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BROB'd: World One: Worm

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Wolfboy, Jan 28, 2019.

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    Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    Author's note: When I started writing this story i had certain plans, plans that allowed me to continue writing this even when forcibly kept from a keyboard. that said, There are mounds of mistakes and fannon all through the story. I even made some of the same mistakes Wildblow apparently did, especially where geography was concerned. That said, instead of doing a rewrite of it and starting basically from scratch with the same premise, i ran with it, and boy is it taking off. So here for your enjoyment, is my story Bored Random Omnipresent Bastard. (note this is the singular, not the plural that is the story down in the NSFW threads. but that is all I will say on that aspect, for now.)

    BROB’d
    Arc One: Shadows
    Soundtrack: Danger Days: The true lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
    Prologue: You pushed what?
    “Peace is a funny thing.” I thought as I sat inspecting my pistol in the hallway outside a series of bedroom doors. “As much as we say we want it, it never makes for good stories, and really makes for a boring life.” Sitting there inspecting the .45 caliber semi-automatic for dirt and wear was something to do while waiting to be summoned into the princess’s presence, something to keep my hands and mind somewhat busy.

    “James,” I heard the voice to my left and looked to find a young Japanese male standing there, his head and upper body stuck out the doorway. “The princess and prince would like to see you now.” He finished before holding the door open for me. I nodded as I stood up and let the slide go forward sliding a magazine into the well before entering the bedroom the young man had stepped out of.

    “So this is the mysterious man with the strange weapons that saved my love and my best friend in one simple act.” I heard a voice say to my left as I stepped from the doorway into the bedroom and the door closed behind me. “No, not only saved them but ensured their safety while they left Albion and made their way here. He has the look of a seasoned warrior Wales and I’m sure that like any seasoned arms-man he has spent whatever idle time he has had to endure ensuring the function of those weapons.” The person speaking was a young woman of maybe fifteen or sixteen years, short, wine dark burgundy hair and fine of feature I recognized her as Princess Henrietta of Tristain. To one side of the princess there stood a blond young man of approximately the same age wearing a new suit of clothes courtesy of the tailor that had left a few minutes before I had been summoned. Prince Wales Tudor was supposed to be dead at this point of the story, not alive and either able to continue his romantic relationship with the Princess or end it in person rather than a crappy letter.

    To the other side of the princess stood three young women who also appeared to be around the same age. The first was a strawberry blond with a glare for both me and Saito. This was the person whose room this was one Louise Valliere. She was known as Louise the Zero because all her spells seemed to fail. Unknown to her, this was not because she was a screw up but a void mage, someone who stood outside their understood fields of magic. The next one in line was taller and significantly more buxom with a head of long flame red hair named Kirche. The fire mage was eying me appreciatively but I had no intention of sticking around long enough to find out if it would be a legitimate offer or not. Like fire, she was fickle and would turn her brazen attention anywhere the wind of the moment blew it. The last one was named Tabitha, a quiet blue haired book worm who I actually like the most of all Louise’s companions. Silent and competent she was the only one of the group I would be willing to take with me on the next jaunt if anyone here went with me.

    “You are correct your highness,” I replied dropping to one knee. “The weapons I carry are generally more advanced than what you would find around your world though no less destructive than magic you wield.”

    “An interesting thing that,“ Henrietta temporized. “Louise tells me that when you showed up it was in the nick of time to save Wales, and that you were able to disarm and then kill Viscount Wardes from a distance of several feet with only two uses of your weapon. Tell me, how did you come to have such weapons and how did you arrive in Albion?” she asked.

    “Well your highness,” I replied looking up at the young woman. “That is a story long and involved. If you would allow the rest of us seats and perhaps have snacks and something to drink sent up, I will start telling you. Though if you are familiar with the tale it will sound something like that of A Thousand and One Arabian nights, and while it won’t take as long, will take more than one evening to tell.”

    She looked at me for a moment and nodded, “Louise, if you would have Saito arrange the chairs, food and drink, I think we shall have an interesting tale told to us.” The strawberry blond simply shot Sato a look causing the young man beside me to bow in the Japanese style and scamper out of the room.

    Dropping from one knee to sitting cross legged on the floor I looked at the assembled personages, “Sato already knows the beginning,” I said weighing their reactions. “He and I technically come from roughly the same universe, our technology is the same and I bet if you checked his world history against mine you would find it effectively the same with only minor quibbles of who was at fault for what as opposed to major changes like the difference between Halkegenia and our Earth. Because of this he recognizes my technology and has an understanding of their principles. That said let me tell you a story.”

    From all the Bored Random Omnipresent Being stories that I have read on various forums, all the stories seem to occur when something untoward happens to the storyteller, either that or they are the something untoward that happens. Strangely enough that wasn’t the case with me; I was having a nice relaxing day off on the edge of the beach when suddenly three bodies flew over my head off the boardwalk and into the sand below. Now while I say three bodies I don’t mean three corpses but three people, first one that had apparently been running and then two that appeared to be police by the “PD” labeled jacket one was wearing and the badges I saw on their belts after they rose from the sand.

    The action wasn’t one that the local police usually took, they being much more relaxed and easy going as opposed to these more energetic officers. As I watched I saw the runner rise and start forward only to sprawl in the sand once more causing me to wince. One of the pair must have gotten ahold of his ankle because the next words I heard came from the officers. “No more running Murphy,” one of them huffed out as they both got to their knees and crawled up to handcuff the man. Once they were done cuffing him they stood him up between them and started back my direction while mirandizing him. Me, I was a good citizen and vacated my seat on the stairs to allow them to take him back up on the boardwalk. It wasn’t until I sat back down that I saw it sitting half buried in the sand where the runner had fallen. I stood back up and collected the item which looked to be a simple truck key fob with all the identifying marks removed and the buttons replaced with rhinestones.

    Now I know curiosity killed the cat, but I was more canid than that so after a couple moments of thought and inspecting it I took the fob out into the parking lot on the other side of the boardwalk to try and find its vehicle. The fob had three rhinestone buttons, one red, one green and one blue, now red was generally the alert button on all the fobs I had seen, and while it would let me find the vehicle the fob belonged to rather quickly, it was also highly annoying. That left me with the choice of green or blue. While blue had no general color coding where American vehicles were concerned green usually meant go, which I figured that the person who had done this to the fob meant as an “unlock” for the doors, thus I pushed the green rhinestone and suddenly found the world spinning and myself falling.

    Waking I felt my cheek laying against cold tile, “Good cool tile,” I mumbled and then suddenly sat up wide awake. Tile, I should be feeling hot asphalt. The October day that I had been spending out at the beach while relatively cool had been clear skied none the less and the asphalt of the parking lot had been extremely warm. The parking lot that I expected to see was not where I was however; no I was in a room that appeared to be a ten foot cube with a singular TV on a wall mount with a Post It note stuck to it. No way in, and no obvious way out, and the walls ceiling and floor all covered in six inch tile. Other than the TV and its wall mount the room was empty and without any obvious lighting, though the light in the room was sufficient to read comfortably by. Standing up I moved over to the TV and read the Post It, “Push me” was written on the note as it sat over the power button on the flat screen, so since I had nothing better to do I did so hoping for some kind of explanation. I wasn’t disappointed.

    “Greeting creature,” the shadow on the screen said a couple of minutes after I pushed the power button on the flat screen. “Since you’re seeing this you have obviously awakened in a strange and different place and found my note. I thank you for not panicking messily, a few have and it takes days to clean the room after such. I am currently looking over the data from your mind to be able to explain the situation to you in a way that you get a full understanding before you have to make a decision. Unlike some of my brethren I prefer my subjects to be fully informed of what they are deciding and to actually volunteer for their trip. This is a habit my kin find this distressingly naive and hope I grow out of, but I find that I get more enjoyment out of watching the antics of others who are playing for their own reasons rather than being forced into the situations. Consider me much like the chicken strapped in to watch the multitude of televisions at the beginning of the TV show “Robot Chicken”. I see all, I hear all and I know it all at once. Quite frankly after a while it gets quite boring, so my people pull someone out of their universe and either let them skip merrily from one universe to another causing whatever changes and butterflies they might, or drop them for the entirety of a series into universe that they know by heart to either get them around the hurdles the characters find themselves in or else, and this is usually the case with fan fiction writers like yourself, to fix the universe of the problems as they see it.”

    “Because of this,” it continued after a moment’s pause,” someone else that exists outside the temporal existence that is Us has put together a force to collect those dimension jumpers and either return them to their own universe or drop them somewhere they will not be monkeying around with the “canon” events of any given universe because they “Know” what is going on. This is how you ended up here in fact as the device whose button you pushed was the runner’s key to dimensional jumping. It will be what you use to choose to leave this place, but I’ll get to that in a minute.”

    “If you choose to continue on the key for you will be a pass phrase that will allow you to drop into the next world on your list. Whenever you enter a world, the phrase will enter your mind, all you have to do to leave the world is speak the phrase. Now, as to whether to stay or go, oh such marvelous stuff in your mind, if you choose to go back to where you came from and not go any further, then you should push the red button on the device. Doing so will make you wake where you left from with absolutely no memory of what occurred here. However, if you wish to stay and see how deep the rabbit hole goes, push the blue button and your adventure will begin. Be warned however, once you start the trip you must survive to see it through to the end, and please make things interesting for me, I get so terribly bored here.”

    With that the screen went blank and I reached up, pressing the power button to shut it off again. I had to make a decision, one that would be life changing, or simply put me back where I had come from. I had joined the Marines years before because I wanted to get out and see the world, that hadn’t happened, I was relegated to a reserve base in Texas and never went anywhere after that. When I was discharged I found myself lacking funds and ended up like most of my peers returning to home to find a job that I could survive on. Now, with the economy turning to drek, that was fast becoming something rarer than hen’s teeth. Summer was over, and with it my part time job as a bouncer at one of the beach clubs would be done in short order leaving me to try and find either a permanent job or another seasonal one until the process repeated itself. Then again I could simply drop myself into any number of worlds at random, worlds that, if I was reading between the lines right would be ones that I at least knew the ins and outs of. As I sat there contemplating the situation I looked at the “fob” the red button would send me home with no memories of this place, but the blue one would drop me into unknown, or at least semi-known dangers. With a sigh I pushed the blue button.

    World One: A Tinkers Damn or The Cluster Frag of Taylor Hebert
    Chapter one
    If you know, or at least suspect that the floor is going to drop out from underneath you when you do something in particular, you can at least anticipate it so as to ease your landing. I wasn’t expecting it and so I found myself on my ass in the dank filth of a city alleyway. I’m not a city person by nature and avoid them when I can so I didn’t immediately recognize this particular city. Of course, I was looking at an alleyway, not the skyline so it wasn’t going to be something particularly memorable anyway until I picked myself up and looked around. Thus, I put thought to action and pulled myself to my feet before heading toward the open end of the alley. A quick look around told me I was definitely in the wrong area of town for my lack of weaponry. Gang tags covered all the buildings in the area and the general rundown appearance of the buildings themselves said it all, slum. Alright maybe not slums but basically the wrong side of the tracks as my mother would say.

    An animalistic roar and a loud crash jerked my attention upwards in a snap. I was already on yellow alert and thus a bit twitchy and the sight that I saw above me didn’t do anything to ease that tension. In fact it sent me diving back into the alley that I had just walked out of to dodge the falling mass of meat and bone that landed where I had been standing just a moment before. Picking myself up from the alley floor once more I realized with just a glance at the fight where I was. “Brockton Bay,” I muttered under my breath, “this is bloody fragging marvelous.”

    For those of you reading this that hasn’t read the “Worm” serial this was a universe of more realistic superheroes and one of the darker “super” worlds in the multi-verse. First of all forget everything you know about superheroes from either Marvel or DC. In the Worm-verse anyone and anyone can end up with a super power of some kind, either by purchasing it in great secrecy and at great expense from an organization called “Cauldron” or by having a traumatic event so tragic that you throw out all hope but that one grip of power, the shear belief that the only thing that can save you is a super power. In this universe the heroes tended to be self righteous, self important hypocrites with delusions of adequacy while the villains tended to run toward either needy people who couldn’t do anything else with their powers, (most were simply not marketable) or so over the top to either evil or ridiculousness that you were happy when they were taken care of one way or the other. The lead villains of this piece were the first type of villain, they had enough care, virtues and extenuating circumstances that you couldn’t help but love them and their quirky ways, but because they were not registered heroes and had few qualms about doing what needed to be done they were labeled villains. This world even had a special prison for the supers that in this world were called para-humans, the Birdcage, a place of final rest so to speak for a system that extremely rarely used the death penalty when judicious use of it would save them so much trouble.

    No, the death penalty was reserved for those that had absolutely no redeeming qualities, the End-bringers, and the Slaughterhouse Nine were examples of this level of villain. The Nine were sociopaths; each para-human specialized in their talents and powers to cover various fields of mayhem and destruction. The End-bringers though, they were almost alien in existence. Three entities that covered the four main elements of nature and unknown to him were the creation of a particularly distraught second-string hero’s mind.

    This was the world I now found myself in, with the turn of a phrase I could leave them to continue on their path to their own destruction, or I could stay and try and fix what they screwed up, and as I stood there in the mouth of an alleyway watching two enlarged dogs tear chunks of meat from a poisoned and blinded man-dragon while the three of them fought I wondered if I could make a difference. The trick to making a difference in this world would be to first catch the attention of someone with power, and then turn that into a play that would remove the major driving force that screwed the entire situation for the main character, all while saving the lead villains who actually honestly deserved a chance at happiness.

    My thoughts and contemplations were interrupted by a whistle from above and the dogs leaping from building to building to regain the roof where their mistress awaited. “Screw it,” I muttered to myself before exiting the alleyway once more. The little shadowy figure on the TV wants to be entertained and those girls each deserve a chance at happiness, not the hell they get. I can play myself off as a precog when Armsmaster shows up, and then get the ball rolling with what’s in my head.

    My mind was awash in thoughts and plans as I approached the dragon form of the gang leader Lung. He was already healing from the damage Hellhound’s dogs had dealt to him, the pepper spray in his eyes however was still causing them to be swollen shut and I knew that if he was tranquilized he would lose his regenerative ability and need someone to come in and heal his man bits where the brown recluse spiders had swarmed and bitten him. “Necrotizing tissue is such a bitch isn’t it asshole.” I said looking down at him his response was a moan and what I could only guess was something nasty in some Chinese dialect. Slowly I could hear a motorcycle’s thumping engine growing closer with each passing moment, it wasn’t approaching fast because the rider was alone and didn’t want to end up in the crossfire I was sure. The fight had of course caught the local PRT and Protectorate’s attention and Armsmaster was the one to investigate. My being in this world wouldn’t change that, what happened afterwards however would cause butterflies as big as jetliners probably both to the good and the bad. Finally a single headlight appeared and came down the street, and I stood behind the fallen gang leader as I watched the local head of the Protectorate arrive.

    **
    The Docks, ABB Territory, 0300
    Armsmaster looked around as he put the motorcycle’s kickstand down. Lung was laying on the pavement of the street battered and almost unconscious, a single unmasked male standing over him. The man didn’t have a mark on him, his clothes were not torn or even singed yet the notorious gang leader that at times even gave him pause was on the ground and out of any fight. “You do this?” he asked the man as he pulled out a syringe and a bottle of tranquilizers.

    “No,” the man answered, “and I wouldn’t sedate him just yet, not unless you want to be answering a lot of questions about why his man bits along with other various and sundry parts of him are rotting off. He’s been bitten by quite a few Brown Recluses and Black Widows, and if you knock him out for transport he’s going to lose his regenerative ability which is holding the poison at bay for the moment.”

    Armsmaster stopped at this declaration. If what the man said was true then the gang leader was in for a lot of pain and suffering over the next few days unless they could get Panacea, one of New Wave’s “heroes” to come in and heal him. Shrugging he put away the syringe and the bottle of sedative, if what the man said was the truth then it would be an interesting time, if he was lying, then there would proof of it and they could dismiss the strange person as a kook. “Very well sir, why don’t you tell me who you are and who did this while the containment foam sets up on our friend here.” With that Armsmaster had the man step back and set a containment foam grenade off on the gang leader while calling in a pickup team from the PRT. Turning to the man again he asked, “So who are you and who did this?”

    The man chuckled, “I am no one of consequence really, but call me Wolf since you must call me something. Most of the damage to Lung the important damage anyway was done by a rather nice young lady who is waiting for you up on that rooftop.” He said pointing to a building where the perimeter wall around the flat roof had a hole in it about the size of the gang leader plus something else. “The rest of t he damage was done by a couple of Hellhound’s massed up dogs. The young lady is in a bit of a quandary at the moment, not sure if she wants to join the wards or not. She does however earnestly want to be a hero, so be nice. When you’ve finished talking with her she’s going to want to leave and think things over more, let her and we’ll discuss things more then.”

    Armsmaster was a bit surprised and somewhat put out by the man’s attitude. There was no fear there, not of the Protectorate, nor the PRT, not even the fact that he could be targeted by the ABB for retaliation seemed to worry him. “You know something, things you’re not telling me.” The man simply smiled in response. “I am going to assume that you will be waiting for me when I return from talking with the young lady in question?” the man continued to smile and nodded in response, “Then I will do as you suggest now, but we will discuss it more when I return.” Armsmaster finished trying to sound menacing. Again the man nodded and walked over to the motorcycle to look it over. At this Armsmaster shook his head in disbelief before heading towards the indicated building.

    PRT HQ, 0645
    When I returned from speaking with the girl the man was waiting for me and informed me of several things which are also in my written report. Foremost in those are Lung’s escape situation and our own security.” Armsmaster said finishing his verbal report for select members of the PRT and the local Protectorate capes. “My personal conclusion is that he is probably a minor to middling precog though I am not sure how far or how accurate he might be.”

    “Thoughts people?” Emily Piggot, the local PRT director growled out. The director was here hours before she would normally have come in and was not in a particularly good mood for it.

    “So he told you that we have leaks in our security,” Miss Militia said half in comment. “Did he specify who or what they are?” she asked.

    “Somewhat,” Armsmaster answered. “What he told me was that while he could tell me the majority of the specifics surrounding Lung’s escape he couldn’t tell me who specifically the ABB plant amongst the guards was. That there will be an attempt, on that matter I believe him, but I don’t know if his specifics have any basis in fact. That Coil has co-opted our security camera feeds and has a person inside the PRT as well I also question, but not quite enough to dismiss out of hand. He’s playing things quite close to the vest at the moment and if what he says is true about our security holes I can understand why. He did have a request for you director Piggot.”

    The director of the local PRT looked at the head of the local protectorate forces with a raised eyebrow. “And what is his request Colin?” she asked.

    “That you join him for either lunch or dinner today at Fugly Bob’s, ”Armsmaster answered,“ your choice of when and that he’ll buy

    In the silence that filled the room you could have heard a pin drop on its point from across the length of the room while being half deaf. Armsmaster was surprised when the director nodded slightly. “Did he say why?” she asked.

    “He said something that didn’t make much sense,” Armsmaster replied, “something about you needing a good meal on your stomach if you decided to go with his plan.”

    In the next moment Emily Piggot did something that Armsmaster had before that moment had been flat out physically impossible, the woman started to chuckle before nodding at the Protectorate team leader and speaking. “That is a very interesting idea, we’ll do lunch then, I haven’t had a Fugly Bob’s burger in years.”
    Chapter 1.2
    1200 hours Fugly Bob’s
    I looked up from where I was reading when three people sat down at the table. One man and two women pretty much had me surrounded as I sat with my back in a corner, the man next to me, the two women opposite effectively pinning me in place. “Colin, Hannah, Director.” I stated simply. The two capes started, Piggot smiled.

    “You seem to be an interesting man Mister Wolf.” Emily Piggot said, a smile crossing her face slightly. “Now you said you would buy lunch, so why don’t we order and then we can get down to business.”

    I nodded and waved at the young lady that was the waitress for our area. When she got to us I asked her, “Ma’am could you get us four Fugly Bob’s, I want mine medium with tomatoes, pickles, onions and a dab of ketchup, cola to drink.” I listened as the rest of them ordered their burgers, Miss Militia surprising me by going the same route as I did, adding lettuce as well to maximize the veggies with a diet soda to drink. Armsmaster was apparently a burn it to a cinder well done man, and cheese it with minimum veggies and a coffee, while director Piggot told the waitress to make it “Bloody rare and load it up with everything and a regular soda.” This apparently wasn’t something she did on a regular basis as the two capes looked at her in astonishment, the waitress simply nodded, jotted down the order before striding off to put it in.

    “Now,” Piggot said once the waitress was out of earshot. “Since you’re paying I suppose we should at least hear you out, but I want details on who our leaks are, so spill.”

    “Well you’re not going to believe it but your biggest one is Coil sitting right in your headquarters.” I stated plainly. “He’s given the Undersiders outside access to your security cameras all through the facility. Specifically he’s had their thinker, call sign Tattletale, watching you all go through your day to find out what little tidbits he can use against you. They know for instance that you director run on a very tight schedule but not as to why, on the other hand I do know that it’s because each night you have to go home and hook yourself up for dialysis because your kidneys were practically destroyed during the abortive attempt on Nilbog all those years ago.

    Apparently the information that I had just dropped on the table must have been some kind of “burn before reading” information because the two capes turned to stare at the director in shock as she glared death at me. “Sorry,” I apologized, “I figured with their position in the system that they would already know why you are unavailable certain hours of the day.” The apology apparently worked at least some because the death glare turned down a couple of notches.

    “So what can you give us Mr. Wolf?” Piggot asked.
    “Just about everyone’s secret identities,” I answered, “as well as their plots, plans, and how they were supposed to play out.”

    “So effectively everyone’s dirty laundry,” Miss Militia said.

    “Pretty much,” I replied, “also, I can give you a run down on some of their powers.”

    “I want a name Mr. Wolf.” Piggot stated simply. “The name that Coil is hiding under in my offices.”

    “And you shall have it director,” I responded. “As with anything however there will be a price to pay and I want to have your assurance that you will agree to my price before I give you the name.

    “I knew it,” Armsmaster growled, “a mercenary intel asset is no asset at all. What is your price you bastard.”

    I knew he was talking money, I smiled because I wasn’t; I think the smile unsettled him some. “Colin what I’m offering is effectively priceless, especially since I’m offereing to do all the dirty work that you, the Protectorate, and the PRT are either unable or unwilling to do. All I ask for is five slots on the Wards, as a team, with pardons for all activities prior to joining.” This caused the three of them all quirked an eyebrow at me in question. “Oh, did I forget to mention it? I intend to bring the Undersiders into the Wards program as an independent team.” Piggot smirked at that, while Armsmaster shook his head and Miss Militia’s jaw simply dropped.

    “I imagine that you’ll be telling us that you can get the ABB and the Merchants to stop selling drugs as well.” Armsmaster said, his thoughts of what I was saying apparent as the tone of his voice.

    My head turned to look at him squarely, “Colin, I could, and I stress, could do that.” I said, “However neither you, nor the Protectorate, nor the PRT, nor really even the police would abide by my methods however.” The cold, grim tone of my voice left no question as to what my methods would be. At that point I took a minute to compose myself and put the monster back in its cage, hopefully for the last time that day. “The Undersiders are going to need some leeway in how they operate also, but with their help I’m sure they will be a severe asset in cleaning up this city.”

    Piggot’s eyes narrowed as she scrutinized my being, reading everything from my expressions to my body language and wording. “Give me his name Mr. Wolf,” she said, “and Rachel Lindt, as well as her companions will all have a free pass.”

    Out of the corner of my eye I spotted our waitress approaching with a platter full of food, probably our orders, so just before she arrived I spoke those two words that I knew would either cause them to explode in denial, or drop them into catatonic silence, “Thomas Calvert.”

    Emily Piggot sat there stunned at what the character “Wolf” had laid out before her and the two protectorate capes. Thomas Calvert, her own second in command was Coil, her first thought was to laugh in his face and deny it, but the man’s insistence, the shear belief in what he was saying made her hesitate, and in that moment she remembered the story Calvert had told her in the infirmary after the battle with Nilbog. Apparently seeing himself die, and then having the chance to change it broke him. A moment later the waitress left, her burger and fries sat before her looking so good, yet now having realized the truth, she felt her desire to eat simply disappear. “How do you want to handle Coil Mr Wolf?” she asked.

    Wolf looked up from his own burger and smiled, which sent a shiver down Emily Piggot’s spine. This man was a predator plain and simple, and his solution was just as simple and probably as effective and efficient as what he had planned for the Merchants and the ABB. “It is going to take a two pronged assault to get him director, because of his power, which I call split decision, he can take both paths in a situation and see how either turns out before actually making his decision. I believe he is routinely splitting his day so as to spend it at both the PRT offices and in his underground facility. Because of that heightened level of paranoia we’re going to have to hit both of him at the same time just to ensure he doesn’t have a way of cancelling out the effected timeline. I need to have choice on who is on the strike team however.”

    “Why is that?” Miss Militia asked.

    “Because some capes, those like you Hannah, are naturally evolved, you hit that low point in your life.” I answered, “Others were made.”

    Colin stopped mid chew at what Wolf had just said and fought the urge to simply swallow hard. There had been rumors for years of an organization that could provide a person with powers, and would to anyone who could meet their price. Unfortunately all they had up until this point had been rumors, half heard stories that no one seemed to know the source of. Furthermore what Wolf had just effectively told them was that this group had people in the Protectorate and in Brockton Bay on his team. Slowly he managed to force himself to finish chewing the mouthful of bun and burned beef before swallowing it and washing it down with a drink from his coffee cup. “Who are they and which of my people answer to them?” he asked once his mouth was finally clear.

    Again Wolf turned his head to face Colin before replying. “The group’s name is Cauldron, supposed to reference something out of Celtic or Gaelic mythology. As for who on your team belongs to them, Battery for certain, and Triumph got his powers from them but I don’t know if he calls them master or not. They don’t let word really get out about them, if you get power from them it’s because they heard you were looking and have a very good psych profile along with a lot of money. They are however responsible for a lot of both good and evil in this world.” At that point Piggot’s eyes raised a questioning look. “They were the people who came up with the idea for the Protectorate in the first place, they created the Triumphirate. Unfortunately they also are responsible for Shatterbird, Siberian, and the load of Case 53’s.” I finished

    “How are they responsible for the Protectorate?” Hannah asked.

    Wolf sighed. “I don’t know all the particulars, but I imagine it went something akin to when any other major special interest group wants something done in D.C. They probably paid a whole bunch of congress critters and senators a shit ton of money to pass the law that started the Protectorate and the Wards. There are two women in charge really, ones a normal known as Doctor Mother, the other is a type of precog named Contessa. Contessa’s ability is known as “Path to Victory” and it lets her see how she can win against any opponent. Doctor Mother uses her both as a precog viewer and as a wetwork specialist. I’ll save why for a later debrief.”

    “Why?” Piggot asked him before taking another mouthful of burger.

    Wolf looked at the last couple of bites of his burger and the fries on his plate before dropping the burger on the plate and pushing it slightly away from him. “Look,” he said. “I know you want to know everything, and I’ll tell you all I know, let Dragon go full neural interface to pull things I don’t know I know from my brain. The problem here is that we’re getting to far afield from the main point of this meeting. I still have to make contact with both New Wave and the Undersiders to get them in on this little shindig. Hell getting them to agree to the deal is going to be fun in of itself.”

    Piggot smiled a little at that, as the meeting had gone on she had started grazing on her fries before attacking her burger in earnest. Now she was about half way through the monstrosity of a hamburger and didn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. “Suggestions for the team Mr. Wolf?”

    Wolf obviously suppressed another sigh before answering. “Dauntless should be ok, as should Velocity, Battery and Triumph might be ok, their bosses might just let their little experiment in parahuman feudalism die without trying anything but I wouldn’t count on it. Honestly though I don’t think you’re going to need that many capes though, just Colin and Hannah with a squad of PRT to catch him up with we decide to go after him.” At this point Wolf smiled, again that feral, nasty smile. “I honestly expect him to end the reality that you catch him in and try to fight it out with me and the team I put together. That said, there was one other issue to discuss and it goes back to you director.”

    Emily Piggot looked up as finished off the last fries on her plate and quirked an eyebrow in question. “How would you like to have that curvy twenty something body back along with your kidneys?” he asked.

    Twenty minutes later I was walking away from Fugly Bob’s, the bill paid, and a bunch of planning and explaining why certain plans wouldn’t work, done. I had two hours until my appointment downtown with Brandish— the five hundred dollar retainer paid in advance to gain a fifteen minute slot in the cape lawyer’s busy schedule. I had given Piggot and Armsmaster my phone number before leaving, asking the latter to have Dragon contact me so that I could talk to her.
    I wasn’t going to drop any hints of what Dragon was where they could hear until she was ready for them to know. There was two good bits of probable good news, the first being that the Protectorate was going to concentrate on the ABB section of town in search of Bakuda, hopefully with a shoot-on-site order. The other thing that would hopefully short-circuit a certain villainess’ bombing escapade was that as soon as Panacea was done with him, Lung was to be moved to the Birdcage. Hopefully the fact that the incarceration and movement was happening so fast would keep Bakuda from trying to arrange a breakout.
    As I walked toward the bus stop I started going over my finances mentally, it’s one of the few gifts I actually have that’s of any real use: being able to run a constant string of calculations in my head. The only other thing I could really do is remember what any given tactical situation was and where I was in relation to the situation between the two so I could usually do Fire Control Duty in my head and was hell on wheels with a sniper rifle after the first shot. That first shot however took forever to line up and still usually missed at the ranges I usually worked at. That was part of the reason one of the things I had done that morning, besides find an apartment, was procure a Colt 1911A1 and a hundred round box of ammunition for it. Food, cookware, some thrift store furnishings and clothing as well as getting the utilities turned on in the apartment took almost four thousand dollars of the five thousand I had in my bank account. Thankfully I had found out over the past ten hours that not only did I have a paper trail in this world but that “Bobby”, the entity that had given me the ability to jump realities, would be providing me funding once a month for basics. Of course, if I wanted more I would have to get employment, but with what I could offer in each setting, that might not be as big a problem as it should be. I mean, hell, here I could probably get the PRT or the Protectorate to pay me as a consultant once things started panning out.
    As I passed through a crowd of people heading up the boardwalk I noticed that I had picked up a tail: shorter than my stocky, five foot seven inch frame, petite, and blonde. I adjusted my course and the fact that she was following me was confirmed as she altered her course to match. “So,” I thought, “Tattletale wishes to speak with me. Maybe enlisting the Undersiders won’t be as difficult as I imagined.”
    In response, I turned down an alley between two of the Boardwalk’s stores and walked in about ten feet before turning around, just in time to catch the blonde stepping into the alley. “Hello, Lisa,” I said. “Or should I call you Sarah since that is the name you were born with?”
    The shocked look on the girls face passed in an instant before she responded. “You must be Wolf,” she said. “The way Coil spoke of you I figured you would be bigger, more menacing, and have an actual power instead of a pseudo thinker/precog rating.”
    The sneer was almost palpable in the teen thinker’s voice; I, however, had been considering the conversation since she had popped up in my sphere of awareness. “At least I don’t have a bastard practically holding a gun to my head to force me to work for him. Though I can and will relieve you of that problem if you decide to work with me.”
    One of her shapely little eyebrows rose in question so I decided I might as well make the pitch. If she flat out refused to take it to her team, I wouldn’t be out anything but letting the villain know I was gunning for him. That was probably something Coil had already figured out though, which was probably why Tattletale was here.
    Her head cocked to one side, “You know about that, huh,” she half asked. “But then again, you know a lot of things don’t you. Things that rate that precog rating, and your brain does seem to work at an accelerated rate when considering tactical situations, especially in the moment. Not a general, but a lieutenant dealing the initial counterstroke to your opponents strike at you.”
    “Don’t count me out on preplanning young one,” I said with a grin. “I also see the problems in other people’s plans and would probably rate pretty high on the brown pants factor of most non-combat types. That said, do you think your team would be willing to change employers?”
    “It would depend,” she answered. “We would have to vote on it, and it would probably depend on what they were asking us to do and what they were paying us for doing it.”
    I nodded, mercenary to the core; that was the Undersiders. Each had their own reasons for joining: Rachel to have the funds to protect her dogs, Lisa because she was forced into it, Brian to put back money so that he could afford to adopt his sister, and “Alec” to have fun. I wonder if taking out Coil at this point was really good for them or not. “Well the first down payment is a full blanket pardon for all activities before coming to work for me. That was what I was just arranging with Piggot.”
    “Yeah, right,” the teenager sneered. “The only way Miss Piggy would let us have a complete pardon would be if…” and her voice trailed off as her thinker power put two and two together. “No fucking way,” she said. “You convinced her to let us join the Wards?”
    “As an independent team,” I responded smiling. “You won’t be officially associated with the Wards until everything is cleaned up in the Bay area, and officially you’ll be working for me. That said, I’ll act more as a control and coordinator than the team leader. That’s something I’ll leave to the team. I know how well you operate, especially once the bug girl joins.”
    Lisa quirked the eyebrow again. “You’re sure she’s going to accept the offer?” she asked and I nodded. “Does she get the same blanket immunity as the rest of us?” Again I nodded. “Let me talk it over with the rest of the team and we’ll let you know one way or the other. “
    “That’s all I ever wanted Lisa.” I responded with a smile on my face. “You have a friend in me if you want it, though the bug girl is going to be a bigger one, or at least a more direct one. Now I have to go see about some legal representation for myself and for the team.”
    “Who are you going to see?” she asked and I smirked as I walked past her and turned the corner out of the alleyway.
    “Victoria Dallon’s mother.” I said and disappeared into the crowd.

    Interlude: Contessa and Doctor Mother.
    Cauldron Headquarters 1300
    Contessa moaned in relief as her cheek lay against the cool porcelain of the toilet in her private quarters. The last six hours had been a hell of nothing but disorienting visions and the stomach churning nausea that they seemed to bring on. Finally though the world had stopped spinning along with the various timelines that branched out from her existence. Her head was still swimming, but she thought the gut tearing nausea was over for good. She was still to unsteady to stand so she crawled back to, and into her bed. Reaching onto the bedside table she picked up the phone that sat there and hit the autodial. “Doctor,” she said the weariness evident in her voice. “We have a problem,” the person on the other end of the call must have asked a question because she answered. “Someone dug up the box and opened it; Shrodinger’s cat is on the loose.” That said Contessa hung up the phone and passed out from exhaustion.
    Doctor Mother looked at the phone in her hand as if it was a small poisonous snake. The phrase that Contessa had just said to her was a reference to a quantum physics thought experiment that was meant to let her know that their organization’s very existence was about to become public knowledge and that there was nothing they could do about it. Her first thought and action was to call Alexandria to let her know that the cat was out of the bag, but after that the question was what did the need to do. Her first thought was a full evacuation to another world, followed by setting off the charges to destroy everything before having Doormaker open a doorway between the control center and a black hole. She didn’t however, because they didn’t know how bad the situation was going to be yet. Instead she turned to the two other workers in the control center and told them, “Drop messages to all customers and contacts that the cat is out of the bag and that we are shutting down operations until further notice.” She received nods from the two before leaving to check on Contessa.

    **
    “Mr Wolf, Mrs. Dallon will see you now.” I looked up from the E-reader I had been reading from at the voice of the personal assistant before tucking it away in my long coat’s inner pocket and heading toward the door that the PA stood beside. As I walked in, I could see the mighty mother and lawyer standing to meet me

    “Mister Wolf, I’m Carol Dallon, how may my firm and I be of assistance.” She asked.

    As the assistant directed me to a “client’s chair” I started to speak, “First of all Mrs. Dallon let me thank you for agreeing to meet with me on such short notice, I know your time is valuable.” At this she nodded as we both took our seats, “I would have been less circumspect on the phone if I was already a client but until you have accepted funds I know confidentiality doesn’t quite apply.”

    “That has changed as of now however, so how about we discuss what you’re paying us for Mr. Wolf.” Carol Dallon replied.

    “Yes ma’am it has,” I responded. “Thankfully, the aspect of this is not so much a legal one as it is something of a habit of mine to get a parent’s permission for a child to do something before I ask the child in question to do that thing.” I stated, at this Carol Dallon quirked an eyebrow so I continued. “Later today Amy is scheduled to go to the PRT building to heal the damage done to Lung by numerous Brown Recluses.” I continued, “While she’s there Director Piggot is going to ask for some specific healing to be done to herself including the basic return to her 30 year old form instead of her current overweight one. While I know Amy has a significant lack of desire to do what she considers cosmetic repairs, I would ask you to ask her to go ahead and do this, both as a favor to the PRT in general and Director Piggot specifically.” As I spoke, I reached into my coat’s inner pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper. “As quid pro quo, I retrieved from the director the name of someone who might be of assistance with your husband and his, problem.”

    At mention of her husband’s issues Carol leaned forward over her desk and growled, “What do you know and how do you know it?”

    “Mrs. Dallon, currently the PRT has me rated as a minor precognitive thinker." I answered and one of her eyebrows twitched. "What I know is a particular timeline that occurred in this world and what I’m doing to collapse that timeline and basically give your world a better ending."

    "And this has what to do with what Director Piggot is going to ask my daughter Amy?" Carol Dallon ground out.

    "To do that I need Emily Piggot whole and healthy and not only with all her bodily parts but with the physical ability to use them in the field, at her current size that is untenable.” I responded and then sighed.

    Pinching the bridge of my nose I continued, “Currently you have trust issues that you’ve had since before the day you and your sister manifested your powers and your husband suffers from clinical depression that practically handicaps him outside of combat situations. Your sister and her husband are more stable as both a couple and as heroes, but are tied up with politics and leadership roles as the head of New Wave, and both couples children, while fairly well balanced, face their own demons without the assistance of their parents. On top of that you have laid a heavy and unrelenting burden on Amy. While giving her very little to work with for support structure. So little in fact that she feels her only support is Victoria which has led to certain problems of its own. I know she’s Marquis’s daughter, but she needs some support and trust for gods’ sake, she may be his blood, but you raised her and raised her well despite how you’ve treated her.” This pulled the woman’s approaching tirade up short. No one likes being called on the carpet for their private lives, and few deserved it, but the way Amy was treated and what happened as a result was something that I had a possibility and a personal requirement to stop.

    "I've never mistreated Amy." she responded through clenched teeth. "But let us for the sake of argument suppose I had, what would you suggest I do Mister Wolf.” The cape lawyer asked seething. The blood had drained from her face either from the personal fury at what I was saying or the realization of how right I was. I really didn’t care which it was.

    “In a few weeks the school year will be over,” I answered. “When it is take a small vacation, go to New Orleans, go see the person whose name is on that piece of paper, she can regress the damage to its beginning but not cure it. After that get him some actual counseling and medical treatment and the whole lot of you take a vacation. In the interim, let Amy know who her biological father is and why he was such a bad person, show her the case files. She only has some vague memories of a person she called Daddy. Who read her stories, played with her, and tucked her in; she doesn’t know the Marquis that you did. Also remember, she’s more the young woman you raised, and not so much the daughter of that villain that you took her from. Finally I’m going to ask that you support her in her decisions. If she decides that she wants to quit New Wave and join the Wards or some other team, back her to the hilt. I doubt that she will, she loves you and your family. You’ve raised her, she’s one of you, not by blood but by sweat and tears she’s your daughter. Hold her, love her, and appreciate her.” My peace said, I rose, “Again I ask that you call her and ask, ask mind you, that she comply with the director’s request. When all is said and done, I think everyone will be happy with the outcome. Have a nice day Mrs. Dallon.”

    With that I walked to the door but as I reached the entryway and reached for the door handle however, I was stopped by one last bit of information that I needed to tell her. "Mrs. Dallon, I have but one last thing to tell you." I stated before I turned around.

    "What?" she asked with more heat than I suspected she intended.

    "Leviathan is going to strike sometime in the middle of next month." I stated in a flat tone. "Your husband must not be there or else he will suffer irreparable brain damage."

    With that information passed on I turned once more for the door handle, yet four simple words stopped me once more. Well it wasn't so much the words as the tone of the “One minute Mister Wolf.” That Carol Dallon ground out. Standing at the door I did another abrupt about face before cocking my head to the side in a questioning glance. “Please, come back and sit down, it appears we have more to talk about than simply what you wished to say, please, sit down.”

    “Excuse me, Director?” Emily Piggot looked up from her desk at the voice and smiled at Thomas Calvert who had just knocked on her door. “You wished to see me ma’am?”
    “Yes Thomas I did,” she responded standing up and stepping around her desk. “Due to some of the information we received today I need you to start making evacuation plans for the city.”
    “Evacuation plans?” Calvert asked quirking an eyebrow. “What is the information if I may ask,” he continued.
    “Leviathan will be hitting Brockton Bay on the 15th of next month.” Piggot responded, before crooking a finger to get him to come over. “These are the projected damage areas for his rampage, including a new lake downtown when he supposedly pulls the aquifer to the surface.”
    Calvert looked and grumbled before asking, “How accurate is the information ma’am, I mean, I didn’t think Endbringer attacks could be predicted?”
    “Normally no, they can’t,” she responded and looked up at him. “But the new Thinker, Mister Wolf, knows a particular timeline and knows that for a short period of time that certain things will remain unchanged in that timeline no matter what actions he takes. “ The look that she shot him said nothing but could have said volumes, “He has given a list of crimes and perpetrators including a bank robbery that the Undersiders will perform, as well as a kidnapping that Coil’s men will pull off.
    “Yes ma’am, I’ll get right on that evacuation plan.” Calvert responded and turned to walk out.
    “Thomas wait,” Piggot called out causing Calvert to turn around once more. “Take the annotated map,” she said tapping the piece of paper on her desk before picking it up and waving it towards him. “It shows what the damage levels are at which locations throughout the city.”
    “Yes ma’am,” he responded before stepping back in and taking the map. As he left he saw Armsmaster and Miss Militia about to enter, only for them to step aside and allow him to exit. As he walked away he could hear them start to discuss something about Shadow Stalker until the door closed.
    “Really director,” Miss Militia said with a sigh. “It was rather smart of them, her friend’s father paying for the phone as part of their family plan, but really stupid not to clear the texts after their actions.” She finished.
    “The locker incident,” Armsmaster cut in. “aligns with certain texts. The preplanning, the actual act and the aftermath, as well as the other incidents Wolf mentioned all have relevant texts.”
    “So she’s provably guilty.” Piggot asked looking at both of them, they nodded. “Then go get her, I’m going to be the one to tell her the news.” The two capes simply nodded and laying the phone and a printout of the relevant texts on her desk for her perusal, left to pick up Shadow Stalker from the holding cells.
    **
    Sophia Hess screamed like a caged mountain lion at the walls of the holding cell. She had been texted on her PRT issue phone that Piggy had wanted to see her immediately after school if not sooner, so she had ditched her last class which was just study hall and headed in early. Even before she had reached the office she had been set upon by Miss Militia and Armsmaster who had cuffed her with electrical circuit cuffs especially made for her and stuffed her in this cell. Her stuff had been taken and she was sure gone through which meant that they knew she had an extra phone, but there wasn’t anything in her probation about not having a personal phone separate from her issue one. The question was what were they holding her on? It was the eighth time through the thought cycle when the cell door opened and Miss Militia gestured for her to get up and leave the cell.
    “So,” she said as Miss Militia and Armsmaster flanked her and escorted her to the elevator. “Are one of you going to tell me what this is all about?” Her voice was completely smooth, but the way she held herself spoke volumes about the attitude she was carrying.
    “No,” Armsmaster replied stone faced as they entered the elevator. Once they had turned around Miss Militia pushed the button for the floor they needed to go to.
    The doors closed and they started to rise, so she asked another question. “Am I going to get my stuff back?”
    “I don’t know,” Miss Militia responded cooly, “depends on what the Director says.”
    A moment later the doors to the elevator opened once more and the three of them stepped out and walked straight to Director Piggots office where the director was waiting and calmly said, “Close the door.”
    “What are we going to do with you Sophia,” Emily Piggot asked the teen standing in front of her. “Assault, Battery, Theft, Destruction of Private Property, and Emotional Abuse of a minor, some of those with the use of your power I’m sure.” At this point the director looked directly at the teen whose surly attitude had fallen away to an ashen face. “I can send you back to juvie to await your trial, or I can send you back to our own holding cells for the same duration. The problem is that we are expecting an Endbringer attack in roughly a month’s time and your abilities there would be helpful. I don’t expect you would be willing to help if we were to do something like that. So what we are going to do is leave you with two anklets. One will be to suppress your power, the other will be a GPS locator and whoever is on watch will have the specific duty of keeping an eye on you. You will go to school, and to home, nowhere else. If you need to go to the store, you call in on the issue phone and clear it with the watch and then it’s straight to the store and back home. Also, you don’t get the “personal phone” back, its evidence.”
    Sophia’s jaw had steadily dropped as Piggot had told her how things were going to change. “How, how did this happen?” she asked under her breath. “She was just a weak little nothing, there was no.” Abruptly she stopped, and glared at the surrounding adults. “Fine, if that’s the way it’s going to be then whatever. Put your damn anklets on Piggy,” she hissed and the director’s eyebrows raised a fraction of an inch. “Put them on and let me out of here. I won’t stay somewhere I’m not welcome.”
    Piggot looked to Miss Militia and nodded and then turned back to the paperwork on her desk while the two adults led the teen out of her office.
    **
    “He’s offering us what?” Brian asked, his tone showing his disbelief openly.
    Lisa looked at the rest of the Undersiders as she explained again. “We are being offered full immunity for all previous bad acts.”
    “And for that we betray our current employer, and help this new one remove him as an issue from the city.” Brian responded. “I don’t know where I could really stand on that.” He looked to Rachel and Alec, “What about you two?”
    “Absolutely full pardons for everything, all the deaths,” Alec asked. Lisa nodded in response, “Rachel being able to walk in the open without worry about being recognized and arrested?” Again Lisa nodded, “That sounds like a good deal to me, as long as we get to keep having fun.” Rachel just nodded her agreement.
    “How did he do it?” Brian asked suspiciously. “Something like that requires at least a director to sign off on I’m sure, if not the Chief Director’s approval.”
    “Well before I talked to him he was having lunch with Director Piggot and I’ve been watching things since then and she has very quietly pushed through the pardons on all our cape names.” Lisa responded. “As far as the upper echelons are concerned we are now, potentially, an affiliated sub-group of the Protectorate.”
    “What do you mean a sub-group?” Alec asked.
    “You know how the Protectorate funds various other cape groups around the world,” the three other teens nodded in response. “Those are considered affiliated sub-groups, the fact that we were considered a group of villains until a few hours ago will be forgotten except that we will probably be used as a training aid around the world. You wanted fun Alec, imagine pulling heists around the world and being paid to do it by the people we are robbing. Having the PRT and Protectorate at your back, helping to get you your sister Brian, and enough money to set up shelters and pay people to take care of your dogs Rachel. The final point, being able to do it all in the open and be ordinary people again.” The rest of the group sat in thought, digesting what she had just finished telling them. Surprisingly it was Rachel that broke the silence.

    “The long and short of it Dad is that I want to be a hero.” At those words Daniel Hebert stared hard across the desk at the man that his daughter had brought to speak with him. The words hurt because he knew how much his daughter needed something like this in her life, but he could not get the danger that it represented out of his mind since her demonstration of controlling a pair of spiders in front of his own eyes.

    “I understand that you want to be a hero Taylor,” Daniel said with a sigh. “My problem is that this is so dangerous. I would rather you not be working as a hero at all, but I imagine that is not going to dissuade you in the least.” He looked at his daughter who blatantly shook her head in the negative. “That said there must be a safer way.”

    “Mr. Hebert,” the man she had brought into his office at the dockworkers union building spoke up catching his attention. His daughter had introduced him as Wolf, it sounded like a cape name though the man wore no mask. “The normal thing would be for your daughter to join the local Wards team or convince her to keep her head down. As you’ve seen the latter isn’t going to happen, as to the former, well the director and I are concerned about some issues between her and one particular member of the Wards.”

    “What kind of issues?” Daniel asked.

    Wolf sighed, “One of them is one of the girls that has been bullying Taylor since she started high school.” The flat tone of the response told Daniel exactly what the man thought of the bullying. “This makes both the director and myself believe that there will probably be issues. She is probably dealing with the girl in question as we speak however there might be other issues with the local Wards team as a result of this. There are also some security issues there that I can’t discuss that my team will not have to deal with.”

    “Alright, I understand the why,” Daniel stated almost as flatly as Wolf had commented on the bullying campaign and its members. “I want to talk to the director myself somehow,” Daniel continued. “I want to hear what she has to say on the matter for my own self.” Wolf just seemed to nod and pulling out a small notebook wrote something down before ripping the page out and handing it to him.

    “Call the public switchboard and ask to speak to director Piggot.” Wolf said calmly. “They will ask for a priority code, when they do give them this sequence. They will connect you directly to the director.”
    ***
    Emily Piggot smiled as she hung up the phone from talking with Daniel Hebert. Wolf was as good as his word, approaching both the Undersiders and a previously unknown cape that Armsmaster had met the night before when the girl had beat down Lung using only insects. Chuckling to herself, Emily stood and stretched her newly repaired body. Another thing that Wolf had been right about, she felt wonderful now that her body closer to what it should be if Ellisburg had never happened. One kidney replaced and the other repaired from a combination of concussive damage to the organ itself as well as years of compensating for being the only kidney. She had never been petite by any stretch of the imagination; however she was no longer three hundred pounds. In addition to cutting away the weight to a more manageable level and fixing her kidneys so that she no longer had to deal with a dialysis machine on a nightly basis, Amy Dallon had fixed her knees so now she could run to lower or at least maintain the weight where it was.
    Wolf had also been the one to tell Armsmaster about the damage to Lung from the insects. This kept the man from administering the tranquilizer that had been prepared for the brute. Panacea had healed the remaining necrosis so that Armsmaster, Miss Militia and two squads of PRT troops could transport the gang leader to the Birdcage for his imprisonment. Yes, the stranger was proving as good as his word on all fronts, and now because of that she and the remaining members of the protectorate would be spending all night planning to take on the ABB before Bakuda’s bombing spree started.
    ***
    Daniel hung up the phone. The PRT director had verified Wolf’s story in a vague and slightly unsettling way, but had not gone into the specifics of what was going on due to “Operational Security Issues”. That had not settled Danny’s anxiety any about the situation, but the fact that yes there was a full pardon and a position in the Wards waiting for Taylor once this was done was reassuring. “We are currently verifying everything that Wolf has told us but so far it has all played out to the letter. The incidents at the school do involve a current ward and are currently being addressed. If it continues before we have the ability to move the person in question away, Wolf will inform me and it will be the last incident at that point.”

    The fact that the man was managing to protect his daughter from the bullies that had made the last year and a half hell for his daughter was a mark in the good column as far as Danny was concerned as well. The questions now were why Wolf was doing this and whether his daughter would open up about what exactly had been going on at school and who was behind it. “I’m still not quite sure about this,” Danny said after a minute of looking at them both in thought. “But I might be willing to allow it once I understand two things.”

    “Ask,” Wolf said leaning forward in his seat. “I may not be able to answer your questions, or you may not believe the answers but I will try.”

    Danny smiled a little at the man’s openness, “For you Mr. Wolf, the question is why. Why intervene in my daughter’s behalf. For you Taylor, I want to know who has been bullying you.” Wolf smiled and Taylor grimaced, but it was Wolf who spoke first.

    “Mr. Hebert, the fact of the matter is despite how I look now, despite what strength I have gained over the years, during my time in high school I was the proverbial ninety-eight pound weakling. In fact the year that I graduated I weighed maybe one hundred and twenty-five pounds.” Wolf said in response. “Add to that, that since I was in elementary school I was the predominant target for the school bullies because of a few issues that made me an easy target for them. The difference here is that I went to a southern, and yes, redneck school. This meant that yes, while you would get in trouble for fighting; responding to the verbal and physical abuse in a physical way was expected. The teachers did nothing, until things became a bit of a brawl and then punished,” a word that Wolf seemed to sneer while doing finger quotes, “both parties for the fight but not the abuse. Adding to this discouragement, my mother had always told me to walk away, not to fight unless I absolutely had no other choice. This became public knowledge somehow and was something that emboldened the bullies to push me far enough to anger me and yes even drive me to tears of frustration but they would not swing. They didn’t have to, they caused enough pain to get their jollies and wouldn’t get in trouble because of who their parents were.”

    At this point Wolf sighed and looked to the ceiling of Danny’s office. “Taylor’s problem is similar in a way,” the man continued. “If she uses her power she is branded as a villain, the school system up here is death on any kind of violence between students, and her tormentors either have personal power, or have family that act as a powerful threat to either her or the school.”

    Danny nodded; the man had a light but distinct southern accent and the scarred knuckles of someone who had used them in the past on a regular basis. The fact that his daughter’s plight mirrored the man’s own youth explained well enough why the man was helping her, so he turned his attention to his daughter and said one word. “Who?”
    Interlude: Panacea
    Medical Officers Log
    Date: 4-12-2011
    Amy Dallon (unranked) reporting

    Amy stopped and looked at the entry into her digital log before deleting it. It was too pretentious by half and the fact of the matter was that she just didn’t like it. Starting over again;

    Medical Journal entry
    4-12-2011
    I was contacted today by my mother to attend two cases at the PRT headquarters. The first was the brute/changer Lung who had apparently run afoul of several dozen black widows and brown recluses. The black widow venom was mostly out of his system due to his regeneration, but the flesh necrosis from the brown recluse venom was taking its toll on his body since he couldn’t get angry to increase his regeneration. From what I have been told he had gotten in a fight with a new cape, an insect master, who hit him with everything she could pull in. The damage was intense and extensive but easy for my power to heal. Afterwards he was loaded in an unmarked van and transported elsewhere. I was told he was being taken out of the city before any breakout attempt could be performed.

    The second case was a little more, touchy. The local PRT Director was dealing with a case of long term renal failure due to injuries sustained on the job as well as the result of several years of forced inactivity and inability to maintain fitness standards. Her kidneys were easily repaired and the excess body mass along with the inherent joint damage that comes along with it.

    Amy leaned back in her desk chair and looked at the medical texts that lined the shelves in her room. According to her mother, she would be going on sabbatical from Brockton Bay General Hospital as of the end of the week, and at the end of the month the entire family would be going to New Orleans to see if one of the Protectorate healers down there could do something about her father’s depression. Amy figured it would be a good chance to learn something new as well as decompress in the month her mother planned on them spending down there. Sighing Amy spun herself in her desk chair, she couldn’t remember the last time her family had taken a vacation together, and things had always been busy for them. Being one of the top parahuman groups in the bay area, New Wave always had their hands full dealing with criminals and they always showed up to Endbringer attacks. Now however things had changed, something had changed where her mother was concerned and it concerned Amy. She didn’t know what it was yet but she had about three weeks to find out before they were supposed to leave town.

    Interlude: Dreams and nightmares

    Brian could hear the screaming, his mother was fighting with her newest boyfriend, again and it scared him. He was scared because he couldn’t fight this one, he wasn’t big enough he wasn’t strong enough, but to protect Aisha, who the fight was about he would. Suddenly the screaming stopped, then there was a crash, almost immediately followed by another, and then suddenly the new boyfriend was in his room, or more accurately he was imbedded in the far wall from where he had entered the room while flying bonelessly through the previous walls.

    Taylor’s eyes opened and once again, she was back in the locker. It was the same thing each time, she was stuck in the locker, and she wasn’t able to get out. She knew intellectually that it was a nightmare, but in the heat of the moment, she wasn’t able to remember that and immediately started screaming. Suddenly the locker’s door was ripped off its hinges and light flooded in, a shadowy hand sat there offering to help her out of the locker.

    She wasn’t going to make it, her brother had just slipped the noose around his neck and there was no way Sarah was going to reach him before it snapped his neck again. She was just passing through the doorway as he kicked the stool out from under himself and as the rope started to grow taunt to take the light of life from his eyes a silver and blue streak flashed through the air above his head, parting the rope and leaving a quivering blade with a blue hilt stuck in the wall while her brother collapsed alive to the floor.
     
    udkudk and knight1 like this.
  2. moonmoon

    moonmoon Getting out there.

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    very interesting, i wanna read more boss!!
     
  3. johnworm1984

    johnworm1984 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    You say this is a rewrite but this is extremely close to the one you have over on SV. Way closer than 'starting from scratch with the same premise'. Is it going to start diverging at some point?
     
  4. Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    No, you misread that. I said instead of rewriting it i am running with it. Basically posting here will be the same as SV with only minor corrections
     
  5. johnworm1984

    johnworm1984 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Huh, you're right. No clue how I misread that. My bad. With this being on QQ, will it have lewds added or like you said just SV's with minor corrections?
     
  6. Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    Since this is in the sew section it will pretty much be identical to SV, however, it will at the appropriate point have the links to the NSFW section for the Lewds for those who want them
     
  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 2
    Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    Chapter 2
    “Taylor”

    “Run like deer, die like sheep, or fight like wolves,” Wolf told the Undersiders as they gathered round the stovetop island in the kitchenette of their lair. “The first two states default to civilians for the most part because they have those choices when facing parahumans. If, when shit starts to go down they do the first, they stand a good chance of living, if they stand their ground they stand a good chance of accomplishing the second, the third is where we come in.” I watched as the man flipped the pancakes in one pan before turning the bacon in another while watching a pair of eggs fry in a third. I wasn’t surprised at the appetite that he was cooking for, when I had come out for my morning run he had been there waiting to join me. He set a relatively easy pace till they reached the boardwalk where he moved both of us up to sprints showing how much faster his longer legs could carry him. I simply sprinted to Brian’s location while he did sprints between the two of us until I arrived. Afterwards we bought drinks, coffee for the rest of the team, tea for me and orange juice and a soda for him before going to the loft to cook breakfast. It was as he cooked for us all, whatever we wanted, that he lectured us about the next few days.

    “When a wolf fights, it’s always a struggle for survival;” he continued talking while now filling plates with our breakfasts. “There is never any quarter asked, nor any given, and they almost always attack as a group. Their attacks are distractingly in sync with each other, one grabbing the prey’s attention while another comes in and attacks a weak point. This is how I fight, and it is how you will learn to fight.”

    “That goes against everything the PRT wants and teaches as well as half the unwritten rules.” Lisa responded to which Wolf quirked an eyebrow at the thinker. “And you don’t give a damn what they want, you just want to keep people safe,” at this point a hint of wonder entered her voice. “You want to keep us safe, but why?”

    I watched as Wolf smirked sliding the girl her plate of pancakes and grits, “Because you guys are my pack now,” he answered. “And while we will try to bring our targets in alive I am much more concerned about the five of you making it back to base in one piece at the end of the night. To that effort I’ve requisitioned a number of containment foam grenades and bean bag rounds as well as six AR15/M16’s with under barrel grenade launchers. While I don’t like the base rifle, it’s fairly light, easy to learn on, and I can either maintain them myself with a minimum amount of time or teach you to maintain them yourselves with about the same amount of time. After that we move to sidearms,” at this point he sighed and looked at the five pseudo-villians. “Personally I prefer a forty five caliber, but that said I doubt Lisa or Taylor could handle the recoil of one, Alec even would be iffy, so we’ll be using nine millimeter pistols for sidearms. Ammo for both the rifle and pistol are going to be standard ball however, so I don’t want you taking the safety off of them unless it is absolutely necessary. Again the important thing is for you to come home at the end of the day.”

    “So you’re basically training us to be mercs as well as parahumans so we don’t have to rely on our powers.” Brian stated sounding a little angry. “Why would we want to do that, it only makes us more dangerous to civilians?”

    “It also makes us more useful to him and to ourselves.” Lisa answered thoughtfully. “What he’s doing is showing the world that the unwritten rules as well as the PR battle that the PRT wages around the world is essentially useless. We won’t be faces in the news; we won’t be people that have families that our enemies can respond against. We’ll be shadows that make accomplishments and then disappear only to be seen when we surface again with another victory.”

    Wolf simply nodded, “That however is all for another day,” he said. “For today we have a checklist of things to do to ensure that Coil ends up on the wrong path and finds himself either dead or captured.”

    “So what’s the plan?” Alec asked.

    “Rachel, you go about your normal day,” Wolf said looking at the girl. “You’re the most noticeable and we need someone keeping Coil’s mercs occupied while the rest of us get other things done.” Rachel nodded so Wolf continued. “Just go about your normal day and keep your cell phone on and on you, Lisa might have to text you a meet point later on or you might have to haul ass to help Brian and Alec.” The girl nodded again and finishing her breakfast which was heavy on the meat and eggs before she dumped the plate in the sink and headed out. “Alec, you and Brian have recon to do at a school so try to disappear either into the crowds or use an adjoining rooftop, Lisa will get you the address and a picture but I need you to keep an eye on one Dinah Alcott. She’s the Mayor’s niece and a precog that Coil wants to forcibly recruit. He might go for her early since his plans have been leaked and then discussed in front of him at the PRT. He might decide it’s too dangerous, but then again he might decide to take her with a different group than his mercs so keep your eyes open.”

    “Picture and address of both her home and her school are waiting for you in the printer guys,” Lisa responded as a hum and rattle started under the TV. Putting away her phone she looked at Brian and Alec, “Please try and spot Coil’s mercenaries before they spot you,” she asked before turning back to Wolf and continuing, “I suppose I’m on command, comms and control, is there anything else you want me to be doing?”

    “I want a one command cut out setup so that everyone of Coil’s plants and personnel can be locked out of the communications setup he has, and I need the address of his base.” Wolf answered. “Taylor and I are pulling recon mapping out the base and prepping for possible problems. If Coil calls today to get you to do either a job downtown or else a kidnapping agree to it after letting him sweat for about twenty minutes while you “talk to the team” if it’s the bank robbery, or a jewelry store I have a way to cover for it, if it’s the kidnapping, he’ll really never know what hit him.” Lisa nodded and jotted down an address on a napkin before finishing off her coffee and heading toward her laptop. “Taylor,” he said and I nodded. “We’re going to scout every entrance and exit, along with the layout of Coil’s base,” at this point he smiled. “I want spiders jamming every weapon he has in that place along with a mass of wasps and bees on hand to help the assault. I’m going to have people covering every exit this place has even if I have to recruit Faultline’s crew to do it.

    “So are we going in costume or not?” I asked dropping my plate in the sink, watching as he polished off a third egg along with half of the bacon, three pancakes and a bowl full of grits with butter, salt and pepper on them. He washed it down with the last of his orange juice before answering. “Costume under street clothes, mask in a bag of some sorts. I don’t think we’ll run into trouble, but best to go prepared,” he finished. I nodded and then ran off to get dressed. This was going to be an interesting day regardless of what happened.
    --

    “There it is.” I heard Wolf mutter as we walked past a high-rise office building in the downtown area. Looking I didn’t see anything that screamed secret base or hidden evil mastermind. “Any place I should focus my search?” I asked.

    “Look at ground level and below, see if you can find air access shafts that go down when they should all go up.” Wolf answered, “I nodded and started to focus on my bugs as Wolf guided me toward a park about a block away.

    “Found it,” I muttered. “I’ve got four openings on ground level, one in the elevator shaft, one in the sub-basement, and two into the parking garage.” Suddenly I lost contact with a lot of the bugs that were in the entrance that was hidden in an air shaft that went into the parking garage. Stopping them from sinking any lower I kept the rest of them from dropping into the cold and lack of oxygen. “Something is wrong with one of the entrances.” I said quietly as we sat on a park bench. “Bugs are hitting a cold layer that has absolutely no oxygen.”

    “Interesting,” Wolf said. “Note it and move the bugs to working something else. I get the distinct feeling that we’re working on a short clock here.”

    “Right,” I answered and moved the remainder of the bugs out and down the adjoining airshaft that actually fed air into the underground facility. Mapping out the base was going to be tedious work, but necessary if we were to meet our objectives.

    --

    Alec looked around at the middle school’s front area noting the various vehicles as they came and went. Up the street a panel van from Brockton Bay Electric and Gas was sitting alongside the curb and a set of cones were out around an adjacent manhole cover showing that someone was down working in the junction. “Grue,” he said looking at his stakeout partner who was laid out on the rooftop appearing to take a nap. “I don’t like the look of that panel van over there.”

    “What about it do you not like about it Regent,” his partner asked continuing to lay there and soak up the sun.

    “I don’t know,” Regent responded. “It just seems a little to conveniently placed considering we are trying to foil a kidnapping.” Grue grunted in response.

    --

    Lisa stared at the multiple windows on the big screen TV as she used it in place of her laptop’s screen. The remote keyboard and mouse also allowed her to work from the comfort of the couch while leaving the main piece of electronic hardware sitting hardwired into the screen. The laptop was her cold unit, bought under an assumed name from a generic store for cash and before today it had never been online, indeed it had never even been turned on except to load a single install CD with the programs for hacking the backdoors into the PRT and protectorate bases as well as the city’s CCTV system. All their phones had been replaced with burner phones and fresh Bluetooth units so plugging her phone into her laptop she pulled up the dialing program and started calling the others. “Alright people, let’s get this party started,” she muttered to herself.

    --
    -Wolf-
    “So what was it like?” The question itself caught me off guard as I sat on the bench watching the bugs draw out floor plans that included, indeed even specifically referenced the ventilation system. I answered with a questioning grunt so Taylor repeated herself, even going so far as to clarify the question. “When you fought back against your bullies what was it like?”

    I sighed and took my eyes off both the bugs that were drawing in the dirt and the grid paper that I was using to diagram the floors. “When I fought it was rarely about defending myself, at least not primarily.” I answered. “Defending others was my excuse to beat the hell out of the bullies because it was the same people that picked on me. That got me some respect and out of quite a bit of trouble early on, but unfortunately it simply caused the bullies to fixate on me.” I returned my attention to the diagrams on both the ground and the paper in my lap as I continued speaking. “After a while of that it got to the point that my mother got a bait long after I had reached my boiling point and told both me and the school in no uncertain terms that the next time one of their special snowflakes did anything to me that I had her express permission to beat the ever-loving hell out of the little bastards. It worked because when the one that seemed to get the most enjoyment out of the whole thing decided to pick a fight I stepped up and bloodied his mouth and nose.” At this point I looked over at her and smiled, “this did wonders for my self-esteem so when I transferred schools a couple of years later and a senior decided he was going to shove me into the schools decorative fish pond, I threw him in instead.” At this point I smiled both at the memory and the grin that the story produced on the teen’s face. “That got me a bit of respect and no one really picked on me from that point on. Marine Corps, oh there was the usual slight bit of hazing and inter-service rivalry with the sailors that I went through the same schools with, but that was more the old sibling rivalry that Brian could probably relate to better than you.”

    “I don’t know,” Taylor qualified with a grin. “I grew up over at Emma’s house almost as much as she was at mine, her sisters were practically mine, so I understand picking between siblings.”

    “Point,” I conceded. “Still, the point is that each time I stood up to them it improved my self-esteem, which in turn made it easier for me to stand up to them again later.” I smiled that feral smile again, “beating the hell out of them was just a fringe benefit. Now, what time is it?”

    “About half past one,” Taylor answered, “maybe a little after that, why?”

    “Because I think it will be today,” I answered. “Lisa talk to me, what’s happening?”

    “Alec and Brian are on sight and Rachel is in position about three blocks away walking the trio waiting for school to let out so they can keep an eye on the target as she goes home.” Lisa answered. “I have all but a couple of Coil’s Trojans either blocked, spoofed or destroyed and am sitting on the alert button for the Wards, Protectorate, and PRT so I can alert them as soon as something happens. At that point I’m blowing Coil completely out of the system and locking out all of his access, at which point he’ll know he’s been outed and things will hit the fan.”

    “Good call,” I answered. “Taylor and I are going to find a copy shop or something so that I can get these floor maps we’ve been working on scanned and uploaded to you so we can start planning our assault. I want everyone on the same page when it comes to taking him out. That way we can hopefully avoid any friendly fire incidents.”

    “Understood,” Lisa replied as I got up and wiped the floor plans from the playground sand box. “I’ll keep a watch on things till,” at that point she stopped her attention going elsewhere until a final word summed up the situation nicely. “Shit!”
    --
    Dinah:
    Kids boiled around me as we were released from the confines of school. Looking around I noticed a person on the roof of the building across the street as well as the city maintenance van down the street packing up. My power was throwing conflicting numbers at me about if they would attempt to take me again today, in short I couldn’t tell what was about to happen. This is the effect of two capes powers interfering with one another, the question was whose power was messing with mine.

    Crossing the street and starting toward home, I gripped the bridge of my nose as a wave of pain passed through my head. The headaches that using my power brought on were bad enough, but having to abuse the ability by asking the same question multiple times during the day was making this headache one for the record books, not that it was a large record currently. As I walked I noticed the van that had been up the street from the school pass by me and stop at the corner, just as I felt reality start to fuzz.
    The van door slammed open and one of the two men inside jumped out heading straight for me. My response was to run down the alley parallel to the cross street. Suddenly the man chasing me stumbled into the dumpster that half-filled the alley. It didn’t stop him though, I could hear him pick himself up and come after me again. Moments later he was right behind me again and again I heard him fall. Looking ahead I saw two figures standing there watching, one was talking on his phone while the other seemed focused on the man behind me. The man chasing me was right behind me again and then the man watching made a gesture and the man behind me fell again.
    This caused me to ask the question again. Asking my powers for the safest route home had to be done specifically because it couldn’t give me a straight answer. Before I left the school I had asked and found that walking would be safer than riding the bus even though it was a decent walk home. Asking the same question now my power indicated that the greatest chance of safety lay in turning and running down the alley I was drawing abreast of, so I started running down the alley. Behind me I heard the van accelerate away from the corner and while it took me a minute to reach the far end of the alley I didn’t find it waiting at this corner like I expected. “So little one, need some help?” hearing the voice I turned slowly to face behind me and the two capes that stood there waiting. Surprisingly my power was telling me that safety was with them, so I answered the question, “Yes.”
    --
    Calvert/Coil-
    I ended that timeline and worked at my desk for a few minutes before I split it again. In the first one I stayed at my desk and continued to do paperwork. As an assistant director at the PRT there was a lot of paperwork and the prospect of an Endbringer coming to town was increasing that tenfold. In the second timeline I stood up and walked out my door and straight into the barrel of a PRT issue foam sprayer. “Assistant Director Thomas Calvert you are under arrest.” It didn’t take a second before I was still sitting at my desk and opening a file folder for a .exe file that would wipe any and all existence of me from the system. Unfortunately it was that instant that the door to my office decided to swing open allowing two PRT troopers to enter wearing foam sprayers and immediately start demanding what was probably my surrender.

    As Coil I ended my entire PRT timeline, and then ended the timeline where I had stayed at home that day as a team assaulted my residence. The thing was, even if I had been barred from the building and my normal access had been rescinded I could still access the program that would erase my existence from the PRT’s files. Navigating my computer’s access to the PRT’s database through the various backdoors that I had installed in their systems I tried to do just that when suddenly I found my access revoked here as well. Suddenly the PRT system started to back trace me and then it was a race to disconnect myself from the various proxy servers that I used to access the PRT servers before they could trace me back to my base in Brockton Bay.

    “Damn you Tattletale,” I muttered before putting the base on high alert.
    --

    Meanwhile back at the PRT
    Emily Piggot looked at the empty office that usually housed her assistant director, “He’s in the wind Wolf,” she said into the cell phone in her hand. “I can try and get a kill order, but I doubt that there’s a court that would authorize it.”

    “I understand director,” the voice on the other end replied. “My team currently has his target, and he’s probably trying to figure a way to pick up Tattletale so he can torture her to death and not end that timeline.” Emily was suddenly distracted by an internal messenger running up to her out of breath and handing her a sheet of paper so she missed whatever it was that Wolf had said next.

    Looking at the pages contents she started to swear as she started walking back toward her office. Once she trailed off the voice asked her, “What’s wrong?”

    “Bakuda and Oni-Lee just broke Lung out from his transport to the Birdcage.” She answered and was treated to a solid minute of invective in three different languages.

    “How bad was the damage?” Wolf asked.

    “Thankfully not too bad,” Emily responded sighing and pinching the bridge of her nose as she leaned against her office door closing it. “Report has a total loss of the first transport van to a shaped charge land mine, but the driver survived the vehicle’s backwards flip and he was the only one on board. The second one had Miss Militia in it and she swerved off road to avoid the flying truck only to lose the tires on one side to punji stick pits in the ditch. Armsmaster was in the third and went to the other side of the one lane road where there was a pop-up pike wall that the truck hit killing its engine. Then Oni-Lee popped over to the backs of the surviving transports and popped the locks with shaped charges before extracting Lung from the one he was inside.”

    “Damn,” Wolf grumbled over the phone line, “I miss working with professionals like that. What was the total time from initiation to extraction?” he asked.

    “Less than thirty seconds,” Emily answered with a grumble of agreement at Wolf’s comment as she sat down behind her desk. “The damn van that hit the mine hadn’t even settled yet when they took off.”

    “Total injuries?” Wolf asked.

    “Just the driver had anything significant, and that was a fractured wrist and a concussion,” she answered. “The guards in the back of the trailing transport were strapped in as were Miss Militia and Armsmaster.” At that point Wolf chuckled, “What’s so funny?” she asked.

    “Now I can actually see if I can’t cut a deal with a dragon.” He answered, “We’re going to need him when Levi shows up, and he might be useful against Crawler when the Nine show up after that.”

    At that Emily swallowed hard, “You mean to tell me that the Slaughterhouse Nine are supposed to come back to my city and you hadn’t informed me yet?”

    “Yeah sorry about that,” Wolf replied. “I’ll tell you what, Saturday me and my team will show up in civs for a debrief and general breakdown of what I know. I know Armsy wants to know everything I do, as do all of you, but this is in house only right now, only outsider I want there is Dragon.”

    “Why not the Triumvirate, or the PRT Directors from around the country?” Emily asked honestly curious.

    “Do you remember what I told Armsy about people and their questionable loyalties?” he asked her in response.

    Thinking for a minute Emily remembered what he said about Triumph and Battery and how he couldn’t quite trust them because they had gotten there powers from a shady group instead of triggering normally. “Yes,” she answered.

    “Another tidbit is that Director Costa Brown who is actually Alexandria, works for them and got her powers that way.”
    --
    Dinah

    The two capes had led her to a slightly run down warehouse near the docks and inside to an upstairs office that had been turned into a loft. “Lisa, we’re back,” the larger one of the two called out.

    “Good,” a female voice called out from above, “Wolf and Taylor should be back soon,” and just behind them the door opened allowing three dogs and an older teen to walk in. The girl was coiling three leashes in her hand as she entered and looked at the two capes and herself. “And here is Rachel, so as soon as Wolf and Taylor get back we can start planning how to take down Coil.”

    “So we’re really going to take him down?” The smaller of the two asked as they led me up the stairs.

    “Yes, and not quickly enough in my book.” The female voice replied as I reached the top of the stairs. Looking around I saw a blonde sitting on a large couch in front of a big screen TV and laptop seeming to manage a half dozen sub screens all at one. “Hey Dinah, why don’t you come over here and have a seat,” she said patting the couch next to her. “Grue, we need to start prepping for a debriefing with the PRT on Saturday, Wolf said to have you write up a quick report on what you and Regent observed today.” The larger of the two capes grunted before grabbing the smaller one by the arm and heading over to a small dinner table that was stuck back in a corner.

    “What about me?” I asked after sitting down on the couch. Looking at the screens I could see they were feeds from various cameras throughout a pair of different buildings.

    “Well if you don’t mind helping me, I’m trying to pick out Coil’s moles in both the PRT and Protectorate bases,” she answered. “My name is Lisa,” she continued, “Tattletale when I’m in costume. Brian, aka Grue is the beefcake over there while Alec is the fop known as Regent.”

    “Hey, I resemble that remark,” the smaller of the two capes that had rescued me replied while the other just grinned slightly.

    “That means the other one is Rachel Lindt, aka Hellhound,” I responded only to be cut off as the butch looking girl responded.

    “Bitch,” she said in a soft but forceful voice, “I prefer Bitch.”

    “Ok, but I don’t think that anyone is going to be comfortable calling you that,” I answered. “Not to mention it’s also considered a bad word for kids to be using.” Bitch only grunted in a tone that I took to mean that she didn’t really care about that. “How about Cerberus? That was Hades’ three headed dog that guarded the gates of hell,” I asked. She grunted in response which I took to mean she would think about it.

    Turning back to Tattletale and what she was doing I started paying close attention to the people on the screens. “How would Coil get in touch with his people?” I asked.

    “As far as I know he would call them from a cell phone,” Tattletale answered.

    “Do you have the number he would call from?” I asked.

    She stopped and thought for a minute, “Possibly, it could be in my phone,” she answered.

    “Know any good hackers?” I asked.
    --
    Leet
    “You would not believe who just called asking for a favor,” I heard Steve say as he reentered the lair. I looked up from the wiring harness I was soldering and quirked an eyebrow in question. “Tattletale, she wants me to try and hack a phone for its contents.”

    “Does she have the phone or is it a remote hack?” I asked turning back to my work. The wiring for the control surfaces wasn’t going to fix itself and if we ever wanted our fighters to work I was going to have to either make my power work with me or find a work around for it. “And how much is she able to pay because hacking ain’t cheap.”

    “Three thousand for the attempt,” he said pulling one of my more successful portable rigs off of a shelf. “Remote, and she said she might be able to swing more depending on what I get out of it, but three thousand as a base.”

    I grunted in response, the amount sounded about right but for safety’s sake Steve was going to go off site to do the hack. “Want someone watching your back?” I asked.
    --
    Interlude: Lung
    While this was not the first time I awoke to an explosion, it was the first time I had done so while encased in containment foam. I could feel the transport van that I was in shift to the right and start to bounce as it hit the shoulder. Suddenly the whole van dropped into holes and I felt the vehicle shake as the tires exploded all around. Looking around I saw that they had cleared away enough foam that I could see and hear clearly, but I wasn’t able to move much and I couldn’t escalate my ability. A few seconds later there was a flash in the direction of what had to be the back door and then I was looking at Oni Lee. “One second,” he said and then we were gone from the truck and amongst trees.
    A few teleports later we were well clear of the PRT’s probable response and then I was being coated in chemicals to dissolve the containment foam. The tinker who had invented this foam was smart in that the chemical make-up didn’t dissolve under a single common chemical or molecule like acetone or gasoline. No, it took a particular recipe for the containment foam to dissolve. Unfortunately for the PRT someone had managed to figure out and would sell to whomever had the money to pay and Bakuda or Oni Lee one had apparently purchased the recipe for his breakout.

    “Thank you both,” I said once I was clean and dressed once more. “Both of you will be rewarded greatly for this. Now however we must return to what is ours and maintain our claim against those that would take what is ours.”

    “And what of the one who did this great Lung?” Bakuda asked.

    “Do we know who was responsible?” I asked. “If so I wish to speak to her under truce.”

    “Her, master?” Oni Lee said as he opened the door to the van that they had brought to take us home. “All the Protectorate said was that a previously unknown Vigilante cape who wished to remain nameless.”

    I grunted, and then responded. “We will ask then, and keep an eye open.” And with that I slipped into silence as we headed back toward Brockton Bay, it could have been a rather effeminate male, but the scent of the shampoo from her hair said female.

    **
    Saturday, April 15, 2011
    PRT Headquarters 1200

    We had shown up for the 0800 tour of the PRT building and the Ward’s areas and until we reached one of the secure conference rooms there had been nothing to tell the poor tour guide that anything was different than it normally would be. When the directory told her to “Bring her tour group in,” however, the tour guide was flabbergasted but obeyed. That she was immediately told to go outside herself simply floored her though.

    “Mister Wolf,” Director Emily Piggot said nodding to me as we me and my group entered. I was taken by surprise at this point as the five other members of our tour group entered as well. “Sarah, Neil, Crystal, Carol, Mark,” the others of the group all nodded to the director as they came in and took a seat. I wanted to hit myself for not recognizing Carol Dallon amongst the group. After the Undersiders took seats between the two groups of adults I looked to the PRT’s end of the table.

    “Miss Militia, Armsmaster, it’s good to see that Lung’s jailbreak caused you no lasting harm,” I said first addressing one of the elephants in the room. “Director Piggot thank you for gathering the people for this meeting and providing the place for it. How secure is this room?” I asked.

    “Probably not as secure as I would like.” The PRT official answered. “Do you have a way of making it more secure?” she asked.

    I nodded and then looked to the Undersiders, “Fry’em,” was all I said before turning back to the other three people at the PRT’s end of the table. “While that’s being dealt with, Clockblocker, Vista, Deputy Director?”


    “Rennick,” the man answered.

    I nodded, “Deputy Director Rennick, thank you for your attendance as well.” A subtle knock from the bottom side of the meeting table signaled that any listening devices in the room or able to listen to the room had been disabled. “New Wave, thank you for also showing up. I’ve explained a good bit to Brandish, Armsmaster, Miss Militia and Director Piggot, but now you will all get the full briefing which will take a few hours at least, and that is just to hit the broad strokes.”

    Hours later I looked around the secure conference room at the faces of the people in the meeting. All of them had a look of shock on their face at what I had just finished telling them. The knowledge that their entire world was a work of fiction to me was, I was sure, disconcerting. That I was able to tell them things that they didn’t think anyone else knew was even scarier. That I knew these things assured their attention while I told them the sordid tale that was Worm.

    “So what you are telling us is that effectively everything we’ve been doing has been useless.” Sarah Pelham said from one end of the table.
    “Not totally but in regards to the Endbringers, somewhat,” I answered glancing at the leader of New Wave. “Part of the problem is that they, like the Siberian are projections of their creator. Unlike the Siberian, Eidelon doesn’t know he controls them since they are working off his subconscious mind to find a “worthy adversary”. At this point I looked up at the ceiling, “though honestly I don’t know for certain if it’s supposed to be for him or for Scion.”

    “How much of this is likely to still occur now that you have shown up and interfered.” Director Piggot asked. Looking over toward her I could see the worry etched on the leaner face she now sported.

    “It depends on what we act on and how we act on it,” I replied a look of consideration on my face. “If we do nothing other than what we’ve already done, then things will likely move parallel to what they originally did to a degree. Oh, Coil won’t get Dinah, and the Undersiders will have a price on their heads if they stay out on the street, but those are things we can handle ourselves. On the other hand, my plan calls for some serious breaking of the canon storyline, starting with the criminals.

    “Can I say something here?” Clockblocker asked, a look of utter shock and wonder on his now uncovered face. When I nodded he continued, I had a feeling about what he was about to say.

    “This is complete and utter,” he started.

    “Bullshit?” I finished for him. “Dennis, I told an all-powerful being that I would be his entertainment simply because I was bored to tears with my life as it was. No prep time, no control over where I went just that I could choose when I left to jump into the next world. And before you ask, yeah if this world is going to go completely to hell why haven’t I left yet? It’s simple enough, because with all that I know I can make a difference. There are hundreds of stories out there where people are just dropped into this world, having the knowledge of the storyline or not. Anyone who wants to make a difference, they have two options, throw their entire knowledge out on the internet and get labeled a kook, or go to the PRT. This was which way I chose, though co-opting the Undersiders is doing yet another good deed that at least lends toward what my original purpose here is. Which is to entertain.”

    “What is your next step Mister Wolf?” Sarah Pelham asked from their end of the conference table.
    **
    Sommer’s Rock
    Lung looked around the bar known as Sommer’s Rock and shook his head. Four tables had been pushed together in the center of the room with eight chairs set two to each corner. Walking around the tables he found a card with an eastern style dragon embossed on it in front of one of the seats. The seat immediately around the corner from it had a stylized image of a ninja, looking over at his lieutenant Lung smirked behind his mask. “They were smart enough to anticipate who I would bring with me,” he commented.

    “So the dragon beat me here,” a voice said from behind him causing the gang leader to turn around. Behind him he watched as Kaiser walked through the bar’s door looking around. “It would be unseemly to be seen entering after one such as you.”

    “Yet one cannot necessarily control the flow of traffic,” the dragon of the bay responded taking his seat as the steel nazi took in the table that Lung had just himself been looking at. “Such is the way of the world. Did you call for this meeting Kaiser?”

    “No Lung, I assumed you did,” Kaiser responded finding his seat as well as one marked for one of his followers.

    “Interesting,” Lung replied. “If you didn’t and I didn’t, and I doubt Skidmark did,” the look the two gang leaders shared told the other how likely each felt that was, “then who pray-tell called this meeting?”

    “That would be me,” a third, female voice answered causing the two villains to turn toward the bar and the door to the back of the bar. Walking from the back area of the bar a muscular woman with a decidedly butch appearance stalked forward in a recognizable uniform.

    “And why would the PRT want to meet with the three biggest gangs in the city under truce.” Kaiser commented. “You know you couldn’t get away with just arresting us.”

    “Of course I couldn’t Kaiser,” the woman responded. “There are however other reasons to call a meeting, namely introducing you to a new cape in town and getting you to possibly listen to him.”

    “And why would we consider doing that Miss?” Kaiser asked causing the woman to smirk.

    “Because Max,” she paused a moment as Kaiser’s eyes bugged out slightly. “He knows all of our dirty little secrets.”

    “What is your name madam?” Lung asked as he stood while the woman stood behind a chair. He had seen the embossment on that placard but Kaiser had not.

    “Emily Piggot,” the woman said with a smile as she looked at the two villains, “Director of the Brockton Bay PRT.” The pair of them looked at the woman not seeing the muscular woman in front of them but the obese director they had known before looking at each other and nodding.

    “I see,” Lung said slowly. “I take he has confided these secrets in you, the PRT and the Protectorate?”

    “Some,” Piggot answered. “One of the first things he told us was the, length to which your people would go in freeing you Mr. Oshi. You seem to command a good deal of loyalty.”

    “And for that I thank them most graciously,” Lung answered. “This person, I assume he wishes to speak with us, else we would not be here. Do you know why?”

    “Because I want you in on the plan to kill an Endbringer.” I answered walking through the door from the back. “I know almost everything about the players in Brockton Bay,” I continued. “Those that can be helpful and those that are going to do nothing but be a pain in our collective arse. We are however needing to wait for one more….” My sentence was cut short by the door to the bar slamming open and a voice slurring out, “We be here Biatch.”

    Collectively six pairs of eyes tracked Skidmark and Squealer as they stumbled through the door and over to the table. “And finally the last two people are here,” I stated flatly. “Gentlemen, Ladies, I’m going to ask someone to step out of the back and deal with the inebriation of our final members here so that we can get down to business if that is amenable to you?”

    “No, I would rather he be left the way he is right now,” Squealer said depositing the drunken Skidmark into his chair. “That way the adults can speak while the children have their fun.”

    Taking my seat I smiled at Squealer before speaking, “By all means then, sit dear lady, I take it you are sober for this meeting?”

    “Unfortunately yes,” she answered. “Though I’m probably the one you most needed to talk to anyway correct?”

    “In a word, yes.” I answered, “It is likely going to break some rules,” a snort from Piggot made the comment of likely a definite yes. “But I’m going to need all the tinkers working together on a kill vehicle to hit Leviathan with when he arrives here next month.”

    “How do you know an Endbringer is coming next month, I don’t think any thinker has been able to predict them yet,” Kreig asked from his seat next to Kaiser. Then man had almost vanished next to Kaiser even with his World War Two Nazi Dress uniform.

    “No thinker can, but then again, I’m not a thinker.” I answered. “Call me what you will, time traveler, dimensional refugee, I don’t care, but I know what’s about to happen, and I have an idea on how to deal with the problems, and turn you each a nice profit in the interim.” This caused all of them to eyeball me like I was a side of beef and they hadn’t had anything to eat for a month.

    “So what is your plan,” Lung asked. “It obviously involves all of us working together,” a look at the table’s occupants made him add, “or at least us getting along and not attacking each other.”

    “In short yes,” I answered. “But the other part is that each of your groups is going to have to drop something’s that are fairly profitable and shift your attention to other avenues of acquiring money.” Looking at the three groups I could see I had their attention. “Borders as they are now do not move,” I continued looking each of them in the eye and receiving a nod. “No forced prostitution,” Lung cocked his head at that so I explained. “There are plenty of women out there that are willing to pay for the protection to ply their trade, use that.” The dragon cape nodded thoughtfully, “protection rackets should protect against actual damage and theft. If someone that is under your protection is robbed, find the thief and deal with them without killing them. Make them happy to be handed over to the police, but don’t tax the system permanently.” Kaiser nodded at this as did Lung. “And while the ABB get the seaward smuggling turf and the Empire gets the landward smuggling turf, the Merchants get passage on both to bring in their supplies and distribute their product out of the city. There is a list of things that are heavy and supremely damaging drugs that I want you to stop selling.” At that Squeeler nodded in understanding, “Just as I want the animal fights to stop.” Kaiser twitched at that so I gave him an out for his most profitable vice, “You can maintain human and parahuman pit fights but only with willing fighters, animals don’t get to choose, and I would hate to have to go on a raid against an ally’s facility because one of my people found it, distasteful.” The slow nod from Kaiser seemed to mean he understood, I sure hoped so, “I’m not saying we’re going to eliminate crime in the city; that would be impossible. Instead, we shall organize the crime so that no one has to fight, and the streets are safer, gentler than they have been in the recent past.”

    “And what of the independents, the new faces that show up?” Kaiser asked causing Lung to nod.

    “Yes, the Undersiders, Uber and Leet, and Coil, what of them,” Lung added?

    “The Undersiders are now working for me instead of Coil, and Coil is on our hit list for him to either end up in custody, dead or at the very least out of town.” The three gang leaders nodded, “the problem is his power makes him a slippery shit to chase down. Uber and Leet I am going to go talk to in the next few days and recruit them to the tinker projects which will take them out of town and off the screen as far as the Bay is concerned.”

    “And what do you and the PRT get out of this?” Squealer asked.

    “A quiet city.” Piggot answered shortly and then paused a second before explaining. “Look, none of you like this idea, hell I don’t either, but the idea is to bring something of a golden age of organized crime to the area, at least for the next two months. In that time we plan to deal with Coil, the Teeth, an Endbringer and the Slaughterhouse Nine. All of which will probably require help from all of you of one type of another. Wolf has told me his plan, using one of Bakuda’s time stop devices to pin Leviathan in place while a kinetic kill vehicle is launched and hits him out on the barrier before he can get into the bay itself.”

    “But as much as I hope for that to work, or at least help, I don’t expect it to. Fighting Levi is going to be a pain, but I expect having the Rage dragon of Kyushu on our side will help while we attack its weak spot will give us an edge.” The last bit was said while making air quotes and held their attention long enough for what I had said to sink in. It was Lung that broke the surprised silence of the group.

    “It has a weak spot?” the Dragon asked incredulously.
     
    LawWilk, udkudk and moonmoon like this.
  8. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Interesting, but one problem I've spotted.

    Coil has two timelines.

    If he's in his base in one and his office in the other, he can't drop the office one and then restart another one in his office.

    Likewise, if he drops the base one and starts a second one in his office, he can't revert back to his base.

    So what basically happens is that he walks out his office door, gets foamed and drops that timeline. This makes his sole timeline the one in his base. If he splits at this point, both timelines are in his base.
     
  9. Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    Ack

    I said something to this when originally posted in SV/SB that boils down to there being no real way for two timelines to be enough to pull off all of his shenanigans, so here he gets more.

    In the first thread someone pointed out that he had a body double to play as Culvert so that common security measures like annual MRI scans wouldn't catch him. Here, he just plays ring around the rosy with them until they give up and then uses his power to deep six the paperwork.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 3
    Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    Chapter 3
    Look alive sunshine. 109 in the sky but pigs won’t quit, you’re here with me, Doctor Death Defying. I’ll be your surgeon, your proctor your helicopter, pumping out the slaughter-matic sounds too keep you live. A system failure for the masses, anti-matter for the master plan, louder than God’s revolver and twice as shiny. This one’s for all you rock and rollers, all you crash queens and motor babies.”
    My Chemical Romance-“Look Alive Sunshine”

    Taylor watched as Lung’s head tracked to her as she entered the bar’s main room. All the others had left seemingly including Oni Lee who was nowhere in sight. “Please, come over and sit with me for a moment,” the dragon cape said his voice a deep rumble. Skitter nodded, and walked over, sitting opposite Lung. “You were very brave to stand up for someone you didn’t even know that night, especially against another parahuman like myself.” His voice was calm, not at all like he had been that night, “Miss Skitter, you are the first parahuman to ever force me to stop, and that I must respect. Tell me, why did you fight me that night, why did you stand up to me with nothing but a bunch of bugs?”

    “You were talking about killing children,” Taylor answered, her voice flat and without emotion. “You told one of your gang members that if they fell, to put another round into the back of their head for good measure. I didn’t know you were talking about another gang, about the Undersiders, but I wouldn’t change anything I did regardless. They are good people,” she added with a slight smile, “and they stand behind each other and me.”

    Lung nodded, and then reaching up unsnapped the strap on his mask before pulling it away. “My name is Oshi Kenta, and I was born in Akihabara district of Tokyo Japan. I am also the Parahuman known as Lung, my power allows me to change into a dragon and escalate to meet the attacks of my enemies, and until that night when I fought you I had not yet met my match. Now, please let me tell you of my past, and of my dreams.”

    “Director Piggot what the hell did you think you were doing?” the acerbic voice of Director James Tagg blared from the speakers of Emily’s terminal as the system connected to the video conference call that had been called for that morning.

    “Good morning to you as well Director Tagg, I’m feeling particularly well this morning and yourself?” Emily asked watching as the regional PRT directors started to appear in their labelled dividers on her three screens.

    “Don’t you play innocent with me Emily,” the man growled, “I’ve heard that you not only have some kind of precog in the area but that he’s convinced you to make a peace treaty between the PRT, the Protectorate and the gangs allowing them to continue in their illegal activities while only making a token gesture at reigning them in.”

    “James why don’t you give it a rest.” The voice of Director Alexander of New York said calmly. “I’m sure once everyone is ready for it that Director Piggot will give us a full and concise report on what is happening on her patch just as we all will.”

    “Thank you Director Alexander,” Emily said to the New York Director, “And how are you this morning?”

    “Ready for either spring to melt into summer or else a shift of flag to warmer climates” the older man answered over Tagg’s grumblings. “You’re looking surprisingly well,” he continued.

    “Yes,” she answered, “I was finally convinced to allow Panacea to heal the damage that Ellisburg caused. It’s nice to be able to see my toes again, let alone touch them. The kidney damage was particularly nasty from what she explained, and the high stress lifestyle of a regional director wasn’t helping either.”

    Alexander nodded, “I can’t help but agree there,” he said softly. “I wonder if she would be willing to stop by New York one day and give me a general tune up as well as deal with this arthritis.”

    Emily shrugged, “All you can do is ask,” she responded. “I understand that in a week or two her and the rest of New Wave is going on a much needed vacation.” Alexander only nodded in response and then they settled in to wait for the rest of the directors to sign on and join the call.

    Over the next few minutes various greetings were exchanged as the various directors showed up. Finally an imperious knock drew their attention to the center box of their center screens and Director Costa-Brown. “Ladies and gentlemen,” she said ensuring that she had all of their attention. “This director’s meeting is hereby called to order. First order of business is how things are going in each of your areas, Director Piggot I believe we’ll start with you this time,” she continued. “Is there anything outside the normal that has occurred in your region since last month?”

    “Hello Kayden.” Max Anders said in the doorway of his ex-wife’s apartment. “Could we talk for a few minutes?” Kayden Anders nodded at her ex-husband and stepped back to allow him and her step-son Theo into the apartment. “Can Theo watch some TV,” he asked surprising her. “What we need to talk about, well, it needs to stay private.”

    Again she nodded, “Put it on whatever you want to watch Theo, your father and I will be in my bedroom.”

    “Yes ma’am.” Theo answered and walked calmly over to the television and turning it on with the volume low after glancing at his sister who was asleep in the playpen that was sitting in the living room.

    Leading her ex-husband into the bedroom she shut the door behind them and crossing her arms leaned against it. “What do you want Max,” she asked softly?

    “I want you to take Aster and Theo and leave the area,” he answered before turning around to face her directly. “Get your old group together and take them and the kids and head somewhere away from here. I don’t care where it is I don’t care what it costs. I have a MedHall company credit card here with your name on it and a five hundred thousand dollar limit so you can start your life over with the kids. All you have to do is take your people and go.”

    Kayden looked pensive as she looked at the credit card that Max was holding out to her, “Why Max?” she asked. “Why now when before you wanted Aster and Theo as close to you and as involved in your movement as possible?”

    “Because Leviathan is coming and I might not survive the fight,” he replied softly.

    “He wants to do what?” the President of the United States asked leaning over his desk in the oval office as stood, glaring at his Chief Director of the PRT. “Does this person have no concept of the phrase collateral damage?”

    “Honestly Mister President I doubt that he does have much of one.” Rebecca Costa-Brown answered. “However if we were to try this anywhere, our thinkers feel that Brockton Bay would be the ideal location to do so.” The President looked at her with a glare so she explained. “First, the population outside of the para-humans can be summarily evacuated with relative ease in the time frame we have and the city itself is in sore need of relief and rebuilding already. Second, while the possible damage of the method of attack is great if the target is missed, it is less as long as he hits the target, and he does have that ability via one of the local para-humans to guide the strike package directly onto the target. Third, by using another para-human he intends to hit what he calls the creature’s weak spot with the package. That para-human would have to be transferred from another city however. Fourth, in the event that his initial attack method doesn’t finish off the beast like he thinks it will he and all the para-humans of the city plus any volunteers that, as he puts it “Comes to the party,” will take the fight to the monster while it is still crossing the barrier reef, not while it is in the city.” Costa-Brown stopped at this point for a moment and looked the President directly in the eye. “Sir, Alexandria will be there as will the rest of the Triumvirate and they are in agreement that this is our best opportunity to kill Leviathan if he shows up there. Also, even if he doesn’t, then with all our para-humans gathered in one spot we can easily shift our attention to where ever he does hit and go with a slightly modified attack plan wherever that may be within moments.”

    The President sat back down at his desk and contemplated the numbers much as he figured Churchill must have done when the intelligence about the attack on Coventry was brought to him. Finally, he looked up at the PRT’s Chief Director and nodded, “Mission Approved, take the tinkers you need to Canaveral and start to work today. I’ll contact the other governments via the U.N. and other diplomatic channels to inform them of what we are attempting and ask that if any of their para-humans want to assist they need to head to Brockton Bay as of the tenth of the month.”

    Rebecca Costa-Brown stepped back from the desk and snapped to attention before saluting, “By your leave sir?” she asked and received a sloppy salute from the President before cutting hers sharply and then turning on her heal, leaving the Oval office to see to her work.

    The President smiled as he dialed his Ambassador to the U.N. so that they could be informed. “Maybe it was going to work this time.” He thought, ”Maybe it just took someone pulling all the pieces together as a whole to knock the hell out of one of those End-bringer bastards.”

    Amy looked at her mother, no, at Carol. She had known for a few years that she had not been Carol’s daughter by birth, she had figured that she had been some dalliance of Mark’s and that she had come here to live with them when her mother had died. Now, looking over the files she really understood. It now made sense why she had to fight for the least bit of recognition where Victoria was showered with it. Part of it was her powers, Carol was of the mind that if you had them you had the obligation to help people. Being a rogue was only for those who couldn’t use their powers for anything else, in Carol’s mind they were little better than villains for either not being imaginative enough to use their power to help, or were just greedy and only lacked being villains by dint of their work was legal. “Were you ever going to tell me, or were you just waiting for me to start cackling like a mad scientist so you could point and say, See, I told you it would happen,” Amy asked? “I mean, how was I supposed to find out that not only was my actual father a villain, but that he was Marquis.”

    “I’m sorry,” Carol said softly as she cringed slightly. “There were so many times that I should have told you, so many things that I should have done differently.”

    Amy bit her bottom lip in thought as she watched Carol fish for something to say, to be able to explain the reasoning behind what had been done, what had happened over the year. Looking down at her father’s file and the scrapbook her mother had kept of the Brockton Bay Brigade days of New Wave and sighed. “Mom, let me ask you something,” Carol nodded her response. “Why did you go so far going after him. I know that at that point the Unwritten Rules weren’t really a thing, but you really went out there attacking him at home. What drove you to do the very same thing that a few years later would have everyone’s blood up when Fleur was killed. For that matter how in the hell did you get custody of me, you’re not a blood relative, and really had no claim to me so how did I end up here?”

    Carol gave her a slightly wistful smile, “The second question is easier to answer so I’ll tell you that one first. The long and short of it was that Marquis asked us to make sure you were taken care of, that he wouldn’t fight any more, just so long as we ensured you were cared for. I figured Sarah and Neal would have taken you, they were already going with both Crystal and Eric so I figured they would be able to slot in another child easily. I didn’t realize though how tight things were in their house and when Sarah pointed it out it left Mark and I to take you because we were not going to leave you to the system so that you could be used as a pawn or hostage. As for the first, well I’m sure you know the official reason other than the fact that him beating us just ticked us off, me in particular. That said though there is another, more accurate reason.”

    Warning, this particular backstory is my own and has no relevant or confirming information in canon, read ahead if you wish but it’s my head canon, it makes things make more sense at least to me on a personal level.
    Carol tried to watch everything as she crossed the college campus. Not only were college campus’s a veritable den of rape as far as she was concerned, but she really needed to get a move on and using her powers would let her get from the campus to her and her sister’s apartment in mere moments as opposed to the half hour to forty-five-minute walk and bus ride she would have to make otherwise. In short, she was behind schedule, and that was something that not just irritated her, but would irritate her boss and possibly cost her the job she needed to pay for her tuition.

    “Excuse me,” a voice asked pulling her attention out of her mind and problems and focusing it back on the world around her. This of course caused her to start to mentally berate herself for letting her mind wonder. Thankfully the person asking the question thought she was paying specific attention to their question, “Do you know if the bus at the corner goes straight to the central depot or does it take a round-about route?” Turning, she finally laid eyes on the speaker, a young man, about her own age or slightly older with rather average features.

    “The next but will go straight to the central depot, but the one after it will go all the way to Captain’s Hill before turning back,” she answered. “Which do you need?”

    The young man smiled, “The long route, unfortunately,” he replied. “I’ve seen you before, taking the direct route about this time. I, unfortunately, need to study while I ride, so I won’t be able to join you on your trip wherever you are headed,” at this point he smiled and she blushed slightly. Looking around she found that they had continued walking to the bus stop and the bus she needed to take was just about to stop. “And we are just in time for your ride it seems. Here,” he said offering her a post it note with writing on it. “If you want to, call me sometime.”

    “Um, thank you.” Carol said taking it before darting onto the bus. Looking at the note as she sat down and the bus started to move. On the post it was a phone number and a name, “Michael Lavere,” she murmured to herself. The question was, was she interested?

    Amy looked at Carol with wide eyes, “You knew him before he went Villain?” she asked.

    Carol smiled wistfully, “It wasn’t that I just knew him, we dated for a little bit.” The look on Amy’s face must have been a mixture of shock and disbelief. “I did know and date people before Mark you know,” Carol said with a smirk. “You can ask your Aunt Sarah, it’s just that I never let them get close to getting close to me. I’ve had serious trust issues ever since the incident that caused Sarah and I to trigger. What happened with your father didn’t help me were that was concerned either.”

    Amy saw tears start to form in Carol’s eyes at the memories. “As I got to know him I could see the darkness, or maybe it was just the ruthlessness in him but I thought I could keep him from going down that road and maybe I could have if I had run off with him, but at that point I wasn’t ready to leave Sarah behind.”
    “Come with me Carol,” Michael said to her as they sat in the romantic little bistro that had become their usual place to eat. Michael had some money, and he always seemed to be able to get off from whatever his job was at nearly the last minute. In the six months they had known each other he had never missed a date or been unable to help her when the crappy car she and her sister had finally been able to afford to buy broke down and she needed help. He had finally gotten his Associates Degree and was about to leave Brockton Bay for bigger things. An MBA from an Ivy League business school would mean big money for him later on, and a comfortable life for whomever he married, and he was asking her to go with him.

    The problem with running off with him was twofold, one she didn’t know nearly enough about him. Their whirlwind romance of six months had done wonders about bringing her out into society and made her not isolate herself in class, job and home, however, she didn’t know much more about him at this point than his name, address, phone number and major. Oh she knew the little things, he was polite to a fault, and he would never hurt her or allow her to be hurt. He was kind to children as well and seemed to take great joy in seeing to their happiness, but she didn’t know really any more than that. Where he was from, and maybe more important, how he would react to her secret, that she was a cape. The second problem was that he also knew very little about her, she was in pre-law courses, her plan was to become an attorney as well as a crime fighter and partner with her sister to clean up whatever city they settled in. Quite frankly though, it was time for her to bite the bullet and tell him, at least that she was a cape. “Well Michael, before you ask me that again there is something I need to tell you. Something that might well change your mind about having me come with you.”

    “It was hard, but telling him that I had powers was something that I had to do,” Carol said wistfully. “Surprisingly he just smiled and made a gauntlet of bone over his fist and said, “Me too.”

    At that point Amy just gaped at Carol, “So what drove you apart,” she asked?

    “When I saw that bone gauntlet form I knew exactly who he was,” Carol answered. “I knew exactly why he was always free and always had money. Rumors had been going around for months about a small time criminal with a code. A bit of a Robin Hood type who was always the gentleman even while he stole loads of money from the prosperous families around Captain’s Hill. I gave him a choice right then and there, to stop being a criminal, or lose me. He left without answering.”

    “And we know which choice he made,” Amy almost whispered. “Why didn’t you go after him,” she asked?

    “Because he left town and I didn’t know where he went,” Carol replied. “Not to mention that I couldn’t face Sarah with the knowledge that I had let villain get that close to me, to almost finding out my secret identity and through that hers. It took a while longer to find someone I could trust ever again other than Sarah, not until I met Mark in fact, and even that was a labor for him.” At this point she chuckled, “If you think that Victoria and Dean’s relationship is a mess, you should have seen Mark and I getting together. He was so sweet and awkward and couldn’t hide a damn thing. It was that last thing that finally let me trust him, to love him,” she finished with a sigh. “Now what is this thing between you and Vicky,” Carol asked?

    Amy sat there for a moment with her brow furrowed, obviously trying to work out the best way to say what she needed to before she sighed and let her shoulders slump. “Promise you won’t say anything to Vicky,” she asked?

    “Depends on if it’s something that needs to be aired,” Carol replied. “If it’s something that she needs to know then I’m going to bring her in here and the three of us discuss it like adults. Otherwise not a word, I promise.”

    “Have to do,” Amy muttered before squaring her shoulders and looking Carol in the eyes. “I love her,” she stated bluntly.

    Carol almost laughed, “Of course you love her,” she said instead. “She’s your,” at that point Carol’s voice suddenly trailed off. Fact of the matter was that Vicky wasn’t actually Amy’s sister, and though they had been raised as such the fact remained that they were not related at all. “Oh shit,” was all she could say at that point.

    Coil sat at his desk looking over various paper work. Running a criminal syndicate was not as easy a job as Marlon Brando or Robert DeNiro would have you believe. Paperwork was filling his days as he sought the appropriate path to acquire the parahumans that he required to pull this off. Sighing he considered once more just packing things up and moving to another city and starting over. His civilian identity was blown so he wouldn’t be able to go through the PRT to take over the next city, but maybe he’d just co-opt the mayor this time. Pick a smaller city that didn’t have a PRT or Protectorate presence and take over their underworld, he would be a big fish in an even smaller pond than Brockton Bay, but he wouldn’t have the threats hanging over his head like he did here. The thought started to appeal to him so he started going over what he would need to take with him on his computer. Suddenly alarm klaxons started to wail and after pushing the intercom button on his desk phone he started to tap at the keyboard as his voice snapped out over the internal communications net. “Report!”

    Kaiser stepped through the remains of the doorway and its defenders. The fact that he was being allowed to go all out in this assault was a new and strange thing. Usually he held back to make sure he didn’t kill people, but tonight was an exception that might just make up for all that. “Hookwolf, Cricket, Stormtiger,” he said pointing down one hallway. “See where that leads and what you find, Fenja, Menja, and Victor the other direction. Othala you and Krieg will stay here with me. Find this sack of shit that would out us to the world and bring me his head.
    The door melted into nothing allowing Lung the ability to step through the door and into the base as scales started to cover his body. A heartbeat later Oni Lee appeared in front of him but behind the mercenary guards that were exchanging gunfire with other members of the ABB that were advancing behind Lung. Seconds after Oni Lee’s appearance the guards were dead. “Find the vermin that would see us destroyed and bring me his head.” Lung growled
    The door ripped apart as a dumpster plowed through it killing the guards on the other side and clearing the path for a horde of Merchants to spill through the opening unopposed. “See,” the gang leader said to Squealer as they walked through the opening. “I told you it would only take two dumpsters to break through.
    Coil sighed as he watched the invasion of his base unfold on the monitor in front of him, “Trickster,” he said after keying in a short sequence that connected him to the observation area of Noelle’s room. “There are some unwanted visitors entering the upper reaches of the base. Please deal with them.”
    “Understood.” Was all the answer that he received before watching the Travelers leave the room and head toward the sound of the proverbial gunfire.
    ---
    Coil scowled as a camera view showed gang members flooding into his base behind their parahuman leaders. They had already blasted their way past or out flanked all of his uppermost check points and were quickly working their way forward and down. “Maybe it’s time to move on from the bay,” he muttered before keying a sequence into his desktop. Setting the timer for five minutes Coil figured he could catch all of the invaders in the blast and still manage to escape himself since he didn’t have Dinah Alcott to evacuate with him. Before he was able to hit the enter key however, he found himself on the floor next to his desk, as the room filled with smoke. Rolling over he watched as a figure stepped out of the entrance to his private escape tunnel.
    I stepped from the last access tunnel and into Coil’s base even before breathable air was able to replace the nitrogen that had kept most people from investigating the supposed ventilation shaft. The demolition charge had been perfect, shooting the shards of the door across the room and clearing my entry path. My earpiece buzzed and I spit out the mouthpiece of my rebreather as I swept the room with my combat shotgun. “Office clear, computer shows a five-minute timer not yet initialized,” I reported even as my back up arrived.
    Walking in I looked at what remained in the room after my barrage of charges. Brandish had cut through the secret door allowing me to ease it open and drain the Nitrogen that the area was flooded with. Then with access I was able to throw a half-dozen charges of my power into the room, enough to subdue anyone inside. “Office clear, there is a computer here showing a five-minute timer that has not started its countdown yet,” I said into the full face diving mask.
    I walked into the room and smiled behind my ballistic mask
    In front of me a figure stood up, “Hello Coil,” I said as the rest of my strike team spread out behind me. “Or maybe I should call you Thomas, it is your given name anyway.”

    Reaching down to the desk Coil seemed to set a hand next to the keyboard. “Oh Emily,” he said with a theatrical sigh. “Why couldn’t you have just stayed blind and miserable,” he asked? “I could have quietly taken over the city and no one would have ever known who Coil was even when he died messily on live Television. But no, you had to listen to some new cape in town and blow it all to hell. Now though, you have a choice, either you let me go or I push this button and we all die.” Theatrically Coil started to brandish a large pen like device with a big red button on one end.

    “I don’t think so.” I said flatly and the report of the forty-five in my hand rang twice in the room as I fired from the hip. The first striking the thinker in the chest, the second pulping his head and face.
    “Office clear, Coil is either somewhere in the base or has escaped,” at that point my smile became a feral grin. “Hunt him down, the order is dead or alive.”
    Thomas Moore watched as explosions ripped the night sky before climbing into the Greyhound bus that would carry him out of town. South was his best bet for now, maybe he would leave the United States to try Cauldron’s little experiment in Para-human Feudal power structures, and maybe he would just find a quiet little city to be a power behind the throne. One thing was absolutely certain, he wasn’t able to do a damn thing in Brockton Bay anymore, not a damn thing. Seating himself at the very back of the bus he leaned his head back against the back window and slipped his hat down over his eyes. Sleep would be a good way to spend the first leg of his travels and in this state his mind wandered until he felt a weight settle into the seat next to him.
    “So Thomas, I see you are making good your escape plan.” A female voice whispered in his ear even as he felt a circular object socket itself into his armpit. “Oh, don’t bother yourself with getting up or even really recognizing me, I won’t be here long. The thing is, this new player on the scene, well he’s changed all the variables, we don’t need you and your little parahuman kingdom anymore. Add to that the fact that all of us find you a disgusting little shit, well, it just warms me from head to toe to do this.” With that there was a pair of very quiet chuffs of air and the clacking of the action of the pistol as it fired a pair of silenced .22 long rifle slugs into the chest cavity of the villain. With her mission accomplished Contessa rose from the seat at the back of the bus and left.
    ---
    Wolf in the Aftermath
    36 hours later
    “Well Coil’s body has been found and identified,” Emily Piggot told myself and the group of parahumans as the last of them gathered in Sommer’s Rock. “He turned up dead on a Greyhound in Boston,” she chuckled. “I understand that Accord was most unhappy that we have shipped a dead body to his city for their people to have to dispose of.”

    I chuckled as well, “Well then things are going to plan so far. Ladies and gentlemen,” I continued to the rest of those assembled. “With that problem out of the way you have no worries about your dirty laundry being aired publicly. A toast, to karma, may everyone get all that they deserve” the cheer that was raised with their glasses were only matched by Emily and my own smiles. Oh yes, all you deserve and more will be yours.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
    Teftel-__- likes this.
  11. kanatschnig

    kanatschnig Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    nicely done, tho with worm beeing the apocalyptic deterioating escalation it is I'm kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop
     
  12. Dudenator

    Dudenator Know what you're doing yet?

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    Except that's not how Coils power actually works. His power simulates two possible futures based of his choices, he then picks one and his power auto pilots him until it's done. It just looks like time splitting to him.
     
  13. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    From the outside, that's how his power works.

    But you are essentially correct, yes.

    My point is that wherever he is when he drops a timeline, that's where he is. He can't magically teleport to where he was in the other timeline after dropping it.
     
    Prince Charon likes this.
  14. Threadmarks: Hakelgenia Interlude
    Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    Interlude: Done, for the night.

    Dinner had come and gone, a minor affair brought up by the servants that everyone munched on in passing as James had told his story for tonight. Now however it was getting late and everyone needed to get to sleep since the days ahead were going to be lively. “We have a room set up for your convenience James,” Saito told me in a hushed voice. “It’s not much compared to what the students are used to but it’s better than the servant’s quarters.”

    “Don’t worry about it,” I said waving the young man’s concern away. “I’ve slept in so many different and uncomfortable places that as long as there is a bed I’ll be fine.” I thought about that for a moment before I continued, “actually as long as there are two posts to use I can sleep easy anyway, has anyone introduced the idea of a hammock to these folks yet?” Saito shook his head, which caused me to do a passable Montgomery Burns impersonation.

    “Saito, why are you hogging James all to yourself,” A feminine voice purred behind me. “Louise is in need of you anyway, so I’ll show James to his room.” Turning around I found Kirche standing there doing what I felt was a passable Naga impersonation. Her arms were crossed, emphasizing an already generous bosom and cleavage as she ran an eye across me. “How old are you?” she asked

    “Old enough to know better sweetheart,” I answered causing her to chuckle throatily. “And thankfully old enough to know how to get you all running hot and cold water. Flush toilets are going to be an interesting addition to the castle.”

    “What are flush toilets?” Kirche asked a puzzled look on her face.

    “An experience you’ll never forget that is for certain,” I responded suppressing a chuckle at her ignorance. “Unfortunately the entire enterprise will have to wait until I have a chance to speak with Professor Colbert,” I continued. “His steam engine and a pump will be the first things needed.”
     
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  15. Threadmarks: Chapter 4
    Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    Chapter 4
    “There was a point, it was the last meeting before we went out to face Leviathan, just before the teams were announced. I had gotten up and given the usual speech to them all about the chances for survival of an Endbringer, and how we hoped that with the extra warning that we had both for this attack, as well as the one after it that these would be good days against them. Then I introduced him, the one who had brought us both the warning as well as the plan for dealing with Leviathan. That’s was when he stepped up to the microphone and really grabbed everyone’s attention.”
    An interview with Legend about the Wolf.
    **
    Taylor:
    We had requested and were given the largest house on Captain’s Hill to use as our command post against Leviathan. Wolf had pointed out to the powers that were the city council, Protectorate and PRT that both the Protectorate and PRT bases were in low lying areas right on the coast, (or in the bay for that matter) and would be wiped out as soon as Leviathan struck because of their locations. Moving their operations to a large mansion that was for all intents and purposes abandoned on the only piece of high ground in the area only made sense, as did leaving Noelle right where she was as bait for Leviathan. Food, medical supplies, beds, electronics were all moved to the house on the hill in the week between the removal of Coil and Leviathan’s predicted arrival, and heroes started to flood the city. It was the biggest turn out of capes for an Endbringer fight in history, and I was an integral part of it. The waterfront was being walled by various capes the wrecks that had littered the boat graveyard picked up and used as makeshift wave breaks around the harbor mouth. Once that was done, Kid Win and I strung spiderwebs between the hulls and walls, tying everything together for Clockblocker’s power to turn into a solid wall.

    All throughout the city people were leaving, orderly, cleanly with as much of their possessions as they could carry. The U-Haul and pod transport companies were empty, their trucks and containers filled with household goods and shipped further inland. The train yard was equally empty, its train cars either packed and moved off or used in the street level barricades. Dad had waited until the last minute to leave before the forced evacuation, simply packing the truck with the important things and giving me a hug before driving off. Then it was the poor and destitute, packed into Greyhound, city and school busses so they could be moved out. They were the ones I felt the most for, only able to bring a pair of suitcases each, and trying to pack their entire lives into those small spaces. It was better that they leave though, because even with the shelters, they might die if they stayed here. Moved to neighboring cities, they would survive, while we fought. They would live, and we might die, but as Wolf had pointed out to all the Undersiders, there was always the Tao of Peter Parker, that with great power, comes great responsibility. That with power and responsibility, comes great risk, for it was ours to fight the fights that others couldn’t, to take the risks, because we could, and others could not.

    Finally, the morning we were all waiting for came, the day Leviathan would enter our city, the day of the fight. Not surprisingly, it was a night I found I couldn’t sleep, and dawn found me watching the sun rise over the bay and the ocean from the roof of our commandeered command post. “Nothing like a sunrise before a fight to remind you that life will continue regardless of the outcome.” I heard Wolf say behind me. “As well as what you’re fighting for.” He finished.

    “How do you do it?” I asked, “How do you bring it all together and make it make sense?”

    “How do you mean?” he asked to answer my question.

    I sighed and looked at him. He had taken a seat close enough that either of us could reach out and touch the other, but not so close that we were even close to touching. “The death, the willingness to kill, the ability to pull people together and get them to see your vision, and yet at the same time, it all be to protect others, to try and save something that isn’t even yours. How do you make them all work together? And don’t quote that comic book again,” I continued cutting him off. “Power and responsibility, I understand that. You always have to be responsible for your own actions, and those with strength should help the weak, but even then, you have to deal with those that abuse their power, that don’t understand the wisdom of doing better for everyone and not just themselves.”

    He smiled, “And that, Taylor, is why you’re the brains of the outfit, not Lisa.” I gave him a startled look at that, so he continued. “Oh she’s a rated thinker, but you’re the one that puts everything together and comes up with the plan. Just the right amount of sheer ruthlessness and empathy, never abandon that, it’s a hard line to walk, but it is what separates the good from the bad and the effective from the ineffective.” His face was dead serious, just like when he told me all those weeks ago that things would get better for me, that we would win. “Now, go get some sleep, Levi will be here about lunch time and then all we have is the fight.” With that he got up and walked to the Eastern end of the rooftop and watched the sun rise above the cloud layer that was further out to sea. He hadn’t answered the question, but I guess at that point it wasn’t all that important, it was the fights after Leviathan that my question would be important for.
    **
    Miss Militia:
    It had been a long night when I stepped out onto the balcony to watch the sunrise. I could hear Wolf on the roof above talking with someone, someone else who had been up apparently all night and needed at least a few hours’ rest. Then I heard the man’s footsteps come over to the edge of the roof itself and he started to speak. That it was a prayer was obvious, that it was not Christian, even more so. I recognized it of course, its source was an Aleph import where a Persian poet had been sent out as a religious ambassador, only to become caught up in a great adventure. Was the story behind it true, no one knew, and I doubt anyone cared, but the thought behind the prayer, the willingness to die in battle to protect others was palpable. Sweet heaven, this man meant everything he said, and if anything, this proved his willingness to fight. I just hope he’s got the power to do so.
    **
    Emma Barnes watched as her father Alan Barnes sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, “Emma,” he said forcing calm into his voice. “Explain to me please just what the hell you were thinking? Until Danny showed me those notebooks of Taylor’s I thought that you two had just had a parting of ways, naturally grown apart.” He took his hand from his face and let it join the other one on his knees before he continued pinning her with a stare to make a basilisk proud. “Instead I find that you have subjected someone that was your best friend, a sister in all but blood and the daughter of one of my oldest friends to a bullying campaign so heinous that she not only ended up in the hospital but triggered as a cape?” He was growing angrier the longer he spoke about it, his voice rising little by little. “Explain it to me Emma, how, no, not just how, but why would you do this, how did I fail you like this, what did I do to turn you into this monster.” At that point Alan Barnes was practically yelling at her and she took a step back. Not in fear, it had been years since her father had laid a hand on her, and even then it was what was considered “Proper Corporal Punishment”. A quick swat to the hand, maybe a few to her clothed rear for doing something she shouldn’t or reaching somewhere that would get her hurt. it was what any parent did to correct their child before the child was old enough to be reasoned with. “Please Emma,” he pleaded, the anger finally blowing over, “please make it make sense at least.”
    **
    Three days earlier
    “Thanks for this Danny,” Alan Barnes said as he stood up from hooking the U-Haul trailer to the Hebert’s truck. “They would have had to leave it all if not for you, and the oldest daughter saved Emma and I a couple of years back, so I owe them.”

    At that Danny just grumbled a bit before asking, “So who is riding with whom?”

    “Oh we have them spread out amongst us and another family, the Clements,” Alan answered. “But where is Taylor, I haven’t seen her all morning.” Alan knew that the pair of Emma and Taylor had been growing apart over the last couple of years, she didn’t come over anymore, and Emma didn’t go over to her house anymore, but people grew up and sometimes apart, but at the same time this was a great opportunity for the pair to get close without the pressures of school to keep them apart.

    Danny looked at him oddly for a moment and then asked, “Are you wanting to know for yourself, or for Emma?” he asked.

    An odd question, Alan Barnes thought, “For myself,” he answered though. “I know they’ve grown apart since the start of high school, but I figured that a situation like this might pull them back together.” At this point he shrugged, “I mean, they used to be like sisters, but things have been different since Emma met Sophia, and I wanted them to have a chance to get close again without Sophia in the mix. Taylor has always been the one to ground Emma.”

    At this Danny sighed, “The reason for that is that Emma, Sophia, and some girl named Madison Clements have been bullying Taylor since the start of high school,”

    Not Emma, she wouldn’t, but Alan knew from the look on Danny’s face that it was true, or at least he believed it was. “Not that I don’t believe you Danny, but do you have any proof, any record of what happened?” He asked, there had to be some reason for this, but he at least needed to see the proof if there was any, know what his daughter had gotten into.

    “Only if you’ll believe Taylor’s written word,” Danny answered. Alan only nodded so Danny continued, “You ride with me then, and you can read her notebooks that document the last eighteen months.” Alan nodded and left to tell his wife and family that he would be riding with Danny and discussing some things. When he returned and climbed into the cab of the truck Danny handed him a small stack of notebooks, opening the first one Alan saw it written in Taylor’s neat handwriting and the truck started to move as he started to read.

    Dark Side of the Moon
    “Well I never thought we would ever get here bro, but here we are.” Leet said as he looked across the ship’s cockpit at his best friend. “This has been one hell of a ride.”

    “Yup,” Uber commented, “This is definitely the way things should be.” Then the pair looked at each other and in synch said, “Not!” before breaking into chuckles as they strapped themselves into their seats. “Leet,” Uber said catching his friend’s attention as they flipped switches in the ship’s startup sequence.

    “Yeah bro?” Leet responded before looking over at his partner who had donned a pair of dark black shades.

    “Its 240,000 miles to Brockton Bay, we’ve got a full internal full tank, half a case of hot pockets, we’re in space and we’re wearing sunglasses.” Uber said with a smile.

    Donning his own black shades Leet replied, “Hit it,” causing Uber to flip the ignition switch causing the main rocket engines to fire. It had been an interesting month since Tattletale had called wanting them to hack a phone and back-trace a number. That in itself was a dead end, but it had led to someone called Wolf gathering a bunch of tinkers and thinkers in Cape Canaveral. They had a month before they needed to be able to hit an Endbringer with a kenetic kill vehicle. The initial idea had been just to set up a Delta IV rocket system as a launcher as if it were a nuclear missile, then someone was smart enough to mention Ziz and that plan was scrapped almost as soon as it was thought of. In the end they had made this baby, something of a space fighter bomber that looked something like an overgrown Dassault Mirage or a Phantom II on steroids and outfitted with an internal bomb bay to launch the two-meter-long tungsten darts from within the force field protected ship. For construction purposes they had cannibalized the existing US shuttle fleet and made those former construction and exploration vessels into this sleek combatant.

    Plan A had been similar to what had become known as the “lawn dart” plan of just launching a missile. Now instead of a single shot they had six which could be used continuously, plus the hard-light laser cannon’s that had been put in the shuttle’s nose. Twin liquid fueled rocket engines along with a pair of scram-jet engines would allow the shuttle to regain altitude for additional passes at the Endbringer, but it was hoped that the first strike would be enough.

    Plan B was what they had been required to go with, because as had been suspected, whenever some collaborative Tinker project would look to orbit again, there came Ziz. Because of this they were prepared to launch a solid week before the expected arrival of Leviathan. It was a good thing that they had that contingency plan in place, because they didn’t have much warning of the Smurf’s intent.
    Cape Canaveral
    0800 Hours
    T-minus 7 days to Leviathan


    “Uber,” the planned “pilot” of the XF-120 space to ground fighter/bomber grumbled into the land line phone next to his bunk in the pilot’s quarters of the Kennedy Space Center.

    “Lonestar, this is Roland,” the voice replied, “Spaceball One is in route, ETA 30 minutes.”

    “Fuck,” the thinker replied dropping the phone and rolling out of his bunk, yelling as he went for his space suit. “Leet, up and at them and move your ass, the smurf is inbound and we need to launch now!”

    The response was a crash from the chair that rolled across the room as the tinker started cussing as he threw himself from it. “Damn it, every time I’m about to beat that damn level something always comes up.” He groused as he started stripping to the bare essentials so he could get into his suit. “At least the ship is prepped,” he grumbled.

    “Yeah but we still have to get airborne fast,” Uber said pulling on the last tinker tech boot and pressing the vacuum seal tab at his wrist. The space suits had been effectively ripped strait from the pages of Neon Genesis Evangelion, that was except for the neck ring to mount the helmet, the suits were armored and carried six hours of internal life support for the wearer without an external pack. It was yet another tinker’s work and while he waited on his friend to get his last boot on and seal his suit Uber hung the phone back up on its body only to have it ring immediately. “Uber,” he answered.

    “Launch control,” the voice on the other end answered. “The program for a westerly launch profile has been loaded into the fighter’s systems. Max Q has been refigured and SRB separation is scheduled for launch plus five minutes and MECO will either be at your discretion or when the external fuel tank is just shy of running out of fuel. At that point you will be on reaction thrusters and your internal fuel stores. Transport to the pad will be at your quarters in twenty seconds.” With that the line went dead and Uber put it back into the cradle.

    “Well,” Leet asked?

    “Let’s kick this pig.” Uber replied grabbing his helmet and jogging out the door.
    **

    Legend
    Walking into the bustle of the commandeered house cum defense base from the teleportation pad gave me a shock, there was no one running about screaming, looking for this that or the other, no one in a mad dash to ensure that something would be on hand for the fight or inversely, not be put in peril when the fight arrived. Beside me, David and Rebecca both looked around as if they were looking for someone. I imagined they were wanting to talk to the same person I was, Wolf, the person who had brought us to this point. That Leviathan would be coming here had been independently confirmed through Dragon and Armsmaster’s predictive program, so we knew that the man was right in gathering people here, but we wanted to know what else he knew about the situation before the fight.

    “Legend, Eidolon, Alexandria,” a voice said from our left and we turned to find a young blonde woman, a girl really, standing there wearing a skintight suit of purple and black with a stylized eye on her chest. “I’m Tattletale, Wolf asked me to wait for you to arrive, and answer any questions you might have before Leviathan arrives.”

    “Why can’t we just talk to Wolf and have him answer the questions?” Alexandria asked. I could tell that she really wanted to grill Wolf about what he did and did not know.

    “Because he is preparing himself for the upcoming fight and doesn’t wish to be disturbed short of Levi showing up early.” Tattletale answered bluntly. “Besides, I’m much better at answering questions, it goes with the Thinker 7 rating the PRT has laid on me.”

    “Isn’t he another parahuman,” Alexandria asked a slight snarl in her voice at being shoved down on the importance list. “Doesn’t he just use his power and it be there?”

    “I don’t think so,” I heard a voice answer from behind us as the door closed again, turning around I found Panacea leading the New Wave team into the building.

    “I told Wolf you guys wouldn’t sit this one out,” Tattletale said with a knowing smile. “The boss is going to be pleasantly surprised.”

    “A week was enough time to get things sufficiently nailed down to where we’re on an even keel here.” Lady Photon answered, “and besides, if we weren’t here even with the high likelihood of death, could we really call ourselves heroes.”

    “Well said,” Eidolon said before turning to Panacea, “and what do you mean you don’t think so?”

    “Well no one has ever seen him actually use any kind of power,” the young healer answered. “He has knowledge, but if what he has said is true, that isn’t because of any Thinker ability, but because our universe is basically an internet novel to him, one that he has read at least twice. His mind is obviously sharp, but not parahuman level.”

    At that Tattletale nodded, “I’ve spent a great deal of time around him, as have the rest of my team, he’s not a master or a stranger class cape, and we’ve never seen anything that would classify him as anything other than a Thinker otherwise, but even if he was, he would be at best a Thinker 1 if not for this irritating foreknowledge of our world and its workings.” I was sure that the looks of incredulity on our faces must have been shocking to the others because the next thing that was heard was the snickering of teenage girls as first Tattletale, soon followed by both Panacea and Glory Girl broke us from our shock.

    After she got herself back under control Tattletale got things moving again, “Lady Photon, the check in desk is in the room there to the right, they will give you your armbands and team setup, which will probably be the entire New Wave group minus Amy. Panacea, they will direct you to our emergency care room, the teleporters and speedsters are being put at your disposal for rescue and recovery, and will expedite getting the wounded to you there.” The young healer nodded and went with the group of other local heroes to the indicated desk. “Now,” she said to continue with us. “We have what was probably a small intimate dining room, as opposed to the main ballroom, for a briefing room so I can answer your questions, I have been fully informed of the entirety of the situation where you are considered and have been told to answer any and all questions you might have fully and completely using my power as much as I need to draw the correct answers.”

    The look that passed between the three of us probably spoke volumes to the Thinker in front of us, but we nodded so she led us to be briefed.
    **
    Carol Dallon/Brandish

    I walked into what had been the main ballroom of the house at one point and looked at the assembled capes and then the view of Brockton Bay. Standing between me and view itself was a tall androgynous figure with an insect theme who was talking with Vista and Clockblocker as well as another figure who by his clothes was Grue and a younger female figure in a horned mask. Imp, my brain told me, which meant that the tall insect themed cape was Skitter, an insect Master with a small Thinker rating. The Undersiders were an interesting group that had been villains when Wolf had taken them under his wing, and after our discussion that Saturday when Wolf had informed us all of what had been going on in our world, as well as what was supposed to happen, I could understand their position. They had all gotten a raw deal almost from the beginning of life, and the group had really been more anti-heroes than villains before Wolf’s appearance, so I was able to give them a pass on the bad acts that they had been supposed to do in that other time line.
    Turning around I saw that Victoria was looking around as if she was searching for someone, probably her boyfriend Dean, who I already knew was going to be helping in the medical ward calming people. “If he’s here he’s going to be in the medical ward with Amy. Go, mingle, talk to people, we still have a few hours until show time,” I told the rest of them. Sarah nodded when they looked at her for confirmation before Vicky went after her boyfriend and the rest of the team scattered around the room.
    **
    Taylor:
    Five hours of glorious sleep later Taylor showered and dressed in her costume before going and grabbing a light brunch from the buffet line that had been set up in the main room of the house. Looking around she saw a veritable swarm of capes from the entirety of the Empire’s roster on one side of the room, to ABB on the opposite side. The Merchants were standing under the portico smoking whatever it was they had while the local heroes and the out of town capes filled the rest of the large room. “Interesting group to watch huh,” she heard Vista say causing Taylor to turn around to look at the younger but more experienced cape.

    Swallowing bit of bacon egg and croissant she answered, “Yes, though I’m tagging each one with a beetle to that I can find them during rescue operations.”

    Vista nodded, “A good idea, maybe the insects will survive and allow us to find them faster.” She then turned her attention back to the crowd, “Do you think Wolf is going to give us any more intel on the Endbringers,” she asked?

    “Honestly I don’t know,” Taylor answered. “He told us that this is the only one he feels extremely confident about showing up on time and at the right location, but then again he also told us that the beauty of the plan as it is, is that if he’s wrong about which city we can relocate as soon as the change of venue is confirmed and go right into action as one team.” The younger cape nodded at this as they watched Legend take the small stage opposite the large French doors that to where the Merchants and other smokers were standing.
    **
    Legend
    I gave what was probably my most rehearsed speech with only a few changes thanks to the information that Wolf had made available and that Tattletale reinforced with her story of Wolf’s origins. I told them about the armbands and the odds of surviving an Endbringer battle, and then came the first of the changes. “Now normally we would separate teams into Blasters, Brutes, and Flyers, but today we are trying a couple of things differently. First, if you are already in a team, we’re not breaking you up, you will stay with your team and assist them, conversely, if you’re not a brute or blaster, your team is responsible for aiding you and keeping you from going squish.” Looking around the room I saw several nods to this, it apparently made people more comfortable to have someone they trusted watching their back as opposed to just anyone, even if there was a truce in place. “For those of you without a team, or who want to stick to the old system, we will separate by blaster and brute as soon as we go to leave. Secondly, we will be using two systems to designate where Leviathan is at any given time, the first of them is the armband as I have already told you, which will have Dragon reading off grid locations. Also, each of the public buildings in the city along with all the skyscrapers have been outfitted with a speaker system and an auxiliary power unit that will play music throughout the battle in the hopes that some rhythm out there will help our coordination. In addition to this, it will tell you when Leviathan is getting closer to you as the closer he is the louder the music will play.”

    “So who is choosing the music?” a voice asked out of the crowd.

    “Dragon will also be controlling the playlist, though I note that suggestions for it have been being collected and collated since we found out what was going to happen.” I answered. “It is hoped that not only will this help with coordination but that the harmonics will affect Leviathan.” Personally I doubted that the music would make much of a difference but it was something that also might help. “Now, all of you who have been to an Endbringer battle raise your hand.” I looked out at the sea of faces and saw several hands raised, it wasn’t even a quarter of the people I was looking at though. “When things happen and you find yourself separated from your teams or groups look for the Triumvirate and then look for these people, they will know what to do. Now our strange benefactor apparently wanted to say a few final words before we take up our positions in the city, Wolf.” I watched at the younger man took the stage. He wore no mask, just BDU pants, a T-shirt, and combat boots, in his hands he carried a duster type rain jacket and a hat.

    “To the out of towners, thank you again for coming, we are hoping to strike hard and successfully today, to the locals, thanks for sticking around, you know what your assignments are, let’s make them work.” He paused for a minute looking down at some note cards that I hadn’t seen a moment before. “You know, I had this rip-roaring stump style speech put together but looking at you now, I’m not going to give it.” He tossed the cards behind him, his face splitting in what could only charitably be called a grin, “In fact, I only have one other thing to say, and it’s a quote from the intro to what should be the first song on the playlist.” Gently he set the podium that I had used to the side and seemed to look out the French doors to the quickly darkening sky. “Listen up! The future is bulletproof; the aftermath is secondary. It's time to do it now and do it loud,” as that word left his mouth he stepped, and almost as if Vista was twisting space for him, he moved from the front of the ballroom to the French doors at the other end. Still his voice rang out pulling everyone’s attention to the far end of the room and the evidence of Leviathan’s imminent arrival. “Killjoys,” he finalized practically growling, “Make some noise.
    **
    Shadow Stalker
    Internally Sophia Hess snarled at the situation. Search and rescue, it was a joke in of itself since the city had been evacuated. If the other damn capes couldn’t either tank the hit of an Endbringer or get the hell out of the way of its blows, then they deserved what they received. Adding to things, her arch-nemesis was standing there chatting it up with Aegis like they were team mates and best friends. Honestly, she could charitably be called slightly angry though a better, or more honest description would be furious. She had heard through the grapevine that the Undersiders had not only found a patron that had gotten them all pardons, but that Piggot had actually backed the move.

    “I don’t know what you’re thinking Stalker, but forget it,” a voice said from behind her causing her to spin in place. Behind her was an unknown as far as she knew. He had no mask on at all and simply stood there with a jacket and hat in hand as Legend took the stage.

    “Forget what?” she asked with a sneer on her face. “I’m just standing around waiting for some poor bastard to be a little too slow dodging Leviathan’s blows so that I can help pull their hides out of the line of fire.“

    “Bullshit,” the stranger answered flatly, “You’re trying to find an angle in this fight where you can put one of your crossbow bolts in Grue’s back and leave him for dead in a flooded alley, preferably face down. That’s why you’re going to be kept as far as possible from him during this thing, and if you behave yourself, I might just arrange a little wet work mission for you. Something that plays to your psychopathic nature and helps the greater good.”

    Sophia scowled behind her mask at the man’s comment, “Who are you,” she asked? Legend was up on the stage giving his speech and had everyone else’s attention, so their conversation had gone unnoticed.

    The man smiled, “Oh giving me such a straight line like that, I should say that I’m Batman,” the man replied. “But no, that’s not my name. You, however, you can call me Wolf.”
    **
    Armsmaster

    I was honestly surprised at what Wolf had used my time away to accomplish in the bay. Along the outer perimeter of the bay, the spits of rocky land that actually formed the mouth of the bay. Kaiser’s steel rose and was laced with spider webs to the point that you could hardly see the metal beneath. The same scene bordered the bay itself wherever there wasn’t at least a six-story building. In short it looked like the Empire cape had been allowed to go to town to create barricades against Leviathan. The question in my mind was where the spider webs had come from, so I asked Dragon.

    “One of the Killjoy’s is an insect master,” Dragon replied. I hadn’t really noticed the new team that had once been known as the Undersiders, but I did remember the girl from the rooftop that had taken down Lung.

    “Has there been any issues between her and the ABB,” I asked.

    “No,” Dragon responded. “In fact, Lung seems quite,” Dragon paused for a moment as if searching for the appropriate word. “well respectful of the girl to put a name on it.” My eyebrow quirked behind my helmet’s visor. “Wolf apparently told them both the lengths that she would have been willing to go through to put a stop to him and Bakuda terrorizing the city. That a girl of her age was willing to go so far as to cut his eyes out with her own hands because she saw him as a threat to the safety of what she considered Her city.” I could sense Dragon’s headshake, “that girl has a spine of pure titanium that’s for sure, and she’ll do anything to protect what she considers hers.”

    I thought about that for moment and then shuddered, if for no other reason than ideologues with nothing holding them back, not the worry of how they are perceived, just the willingness to do what they deem necessary, were damn scary. “So don’t ever threaten the bug master’s friends, family or home,” I said. “How far did she go in that other timeline?”

    “She killed Alexandria,” Dragon answered.
    **
    Emily Piggot:

    The Director of the PRT ENE listened to the music playing as she watched a bank of monitors which showed different shots of the city of Brockton Bay, several of them were flying camera’s donated to the cause by Uber and Leet. Allowing the pair to record the Endbringer fight just so happened to allow her to watch as the Endbringer Leviathan arrived.
    It rode the first tidal wave into the city’s bay as if it was body surfing, ripping the protectorate’s rig from its moorings and slamming it into the wall where the wall kept the repurposed drill platform from smashing the PRT headquarters. Under the pre-Wolf plan, they would have all been in that building or else congregating there to disperse to the rest of the waterfront to fight the creature. Instead the building was empty, evacuated in case the wall of time frozen spider webbing and steel didn’t hold. It was only the rig itself that suffered, something that could easily be replaced, and she watched as Wolf made a gesture to Clockblocker causing the teen to drop the time stopped thread in his left hand. Piggot knew the plan, dropping that thread would open a breach in the wall allowing the Endbringer to leave the bay itself and feel like it was making advancement even if it wasn’t exactly where it wanted to.

    The next tidal wave was reported as inbound and Emily watched as it first filled the bay itself and then broke the section of wall between two of the rusting hulks in the ship graveyard that had been set up just for this reason. The docks themselves were able to be sacrificed, as was the ship graveyard and it was here that the trap was set up.
    **
    Wolf:
    I watched as the creature named Leviathan made its first breach, which had of course been planned on. He had four blocks of length to run in before he hit another wall, the question for him was, what was he going to hit in the meantime. The answer turned out to be two-fold because the first thing he hit was Bakuda’s minefield. Oh yes, I thought, the demolition cape was earning her pardon today. It was almost comical, and the rest of the world watched as the beast was beset by earth, fire, ice, time and space in multiple ways as the mines went off below its feet and body. Hunks of its body were ripped free as it charged heedlessly forward only for it to finally bounce off the wall opposite its entrance as its front legs were cut from its body by a single strand of time frozen spider silk.

    I laughed out loud as the beast roared, I didn’t know if these things felt pain or not, but it was healing the damage almost as fast as it occurred. It obviously didn’t like what we had done to it of course so this is when it decided it had spent enough time humoring our little walls and jumped. Only to be greeted by the Rage Dragon of Kyushu, ready for its rematch.
    **
    Lung:
    As Leviathan jumped to clear the wall that the Kaiser, Skitter and Clockblocker had built I leapt to meet him. I had been waiting on one of the rooftops that ran alongside the wall in my human form, but with the leap off the roof I called upon my rage and made what was probably the fastest change I ever would into my dragon body. Usually the change was slow, a response to the damage that I took in a fight. This time it was like the wolf had wanted, what I had wished to accomplish for years, an almost instantaneous change that allowed me to knock the Endbringer back into the cage that had been created for it, and even as it fell, the Nazi’s blades reached for it from the wall behind.

    It had also taken Wolf much work to get Kaiser to work in support of me, but ultimately the logic of the position beat out the Nazi’s stubbornness. Now the pair of us were working together to try and pin down the Endbringer. This was actually a delaying action of sorts, there was a signal that we were waiting on, at which point we would seize our opponent and hold him in place for the strike. The first attempt at holding him in place had been a timestop mine that the kaiju had simply plowed through with the captured flesh being ripped from his body mere moments earlier. And now with the music’s abrupt change, came Plan C.
    **
    Uber and L33t
    As the timer counted down, they prepared for the drop into atmosphere, timing here was essential because if they started their descent burn to soon they would have to spend airspeed moving toward the target, too late and they would miss entirely. As the timer reached zero Uber pushed the trigger for the retro-rockets to slow their orbital speed allowing them to drop into the atmosphere, “Lawn Dart to Dragon, Lawn Dart to Dragon, do you copy?”

    “This is Dragon Lawn Dart, I read you five by five,” the tinker’s voice answered through the sound system.

    “Dragon, Lawn Dart has started decent and is in the pipe, time to start the new music.” Uber stated the control stick in hand as he kept the target reticle in the HUD projected box that told him where to go.

    While he did this L33t reached over and flipped a pair of moly covered switches before stating, “Shields are at full power, bomb bay powered and ready to open.”
    **
    Vista:
    The music stopped mid song and changed. This was expected, “Incoming, everyone work to pin Leviathan in place!” I heard someone yell. Myself, I had the simple job, use my power to create a funnel over Leviathan that would put everything that fell onto the base of his tail. I watched as the triumvirate flew in and almost as one smashed the Endbringer into the ground. Almost as fast as its head hit metal bands seemed to leap from the ground alongside its head and splayed out limbs while other capes bent them over allowing them to spike back into the ground to try and bind the Endbringer in place. Maybe this will work, she allowed herself to think as the creature’s tail was pinned in place leaving an open area at its base for the strike to hit. She used her space manipulation to put the open area of the funnel she had created dead center of the opening.
    **
    Wolf:
    I watched as the team work of the capes pinned the Endbringer in place, I had yet to do more than start the music in the first place and then watch as their own teamwork and personal rivalries made them all step up to the plate as they took on their opponent. The fact of the matter was I was waiting for the projection to step up and escalate itself. It will allow them one good hit and then its gonna go apeshit on them. The thought ran unbidden through my mind, but hell, my paranoia had been too accurate in the past for me to ignore the voice of Murphy in my head. Of course, this was why I had contingencies planned, and two strike packages on the orbital bomber. The first strike was going to hit good and hard with a pure kinetic package, the second had a present courtesy of Bakuda, a little something I had in my brain after reading one of Farmerbob1’s stories on Sufficient Velocity. Multiple thunderclaps directly over the cloud layer told its own tale, and I watched as the first strike package hit right on target. It accomplished nothing but pissing off the Endbringer, and allowing it room to escape its bindings.
    **
    Skitter:
    I watched Vista smile grimly as she twisted the space over Leviathan. Kaiser’s blades had been bent and warped to pin the creature face down on the pavement and the orbital strike would hit in mere seconds. I hoped that this would work, Wolf had planned this, and the man had contingencies in place even for his contingency plans to go wrong. As I watched I could see the teleporters snatching out the last of the brutes that had been nailing down the Endbringer, and then suddenly the world went white with the last note of the song.

    The thundering shockwave that would normally accompany a blast like that was strangely muted to me, and then I watched in awe as the clouds above the city parted, Vista’s power as well as every cape able to form a force field pushing it back skyward. With a roar of thunder and rocket engines I could hear the departing bomber fly over, clawing for altitude so it could make a second strike in a few minutes. With a cry of pain that was almost unheard with the bomber’s passing, Vista collapsed, her nose already starting to trickle blood as she fell. On the ground below everyone watched with shock as the leviathan picked itself up and made a motion as if popping its neck. “I call absolute and utter bullshit on that one,” Clockblocker said from beside me as we both picked Vista up between us. I simply gave him a dirty look and called for medical pickup at our location.
    **
    Flechette:
    I watched in fascination as for the first time the blue sky showed through on a Leviathan fight. Knowing this was a result of the blast wave did nothing to stop the heartening effect as I lined up my shot with my arbalest. The brutes were rushing back in to try and hold the Endbringer but I had a hopeful few seconds to take my shot at the now exposed crystalline ball and the base of the beast’s tail. The world seemed to slow to a stop even as I squeezed the trigger sending the black hole explosive that Bakuda had provided slicing through the air toward the target. It was at that point that Leviathan moved, moved faster than he had ever done before. And to add to that, there were now two of him.
    **
    Skitter:
    “Well that’s new and disturbing,” I heard Wolf comment as first the now faster moving Leviathan split into two Leviathans and then each of those split as well giving us four of the Endbringer to deal with.

    “That’s not ominous at all Wolf,” Clockblocker said with a grimace.

    “Only one is the real thing,” we heard Tattletale comment over the armband radio’s. “The other three are simply water copies, they should bust with one good hit.”

    “Hit them with whatever is handy and don’t spare the stank,” Wolf said into his armband. “Have the teleporter take you all back to Headquarters, this is about to get nasty.” The last was obviously directed at the three of us, because at that point Wolf stepped forward and was gone, his coat billowing even as he started to move.

    “Skitter,” Clockblocker asked. “Have you ever seen Wolf move like that?”

    “The ballroom was the first time,” I replied.

    “Okay, he answered as Oni Lee appeared next to us and we took hold of the teleporter. “Just making sure he’s holding back from everyone, not just the system.” I could only chuckle at that.
    **
    Wolf:
    The Leviathan that I went after had taken off the way it had come so I flash stepped past it to place myself in front of it. As I had taken off my form had changed from the normal looking human male to a rather short werewolf. Unlike Lon Cheney though, my clothing didn’t rip off me, but was replaced with a silvered mixture of plate mail pauldrons and a chain mail body. Once past the creature I turned and braced myself to take its charge.
    **
    Alexandria:
    It was interesting in one aspect to watch a man prepare to face an unstoppable force. I watched as Wolf drew a sword from pure nothingness, a yard of glittering steel that a second before had not been there was in his hands as Leviathan charged him down. Give the man his due, he had guts, and then he attacked, his sword slamming into the descending ankle with enough speed and force that the Endbringer was left airborne for a second allowing me to plow into its back and slam it into the ground. As it hit the ground the beast splashed into nothing but water and I heard Wolf start to swear like a sailor.

    “Tattletale,” Wolf said into his armband, “Where the hell is the bastard, I’m going to take that damn crystal out and shatter it myself.” Wolf’s ire was apparent, but his professionalism still showed as the latter part of his comment was muttered under his breathe.

    “There’s no telling which is the right one,” the Killjoys thinker answered. “That’s assuming that any of the four that scattered are the real one.”

    Whatever else the thinker was about to say, she was cut off as Dragon started listing casualties, “Manpower down: B-4; Glory Girl down B-4; Laserdream down B-4. Caellum down C-2; Hookwolf down C-2; Cricket down C-2. Kid Win down G-1; Battery down G-1; Miss Militia down G-1.”

    “Go to New Wave,” I yelled over to him, “I’ll go to the Wards” He nodded and then flashed to the top of the nearest building before disappearing.
    **
    Glory Girl:
    Groaning I picked myself up from where I had fell after Leviathan had slammed me into a building. Somehow, I had managed to leave a perfect Glory Girl shaped imprint in the block wall and yet not really been hurt short of the wind being knocked out of me. “I’m getting its timing down now,” I muttered before yanking a light pole out of the ground and charging back into the fight. Wolf had told me what my power actually was, not an Alexandria package like we had always thought, but a personal kinetic shield that wrapped around my body at skin level allowing me to fly. It could take one good hit before it collapsed leaving me defenseless, taking a second or two to reform. It would last long enough to tank a hit from an endbringer though and that was all that was important.

    Below me I could see my mother pulling one of my cousins out of the line of fire while the remainder of the family tried to hold off the beast. I circled around with my makeshift club and hit Leviathan from the side. My plan had been to catch its attention and hopefully either lure it away or at least distract its attention from my family. I figure I was about 75% successful in that plan as I definitely caught the Endbringer’s attention.
    **
    Carol:
    “Victoria!” the scream ripped from my throat as I watched my eldest daughter get slung through her cousins shield and into him and the rest of the family.

    “Glory Girl down, B-4” the armband announced over the dying music. The song that had accompanied the orbital strike was over, and a new song was starting. Hearing what came next the corner of my mouth twitched up slightly. This was a song from my youth, from my teen years misspent in anger, distrust, and the search for vengeance. My children’s youth, I had almost completely wasted in the search for acceptance of a new path, one that had caused them nothing but pain. Maybe now it was time to try old, tried and true methods.
    **
    Legend:
    I reached New Wave’s battle with Leviathan in time to see Brandish launch herself at this Leviathan, her hard-light blades hitting as if the drum beats of the Beastie Boys song that was our background music. The move seemed to surprise Leviathan causing the beast to hesitate as the rest of New Wave picked themselves from the ground and charged the beast. Using the distraction, I blasted the creature in the exposed pearl that Wolf had said was its weak point, and then it disintegrated into a puddle of water, another clone.
    **
    Dragon:
    I noted another of the four Leviathans disappear, turning into nothing but water soaking the ground as Hookwolf, flung by Lung, cored through the false Endbringer. Eidolon dealt with the fourth that had been attacking a small group of Wards including Aegis and Flechette by dropping a building on it. The question was, where was the real Leviathan, he hadn’t retreated, and he definitely had not been destroyed. The answer of course came in by radio as the physical effects were just starting to show.
    **
    Wolf:
    “Echidna to all personnel,” the radio blared as everyone that was looking around for the Endbringer turned to the building site where Echidna’s lair was. “Leviathan is her.” As we looked and a lot of us started for the underground bunker we could see it and the ground around it starting to sink.

    “Damn it he hit the aquifer faster than I anticipated,” I growled as I rushed for the building. “Someone get her out of there and on the surface now. We can’t let her face this alone.” The last was said keying the override command.

    “Yes you can,” Echidna replied. “Time to next orbital drop?”

    “Thirty seconds to re-entry,” Uber replied, “We won’t be pulling out of this dive either, we’ll eject at five thousand feet with the shuttle in power dive directly onto the target.”

    “Target Coils building,” Echidna told them, “I’ll keep Leviathan here for the strike.”

    “Noelle no,” I heard Trickster say as I stopped just outside the area of effect of the sinkhole.

    “Krause,” she answered, “We know there was never any cure for my condition, and I’m not going to go out like I did in that other timeline. Mars,” she said addressing another of her team. “When the strike hits, hit the site with the biggest hottest fireball you can make, we may not kill the bastard but we’re going to make him know he’s been tickled. Wolf, make this count if we can”

    “I’ll try,” I replied, “everyone get into position, we only have one last shot at this.”
    **
    Sundancer:
    The rooftop I was on had a clear but rain filled view of the now sinking skyscraper and its surrounding block. All of it was at least 30 feet underground as explosions seemed to fill the sky. “Devil five-oh-five, say goodbye asshole,” the radio blared suddenly as the clouds parted around a fireball.

    “Goodbye asshole,” a second voice said over the band as the one fireball became six. Two of those shot off at a right angle to the main one, launching farther inland than the city itself, the other four diving straight for the sinking building. As they went in, I started to form a fireball, and as they started to plow through the building and its structure, I sent the fireball in their wake. Penetration of the underground shelter was purely kinetic, the shuttle blasting through the first couple of layers and allowing the tungsten and carbon rods to penetrate even deeper. Then the singularity bomb in one of the darts activated and it was as if the world was trying to suck itself into the hole in the top of the shielding that the capes that had surrounded the place were providing. The next thing to happen was the steam explosion as my fireball, as big around as the block itself hit the aquifer and Leviathan. The figure that was launched airborne by that was not what we expected. It was however, Leviathan.
    **
    Flechette:
    I had one more chance to take my shot and was surprised as anyone when Eidolon of all people picked me up in a telekinetic grip and lifted me in flying pursuit of Leviathan. The Endbringer was flying back toward the bay in a ballistic arc and I could see various capes lining up to either pound on the creature as it flew through the air or to catch it once it landed. We had really done a number on the beast, where before it had possessed an actual skin and identifiable limbs now it was nothing more than a bunch of crystalline bones and some tatters of skin and muscle. There were no organs though, that was apparent as was the ball at the base of the tail. “Get me ahead of it,” I told Eidolon, “I might be able to take my shot as it crashes.” The Triumvirate cape nodded and dove, putting us just outside the path of the now descending monster.

    “Lung inbound, ETA twenty seconds,” Dragon’s voice said over the radio. Looking back over my shoulder I could see the giant dragon cape coming with his even bigger sword ready to swing as if the sword was a baseball bat and Leviathan was the ball. that’s the point I take my shot I thought. In my mind’s eye, I could see the action even before its players reached their point and I started tracking my point of aim with my arbalest. Leviathan would descend to almost ground level where Lung would try to cut the Endbringer in half with the giant sword. Leviathan would fold around the blade absorbing the impact and being stopped in its forward momentum stop if only for a few heartbeats. It would be almost comical as well as give me a nice clean shot at the crystal. And then it all went to hell as Leviathan pulled another action out of its metaphysical ass.
    **
    Lung:
    I growled as I spun around. How the dam monster had managed to duck my blade as if it were some damn slider pitched with the speed of a fastball eluded me. The shot that passed just behind me I ignored. I knew the girl had been aiming for the beast and its power gem, and she had not missed by much. The problem was that the beast was now making for the ocean again and I was not going to let it get away, not that easily anyway. The girl must have been the one with the power that could pierce all things, it was the only logical reason for Eidolon to have brought her here with nothing but an oversized crossbow, so I stepped over to her and held up the blade that Kaiser had made for me to use. She understood immediately and put her hands, and then her power into the blade. Spirits guide my hands and let this blade fly true I thought and with both hands hurled the blade toward the beast.

    End over end and edge on the blade flipped down the street before slicing the beast down one side and pinning it to the ground. Eidolon picked up the girl and carried her closer, but the beast pulled itself free and bolted even faster than before for the water. “All personnel stand down,” Dragon’s voice said over the radio. “Leviathan has left the engagement area and is now entering the bay and heading out to sea.” I could see Eidolon and the girl stopping in their flight and settling back onto the street. It had been a long day, all I wanted at that point was my recliner, some food, and a nap.
    **
    Wolf:
    “Oh ain’t that just a beautiful ballistic arc,” I muttered as I watched Levi get launched through the air from the crater. Turning I saw Alexandria pausing to look at me. “It’s hit its target,” I told her, “it will abandon the fight now. But we definitely caught its attention and it won’t hold back as much in the next fight. The question is, do you want to pursue and try and finish it before it reaches the bay, or do you want to let it go?”

    “Lung, Eidolon and Flechette are engaging Leviathan in twenty seconds,” Dragon’s voice said over the armband.

    “Dragon what are our current casualties,” Alexandria asked.

    “One KIA twenty-four WIA none missing,” Dragon replied.

    “Current damage,” Alexandria asked.

    “Minimal,” Dragon replied. “The use of time-stop on all buildings simultaneously kept significant physical damage from occurring and minimized water damage. The most significant damage is the sinkhole that formed in the block around Coils lair.”

    “Dragon, tell all personnel to disengage,” the leader said, “We will end him another day, good fight people, let’s go home.”[/I]
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  16. Threadmarks: Chapter 5
    Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

    Joined:
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    Sorry to those of you who don't like PHO but this chapter is mostly that with story break ins. Link at the tail end will lead to the NSFW Interlude

    Chapter 5
    In the Aftermath

    In the initial aftermath of the battle against Leviathan we worried about the necessities instead of the niceties. Search and rescue pulled people from beneath rubble where they had been buried alive and from sewers where they had become lost while chasing after Leviathan. Damage assessment teams went about the damaged parts of the city while all over spiderwebs were pulled apart and cleared from walls. Buildings were either slated for cleaning or destruction and capes worked to help each other as they wondered about looking at the scenery. Unlike most Endbringer battles, this one had been a clear victory for the capes as opposed to a stalemate or a loss, and once everyone had been found and the initial assessments were done, the victory party started in earnest.

    The Palanquin
    2200 hours


    I have never been much of a party person, in fact I often find them loud, obnoxious, and ultimately a waste of my time. Yes, I am fairly anti-social like that; That said, the night of Leviathan’s defeat was a party I at least had to make an appearance at so I showed up at the only place in the city that currently had power, The Palanquin.

    Give Faultline credit where credit is due, she had things done up right, or at least as much as anyone could given the circumstances. She even had space set aside for the wards and the rest of the underage capes that stayed to fight. The whole place, minus their personal rooms, had been opened up to the party, and in one room I found my one true weakness, the karaoke machine. This one wasn’t The Palanquin’s going by the fact that Oni Lee and Lung were clustered around a young woman fiddling with the wires in the back of it. Off to one side Newter was watching from beside the room’s soundboard, a slightly bemused smile on his face, “Problems?” I asked.

    The three ABB capes looked at me from their positions around the machine and Lung spoke first, “Wolf, thank the spirits,” he said. “Could you come over here and find the problem with this thing before Hitomi turns it into a bomb and blows us all to hell?”

    “Sure,” I replied with a smile, “let’s just see what is going on with this lovely thing.”

    “It should work like it is now,” the woman who I presumed to be Hitomi said sitting up from behind the machine’s cabinet. She then hit the power button and I watched at the machine itself started to cycle up a song from its hard drive. Unfortunately, there was no thump of the room’s speakers coming on, so I looked at the wires and then inspected the sound board. “Newter, where is this board plugged in at?” he pointed to an outlet where a jumble of cords was piled. Chasing wires, I saw that none of the things plugged in there were on. “Go find the breaker for that outlet Newter,” I said pinching the bridge of my nose, “It’s probably popped, I’ll plug in the bare minimum and we’ll see what we get.” Newter nodded and took off as I set about unplugging all but a few things from the outlet. Once the backlights on the soundboard lit up I asked, “So what do you people have in the way of music for that thing?”
    ***

    ■​
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    ♦ Topic: In the Aftermath
    In: Boards ► United States ► ENE ► Brockton Bay
    Uber
    (Original Poster) (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)(Fabulous Killjoy)
    Posted On May 17th 2011:
    Alright my fellow Brocktonites, we came, we saw, we filmed the fight; Now we bring it to the world in amazing color and sound. Now, here is the thing, the Mods are being especially vigilant in these threads and have been especially helpful in the editing and splicing of all our footage. Many thanks for that go to @Tin_Mother who has been the one to make sure that everyone who didn't sign a release has had their features blurred, as well as the features of any capes that were unmasked at any point. This is your ONLY WARNING; The usual rules about trying to identify capes are in force in this thread and it's child threads. DO NOT PUSH THIS!

    Now that the warning is out of the way, we have broken down each footage file into easier to identify groupings and given each of them their individual threads. Please keep the conversations in the appropriate threads.

    This is the Aftermath thread, this covers the time frame from the end of the fight, to till dawn the next morning when we stopped filming, a roughly 18-hour time period. Most of the accompanying music was "Liberated" from Wolf's laptop before we left for Planning and Construction, but then again some is from local groups that we had beforehand. This footage has also been through the same editing process as the rest of it and has been broken down into hour long blocks as we don't expect anyone to want to watch repeated 18-hour segments from multiple camera angles.

    (Edit: Apparently someone did, Jesus Accord, here)


    (Showing page 3 of 8)

    ►Child of the Founder (Cape Groupie)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Sweet holy mother, is someone actually going to try and do something smart instead of just trying to go with the flow and pick up the pieces in the wake of these things?
    ►Uber (Original Poster) (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    It looks like that is exactly what they are trying to do @Child of the Founder, it is odd in a way you know, we all know that if we don't work together, that if we do nothing, they are going to show up anyway. We do nothing and it doesn't hurt us in the short term, at least personally. Of course, that is only if they don't come to our city. Until Wolf showed up no one seemed to try and discuss power synergy, or how to fight the EB's except the "Hero's" and even that is only done in the most general terms. It's almost as if we've been conditioned somehow to not work together and to seek out confrontation with each other.
    ►Specific Protagonist (Verified Shipper)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Hey, folks, what is that on Wolf's camera feed from about Midnight or so?
    ►Newter (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Case 53)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Wolf helped us get the Karaoke machine going that night, he then stuck around for the fun as well as getting the machine ALL THE MUSIC.
    ►Bagrat (The Guy in the Know) (Veteran Member)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    By AtM, what do you mean?
    ►L33t (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Uh, what he means is that I had to come back in and install a 2Tb hard drive onto the blasted thing at the last minute to hold all the music that Wolf downloaded onto the thing. Mostly it was stuff Wolf had on his laptop and phone, so we had normal tracks of it already. Some of it was Bet stuff that he didn't have copies of yet, (we provided) or Aleph stuff that he didn't have but the Travelers did.
    ►Specific Protagonist (Verified Shipper)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Watching the Karaoke now, Wolf has a decent voice, at least for the songs he chose. Anyone know why he chose those songs though?
    ►Chubster (Veteran Member) (Verified Cape) (Protectorate Employee)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    No telling honestly, maybe you could get him to answer privately?
    ►Specific Protagonist (Verified Shipper)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Not likely, his reply rate is abysmally low, both in threads and PM's. I don't know what it is though, maybe the fact that he sang nothing but love songs and ballads, but something has my shipping senses tingling.
    ►Newter (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Case 53)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    @Specific Protagonist, I don't know for certain either, it could be for a couple of reasons, however, what I will say is though he may have come to that party alone, he didn't leave that way.
    ►Specific Protagonist (Verified Shipper)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    OMG- Alright @Newter, so spill already on the who, as the saying goes; Inquiring minds want to know?
    ►Newter (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Case 53)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Nope, all the nope, not gonna do it. Doing that would not be conducive to a long and healthy life. That name will never leave my lips.
    ►Specific Protagonist (Verified Shipper)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Oh come on, Wolf is a hero, he would never cause you harm intentionally.
    ►Newter (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Case 53)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Wolf is not the one I would be worried about. I personally would like to keep all my body parts attached and in their appropriate condition thank you.
    ►Specific Protagonist (Verified Shipper)
    Replied On May 19th 2011:
    Ship_Happens.AMV
    ►Vista (Verified Cape) (Wards ENE)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    @Specific_Protagonist,
    seriously, drop the subject, I know who he left with and you do NOT want to muck up her happiness. If your shipping messes this up for her I imagine the result would make Cornell look like a cakewalk.
    ►Regent (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Wolf seems to have all the luck, (jk/srcsm)
    ►Chubster (Veteran Member) (Verified Cape) (Protectorate Employee)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    The lady in question reminds me of one of the support characters that was in the first anime that Wolf put on.
    ►Specific Protagonist (Verified Shipper)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Anime? Also, @Chubster, did you HAVE to pick Those Songs.
    ►Chubster (Veteran Member) (Verified Cape) (Protectorate Employee)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Second question first; Yes I did, I find those songs hilarious and i haven't seen good Weird Al music in forever.

    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    And the first question?
    ►All_Seeing_Eye (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Effectively all the prep work for fighting Leviathan was finished a little better than two days prior to the attack. So, to keep people for not getting sufficient sleep the night before the fight, Wolf pulled out some games and anime from either Aleph or his home and we had an End-con. That way we would all be able to sleep.
    ►L33t (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    WTH; A gamer and anime con and we missed it?
    ►Uber (Original Poster) (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Dude, we were kinda busy at the time.
    ►L33t (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    I know we were, the problem is that we're going to be just as busy every time it happens!
    End of Page. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    (Showing page 4 of 8)

    ►Specific Protagonist (Verified Shipper)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    I take it that it worked
    ►All_Seeing_Eye (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    For the most part, there were some people that didn't get any sleep.
    ►Skitter (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    I was one of those that didn't get much sleep, that's why I ended up crashing right after the fight.
    ►Regent (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    So that's why you weren't there. You missed a hell of a party @Skitter.
    ►Skitter (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    I can see that Regent, I can’t believe you tried those lines on Laserdream of all people. You do know she's older than you right?
    ►Regent (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Yes I knew that @Skitter, what surprised me even more was that those cheesy old lines actually worked. On the other hand, if you want to really be shocked, check out the background of the Wards feed about the same time as Wolf is starting his groove.
    ►Skitter (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Hmmm, I sorta see what you're talking about, but I can't see past Tattletale's head. Who is that sitting with Flechette?
    ►Grue (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Wait for the camera to shift, Rotate actually, it’s worth the price of admission.
    ►Specific Protagonist (Verified Shipper)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    OMFG, I can't believe that they were all just sitting there having an apparently normal conversation, let alone the way they broke the group up there at the end. Shipping powers to maximum, I mean what would you call something like that?
    ►Rune (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Ultimate Irony? Seriously though, I'm going to have to apologize to my parents and eat a good bit of crow. On the other hand, I'm sure I'm gonna get thrown out for this.
    ►Skitter (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    We have your back Rune
    ►Rune (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Hey @Skitter, does your team have room for another body?
    ►Grue (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    We'll discuss it, do you need an extraction?
    ►Rune (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Possibly; I'm currently mobile, can anyone out there ensure a clean meet?
    ►Glory_Girl (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Verified Cape)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Rune; check your PMs and call.
    ►All_Seeing_Eye (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 20th 2011:
    Rune; Same here, Cerberus is out with Vista on a joint patrol, between the two of them I'm sure we can get you in clean.
    End of Page. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    ■​




    Hitomi looked up from the bowser on Wolf’s phone and smiled slightly as she heard the shower turn on in the apartments very small bathroom. She was starting her fourth day living with Wolf and already the two of them were falling into a routine starting their day. Sliding from the hide-a-bed she went over and fixed herself a cup of coffee and thought about the time spent since Leviathan’s attack.
    ***
    When the Endbringer had made his breakout, the building her apartment had been in had been destroyed, the victim of the contingency charge that she had in her lab in the building’s basement. That the micro-singularity had wiped the building from existence meant that the charge worked and would have kept the PRT or anyone else from connecting the lab in the building’s basement to her. The downside of course was that it turned the entirety of the building and its contents into nothing but a crater in about half a second. This meant she now had no spare clothes, no place to stay and no personal possessions. After the fight she had sought out Lung thinking the gang leader might know of somewhere she could stay, at least for a few days until she could get a new apartment. Unfortunately, he left things like that to other minions of his, and he didn’t keep track of what apartment buildings had openings in his territory. Wolf had been there and had immediately offered to let her stay at his place, promising that he would be a complete gentleman about it, so she took him up on his offer at Lung’s urging.

    When the party had finally worn down, he led her to a building at the edge of both the ABB and E88’s territories that she knew to be nothing but single room apartments. His apartment was on the fourth floor and was effectively nothing more than a kitchenette, and a living room with a bathroom and a closet. “The couch is the bed,” he said as he let her in. “I’ll take my sleeping bag and sleep on the floor, you take the bed.”

    They spent the next twenty minutes arguing over who would sleep where until, with an oath of keeping his hands to himself, they agreed to share the bed. She accepted the sleep clothes he handed her with little grace, and when she returned from the spartan bathroom and its shower cubicle, he was already in the bed, laying on his left side, facing away from her. She shut out the light and laid down facing away from him before going to sleep. As she did so he reached out and fiddled with his phone, causing the roar of the generator that had been coming from the fire escape to die.

    The sound of the wind-up clock on the wall over the TV sounding ten chimes woke her the next morning. She wasn’t on the far-right side of the bed, but in the middle of it, and she wasn’t laying alone but spooned and gently held by Wolf whose nose was nuzzled into the back of her neck. Her first reaction was rage, a pure spike of anger that the man that had sworn an oath on his Marine Corps service would break such a vow so easily. That spike of anger wanted her to do nothing less than throw herself off the bed and then find something heavy to beat his head in while he slept. That reaction, however, stopped as she quickly realized that this wasn’t something he had planned. He was dead asleep, and she found herself surprisingly comfortable laying there. Pulling his arms around her more she snuggled closer into him and let her body relax. She was warm and comfortable, and thinking about it, she deserved a day off to just relax. Had they not just driven off a four-story tall monster the day before? she mentally asked herself. Yes they had, so they definitely deserved some down time. That thought in mind, she closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

    ■​
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    ♦ Topic: Presidential Announcement
    In: Boards ► United States ► National
    Bagrat
    (Original Poster) (The Guy in the Know) (Veteran Member)
    Posted On May 15th 2011:
    That is the announcement from the Big Man in the Big White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave as of 6pm EST this evening. That's right ladies and gents, if you actively participated in the Battle of the Bay you get a walk on your previous bad acts, contact your local PRT and/or Protectorate office and be a free person once again.

    (Showing page 1 of 1)

    ►AverageAlexandros (Cape Husband)
    Replied On May 15th 2011:
    So what the President is saying is that these scum get a free pass on all the hurt they have caused over the years? These asshats are known as villains for a reason and most of them have embraced the damn moniker, now they're just going to get a walk?
    ►L33t (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 16th 2011:
    Hey I resemble that remark!

    edit: Alright, i apologize for that, responding to posts after being awake for over 48 hours is not conducive to doing more than shit posting.

    That said, Uber and I spent weeks aiding in designing and then building the bomber that we then flew around the Dark Side of the Moon and then had to intentionally crash into Leviathan on the second pass. If you don't think we earned our pardons with that then i would offer to let you ride along for the next attack run. It's supposed to be against Behemoth and is sure to be even more fun (note sarcasm on that last)

    I won't even get started on poor Echidna who spent her life holding Leviathan's attention while we made that last run, her and her friends. She was our lone casualty in this fight because of how well we were able to coordinate in this fight,
    ►All_Seeing_Eye (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 16th 2011:
    Let us also not forget poor Sundancer who had to throw a miniature sun on top of her friend in that bombing run to ensure the most amount of damage was done to Leviathan. All the Travelers are hurting right now, and they were one of the more useful villain groups. They don't need the hate thank you.
    ►AverageAlexandros (Cape Husband)
    Replied On May 16th 2011:
    And what about Lung, Bakuda, Oni Lee, Kaiser, Hookwolf, Purity, Othala, and Victor as well as any other of a couple dozen other villains who showed up? Do they also just get a walk for doing nothing.?
    ►Uber (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    @AverageAlexandros you are really starting to piss me off, that said, now that I am taking a close look at this and its fine print, no they don't just get a walk.
    ►AverageAlexandros (Cape Husband)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    How so?

    edit: I am actually curious to know really. If there is a limitation to this i might be able to live with it.
    ►Uber (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    The short, short answer- If they don't join the Protectorate and then afterwards get into any kind of trouble by breaking the law, the district attorney has the ability to throw all their past bad deeds against them. No statute of limitations need apply.
    ►Miss Mercury (Protectorate Employee)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    That sounds more like a permanent version of probation to me.
    ►L33t (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    Yeah, it’s one of the little "Enticements" they put in to get them to join the Protectorate, but we won't discuss that.
    End of Page. 1

    ■​

    The morning after the Leviathan fight, I woke sometime between eleven and noon with a face full of soft black hair, my arms full of warm woman, and a painful need to use the bathroom. I really didn’t want to wake the sleeping bomb maker, but the woman had my hand in a death grip as she hugged it to her chest, and I kinda needed my left hand even though I’m right handed. I tried first to wake her gently by calling her name softly, but she just grumbled in her sleep. “Hitomi,” I said a little louder, “can I have my hand back, I need to get up.”

    “Don’t wanna get up yet,” she mumbled though obviously still asleep. “It’s not a school day so m gonna sleep in.”

    I grinned, this would be so damned cute if it wasn’t for the fact that I had to piss so badly. My bladder wasn’t going to wait much longer, and I damn well didn’t want to have to replace the damn mattress on the couch or have to fumigate the damn thing. Because of this I tried one last thing that I am surprised didn’t get me killed. Wrapping myself tighter around her I kissed her at the edge of her jaw and ear. “That would be fine my dear,” I said in her ear. “But I need my arm so that I can go to the bathroom.”

    I don’t know which of my actions caused Hitomi to jump to her feet and try to bolt across the room, but she didn’t get far. Her feet tangled in the sheets and she fell to the floor before getting more than a foot from the bed. “Are you alright,” I asked as I climbed off the bed and helped her back up.

    “Will be,” she answered sleepily as she sat back down on the bed. “What time is it?”

    “Um,” I said as I glanced at the battery powered clock above the TV while making my way to the bathroom. “Eleven-thirty-ish,” I answered before ducking into the bathroom. “Lay back down if you want,” I called back through the door. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

    Ten minutes later we had both managed to keep our teeth from floating and were huddled around my Keurig brand coffee maker as it brewed my hot chocolate and her coffee. Before you ask don’t even bother. For all that it smells wonderful brewing, my stomach revolts at the mere thought of pouring any kind of coffee down my throat, including those moca-frappacino creations from Starschmucks. (I also do not fall for their coffee house propaganda and treat their disposable cups as if they were worth a fortune like an idiot, but that’s another story.) “So, any plans for today?” I asked poking my phone and looking at it for an update as to what was happening.

    “I need new clothes,” Hitomi answered, “and I need to at least start looking for a new place.”

    Reading a new thread on PHO, I grunted with a grimace. “Well the bad news is that no one is going to be open until tomorrow at the earliest,” I told her. “What’s worse is that their supply is going to be limited to what didn’t get damaged by the flooding.” She grimaced and then looked over my shoulder at the PHO thread.

    “Leave it to the politicians to fuck up a good thing,” she said voicing my own thoughts.

    ■​
    ♦ Topic: End of an Era
    In: Boards ► United States ► Brockton Bay ► Local Politics
    Bagrat
    (Original Poster) (The Guy in the Know) (Veteran Member)
    Posted On May 16th 2011:
    Any return to Brockon Bay, and indeed the repairing of the area has now been delayed a full 24 hours due to the Mayor and the City Council plans to hold a meeting to decide if returning to the bay is actually feasible. By deciding to hold this meeting they have delayed the visiting workers, FEMA until they make a decision.

    I am reliably informed that as soon as this decision is made, FEMA and the various insurance agency adjusters, as well as the civilian residents will be allowed in to start the claims process. Assuming the vote is to rebuild, the visiting workers will then be allowed in to start checking the power and water mains and start returning power to the city. However, with how late the meeting is likely to run, its highly likely that nothing will happen before 8am Monday morning. Now the question is, will Mayor Christner and the city council still have a job once this is all over, regardless of how they decide.

    Edit: oof, the President has spoken. When his reached his ears, it descended into four letter words. Love him or hate him, you can't deny the man has a voice:

    (Showing page 10 of 10)

    ►DHDWU (Brockton Bay Refugee)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    Look, I've tried for years to work through the city's offices and system to keep people in the DWU working legitimate jobs as well as get a couple of projects done that would ease the city's transit situation. Each year i have been told that neither the work nor the funding are there. All the while, money that isn't there for things like the ferry are there for that eyesores like the Forsberg Gallery. I think it's time we had a recall vote on every one of those bastards.
    ►Brocktonite_451
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    Gee [REDACTED] why don't you tell us how you really feel. (sarcasm)

    In all honesty it is a simple cost benefit analysis, the President is throwing good money after bad simply over emotion. Brockton Bay is no New York, the Federal government could buy us all out and be better off financially for it, even after paying everyone that lived here to relocate.

    User has received 30 points and a second warning. Don't name people who don't want to be known by their real name. @Tin_Mother
    ►DHDWU (Brockton Bay Refugee)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    It's ok @Tin_Mother, if people didn't know who I was before, they'll know when they watch This.
    ►L33t (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    Holy Hell, I mean seriously WTF. @DHDWU, you man, have some serious cajones and major props for this one.

    @Brocktonite_451, I hope you squirreled away enough to pay for the lawyers, the divorce and your forced early retirement, because you are so definitely screwed.
    ►Brocktonite_451
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    Are any of you claiming that this is me and that I took a bribe?
    ►All_Seeing_Eye (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    In that particular instance, no, you did not take a bribe, mostly because one wasn't being offered. That said, you were angling for one damn hard though.
    ►Grue (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    and that line about ensuring that only the "Right People" were on the work crews. I have five that says he is at least an E88 sympathizer.
    ►Rune (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    No bet Grue
    ►Tin_Moter (Moderator)
    Replied On May 17th 2011:
    This thread has been locked awaiting legal review
    End of Page. 1, 2, 3 ... 8, 9, 10

    ■​

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    ■​
    ♦ Topic: Alright, WTF
    In: Boards ► North America ► East-Northeast ► Brockton Bay
    Rune
    (Original Poster) (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)(Fabulous Killjoy)
    Posted On May 29th 2011:
    As the title says Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

    Ok folks it has been 2 weeks since the big fight with Leviathan and things are starting to get back to normal around the bay and all of a sudden there are these flyers going up all around what used to be the ABB's territory. Now Lung, after the President's pardon, disbanded the ABB instructing its members to find legitimate work. He and Oni Lee joined the Protectorate and Bakuda joined the Killjoys as an affiliate of the Protectorate. In short all their issues with the fine print of the pardon are handled and the rank and file members have done one of four things, Joined the PRT, joined the BBPD, acquired legal jobs, (joined the DWU mostly) or opened their own legitimate businesses, but now these flyers are going up. My question is, what are they about? I can't read the ideograms but I also have to ask, is someone moving into the dragon's old territory?

    (Showing page 1 of 1)

    ►Oni Lee (Protectorate Employee) (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 29th 2011:
    The Ba-chan collective reveals its true power
    ►Glory_Girl (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 29th 2011:
    Who the what? Look I know Master Lee is a man of few words, but they usually make more sense. As Rune asked WTF?
    ►Lung (Verified Cape) (Kyushu Survivor) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Protectorate Employee)
    Replied On May 29th 2011:
    I have seen one of these flyers, there is nothing to be concerned about. This is simply the community elders calling for a festival to celebrate the victory.
    ►Clockblocker (Verified Cape)(ENE Wards) (Verified Cape) (Wards ENE) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 29th 2011:
    But what is this Ba-chan collective that sensei speaks of?
    ►Lung (Verified Cape) (Kyushu Survivor) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Protectorate Employee)
    Replied On May 29th 2011:
    In most Asian communities, great respect is placed upon our elders. Ba-chan is an endearment given to an elder female relative, like a grandmother.
    ►Vista (Verified Cape) (Wards ENE) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 29th 2011:
    And he would know this if he actually bothered to pay attention in Agent Cho's cultural assimilation class.
    ►Kid Win (Verified Cape) (Wards ENE) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 29th 2011:
    So the Elders want to throw a party? Is it invite only, or can just anyone show up?
    ►CHOsen 1 (Verified PRT Agent) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 29th 2011:
    There is an undertone or sub-text to the message that I'm not parsing out somehow. Short answer, anyone can show up and is welcome, and if it were me I would suggest showing up in uniform and be prepared to be stuffed full of good food.
    ►Aegis (Verified Cape) (Wards ENE) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On May 30th 2011:
    Prepare for Clockblocker's culture shock in 3-2-1.
    End of Page. 1

    ■​

    ***
    Everyone in the group looked on in awe at the outpouring of the local Asian community as the festival filled the streets around 4th and A streets. The Killjoys and the Wards were sharing office space at the PRT building as well as doing joint patrols with the Wards and the Protectorate heroes, so it was a group comprised of Kid Win, Clockblocker, Vista and Skitter who got to attend the street festival first. The others would rotate through the area later to keep an eye on things as well as watch for trouble. As they looked around them they saw small children running about wearing painted masks of animal faces, as well as Lung, Oni Lee and Bakuda. Turning around and looking at the crowd Clockblocker asked, “Am I the only one seeing something odd about the crowd?”
    “The content of the crowd is demographically a two-to-one ratio of apparently unattached females of roughly marriageable age ranges to single men or couples.” Tattletale answered from the console.

    “Damn,” Agent Andrew Cho of the PRT said as he heard this, “Now I know what the damn sub-text of the flyer was.”

    “What’s that?” Vista asked.

    “Well,” Agent Cho temporized as he continued to escort the underage heroes toward the center of the festival. “What do all these young women have in common, or maybe I should say, lack in common?”

    “Oh hell,” Skitter deadpanned. “It’s a speed dating party. They’re all here to try and find a husband.”

    “And who is the most eligible bachelor in the city?” Clockblocker asked sarcastically as they reached the center of the cross-streets.
    ***
    I sighed as I exchanged pleasantries with a young, pretty girl and what I thought was her great-grandmother. The girl was smiling shyly as the older woman was making small talk and trying to work in compliments about the younger woman’s virtues. Seeing Skitter, three Wards and their PRT agent escort step through the crowd I almost cheered my probably temporary salvation. “Excuse me elder,” I said cutting in as the older woman took a breath, “I see someone I need to speak with.”

    The older woman followed my gaze and snorted, “Can’t be the little Ward,” the old woman said almost sneering. “She is to young, other three are boys and my no-good grand-nephew.” The young girl’s eyes practically bugged out at the mention of the PRT agent and she studiously turned her back to the group to hide her face.

    “Actually,” I mentioned, “the tall one with the insect theme is a girl. This caused the old woman to shoot me a questioning look. “She’s too young and way to thin for my tastes,” I continued. “Maybe you can play match-maker to the younger generation though.”

    The elder cackled at that, “Maybe I’ll find that no-good grand-nephew a wife amongst some of the widows and divorcees while I’m at it.” She grinned at the thought for a minute before rattling off an order to the young girl there with her who nodded and took off in a dainty run in the opposite direction. “Sent her after her cousins,” the old woman commented a moment later.
    I saw the PRT agent grimace as he got close enough to see who I was standing with. “Hello Elder,” the agent said with a bow.

    “Rise grandchild,” the old woman replied with an imperious attitude. This was a clan matriarch in full form, and I could tell the agent was regretting his arrival here already. “In deference to our guests I will speak English until it is time to speak to you privately.”

    “Thank you, Grandmother.” Andrew Cho replied straightening from his bow. “If you will allow me, I will introduce the children to you.”

    “By all means,” the old woman replied, “Children, I am the family matriarch and an elder of the community, you may address me as Elder Ka Lon.”

    “Greetings Elder Ka Lon,” the four said bowing at the waist.

    The elder nodded her head and Agent Cho spoke, “Elder, with me are the Wards Vista, Kid Win, and Clockblocker, as well as a member of the Fabulous Killjoys Skitter.” As each of them were named the straightened, the elder eying them as they did so.

    After a moment’s more inspection the old woman cackled before turning to the Agent. “Ah grandson,” she said, “long have I worried about you, but you bring faith back to an old woman’s heart.” Turning she looked around before calling out, “Xian, where are you?”

    “Here Great-Grandmother,” the young girl from earlier said dragging another girl and a pair of boys through a hole in the crowd. All the teens looked of comparable age to the Wards and Skitter as to allow them to pair off.

    “Ah good,” the old woman said returning her attention to the teen heroes. “Xian Pu, you like flying, so you will go with Kid Win. I believe he has some kind of flying board. Mai, you think you are a comedian, so you will go with the other boy, he seems to like a good joke.” The two Wards shared a look and then Clockblocker grinned. Looking at the two girls, I could see that Xian still had that shy smile that she had been wearing when her great-grandmother was trying to interest me in her, but her eyes were more lit up as she eyed the hoverboard in Kid’s hand. The look Mai was giving Clockblocker however sent a shiver down my spine. That girl already had ideas, and knowing the Ward, he would go along with them just for the pure hell of it.

    “Behave,” I said eyeballing the two Wards who gulped and nodded before leaving with their “Dates”.

    “Michael,” the old woman continued causing the taller of the two boys to practically snap to attention. “You will escort Miss Skitter around while Johnathan escorts Miss Vista. I would suggest visiting the south and west streets first.”

    The boys both nodded and turned to me. “Oh no shovel speech boy’s,” I told them. “You are going around with the two most deadly capes in town, nothing I could threaten you with could compare to what either of those young ladies could do to you.” This comment earned me an audible, “As if,” sniff from Vista and an almost maniacal laugh from the elder.

    “They are good boys,” the elder commented as they got out of earshot. “You on the other hand,” she continued rounding on the PRT Agent before changing languages and grabbing him by the ear. His initial response was probably the equivalent of “Now Grandmother,” but I couldn’t be sure because I didn’t understand the language. Whatever it was he said the elder ignored it and verbally walked right over him while dragging him away. I am not too prideful to admit that I used the distraction for all it was worth to try and make my escape from the elder. Unfortunately, I only made it about five paces before another of the Ba-chan collective cornered me with politeness and tried to shove another beautiful grand-daughter into my arms. Hitomi was so going to pay for this.
    ***
    Leet looked at the festival turning into a street party around the corner as he and Uber finished setting up the mobile stage and sound system. Hey Uber, were we invited to stay?”

    “Not specifically,” Uber replied finishing wiring one of the speaker cables and firing off the generator for the electronics. “On the other-hand we were not instructed to make ourselves scarce afterwards either.”

    “I have an idea,” Leet said with a smile.

    “I’m scared,” Uber replied in a deadpan voice.
    ***
    “Can I have your attention please,” I heard Leet’s voice call out. Turning I saw him standing in front of a large TV screen surrounded by speakers and Uber was standing off to one side behind a mixing table with what looked like a laptop in front of him. “Can I have your attention please,” the former villain repeated. “Would the real Wolf Bostwick please stand up?” I chuckled slightly and stepped away from the most recent Ba-chan and her youngest daughter, a lovely twenty something that was smiling at my lame joke, and waved at the pair on stage. “I said, could the real Wolf Bostwick please stand up.” He scanned the crowd for a second before continuing, “We may have a problem here.”

    I started to laugh as I made my way through the crowd and the tinker continued on with the song. He wasn’t half bad, and I say that as someone who has spent years hearing bad karaoke. I think it was my fault of course, I was the one who thought it would be a good idea to put karaoke lyrics on with anime music videos.
    ***
    “What is that?” Clockblocker asked as he and Mai Lee exited one of the food stands with a plate of fried dumplings and another with three skewers of something called Dango.

    “It appears that the elder’s entertainment has arrived.” Mai said with an impish smile on her face. “They arranged for Uber and Leet to build a large, mobile karaoke stage because they heard that Wolf enjoyed singing. It looks like Leet is kicking things off.”

    “Ah,” Clockblocker replied nodding sagely. “So, do you want to give it a shot?”

    “Absolutely,” Mai answered her smile growing. “Do you have an idea for a song?”

    “Oh,” Clockblocker temporized. “I’m sure I’ll think of something.”
    ***
    Xian Pu held on to Kid Win as they cheered for Mai and Clockblocker from the height afforded by Kid’s hover board. “Oh fudge,” she heard Kid mutter causing her to look first at his face and then where he was looking. “Control can you see this?”

    “Affirmative Kid,” he heard Tattletale’s voice say in his ear. “I have Hookwolf, Cricket, and Stormtiger along with thirty goons moving in from the outer fringes. All friendlies in the area, we have potential hostiles inbound from three of the four directions. Priority is to protect the civilians and, get them clear of the combat zone; then try and minimize collateral damage.”

    “Sorry Xian,” Kid said as he lowered the board to the street. “Duty calls.”

    “It’s no problem,” she said patting his cheek, “I think it’s time we reminded the Empire of why, even before Lung, they could not push the community out.” With that she disappeared into the crowd toward A street and Stormtiger.
    ***
    Jin Park Woo zoomed the street camera in tight on the van that was apparently meant to block the other end of 4th street. The entire van was spewing out foam from the pair of grenades that Bakuda planted into the cabin. “Attention all hero capes,” he broadcast over the radio. He spoke out loud all his attention to ensuring he stayed on their frequencies. “I am the Laughing Man and I’m on your side. Please start evacuating the civilians down 4th away from Hookwolf. Bakuda has already dealt with the trouble in that direction and it will clear the area faster. Kitsune and Yuki-ona are engaging Cricket and Stormtiger respectively, but someone needs to deal with Hookwolf.”

    “Kid,” Wolf said over the channel. “Get Vista high up. Vista try and ease the congestion, either that or spread the area around the Empire capes so that the fight won’t get to the civs while they clear out.”

    “Understood,” Kid’s and Vista’s voices replied over the radio.
    ***
    “Go home Hookwolf,” I said as I stepped out of the crowd and into the space Vista had cleared. “At this point there has been no trouble, and as long as that continues I won’t have to beat the hell out of you.”

    Hookwolf smirked, “There are four of us and one of you Wolf, even you couldn’t keep us from wiping out this group of sub-humans.” His voice was borderline of a growl even as his smirk shifted into a smile. “I doubt you could even protect a handful against the might of the Empire.”

    I shook my head looking at him and felt the weight of a war hammer settle into my hand. “Oh, you poor deluded soul,” I said before looking up at him with my own feral grin. “You’ve lost even before you could start the fight.” Turning my head, I hollered back at the stage, “Hey guys, give me something to kick his ass to.”
    ***
    Gallant looked up from his book as Clockblocker, Kid Win and Vista entered the Wards area in the old PRT building with musical accompaniment. Clock was actually dancing slightly to the tune as he crossed the room to a chair. “Have fun did you?” Gallant asked.

    Clockblocker spun himself into and seat and pulled his mask off. “I think I’m in love,” he declared kicking his head backwards over the back of the chair.

    Vista snorted and shook her head as she removed her visor. “Only you Dennis, could fall for Oni-Lee’s niece. You spent two hours with her and watched her beat the crap out of Cricket.” The youngest, yet most experienced ward dropped her head to her chest and chuckled. “That’s going to make hand to hand class interesting.”

    “I know,” Dennis said with a grin, “and she kissed me.”

    “God help us,” Chris muttered sitting down on the couch, helmet in one hand, soda in the other. “You know the thing that is worse than her being Master Lee’s niece is that she has the same sense of humor as Dennis.

    Gallant pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned. “What about your date?” he asked the tinker.

    “Oh, she started giving him the cold shoulder after she locked up Stormtiger,” Dennis quipped, replying for Chris.

    “She gave me her phone number and asked me to call her tomorrow,” Chris replied ignoring Dennis’s comment, “I think her power affects her emotions, so I don’t know how she really feels about me.”

    Gallant nodded, “Don’t worry Chris, we’ll get you a free night to be able to take her out soon. On the other hand, you all have a debriefing in conference room three in ten minutes to discuss what happened today.” The three younger Wards grimaced at the thought but put their respective masks back into place and walked out of the common room into the main hallway. Once they were gone Dean pulled the tablet he had hidden behind his back on the couch and pulled his PHO account back up.
    ***
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    ■​
    ♦ Topic: Rocking Fight at the Party
    In: Boards ► Local occurrences ► Brockton Bay
    L33t
    (Original Poster) (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)(Fabulous Killjoy)
    Posted On Jun 6th 2011:
    Alright, those of you who went to the party at 4th and A streets already know what happened, but for those of you who couldn't attend, (or just didn't) here is the vids and the scoop.

    News Flash- Brockton Bay
    That's right boys and girls, four of the Empires most heavy hitters have been captured and are sitting in the high security lockdown awaiting their trip to the Birdcage.

    Also we can add to this that there are three new capes on the scene here in the bay,
    Yuki-ona page is here
    Kitsune page is here
    Laughing Man page is here

    Of course our favorite Lycanthrope squared off against Hookwolf and made it look fun and easy. I knew he could pull blades out of this air, but that hammer was nasty.

    The Ice Princess Yuki-ona decided to shut down Stormtiger, and boy did he get a cold reception to trying to crash the party.

    Kitsune fought Cricket, and it was really punny to watch. The quips and martial arts were bad enough, and the snark was so sharp you could cut atoms with it. The ending was epic though.

    (Showing page 1 of 2)

    ►All_Seeing_Eye (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    Was sitting on the Console when the call came in. I wish i could have seen the look on Clocks face when his date vanished from right next to him.
    ►Aegis (Verified Cape) (Wards ENE) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    I have video of you falling out of your chair laughing at Crickets expression when the foam grenade went off in the back of her pants.
    ►Rune (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    OMFG, That was fracking hilarious, the look on Crickets face as the foam grenade started to fill her pants was hysterical. Its almost as if she dropped a load in them.

    Also, sweet heaven Leet, please tell me you added that song post production, it comes off very racist otherwise.
    ►L33t (Original Poster) (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    The crowd seemed to enjoy it, as well as this one as the PRT loaded them onto a flatbed.
    ►Kitsune (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    Now that was funny!
    ►Yuki-ona (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    I didn't get to enjoy the party after they showed up. Damned Empire, Damn powers.
    ►XxVoid_CowboyxX
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    Alright i have to ask, What the Hell? where did you three come from? I don't mean specifics, (don't spank me mods I did not mean it that way) but you just showed up out of nowhere at a party for crying out loud.
    ►Laughing Man (Not a tinker) (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    I'll answer that before @Tin_Mother thread bans you or something. You see, before Lung showed up and joined the gangs together, the local Asian community produced capes at pretty much the same rate as the rest of Brockton Bay. Then Lung shows up and either wiped out or drove off those few capes except for Oni-Lee who joined the ABB. Because of Lung's protection the local community doesn't produce as many capes as it used to, and what we do produce tend to be either family line, or grab bag. Those of us that trigger tend to keep a very low profile and Lung seems to let us.
    ►XxVoid_CowboyxX
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    That makes sense, but why show yourselves now?
    End of Page. 1

    (Showing page 2 of 2)

    ►Kitsune (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On Jun 6th 2011:
    Because the Empire needed a refresher course in why they couldn't just drive our community out of the bay in the first place.
    ►Mis Militia (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Protectorate Employee) (Verified Cape)
    Replied On Jun 7th 2011:
    And they surely learned it the hard way this time. We at the Protectorate and the PRT have a bit of paper work that we would like you to fill out if you three don't mind, and some for Wolf as well. Has anyone seen him since Saturday?
    ►Lung (Verified Cape) (Protectorate Employee) (Kyushu Survivor) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On Jun 7th 2011:
    He left the party about midnight with Bakuda who was shooting glares at all the hopefulls and Oba-chans.
    ►CHOsen 1 (Verified PRT Agent) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On Jun 7th 2011:
    and ladies we have a winner. Several in fact considering almost anyone who showed up without a date Saturday left with one, or at least a few phone numbers.
    ►Skitter (Verified Cape) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Fabulous Killjoy)
    Replied On Jun 7th 2011:
    Did Elder Ka Lon find you a date @CHOsen 1 or did you manage to escape?
    ►CHOsen 1 (Verified PRT Agent) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On Jun 7th 2011:
    Nice lady, early 30's with two boys. We have a date next Sat night.
    ►Vista (Verified Cape) (Wards ENE) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
    Replied On Jun 7th 2011:
    @CHOsen 1

    Sucker
    End of Page. 1, 2

    ■​
    ***

    Now, as promised, the NSFW Interlude
     
    Rune and Akuma-Heika like this.
  17. Rune

    Rune A Strange Symbol

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
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    hi, interesting story, kind of you to mention me.
    Honestly it is surprising this didn't happen earlier.
     
    Corvo_Attano and Wolfboy like this.
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