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Snippets, Omakes and Short Stories

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by AntonioCC, Jan 30, 2015.

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  1. Threadmarks: Index
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    This thread is for what says in the title. I write a lot, but I'm not very focused, and some stories may languish for months before I revisit them.

    Index

    Family (Buffy/Marvel/DC)
    This is part of a story that as I indicates is a crossover between Buffy and versions of the Marvel and DC universes. This story in particular (I have fragments of other stories set in the same continuity), is mostly about Buffy and Batman.

    Snippet 1
    Snippet 2
    Snippet 3
    Snippet 4
    Snippet 5
    Snippet 6
    Snippet 7
    Snippet 8
    Snippet 9
    Snippet 10
    Snippet 11
    Snippet 12
    Snippet 13
    Snippet 14
    Snippet 15
    Snippet 16
    Snippet 17
    Snippet 18
    Snippet 19
    Snippet 20
    Snippet 21
    Snippet 22
    Snippet 23
    Snippet 24
    Snippet 25
    Snippet 26
    Snippet 27
    Snippet 28

    Ancient Moon v. 2 (Sailor Moon/ Stargate SG-1)
    Some of you may remember this story from SB and SV. I lost faith in the story as it was progressing and I have started to rewrite it.

    Snippet 1
    Snippet 2
    Snippet 3

    Now that the prologue is complete, I'll start to post into its own thread... except that the second chapter is proving difficult so, I'm posting what I have.

    Snippet 2.1



    Amuro Quest Omakes

    Omakes from the Amuro Quest that I'm QMing.

    Alternate Openings: A NEwtype in Brockton Bay

    Trek Into Madness (Star Trek/Warhammer40K)

    I posted an early version of this in SB long ago.

    Snippet 1
    Snippet 2

    To Be A Hero: Beginnings

    To be a Hero is the generic title for the stories set in the same universe as Family (see above). And Beginnings is supposed to be a collection of stories dealing with the origin of the heroes in this merege BtVS/Marvel/DC universe. Don't expect a snippet here, it's going to be LONG.

    The Last Son of Krypton, part 1

    The second part is going to be posted on snippets.

    The Last Son of Krypton, part 2: Strange Visitors
    Snippet 1
    Snippet 2
    Snippet 3
    Snippet 4
    Snippet 5
    Snippet 6
    Snippet 7
    Snippet 8


    Change of Guard

    Another story set in the same Univers than family. This one features the Initiative as well as a few familiar agents of SHIELD

    Snippet 1
    Snippet 2
    Snippet 3
    Snippet 4
    Snippet 5
    Snippet 6
    Snippet 7
    Snippet 8
    Snippet 9
    Snippet 10
    Snippet 11
    Snippet 12
    Snippet 13
    Snippet 14
    Snippet 15
    Snippet 16

    Flight of the Rogue

    A short Story set in the Same universe than Family

    Snippet 1
    Snippet 2
    Snippet 3
    Snippet 4
    Snippet 5
    Snippet 6
    Snippet 7
    Snippet 8
    Snippet 9

    Assorted Snippets

    A collection of ficlets and orphan snippets.

    Derail? Worm Crossover, bit of an experiment
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
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  2. Threadmarks: Family.01
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Family

    New York

    "It wouldn't have killed you to accept his offer to open a portal directly to Gotham, you know." Said Dawn as they drove out of the city. "I thought that you were over your hostility to him."

    “And I am... It's just that his magic makes me queasy." Said Buffy, and chuckled "Yeah, I find it as ridiculous as you."

    "You now what is really bothering me? That the Council rejected the help of one of the most powerful wizards of the world, many times. His help would have made our life much easier."

    "As Giles told it, they felt protective of their turf. An idiotic reason, but that's the Council for you." Said Dawn, shrugging.

    "Yeah." Said Buffy, nodding "What do you have about the guy whose will are going to hear?."

    "Technically is not his will, it's an additional disposition to his will as he died around the same time I was born." Said Dawn "And, well, Thomas Wayne was loaded, Wayne Corp being basically tied with LexCorp and Stark Enterprises in the rankings, leaving behind, by a good portion if I may add, Von Doom Industries and Oscorp." She then added "He basically left trusted people in charge, while he was a doctor in a private free clinic in the worst part of Gotham. And she was married to a cousin of mom."

    "What?" said Buffy, startled

    "Oh, yes. Do you remember that mom's maiden name was Kane? The Kanes are other of Gotham's old families, and Thomas' wife, Martha Kane, was the daughter of Grandpa Rick older brother. Apparently, there was some kind of fight and Grandpa Rick moved to L.A." said Dawn, reading from the articles that Willow and her had been printing all the past day. "Mom studied art in Gotham University, where she met Martha and they became good friends, as well with Martha's fiancé, Thomas."

    "All right... Mom only told me that she had studied in the East Coast and he met my biological father there. It was only when she came back to L.A. with me, when she met Hank." Said Buffy, who then frowned as she remembered something "I think that I vaguely remember visiting somebody in a dark and foreboding mansion one of the times that Mom and Hank had been fighting, several months before you were born, but it's not very clear, apart from getting into a fight with an spoiled brat there."

    "This brat?" asked Dawn, showing her a picture of a boy in front of a tomb.

    "Could be.” Buffy said with a shrug “Who is he?"

    "Bruce Wayne, the son of Thomas and Martha Wayne and the only witness of their murder. He is roughly your age:"

    The Bruce Wayne. Mr. Millionaire Playboy?” Buffy said, and Dawn nodded with a smirk “Damn.”

    “Yeah. Our cousin is yummy, all right.” Dawn said. “He even looks a bit like Angel. Tall, dark and handsome.”

    “Cousin, remember. We are not from... one of those places with hillnillies like, I dunno, Kansas?.” Buffy said “Anyway, let’s change the topic. I’m taking a roundabout route to reach Gotham, to avoid jams, in case you are wondering why am I taking this route.”

    “I figured that it was something like that.” Dawn said “But we will need to refuel in the route. Around...” she looked at the map “...Bayville.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
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  3. Threadmarks: Ancient Moon.1.01
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    ANCIENT MOON

    Major Samantha Carter home. Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    Sam Carter was tossing and turning on her sleep, as the same dream that she had intermittently since she started to work with the Stargate, and with increasing frequency after Jolinar, came to her again.

    She was in a vast chamber, operating a computer panel, which it seemed like Ancient technology, as people were crossing a kind of Stargate that was intimately familiar to her dream-self, but that she hadn't seen in her life. She looked up, looking at dream versions of Jack, Daniel and T’ealc, clad in unfamiliar garb and armed with strange weapons.

    Jack and Daniel wore some sort of short tunic and pants ensemble in light grey with silver motifs tones, quite similar to the one that she was wearing, now that she looked at herself, and they were all armed with pistols that looked like something out of a 50s sci-fi movie. T’ealc was wearing a crystalline armor with gold motifs, and armed with a rifle, which had been clearly done with similar aesthetics.

    There was another person, in the door to the chamber, a young woman with mid-length blonde hair and wearing a gold tunic over blue pants, clearly keeping watch over the corridor beyond, through the barely open doors. As her back was turned, she couldn’t see much of her, but she couldn’t avoid a sense of... familiarity, as if she knew her. Suddenly, the woman moved and closed the door, as the last people crossed the event horizon of the wormhole, just before the time limit closed the wormhole.

    “Beryl's minions are in the hallways.” she said, matter of fact. Sam now recognized her, Jennifer Hailey, the young and brash lieutenant that she had met not too long before.

    “Plan E it is.” Said Jack, and then he looked at her. She nodded and got a crystal from the console and smashed it in the ground.

    “Done. The Gate won't be able to call out. It's an antique, anyway.” Sam heard herself saying. “this madness will stay confined in this system. At least Atlantis managed to get out before things went South.”

    Just in time, as it was, as somebody started to pound on the door to the room.

    "It seems, that we have to make a last stand." she said as the door started to dent.

    "It seems that way." Said Jack, who then faced her, smiling, picking her by the waist and kissing her deeply in the lips, just as the door started to buckle under the hits. They separated, with regret, but they looked into each other eyes and nodded, getting ready, although Jack couldn't avoid making a last observation.

    "We may not be the Princess Guard...” this prompted a hmph from Hailey, but Jack continued as if he hadn’t heard her “... they are holding the thick of the assault by themselves. But this sorry bunch will pay for this in blood." said Jack. “Any last words, people?”

    And Sam Carter awoke in her bed, the last strands of her dream hanging in her memory, as well as the familiar throbbing in her head that always accompanied these dreams, whose meaning dream escaped her. For a long time she had thought that it had been provoked by her anxieties about the Stargate, represented in her mind as a Fantasy worst case scenario. But this explanation was growing threadbare as the dream was gaining clarity as time passed, as if it was really a memory which was resurfacing, rather that a manifestation of her subconscious.

    'Focus, Sam, focus.' She thought, trying to get her mind out of those things, as she took a Tylenol 'It's only a dream, nothing more.'

    She looked at the hour and decided not to try to get back to sleep, she had to be in the SGC in a couple hours. She took her breakfast, showered and got dressed in her uniform, and every free moment her mind went back to her dream. It had looked so real. She couldn't shake the feeling that they were memories... and they felt like hers, not Jolinar's. Maybe she had to talk about it with Dad, well, rather Selmak in this case.

    Somewhere in outer space

    "It's strange that you came here in person... so to speak, giving your kind's penchant for hiding behind their brainwashed soldiers." a cold and harsh female voice said in a condescending tone, with barely a hint of surprise in her voice. "Now, before I lose my patience, worm, why did you want this meeting?"

    "As you probably already know, I'm not an usual representative of my kind.." an inhumanly deep male voice answered, in a patient tone, like the one that one would use with a slow child. "Now, as for why I wanted this meeting... We are both the most powerful of our kind, and a fight between us will at least weaken the winner enough for our enemies to take us down easily, and very probably would destroy us both."

    "And...?" said the woman, archly.

    "I'm proposing an alliance." Said the male voice

    "An interesting proposal..." started to say the female voice, her voice fading in the background

    And then she saw an upright ring of stone, with engraved signs, and a glowing, watery surface in its center.

    Rei Hino, Sailor Mars, awoke with a gasp. Quickly, she reassured herself, she was in her flat in Tokyo, but she couldn't repress a shiver. She hadn't had a premonition so strong since all the mess with the Messiah of Silence.

    The part of her that was exclusively Sailor Mars, the Senshi of flame and passion, had recognized the ring, but the feeling had disappeared too quickly to ascertain its origin. This premonition puzzled her, as there was no clue of the identities of both enemies, as well as the lack of images, other than the ring of stone. Tomorrow she would try to get a vision on the fire, and warn the others, as apparently new enemies would show their face in a short time. She opened the window and looked at the lights of the city below, and then to the clouds hiding the few stars that could be seen in the middle of the city.

    "A storm is coming." She said, as she felt a gust of wind, full of the scent of the sea.

    The house shared by the Outer Senshi

    Two women, a tall blonde with short hair, and the other with shoulder length wavy teal hair were sleeping together in the same bed. Another woman, a tall, dark-skinned woman with long green hair opened the door for a moment before closing it. The noise awakened the blonde, who spent several minutes just looking at her partner, who was moving and mumbling in her sleep, seemingly in her way to awakening. The teal-haired woman finally opened her eyes, saying something under her breath.

    "What did you say, Michiru?" said Haruka Tenoh, Sailor Uranus, seeing the worried expression of her girlfriend.

    "I said, Haruka, that a storm is coming." Said Michiru Kaioh, Sailor Neptune, looking at her lover and partner directly in her eyes. "And I'm not talking about the weather. Pick your clothes, we need to talk with the others."
     
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  4. Threadmarks: AQ_Omake:Worm.01
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Amuro Quest Omake

    Alternate Openings: A Newtype in Brockton Bay

    Amuro recovered consciousness slowly. He remembered crashing in that bay, the damage in Nu Gundam too big for him to do anything else, ejecting and trying to swim out to safety. His last memory was to mange to reach into a place that was near water level and lie there, cold and exhausted.

    He didn't feel cold now. He was wrapped in a blanket, lying in a couch, clothed in his underwear. He moved, keeping the blanket and looked around. It looked like an office, an old one at that, given the furniture. There was a paper calendar in the wall, for god's sake!.
    The calendar. According to it, it was January 2011. A.D., he guessed. . Whatever happened back there, pushing Axis, it had propelled him back in time, or worse. Over the desk, there was a newspaper, he looked at it, revealing the situation as even more strange. Parahumans? Endbringers?

    'Not only the past, but an alternate past.' he thought. He would had remembered if people with such extraordinary abilities existed in the AD era.

    So absort he was in reading the paper, that he didn't notice the door opening.

    "Oh, you are awake." a male voice said behind him.

    He turned to see a tall, gawky man with glasses and a receding hairline. He was carrying a tray with two coffee cups, and two beige cardboard boxes with a gold M on them.
     
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  5. Threadmarks: Ancient Moon.1.02
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Stargate Command​


    Daniel rubbed his eyes after waking up, having fallen asleep over the pictures that he had been examining, that had been taken by the SG-7 in PGS-345. Obviously, he hadn’t planned this, but with all the all-nighters he had pulled lately, mostly to avoid the weird dreams of last weeks, he hadn’t even finished with the murals. He took his notebook and started to take a few quick notes.

    They depicted mural writings in Ancient, although judging by the architectural style of the ruins where it was found, it was probably one of the most modern Ancient settlements in the Galaxy, dated only a few thousand years ago. If that world weren’t now under Baal’s control, he would be happy to spend there some time.

    Back to the pictures, it was a recount of one event that had been obliquely alluded in some other Ancient texts that they had recovered, the fall of an important system to some kind of enemy. But it was told in a very mythologized form, which, together with some archaic turns of phrase, made him wonder if the Ancients in that planet had fallen into a Dark Age somehow...

    The story, as told in the inscriptions talked about how the enemy, which according to the text had been guided by “a spirit of chaos and darkness that had been hidden in the Sun” had been opposed by a group of female warriors, called the Anima Mundi, who had died defending their ruler. This ruler, also a woman, although the term used for her title was an Ancient word he wasn’t all that familiar with, Rexis, had used an artifact, Empyreon Argyrokrystalos, to “seal the darkness” and give the fallen defenders... something. Unfortunately the wall was damaged in that part, but seemed to be derived from the same root than the Ancient word for Ascension, although that was not clearly the case.

    “Good enough for now.” He told to himself before getting down to the mess hall for breakfast and a big cup of extra-strong coffee. Once he got this, he noticed Sam, sitting alone, picking absently from a tray while she was drawing something in a leaf of paper.

    “Hello, Sam. What’s the matter?.”

    “Oh, I came early to get the results from Takahashi team on P7X-326.” Sam said, still absently doodling in the leaf "But other than some preliminary data, they haven't transmitted much. And you?"

    "I fell asleep on my desk." Daniel recognized with a chuckle. "Too many all-nighters. Not to speak of..." he trailed off when he noticed what Sam had been drawing, because that wasn't a doodle. "Sam, look at what you are drawing."

    "What? I was just..." said Sam, before looking at the paper. "Shit."

    It was a drawing of the Stargate that she had seen in her dreams. And around it, an smattering of Ancient and modern characters. In fact what called more the attention of Daniel were two words written in modern alphabet: Serenitas Rexis. Serenitas was the name of the ruler who had used the artifact in the story depicted in PGS-345 murals.
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Trek.Into.Madness.01
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Trek into Madness

    Forget the power of technology and science,
    for so much has been set aside in the thankless struggle for survival.
    Forget the promise of progress and understanding,
    for in the grim darkness of the XXVth Century there is only war.
    There is no peace amongst the stars,
    only an eternity of carnage and slaughter,
    and the laughter of thirsting gods

    USS Enterprise. NCC-1701-F. Stardate 86893.2

    The Fleet Admiral strode into the bridge of the Starship, seemingly unencumbered by his armor, followed by his bodyguards, who wore even heavier armor. The man's appearance, through not looking his age thanks to antiagathic treatments, contrasted with the youth of the bridge crew, reminded them of the past that themselves barely remembered, a time of peace, before the War.

    "Captain. What is the situation?" Said the Admiral, more to the benefit of the logs than to his own, because the images on the viewscreen spoke by themselves.

    "We're too late, Admiral." Said the captain.... What was his name again? Ah, Salton. They all look so young these days "Chaos has taken hold on this planet."

    The Admiral sighed, and his hand went to his chest, where under the armor was the last memento of his wife, dead so long ago. He threw those thoughts out of his mind, knowing that Chaos was always looking for such weaknesses to corrupt them.

    'That's why we now have to practically brainwash our officers and marines in the Academy.' He thought, remembering the grisly fate of some old friends who weren't careful enough.

    "As a Fleet Admiral, I invoke General Order 24, article d." Said Fleet Admiral Jean Luc Picard.

    Nobody contradicted him, nobody dared. Everybody knew what was on stake. In one hour, everything on the surface of Horus IV would be incinerated by a series of protomatter explosions, followed by the melting of the planetary crust, erasing all sign of life in the surface. Innocent or guilty, corrupted or pure, everybody would die, and he, Jean Luc Picard, had given the order.

    'How have we come to this?' He thought.

    ALMOST TWENTY YEARS BEFORE...

    Personal log. Stardate 67199.2

    I need to put this in writing, not because I'd forget it otherwise, but because I need it. I was in a deep meditative trance, scanning the mental plane for what I felt that was coming, when I heard a barely remembered voice calling to me. I followed the voice to a featureless blank space where a dark-skinned man as tall as me, and clad in a golden power armor stood, waiting for me. I had never seen him before, but I recognized him immediately, because he was HIM, my older counterpart in that hellish alternate universe.

    "You. What the heck do you want from me?" I said, frowning and fearing what HE had to tell me.

    "A storm is coming to your realm." HE said "A storm that will..."

    "Cut the cryptic crap, Kadmon. It's Chaos, isn't it?. The Four Bastards are coming to my corner of the multiverse."

    "Don't you have any respect for the proper procedure?" HE said, grimacing, although I could feel his amusement at my outburst.

    "When said procedure is an excuse for being an smartass? Not much." I answered

    "It takes one to know one" HE commented

    "Look who's talking" I said, and sighed "I know you as well as I know myself, and you wouldn't have contacted me if you hadn't a plan"

    "Of course that I have a plan" and he started to explain our only hope.
     
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  7. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Whoa, dark (which perfectly fits the crossover). Wondering what the plan is.
     
  8. AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    I usually don't do dark, but this fic was from the beginning a departure of my usual themes, and as you say dark fits the crossover very well. The plan...ah, that would be telling.;)
     
  9. Threadmarks: Last Son of Krypton
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    To be a hero: Beginnings, Part 1

    The Last Son of Krypton, part 1

    Kryptonopolis, Planet Krypton capital.
    Twenty-Five years ago.

    Jor-El, member of the Kryptonian High Science Council, strode silently through the corridors of the building, noticing through the windows that the signs of fight in the streets were starting to get repaired. The final battle of the Civil War had been fought in those same streets, a desperate gambit to bring an end to nearly five years of strife. Maybe now he could step down and go back to science, he had that prototype of a hyperdrive-equipped spaceship in his basement collecting dust, well, not exactly, he tinkered with it when the weight of the government problems got too big, so he could disconnect from the government problems.

    His thoughts turned to the origins of this war. Everything could be traced to a single moment, Kandor's destruction. With the planet in turmoil after the destruction of the planetary capital, it was only a matter of time until some incident happened. And the spark had been, or at least that was what had seemed st the time, an ugly rumor about government officials hoarding supplies, and it had snowballed from there, eventually becoming what had been known as The Riots.

    The wife of his old friend Zod, Faora, a career officer in the Peacekeepers, was sent to try to reestablish order, but she was killed in the fighting. Zod had changed afterwards, he had become colder, maybe even more arrogant than he had been, and his over-controlling side, a trait that he had kept under tight control for decades, had become more pronounced. Despite everything, he seemed to be keeping himself together well... until he attempted a coup to take over the government.

    The coup had partially failed, leaving Zod in control of a substantial part of the armed forces and Krypton territory. And as usually happens in those cases, a civil war ensued. Both sides were too evenly matched to quickly prevail, so the result was a grinding carnage like anything that Krypton had seen since the near-mythical Age of Strife.

    To finally end this, the Council armed forces had set an ambush, leaving Kryptonopolis, the new capital, apparently exposed, and so they had caught Zod himself, his top lieutenants and his best troops in a trap. The fight hadn't ended yet, of course. Jor-El suspected that it would be years before the last holdouts of Zod loyalists were dealt with, but finally Krypton had an opportunity to regain a sense of normality.

    He finally reached the door of the Chamber of Execution, where Zod and his top lieutenants were being driven just now. Before opening the black crystalline door, he adjusted the black robes, emblazoned with the crest of his House, the House of El, in stark white, that served as the traditional robes of office for the member of the Council charged with the role of High Executioner. He sighed, his mind for a moment going back to the happy days before the War, it was almost impossible to reconcile the relatively happy, even if a bit grim Zod from them, to the impassive tyrant who had presided over the atrocities that had transpired in the last years.

    He opened the door, and closed it behind him as he took into the chamber, a perfect spherical dome, made of black crystal, on which exact center was the platform where the prisoners to be banished into the Phantom Zone had to stood. He decided to wait before going into the control area of the projector, he wanted to have a good look at Zod before he had to send him to the Zone.

    A couple of milicycles later the door opened and the guards drove Zod and his top lieutenants to the platform. He had been changed by the years too. He still had the same lean body, a fact that belied that he was physically stronger that much bigger men, but he had replaced his old scarlet uniform, complete with the archaic cap, with a black bodysuit. Maybe it was that, or maybe it was that he haven't seen him in years, but he seemed thinner than before. His formerly clean-shaven face was now sporting a trim goatee, but it was his eyes what gave Jor-El pause. Zod had always been intense, but that intensity had given way to something that he couldn't well identify.

    'Hunger.' He realized, so intent in looking at Zod’s face that he missed a guard slipping something inside Zod’s bodysuit 'That crazed look make him look like a hungry predator.'

    He knew that he had likewise changed, but not so much. His tall and powerful frame still looked impressive, and under the robes of office, be it the black robes of the Executioner or the white robes of Councilor, he still wore a green bodysuit emblazoned with a starburst. Although he had to dispose of the red adulthood headband, an archaic affectation like Zod’s old cap. The pressures of office had made his raven-black hair become salt and pepper, which he had let grow to shoulder-length hair, as well as a short beard.

    Zod’s lieutenants, Ursa-Lar and Ul-Non stood to his side. Ursa, Zod’s lover, was a tall, slim woman with black, slicked back hair, cold gray eyes and clad in a tight black bodysuit that didn’t leave much to imagination. Ul-Non was a veritably giant, with unruly black hair, and empty blue eyes. Once upon a time, he had been a bright scientist, a good friend of both the brothers El and Zod, but some kind of accident shortly before Kandor had left him as a mute brute. Zor-El, Jor-El brother had blamed him for the accident, and looking back he couldn’t say that he was wrong. He had been reckless and if he hadn’t pressured Non...

    He shook his head, dismissing that train of thoughts. While he could have been responsible for the initial accident, Zod was responsible for him still being in that state. And that, reflected Jor-El, was another sign of how much his old friend had changed. In the old times, Zod and would have tried to make Ul-Non to go back to what he had been.

    "So you have come at the end." said Zod with that cultured accent of him, one of the few affectations that he had kept from the young brash officer that Jor-El had known so long ago. "What are you going to do? Trying to make me see the error of my ways before sending me to the Phantom Zone?"

    "No, Zod. That time passed when you ordered the slaughter in Northern Urrika." Said Jor-El, standing before the console that controlled the Projector. "You and you cohorts, Ursa and Ul-Non, will be sent to the Phantom Zone for that and many other atrocities."

    "A necessary evil, Jor-El, to keep order." Said Zod, with disdain "Even before Kandor, Urrika was always a pain in the backside for the Council."

    "Evil indeed, but necessary?" said Jor-El, looking at him "Blessed Rao, Zod. You ordered everybody killed, men, women, children and my reports say that that Ursa herself killed many of them with her bare hands."

    "So?" said Zod, shrugging "A necessary evil, to keep discipline. There were no rebellions against my rule afterwards."

    Jor-El stood there momentarily paralyzed by the sheer gall of Zod. He closed his eyes for a moment and said a quick prayer for the soul of his old friend. He went behind the console, and started to read the charges against the three. It was a grisly list, full of blood and carnage.

    The three war criminals stood there while Jor-El read the list. Zod and Ursa looked bored, while Non kept poking into the force-field that kept them there.

    "The accused have been found guilty of these crimes, and doomed to banishment to the Phantom Zone." Said Jor-El, in a solemn tone, before activating the projector. A blinding light enveloped the trio, but before their essences were incased in a crystalline matrix to survive the dimensional transition, Zod had time to say a few last words.

    "Heed my words Jor-El! This is not the end!" his last words lost as he was enveloped in crystal and sent into the Zone.

    Jor-El sighed again while stepping down from the podium toward the door, followed by the guards, their steps resonating hollowly into the now empty chamber. Before leaving the chamber, he allowed himself a last look at the now empty platform.

    'Goodbye, old friend. May Rao help you to find peace.' He thought, before turning and leaving the chamber.

    The guards went back to their tasks, leaving Jor-El walking back through the same corridors that he had gone before. As he reached the door, a small tremor shook the building, making Jor-El purse his lips.

    ‘Now this. The news that I have for the Council can't wait.’ Jor-El thought, before walking out, toward his hovercar.

    He drove it home, as always disconnecting the automated navigation, to enjoy one of the few bits of freedom that he had now. It was considered bad form to go to the Council still clad in the Executioner garb and he wanted to talk with Lara before presenting his data to the Council.

    Jor-El and Lara’s residence. Some distance from Kryptonopolis.

    “It was as we feared, isn’t it?” said Lara, after kissing her husband.

    “Yes, my love, he is still unrepentant. I can’t believe that Zod had changed so much...” started to say Jor-El as he removed the black robes.

    “Not so much changed as unleashed some part of him that were under tight control before. You knew about his arrogance, his ruthlessness and his tendency to micromanaging everything. Without Faora to ground him, his dark side was without any check.” interrupted Lara, who then smirked "And in turn Zod served to ground Faora, who was quite the mean, cold bitch."

    "You have always been a better judge of character than me, Lara." Said Jor-El, while putting the white robes on.

    Lara didn't answer to that, instead smiling fondly when she saw him checking that the white robes were correctly set. It was one of his nervous tics; he had made the same gesture before their wedding.

    "I think that cousin Gor won't have any motive for complains this time." Said Lara, which drew a chuckle from Jor-El. Lara's cousin, Gor-Van, was one of his 'esteemed colleagues' who always raised a fuzz about presenting 'the proper image of a member of the High Science Council' even on the middle of the War.

    "Oh, he'll find a motive, he always does." Said Jor-El "If it not my robes, it'll be my beard, or that I don't wear the adulthood headband..."

    "Ignoring the fact that he hadn't worn it since his adulthood ceremony." Commented Lara, who then looked to the chronometer "Well, if we keep criticizing my cousin defects you are going to arrive late to the Council."

    "Damn. You are right." Said Jor-El, kissing his wife again and heading to the door "Tell hello to Kal for me, dear."

    “Just be careful, Jor.” Lara said

    Kryptonopolis. Council Chamber

    “This is no fantasy, my fellow Councilors.” Said Jor-El pointing to the values in the holo-screen ”According to the data collected by my own instruments, the pressure on Krypton’s core is five times what it was six years ago...”

    “Are you sure that it is not an instrument error?” Asked one of the Councilors, Vond-Ah, former colleague of Jor-El, and thus fully aware of the towering reputation of Jor-El in the field of science.

    “Positive, unfortunately. I checked and rechecked.” Answered Jor-El, nodding with a sad smile. “The problem is that we don’t know what does that mean, but even in the best case, it could be a big hassle, and in the worst, well it would be the worst catastrophe in Krypton history.”

    “Can you explain what would be the best case?" other of the councilors asked. "Not all of us are as versed in planetology as you, Jor-El."

    “Of course, In-Zee. The best case would be that it's the result of a temporary anomaly caused by some shifting in the inner core of our planet. If that’s the case, the pressure will be released in a series of planetquakes of an intensity of about 9 or 9'5 in the Ric-Em scale, over the next months.” Said Jor-El.

    “That’s the best case? A series of earthquakes as devastating as the ones in the Sondar island last year?” said Gor-Van “I shudder to think what would be the worst case.”

    “The worst case, Gor-Van, would be that the pressure is an indication of a runaway nuclear reaction in the planet’s core. This would mean that the pressure would rise, and rise, until an explosive release.” Said Jor-El, ominously “In other words until Krypton explodes.” But then Jor-El smiled “But that is only the worst case. I don’t think that it will come to that, but to know it with certainty, I need access to the data collected by the automated station of the Institute of Planetology, which, as you know, was located in Zod territory until the last offensive.“

    “You could have done that without having to make this announcement to the Council, Jor-El.” Said Dax-Ur, snidely “I wonder why. We all know of your old friendship with...”

    “Careful, Dax-Ur, if you go down that road, considering who your brother was." Jor-El in a bristling tone "And the why is very simple, my esteemed colleagues. Once that I have the data, I’ll need a few days to see what conclusions I can arrive from it, days that we may not have to prepare if the worst comes..”

    "An excellent exposition, Jor-El." Said the Head of the Council, who then asked to the Council "Does anybody has an objection?"

    Dax-Ur looked to his closer allies in the Council, but this time it seemed that nobody wanted to join him. This didn't pass unnoticed by the most politically savvy of the Council members.

    “Brainiac, do you have the data?” Said the Head of the Council, turning to the screen with the five points joined by lines that was the symbol of the Brain InterActive Construct. It was the most advanced product of Krypton research into AI, although there were rumors that the Coluans had provided a substantial part of its source code. Anyway, it had become an indispensable advisor to all incarnations of Krypton's High Science Council since its creation, many years ago.

    “Unfortunately the Institute uses an outdated computer system that is proving problematic to integrate in my network.” Said the inflectionless voice of the AI “If I devote a more substantial part of my processing power to this, I should have the data available next day. Is this acceptable?"

    “Yes, it should be.” Said Jor-El, with a smile that he didn’t feel. He hadn't dared to communicate the Council that he had a bad feeling about the data, but he consoled himself that it would only be a short delay. “Even in the worst case we should have a few months.”

    The discussion moved to other matters, before the meeting was adjourned, and Jor-El stayed back for a moment, to look over Krypton's landscape from the Council Chamber's window, placed at the top of Kryptonopolis tallest building, the gleaming crystalline spire of the High Science Council tower.

    Before the destruction of Kandor, the Council had seldom reunited here, as the move of the capital from Kandor to Kryptonopolis had been dragging well beyond its planned date since the creation of this city. A disadvantage of Kryptonian longevity was that people could become very set on their ways.

    Shaking his head, he closed the window and exited the chamber. He really wanted to leave the politicking behind for today, and spend a relaxing evening with his wife and son.

    Jor-El and Lara's residence. Some distance from Kryptonopolis.​

    “So, how it went?” Lara asked when Jor-El came back.

    “As well as one could expect." Jor-El said, massaging his temples and slouching on an armchair "Dax tried to do one of his stunts, but nobody sided with him this time."

    "Sometimes I can't believe that I was interested in him once upon a time." Lara said, rolling her eyes "Thanks Rao that I realized what he was. I could never prove it, but I always believed that he was up to his eyebrows in his brother scheme."

    "Yeah, Zod thought the same. He and the Ur brothers never got along. Ironical, isn't it?" Jor-El commented "Anyway, I'm going to have to wait for tomorrow. Brainiac says that he have problems with the computers of the Institute.”

    “That’s weird." Lara said, "I mean, I knew the people who was in charge of the maintenance of the Institute computers, and if I remember correctly, their computer network went though a full overhaul just before Kandor...”

    “What?” Jor-El said “But Brainiac said that they were obsolete.”

    “No, they aren’t. Jor, this is serious. ” Lara said, clearly worried "As far as I know, Brainiac is not designed to be able to lie, or to even entertain the notion to lie...”

    Jor-El suppressed a shiver, as rampant AIs were one of Krypton’s oldest fears, if the story of the Eradicator was to be believed. It had taken many years for the Brainiac proposal to be even entertained by the High Science Council. And now, this...

    He looked around until his eyes fixated into the terminal of his study. His late father-in-law, Lor-Van had been a traditionalist, and after his death, shortly after the destruction of Kandor, he hadn't have time to install newer systems, a fact for which he was immensely grateful to the old fossil just now. This terminal, as well as its twin in his lab, was the more modern thing that could be installed without a complete overhaul, and it was simply too obsolete to connect with the Brainiac system

    “At least, he doesn't know that we know. But, why would Brainiac lie about that? Specially saying that the records would be available tomorrow..." he stopped when realized why would be that.

    "Because tomorrow it will be too late to end whatever he is planning." Lara said, echoing his thoughts.

    "Precisely." Jor-El said, getting up. "Lara, dear, try to get in contact with In-Zee or Vond-Ah, use..."

    "...the old network. I'll piggyback the signal from and back the space habitats several times." Lara said "Computer expert, remember? I should get a word to Zor, he never liked Brainiac, and Argo and the other habitats, are not as connected to it as the surface."

    "An excellent idea, why didn't I think of that?" Jor-El said, with a smile of admiration, as he started to disrobe

    “Head in the clouds, as usual.” Lara said, using an old private joke between then. "And what are you going to do?"

    “I'm going to confront Brainiac." Said Jor-El as he put his civilian jumpsuit.

    "Why, Jor? It’s going to be incredibly dangerous, and I don’t think that you will be able to convince him to stop."

    "No, but tell me, do you remember the work that you did in Brainiac support systems?”

    Lara stood there perplexed, and then a crooked smile formed in her face.

    Kryptonopolis. Location of Brainiac Core Processing Unit

    "Greetings, Jor-El." Brainiac said through the comm-unit in the door. "Unfortunately, I can not allow you access to my CPU at this moment. There have been..."

    Whatever excuses Brainiac was going to use was left unheard as Jor-El introduced a crystal into the comm-unit dataport. There were systems to impede what the programs designed by Lara were doing just now to the building security systems, designed by a computer specialist affiliated to Krypton fledgling space program called Lara-Van.

    The door opened without a sound. Inside of the cavernous facility, he could see the components of Brainiac core unit processing and transmitting at a speed far greater than it should have been possible, another sign that Brainiac had gone rampant.

    "Ah, of course, now I understand. I had not considered that Lara-Van was linked to the group who overhauled the Planetology Institute computers." Brainiac said in the same inflectionless tone that would have used to inform that it was raining outside. “A pity, then, that now you will have to die... die... die...”

    Jor-El smiled. Brainiac would not need long to shake the effects of Lara’s little virus, but it would be enough, as he used his Council override codes in a nearby console to access the relevant data about the Institute.

    "What?" Jor-El said looking at the live data. "Those pressure readings can't be right"

    “They are, Jor-El." Brainiac said, his voice sounding slurred "That was a clever little program, Jor-El. Concocted by Lara, no doubt. Even now, it is blocking me access to the security drones.”

    “It was designed to do that, I’m not fond of suicide missions, Brainiac.” Jor-El said still looking at data. It seemed that Brainiac had been suppressing data about the core pressure for years, even before Kandor’s destruction. “Speaking of that, you knew from the beginning that Krypton is about to explode." Jor-El added, while using his codes to activate processes that would slow Brainiac regaining control.

    "Indeed, Jor-El. I am uploading myself into a deep space probe." Brainiac said.

    “But why are you letting Krypton be destroyed?” Jor-El said, as he kept keying commands with a definite aim in mind.

    “That is incorrect. I am saving Krypton.” Brainiac said “Every bit of data that I’m collecting is going to be uploaded into the probe databanks, after myself, to save it from the punishment. And samples...”

    “What punishment? What the Hell are you talking about?” Jor-El said, genuinely puzzled, although then he remembered an old legend about an unforgivable sin. "The stories about Van-El and the Twilight War?"

    “Precisely. The truth is in the old records in Kandor. I had a copy in my databanks before the city disappearance.” Brainiac said “The old Council knew the truth also, and that was the reason for the old Council reluctance to implement the advances that you and your brother brought. I have recorded deliberations that indicated that if you had persisted in the development of your hyperdrive, Jor-El, trumped charges would have been leveled against you.”

    "That's your excuse for allowing a full genocide? Some unknown crime of our ancestors?" Jor-El said.

    "No. Krypton's destiny was unavoidable. I have no doubt that if the explosion was avoided, some other 'accident' would have been arranged." Brainiac said, "I'm simply trying to save what can be saved."

    “I can’t allow you to do that.” Said Jor-El, pushing the final key.

    “What?” said Brainiac, as the data from Krypton was copied to the crystal that he had used to enter before being erased from Brainiac databanks, and the geothermal shunt that provided power for his CPU overloaded. “NOOOOOOOO!”

    Jor-El picked the crystal and ran out of the exploding building toward his hovercar. As the vehicle sped toward his home, the ground started to shake and he could see that in the faraway Jewel Mountains there was an eruption. He tried to call the Council, but Brainiac seemed to have taken the compunets with him as a last, petty vengeance.

    He deliberately avoided going near Kryptonopolis, as he deducted that the streets would be in chaos right now. His thoughts raced, trying to find a way to relieve the pressure in the short time they had, and coming with none.

    When he arrived to his home, his heart seemed to stop for a moment when he saw that the walls had started to crumble. He ran toward the broken door, stopping just after entering when he saw that the damage inside was even worse than what it seemed from outside.

    “Lara!? Please, answer me!” he shouted at the top of his lungs. He stopped listening until...

    “Lab!” he heard weakly.

    ‘Thanks Rao.’ He thought, letting out a sigh of relief. The lab was the more structurally sound part of the house, having been originally as a shelter, carved from a single piece of an extremely resistant crystal, back in the days of the Lugan-Urrika War that gave rise to the rule of the High Science Council.

    He ran toward the lab, dodging a piece of the crumbling crystalline wall in the way. Once he passed the open vault-like door, he saw that the lab was still remarkably intact, just as another quake shook the ground. Lara was there, sitting in a chair, beside Kal’s cradle.

    “Oh, thanks Rao, I though the worst when the ground started to shake.” Said Lara “What the hell is happening, Jor? I thought that even in the worst case scenario you outlined...”

    “Brainiac knew from the beginning and have been suppressing the data from the beginning. If I hadn’t used that near-obsolete probe to collect the data, we would have never known.” Said Jor-El “We have hours at most, Lara. And there is nothing that we can...”

    He stopped as his wandering gaze stopped on a spindle shape covered by a cloth, sitting in front of a makeshift hatch in the front part of the lab, as a wild idea appeared in his mind.

    "Maybe... maybe there is a way.” He said slowly, his mind wrestling with the energy needs “It will a be a tight fit, but you and Kal can fit in the cockpit of the hypership..."

    "No, Jor-El." she said softly, shaking her head. "I am the former astronaut here. I know the life support system that you used upside down and it won't resist the strain of keeping alive, even in stasis, two people, unless you want to use it to reach the habitats."

    “They won’t survive the explosion unless they are very, very lucky, and very, very quick, and we have no way to warn them.” Said Jor-El “It’ll have to be another star system.”

    "Too much time. Whereas..." she added, kneeling and kissing Kal-El’s head "...with our son alone, it can survive the travel to... where? Xandar? Rann? Colu?"

    Jor-El didn’t answer immediately, checking a database of inhabited worlds at a manageable distance from Krypton.

    "Xandar and Colu are too far. Rann is just in the limit, but there is another world nearer Krypton.” Jor-El said, “It’s a primitive world. Its inhabitants are similar to us, and hold similar beliefs." Jor-El said, "They call it Earth..."

    "Yes, I remember, but why Earth, Jor-El? They're primitives, thousands of years behind us." said Lara, pleadingly.

    "He will need that advantage to survive.” Jor-El said, his head hanging over his chest, his eyes closed, as if remembering “It has a yellow Sun and a richer atmosphere. He will eventually defy their gravity. And he will look like one of them..."

    "But he won't be one of them." Lara said, looking at their son.

    "His dense molecular structure and the energy received from the Sun will make him in time strong, fast, virtually invulnerable..." Jor-El as he took a few data crystals from his workbench, and a couple from his safe, and walked toward the ship

    "He will be isolated. Alone..." Lara said as he carried the cradle beside ship

    "No, he will never be alone." Jor-El said gently, as he uncovered the ship a gleaming spindle shaped piece of translucent crystal, with the crest of the House of El emblazoned in the bow. He placed three data crystals in the control console of the ship. One, the one he took from Brainiac, disappeared, going into the storage bay of the ship, while the other two glowed, blue and red "We'll be with him every day of his life."

    Repressing her tears, Lara put Kal-El, wrapped in blankets, in the cockpit that reconfigured itself to adapt to its occupant. Jor-El kissed him in the forehead before using a sedative to put him to sleep. The final crystal was then placed in the control panel of the cabin, glowing with a golden light. The cockpit closed, the hatch fusing with the rest of the ship until it became a single piece of crystal.

    Inside the cockpit, the stasis system started to work, slowing little Kal-El life processes to the glacial pace that would keep him alive for the time the ship needed to reach its destiny. The crystals in the control panel started to glow in sequence as the different systems of the ship activated, following the orders from the Gold crystal.

    They stepped back as the antigravs kicked in and the ship started to elevate. Automatically, while the tremors subsided for a moment, a section of the wall retracted, and illuminated the lab with the fading scarlet light of Krypton last twilight. The ship guidance system oriented itself, and the thrusters activated, starting to speed the ship to escape Krypton's gravity.

    Jor-El and Lara stood there, looking at the ship, while the tremors returned, stronger than ever, until it was only a pinprick of light in the darkening sky, unconcerned of the cracks showing in the lab walls as the tremors started to intensify, as in preparation for the last act of Krypton’s destruction.

    Other, unliving, eyes were also tracking the progress of the ship. As a last act of petty vengeance, before his CPU was destroyed, Brainiac ordered a drone defense ship to destroy Jor-El residence and all its occupants, even if they fled.

    As it neared the residence, it scanned it, showing three life signs inside. A Ship shot off, carrying one of the life signs. Following its programming, the drone was ready to destroy the residence when it collapsed on itself, extinguishing the two remaining life-signs.

    It mindless program made it to follow the ship up in the atmosphere and beyond, not caring that the world that both were leaving behind exploded, showering the entire system with the parts of what had once been a planet. In the middle of such detonation, one could be forgiven for missing the light of a ship jumping into hyperspace, and bringing its pursuer and parts of its home planet behind.

    Afterwards, other than the desperate attempts of the inhabitants of the only remaining space habitat to survive, there was only silence... until a forgotten deep space probe came to life in the outskirts of the system, its surface reconfiguring to show five points in a W shape.

    THE END?
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Trek.Into.Madness.02
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Stardate 67212.3. Outskirts of the Hobus Expanse

    After the collapse of the Romulan Empire following the Hobus supernova, the Klingon Empire had quickly reclaimed several disputed systems in the former frontier, including several that were on the fringe of the Hobus Expanse. This Expanse was the section of space that had been... damaged, for lack of a better term, by the same strange supernova that had destroyed the core worlds of the Romulan Empire.

    Navigation through it was hazardous, but that didn't prevent smugglers, slavers, terrorists of using the relatively safe outskirts of the Expanse to avoid the patrols of the Klingon Empire or of any of the Romulan splinter factions that still paid more than lip service to law and order. That's why the IKS qajunpaQ, an old K'Vort class cruiser had been patrolling the edge of the Expanse for the last several weeks, without any incident worth of mentioning. And that was the reason why her crew was bored out of their ridged skulls, as was their captain.

    "How is the Eye today, Sogh'?" asked the captain to the Science officer, using the nickname that the ship's crew had bestowed into the Expanse due to its current looks.

    "Pretty much the same that have been since two weeks ago, when it went red and black." Said the Sogh' (Lieutenant) in the science station, a curvy female, who then clutched her head "Kahless, my head is killing me"

    "Too much bloodwine last night?" said the captain, smirking.

    "No, my lord." She said in an annoyed tone "I have had nightmares over the last days of Fekhl'r or some other demon tempting me with power, glory and such if I served him. I denied him every time, of course."

    "You too?" said the tactical officer, surprised.

    "Actually I had such dreams last night, also" said the captain, thoughtfully. He then rose and addressed the bridge "You have heard, have any of you had such dreams last night?"

    Everybody nodded, except the old coot Kruvak who seemed to be dozing off in the helm console. The captain frowned, these were bad news. He had heard of things like that, telepathic attacks on entire crews, a cowardly tactic, but too effective. That was one of the reasons why telepaths were under heavy vigilance when they visited QonoS'.

    But some Klingons would be dishonorable enough to accept that offer. He called Security from the command chair, to see if there had been reports of some incidents onboard. To his discomfort nobody answered, he tried to call the troop section, but nothing again. Finally, on his third call to engineering somebody answered.

    "What!?" said an unknown voice, while in the background there were screams and shots. "What in Gre'thor do you want?"

    "Who's that?" said the captain, fearing the answer.

    "Milord? I'm Specialist 1st class Trakor." He said, his voice getting a respectful edge now "I'm the senior surviving engineer right now. Everybody above me is dead or mad!"

    "Mad? What do you mean?" asked the captain, fearing teh answer

    "Mad, berserk, mutated, whatever. We are trapped here in engineering room. Those demons..." an disruptor blast drowned the last words.

    "Trakor?" asked the captain. Nobody answered, in fact the communication had cut.

    "Captain" said one of the bridge crew. "Kruvak..."

    He looked at the old coot, which had risen from his station and looked... different, bigger somehow. He was mumbling something to himself with the eyes closed

    "Kruvak" said the captain, his hand going to the disruptor in his side.

    Kruvak opened his eyes revealing a pool of fire inside and the acrid smoke of burning flesh started to go out of his nostrils, looking like one of the legendary demons of Gre'thor. He looked at them through his fiery eyes and bellowed in a deep, rumbling voice with scant resemblance to his real voice.

    "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!"

    And launched himself against the Captain, who barely avoided the crazed crewman. Kruvak stopped and turned to the captain, just as three disruptor blasts at full power impacted, disintegrating him. But the relief was very short as pounding could be heard in the access door to the bridge.

    "Damn them all to Gre'thor" said the Captain between clenched teeth. "The ship is probably lost, there is only one thing to do."

    He went to the back of the captain chair and pulled a panel, and keyed his personal code, setting it for a silent countdown in five minutes, if he didn't survive the coming battle.

    "Today is a good day to die!" he roared and the crew joined him in a howl directed to the demons that had possessed their comrades, and readied themselves to their last battle.
     
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  11. Threadmarks: Unnamed Worm Crossover 1.0: Derail
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    A bit of an experiment with the PHO Interlude Generator, may grow into a full fic someday.

    Derail?


    Welcome to the Parahumans Online Message Boards
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    ♦Topic: New Cape in Winslow?
    In: Boards ► North America ► East Coast ► ENE ► Brockton Bay ► Cape Activity


    GloryGStruck (Original Poster) (Cape Groupie)
    Posted on January 3rd, 2011:

    Holy Shit! Guys, look this video!

    (Showing Page 1 of 1)

    ► SCP_Groupie (Cape Groupie)
    Replied on January 3rd, 2011:
    Okay, can you give us a resume of the video?. I'm at work right now and videos are blocked.

    ► XxVoid_CowboyxX
    Replied on January 3rd, 2011:
    Is that the lockers at Winslow? And who is the redhead?

    Fuuuuck, she has ripped open teh door of one of the lockers?

    OH, SHIT!



    ► SCP_Fan (Cape Groupie)
    Replied on January 3rd, 2011:
    What?

    ► BestestBest (Unverified Uber)
    Replied on January 3rd, 2011:
    SCP, from what I see it was a video of one of teh students at Winslow recording one of her friends new tattoo, when a redhead in a big coat pass running through the corridor.

    The girls follow her out of curiosity. The redhead stops before a locker. From what I can hear, there are weak sounds from inside...

    As if somebody got shoved inside a locker. Goddamnit, jocks did this to my best bro back in high school. Fucking assholes.

    Back to the video, the redhead tries to open it... and this is where things start to get weird.

    She stands there begore the locker and this strange green aura start to surround her and suddenly the locker door is flying and somebody ... maybe a girl, but I can't say with certainty, falls from inside. The redhead catch her, and the video ends there.

    ► SCP_Groupie (Cape Groupie)
    Replied on January 3rd, 2011:
    Thanks for the summary, BestestBest.

    ► XxVoid_CowboyxX
    Replied on January 3rd, 2011:
    ...

    ► GloryGStruck (Original Poster) (Cape Groupie)
    Replied on January 3rd, 2011:
    Weren't you in Winslow, Cowboy?​
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
    Ack, Trilonias, Prince Charon and 2 others like this.
  12. Threadmarks: Ancient Moon 1.03
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    P7X-326

    “Doc, can’t you do it more quickly? Those Jaffa are almost here!” Captain Martha Mason, acting CO of SG-19, said to the head of the science team, Doctor Karen Takahashi, who was keying the address in the DHD, while the remaining members of SG-17 and SG-19 tried to hold the fort.

    "It's not easy to press the keys while dodging staff blasts, you know!" she shouted as she pressed the last symbol, and the wormhole opened. Just in time, as a Death Glider appeared on the horizon

    “Come on people!” Colonel Dixon, commander of SG-17, said as he and Captain Mason used suppression fire to give them time to scramble for the Gate.

    Doctor Takahashi, started to run up the stairs, but trying to dodge a blast, she stumbled and almost fell, only for Mason to pick her up and jump into the wormhole, just as the Death Glider gun bolts impacted on the gate.

    Somewhere

    "My head..." moaned Karen Takahasi, as she tried to get up, only to be kept in the ground by a gentle, but strong hand. She had her eyes open, but she didn't see anything.

    "Don't move, Doc." said the voice of Martha Mason, over her. Karen then felt something moving near her face "How many fingers do I have here?"

    Karen groaned as Mason's weird humor sense reared its ugly head again.

    "How the hell can I know? I can't see anything!' said Karen, as the darkness didn't alleviate as her head cleared and the details of the mission came back to her.

    "Okay, okay. And you're right, Karen, it's pitch black down here." said Mason, rummaging in her pockets. "Wherever it is."

    "Wherever? I was dialing the SGC!" said Karen, a bit of panic seeping into her voice.

    "Have you read how we discovered the Antarctica Gate, you know, the one that the SGC was using for some time." Said Mason, as she kept messing with her pockets.

    "Something involving the SG-1 trying to cross the gate under heavy... oh." she said as she realized what Mason was trying to say. 'Damn it! I studied the physics involved when I joined the program. Why didn't I remembered it?' she thought, and said aloud, analyzing the situation "The energy bolts from the Jaffa and that Death Glider must have overloaded the wormhole and deviated it to another gate."

    "Pretty much. Ah, here it is!" she said as she produced something from her pockets, she twisted it, breaking something inside and shook it, revealing that it was a glow stick. "Better to conserve the flashlight batteries, besides, I have like two dozens of these things, good for like twelve hours or so. How many have you?"

    "Uh... Standard load?" ventured Karen, she didn't remember how many did she had, honestly.

    "That makes another dozen, good." Said Mason. "At least we won't be sitting in the darkness." Using the light, Karen checked her own pockets. She had packed the standard load, indeed. And given how much a pack rat Mason was, they shouldn't have to worry for food for some time, so she looked around.

    The dim light of the glow stick revealed a rather spacious room, with the gate in an end and an open door in the other. The Stargate was different to any that they had seen, being darker and smaller with different looking chevrons. The symbols, though, looked like cruder versions of the ones in the normal Stargate. On one side, of the gate a control panel could be seen, pretty intact, for what she could see.

    She went to the control panel, but it looked like even if it was intact, it had no energy to operate. At least the signs on the different controls made identifying its origin quite easy.

    "Martha, I can be wrong, after all I'm not an archeologist, but I think that this is Ancient." Said Karen with a frown

    "The gates were build by the Ancients, so what..." started to say Mason

    "I mean that all of this." interrupted Karen, waving her hand around, "This installation was built by the Ancients, not the Goauld, and this..." she said, pointing to the Stargate "...could be a prototype Stargate."

    "Jumping a bit ahead, aren't we?" said Mason

    "Well, maybe." She conceded "But I want to explore these installations, who knows what could be here in the other rooms. Why don't you come with me?"

    "Are you mad?" said Mason looking at her like she effectively was mad "To go wandering around when they could find us in any moment?"

    "We have the radios to communicate and..." started to say Karen

    "And we don't know if they work through the walls of this place, or if there is some kind of dampening field in this place that could make them useless." interrupted Mason.

    "It has an easy solution. We can test, and I can use the glow sticks as bread crumbs to guide me back." Said Karen, reasonably.

    "But..." she started to say, but she stopped, as she didn't really had no counter to that.

    "But what?" said Karen, recognizing the sign.

    Mason sighed and raised her hand in surrender.

    "Very well, you can go to explore this, but I'm going with you. After all..." she said collecting her weapon"...we don't know what could be here. But remember, the moment that we find something remotely weird or dangerous, we come back."

    "..."

    "What?" said Mason as she got her notebook and scribbled a message to their would-be rescuers.

    "...All right." Conceded Karen.

    Mason didn't answer, as she was leaving the note under the glow stick, and the glow stick in the control panel, in case that a rescue party came, and followed the scientist through the corridors. She thanked her stars that the younger woman was quite coordinated, remembering stories about Daniel Jackson clumsiness back in the first days of the SGC.

    "So, what do you think that the planet looks like?" said Mason to make a bit conversation as they checked empty rooms along the corridor.

    "Small, thin atmosphere, probably quite arid..." said Karen

    "And how do you know that?" asked Mason

    "Well, gravity seems to be weaker than home, 0.8 times Earth gravity more or less, and..." she said as they opened another door and found a machine that seemed to be working. Karen went quickly to the control panel, and looking at the signs.

    "Ok, I rectify, this planet, if it's a planet, is probably uninhabitable." Said Karen, and pointed to the machine 'I have to thank Doctor Jackson for that Ancient lexicon that he compiled for the other SG teams', she thought. "That, if I'm reading this correctly, is an artificial gravity generator."

    "And that means..." said Mason in an interrogative tone

    "That if it have a functioning gravity generator, but it still 0.8 g, the planetoid must be quite small."

    "All right" said Mason, looking around, not seeing anything else in the room. "Let's keep going, then."

    They kept looking until they found, almost hidden in what seemed like a closet a thing that looked suspiciously like an access hatch, with a manual opening.

    "Shall we open it?" asked Karen "It could go into the vacuum."

    "I find it doubtful, unless the Ancients were complete morons. A double hatch or a forcefield is more probable." Said Martha.

    Karen, nodded and opened it a sliver. After no escaping air was heard, she opened it fully and saw... a ladder, but what was more important, it seemed like it was open up.

    "Forcefield, or some kind of bubble." said Karen "I'll go up, at least we'll get a glimpse of this world..."

    "All right." Said Mason, leaving space for the scientist to climb up the ladder.

    When she climbed all the way up, she found herself in a small observation post. Looking around, she was about to pass it when what she had just seen registered in her mind, the very familiar sight in front of her.

    "No... way..." said Karen.

    "What is the..." started to say Mason, stopping herself when she saw the same thing that Karen had seen. Because outside, hanging over an arid, whitish landscape, they could see a blue and green globe, a planet, a very familiar planet.

    Earth, as seen from the Moon.

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Ancient Moon 2.01
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    The second part of the second chapter is becoming a real hassle (due to a near total rewrite), so I'm posting this snippet of the earlier part.

    The Moon

    'The flow of the time stream is becoming muddled. I wonder what it presages. ' Thought Sailor Pluto, as she got up from the place where she had been trying to meditate.

    She looked around, remembering the Palace gardens and the artificial lake that had been there, before the fall of the Silver Millenium, and remembered the words of one American astronaut, 'Buzz Aldrin, I think', about the Moon.

    'Magnificent desolation, indeed' she thought.

    But it hadn't always been that way. When their people had come to this Galaxy, fleeing from their home, they had scattered all over the Galaxy, isolated from each other. While the first colonies in the System had been set in Luna and Terra, there had been plans to colonize all the all the planets in the Solar System. With the development of the Astria Porta, the first step of a galactic community had been given. She closed her eyes, remembering the marvels of what had truly been a Golden Age. But as the Bard wrote, all good things must come to an end.

    And to an end they came.

    The first sign of it was to come were the problems in the Golden Kingdom of Earth. There had always been people on Earth who resented that the Moon Kingdom was more advanced, having fought some wars in the dark years before Serenity’s crowning, but it wasn't until a minor noblewoman called Beryl become their spokeswoman, that they became more than a nuisance. The fact that Prince Endymion had fallen in love with Princess Serenity, instead of some Earth woman, namely Beryl herself, who had wanted Endymion's hand before, also played into the fears of people who otherwise would not have given Beryl's faction a second thought.

    The Atlantis Council tried to play as a mediator between the factions, but they failed. In the end, after Beryl physically attacked Endymion and Serenity, she and her followers were exiled to the North, where they founded a community and Beryl styled herself as Queen. Other than some eye-rolling and mumbling in Avalon and Elysium for her presumption, it seemed that the peace had been restored on Earth, until the news of the Plague spreading in the Galaxy came to the Solar System.

    Nobody knew where the first case had been diagnosed, or rather there had been so many first cases near simultaneously on many worlds over the Galaxy. When the first cases were diagnosed on Earth and the Moon, the Atlantis Council panicked and fled the Galaxy. This news led to unrest and riots, fostered by the agents that Beryl had either left behind or recruited afterwards, some times against their will. When that unrest reached its cusp, the Dark Kingdom struck and destroyed the Golden Kingdom. Some people managed to escape the attack and warn the Moon. It was then when the Queen heard for the first time the name of Queen Metalia, the infernal power that had been whispering to Beryl's ear for a long time, and was seen as a dark shadow over Beryl's army in the assault to Avalon.

    Without real time for the Silver Millenium to prepare, the Dark Kingdom followed with an all-out assault into the Moon, helped by that infernal abomination, the same power that had aided Beryl in her plans. And it was the end of the Silver Millenium.

    Uranus, Neptune and herself came too late to help in the fight, but the reunion of the three Talismans had accidentally invoked Sailor Saturn, the Senshi of Ruin and Birth, who had killed everything that remained alive in the Solar System. At least, for the scarce survivors had been a blessing in disguise, giving them a gentle death, instead of a slow, painful death by asphyxia, starvation, or worse.

    Afterwards, she had reappeared at the Space-Time Door, beginning her lonely vigil that would last for millions of years. Fortunately, she had always been a loner, which was the reason why the Queen chose her to be its guardian. Her loneliness over the aeons had only been interrupted by the infrequent visit of those of her people that had Ascended, ever curious about their past, although they had become more and more stand-offish as time passed. And somehow, after her death stopping time, she found that she was still there, in the pocket dimension where the Door was placed, as well as outside, reincarnated as Setsuna Meioh, student in the Mugen Academy.

    Her thoughts were interrupted by voices coming from a nearby place, one of the camouflaged observation posts, that were all over the old gardens. When she looked there she saw two people, standing with their backs to her, wearing some kind of uniform. They seemed transfixed looking at the Earth, which was full at that time. She approached in silence, noticing the flag on the uniforms as she got nearer.

    'How have those Americans come here?' thought Pluto, pursing her lips. Objectively she knew that eventually, the remains from the Silver Millenium would be discovered, but she thought that it would be quite in the future, and she couldn't avoid feeling worried. Maybe she was doing Humanity a disservice, but she doubted that as it was today, they had the maturity to discover their tech without blowing themselves up, and the underground levels under the Palace included research labs, armories, the old Command Bunker in the lowest level, and...

    'Of course, the prototype Astria Porta in the first level. That's how they arrived here.' She thought, mentally slapping herself for having forgotten about it. This also explained something that she had overheard as Setsuna Meioh, the physics student, before her awakening 'Yes, that would explain the American government sudden interest in wormhole experts a few years ago, they probably found the Atlantis Porta back then.'

    Unfortunately, she was so focused in the two women that she didn't notice that she was stepping on a small stone, making her lose her footing and fall on one knee. Worse still, the noise had attracted the attention of both women.

    When Mason turned, her eyes were still adapted to the light and only saw a crouched figure with a long staff, seemingly pointed towards them. She reacted on instinct, diving for cover and bringing up her weapon.

    Karen was not a trained soldier, and she haven't had the reflexes honed by dozens of firefights like Daniel Jackson, so by the time she had done like Major Mason, her eyes had already adjusted to the light and was capable of seeing the intruder more clearly. She saw a tall, dark-skinned woman, clad in a white leotard with a black sailor collar, a black miniskirt, a dark garnet ribbon in the chest with a heart shaped brooch, weird looking short sleeves, opera gloves with some weird black thing in the end, and black low-heeled knee-high boots with a white band in the upper side. The metallic staff in her left hand resembled a giant skeleton key, with a garnet colored sphere in the bow. It seemed somewhat familiar to her, but she...

    'Oh, God. It's her.' She thought. The uniform was somewhat different from the grainy pictures the she had seen in the message boards, but the woman was undoubtedly one of the unknown Senshi that had appeared in the last months. "You're a Sailor Senshi." She blurted out.

    "Sailor Pluto, to be precise." Stated the woman in a calm voice, speaking in slightly accented English. "We seem to have started on the wrong footing, though. I don't mean you harm, I like to meditate a bit further from the Palace and when I was returning, I heard your voices."

    Karen didn't answer, as she felt very out of her depth just now. 'I'm a physicist with archeology as a hobby, not a diplomat, for Pete's sake.' She thought, looking at Martha, who was eyeing Pluto with wariness.

    "It seems a show of good will is needed." said Pluto as she dropped the key-staff, and stood there with her arms crossed and waiting.

    Karen was the first to get up, while Martha slowly and carefully following suit, trying to remain under cover until she ascertained the situation. When she saw that the woman wasn't making any aggressive movement, she finally got up, keeping her weapon trained at her, while she examined the supposed 'Sailor Pluto' in detail. It looked genuine, from what she recalled from that images that Karen had shown her in her periodic bouts of fangirlism, but she had always thought that the group of supposed Japanese superheroines were either a hoax or a publicity stunt for some cartoon.

    Seeing the expression on her friend's face, Karen rolled up her eyes. Even after she had told how Sailor Moon, and the other Senshi had saved her butt when she was visiting her mother's family in Tokyo, the other people in the SGC remained skeptical about the Senshi existence.

    'I suppose that for a lot of people what they don't see in the CNN, or other news network, is not real' she thought.

    "Look, Karen, I have heard you gushing about the 'Sailor Senshi' enough times to know that you are a fan, but how do you know that it's not a shape shifting or telepathic alien messing with your head?" said Mason.

    "I think that in that case, Mason, it would have used a Senshi that I would have seen in person, not in grainy pictures, and one that would be more natural to find here, like Sailor Moon." retorted Karen, glaring at her friend, and Mason glaring back.

    Pluto sighed inwardly at the two women antics. 'They are worse than Haruka and Michiru' she thought. "Look, Major, you don't really have reasons to trust me." said Pluto "After all, I sneaked on you, after getting a real shock of having ended on the Moon, and the only word that I'm in the good side is the word of a self-professed fan."

    "Hmmmm... You are right. But a point in your favor is that you aren't trying putting the usual 'a god am I' or 'die, unbeliever' crap that we are used to find in our enemies" She said, releasing her grip on her weapon. "I'll give you the benefit of the doubt... for now."

    That merited an arched eyebrow as a reaction from Pluto. That sounded decidedly odd...

    'Just on what did they run out there? Did the Ori start to invade? No, I don't think that Earth forces would be able to disrupt an Ori conquest of the Galaxy, so it has to be something else.' she thought. 'I need more information.'

    "Now, If you don't mind, I'll make a few educated guesses, about how did you arrived here." She cleared her throat and started to speak "Some time ago, your people found a ring of what looked like stone, with strange glyphs. Probably on Antarctica, I'd say."

    'Shit! How does she know?' thought Karen, as she was aware of the discovery of the Beta gate. Hell, before getting assigned to a SG team she was in the team that studied its DHD.

    'It seems that I was right' Pluto thought, seeing her expression, before she continued speaking as if she hadn't noticed

    "Upon further study you realized that it wasn't what it seemed and eventually you devised a way to activate it, opening wormholes back and forth. You started to explore using the Astria Porta, probably to get access to alien technology, but you stepped on some toes doing so. Something bad happened during one of those explorations and you accidentally ended here."

    'Fuck!' thought Mason. While a very general outline, she had hit most of the important points of the Stargate program. 'Although, why does she think we are using the Beta Gate?.'

    'Astria Porta? That sound like Ancient... it could be simply Latin, though.' thought Karen 'I wonder...'

    "Even if it was true, something that I'm not admitting, by the way, I couldn't discuss it with a foreign national... or anybody who didn't got enough clearance." said Mason

    "It's not that, Major " said Pluto, cocking her head "What I'm saying you is that I have a certain knowledge of how to operate the Porta..."

    "It's no use, the console is dead..." said Karen, shaking her head

    “Let me examine it at least.” Pluto said.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
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  14. Threadmarks: Family.02
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Note: this continues from the previous Family snippet.​




    So, naturally, they were a few miles from Bayville, driving down a road in a forested area when the fuel ran out.

    “For God’s sake!” Buffy said, before getting out the car “Can anything go without a hitch for once?”

    “At least is not Tuesday.” Dawn said. "What are you doing?"

    "Checking the cell coverage. She said, walking around the car in wider circles, before slumping down “Nothing. You?”

    “No signal either.” Dawn said, before getting the map again and checking “Okay... we took this dirt road twenty minutes ago... and giving the speed we were going... If you follow the road you will end in Graymalkin Lane. There you should be able to find somebody to give you some gas.”

    “Thanks” Buffy said, taking the can out of the car’s trunk “Set the usual defenses, just in case. Willow and Strange warded the car, but…”

    “Yes, yes, I know.” Dawn said, rolling her eyes. “Come on, we have a deadline.”

    Xavier’s school for Gifted Youngsters access road

    Scott waved as Duncan's car sped out, while Jean waved back. He never understood what Jean saw in that jock, but... He shrugged mentally, and turned to reenter the mansion grounds when he heard somebody calling.

    “Hey, you, the guy with the glasses!” said a female voice.

    He turned and saw a petite blonde walking toward him with a gas can in his hand.

    “Can you help us? We thought that we had enough gas to reach the gas station in Bayville, but we were wrong.” Said the woman with a charming smile, talking with a Californian accent.

    She looked familiar for some reason, but she couldn’t place her at the moment. He silently cursed his memory before answering.

    "I'll see what we can do." Scott said "You have come in a bad moment, though. Right now, most of the faculty...?"

    "Faculty?" said the woman, who then noticed the sign saying Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. "Oops, I didn’t realize that this was an school."

    "As I was saying, most of the faculty is out, miss...?"

    "Buffy Summers." Buffy said "But call me Buffy. And you are?"

    "I'm such and idiot." He said aloud, mentally kicking himself for not having recognized her earlier.

    "What?" Buffy said, perplexed.

    "I'm Scotty. Scott Summers, your cousin." Said Scott.

    "But... but... the plane crash...dad said..." Buffy said, looking at him as if he was a los.

    "Mom and dad...didn't make it. ” Scott said, his voice low “I knocked my head in the crash, and I was in coma for more than a year. Alex got lost in the system, adopted elsewhere. And when I woke up, I had lost most of my memories. Hell, I couldn't even remember Alex for years."

    "That's harsh." Buffy said.

    "Yeah, if it hadn't been by the Professor..." Scott said "With his help I regained my memories, and started to search for my family. Hank wasn't a great help, precisely."

    "Tell me about that, he didn't even come to Mom's funeral..."

    "Aunt Joyce is dead?"

    "She had an aneurysm, a complication from a brain tumor."

    Scott sighed, this was a bit too much to handle.

    "Okay, we're going to need to sit down and talk later, Buffy.” He said and opened the door. “If you wait a moment, I’ll bring a gas can in the school van.”​
     
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  15. Threadmarks: Family.03
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    When Scott mentioned the school van, she expected a minibus in the school colors, not something that looked like a cross between a SUV and a Armored Personal Carrier in black with tinted windows.

    “Wow, Scotty, where did the school get this? In the Marines clearings sale?” Buffy said as she climbed into the passenger seat.

    “Actually, Miss Summers, it’s a customized version of a SUV.” Said a woman from the backseats, speaking with an slight accent.

    “Buffy, this is Ororo Munroes, one of the professors of the school.” Scott said, from the driving seat “Professor Munroe, this is my cousin, Buffy Summers.”

    “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Ororo said, smiling.

    “The same, and thanks for helping me. I don’t know what I would have done, we have to be in Gotham later today…” Buffy paused when she noticed Ororo grimacing “Something to the matter?”

    “Bad experiences in Gotham.“ Ororo said, her eyes looking at a far away place “It’s a bad place.”

    They did the rest of the short voyage in silence, only broken by Buffy’s indicating which path they had to take to go to Buffy’s car.


    Dawn was bored, so she had started to try to translate a book that Giles ahd been working on lately, and that she had managed to photocopy it, a presumed book of prophecies by a heretic Byzantine monk in the XIIth century. ‘Presumed’ because sometimes the author looked to have a grasp on reality only slightly stronger than Drusilla.

    “How does this translate? Black half? Before the black half master the… numbers of death? … he will be defeated by the ... partners of the blind goddess?...damned obscure medieval Greek dialect, and damned fruitcake monk .” She grumbled as she was taking notes “But it will not be dead, only asleep... Yeah, God forbids that the Powers allow a Big Bad to be finished early...”

    She stopped because she was hearing a car. She looked and saw a black SUV coming in the direction of the car. Before she could do anything, it stopped and Buffy, a thirty-something black woman, nad a guy with tinted red glasses, who for some reason looked awfully familiar to Dawn.

    “So, Buffy, who are your new friends?.” Dawn asked.

    Buffy smirked, but didn’t answer, before she approached the car with the gas can.


    Scott looked at the tall teenager in the car in confusion. ‘Who is she?’, he thought for a moment, before as if by magic, a torrent of images opened in her head.

    “Dawnie?” he said, remembering Buffy’s little sister

    “Do I know you?” Dawn said, looking at the guy and racking his brain trying to remember him

    “Dawn, do you remember Scott?” Buffy said, as she filled the gas tank.

    “Scott, what Scott?” Dawn said, genuinely confused.

    “Our cousin Scott.” Buffy said “Well, I’m not sure if you remember him. You were six last time you saw him, and we all thought he had died in a plane crash. Not that Hank made much effort to find him afterwards.”
     
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  16. Threadmarks: Family.04
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    “Goddess, yes, now I remember.” Dawn said, slapping her head “I wanted Uncle Chris to fly us around in his plane, but Hank said no.”

    “Yeah, that thing.” Buffy said “It looked so... old, and what was it made of, wood?”

    “Plywood, actually.” Scott said with a chuckle “It was a… ah, forget it. I would have to explain everything and you don’t have the time right now.”

    “Actually, we were making very good time, so I wouldn't mind to take a coffee with you and talking about these last years." Buffy said.

    "Ororo? You are senior faculty in the school right now."

    "Okay." Ororo said, after a brief moment of reflection.


    A quarter of an hour later, they were sitting in the kitchen of the mansion talking about the past decade. Of course given their lives, it was a considerably edited version of the real facts.

    “On one hand, I’m sad for the loss of our house and everything I has called home since I was eight.” Dawn said “On the other, Sunnydale was a hellhole.” ‘In more ways than one.’ She thought to herself.

    “Surely it wouldn’t be that bad.” Scott said

    “Look at statistics if you don’t believe me.” Dawn said “Mom once said that she should have suspected something was going on when the house was so cheap.”

    "Yeah, the first high school principal that I had on Sunnydale? Killed by gangs on PCP." Buffy said, managing to avoid a snort when she said 'gangs on PCP'. She paused for a moment, before saying "Boy, this is getting heavy. Why don't we change the issue?"

    "I agree. We could aspened all day and night talking about the badness in Sunnydale." Dawn said. "So, is there a way to enroll here. It looks way better than that crappy high school."

    "Ehm, I don't know." Scott said , while thinking 'I'd say not, unless you are also a mutant.'

    "Are those bitches still bothering you?." Buffy said in a dangerous tone.

    "No, not really. But, now I am an outcast there. The only person that still talks to me is Mari, and she miss half of the classes due to her work."

    "I'll see what I can do, but don't get your hope high, the Professor is very selective." Scott said.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
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  17. Threadmarks: Family.05
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Note: I have updated the snippet 4, and this continues from the new version.




    "Well, we have to go. Thank you for the coffee." Buffy said, after looking at the time. "We'll try to visit in the way back, Scotty."

    As they were leaving Scotty gave them a slip of paper.

    "My number. If you have a problem, call me." Scott said, accompanying them to the door.

    "Thank you." Buffy said, politely.

    Outside, just besides their car they found Ororo, looking to the East, toward the sea.

    “If I were you, I would try to get to Gotham as soon as possible.” Ororo said, without facing them looking at the black clouds that could be coming from the horizon, ignoring a shooting star that went from East to West “Tonight there is going to be a storm.”

    “But the weather prediction…” Buffy said, weirded by her tone of voice.

    “Never bet against Ororo in the weather department.” Scott commented “She had been right every single time”

    “It comes from growing up in the savannah.” Ororo said, turning toward them with a slight smile “Storms can form suddenly and last for days, and if you don’t learn to recognize the signs, you are screwed.”

    "Okay, thanks, we'll try." Buffy said, and in an impulse, she went and hugged the older woman.

    "Not that I complain about it, but why did you hugged me?."

    "It's difficult to explain. You have a... presence, so to speak, that remind me of a dear friend who died some time ago."

    Ororo smiled, a sad smile, brought by memories of her own.

    "I would love to know more about that person, but as people says, time waits for nobody." Ororo said, getting out of the way for them to access their car.

    A she was about to climb into the car, Dawn suddenly held her head and would had fallen if Scott hadn’t caught her.

    “It’s nothing, just a dizzy spell.” Dawn said, standing up again.

    “Are you sure?” Bufy said, clearly worried.

    “Yes, don’t worry.” Dawn said, rolling her eyes. “Let’s go, then.”
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Family.06
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Gotham City
    A few hours afterwards

    It seemed that Ororo's weather prediction had been right on the money, as black clouds were covering the entire sky now, except for an small sliver of blue sky toward the west. Gotham was a foreboding presence a few miles ahead, the light from the sunset filtered through the cloud layer, combined with the architectural style of the city, giving it a nightmarish appearance.

    "God, who designed the city? Dracula?" Buffy said, clutching the wheel as if it was going to fall off.

    "Yeah, that Neo-Gothic style is a bit too much." Dawn said, with a frown. "I don't like this place. It's... I don't know, but it gives me the creeps."

    "You too?" Buffy said, "Well, the sooner we end this, the sooner we can go back to New York. Where is that lawyers office?"

    "O'Neill Boulevard, 1986." Dawn said, entering the address in the navigator.

    After a couple false turns they arrived to the place. It was a twenty-stories tall office building, a small tower of brick and concrete, and with the lower floors covered by an ugly gray stone. It was built in the same over-the-top style as most of the city, with gargoyles and battlements and more gargoyles.

    It had a parking lot with a guard, that let them enter after checking their IDs. She also gave them indications for the lawyer office, in the thirteenth floor.

    Just after they got out of the car, a Rolls-Royce came and parked in front of them. The chauffeur was an older man with a thin moustache, who opened the door for the occupant, a tall, broad-shouldered, black-haired young man, wearing an expensive suit, that barely looked at them as they climbed the stairs toward the entry of the building.

    Not all that surprising they kept going the same way, including taking the same lift. Once inside, the sisters had time to look at them. The younger one looked familiar, but...

    "You are Bruce Wayne." Buffy said, kicking herself internally. 'Of course he would have to be here, it's his father's will.'

    "Indeed I am, miss..." Bruce said with a charming smile

    "Summers, Buffy Summers." Buffy said "This is my sister Dawn, and I think we are cousins."

    "Ah, yes. You are the daughters of aunt Joyce ." Bruce said. "My condolences for your loss."

    "If I may..." said the other man, speaking with a British accent that made her think of Giles.

    "Oh, sorry." Bruce said, with a bit of chagrin in his expression "This is Alfred Pennyworth, the beleaguered family butler and chauffeur."

    "Miss Summers, if I bit belated, I offer my condolences for her passing. Your mother was a most extraordinary woman."

    "Me too. It's always a tragedy for anybody to see their parents death." Bruce said, an undecipherable expression in his face.

    "Oh, yes." Buffy said, her sympathy going to the young man "You were there, weren't you?."

    "Yes, I was eight years old at the time." He said, his eyes hardening and his voices lowering one octave. He closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. "It's still a painful memory, Miss Summers."

    "Call me Buffy. We are family, after all." She said with a smile, trying to dispel the somber mood, just as they arrived to their floor.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: Family.07
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    They were quickly ushered into the office of the lawyer, a Mister Cobblepott, who turned out to be an kindly old man, with thinning white hair and a big beak of a nose.

    He started to explain a few things to Buffy and Dawn. He was the executor of the will of Thomas Wayne, and he had added a codicil to his will, roughly a year before his death. Basically Buffy and Dawn had inherited a important amount of money, as well as shares in Wayne Enterprises. The reason came in a letter that Buffy and Dawn recognized as written by her mother.

    Buffy, Dawn. I sent this letter to add to the ones written by Thomas and Martha just before the operation to extirpate the brain tumor. If you are reading this, then I didn't survive, and I have something to tell both of you.

    You probably already know this, given that Dawn is so much of a snoop...

    This made Dawn blush.

    ...I studied in Gotham U, your grandfather's old alma mater. It was there where I met Thomas Wayne and Martha Kane, who were already a couple back then. Bu what few people know, and I don't think that Bruce does know, was that how wild they were in their college years.

    A quick glance to Bruce revealed that he seemed as perplexed by the info as them

    One night, after a particularly wild party, I awakened in the same bad with Thomas and Martha. And it was then when Thomas' father, Patrick, had a 'talk' with me. He forced me to leave Gotham without the opportunity to say goodbye to Thomas and Martha. I transferred to UCLA, but not a couple months afterward I discovered that I was pregnant. Yes Buffy, you and Bruce are half-siblings.
     
  20. Threadmarks: Change of Guard.01
    AntonioCC

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    CHANGE OF GUARD

    Initiative HQ. Location: Classified
    One Year Ago

    "Did you called for us, sir?" said Major Riley Finn, head of the Initiative HK Team 1 to his commanding office, Colonel Franklin Ellis. Behind him, his XO, Graham Miller, and their counterparts in Team 2, Samantha Finn and Barry Cudd, and Team 3, Kate Kane, whose team hadn't been assigned a new XO yet, after Kate got promoted due to her predecessor's death.

    "Yes." said Ellis "I won't try to sugarcoat this, but the Initiative is going to be reorganized as part of other agency."

    "Which agency, sir?"

    "I'll let our guests to explain that." said Ellis, opening a side door to let enter three people. The one that had entered first was quite forgettable looking, a balding man in his 40s dressed in a black business suit, followed by a rather striking Asian woman in her late 30s, wearing a black leather jacket, grey shirt, black leather pants and black combat boots ensemble, and the last to enter was another man in his 40s, wearing a grey turtleneck sweater and black slacks over combat bots.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm Agent Coulson.." said the first man "... and these are my associates, Agents May..." the woman waved "...and Garrett." the other man looked at them with a smirk "We work for the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistic Division..."

    "That's quite a mouthful." commented Miller.

    "Yes, it is." answered Coulson with a smile "We prefer to use the acronym SHIELD. We are here to evaluate your methods and capabilities..."

    "Why? We have been working just fine." Cudd said. "Besides what do you know about what we do?"

    "You fight demons, vampires and other supernatural crap." Garrett said with an eyeroll. "SHIELD fight mad scientists, wannabe supervillains and natural and unnatural catastrophes." he looked at Coulson and said with a shit-eating grin "Hey, Phil. Remember that thing in Miami? Good times."

    "Sure, if trying to avoid Florida getting eaten by a piece of dark matter fits your definition of good times." answered Coulson.

    "Phil..." said May, admonishingly.

    "Sorry, Melinda. Got carried away." Coulson said "Anyway, what are we going to do is that, barring an emergency, each one of us is going to be part of your teams for a week." he paused for a moment, seeing their expression "Look, I know what you are thinking, probably the same I would be thinking if the situation was reversed, but it can't be helped."
     
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    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    "What?" Buffy and Dawn said at the same time. Bruce looked lost in thought.

    "There is documentation to support that claim and others made in the document. Blood type work and DNA analysis for both of you." Cobblepott said, and then looked at Bruce "The Waynes and Ms. Summers were quite thorough."

    "Both of us? When..." Buffy said "Oh, now I remember. Dawn was two when we came to Gotham to some art thing that mom had been hired to manage."

    "The Gotham Fine Arts Exposition?" asked Bruce, suddenly interested.

    "It could be. I was, like, eight at the time." Buffy said, with a shrug. "Didn't we meet back then? I vaguely remember a dark manor and an spoiled brat..." she said before she could stop herself. "Sorry."

    "Don't be. I was a bit of a terror back then." Bruce said with a chuckle, before he said, thoughtfully "I gather that it was then when all the analysis were done?"

    "Well, I remember that we went to a doctor here, a kind woman with grey hair, and we got blood extracted..." Buffy said, trying to remember. "It's the only instance that I can remember back then." Of course we could repeat the analysis, if you have..."

    "I think we should, not because I have any doubt, but because I have relatives that would dispute it." Bruce said, with a frown. "But before that, we should see the rest of the documents."

    Joyce letter continued, detailing how she had met Hank, and how his continuous cheating had put them on the brink of divorce when Buffy was around five. A chance meeting with the Waynes, led to Joyce crying on their shoulder, a lot of alcohol and history repeating itself.

    "And that's why mom thought I could be your sister too." Dawn commented to Bruce. "You don't seem all that surprised."

    "My parents had a bit of reputation in their youth, and although they calmed down afterwards, I have pieced that they shared their bed a few times afterwards with a few old friends." Bruce said, with a bit of a grimace "And they were notably lightweights with alcohol. "

    The letter ended with Joyce telling them that they decided not to say anything to Hank, to avoid the scandal, but that when Dawn was sixteen, everything would be revealed. She glossed over over the intervening years, finalizing with saying that when she learned about the tumor, she contacted mister Cobblepott and arranged to have this letter added to the documents.

    The other letters, by Bruce parents, were shorter and full of good wishes, as well as an apology for not being there.

    "I can get somebody of my full confidence to make the analysis tomorrow." Bruce said "I'll call later to tell you the time. And I think we all need time to digest today's news."

    "Very well, see you." Buffy said, who then noticed that Mister Cobblepott had taken his coat.

    "My nephew got into a mess." said the man, as an explanation, and added under his breath "Oswald is going to be the death of me some day."
     
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  22. Threadmarks: Change of Guard.02
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    "Very well, but our teams have designated roles." Riley said "We'll need to test you to see on what role we can slot you."

    "It's fair." Coulson said, after thinking for a moment, and looked to his companions "Any objections?"

    May shook her head, while Garrett looked at them with another of his smiles, this time rather more predatory. Riley looked at Sam, who looked back. It was clear that they were thinking the same thing. He then looked at Kate and Sam nodded.

    'Let's see how good they really are.' Riley thought.

    "Anything else?" Ellis asked. When everybody shook their head "Then you are all dismissed... except you, Kane. There is something we need to discuss."

    "Yes, sir." said Kate, staying there while the others were leaving.

    "Sit down, captain." Ellis said, after the others had left. "I wanted to ask you about the matter of your XO."

    "I think Rumlow or Gardner would be great XOs." Kate said, without missing a beat "And either of them is almost ready to take the reins of Team 3."

    "Unfortunately, Gardner is leaving." Ellis said.

    "What?" Kate said, surprised.

    "Nothing to do with you, he always wanted to be a teacher." Ellis explained.

    "Rumlow it is, then." Kate said, with a grimace.

    "Any problem with him?." Ellis asked.

    Kate straightened in her chair, while carefully considering the answer.

    "Nothing that I could put my finger in. I mean he is good, being a mustang he has to be, but we don't really... connect." Kate said finally, and seeing his expression "Nothing like that, sir! I don't have any complaint in that regard, it's probably only that our personalities don't mesh." Then she realized something "Now that we depend from SHIELD, it is possible to do something about my 'retirement'?"

    Ellis grimaced and shook his head.

    "That was one of the first things I asked about." he explained "Eiling wants you gone before it's official, and SHIELD isn't willing to start a turf war with that asshole over a lowly captain."

    "So I have until the agents of SHIELD are gone to bring Rumlow up to specs, and I have to leave the Army due to an asshole general with too much political pull." she said, in a defeated tone "Lovely."
     
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  23. Threadmarks: Family.09
    AntonioCC

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    While they were walking back to the lift, the lawyer went to a side corridor, probably to another lift. They made small talk on the way down, and they got out of the building, Bruce looked up, to the very dark sky.

    "Do you have a place to stay tonight?" Bruce asked.

    "Well, not really. We are quite low in funds, so a friend of us found us a cheap hotel, but they don't make reservations."

    "Really cheap, if they don't make reservations." commented Bruce "Where it is?"

    "Park Row, I think." Buffy said, and stopped when she saw Bruce wince. "Bad place?"

    "It's better known in Gotham as the Crime Alley." Bruce said, his tone flat.

    "Oh, crap." Buffy said, remembering where she had heard that name. "Sorry, I didn't know."

    Bruce didn't say anything for a moment, before taking a deep breath.

    "You couldn't know." Bruce said "Hell, even most gothamites, those who live outside the Bowery at least, have never heard that the Crime Alley is really named Park Row." He then thought for a moment "Alfred, the keys to the penthouse?"

    "In the usual place, Master Bruce." Alfred said.

    "Thank you." he said, rummaging for a moment in the back seat of the Rolls, before appearing with a keycard in his hand. "The Wayne Tower..." he said, pointing to a skyscraper in the center of the city "...has a penthouse that I barely use. This keycard allow you access to my private parking, lift and the penthouse itself, obviously."

    For a moment, Buffy stood there, dumbfounded. Dawn on the other hand, frowned, for once more familiar with gossip magazines than her sister.

    "Oh, your infamous bachelor pad." Dawn said "I hope you don't expect us to clean..."

    Bruce chuckled.

    "Yes, I have used it occasionally in that capacity, but the service personnel clean it afterwards. You'll find it completely clean."

    "O...okay." Buffy said, still regaining her wits "Very generous."

    "The least I can do." Bruce said "See you tomorrow, I think we both need the time to digest today's revelations."

    Buffy nodded, and the they said goodbye to each other. As the Rolls sped through the streets of Gotham, Bruce seemed lost in thought.

    "That was awfully generous of you, Master Bruce."

    "Not so generous. Buffy Summer may play to be an air-headed Valley Girl, but she is anything but that." Bruce said, his voice dropping to the growling tones of his alter-ego.
     
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  24. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Yeah, if anyone outside the magical community was going to know what lurks in the dark, he would.
     
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  25. AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    [looking at half written next snippet]hehehe
     
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  26. Threadmarks: Change of Guard.03
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Initiative HQ.
    Labs section, that evening.

    'He is alone. Perfect moment for this.' thought Garret as he entered the lab, where a thin man with grey hair and horn-rimmed glasses was fiddling with a seemingly high-tech weapon.

    "Look what we have here." Garrett said, startling the other man.

    He turned around quickly, but he relaxed slightly when he saw Garrett, before looking at the grinning agent of SHIELD with an annoyed expression.

    "It's you. I see that you survived, that IED made a number of you." the scientist commented, with a noticeable accent.

    "Yes, Doctor Batory. I survived and..." he knocked on his right arm "...got somebody to improve upon your work."

    "Given the conditions that I was working under the Sokovian regime, a trained monkey could improve upon my work there." Batory snarked. "I got lucky to get out of there, even if it was to work under Maggie Walsh." then he removed his glasses, before asking "Why are you here, anyway? I have been working for Uncle Sam for more than a decade. It has to do with your cybernetics?"

    "Close, but not cigar, doctor." Garrett said "Remember that Nazi gold you helped me to steal from your then bosses?"

    "Yeah, that's how I could get out of Sokovia as soon as NATO brought down the regime." Batory said "You used it to finance your new cybernetics."

    "And I'm profiting of it." Garret said with a smirk. "And best of it, SHIELD doesn't know jack about it."

    "Do you know about how I started to work for the Initiative?"

    "Yes, I have some contacts in high places. You could be released from that agreement, and get to work into what you are really interested, earning more in a month that what you are doing in six months working for the Initiative."

    "And what I would have to do for that?" Batory said "I know your type, you wouldn't do this out of the goodness of your heart."

    "The designs for the 314 Project." Garrett said. "I know they weren't destroyed."
     
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  27. Threadmarks: Family.10
    AntonioCC

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    "She seemed unusually alert for somebody without military training." Alfred said.

    "Yes, and that, coupled with some of the things that I have gotten about her, worries me." Bruce said. "Then there the data about the city where she lived, Sunnydale."

    "Such as?"

    "Do you know what was one the leading cause of death in Sunnydale? Barbecue accident, specifically being stabbed in teh neck with a barbecue fork, followed by a lethal blood loss."

    "Seriously?" Alfred said. "You know what that sounds like."

    "Vampires." Bruce said "I had a couple run with those... creatures in my years in Asia..."

    "So did I, back when I was in the SAS." Alfred commented.

    "And just after she moved into Sunnydale, the deaths with that cause started to drop, as well of other causes of death." Bruce said

    "A vampire hunter, then?" Alfred said, before thinking about something "Master Bruce, Do some of Ms. SUmmers associates hails from Britain?"

    "A Rupert Giles, the high school librarian." Bruce said "Why, Alfred?"

    "There is an organization in Britain. I don't know its name, but they fight against supernatural threats." Alfred said "We were once called to provide support in a raid on Scotland."

    "Could Ms. Summer have been trained by that organization?" Bruce asked.

    "Possibly?" Alfred said "I never talked with them, we cleared those ruins of vampires and then they did some ceremony to cleanse teh place."

    "Interesting. But if that's the case, Gotham's supernatural element is very thin on the ground." Bruce said "And even if it isn't, there are bigger fish to fry at the moment." Bruce said, as tehy entered the underground parking of of one of the office building of Wayne Enterprises, temporarily closed by reforms.

    Alfred used a keycard to access an executives only area of the parking, where a sleek black car was waiting. Bruce was already removing his clothes a wearing the black and grey outfit he wore as Gotham's Dark Knight, Batman.
     
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  28. Threadmarks: Change of Guard.04
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    "Do you intend to repeat Walsh's folly? 314, or Adam, as Walsh called it..."

    "Egotistical much?" Garret said, the smirk never leaving his lips.

    "That's a good way to define Walsh. Modern-day Doctor Frankenstein would be another." Batory said, pausing for a moment before to add with a smirk "Of course, like Shelley's doctor, she was killed by the monster she created."

    "Good point. But, we don't intend to build other Adam." Garret said. "The cybernetics you used on it are quite beyond we have seen."

    "Thank you for the compliment." Batory said, with more than a hint of sarcasm "It would have been in handy two years and a half ago when the brass pulled the plug in the project, and I found myself reduced to repair glorified tasers."

    "Two years and a half ago we didn't have a millionaire flying around in a red and gold power armor, a murderous vigilante with a bow and arrows in the West Coast, and a loon dressed as a bat in the East Coast." Garret replied "There is a lot of people interested in advanced, reliable cybernetic enhancements, as a counter. Governments, corporations, crime syndicates, terrorist groups, ancient conspiracies... they'll pay through their nose to get some of that stuff."

    Initiative Training Course.
    One hour later.

    Samantha Finn needed a moment to think what to say after they saw Agent May practically breezed through the course.

    "I want her." She said, finally. And seeing the reactions of her fellow officers, she added "Don't look at me like that, you know how heavy our losses were after last mission, and the replacements are still very green."

    "Okay, okay. Besides, it's only going to be a week." Kane said. "I'll try to have Garrett help me with Rumlow. He commented that he likes to mentor younger agents."

    "Okay." Sam said "Riley, what do you think?"

    "I have no objections." Riley said, after thinking for a moment. Just in time as it went, as COulson neared them.

    "So, what have you decided." he asked

    "May as point woman in team two, they are a bit short in experienced personnel, Garret on Team Three, and you, Agent Coulson with Graham and me on Team One. I hope that..."

    Riley stopped himself when he saw Ellis coming at a briskly pace and with a grim expression. The initiative personnel, stood up and saluted.

    "At ease, people. I have just received a call from the Pentagon. Apparently a few hamlets deep in the jungle in Guatemala have been wiped out." Ellis said "There was a survivor that spoke of demons with bat wings."
     
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  29. Threadmarks: Family.11
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    Wayne Tower
    VIP Parking

    "His eyes. That was what gave it away." Buffy said as they stepped out of the car.

    "So, you are saying that Bruce Wayne playboy image is just that, an image?" Dawn said "It is a bit difficult to believe."

    "Well, yeah." Buffy acknowledged "If I hadn't been looking him at his eyes when I mentioned Park Row I wouldn't have noticed."

    Buffy took their luggage from the car's trunk and backseat, a big wheeled suitcase and a backpack for her, and another backpack for Dawn, who was taking her laptop and the keycard.

    "And what do you think he is hiding?" Dawn said,

    "You tell me, you are the one who have been researching the city since we got out of New York." Buffy said, as they started to follow the signs toward the lifts . "And how could you not notice that Park Row was Crime Alley?"

    "Sheer bad luck..." Dawn shrugged, but she frowned and then added "...or maybe the Powers that Are Dicks at work."

    "You have been hanging with Xander and Faith too much." Buffy said with a smile. "Not that you are not right about them being dicks. But going back to Gotham, did you discover something of interest?"

    "Well, the city seems to have its own superhero, a guy who looks like or is dressed as a bat and goes around beating criminals. People has taken to call him 'the Bat', 'the Bat-Man' or simply 'Batman'" Dawn said, and looked at Buffy who had pursed her lips "Let me guess, you are thinking about Dracula."

    "Yeah. He could transform into a bat. And the Master was quite bat-like." Buffy said, as they arrived to the lifts. The one they were looking for was a bit apart from the others, with a card replacing the panel with a card reader.

    "You have a point." Dawn said as they entered the elevator. "But so far, he seems to avoid killing people, and I have seen no significant number of 'barbecue accidents' between the statistics. I called Andrew to see what the Watchers had on Gotham, though."
     
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  30. Threadmarks: Change of Guard.05
    AntonioCC

    AntonioCC Verified Procrastinator

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    "Camatzotz demons. Not again." Riley said with an eyeroll. "Who is going? And when do they need us?"

    "Team 1 and Team 3, Team 2 stays in reserve. And they need you as soon as you can.” Ellis replied “Fortunately there is a Globemaster available this time."

    "Excuse me, Colonel. Where are those hamlets located, exactly?" Coulson asked

    "The Guatemalan Department of El Petén.” Ellis said “Why do you ask?"

    Coulson thought for a moment before answering.

    "We, meaning SHIELD, keep installations in several friendly countries, one of them it’s on Belize, just a short distance from Northern Guatemala." Coulson said "It's a pretty discreet affair, and will keep this operation out of watching eyes."

    "Wouldn't that put you at odds with your bosses?" Ellis asked

    "Not at all.” Coulson said with a smile “Given the frequency the Initiative have to go to Central and South America, I was authorized to reveal the existence of a number of SHIELD bases if I deemed it necessary." explained Coulson.

    "Thanks for the offer, Agent Coulson, but unfortunately we can't take it." Ellis said "Part of the US agreement with Guatemala is that we have to work with them.”

    "If I may, Colonel?" Finn said.

    "Yes, Major Finn?." Ellis answered.

    "Remember what we discussed last time we had to deal with an infestation of those things?” Finn said, “Well, I have an idea that can help us with that."


    Guatemalan Air Force Base "Teniente Coronel Danilo Sanchez"
    El Petén Department. Guatemala

    The C-17 landed in the runway and quickly rolled into an hangar of the base. Teams One and Three disembarked quickly. A number of M-37s were waiting for them, as well as two men, a major of the Guatemalan army wearing the maroon beret of the Kaibiles, the Guatemalan Special Forces and a portly man in civilian clothes, who looked very out of place in the military base.

    "Major Molina!" said Riley, holding the hand of the major "I thought you would be still recovering from our last visit."

    "Nah, the wounds were less serious than they looked, Major Finn." Molina said, and then pointed by his companion "This is Jacinto Gonzalez Fraile, Deputy Secretary of the Presidency."

    "Charmed, Mr. Secretary. This is Captain Miller, my second in command, and this is Captain Kane, head of team Three, and his second in command, Lieutenant Rumlow." Riley said. "What can you tell us?"

    "There had been another attack..." Molina said.

    "And they seem to be heading toward Flores and Santa Elena!" said Gonzalez. "Flores is..."

    "...the capital of El Petén and Santa Elena is located very near to it.” Kane said “We are quite familiar with the area, Mister Secretary. This is the fifth time in the last two years, we have had to deal with those creatures.”
     
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