go get Deimos, but be careful. Just because Copycat didn’t sense any Neo-Sapiens around him doesn’t mean it won’t be dangerous. Radio for Adonis’ team and let them know where he’s at and have them rendezvous with us as soon as they can.” The young Brazilian took off with a nod and Anomaly transformed as he readied his charge. Copycat reached out, latching onto Bret’s powers once more while Fathom shifted to her aquatic state. Lodestone used his own gifts to sunder the doors from their hinges, plunging the last rays of the sun into the warehouse’s interior.

Drew flew in ahead of the others, startling Bret as he looked on at his own power signature. With outstretched hands, Drew let it rain blasts of light upon them. Anomaly barreled in after, taking a count of how many thugs this group had present.

The normal humans took aim on Anomaly and opened fire. Their bullets glanced off of his dense skin, leaving most of them perplexed as to what good they could do against such a warrior. “Trigga!” one man exclaimed as Anomaly grabbed another man, flinging him across the room and into a wall of crates. That man carried no gun; instead he lunged at Anomaly, throwing punches aided by his knuckle dusters. Anomaly dodged and dodged, applying what experience he had about combative situations. The man was surprisingly good for a hired thug—he seemed more capable than most of the others. Then again, so was his partner…

The man Anomaly had flung into the crates rose up and took his aim on Lodestone. He had been nicknamed Trigger Happy—or Trigga to those closest to him—due to his love of firearms. Normally, he was content enough to spray a wall of bullets but Trigger was a capable marksman. He lined up the shot and when he knew he had it, he took it.

The bullet tore through the air for Lodestone’s eye. Still, the manipulator of magnetism was far from being unobservant. With a thought the bullet changed its course, returning directly back to the chamber from whence it had been fired. “Thuggy!” Trigger screamed, dropping his gun as he pulled another. “He done brokedated the gun the boss gave me for my birthday!”

Anomaly’s hand grabbed Thuggy, the man with the brass knuckles, and pulled him closer. His other arm locked around Thuggy’s neck and a little pressure left the man unconscious and dropping his weapon. His friend screamed in shock, just as the pyramid of crates he was standing upon collapsed. It was no difficult task for Lodestone to remove the nails from each crate and cause them all to simply fall apart and drop the man to the floor.

Fathom’s aquatic powers had subdued most of the other thugs while Copycat’s blasts had finished Bret and several more. “And you thought this was going to be a challenge!” Copycat laughed. Just then aquatic tendrils coiled around Copycat’s head and living water filled his breathing passages. Copycat’s eyes widened and his body flailed as he fought for breath. It was to no avail; as Anomaly and Lodestone finished with the last of the thugs, they turned in time to see Copycat fall.

“Name’s Bogart,” the youth said, transforming back to his flesh form. Fathom had reverted to her natural form and was lying on the floor behind him, fixing him with an angry glare. “As in bogarting other people’s abilities.” He had transferred her powers to him—hers and another’s. “Nice uniforms. New Vindicators, right? How’s Doctor Styles doing? She ever talk about me?”

“What about his classmates?” Lex had asked months ago, just after Jacquelyn and he had met Blitzkrieg. “Did he happen to stay in touch with the others?”

Doctor Styles sighed as she thought back to the rest of the 2002 graduating class. “Bogart’s been in and out of correctional institutes since he graduated. He got out of Riker’s a little over a year ago and hasn’t been heard from since. Nor’easter went home to Australia and spends all his days surfing. We lost contact with him about a month ago. Ambrosia we’re still in touch with. Her band is touring in the San Diego area at the moment. Not a one of them have heard from him since they graduated.”
Anomaly sighed. “Bogart was part of Blitzkrieg’s graduating class,” he said to Lodestone. “He went off our map about a year ago though—just like Blitzkrieg. I guess it’s too much to hope that they aren’t involved together and that this isn’t part of the Affiliation’s plot.”

“The Affiliation?” Bogart asked. “What’s that? No, no, boy… I work for someone entirely different.” A fiendish grin appeared on Bogart’s face as Coriolis appeared, helping a broken and bleeding Deimos along. “Why don’t you just ask Deimos? We’re old business partners.”

At the sound of that voice, Deimos used all the strength he had left to set his eyes upon Bogart and visibly trembled. All this time he had only been at the New Vindicators Academy, hiding from that one man… He had been seeking refuge and protection from Bogart alone. Josette had abducted both he and Shade and tortured them for days—right next door to the man he had been fighting so hard to avoid. It all made sense to Deimos now why Josette had suddenly left like she had. He had assumed she had gone to force Shade back to her playhouse of terror. When Coriolis appeared before him, he had begged the man to help him find Shade—to help him save her from Josette. Still, Coriolis had been adamant they see Anomaly first.

“You’re three men down,” Bogart said, counting Fathom, Copycat and Deimos.

“We’ve still got three men up,” said Anomaly. “We still outnumber you.”

Bogart shrugged and began to circle their small band. Coriolis moved as well, getting Deimos close enough to Fathom that she could protect him should things turn ugly. “Forgetting something though, aren’t we?” Bogart’s skin turned black just as he began to spin. Anomaly chanced a look to Copycat’s unconscious form; when Bogart had made contact with Drew, he had transferred the youth’s ability to mimic Neo-Sapien abilities. Combined with the training Bogart had received as a graduate of the New Vindicators Academy…

“Frick,” grumbled Anomaly as Coriolis’ speed and his own density slammed into him and flung him across the room. Bogart continued his rotation, wind picking up around him, forming a cyclone for a shield. “If he’s got Coriolis’ powers, he has his weakness!” Anomaly screamed. “Lodestone! Use your magnetism to slow his rotation!”

Lodestone blinked. “What!?”

“The Coriolis Effect! The rotation of the earth is responsible for the direction of the rotation of cyclones! Magnetism and gravity play roles there!”

Lodestone threw out his arms, blasting away at Bogart with everything he had and more. The blast began to slow his rotation—gradually causing him to reverse. Still, it did nothing to halt his charge at Magnus. The wind pressure Bogart had generated hammered into the heir of the Lodestone dynasty; it was all a precursor to the pain Bogart brought as his now-dense arm connected with Lodestone’s outstretched limbs.

Lodestone screamed in pain as he dropped to the ground. “My arms!” he screamed. “He—he broke them!”

Anomaly was charging into the cyclone. Lodestone’s attack had halted the spinning and the air was dying down; Bogart’s shield was dissipating and Anomaly had his opening. His fists collided with the impervious flesh Bogart had mimicked from him and Lex cursed his own powers for the foil they had become.

As Bogart turned around to face Anomaly and blast of wind separated them and evoked his attention elsewhere. Coriolis rocked back and forth; the ginga was a fundamental movement to his preferred fighting style; it was through these movements that his body was conditioned and prepared for the acrobatic assault he was about to unleash. Coriolis flipped forward and landed on his hands. There he shifted and utilized everything Miss Jordan had taught him of Capoeira. Balancing on one hand and using the other to turn, Coriolis began to kick masterfully. His body became a whirlwind of limbs flailing in a testosterone-fueled ballet. Still, each blow to Bogart’s now impervious skin counted for nothing and the villain quickly realized he could spare ignoring the nuisance.

“Tell me, kid,” he said, turning to Lodestone, still cringing on the ground, whimpering for the pain his arms were in, “didju ever write off an opponent for wearing too much metal? Body piercings or bracelets and the like?” With a wave of his hands, Bogart grasped the chains Lodestone crossed over his chest. It was a recent addition to his uniform—one he had been inspired to make thanks to old files the Vindicators kept on his great-grandfather. “You must feel so stupid now.”

Lodestone’s face became the very image of fear as he lifted up and back, thrown from the warehouse and plunged into the icy waters of the East River. “Lodestone!” Anomaly screamed as his compatriot was magnetically held under. “Coriolis! Get him!”

“Yeah,” Bogart laughed, “because you’ve been doing so well against me so far, you could risk going one-on-one. Face it junior: when I was with the New Vindicator, I didn’t need to learn about how to control my powers! I had years of experience on the others! I sat back and learned to use their powers instead. I spent years learning to handle a broad variety of what I could likely bogart; I can probably use your powers better than you can.”
Anomaly’s eyes widened as the figure teleported into the room behind Bogart. “Then why don’t you try fighting someone without powers?”

Bogart turned to meet the speaker and walked straight into Portal’s punch. He staggered for just a moment, protected from Anomaly’s abilities. “Can I count on you for this?” Anomaly asked.

Portal turned and gave the New Vindicator thumbs up.

“Coriolis, get Lodestone! Fathom, grab Copycat! I’m taking Deimos… we all need to get as far from Bogart as we can!” Bogart’s eyes widened, knowing what this meant. He was in control of Drew’s powers and he understood that Drew’s powers would only let him mimic the abilities of those close by. Anomaly knew that too—he knew what each of his teammates was capable of. He knew that if they could get the Neo-Sapiens away from Bogart… he’d be left with nothing in his fight with Portal.

Anomaly hefted Deimos over his shoulder and grabbed Bret Morris, taking him along to deny Bogart those abilities as well. As he and Fathom made their way out, assisting those unable to walk on their own, the sounds of the melee chased them to the shore. Coriolis had plunged into the icy waters and quickly resurfaced with Lodestone. Fortunately, his being held magnetically in place had kept him from being swept away by the current under the ice. The New Vindicators fled, hurrying back to the van, placing their fallen inside and turning back to the warehouse…

Portal emerged, shaking his armored head. Reality warped around him and he was gone, rematerializing beside Anomaly and Coriolis. “He got away…” the titanic figure grumbled. “He turned to liquid and slithered through the drains. I got in a few good hits though…”

“No,” thundered Lodestone, shuddering under a heavy blanket produced from the back of the van. “We don’t know anything about you. We don’t know who you are or what you’re even capable of. How do we know you aren’t on his side? How do we know this wasn’t a ploy to help him get away?”

The wearer of the armor sighed within the heart of the metal beast and the significance was lost in the translation the voice-masking device in the armor provided. “What I’m capable of? Well, I am a master of Soresu—Form III lightsaber combat.” As he looked on at the New Vindicators, he realized they obviously didn’t understand and he sighed again. “If I was working with Bogart, don’t you think I would have let him kill you all while he had the upper hand?”

“But who are you?” Anomaly asked. “You’ve helped us so many times and… it just feels weird that we don’t know who you are.”

“Get used to disappointment.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Anomaly said, “I’ve seen the Princess Bride too. My girlfriend makes me watch it with her about once a week. Still… c’mon… we could do a lot of good together.”

“I work better alone.”

“If not teammates… friends? Won’t you think of us as friends?”

Portal hung his head. “My friends are dead,” he said sadly. Anomaly’s face showed how sorry he truly felt; before he could vocalize those feelings, Portal teleported away. He didn’t want their friendship. He didn’t want their pity. He knew who he was and he knew what he was: he was a weapon.

“There is no emotion,” Portal said as he watched them climb back into the van, moving to return home. His internal system had eavesdropped on their anonymous call to the police. Normally it was their habit to stay and enjoy the spotlight—they called it improving public relations. Still, Copycat, Deimos and Lodestone needed medical attention and they were in a rush to get them back to the Lighthouse. “There is only peace,” the armored titan concluded. “There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion… there is serenity.”

His heart and mind divided… Portal vanished into the night.
To Be Continued... wrote:Michuru versus Alabaster
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Manintights
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Post by Manintights » Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:57 pm

did you just post a spoiler in the roll call thread???

Or did I miss okami joining the affiliation

MIT
"As my father taught, 'Training will raise your shield to the blow, but courage fills the gaps the shield leaves open.'"

Play by post games:

New Vindicators: [Gae Bolg]

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Post by Michuru81 » Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:31 pm

Manintights wrote:did you just post a spoiler in the roll call thread???

Or did I miss okami joining the affiliation

MIT
Si, it's spoilerish- but not on the scale of other things. Weeks ago, when Tripper was originally posted- her biography contained two extra paragraphs detailing what happens to her after New Vindicators #15- which I've since edited out to avoid giving away what she and Lex are fated for come that issue.

For the most part, Tide, Okami and Tusk are a fairly solid team- something emphasized more in the campaign than the narrative, I'm afraid. After each's defeat, the players were informed in some small way of their disappearance. Tide escapes from jail, Okami goes missing... only to be found working for the Affiliation in New Vindicators #9 (coming soon!). Still, Tide's been posted for a while and Tusk went up... it felt weird not having Okami up and even weirder to thin her background out to relatively nothing. I weighed it out and felt that Okami's signing on wasn't overtly shocking and... just figured, "Why not?"
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New Vindicators, Chapter 79

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:05 am

NEW VINDICATORS #9: Amazing Grace


Chapter LXXIX: Save Me
Michuru’s eyes scanned the moonlit loading bay. The third story windows looking down into the yard made him hesitate. “Clear?” he asked his companions.

Ever since Lucas Howell had been murdered six months ago, the New Vindicators had been denied a functional telepath. Despite how hesitant he had been to involve any who were not a senior, Michuru had come up empty searching the underclassmen for a student with psionic capabilities. Instead, he had opted to use Copycat’s abilities as a Neo-Sapien radar. They knew that those involved were all escaped criminals—freed just weeks ago when a lone assassin broke into Alcatraz. Though the man had intended to slay as many of the inmates as he could, he had cut the power to make his way to the maximum security wing. The Guardians had discovered sixteen killed there—and twice that escaped from the other wing of the prison.

Copycat closed his eyes and plunged into the darkness he had come to know so comfortably. “Nothing even close,” he said in a whisper.

Occultus Unus, a second-time Junior, closed his eyes and instantly displaced his senses through the darkness. According to his file, the young man possessed powers similar to the Shadow—the man they knew to be the father of J.T. Kirk. Unus had claimed not to know his father—he had barely said two words to J.T. in his time at the institute. It seemed obvious to most of the staff that Unus was a sibling of the former student known as Lurker but he appeared to have no connection to his family. Most of the faculty simply assumed that Unus was one of the Shadow’s illegitimate children. There were rumors that he had numerous affairs over the years. “He’s right, sir,” Unus offered. “Everything is clear upstairs… I can hear distant voices however. I could scry on them if we were to get closer.”

Michuru scanned their surroundings once more and signaled for his group to follow him across the yard towards the adjacent building.

Copycat attempted to roll, hoping to imitate countless movies he had watched where overpaid actors generated tension and excitement as they skulked about in the shadows. Humming the tune to Mission: Impossible, Copycat tripped and fell face forward; the youth quickly caught himself and hustled after Michuru and Unus.

“Team Alpha is in position,” Michuru said, holding the small communicator up. It felt strange to him: in the last two months he had managed to distance himself from these children… only to find himself needing them now as he fought to rescue one person… “Status?”

“Charlie is in position, ready to hit hard on your cue, boss man.” Michuru rolled eyes at Jetstream’s choice of words. “Amalgam and Rumble are ready for the drop off.”

“He goes by Anomaly now,” came Hourglass’ voice. “Maybe I’ll change my codename too. I’m tired of reporters asking if I’m called Hourglass because of my powers or because of my figure. Pervs! I’m only seventeen! This is just like when they had that counter ticking down to when the Olsen twins turned eighteen. Eww… do you think someone has one of those for me?” There was a hint of hope in her voice. No matter how much she pretended to be disgusted by it all, she fed on the attention.

“You could be ‘Sahara’!”

“But I’m not from Egypt…”

“The Sahara isn’t just in Egypt.”

“Whatever. It’s in Africa and I’m not black.”

“Not all people from Africa are black,” Copycat chirped in, cutting off at a stern look from Michuru. Unus only rolled his eyes, quickly growing impatient with the banter. For him, it was his first time operating on the field; he was anxious to land himself in the thick of combat.

“I always thought that was kind of stupid,” mused Adonis. “I mean, African-Americans… what happens if you’re a black man who was born and bred in merry old England? You’re neither African nor American. Plus, white people in Africa… are they African-Americans? Or what about blacks from South America? They’re not-”

“Guys?” Copycat interjected. “Our fearless leader just melted his communicator. I think that’s a sign we should just drop the conversation.” Copycat breathed easier as one-by-one the chatter ceased. “Okay… Mister Bradshaw is telling me that Alpha is in position. Bravo?”

“Which team is Bravo?” asked Hourglass.

“… Yours is, ‘Glass.”

“Ooo! She could be ‘Sandstorm’! Or ‘Dust’!”

“Those sound stupid,” groaned Hourglass.

“How about ‘Particle Girl’?”

Michuru reacted as a scream rose up from deep within the warehouse and immediately began charging forward; he threw caution to the wind at the sound of Doctor Natalie Style’s voice. She was in trouble. Time was wasting. “Move!” Copycat barked. “All teams move!”

In no time at all, it began. Jetstream and Loess took flight, each carrying a teammate. Once they were in position they dropped Anomaly and Rumble through the roof of the warehouse, surprising Brown Recluse and Nightingale. Rumble flipped and tumbled, landing safely from the drop. Anomaly transformed from his flesh-and-blood form into the gravitational anomaly that he had become. His speed and mass embedded him deep in the ground and ceased to stop him as he barreled forward. Taking the pair by surprise his hands clasped over Brown Recluse’s shoulders and swung her around and through a support beam.

Nightingale opened her mouth and begun to sing and instantly Anomaly’s senses were ensnared by the siren’s song. His hold over Brown Recluse loosened and the older woman slipped free, grappling him with her six arms and struggling to move him for his weight.

“No, you don’t,” Adonis said as he stepped out of the shadows. Nightingale laid her eyes on him and instantly she was his. She had never known the effect her powers had over people—and she never would at this rate. Once a woman fell under Adonis’ control, they would awake from it with no explanation for their behavior. “Be a dear and help me out,” Adonis said softly. “Tell me where our teacher is.”

The older woman slid her body up Adonis’ arm and brushed his ear with her lips. “Nathan’s taken her to the assembly room. He’s going to kill his sister.”

Adonis pushed the woman off and turned around. If he knew Rumble, he knew that her hearing had helped her pick up that tidbit. Indeed, she took off at her full speed, plunging her fists through anything that got in her way—including the walls.

As she hurtled her way through the factory, Lodestone and Loess rounded a corner, hand-in-hand, and moved to follow the blonde behemoth. A large, hairy male pounced from the shadows, separating Lodestone and Loess from their companion. “Pretty little thing,” Tooth growled. “It’ll have been a while since I had Mexican.”

Metal supports groaned as Lodestone commanded them to buckle. Instinctively he had put himself between the ferocious man and Loess. He knew what Tooth was capable of and he knew he seldom worked alone. Before coming, Michuru had made sure each of the students was briefed on all of the escapees—just to ensure they were prepared to face whoever might be working under Alabaster. Tooth and Nail were twin brothers whose Neo-Sapien powers made them almost feral. Both had heightened senses like a mongrel and the stamina to match. Tooth’s bite was worse than his bark, while Nail’s claws were what to watch out for from the smaller of the North brothers.

A pair of liberated I-beams flew for their opponent and the serial killer easily dodged them both. With a thought, Magnus began to curve the beam, fighting to snare the fiend and render him helpless. That too failed as Tooth wiggled his way free of Lodestone’s attempts to subdue the man. “Ya’ll are too soft,” Rumble said. Tooth turned as Rumble swung the second beam into the man’s face, throwing him through one of the few walls she had left standing.

As he had assumed, Nail hadn’t been far. The man snarled as he lunged for Rumble. Magnus moved to grapple the man with the chains he wore over his chest but cut off at Rumble’s insistence. “Y’all are more impo’tant than lil ole me! Get goin’! Save Doctuh Styles!”

“Did… did she just call me impotent?” Loess tugged softly at Lodestone’s arm, leading him away from Rumble and her opponent and moving further into the dark warehouse. The pair pushed open a heavy door into a large chamber. Not far from them, Jetstream had been knocked unconscious. Copycat was kneeling beside her, trying to shake her awake while Unus protected them with his shields of darkness. Anomaly stood further ahead, watching in awe as Michuru cut loose against Alabaster.

The former Vindicator dodged a blast of white-hot light by crouching and then pounced backwards into the air. Michuru spun, planting his feet against the wall and kicked off towards his opponent. As he flew for him, his right hand clasped the hilt of his katana and the blade was drawn in a rush. He had mastered iaido and turned it into a deadly art—an impressive feat given that iaido was a means for a swordsman to prepare himself physically and mentally. Few swordsman used the art in actual combat.

Flames charged down the blade’s edge as the man descended and Alabaster unleashed his trump card. His opponents had been trudging through a dark, abandoned warehouse; their eyes had adjusted to the near-absolute lack of light, save the moonlight shattering through the dirty panes of glass. As Alabaster turned night to day inside the assembly room those present were blinded by the eruption of light.

“A nice trick… but with one major problem,” came Michuru’s voice from within the world of white. For the blinded New Vindicators nothing changed, but deep within their dazzled vision came a scream from Alabaster. “Your powers are almost identical to your twin sister and if anyone knows Natalie, it’s me.” It was a strategy she developed: blind her opponents and navigate a battle by adjusting her eyes to see ultraviolet light instead of normal light. “Still, you don’t know jack about my powers… For instance: when I’m angry, I manipulate flames. Ultraviolet detectors are sensitive to most fires.”

Slowly the room came back into focus and Lodestone watched as Michuru casually approached the man kneeling on the ground, flailing about wildly in hopes he hit something. Doctor Styles had been spared from the display, having been rendered unconscious by her brother prior to her students’ arrival. Her brother’s retinas had been seared by Michuru’s flashfire and the light of day was now eternally kept from Alabaster.

The man froze as he felt cold steel brush his throat ever so gently. “I once had someone very precious to me stolen from this life,” Michuru told him. “I refuse to allow anyone to do that… ever… again.”

Sheathing his sword, Michuru turned his back on the man. Blind as he was, Alabaster was no longer a threat. “Lodestone! You’ve more practice with your powers than Copycat; lower Doctor Styles gently. Copycat, I want you to synch up with Lodestone and use his powers to bind Alabaster in chains. Anomaly and Loess… go make sure the others are fairing fine against Alabaster’s companions. You’ve all done well here… now let’s wrap this up and go home.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Nor'easter.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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