What Lies Beneath Us
Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:29 PM
A dilapidated warehouse sits just on the edge of the Bay Area harbor as over hundred bikers inside the building pack crates of ammunition into shipping containers. Coordinating everyone's movement is the Vice President of the Hellfire's Motorcycle Club, Billy White, as he barks orders from the second floor while leaning over the railing. "MARCUS I WANT THOSE PROSPECTS PATROLLING OUTSIDE, TIM SHRED ANY DOCUMENTS THAT WE EVER LEASED THIS PLACE AND FOLEY CLEAN UP ANYTHING THAT COULD BE TRACED BACK TO US! WE'RE LEAVING THIS IN TWO HOURS AND I DON'T ANYONE HALF-ASSING ANYTHING! GOT IT?" He turns back into the living room and sits in a chair as he watches the news on TV. The news report shows amateur video footage of Nomad fighting against Robert Remington and Shijin which later shows him being taken down by the two heroes. "I can't believe you thought that we could kidnap Ibermann's girl and get away with it. How were we supposed to know that your ol' buddy brought in new blood?"
"He always did have a way of influencing others to do his bidding." Jon Levingston replies as he sits calmly on the couch. "This...is a minor set back for us. I cannot risk being shown right now after twenty years. This war must go on until the only thing stopping Hermann is six feet of dirt." Levingston stands up and looks over to Billy. "I'm gonna contact Mr. Jack and let him know we'll be in Vegas soon. Once we get to the Sin City, his people will give us protection in exchange for handing over our crew as high powered muscle."
"Yeah well, let's just get this over with." Billy says, "I can't take being in this shithole of a city any longer."
Less than a mile away from the warehouse, are a group of people that are standing right outside an unmarked van. One of whom is Dr. Ibermann as he overlooks the warehouse while holding a lit cigarette in his hand and a smirk across his face. "It ends tonight. The war will end tonight." He looks back over to Robert Remington gesturing his hand to stand next to him. “Mr. Remington, would you kindly come over here for a second?”
Remington looked over at the warehouse as the wind blew through his fur. As Ibermann calls him over, Rob breaks contact with the warehouse for the first time since he arrived as he obliges the doctor. "What is it Ibermann?" the wolf-man asks evenly, still gazing at the building intently rather than at anyone else there.
"He's here," Ibermann replies as he slowly inhales his cigarette, "I can hear his thoughts. Mr. Levingston is desperate and is planning to go on the run now that I am about to take the fight to his doorstep." The doctor turns around to face Robert face to face. "My question, for you, is how far are you willing to go to get what you want?"
Robert took a few seconds to mull over that question, his gaze still on the warehouse as he did so. Ibermann asking was a formality at best. The ‘good doctor’ didn't need telepathy know that Rob wanted Levingston very badly. Glancing downward to meet his eyes with Dr. Ibermann, Robert simply replied back. "What do you need me to do?"
"Follow me." Ibermann replied as he and Robert walk by the unmarked van and open the back doors. Inside the van was a vast array of high-tech computers and equipment for a stakeout mission. Among the equipment was Dr. Ibermann's assistant Stephanie and Tech, one of the members of an elite team called the Trackers, looking on the computer monitor's and listening through separate headphones. They both look over to Dr. Ibermann and Robert as Tech takes off his headphones. "So...what is the situation inside, Tech?"
"A'ight, check it boss," Tech answered, "From what we can gather inside, we're getting chatter that everyone's packing up and ready to leave in a few hours. Jon Levingston is on the second warehouse interior and, from the readings of our thermal signatures, there are about a hundred and five leather strapped bikers armed to the teeth."
"Good," Dr. Ibermann replied as he looks over to his assistant. "Stephanie, what do you recommend for a battle tactic like this?"
Stephanie takes off her headphones and projects a holographic image, showing the layout of the warehouse, from an electronic bracer. "The way I see it, there are four different points of entry into the building. I suggest we split them up into four factions and have them make their way in."
Dr. Ibermann nods, "Very well, do what you need to do. After all, you are now in charge of this team. Use them however you like to your will." He turns around to face Robert, "I am going to sit back on this one. Stephanie will tell you what you need to do. If that is alright with you."
"It’s fine. Can you get on with it Stephaine?" Rob asks, a bit antsy to get things underway.
"Sure thing," Stephanie replied as she begins tapping various buttons on her keyboard and talks into her comm-link. "Attention groups T-1 through 4. Operation: Fish is now in effect. Everyone be ready to go in two minutes." As she gives out her orders, both Stephen Sauve and Harbinger walk up behind Robert and stand next to him. Stephanie turns around to face Robert and gives him a white collar. "You'll need this when you confront him. That collar Ghost had, around her neck, was an electronic device used to negate the metan's ability to use their powers. It was an early model, at the time, when Jon had stolen Dr. Ibermann's blueprints but now we have since upgraded and retrofitted the device. This collar will be powerful enough to stop Levingston's ability over molecule's, but only if you get it around his neck first. Do you understand?"
Robert looked at the collar. Feeling it in his hands, he sighs as it hits him. What he is about to do as he stares down Stephanie, Robert nods. "I understand completely..." Robert begins to say when he senses Harbinger and Sauve. He did not need to turn to recognize the two with their footsteps, scent, and overall presence. "...and I suppose these guys are gonna help?" He asks, not particularly happy about the team-up.
Stephanie looks back over to Robert while turning her headset off. "The three of you are going to be T-3. As the first two squads make their way in and create their distractions. The three of you are going to approach the south side of the building. There you will then enter the second story window using the fire escape. If my calculations are correct, you should be able to intercept Levingston where he is lightly guarded in the living room. Do either of you have any problems with that?"
"Sounds good to me," Stephen says snapping his fingers emitting a small flame and lighting up a cigar. Harbinger, on the other hand, nods to the plan as he remains quiet with his hood covering his face. The two then look over to Robert to hear what he would have to say.
Robert would merely nod. "When do we head out?" the wolf-man asks. Getting this whole mess over with was top priority.
Stephanie raises her finger, in order to silence Robert, and turns back on her headset to let the rest of the Trackers know that it was time to move in. "T-1, the night looks beautiful out here tonight. Why don't you help out the night observers on the roof?"
As the guards armed with high powered rifles begin to switch patrol shifts, one of them accidently bumps into something but cannot see anything in front of him. He becomes perplexed, scratching his head, and extends his hand outward with curiosity. At first he felt nothing but air until his hand is quickly cut off in mid-air. Before the guard could scream out in pain, his throat is pierced cutting off his ability to talk. The rest of the guards notice this, but couldn't react fast enough as Kable, Rolling Thunder, and Wraith appear out of thin air and make quick work of everyone on the rooftop. Their sounds may be quiet but the sight of it all was bloody as each member used their katanas to slice off the biker's fingers, preventing them to fire off a single shot, and decapitate their heads. Ghost finally appears by turning off her invisibility, walks to the edge of the roof, and cracks open a road flare waving it in the air.
As Stephanie and Tech see the road flare on top of the roof, they coordinate the next squad to move in. Stephanie presses several buttons, on her holographic bracer, and talks into the headset once more. "T-2, that building looks a little too warm on the inside. How about opening up a door or two to let some of that cool air in?"
"You got it." Quartz replied as he, Gluttony, and Toro charge into the warehouse with full force. As the three burst into the building's wall, the bikers become shocked and quickly arm their guns, as well as, their powers. As they spray their bullets into the three heavy hitters, the bullets bounce seemingly off of their bodies. "Ok guys, let's have some fun!" Quartz shouts as they toss and slam the guards around the bottom floor of the warehouse.
Stephanie notices that everything is going to plan as she looks over to Robert, Harbinger, and Stephen Sauve. "Alright boys, it's your turn now. Remember to enter from the second story window to take them by surprise."
"Don't need to tell me twice." Sauve says as he ignites the lower part of his body and blasts off towards the warehouse. Harbinger shakes his head, at Sauve's remark, and speeds down the hill and into the harbor.
Robert likewise nods at Stephanie before taking off on all fours while doing his best to keep up with Harbinger.
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON DOWN OUT THERE?" Levingston shouts to one of his soldiers after hearing the loud noise and gunfire from downstairs.
The guard peers out the front window and rushes back to inform his boss. "We're under attack, boss! It looks like the Trackers are here!"
"How the f*ck do they know about this place?" Billy asks as he grabs his sawed-off shotgun off of the coffee table.
"Isn't it obvious," Levingston replied, "They got to Nomad so it was only a matter of time before he spilled his guts about this place." He looks around and pulls out a glock pistol from his holster. "It doesn't matter now, because we end this war tonight. Billy, I want you to--" Jon's sentence is quickly interrupted as Robert, Harbinger, and Stephen burst through the window of his living room. The leader becomes shocked by this surprise, but his reaction quickly fades as he extends out his hand. "I don't have time for this." The leader says as the floor begins to move forming into small sharp spikes. The spikes begin move upward and, with one fell swoop from Levingston's hand, hurl themselves at the intruders. As Robert, Sauve, and Harbinger evade the onslaught of spikes, both Levingston and Billy rush down the hallway in an attempt to escape the warehouse.
Robert quickly ducks the volley of spikes, before ducking behind a wall. "Hell of a first meeting." Robert mutters, noting Levingston was the one who attacked him. After the spikes stopped he would peer out. Taking in a sniff, he would smell not only Levingston, but also Billy White. Following their scents, he would off handily order Harbringer and Sauve. "Come on, they're getting away." Robert deadpans as he cautiously begins to follow the two scents.
"No shit, Sherlock!" Sauve replied to Robert in a sarcastic tone. As they rush down the hallway, they are quickly cut off as several guards cut them off. At first glance they appear to be unarmed, but that is not the case as these five guards are fueled by the various abilities that Levingston granted to them. "Alright, here's the plan. Harb, I want you--" Sauve's sentence is quickly cut off as Harbinger speeds in between the meta fueled guards and begins ripping apart the limbs of each of the bikers. The pale white walls, along the hallway, become red with the sprayed blood of the mutilated guards as Sauve and Robert watch like a pair of stool pigeons.
After Harbinger finishes his latest work, he would walk back over to Sauve. Using only two of his fingers, Harbinger pokes Sauve's chest which pushes him up against the wall. "I don't take orders from you, has-been." Harbinger says as he looks over to Robert's direction. "And you. Next time you growl at someone like me, lil doggy, make sure you back it up with a bite." As he finally said his two cents to the two, Harbinger speeds off into one of the many hallway doors.
"F*cking asshole." Sauve mutters as he quickly wipes the sweat off of his forehead. He then looks over to the wolf-man and begins barking orders at Robert. "What are you looking at? Track 'em down already!"
Robert watches Harbinger's work with some disgust. As Harbinger tells off the wolf-man, Robert scowls at him with anger.
"Yeah you better run.” Rob thought to himself as Harbinger speeds off, cutting off any rebuttal Rob might've had. As Sauve begins to tell him off Robert growls and stretches to his full height before looking down on Sauve, making the size difference between the two apparent. Rob then shuts him up, "Don't even start with me flame boy. You don't have 10 people to toss at me this time. I'm not afraid of him and I'm sure as hell not afraid to play with fire." Robert says, as he holds out his clawed finger threatening Sauve, before beginning to move forward, minding the corpses. He begins to sniff the air to regain Billy's and Levingston's scents.
As the two biker leaders make their way to the bottom floor of the warehouse, they see all of the exits blocked off as they watch their gang being ripped apart by the Trackers. "God dammit!" Billy shouts to himself realizing their dilemma. "What are we gonna do now, huh? We're trapped down here."
"Not exactly brother," Levingston replied as he uses his powers to open up a hole in the ground. As the hole expands, from every which way, it reveals a giant sewer system below. "They never think of the sewers when it comes to an attack. Come on, let's ge--" Levingston's sentence is quickly interrupted he sees a quick blur passing by. "What the hell was that?"
The blur wisks by again as Billy looks over to his leader. "Get outta here, man. I'll handle this." Levingston nods to his fellow member as he jumps into the sewer tunnels makes his exit. Billy stays behind as he looks around the room. "I know you're in here, so why don't grow some balls and face me chicken shit?” The blur quickly slows down as it reveals itself to be Ghost as she stands just fifty feet away from Billy. The biker smiles with delight, "Well then, this is gonna be interesting."
"You can say that again." Ghost replied as Billy begins unloading his shells. She dodges the bullets with ease, using her acrobatic agility and phasing powers, as Ghost walks over towards Billy. "It was you, wasn't it? You're the one who ordered them take out Allen."
"Who?" Billy answered with a perplexed look on his face.
Ghost quickly glides herself across the room as she sticks a butterfly knife up to Billy's neck. "DON'T BULLSHIT WITH ME!!! At first I thought Nomad was the one, but he's more of a follower than a thinker. You ordered those two to execute my boyfriend, didn't you?" Ghost didn't need Billy to say anything as she sees the grin expanding across his face. "I should've known. It doesn't matter now, 'cause Robert may have taken out both of the triggermen, but I'd rather go for the brains instead. The one sick mind behind this entire op...op...operation." Ghost's arm begins to shake as she drops her knife and backs away from Billy. "Shit, not now." Ghost says to herself as she grasps her chest in pain while stumbling to the ground.
"Hey, you look like you got a problem babe." Billy replied as walks over her with caution. He notices Ghost grabbing a bottle of pills, from her pocket, but quickly swats it out of her hands. The bottle bursts open with the pills scattered all over the ground. "Jon told me all about the doc's kids." Billy says as he delivers a kick to Ghost's stomach. "Especially you, how every time you use your powers you get this severe pain in your heart." As Billy continues to go on with his rant, he pulls Ghost off of the ground, throws her on top of the table, and punches her in the face. "Now why don't just lay back and let ol' Billy take good care of you." Billy says as he picks up the knife and begins dragging it across her shirt. Ghost tries her best to fight the biker off, but to no avail, as the pain worsens in her chest while Billy uses one hand to hold down the other two over her head.
Robert had picked up the scents of Levingston and Billy, and without a word to Sauve, he would take off through the hallway he smelled them go through. Sauve would follow right behind him trying to catch up. As the two got closer he would notice that a third scent was next to Billy while Levingston's was getting further away. He initially didn't pay the third person much mind, until he recognized her. "Mary...." Robert says while slowing down. "...with him." Robert growls as he rounds the corner he would see Billy with Mary. His blood boiled once more, and he rushed to save Mary. In a flash Rob was on top of him and gripping the biker's throat as the wolf-man angrily slammed him against a wall. "You okay Mary?" Rob asks in a worried tone while taking a second to glance back at her. As Robert defends Mary’s honor, the sarcastic Sauve catches up and notices an open hole which leads into the sewer system. He rushes over to the manhole and jumps right in.
As Robert tries his best to comfort Ghost, she gasps for air in order to speak. "R-Rob...ca-can't breathe!" She points her finger towards the ground trying to show what she was talking about. "Pi-Pills...I need ta...to get them!" Her eyes begin to tear up as the young Goth’s vision begins to blur, unable to see anything.
After she points, Robert understands what she means. Without another second wasted, Robert carries Billy in tow, and would stroll over to the pills. Picking up the bottle with his free hand, he would pop the cap and make his way to where Mary was. "Here, how many do you need?" Robert asks with worried look on his face as he sees Mary in pain.
She takes the pills from Robert's hand and quickly tosses two of them into her mouth and down her throat. The shaking stops and the tightness in her chest finally diminish, as she lays back down feeling relieved. "I guess now I owe ya for this one." Ghost replied as she pulls herself up from the table with a smile on her face.
Rob smiled back. "Don't think anything of it. You’re still under contract, I'm just doing my job." Robert says, before turning to Billy. A grim seriousness comes over his face. "I think you need to learn how to treat a lady." Robert growls as he tosses Billy to the floor.
"And you..." Billy says as he slams both of his fists together discharging a powerful blast to Robert's chest. The blast sends the wolf-man across the room as the biker stands back up. "...Need to mind your own business, bitch! It's not my fault a freak like you can't get laid looking like that." He stands over Robert's body as his hands begin to light up. "But it won't matter after tonight."
As the derange Billy White aims his hands outward towards Robert, he hears Ghost whispering from behind. "You're right about one thing." Ghost says as her knife can be heard slicing the throat of Billy White. As Billy's blood begins to flow out of his neck, he falls over while grasping his throat in a desperate attempt to clot the wound. His feeble attempt fails as he looks back up at Ghost letting her finish the last words that he'll ever hear. "There's only one freak in this room, but it isn't Robert." She watches the biker bleed out to death as she smiles wiping away the blood on her knife. "That one was for you Allen."
Robert clutched his chest in pain as everything happened. Once it was all said and done, Rob would sit up. "That was careless." He mutters ashamed of himself. Looking over to Ghost, he would look at her. "Allen?" He audibly asks before changing the subject. "Thanks for the save," He says a she tries to stand up. Glancing over to Billy's corpse he would try to talk back. "And just so you know I-ouch." Robert grunts as the strike complicated his breathing for the moment.
After watching Billy bleed out on the ground, she looks over to Robert and rushes over to his aid. "Here, I got you." Ghost says as she helps Robert back up and lets him sit down on one of the box crates. "I guess this now makes us even, huh?"
Despite the injury, Robert puts on a smile at Ghost's question. As he playfully patting her head with his large paw of a hand, he would reply back. "You’re the only one keeping score kid but if it makes you happy...yeah we're even." Rob would then grab for something he could use to prop him, up before turning back to Ghost. "You gonna be ok by yourself Mary?" he asks, already attempting to reacquire Levingston's scent again.
"Yeah, um...I mean--" Before Ghost could finish her response to Robert's answer, they both hear a low rumble from underneath the ground. The floor of the warehouse glows red in one particular area as someone bursts through the ground and falls back onto the ground floor. Most of his clothes are burnt along with his skin which is seared with third and fourth-degree burns. He rolls on his back showing his face to both Robert and Ghost. "Oh shit," Ghost replied, "Rob, it’s Jon Levingston! Quick, get the collar on him!" As the two rush over to their injured enemy, Levingston raises his hand as he pushes both of them up against the wall.
While pinning Ghost and Robert up against the wall, Levingston stands back up as his burnt skin begins to heal almost instantly. "Well...well...well. What do we have here?" Levingston says as he manipulates the concrete walls into puddy as Robert and Ghost's legs and arms sink into the wall until he freezes it back into solid rock. "One of Hermann's spawns, I see. Along with the new guy I've heard so much about. Tell me som--" Levingston freezes for a moment as he looks back at Robert. "Strange...your molecules. They feel...familiar. What's your name, son?" Levingston asks as he keeps his guard up.
Robert would visibly struggle to escape the grasp to no avail. Giving up, as Levingston began to speak, Robert would follow him with his eyes the whole time while never taking him out of his sight. Seeing Levingston freeze raises an eyebrow from Robert. The question that comes next brings all of the emotions Robert has feeling since he was first told about Jon. Glaring at Levingston, he tries to get out, however he can only manage to answer the question. "Remington...Robert Remington," He says with a slight growl. He wishes to add on about how he is his illegitimate descendant and how he feels about all of this, but despite his efforts it doesn't come out.
As Levingston takes a few steps closer to the two, a huge burst of fire hit his back. Collapsing to the ground as the stream of inferno comes from Stephen Sauve's hands he watches Levingston writhe in pain. "You thought you lost me in the sewers, didn't you?" Stephen says, "You thought wrong." He looks back up at the trapped duo and smiles at both of them. "Just like your bastard offspring was wrong about me needing ten of my boys to take you down. I guess being stupid runs in the family."
"Off...spring?" Levingston says as he tries to get back up but is quickly scorched, once more, in the face.
"I don't think so," Stephen says, "I'm afraid I have to cut this reunion short. Your great grandson and I have some unfinished business to deal with." He walks over to the wall as his hands ignite in flames and begins throwing several punches to the face of Robert. "Tell me something, bitch. You still wanna play with fire?"
Each strike angers Robert further as he struggles even harder to escape the concrete wall under his own power. Snapping at Stephen with his maw like a rabid dog. "Let me out of here and let’s see how tough you are then!"
Stephen smiles as he enjoys feeding off Robert's anger. "Thanks, but I'd rather take every advantage I can. Because that's the kind of guy I am." Stephen says as he steps back from the wall. His hands begin to swirl creating an intense ring of fire. "What's this? It seems that the great Robert Remington died trying to take down Jonathon Levingston. But, low and behold, it seems that I swooped in to save the day by strapping this collar around his neck." Stephen picks up the collar and places it on top of some crates. "Sorry Robbie, I guess I'm gonna be the hero tonight." As he sends the stream of fire into Robert's direction, the fire comes to a halt just inches from the wolf man's face. Robert would close his eyes to brace for the flame. Remington stares in awe at the flame as it floats mere inches from his face.
Stephen becomes perplexed as he turns around to see Levingston with his hand stretched out. "Get...away from him...NOW!!!" Levingston exclaims pulling the fire back and redirecting it into Stephen's direction. The realization that Levingston just saved him leaves the wolf-man jaw dropped. The flames hit Stephen’s body but do not faze him as he takes it all in. "Hmm...So it seems that your body is immune to this. But what if I told your molecules that you were not?" With a single finger tap to his thumb, Stephen begins to feel the heat on his back. Stephen begins to scream in pain as the fire spreads throughout his body as he falls to the ground in pain.
As Levingston watches Stephen being burned alive, he feels a sudden force of impact as he is rammed by one of the other members of the Trackers. "That's what you get, holmes!" The bipedal Toro exclaimed as he and Psychol begin their assault. "You mess with one of us; you mess with all of us!"
"I accept…your challenge," Levingston replied. He stands back up, while straightening out his broken backbone, and feels a sharp pain in his mind. "Hmm...I remember this tactic. Confuse you opponent while your teammate delivers the heavy damage. That's good, but not good enough for the likes of me." Levingston raises both of his hands and uses his fingers to type in the air. His typing forces Toro off of the ground, splitting open his rib cage, and Psychol to grasp her head as blood begins to bleed out from the pours of her ears, nose, and eyes.
While killing off two more of the Trackers, Ghost phases herself out of the concrete wall and pulls Robert out along with him. "Hurry," Ghost says to Robert, "You need to get that collar around his neck before--AHH!!" She is quickly interrupted as Levingston throws her up against the wall.
He would then watch in awe as he went on to take out three of the Trackers only coming to when he fell to the floor. “Oomph” Rob grunts as Ghost tells him to grab for the collar before Levingston sends her against a wall. "Mary!" Rob yells before instinctively rushing forward and grabbing his ancestor's hands on his own before he can do what he intended to do to Mary. With his eyes meeting Levingston's, he attempts to force him backwards as he pleads to the powerful Metan. "Stop....please." Robert's voice strains as he tells Levingston. During this the wolf-man's hands begin to shake as he experiences something he rarely feels toward an individual; fear. Despite the earlier save he has no clue how much patience Jon has for him but he has a very good grasp of the multiple things he could do to the wolf-man with his vast powers. To top it all of Robert is still a fair distance from the collar and has his hands full.
"You don't get it, do you?" Levingston replied as he pushes Robert towards the crates. "Nothing is what it seems!" After throwing Robert up against the crates, he turns his attention back to Ghost as he slowly begins to crush her up against the wall. "They all must pay! FOR EVERYTHING!!!"
"Grab it." A broken voice says as it echoes in Robert's head. Robert looks over to see the collar lying among the broken crates. "Do it. Grab the collar, hurry. He'll kill us, kill us all."
As Robert hits the crates with a force, which he didn't expect from Levingston, he would shake his head only to be broken out of it by Ghost's grunts of pain. He tries to think of what to do next when the voices come into his head. Knowing what he has to do he scoops up the collar and charges at Levingston from behind. As he moves in to snap it on him, he mutters remorsefully a single response. "I'm sorry..."
As the collar snaps tightly around Levingston's neck, everything within the room shuts down almost immediately. Ghost falls to the ground but quickly picks herself back up and Levingston grasps the device around his neck in shock. "No," Levingston says to Robert as he looks over to him. "Do you have any idea what you have done? Do you? DO YOU?"
Before the wolf-man could utter a single response, Levingston is quickly tased from behind by Kable, another member from the Trackers. The rest of the team moves in as Stephanie and Dr. Ibermann make their presence known. "What he has done, Jon, is prevented you from making a profit off of our people like a common pimp selling street prostitues." Dr. Ibermann replied, "While at the same time ending a war that has spanned for the last two decades."
"You f*cking kraut licking toad!" Levingston exclaimed as he is handcuffed pulled back to his feet. "What did you do to him, huh? What did you tell him that made you desperate enough to take me out of the picture?"
"Get him out of here," Dr. Ibermann told his team as they hauled Levingston out of the room. The doctor then turns to Stephanie to assess their situation. "So what do we have?"
Stephanie peers into her holographic bracer as she crunches the numbers. "We have a total of a ninety-two motor club bikers either dead or unaccounted for, three casualties on our side, Wraith's comm-link was briefly shutdown for eleven seconds but was quickly reactivated, and the noise that stirred this warehouse will not bring the police around here for another...forty-five minutes."
"Well done Stephanie," Ibermann replied as he smiles a little bit with delight. "It seems that you are more than qualified as a strategist to take over this team." The doctor looks back at Robert and Ghost as he makes his way over to the two. Ghost ignores her father as she gives him the cold shoulder and walks pass him with a blank stare. He ignores his daughter as he turns his attention back to Robert. "Congratulations Mr. Remington, you have finally achieved the impossible. Standing up to what your ancestors couldn't do to him in the past. Your great-great-grandmother would be proud of you if she saw you right now."
Robert stares at Levingston as he is dragged off and completely stunned at everything that just happened in front of him. His ancestor's words resonate within Robert as he questions himself, only to be interrupted by Dr. Ibermann congratulating him on a job well done. A feeling in the pit of the wolf-man's stomach makes him think otherwise. Staring at Dr. Ibermann intently he decides that the only way to feel right about anything that has happened in the past 24 hours is to talk to the one man he has been hoping to speak with all this time. Possibly the only one with the answers he needs. "Let me be the judge of that..."Rob mutters before straightening up.”Ibermann, I demand to speak with Levingston...now."
"Very well," Dr. Ibrermann replied as he checks his watch for the time, "I don't know if you overheard Stephanie, but we have less than forty-five minutes to clear this warehouse and leave this harbor. I'll set you two up in the office so you can have your private talk. But I do not know what you will get out of him from his demented state." As the doctor escorts Robert into the office, he looks over to his team making several hand gestures informing them to clean up the bodies around the warehouse.
Robert enters the dank office and notices Jon Levingston who is already seated in a chair on the opposite end of the desk. For a moment it would seem that Levingston did not pay any attention to the wolf-man until he finally looked up at him. "You're related to Nora Lambert. Am I right? I can tell because you have most of her DNA written into you."
It is Roberts turn to remain silent. This is exactly what he has wanted from the beginning. However his opening question perplexes the wolf-man. Taking a second to sit down on the side of the desk eh is near, he would nod. "Yes...according to Ibermann anyways...."
"Ha, 'according to Ibermann,'” Levingston replied as he lets out a small chuckle from Robert's response. ”What else did he tell you? That I was responsible for destroying The Town as well or that I killed Jack Crawford in front of his children?" He rocks back and forth in his chair trying to get a little bit more comfortable with the handcuffs behind his back. "Tell me son, what else did he tell you that made me look like I am worse than cancer on a stick?"
Robert shifts uneasily in his seat. Whether he is trying to get in his head or these spats against Ibermann are the truth, the wolf-man is regretting his actions against Levingston. Robert decides to come out with it. "Among other things he did say you and the rest tried to destroy the tablet...which destroyed the town. He also said you abandoned Nora after she was outted as your mistress. Lastly he said you planned on raising a personal army and selling them to highest bidder." Robert says unsure how to feel about everything.
"Hmm..." Levingston simply replied, "I see that he told you what Hermann wanted you to hear. But since this may be the last time I'll ever get to see the night sky, I might as well come out with it." A large click can be heard as Levingston pulls up both of his arms on top of the table with only one handcuff around his wrist. "Oh, don't worry about this I've been picking locks long since youth. Any who, where was I? Ah...yes." Levingston quickly jumps out of his seat and slaps his hand on top of Robert's head. What happens, over the course of five seconds, is a series of flashes that Robert clearly sees inside his own mind. These events are from Jon Levingston's point of view and what transpires from his side of the story.
The first flash shows both Nora Lambert and Jonathan Levingston at a train station. He escorts her onto the train as Nora turns around with a perplexed look on her face. "I don't understand, Jon." Nora Lambert says as she is about to depart on the train. "You said that you, and your wife, were fine with this. Why the change in heart? Was it something I said or did?"
"No," Levingston replied, "My love for you has not changed one bit. It's just that my...there are some people, whom I work with, that I don't want you getting to close." He grips her hand tightly and looks deep into her eyes. "We will be together again...the three of us." As Jon and Norah give each other one last kiss, the flash speeds up again showing Levingston throwing various objects in a small office room with Dr. Ibermann over looking him. Levingston looks over to the doctor with anger on his face. "How did this happen? Nora was supposed to be safe in Denver!"
"I know," Dr. Ibermann replied as he places his hand over Levingston's shoulder. "It would seem that she had a disagreement with a person that mugged her. He had beaten her savagely from head to toe. I'm sorry, my friend, but Nora is dead.
The flash goes on into an underground laboratory with several security guards breaking down a locked metal door. As security makes their way into the room they notice Levingston, Nathan Raynes, and James Daniels placing the last of the C4 explosives onto the giant metallic tablet. "Jesus Christ, Jon! What are you doing?" Jack Crawford exclaimed rushing into the room along with Dr. Ibermann behind him. "After all these years of research, we still have no idea what this object is capable of."
"I know exactly what it is. We ALL know what this is and I'll be damned if you two will finish the translation!" Levingston holds up the trigger in preparation. "You drag all of our families here and for what? Some sort of new beginning, like Genesis?"
"That's not true," Jack replied, "We're here to solve the answers to this tablet and find out why it gave us these...abilities. Hermann, help me out here man. Tell him the truth...Hermann?" Jack looks over his shoulder and sees Dr. Ibermann standing idly by.
Dr. Ibermann stares dead center into Levingston's eyes as he smiles at him with only one small reply. "Do it."
Levingston nods back at him with anger, "Oh I will, you son of a bitch."
"JON NOO!!!" Jack shouts, but it was too late as Levingston presses down on the trigger.
As the series of flashes end, Robert is overwhelmed by what he sees and collapses onto the ground. Levingston becomes weak as well and decides to sit back down in his chair. "Sorry about that. I had to muster up enough of my power to show you the truth from my minds eye. Yes it is true that I tried to destroy the tablet, but it was only to save us from what dwells within it. I thought I was saving our people that day, but I guess I was wrong. For some strange reason Hermann knew the explosion wasn't going to destroy it, but I guess he wanted to see what would happen. Everything else that happened after that was recorded onto a tape that James had that night. After I saw my families die from the rioting, explosions, falling debris, and my granddaughter being eaten alive inside The Town, I left and never looked back. To that end I, and several others, vowed to kill Hermann and destroy that abomination that he keeps under his ivory tower."
Robert stayed on the ground, breathing heavily. He spent the next few seconds doing nothing but going over the images that were put in his head by Levingston. After soaking in everything Rob looks up at Levingston with an expression of shock and horror. There was no way he faked it, Robert thinks grimly. All the emotion and feeling was genuine and the wolf-man could feel it. He was sickened and overcome with grief. Ibermann used him and manipulated him with words spoken by him about how Nora would be proud. Robert can only growl at that statement. Before then he doubted it, now he knew the exact opposite was true. It made him sad, then angry. "That lying bastard was willing to say anything to get me to do what he wanted…" Robert says to himself aloud. He would lower his head, but the next words were directed at Levingston. "...and I believed it all. With every word that he fed me. I'm sorry Levingston. For accusing you of something I didn't even know about you, putting the collar on you...everything. Relative or not, you should have just vaporized me on the spot." Robert says. The mention of the tape brings to light the one Mary had. The thought of it being one in the same crossed his mind, but he was preoccupied to bring it up.
"You did what you thought was right." Levingston replied, "Hermann always had a way of telling people what he wants them to hear. But now it's over." He picks up the handcuffs, places them behind his back, and straps them around his wrists. "He has what he wants and it is only a matter of time before he finds the other three."
"What are you doing?" Robert says in confusion as he see's Levingston put the cuffs back on. "You’re giving up?"
"You have any better ideas?" Levingston says, "I don't know if you notice this but we're completely outnumbered, all of my men are dead, and I have this inhibitor around my neck were it blows my head off if anyone were to tamper with it." He pulls himself back up and sits straight back in his chair. "Unless you know someone on the inside that we can trust."
Robert would think on Levingston's suggestions. His original intention was to try and contact agents in the area and beeline for the exit at risk of the Trackers; however two people came into his head as Levingston asked if there was anyone he could trust. There was Mary and Stephanie. Either of their abilities would surely come in handy in escaping, and if he explained things he was sure they would assist him. "I have a very good idea." Robert says as a smile forms across his maw as he stands up and walks over to where Levingston is sitting. With two fingers, Rob easily snaps the handcuff chain. Though he could have escaped time was of the essence and he saw it as a formality and gesture. Helping up Levingston he spoke once more. "You said I thought I was doing the right thing when I put that collar on you, but now I know whose side I'm on. Ibermann used me and this is something I don't plan on letting him get away with. Whatever it takes, I will help you stop him." Robert says as he hesitantly puts one of his large hands on Levingston's shoulder.
A smile can be seen on Levingston's face as he pats the back of Robert's shoulder. "Looks like you are a chip off of the ol' block after all. Now we need to find an exit strategy before someone comes through that door."
"What the--?" Stephanie exclaimed as she surprises both of them. Levingston quickly rushes over to the door and closes it behind Stephanie as he grabs her by the arm. "Oh god, oh god! I didn't mean to intrude. Please don't hurt me!" Stephanie becomes even more frightened as she begins to talk in a low tone. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I just wanted to tell you how much time we had left before the team leaves. Oh god, I'm going to get it am I?"
"Oh you're definitely gonna get it," Levingston replied watching through the blinds. "You think he's dangerous now, just wait until he takes a bite outta your arm." Levingston's little fear tactic pays off as Stephanie becomes even more frightened.
Under any other circumstance, Robert would protest the use of scare tactics, but he did not have time to argue. However he did shoot a quick glance at Levingston at his statement, before turning back to Stephanie. He figures now would be a good time to use that. "Stephanie, I'm on good grounds to think that Dr. Ibermann left out something very important when he had me help capture Levingston. A double-cross me if you will. I don't like that one bit. I promise I'm not going to hurt you at all if you help me out here. I need to get Levingston out of here and away from Ibermann ASAP....do you know where Mary is?" Robert asks in a calming tone, playing (ironically) the good cop in this situation.
"Sh...She’s out there with the rest of the group." Stephanie replied nervously as she shows Robert through the blinds. As Robert looks around the surroundings, Stephanie pulls herself back away from the window. "So what is your next plan? How do you two plan on escaping from the warehouse?"
Robert pulled back Stephanie from the window before thinking. Neither of his ideas seemed likely by this point. After a few seconds of thought he turned back to Stephanie. "Like I said, you’re gonna help. You know all of the exits and where the Trackers are. I need you to give us a path out that’ll steer clear of the whole lot of ‘em." Robert orders.
"Yeah," Stephanie replied, "There's only one problem about that." As she leans into Robert's ear Stephanie whispers softly while pulling out a device from her back pocket. "I don't switch sides that easily." She rams a taser into the neck of Robert sending him straight to the ground. "Hurts, don't it? This taser packs quite punch for big guys like you. There’s over nine hundred thousand volts, to be precise."
Levingston charges in to Robert's aid, but is quickly stopped in his tracks by a wire wrapped around his neck. The wire comes from Kable's hand as it pierces through the window, wrapping itself around his neck, and pulling him out taking the blinds and shards of glass with him.
Dr. Ibermann makes his presence known as Quartz and Gluttony follow right behind him. "You couldn't leave well enough alone, now could you Mr. Remington?" The good doctor says as he looks over to his assistant. "And as for you, Stephanie. Well done." He gives her a light kiss on her top of her forehead.
Stephanie smiles at Dr. Ibermann, feeling like she has accomplished something. "Thank you father. I told you I would not let you down."
Robert grabbed the spot that he had been shocked from as his body spasms all over the floor. He had been struck by taser's before, however the comparison to what Rob was feeling after Stephanie's didn't even compare. He has enough sense to turn and see Levingston dragged out of the room
"Levingston!" The wolf-man shouts partially in anger and worry. As Dr. Ibermann enters the room, Robert would try to regain his muscle control. The realization that Stephanie was the fourth child of Ibermann hit him like a brick as he curses his idiocy for not putting 2 and 2 together. "You bitch! Ibermann bring Levingston back in here now!" Robert viciously demands as he slowly struggles to his feet still plagued by spasms among the other injuries he had received within the past few nights.
"I will do you one better, Mr. Remington," Dr. Ibermann replied, "Gentleman, take him to the front of the warehouse." Both of Dr. Ibermann's soldiers nod in agreement as they lift Robert up and begin dragging him out of the small office. As they escort Robert through the building, he looks around to see the bodies, spent shell casings, and broken debris riddled all over the floor.
As they reach the front warehouse, Ghost notices the wolf-man being pulled to the main warehouse door. "Robert? What happened to--"
"That will be enough, Mary." Dr. Ibermann replied interrupting his daughter's sentence. He looks over to his team as they drop Robert to the ground kneeling several feet from Levingston who is tied up and gagged. "You could not leave well enough alone, now could you? I warned you, Mr. Remington, of the repercussions of what will happen if you knew the truth. Jon did not abandon his mistress...I did. The reason is that our group did not need distractions at that particular time and Ms. Lambert was the perfect example. In all honesty, I would have killed her at any time but I did not. On the count of the potential offspring that she would have produced. As you can clearly tell, my calculations were correct." He pulls out a 9mm pistol from his back pocket as he begins to walk towards Robert. "There are three ways how this night could end for you, Mr. Remington. The first is that I put a bullet in your temple at point blank right here, right now, as you are kneeling before me. The second option would be that, with a single stroke from my finger, I can brainwash the last twenty-six years of your life and have you work for me as my slave. But in doing so would make you just a mindless drone not being able to fully get the jobs done. Which is why I'm offering you option number three. You work for me and I will make sure that you will be provided with all of the information that you need to know." Dr. Ibermann bends over to look at Robert in the face. "We all have a calling Mr. Remington, it is high time that you accept yours. So what do you say, will you join your people as we shape this world into our own?"
Robert was quiet for the whole walk, even when Mary showed up. Once dropped to his knees, he looked over at Levingston. As Ibermann stares him eye-to-eye and gives him the ultimatum, Robert would appear to have a contemplative look on his face. After a quick glance towards at Levingston once more, he would go back to facing Ibermann. He would then speak, "Good offer...." Robert says evenly.
As everyone else in the group waits silently for Robert's response, one of them breaks their silence. "Are you KIDDING ME?" Ghost exclaimed as she makes her way through the crowd, "This is ridiculous, dad! You cannot do this to him after everything he has done for you!"
As she cuts in between the two, Ibermann stands back up staring down his daughter. "I do whatever I can to make sure the safety of our people is--"
"Our people?" Ghost interrupts, "Our PEOPLE? That's funny because I always thought we were your people. Your people to manipulate, your people to do your dirty work, and your people to experiment on as often as you damn well please. You act like you're a king with a town but we all know that you're just a petty mastermind and a cliché mad scientist, at best!"
Dr. Ibermann grows red with anger as he violently pistol whips Ghost across her face. The impact sends her to the ground as the doctor yells at his own flesh and blood in German. "Du unverschämter Kerl!!! You of all people should know that no one calls me 'mad!'" He looks back up and around the rest of the group as they look away from him. Everyone from the Trackers, to Stephanie, and even Harbinger become a little frightened from Dr. Ibermann's anger. "I am the one that rebuilt The Town back from the ashes! Not Jack Crawford, not Nathan Raynes, not James Daniels, and especially not even you Jon! You should all be thanking me that I stuck around and made sure that we live in a safe and secure society from the tyranny and oppression of humankind. If any of you has any objection with the way I lead you people, speak up!"
Seeing Mary hurt sent a rush of energy to Robert. "Don't you dare touch her!" The wolf-man growls and in a flash Robert stood tall and proud, twice the size of the angry Doctor, before delivering a vicious strike that floors Ibermann, knocking him on his ass and several feet back. Glancing down to Mary he weakly crouches down to check on her. Taking her in his arms and propping her up Robert would look her in the eyes as he spoke "Are you ok?" Robert asks in a warm and gentle voice, a complete 180 from his spat with Dr. Ibermann. Looking back up at the doctor as he once again became cold and beastial in tone.
"Some parent you are. Also I hope that was sufficient enough for an answer. Even though if it didn't let me spell it out for you, you manipulating bastard. Like I said before, your offer is good...if I was a spineless coward like the rest of you people. Mary was right, you sent three of them to their death and they take it without question. That's just not me." Robert says, giving a small glance back over to Levingston. Giving a nod as if to say goodbye he smirked before continuing. "I'll tell you what though. In return for that nice little scar I handed ya just now, come right up to my face and pull that trigger as many times as you want. Go ahead and do something yourself for once in your life. See how well that peashooter shuts me up." Robert boasts, gripping Mary tight, before resigning himself to his fate.
Dr. Ibermann chuckles as he slowly gets back up to his feet. The scar that Robert gave him begins to heal almost immediately on his face. "You still do not get it, do you? For the last twenty years, I have done everything I can to make sure that I keep our society a secret. But now something else is telling me that the time has come to awaken what made us into who we are." He looks over to Levingston, "And you Jon, are a small part of that plan. I would go into details, but the complexity of the nature would not let you understand through your feeble mind." The doctor turns back around facing Robert in the eyes. "As for the gun in my hand, I know it will not stop you. Your body is much too strong for that, except for this." Dr. Ibermann points directly at Robert as the nine-foot wolf begins to crumble onto the floor. Robert begins to feel the excruciating pain with the worst memories of his past being uprooted to the surface. Along with that, his brain screams out in pain as if it were being cut up with a knife. "You see, even before I developed these secondary powers, I always thought the mind can triumph over anything. What is the old saying? Ah yes, ‘Mind over muscle.’ Imagine the worst pain you have ever felt, and then multiply that by a thousand on a continuous loop to no end."
"Stop," Mary replied, "He can't take it anymore."
"I'm sure he cannot," Dr. Ibermann answered, "Which is why every dog has its day. For Mr. Remington, that will be tonight." Dr. Ibermann looks over to the Trackers, "Wraith, front and center." Wraith nods as the robe wearing assassin walks over Robert and stares him down. "It would seem that Mr. Remington's services are no longer required. Would you be so kindly as to terminate him for me?"
As Wraith pulls out his acid wash katana, Mary begins to come to Robert's aid once more. "You can't do this to him. Wraith, I mean Matthew, you know this isn't right. I know you're a good person deep down."
"That will be enough, Ghost." Dr. Ibermann says.
"My name is Mary, dad!" Mary exclaimed, "Maybe you should try saying it once in awhile."
"That's it little sister, come on." Stephanie says as she pulls Mary away from Robert and his executioner.
Dr. Ibermann looks on as he delivers his final words to the wolf-man. "You had so much potential...pity. Any last words Mr. Remington?”
Robert's pain during Dr. Ibermann's torture was possibly more immense than any individual could possibly imagine. Every injury he has ever received along with all of Robert's worry and insecurity of the wolf-man was bombarding his head in extreme flashes of imagery and immense pain, each of which was powerful enough to stop a normal man dead in his tracks. Robert was at his breaking point as tears begin to flow down his face, as the pain is so much even for him. At the same time he is being plagued by Dr. Ibermann's barrage, he also feels his feral instincts begin to kick in. Robert is now fighting two battles and losing both in his own head. He does eventually manage to suppress his instincts, but at the cost of Ibermann freely screwing with his head. He fights enough to be able to see the talking between Mary and Dr. Ibermann, enduring the pain the entire time. As Mary is torn away by Stephanie Robert weakly tries to grasp her, to no avail.
"Grrr..." Robert lowly growls, unable to do anything else, as he comes closer. When Dr. Ibermann asks if he has any last words Robert slowly nods before doing his best to meet eyes with Dr. Ibermann, possibly for the last time. Despite the situation and pain Rob is under he forms a small grin. "I was right about you...you have me helpless, and even with all your power you aren't the one giving the final blow. All I can say to you is that you’re a shitty parent and an even crappier leader." Robert says before, with visible difficulty, turning to Levingston. "I really should call you something different since…" Robert begins to say, before losing his train of thought to a particularly powerful surge of emotion. Trying to regain himself he continued. "Whatever that bastard does to you...don't give up. Hang on because someone's gonna come for you... I promise." Robert gasps out, and with that sentence the surge of pain returns to the wolf-man's head. His last action is to glance up at Wraith and, almost under his breath, he mutters "Heh, keep this pitiful image of me in your head cause it's a matter of time before your turn comes up."
I highly doubt that, Mr. Remington." Dr. Ibermann replied, "Because I plan to live forever. Farewell." He nods over to Wraith as his soldier lifts the blade over his head. Before Wraith could deliver the final blow, he winks at Robert.
The blade from Wraith's katana glows red as he swings downward narrowly missing Robert's neck and swings his body right in front of Dr. Ibermann. Before the doctor could even react, Wraith's blade shoots several fireballs directly at his chest sending him to the ground. The next person to react is Harbinger as he speeds towards Wraith using his immense strength to deliver a flurry of punches to his body. Harbinger's punches did not seem to work as Wraith just stood there taking it all in until he finally catches one of his fists. Harbinger becomes perplexed as he looks into Wraith's eyes realizing that it was not his teammate, but someone else entirely different. "YOU!"
"That's right," The imposter replied as he alters his appearance and weapon into the form of Shijin. "Me...and thanks for the extra boost, by the way." Shijin grabs hold of Harbinger as he delivers a judo throw across the warehouse. The Trackers make their way over to Shijin, but with the combination of Harbinger's strength and Shijin's extreme practice in martial arts, the hero takes down most of the Trackers with little or no ease.
"I don't believe this," Stephanie exclaimed, "I didn't expect to factor someone like him into my equation."
"Well sis, do you remember what dad would always say to us?" Mary asked, "You should always expect the unexpected. Like this!" Mary phases her arm, out of her sister's grip, as she become tangible long enough to punch Stephanie in the nose. She rushes over to Shijin's aid as they both lean behind one another back-to-back. "What took you so long?"
"Well, you know, traffic can be a real pain these days. Just like listening to the sound of your voice." Shijin replied.
"Ha ha you prick," Mary replied, "I'd kick you in the nuts if you weren't helping us out right now."
Robert smirked as he saw Shijin clean house with the Trackers. Seeing Mary form up on him is equally gratifying "A big relief to see ya, Shijin…Mary I think I owe you." Robert snarks as he quickly stands up, also taking stance. However the after-effects from Dr. Ibermann's attack would quickly engulf Robert's body once more, forcing Remignton to his knees. He would hold up his hand to signal that he was ok, before slowly heading over to Levingston. He would move his hand to remove the gag, speaking as he did so. "So what should I be calling you? Great great great grandpa seems a bit unwieldy. Also I never got a chance to say this, but thanks for not asking how I ended up looking like this." Robert says vainly.
"Hey, I'm surprised you weren't born with this ugly mug." Levingston replied jokingly as gets up from the floor. "You can just call me Jon, kid. Everyone else does." Robert smirked at Levingston's comment, but before he could respond the pain that was Dr. Ibermann screwing with the wolf-man's head had returned.
"ENOUGH!!!" Dr. Ibermann shouts releasing a series of psychic blasts to Shijin, Robert, Mary, and Levingston. As they all crumble to the ground, grasping their heads in sheer pain, Dr. Ibermann walks over the group brushing the burnt ashes off of his clothes. "This little charade ends now. Mary, you have disappointed this family for the last time. As I peer into your mind, it is now clear that you tipped off this superhero into coming here. For that, you and your new friends will undergo my own personal treatment. Wiping away every single memory of your rebellion and serve under my rule. Although I have to admit, Mr. Shijin, for someone who fought boldly against unbearable odds you surely did not think this one through. Did you honestly think that the three of you could defeat the ten of us?"
"Not really," Shijin replied, "But just in case this plan of mine went to shit, I thought my other friends would join the party."
Stephanie's bracer begins to beep loudly as she pulls up the holographic map. "Umm sir, we have incoming blips heading this way."
"What?" Dr. Ibermann asks as two dozen superheroes make their presence known outside of the warehouse.
Shijin cracks a mischievous grin as he continues with his explanation. "You see, mein fuhrer, the great thing about being a member of the SLJ, is that you get a lot of groovy little prizes and one of 'em is having this tracking node that we all place into our ear. If one of us goes down, from a heavy hitter like yourself, that's when it sends out an SOS to everyone else in the league and presto, instant cavalry."
"You LIE!!!" Dr. Ibermann exclaims.
"He's not," Stephanie replied, "According to these readings, there are approximately twenty super powered heroes out there. More than half of them are stronger than the Trackers."
"You ain't kidding," Quartz says as he and several members peer out the windows. "I think I see Captain Khazan out there."
Dr. Ibermann begins to slowly calm himself as he walks over to Levingston. "You certainly are a lot cleverer than I thought you would be, Mr. Shijin. And here I thought you were just some too bit hack of a celebrity hero."
"Like my dad always said, 'Never judge a book by its cover,'" Shijin replied still grasping the floor.
"A wise man," Dr. Ibermann replied, "But unfortunately for you, I always have a contingency plan." He nods over to Stephanie as she, Harbinger, and the rest of the able bodied Trackers, regroup themselves into one room. Ibermann then presses a button on his glove contacting someone else from afar. "Vortex, we got what we came for. Take us back to The Town." A large yellow portal opens, by the warehouse door, as the Trackers begin to make their way into the gateway. As Stephanie begins to drag Mary with her, Ibermann halts her in place. "Leave her Stephanie. She betrayed both our people and our family, for this I exile her into the decaying world that she so blindly defends." Stephanie drops her to the floor and begins to drag Levingston into the portal. As Dr. Ibermann walks into the portal, he looks back at Robert Remington, Mary, and Shijin as the three of them begin to crawl to their knees. "I have a good feeling that we will all meet up again. Until then, I want you two to forget." A psychic pin pierces both Mary and Robert's minds as Dr. Ibermann makes his escape and the portal disappearing into thin air.
Robert writhes in pain as Iberman and his men make their escape. He had enough sense to see Levingston get dragged into the portal. "Jon no," Robert weakly mutters as he attempts to crawl after his ancestor to no avail. Hearing Dr. Ibermann tell them to forget confuses Robert. "Forget? Forget what?" Robert asks aloud. Robert would have thought on it more, but he was more concerned with Levingston and what was going to happen to him. Robert runs his hands through his fur in anger as it hits him that Levingston was taken to The Town, and he was helpless to stop him. Robert’s eyes would widen as he realized what he had forgotten The Town. Robert remembered the events that transpired there well enough, but details regarding the city itself were blurry. In fact Robert would repeatedly draw blanks when trying to remember where it was. "NO!" Robert yells in frustration as he slams his large fist into the ground. After a few seconds of being idle Robert mutters, "Jon, please stay strong...I'm coming for you," Before glancing over to his two allies.
A half an hour has passed as everyone from the Sentinels to local authorities remains outside the warehouse. As Shijin talks to some of the senior members of the Sentinels, both Mary and Robert sit idly by on the edge of the docks watching the city landscape of San Francisco from across the bay. "I can't believe he did it," Mary says, "My father actually abandoned me from the place I grew up in."
"Mary...I'm sorry." Robert apologizes as he puts his large hand on her shoulder. "This happened because you tried to help me. You called Shijin here and you saved me from whatever Ibermann was planning...thank you, but I wasn't worth it."
Mary looks over to Robert as she smiles at him and places her hand on his. "You have to stop selling yourself short, Rob. After everything I saw you do for the last week, I knew you were someone worth looking out for."
As the two look into each others eyes, they lean in close but quickly pull away as Shijin makes his way over to them. "Sorry to interrupt...whatever it is you two were doing."
"It's nothing," Mary replied as they both stand back up, "So what's the final verdict for us?"
"Despite taking away a criminal and attacking me, you're both off the hook." Shijin says, "The only real reason is that your tip to the Hellfire headquarters paid off and now we have almost every one of them either dead or arrested by Oakland PD. Not only that, but you also helped the Sentinels ID one of the members of the council."
"Council?" Robert replied, "What the hell's that?"
Shijin looks away from Mary and over to Robert with his explanation. "There are rumors of a secret organization, within the Fallen, who call themselves The Council. From what we could gather, they hold meetings to discuss various things from conquering stuff to destroying anyone, or anything that gets in their way. We don't know how many exactly there are, but we do know that the leadership is divided evenly so no one person could rule the rest of the Fallen. Otherwise it'll be an internal power struggle."
"I see what you mean," Robert says, "But what made you believe that Dr. Ibermann is one of them?"
Shijin looks back at the veteran members of the Sentinels and moves in closer to Robert and Mary. "We heard rumors of a place where members of the Fallen go to hide out from both foreign governments and superheroes (like us) in some sort of building that is in the middle of a town."
"The Town," Mary answered, "My father's utopian society that was rebuilt by members of the Fallen in exchange for sanctuary, support, and a seat in the conference room."
"Correct," Shijin replied, "Now that we finally have a visual detailed description of the doc, the Sentinels will make sure to keep an eye out for him along with any other contacts he may have in connection to the Fallen council."
"I’ll help too," Robert says after hearing the two speak. "If the SLJ need an extra pair of eyes or muscle on this, then I'll shell out everyone I can free of charge. Ibermann picked the wrong guy to screw over, like it or not I'm in this." Robert declares to Shijin before turning to Mary.
"Mary thanks for everything. I can only imagine that things aren’t going to be any easier for you after...well being cut-off." Robert mutters the last part, not wanting to bring it up. "Wh-What I'm trying to say is...if you ever need help financially or some physical backup, you have my number. No questions asked I have your back. Least I can do...your still under contract as far as I'm concerned." Robert smirks at his own paper-thin excuse.
Mary smiles up at the wolf-man feeling a little more at ease, "Thanks Rob."
"As a matter of fact," Shijin replied, "The only thing that we need from you two is the location of this...Town that they're looking for."
"We can't do that," Mary says.
Shijin becomes perplexed, "What do you mean? You can't or you won't?"
Mary rolls her eyes in front of the hero. "What I mean is that we cannot remember where it is on the count that my dad erased that part of our memories. Or did you already forget that he gave us a serious mind f*ck with his psychic powers."
"Hey! No one else knew what your father had before tonight." Shijin exclaimed pointing his finger at her. "But you knew that he had these abilities, but didn't take the time to protect yourself or the people that spend time with you."
"What was that?" Mary asked as she narrows her eyes.
"Does the name Allen Taylor ring any bells to you? The police say that you were with your boyfriend when they tried to abduct you last night. After his brains were scattered all over the floor." Shijin looks over to Robert, "If I were you man, I would cut my losses and move on from her. Because she appears to be bad luck with any guy she comes into contact with."
Mary pulls out her knife and quickly jams the blade up to Shijin's neck. "F*CK YOU! DON'T EVER TALK TO HIM LIKE THAT!"
In a flash Robert acted before either could do anything further? He grabbed Mary's wrist and put himself between the two. "Mary, as much as Shijin needs to learn about tact, this is not the time or place to be doing that." Robert says calmly as he lowers her knife arm before turning to Shijin. "With all due respect, I'll hang around who I choose. That’s my risk. Do us all a favor and learn when to shut up. You really think she needs to be reminded of something like that right now?" Robert says, staring down the hero. The wolf-man can no longer hide that he is extremely tired and injured from the previous events, but true to form he ignores the pain and stands his ground.
Robert nods as he takes the SLJ card, before exchanging it with one of from the RPA. As Shijin heads off to join his fellow heroes, Robert would sit back down before muttering aloud "We've all had a rough week." He then turns to Mary and sees that she is beginning to cry again. Before he can say anything he hears what she has to say. Sighing he would wrap one of his large arms around Mary to comfort her.
"Mary, I doubt anyone currently alive can figure out that man. He's not going to get away with it, though. I won’t let him. Not after all this." Robert growls remembering Levingston and how he was tricked. After a second Rob would regain his composure, before speaking again. "We will stop him. Although...I don't want to admit it but we need you. As much as I want to keep you away from this mess, we need to know what he's planning."
Mary turns around as she wipes away her tears and smiles. "Alright Robert, but we can't talk here. I don't those capes using their super hearing to overhear what I have to tell you. Follow me." As the two leave the docks, they realize that now (more than ever) that a new chapter is about to begin in both of their lives that neither one of them will not expect in the following months to come.
As both the police and the Sentinels pick away at the remaining pieces of the dilapidated warehouse, a tall person watches from a far as he views everything from his binoculars. The masked individual looks over to Robert and Mary as he picks up his cell phone and calls someone. "Hey, It's Vortex. Your little girl and her new pet are leaving the docks. Guess they've been cleared of all charges."
"That's good to hear," Dr. Ibermann replied, "Report back to The Town. We're done with him...for now." As he hangs up his phone, the doctor presses a button on his glove turning on a single spotlight over a steel cage. Inside the cage is a battered and exhausted Jon Levingston as he is stripped bare-naked except for the collar around his neck. Dr. Ibermann walks out of the darkness, and into the light, as he confronts him. "Well old friend, it seems that your great grandson will live to see another day and even watch over my kin without me paying him another cent."
"A means to end," Levingston said, "That is how see all of us, isn't it?"
The good doctor smiles as he answers his question. "That is one way of putting it. After all, I think it's high time that the five of us had a little reunion with the tablet."
"You stupid son of a bitch," Levingston replied, "You're bringing back Project: Lazarus, are you? Well last time I checked, you need the five of us together and Jack Crawford is dead. After all, that is the only way we could die if one of us kills the other."
"Quite true," Ibermann says, "But I found a loophole for that. You see Jack may be dead, but his children live on. It wasn't easy, but I found out where they are and hired the best protection for the both of them."
Levingston lowers his head as he sits on his bed. "You have no idea what kind of shit you're going to release once that tablet opens."
"This coming from the man who can't tell who he can trust in his own organization?" Nomad asked as he shows himself walking into the light. "That's right I was the mole telling the doc all of your plans. How else would he know where to find you?"
"It doesn't matter." Levingston says, "Nothing matters, now. I'm done talking to both of you."
He remains silent as Nomad and Dr. Ibermann leave his cell leaving the one spotlight on. As the two leave the corridor, Dr. Ibermann pulls out a manila envelope from his lab coat. "Well done Mr. Rosenberg, you have made your people very proud today."
"Hey! Listen up," Nomad exclaimed, "In all honesty, I don't really give a shit about you, your town, or any of this Metanomaly crap. I'm only doing this for one reason, money."
"Money for your, soon to be, pregnant ex-wife?” Dr. Ibermann asked, "Any who, your money will be transferred to your wife's account, in small periodical amounts, of course. We don't want any government agencies questioning a pregnant woman now would we? I mean, the adoption agency is already a mess as it is. It would be a shame to separate a first time mother and her unborn child."
Nomad pauses for a moment as he looks at the doctor in anger. "You leave her out of this."
"I will, just as long as you do your job." Dr. Ibermann says as he hands Nomad the envelope. "This is your new assignment. Since you did so well on the last one, I need you to be my eyes and ears in this organization called Sayang. I need to know how many there are, what their plans are, and who's in charge of this group. Watch, learn, and observe. That will be all for now, go see Stephanie and she will fill you in on all of the details."
As Nomad nods and continues to walk down the corridor by himself, he passes by Harbinger as the sociopath approaches his father. "We got lucky tonight, father. But this problem we've been having is becoming even greater than we thought."
"That is true," Dr. Ibermann replied, "This Shijin has become a real thorn to everyone's side. Perhaps it is time to take him out of the picture."
Harbinger's eyes light up with excitement, "Just say the words and I'll speed over there ripping his head off in the process."
"Oh shut up, Alex." Dr. Ibermann says rolling his eyes, "You have already tried, on multiple occasions, to execute this person. But he always manages to overcome your brute like strength. I need a qualified assassin to find him and eliminate him." He pulls out phone as he scrolls through his list of contacts. "Perhaps I should tell Marzanna she has a new assignment."
End of Third Arc
Editor's Note: I Like to thank KevinDWolf93 for his collaboration on this story arc. My apologies if it took a little longer than it should have been. Any who I hope you guys enjoy this, because there's a lot more where that came from. I'm going to post a few new characters, in the CA board, starting in a couple of days. Until then...ciao for now.
Posted 11 May 2011 - 05:52 PM
Chapter 18: Round One
Yalong Bay National Resort, China
“Eighteen, nineteen, TWENTY,” A little boy shouts as he sticks his head up, “READY OR NOT! HERE I COME!!!” He looks around the beach as he tries to find his friend among the hundreds of beachgoers enjoying the sunny day. As the boy wanders aimlessly through the crowd, he bumps into a large hooded man which stops him in his tracks. “Excuse me sir,” The boy says, “I didn’t see you there.”
The boy looks up in shock as he sees the man’s scarred face and kneels down looking at the boy. “No one ever does,” Harbinger replied, “Until it is too late.” He looks over to see the boy’s friend hiding behind a vending machine. “You better move along now,” Harbinger says, “Your friend is hiding right over there.”
As the boy runs away, Harbinger stands back up and heads toward the outdoor bar were he sees his twin brother Alex sweet talking to a pair of supermodels. “That’s right ladies, whatever you want, I can deliver. Whether it be jets, boats, a new Ferrari, or maybe something…different. You catch my drift?”
“We need to go,” Harbinger says interrupting his brother. He looks over to the models as their smiles fade and walk away from the table. “We don’t have time for one of your petty one night stands.”
“Hey,” Patrick exclaimed, “You’re the one who suggested this. When you said that you wanted to go to a beach resort, I thought it would be somewhere like Hawaii, Cancun, or even the Caribbean. Out of all the beaches in the entire world, why would did you pick China?”
“Because brother,” Harbinger answered, “We’re not here for pleasure, but for business.” He pulls out jade covered amulet which is inscribed in Chinese.
Patrick’s eyes light up as he sees the amulet for himself. “Is that what I think it is? Where did you find that?”
“From a fisherman just twenty miles from here,” Harbinger answered, “He always had the upper hand every time we fought each other, but now I have the edge to kill him once and for all.”
Downtown San Francisco, California, United States
“That was Cee-Lo Green on 102.5 The Bay! I’m Chad Michaels and I am heading out right now, but stick around for D-Von Jagg coming up next!” The enthusiastic disc jockey shouts into the mike as he switches it over to his coworker and walks out of the studio. As the DJ heads across the narrow corridors and into his office, he sees Melvin Simpson under his desk tinkering away on his computer modem. “So…you’re the new intern that knows what’s wrong with my computer?” He asks.
“That’s right,” Melvin replied, “What you got here is a major virus problem.” Melvin pulls himself out from under the desk and shows the DJ a flash drive. “You got hit with a very nasty new strain of both spam and viruses infecting your hardware at the same time. Not even the anti-virus programs could pick this stuff up. From what I hear they call this the E-Bomb, but I did manage to store all of it onto this flash. Now your computer is a hundred percent disease free.”
“Thanks kid,” Chad replied, “You keep this up and you’re gonna far in this business. Anything else I should know about?”
“Not that I could think of,” Melvin answered, “Now if you’ll excuse me Mr. Michaels, my shift is over and I gotta head out.” As Melvin heads out of the office, and outside of the radio station, he is quickly greeted by his sister who gives him a large hug. “Hey Carol, thanks for picking me up.”
“No problem little bro,” Carol replied, “I just happened to be in the neighborhood and wanted to see if you’re up for some lunch.”
Melvin nods, in agreement, as the two of them make their way to the nearest restaurant. As they eat their food, they both catch up on what’s going on with their lives. “…so I cannot believe that Dan ‘the dentist’ was married,” Melvin says, “I bet the breakup must’ve sucked.”
“Not really,” Carol replied, “The last thing I want is to be ‘the other woman’ in someone else’s relationship. I wish I have what you and Judy have right now. How is she by the way? You taking good care of her?”
“More like she’s taking care of me,” Melvin chuckles, “She’s good, but we have been talking about a lot of things.”
“Those things wouldn’t happen to be bells ringing in the distance,” Carol asks.
“Wait, WHAT,” Melvin exclaimed, “Oh no no no. Not in the very least for that matter. No, um…Judy wanted me to tell you about something that she thinks you should know. It’s about that night in the hospital when I was miraculously cured overnight.”
“Yeah you told me about that,” Carol says, “You said that you saw a bright light, along with God’s presence, and he wanted to give you a second chance. What, that’s not how it happened?” Melvin remains quiet as Carol looks him for the longest time. “There’s something else, isn’t there?”
“Yeah,” Melvin answered, “It’s just that…I don’t how else to say it because chances are that you may not believe me.”
“What are you talking about,” Carol replied, “After dad died, and mom leaving us; we made a pact that no matter what we would tell each other the truth. Whatever it is, I’m sure I can handle it.” As Melvin begins to open his mouth, the sound of broken glass can be heard from outside. “What the hell was that?” Carol says as the two make their way outside. They see a pair of high heels smashed right through the windshield of someone’s car and begin to look upward. A woman can be clearly seen hanging off the side of a building as she screams out for help. “Oh my god,” Carol exclaimed, “It looks like she’s going to fall.”
“I’m gonna go get help sis,” Melvin replied, “Stay here, I’ll be back.” As he leaves her sister among the gathering crowd, Melvin steps into an alleyway where he transforms himself into the mystical mage known as Shijin. After his transformation, Shijin uses his magnetic powers to pull down the fire escape ladder and begins to climb to the top of the building.
As the hero makes his way upward, the blonde woman screams out as she continue to hang on to dear life. “HELP! Oh god, SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!!!” Her fingers begins to slip as Shijin finally makes his way to the rooftop. Running as fast as he can, Shijin manages to grab the woman’s arm and pull her back up. She huddles into the hero’s chest as she cries with tears of joy. “Thank you, oh thank you so very much.”
“Hey it’s all part of a days work,” Shijin replied, “Now you mind telling your friendly neighborhood mage why you came all the way up here in the first place?”
“I…I came…” the woman tries to spell out her words, but is the petrified from the shellshock.
“I’m sorry ma’am,” Shijin says as he leans in closer, “Why are you up here again?”
“I came up here,” she replied, “to wait for you.”
Before Shijin could react, two loud shots can be heard as Shijin feels something burning in the upper part of his chest. He stumbles backwards and falls to the ground dropping his staff in the process. As Shijin looks back at the woman, she waves around a custom made pistol with a green laser sight.
“Oh boy,” she says with joy in her voice, “this was totally worth the wait.”
She fires two more rounds, but they are quickly deflected as Shijin waves his hand redirecting the bullets back at the assassin. The first one misses, but the other narrowly grazes the top of her hair as it takes the blonde wig off of her head. She unfurls her green hair as it blows in the wind. Shijin notices who she was as he could only blurt out one word, “Marzanna.”
“You recognize me,” Marzanna replied, “I am so flattered right now. I suppose you heard about me from the Syndicate files at Sentinel HQ?”
“You mean how you were beaten more than half of the time?” Shijin remarked.
Marzanna smirks as she holsters her gun. “We all have minor setbacks in life. But I’m not one to get mad, but instead I get a little glad.”
“I bet you do,” Shijin replied as he gets back up holding his hand over his shoulder.
“Hurts don’t it? Well that’s what happens when a pair bullets pierce right through your tendons. Now you can’t pick anything up with your left arm.”
“Yeah,” Shijin replied extending out his right hand, “But you forgot about the other one.” The staff lifts itself off of the ground and returns back into the mage’s hand. He takes up defensive stance as he waits for his assassin to strike first.
Marzanna couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle. “If that’s the way you wanna go down, then that’s fine by me.” Marzanna replied as she pulls out a pair of small throwing knives. “I really do enjoy watching my wounded targets try to fight back.”
Marzanna charges at Shijin as the two fight each other exchanging a flurry of blows and strike from their weapons. As Shijin uses his staff to strike the assassin in several weak areas on her body, Marzanna returns the favor by slicing away at the mage’s arms, coat, and face. The two seem evenly matched as they use a combination of both their martial art skills and their weapons to take each other down. After several minutes of intense fighting, Shijin manages to get the upper hand as he throws down his staff, uses his magnetic powers to pull the knives out of Marzanna’s hands, and delivers a dropkick to her chest in midair. This sends Marzanna flat on her back as Shijin quickly subdues her by kneeling on top of her body and placing his hand around her throat. Marzanna couldn’t help but let out a maniacal laugh while coughing up a small portion of blood.
“Getting a little kinky, are we?” Marzanna says, “I didn’t know you were like that.”
“ENOUGH,” Shijin exclaimed, “I know that you’re a gun for hire, so you better tell me who sent you!”
“Your momma,” Marzanna replied.
Shijin’s hand, over Marzanna’s throat, begins to heat up as he slowly burns her. Marzanna cringes in pain as she coughs some more.
“You’re the superhero here,” Marzanna says, “You tell me who would be pissed enough to put a hit on you.”
As Shijin continues to interrogate her, he hears a low humming sound in the distance. The hum begins to grow louder as he then hears energy discharge from his left side.
The hero quickly notices a dark orb hurtling right towards him and grabs his staff to deflect the shot. Instead the orb collides with Shijin’s staff taking in the full force sending him flying in the air miles from here. The impact between the two weapons creates a small quake turning the rooftop into rubble, but manages to hold its structural form. As the dust begins to settle, Mazanna pulls herself from out of the rubble and looks around the roof. She notices another young woman walking out of the dust wearing cybernetic implants on her arms and cargo pants. Marzanna walks over to her as the blonde merely smiles at her.
“I saw him first,” Marzanna exclaimed, “You bitch!”
“Oh I’m sorry,” she replied, “Was that before or after you got your ass handed to you? And the name’s Dana Tan, by the way.”
“I know who you are,” Marzanna replied, “You're KALI’s little errand girl.”
“I’m much more than that, computer.”
:Target Identified, Syndicate: Marzanna. Assessment: Skilled Martial Artist, Experienced Marksman and Agility, no unique abilities, weapons identified, three bo-kri throwing knives and a custom made pistol. Threat level, class C, significant.
Marzanna becomes uninterested in what the device knows about her. “Another blonde with a A.I. in her head. How very…cliché. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta cape to kill.”
“What makes you think he isn’t dead already?” Dana asks.
“Experience,” Marzanna replied as she grabs Shijin’s staff and jumps off of the building and onto another rooftop continuing with her pursuit.
Dana Tan remains on top of the building as she begins to assess her objective. “Computer, what’s the probability that Shijin survived the explosion?”
:Calculating…given the impact between your dark orb blast and Shijin’s mystical staff of unknown properties, the odds of him surviving are eighty-one percent. That is if the fall doesn’t kill him first. Estimated guess suggests that Shijin’s body will land somewhere in the Nob Hill district.
Dana shakes her head in disbelief as she rubs her temples. “I can’t believe that c*nt was right. Oh well, at least I still have another chance to blow that prick’s head right off of shoulders. After all, this is only the beginning.”
Nob Hill District
“Dammit, dammit, dammit,” A blonde woman exclaims to herself as she makes her way out of the back exit of a bar and into the alley. “I can’t believe it’s another dead end and it’s all thanks to you, Jack!”
:Hey Jill, don’t shoot the messenger. I only provide the information.
“I know it’s just,” Jill pauses, “It’s just that after everything that went down in Khazan, I finally get the break I need in this Sayang bullshit and all I get is the runaround.”
:Well like my daddy use to say, “You can’t make an omelet without finding the right pair of eggs for breakfast.”
“That is so retarded…and you don’t even have a dad, Jack.”
:JILL! How could you say that? Now I’m hurt.
“Oh shut up smartass,” Jill replied, “Now…where’s the next stop in this tow—”
Jill’s sentence is interrupted as a body crashes into a large pile of garbage just several feet from her. Jill quickly rushes over to the pile as she sees the body of a badly beaten Shijin.
“Holy shit,” Jill exclaimed, “What the hell happened to him?”
:Hmm, let’s see…long story short, I’d say he got the crap kicked outta him. I see a couple of broken ribs, two gunshot wound’s in the upper part of his shoulder, and several lacerations in the face, hands, and arms.”
“And after all of that he’s still breathing,” Jill replied, “I gotta get him off the streets and back to the safehouse. Helenas still has a fridge full holy water bottles that I can heal him with.”
:I’ll bring the car around.
“What? How can you…Oh right, it’s electronic.”
As the car pulls into the alley and Jill tosses the mage’s body into the backseat, Mazanna watches in awe as she aims her gun from a nearby rooftop. She hesitates whether or not to pull the trigger as Jill gets in the car and drives off. Marzanna couldn’t help but smile as she lowers her gun and twirls the staff in her hands.
“You’ve come back,” Marzanna says to herself, “You finally came back and this time, I will not let you leave me ever again.”
Posted 12 May 2011 - 12:17 PM
Heh, I caught up just in time.
OOC: LOL, there's more where that came from.
Posted 02 June 2011 - 12:46 AM
The Town, Northwest Sector
A sudden burst of light sparks the ground as it forms itself into a glowing sphere. The sphere then flattens itself as two men walk out the other side of an interdimensional portal. The two men that just stepped out of this portal are Alexander Ibermann, otherwise known as the Harbinger, and his brother Patrick as they both quickly notice their older sibling Stephanie standing right beside masked teleporter known simply as Vortex.
“So…this is what you’ve been up to?” Stephanie asks, “You know you two cannot just leave this place whenever you feel like it.”
“HEY! Relax sis,” Patrick replied, “We just needed to unwind for a while after everything that has happened to us.”
“You mean everything that’s happened to father? It’s because of Mary, Remington, and that…mage they call Shijin, that the Sentinels now have a positive ID on him and are that much closer to identifying the rest of the Fallen council.”
“So what, we’ll just bring in the Trackers and take them both out of the picture.”
“Actually…the council already voted have decided to keep Mr. Remington alive for the time being. As for Shijin, they’re sending in five Fallen members to kill the mage as a message to the rest of the Sentinels.”
“Well that’s great, sis! Who’s on board?”
Stephanie remains quiet as she glares over to Alex and back at Patrick. “Unfortunately, it’s neither of you two. Patrick, you’re still a class-one metan and you cannot bring anything valuable to the table. As for you Alex…father thinks it would be best if we kept you here until this whole thing blows over.”
“ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME,” Patrick exclaimed, “I may not have powers but I can certainly be useful in a hundred different ways.”
“It does not matter, Patrick. These are father’s orders and I expect the both of you to follow through on them.”
As everyone begins to head back to their vehicles and drive back into town, Patrick looks over to his brother. He realizes that Alex remains silent throughout the entire discussion and continues to hold the amulet in his pocket.
“So…I take it that you’re not gonna stay here long,” Patrick replied, “and disobey father’s orders.”
Harbinger looks over to his twin merely replying back with a simple smirk on his face. “What orders?”
Sunset District, San Francisco
As the sun begins to set over the city of San Francisco, it gives off a certain shine to the glamorous metropolis. A shine to which it cannot be ignored by anyone, especially to those who are asleep. In this case, the shine peers itself through an open window and wakes up Shijin as he comes to inside a strangers bedroom. He pulls himself up out of bed as his chest is sore and covered with bandages. Apart from his care from this unknown person, Shijin observes his surroundings as there are several crosses hanging from the walls along with various bibles and other religious books on the shelves. Shijin picks up one of the bibles and skims through the pages and notices someone has written in the book with lines across certain sentences.
“I wouldn’t touch that if I were you,” Jill says as she startles Shijin.
“Sorry,” Shijin replied, “Didn’t mean to look over your stuff?”
“Oh it’s not my book. It’s actually…I mean, this place belongs to a friend of mine. She likes to go through bibles and compare which stories are true and false.”
“I see.” As Shijin places the bible back on the dresser, he looks over to Jill. They both remain quiet as they stare at each other from across the room with Jill sitting in a chair with her Reaper in hand and Shijin unarmed and shirtless. “So I take it a thank you is in order…Jill, is it?”
“How did you know my name, or for that matter, what makes you think that I wasn’t one of the bad guys?” Jill asked.
:That’s a good question
“I recognized your face,” Shijin replied, “along with that armor you’re wearing, from the Sentinel’s database at HQ. You’re Jill (of Jack & Jill) second in command of the Angel’s of Mercy, former employer of Wet-Works Inc., and…there’s some other stuff but I can’t think of it right now. My mind feels like hammered shit.”
“Yeah, those holy water bottles really ha— You okay over there?”
Shijin becomes light headed as he stumbles back onto the bed sweating profusely all over his body. As he struggles to get back on the bed, Jill gets out of her chair and helps the mage back into bed.
“Jesus Christ,” Jill replied.
:Hey, don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Otherwise Helenas will give you several Hail Mary’s like last time
“Not now, Jack! Something’s wrong with him. I thought the holy water only gave people bad headaches after they’re fully healed.”
:It does, but…I’m detecting something else wrong with him. Something mystical within him and, last time I checked, magic is a little outta my jurisdiction.
“I mi-might know what this is,” Shijin replied, “Call it a b-bad allergic reaction between two different mystical powers. Great, now I go-gotta change…b-back.”
“What the hell does that mean?” Jill asks as she and her A. I. counterparts are perplexed by what Shijin is saying.
Shijin begins to shake uncontrollably as his entire body begins to change. His body begins to reshape itself back to its original form as Jack & Jill watch on witnessing the transformation. Reverting back to his original self, Melvin opens his eyes as he sees Jill with her mouth slightly gaped. Melvin looks around the room and back at Jill, once more, as he extends his hand out to her.
“Hey there Jill,” Melvin replied, “The name’s Melvin.”
“Holy crap,” Jill exclaimed, “You’re a goddamn shape shifter?”
:The Shijin’s real name is Melvin?
“What, not a good time for introductions?”
“No, it’s just…Do you need anything else?”
“Yeah as a matter of fact,” Melvin replied, “Can I use your restroom for a minute?”
As Jill directs him into the bathroom, Melvin slams the door shut and begins vomiting into the toilet. After spending a half an hour cleaning up his mess and wounds, Melvin finally manages to pull himself together and head out into the living room where Jill greets him once more.
“Is it all out of your system?”
“Pretty much,” Melvin replied, “So…where do we go from here?”
:He knows about our secret location. I say we kill him, back of the head, it’ll be quick.
“Shut up, Jackass!”
“What? I just asked a question.”
“Oh no, it’s not you, it’s me. I mean, it’s this annoying voice inside my head.”
“Okay…So where’s your partner Jack? I hear, from your file, that you two are a crime fighting duo. Jack & Jill, is that right?”
“Yeah but it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Actually…Jack, can you say hi to our guest?”
The sound of static comes through the stereo as Jack’s voice introduces himself. :‘Sup man, or should I say ‘Nǐ hǎo.’
“Hmm, let me guess, he’s the comedic relief?”
:And the brains of the group
Jill shakes her head in disbelief as she sits down on the couch. “Never a dull moment when you have an artificially enhanced A. I. lodged into your brain.”
Melvin lets out a small chuckle as he makes his way closer to Jill sitting next to her. “So apart from taking in superheroes and saving them from near death, what brings you to my neck of the woods?”
“To be honest,” Jill replied, “following a wild goose chase that’s getting me nowhere.”
“What do you mean by that?”
As Melvin begins to unfurl the bandages around his arms and waist, Jill grabs a manila envelope that was lying on the coffee table and hands it over to him. He opens the envelope only to see several dossiers of different super villains.
“After the events that went down between our team and the Children of Sayang in Khazan City, Jack and I received email from an anonymous source. The message told us that someone within the organization of Sayang isn’t as loyal to the cause as they claim to be.”
“You’re telling me that one of them is a spy?” Shijin asks.
:A spy, a mole, a damn dirty rat. A stinkin’ rat I tell ya.
“I didn’t believe it myself either, but two days later I hear a loud thumping sound at the front door of my safe house. I went outside only to find nothing but this manila envelope with a sticky note that said, ‘Nothing is what it seems.’ As you can see someone’s been doing their homework on each of the current members of Sayang.”
“No kidding,” Melvin replied, “A dossier profile with each of their activities going back the last ten months. This is some serious stuff you got here, but it still doesn’t explain what this has to do with the two of you being here.”
:Well, we thought it would be better to take a vacation, visit all the wonderful sights, and go skinny dipping in the Pacific Ocean
“Wow…really Jack? You can’t be serious for just two goddamn seconds?”
:Sorry dear. Any who, after sifting through the paperwork we discovered that six of the members spent a lot of personal downtime in California. Mainly in your City by the Bay
“I see,” Melvin says as he looks over the files, “Any leads on who it might be?”
“Like I said before,” Jill replied, “it’s been a wild goose chase for us.”
“You know, I have a friend who’s a detective over in homicide. If you like I could let her look over these files for you and see if she can come up with something.”
:What is he the Commissioner Gordon to your Batman?
Melvin looks over to the stereo where Jack’s voice is coming from. “Yeah, you might say that she is.”
“Yeah, I guess. But why the good deed all of a sudden?”
Melvin smiles at Jill’s question as he stands back up and puts on his black shirt and coat. “Well, for starters, you did save my life and that’s definitely worth repayment in my book. Also, these assholes of Sayang have been a problem for the SLJ from the get-go. If there are cracks in their armor, then it’s worth looking into.”
“Wow and here I thought my team were the only ones.” Jill replied, “Thanks Shi- I mean, Melvin.”
“No problem. Hey this may sound like a bit of a stretch, but can I get a ride from you?”
The drive was long, but fruitful as Melvin looked over the files with Jill driving behind the wheel of the car. As Jill continues to focus on the road, she couldn’t help but overhear Melvin’s phone conversation with his sister over the cell.
“…that’s pretty much what happened, Carol. Sorry if I didn’t call you back earlier…Yeah…Okay, I’ll do that. Bye sis.”
“It must be hard,” Jill says, “keeping a secret identity, I mean.”
“Sometimes it is, but I manage.”
Jill ignores Jack as she continues her small talk with Melvin.
“So does anyone else know about you? I mean, who you really are.”
“Only to the ones that I trust the most. I know I changed back in front of you, but I had no other choice. But my instincts tell me that you look like the kind of person who can keep a secret.”
“Well you got that right,” Jill smirks, “After all; most of my life has been a book full of secrets.”
“WHAT?” Jill exclaimed as she startles Melvin. “What is it Jack? What could be so important that I had to be interrupted by you?”
:Yeah, well I just picked up something on the police scanner that someone is planning on blowing up several restaurants around the Castro District
“Oh really,” Jill sarcastically replied, “and where exactly did they say this was going to happen?”
Almost immediately after Jill asks her question, a sudden explosion erupts just one block away from them. Several frighten pedestrians run from the scene as they are either scarred from the debris or scream out in bloody murder. The explosion itself was like something of a terrorist attack as the entire ground level of the restaurant had been obliterated. As Jill and Melvin look on in shock, they both notice a bald man wearing shades and tacky clothing walk right out from the ground zero area. Jill did not know who this man was, but as she looks over to Melvin his eyes concentrate on the bald gentleman as he mutters the first thing that came out of his mouth.
“Cig you sick son of a bitch.”
“I’m sorry; did I miss something other than that explosion?”
:What he meant to say was that guy coming out of that burnt building is Cig. One of the members from The Fallen and a local boy from around here
“I have to go,” Melvin replied as he slams his fists together turning himself into the Shijin. “Stay here and help as many of the survivors as you can.”
As Shijin gets out of the car and heads towards his enemy, Jill quickly shouts to the mage. “Wait, I can help you!”
Shijin turns back to Jill as he points over to several injured people that are trying to run away. “Help them!”
With a smile on his face, Cig watches on with satisfaction as he admires the destruction that he has created. His grin grows even greater as he scans around for his next target. He sees three options the he could choose from which are a mother trying to get her baby out of the car, an elderly man crawling on the sidewalk after the explosion flipped over his wheelchair and a male couple as they are both cowering in fear by a locked door. Cig ponders with his dilemma, for a moment, as he emits fire from his hands.
“Decisions, decisions, decisions. Oh…life is too short especially for these sad saps. Why not go for all of the above?”
Cig begins to aim his burning hands at his victims but is hands are hit with a sheet of ice. He turns around only to be knocked to the ground by a flurry of hail shots. The pyromaniac looks back up only to see Shijin standing fifteen feet away from him. Cig couldn’t help but smile as he stands back up, puts a cigarette in his mouth, and lights up the tip.
“I have to admit, Shijin,” Cig exclaimed, “You got here a lot faster than the last time we tangoed. Tell me something, what is your secret?”
“It’s no secret Galey,” Shijin replied, “Whenever assholes like you stir shit up in my city, I answer the call and take them down.”
“Correction…my city! After you’re gone, this city will belong to me again.”
The pyromaniac inhales his cigarette deeply and exhales unleashing a plume of smoke into Shijin’s direction. The mage’s vision begins to blur as everything around him becomes hazy for him to see anything beyond his own two hands. As Shijin looks around his surroundings he narrowly dodges a series of fireballs coming at him by quickly dropping to the ground. Before Shijin could get back up, he notices a manhole cover lying on the side of the street. He uses his magnetic powers to lift up the object and spin the lid as fast as he can.
“What’s wrong runt,” Cig shouted within the smoke, “afraid to face me like a man?”
“Funny you should say that Galey,” Shijin replied.
Shijin finally gets the lid to spin fast enough to a point where it circulates the air, along with the smoke, until it blows everything upward clearing up enough visibility for him to see his target and unleash several hail shots. Shijin’s strategy takes Cig by surprise as he is hit in the chest and face, destroying his sunglasses in the process, and knocking him onto the ground once more. Shijn stands over his breathless foe as he plants his left foot into Cig’s chest.
“I’m not the one who is afraid to show my face. It’s usually the other guy who’s too cowardly to show theirs.”
Cig makes one last desperate attempt to strike Shijin by swinging his fiery fist, but utterly fails. Shijin manages to get a hold of Cig’s hand, quickly flipping over his body, and places him in an arm lock extinguishing his flame with an icy grip.
“It’s over Galey,” Shijin exclaimed, “now submit!”
“Aye, he be a foo’ to do dat,” A voice says from behind.
As Shijin begins to jerk his head around, he feels the sudden force of something smacking the side of his chest and sending him into the side of a car. Before the mage could recover from his unexpected assault, Shijin is pressed up against the car as he sees Dreadlock making his presence known along with his prehensile hair.
“Aiding a Fallen comrade in arms, I see.” Shijin says.
“More like exterminating a cockroach,” Dreadlock replied, “You made a lot of people very angry, mon. So dey decided it would be bettah if you were removed from the pictcha.”
“Is that so,” Shijin says, “Tell me something, Bob Marley, one of these people wouldn’t happen be a short guy who wears a lab coat and speaks in a German accent, now would it?”
“Ah ah ah,” Cig replied, “That’s a need to know basis only. Now it’s time for you to fry like the runt that you are.”
Just as Cig extends his arm out and produces another fireball, a loud gunshot can be heard as the bullet pierces through the pyro’s hand. Cig screams out in pain as three to five more shots cut the strands of hair that Dreadlock was holding Shijin in place. The Fallen duo takes a few steps back as Shijin pulls himself together and stands back up on his feet. Police sirens echo from a distance as Cig and Dreadlock fall back into the darkness of an alley, but not before Dreadlock makes one last threat to Shijin.
“DIS AIN’T OVER MAGE! IN DUE TIME YOU, AND EVERYONE IN DIS CITY, WILL ALL SUFFER FROM THE FALLEN FIVE!”
As the two disappear into the night, Jack & Jill make their presence known as she rushes to Shijin’s side with her Reaper in hand.
“Are you alright, Shi?”
:I don’t think he is
“I don’t think I am, Jill.”
“This isn’t a coincidence. That’s the second time today that I’ve been ambushed by a pair of trained killers who wanted to kill me.”
“Is that so,” Jill replied, “any ideas who it might be?”
“Only one person comes to my mind…and thanks for the backup by the way. I guess I owe you another one.”
“I agree, what are you talking about? I was helping these people when I heard gunshots going off. I thought you were in trouble so I rushed over here to see if you needed help. But I guess you didn’t need it since those two ran off like a pair of pansies.”
Shijin becomes perplexed as he looks down the street and up at the building rooftops.
“Wait a minute, if you didn’t help me out…then who?”
Not far from where Jill and Shijin are standing, Marzanna aims her Dragunov sniper rifle between the two as she hides on a rooftop. She continues to aim her gun until she hears footsteps from behind. The assassin turns around only to see Dana Tan approaching from behind and kneels over right next to her.
“It looks like you have clear shot,” Dana says, “Why aren’t you taking it?”
“Because I wasn’t waiting for them,” Marzanna replied, “I was actually waiting for you.”
“I…don’t understand. Especially what happened earlier today? You know that I am your competition and you had the perfect opportunity to put two of your armor piercing rounds into my head. But you didn’t do that.”
“Perplexing, isn’t it? Don’t you just love a good mystery?”
“I read your profile. It doesn’t say much, but you tend to have a bad habit when it comes to playing games. I hate games, tell me what you really want or I’ll obliterate you right here and now.”
Marzanna continues to aim her gun down the street until Shijin and Jill leave the scene. As they leave her line of sight, Marzanna places her rifle down and stands up stretching out her arms and legs. The assassin is calm and relaxed as she doesn’t mind Dana’s weapon aiming directly at her chest.
“There are many things that I want in this world. Like a new pair of Gucci boots, a fresh box of hollow point rounds for my new pistol, and even those sexy nude photos of me and Jon Cryer on the set of his show. But I guess what I am really want…is a partnership.”
“You heard me. Partners, pals, chums, buddies, amigos!”
“Why, in the blue hell, should I team up with the likes of you?”
Marzanna smiles as she puts her arm around Dana’s shoulders while overlooking the city together.
“Because, my dear sister, do I have an offer for you that even you cannot refuse.”
“AAHHH, My hand,” Cig exclaimed, “MY HAAANNND!!! LOOK WHAT THAT BITCH DID TO MY HAND!!!”
“Pipe it down, mon! We don’ want everyone hearing yo’ bitching!”
Dreadlock begins to sterilize Cig’s hand as they lay low in a cheap motel room together. He examines his partner’s wound as he wraps several bandages while trying his best to calm him down.
“It looks like a through-and-through, you’ll be fine. We gon’ get dose pieces of sheet, Cig. We just have to wait for the rest of the cavalry.”
“Spe-Speaking of ‘cavalry’ where the hell are they? They should’ve been with us at that fight hours ago.”
“Don’ worry ‘bout dat. I just got a text, ten minutes ago, dat told one of dem just arrived into the city and the rest will meet us here in a couple of days.”
“Well I hope it was worth it taking their sweet f*cking time getting here.”
There is a silence in the air as a security guard goes on his nightly patrol around the national cemetery. After several hours into his shift, he notices a bewildered homeless person stumbling in between two tombstones.
“Hey!” The guard shouts, “Hey buddy! You can’t be in here!”
As the guard lays his hand on his shoulder, the homeless man turns around to face him. His face is pale and scarred as he lunges into the guard, eating and tearing away at the flesh around his neck. As the cannibalistic hobo finishes his feast, he caresses the guard’s blood all over his mouth while lying next to the corpse chanting single phrase, over and over again, on the cemetery grounds.
“Execute judgment, punish them. Execute judgment, punish them. Execute judgment, punish them.”
Posted 28 June 2011 - 03:48 PM
San Francisco, Location Unknown
Cig stares down Dreadlock as the two sit across from one another inside their motel room as they play a game of chess on the coffee table. He hesitates for a moment, but finally makes his move pushing the bishop into Dreadlock’s direction. The pyromaniac lets out a small chuckle feeling confident about himself and his move.
“AH HA! That’s a check if I ever saw one.”
With his arms folded across his chest, Dreadlock uses his hair to move the queen into Cig’s bishop and takes it off the board. Cig’s mouth slowly opens in shock as Dreadlock smiles at him.
“Checkmate, mon. Care to go five outta seven?”
“This…IS BULLSHIT!!!” Cig screams out as he uses his bloody hand to swipe the chess board off of the table. “I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!”
“Hey, just relax mon!” Dreadlock replied, “It’s only a game!”
“It’s not that! I’ve been hanging around this crappy motel for four days now and I haven’t heard back from our team yet.”
“They’ll be here.”
“They’ll be here,” Cig mocks, “Easy for you to say.”
Dreadlock becomes a little insulted as he stands up from his chair. “What the hell is that suppose to mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean you dope smoking rasta. Always laying back and not giving a f*ck about anything. It’s no wonder why you people are always asking for free hand outs from the government.”
Dreadlock quickly wraps his hair around Cig’s neck while slowly choking out his airway. “Where I come from, people who talk like dat to us get there tongues ripped out just as a warning. Do you care to be warned, mon?”
“Boys, boys!” A female voice interrupts the two as they both look over to the woman, dressed in business attire clothing, standing right outside the front door of the motel room. “Is this any way to treat each other as teammates?” She calmly asks as she walks in with another gentleman following right behind her carrying a laptop satchel around his shoulders. Dreadlock releases Cig as the two watch her pull a handkerchief from her pocket and extends her free hand out to the duo. “Gentleman, my name is Ms. Stephanie Ibermann.”
“Yeah, I know who you are.” Dreadlock replied, “You’re Dr. Ibermann’s girl, the one who pull me outta the past and brought me here.”
“Not I, per se,” Stephanie replied, “But my associate Vortex certainly does have a way of getting to people, no matter where or when they’re from.”
Cig begins to take his attention off of Dreadlock and looks over to Stephanie shaking her hand. “How ya doin’ sugar tits?”
Stephanie becomes a little disgusted with Cig, after shaking his hand, as she pulls herself away from him and uses the handkerchief to wipe her hand off. “Cid Galey, I presume. Otherwise known to the authorities as Cig, I can’t say I’m impressed by your charming essentiality.”
“Give me enough time and I’ll essentiate my way into your pants.” Cig flirts as he lays his hand on Stephanie’s shoulder. She looks over to Wraith as he quickly grabs Cig’s hand and pulls him away from her. The silent bodyguard twists Cig’s wrist forcing him to cry out in pain. “AAHH!!! Let me go, man! I’m only kidding!”
Stephanie uses her handkerchief, once more, as she wipes off her shoulder where Cig touched her. “I’m sure you were but my bodyguard, Wraith, doesn’t take jokes very seriously.”
Dreadlock speaks up as he couldn’t help but overhear what Stephanie just said. “Wait a minute, you’re Wraith? As in ‘Children of Sayang’ Wraith?”
Stephanie smirks at Dreadlock’s reply. “Oh heavens no, this is a completely different person than the one you’re thinking of. We wouldn’t be caught dead with those people who are unable to cope with more than one idea. Wraith is just a codename for him. His real name is Matthew Harden Wraith.”
“I see. Now that we have all met, can we finally get down to business?”
“Of course,” Stephanie replied, “Wraith, you can let him go now.” Wraith nods to Stephanie’s order as he pushes Cig away from him. Stephanie walks over the chess board, which is still on the ground, and firmly sits in one of the chairs. Her bodyguard pulls out a custom-made laptop, from the satchel, and places the device on the coffee table. “As you two already know by now, the Fallen Council has ordered the five of us to eliminate the superhero known as Shijin. But the truth of the matter is that he is not our highest priority for the time being.”
“What are you talking about?” Dreadlock asks, “And from where I’m standing, I see only four of us standing in this room.”
“That is because our fifth member doesn’t do well working with certain groups. Also, it is because he’s already been given an assignment which requires his…unique skills.”
“Oh yeah?” Cig replied shaking the pain away from his wrist. “And what else are we going to do other than killing a superhero.”
“I’m glad you asked that, Mr. Galey. Because what we’re after is far more valuable than some mage’s life.” Stephanie taps a few buttons, on her laptop, and turns the screen around showing the rest of the team what they’re really after. Both Cig and Dreadlock are speechless as they couldn’t help but see what is on the screen.
“You’re kidding me, right?” Dreadlock asks, “This is what you plan on stealing?”
Stephanie nods as she replies back. “There is no you in team, Dreadlock. In order for us to steal this item, it will require all five of us to do this. So what do you say? Are you still in or are you out?”
North Beach District
“Oh crap, not again!” Melvin shouts as his mentor throws him to the ground. “Alright…that kind of hurt a little bit.”
“In all honesty Melvin,” Chi’an Hanh replied, “I’m a little surprised that you did not perform your drunken wasp sting on me.”
Hanh pulls up Melvin as they both finish up their training on top of the roof of Hanh’s two story home. As they both overlook the city, Melvin looks back at Hanh. “Yeah, I know. I’ve been a little off my game today.”
“Today? Try the last four days. Ever since you lost your staff, you have been unable to focus in on anything.”
“I know, Master Hanh. But it’s not just my focus, but my powers are going haywire as well. The day I lost my staff, I accidently exposed my identity in front of another vigilante and I had to cover it up telling her that my body was experiencing an allergic reaction to her friend’s Christian magic.” Hanh couldn’t help but laugh as Melvin lowers his head in embarrassment. “Alright, I know it wasn’t the greatest excuse, but it was better than saying nothing.”
“Indeed, but something like this cannot happen again. What would happen if your enemies saw through your disguise while you go into battle against them?”
“I know, I know. But what else am I suppose to do? For all know, the staff could be halfway around the world by now.”
“It is not, Melvin.” Hanh replied, “The reason is that you have not looked hard enough for it.”
“What is that suppose to mean?”
“I am glad that you asked that. Follow me downstairs and I will show you.”
As the hours pass into the late evening both Melvin and Hanh turned the entire living room into a meditation area. All of the furniture and appliances are moved aside as Hanh lays down a white mat in the middle of the room. As Melvin lights several candles around the mat, he looks back at his mentor with skepticism. “Okay, so remind me again what we’re going to do here.”
“Not I,” Hanh replied, “but you. You will be undergoing something called Fa Tsung. This is a special meditation practice, which many of our predecessors before us took in order to find their staff.”
“So I take it that I wasn’t the first to get my weapon stolen. Well that’s a relief.”
“For centuries, everyone from China’s greatest enemies to its very own people wanted to posses the staff after witnessing its great power in action. They would try many things from combat, to thievery, assignation attempts, and even science.”
“Wait a minute…science?” Melvin asks, “What do you mean by that?”
“Well…let’s just say that Chinese gunpowder was not exactly created by a group of serendipitous Taoist monks. Back to the main point, there have been times where the Shijin’s enemies were successful in stealing the staff, but like all things that is magic, there is always a catch. Once the spirits, inside the orb of the staff, realize they’re in possession of someone who isn’t worthy they send off this…beacon, you might say, telling us where they are.”
“Cool, so it’s like a mystical GPS?”
“Precisely but unlike today’s technology, ours is a hundred percent accurate. No matter how far it is or well hidden they hide it, we our connected to the staff and a connection that powerful cannot be broken.”
“Alright, Master Hanh, let’s do this.”
Hanh nods to Melvin as he instructs his pupil to take his position on the mat. As Melvin kneels down and closes his eyes, he begins to meditate taking in deep breaths and relaxing every muscle in his body. At first it would seem like nothing is happening. Feeling as if this was a dead-end Melvin opens his eyes only to see that he was no longer in his mentor’s living room, but his astral body was floating miles over the city of San Francisco. This comes as a shock to Melvin until he gets a grip of himself after seeing, what would appear to be, a pulse wave emitting from a particular part of the city. Melvin couldn’t help but be drawn to that area as his body flies toward it. His body phases into a warehouse where he sees his staff emitting the pulse wave, realizing that this was the beacon that his teacher told him about.
As Melvin looks inside the warehouse, he notices two women inside and an array of furniture and electronic equipment making this their base of operations. Right off the bat, he quickly notices the two as Dana Tan and Marzanna. Melvin observes the assassins as he sees Dana doing research on her computer and Marzanna trying on several wigs, in her little dressing room corner, while to blaring her stereo and singing out loud. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me! NA NA NA COME ON, COME ON, COME ON!!!”
“WILL YOU SHUT THE F*CK UP?” Dana exclaimed, “I’M TRYING TO DO SOME RESEARCH HERE!!”
“I don’t know about you,” Marzanna replied, “but I like it-like it, come on COME ON! Sing with me!” Dana extends her arm out, charging up her nova cannon, and fires directly at Marzanna’s stereo incinerating the device into pieces. Marzanna rolls her eyes as she looks back at Dana unsatisfied by what she did. “You are such a party pooper.”
“What?” Marzanna asked, “You pretty much killed my tunes, what else do you wanna blow up?” Dana looks over to the middle of the room and points to the staff. They both see the orb flicker in a purple light. Marzanna walks over to the light, like a moth to a flame, as she gazes in awe. “Oohh…pretty lights.”
“That’s the first time we saw this thing do anything in days. What does this mean?”
“It means…that E.T. is finally phoning home.”
“Huh?” Dana grunts.
Marzanna rolls her eyes, once more, as she grabs the staff and walks over to Dana. “We’re being tracked and we’ll have to move up our plans tonight. Forget the shipment of explosives; we’ll kill him tonight as we take this sta--”
A sudden surge hits Melvin, like a baseball to the chest, as his astral form is quickly cut off sending him back to Hanh’s living room. Melvin opens his eyes, seeing his teacher before him, as he gets right up and heads out the door. “I found ‘em and the staff. They’re in an abandoned warehouse just south of the city. I gotta go take them down.”
“Wait!” Hanh exclaimed halting Melvin in his tracks. “Just…wait for one minute.”
Melvin is perplexed as Hanh lays one hand on his chest. “What are you doing? I got ‘em right where…oh…” He looks back up at Hanh as he realizes what his mentor meant what he is saying. “Now they’re moving the staff north. I can feel it.”
“Indeed you do, Melvin. As I said before, our connection to the staff is strong.”
“Thanks, Master Hanh. Now I know where to go find them.”
As the evening progresses into the night, Shijin makes his way to San Francisco’s national cemetery as he seeks out his weapon. After searching for nearly half an hour, scanning the grounds and bumping into tombstones, he finally sees his staff sticking into the ground. As Shijin approaches his staff, the flickering purple light inside the orb goes out forcing him to stop just several feet from it. Shijin couldn’t help but look around as he sees nothing around him but tombstones and a burial crypt to his far left. “Why do I have the feeling that I’m about to be ambushed?”
“That’s because you’re one dumb Sentinel piece of shit.” Dana replied as she reveals herself to the mage by walking out of the crypt aiming her nova cannon at him. “Took you long enough to find us.”
“Well, you know how it is.” Shijin replied.
“Hey, I thought I was the funny one!” Marzanna exclaimed, surprising Shijin from behind with a semi-automatic shotgun. “Hey honey, you miss me?”
“You know it, dear.” Shijin jokes as he tries to maintain his cool between the two deadly assassins. “I had a hunch you two would be here after I realized that there were no security guards around.”
“Actually, that’s the funny thing.” Marzanna replied, “By the time Tanny and I got here, there was nobody around."
“Maybe they’re on a break.”
“Enough of the chit-chat.” Dana says interrupting the two. “We have a job to do, money to collect, and me watching this pretty boy squirm in agony.” Her arm begins to charge up as she aims directly at Shijin. “So where would you like it? In the head or in the chest, so you can have an open casket at your funeral.”
“Gee, can I have some time to think about that?” Shijin jokingly replied.
:Warning, Warning! Unidentified subject approaching!
“What? Where?” Dana asks as she looks around. Both Marzanna and Shijin are perplexed as they watch Dana act like a deer caught in the headlights. “Computer, where the f*ck are they?” As soon as Dana asks her question, her outstretched arm is hit by a hail of bullets. Just as Marzanna notices what is going on, Shijin quickly turns around to disarm the assassin and deliver an elbow strike to her jaw. This forces Marzanna to fall to the ground and Shijin rushing in the opposite direction in order for him to grab his staff. By the time Shijin manages to get a hold of his weapon, Dana pulls herself back up and staring angrily at the mage. She lifts up her other arm up and calls Shijin out. “You’re dead, cocksucker! YOU HEAR ME? DEAD!!!”
“Not tonight, blondie.” Jill replied from behind Dana as she uses the blunt end of her Reaper to knock out the assassin.
:A blonde on blonde bashing. I think that may be a little bit of a hate crime
“Can it, Jack. We got work to do.” Jill makes her way over to Shijin as she is still trained on her surroundings. “I see you finally got what you came here for. Now can we take these bitches into custody?”
“Of course, I just need to…wait.” Shijin pauses as he doesn’t see Marzanna lying on the ground anymore. “I’m missing one of them.”
Marzanna quickly rushes up to Shijin and delivers a dropkick to his chest. As the mage falls backward, the green haired assassin quickly retrieves her shotgun and unloads two shells into Jill’s abdomen. This sudden impact sends Jill flying into the crypt as Marzanna stands back up and rests the shotgun over one shoulder. “Aaand boom goes the dynamite, Marzanna wins.” As she begins to head into the crypt, Marzanna looks back only to see Shijin heading towards her. “Hey you I hope you don’t mind, but I gotta catch up with an ol’ friend. Dana, would mind snapping his neck for me?”
The mage becomes confused until Dana approaches from behind wrapping her metallic arm around Shijin’s neck. “I take orders from my clients, not you.” Dana replies, “But I would be more than happy to oblige.”
:Jill? Jill…are you alright?
“I…ugh, yeah. I guess I am.” Jill answers as she gets back up. “What the hell did she shoot with?”
:Apparently she’s carrying a Benelli M4 Super 90 semi-automatic shotgun.
“Apparently? What does that mean?”
:From the looks of it, I’d say she did a custom job on it. Good thing you got your armor on, otherwise you would’ve said goodbye to your torso.
Jill looks around the inside of the crypt where she see various old coffins stacked up against the wall and narrow hallways leading deeper into darkness. “Jack, is there another way out of this place?”
:Other than the way you came in? Give me a second.
“Oh JIIIIIILLLLLLL!!!” Marzanna shouts inside the crypt as she slowly enters. “We need to have a little chat. Just between us girls.” As the assassin cautiously moves deeper and deeper she turns on the flashlight, attached to her shotgun, and continues to search the area looking for her target. “You know when we first met that day on the streets of Khazan, all I could think of you and your friends were nothing more than a job. A simple get-in and get-out and get paid routine for the Syndicate. But after my botch job, I did a little digging on you guys and I found something much more…exquisite about you. Actually, more like your closest friend Jack. Sure I could’ve easily bought my own little Tactical Neural Device and become just as efficient as you, but where is the fun in that?”
“It’s not,” Jill replied getting the drop on Marzanna by coming out of the darkness and pressing the Reaper up against the assassin’s skull. “You think I haven’t forgotten all the destruction you caused? All the lives that were lost because of your mayhem? Tell me something, what is so special about Jack that you want to go out of you way to rip him from my brain.”
Marzanna drops her shotgun, raises her hands, and stares directly at Jill with a serious look on her face. “If you knew me, you would understand why I am doing this.”
“That’s the thing, I don’t know you. Hell, no one knows who you really are and I spent countless hours trying to find that out other than you being an assassin from Russia. So that just leaves us with one question?”
:Who are you?
“Who are you, Marzanna?”
“Only Jack knows the answer to that, Jill. After all, Я всегда буду его маленькая принцесса.”
“Jack? Jack...Jack are you there?”
Marzanna’s smile grows as she sees a perplexed look on Jill’s face. “Well what do you know, Jack & Jill are speechless. Now that’s funny.”
Jill digs the barrel of her Rifle up against Marzanna’s forehead. “What did you say?” Marzanna continues to smile as she lowers her hands while Jill continues to demand for an answer. “God dammit! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST SAY?” Jill begins to tighten the trigger on her Reaper. “I will blow a hole in your head if don’t tell me what you just said! You got that?”
After Jill continues with her threats, she feels a hand creeping up from behind her shoulder and someone breathing down her neck.
: Oh shit! Jill, there’s someone else down here!
Jill hesitates for a brief moment until Marzanna quickly pulls out a pistol, pushes Jill aside, and fires several shots into the unknown person. The body quickly drops as Jill aims her Reaper right back at the assassin. “You sick bitch! You killed another person!”
“I doubt that.” Marzanna replied flicking on her flashlight and aiming the beam over the dead body. Jill looks over the dead body as she sees the body slowly getting back up with several bullet holes in his chest and grunting mindlessly. “You can’t really kill what is already dead.”
“I couldn’t have said it any better myself, young one.” A male voice replied as the two are quickly startled by the sound of his voice.
:Umm, Jill. We may have a bigger problem
“Just tell me why you didn’t detect them earlier, Jack?”
:Well…that’s the thing. My readings were only detecting thermal images and, according to my results, only you and Marzanna are the only living people inside this crypt.
As the sound of feet being dragged on the floor get closer and closer, the smell becomes unbearable for the two women. “I am over here.” The voice says as Marzanna aims her flashlight in the opposite direction revealing a decayed looking man wearing homeless clothing. “Hello ladies, my name is Ashtoreth and let me just say, you both look good enough to eat.”
To be continued…
Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:17 AM
The air is stale and muggy as the two femme fatales are surrounded by six undead walking corpses inside the dark crypt. Marzanna continues to beam her flashlight directly at the leader of the swarm as Jill focuses her assault rifle on the rest of the zombies encircling them both.
:You know, this is just like that scene in Snakes on a Plane. The one where Sammy Jackson says, “You know all those things we plan for? This is one of them we didn’t think of.”
“Now’s not the time, Jack.” Jill replied, “I need an exit strategy like five minutes ago.”
“Escape?” Ashtoreth says overhearing Jill. “There is no escape down here. For I control the underworld of death and darkness.”
Marzanna rolls her eyes as she pulls out a small throwing knife and chucks the blade into the head of one of the zombies. “Yadda yadda yadda. Less talkie, more smackie. Don’t you agree, Jill?”
“For the first time tonight, you and I are in total agreement.”
:Great, just what we need. Another team up
“If you have any better ideas Jack; please feel free to speak up.”
:Well…for our exit strategy, I see nothing else other than the way we came in
“Well that’s just terrific.”
“What’s that?” Marzanna asks.
“Jack says the only way we can get outta here is through the front door of this crypt.”
Marzanna couldn’t help but smile at Jill as she cocks her pistol. “Well then, let the fun times begin.”
As the sound gunfire can be heard from inside the crypt, Dana Tan continues her assault on Shijin outside. Using her metallic arms, she lays down more pressure around the mage’s neck trying to make a hard twist. Shijin prevents this as he uses both of his hands to hold Dana’s arm in place.
“Why won’t you just die already, Shijin?” Dana exclaimed, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, killing you Sentinels, it’s that you always know when to quit!”
“Then I—NNGH—I guess you haven’t known me long enough me to know…” Shijin eyes glow white as he finally uses all of his strength to pull Dana’s arm away from his neck. Dana couldn’t help but be shocked as steam emits from Shijin’s body and continues to hang onto her arm.
:Warning, Warning! Unknown magnetic fluctuation!
Shijin faces Dana as he uses his magnetic powers to place both of her arms over her head and pull the staff into his hand. As the young mage begins to speak, his voice becomes like a light echo as if someone else was speaking for him. “…We never give up. Not even to the likes of you.” Shijin rams the staff into Dana’s chest sending off a concussive blast. This blast sends Dana several yards away and an exhausted Shijn collapses to his knees while his glowing eyes begin to fade away.
As Shijin tries to recover from his ordeal, Jill makes a break out of the dark crypt as Marzanna follows right behind her shooting away at the undead. Jill looks back at Marzanna and then pans over to Shijin as she rushes to his aid.
“Shi’? Yo Shijin.” Jill says laying her hand on his shoulder. “What the hell happen out here?”
“Funny,” Shijin replied, “I was gonna ask you the same thing in there.”
“Well…have you ever seen Snakes on a Plane?”
:Hey! That’s my joke!”
A series of grunts and howling can be heard as Marzanna moves away from the crypt in order to make room for the zombies. Both Shijin and Jill notice the undead making their way outside as they look back at each other.
“We did not plan for something like this.” Shijin replied.
“I know, right?” Jill exclaimed as they both got back to their feet. “So what’s next?”
“Now we…wait a second.” Shijin says as he notices the clothing on the zombies. “Is it just me or do all of these zombies are wearing the same security uniforms?”
: Of course, that makes sense
“What?” Jill asks, “What are you two talking about.”
“There have been news reports for the last four days that several Displace security guards have turned up missing around this cemetery.”
:I heard about this on the ‘net.
Ashtoreth makes his presence known as he walks out of the crypt and points his finger over to the two heroes. “Ah Shijin, it certainly has been awhile!”
“It certainly has, Ashy!” Shijin replied, “Tell me, what’s going on around here?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Where ever there’s a grave, it is my duty to make sure the dead walk the Earth.”
“Bullshit it’s your duty. I know that you only resurrect fresh dead people and the last body, the was buried around here, was more than sixty years ago. If you were doing your job, we would be fighting off a whole army of zombie’s right about now.”
:Hmm…he does have a point
Jill rubs her forehead trying to catch up with Jack and Shijin. “So you guys are saying that this Herbert West wannabe being here is more than just a coincidence?”
“IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!” Ashtoreth shouts pointing his finger back at the two, “MY MINIONS…PUNISH THEM!!!”
The dull-witted corpses nod at Ashtoreth as they take their orders and drag their feet towards the two vigilantes. Both Jill and Shijin make their stand as they stand back-to-back surveying their situation. Jill scans the area as she talks a little strategy to her partner. “I count six dead heads coming towards us.”
“And what about Ash’ and the assassins?” Shijin asks, “I don’t see them anywhere.”
“I don’t see any of them either. Jack, are you picking anything on your end?”
:I’m detecting nothing, but I am picking up something on the CB side. We got several police cruisers coming this way
“Well at least there’s some good news.”
“What’s that?” Shijin asks.
“Jack’s telling me that we got backup coming this way. Tell me something, your staff; does it fire more than just snowballs?”
“You mean if I could freeze them in place? Then no, but a can ice them long enough to slow down their mobility.”
“That’s good enough for me.” Jill replied as she reloads her Reaper. “You hit ‘em low, I’ll hit ‘em high.”
The two begin a serious of range attacks on the undead as Shijin uses his cryokinesis aiming for the lower part of their bodies while Jill took pop shots connecting her bullets with their skulls. By the time they are able to take down the last of the remaining corpses, police officers make their way to the sound of gunfire as they have their weapons drawn and pointed directly at the duo.
“POLICE FREEZE!!! THROW DOWN YOUR GUN AND…er, stick?”
“Great, just what I need.” Jill says.
“Don’t worry,” Shijin replied, “I got this covered.” As Shijin retracts his staff into the orb, he slowly walks towards the two officers while slowly pulling out a Sentinels membership card. “Hey guys, it’s all good here. The name’s Shijin and I’m a member of the Se—”
“I don’t give a damn who you are!” The officer exclaimed interrupting Shijin. “You and that armored woman are under arrest for multiple counts of—”
“That won’t be necessary Officer Dugan.” Another voice replied.
:Wow, who knew people like interrupt each other in this town. Must be for the theatrics
“Who knows, Jack. But all I do know is that we aren’t getting shot at yet. So I guess that counts for something.”
The officers turn around only see two well dressed detectives standing right behind them. One of them, an early middle-aged man with reddish brown hair and a very cheap looking suit, and the other an African American woman with long dark hair running down her shoulders. The female detective approaches the trio as her partner hangs back by the car. Shijin couldn’t help but let out a little smile as he was glad to see a familiar face.
“Well, well, well Detective Knowles. Aren’t you a sight for these tired eyes.”
“Good to see you to, Shijin.” Knowles replied, “You remember my partner Detective Hannigan?”
“Of course, how could I forget?”
Knowles lays her hand on one of the officer’s shoulders as they both holster their guns. “It’s alright fellas. Why don’t guys secure a perimeter while I talk to these two?” As the two officers walk back to their police cruiser, both Knowles and Shijin walk back up the cemetery hill with Hannigan following right behind him. The detective looks up at Jill and back at Shijin continuing the conversation. “So this is your partner that you keep talking about, huh? I do have to admit, I like the armor.”
“We need to talk, Knowles. I have a feeling that we may have bigger problems than we think.”
After a quick introduction between Jill and the detectives, they quickly begin to compare notes and what has happen up until this moment. As the four of them finish what they have to say, Detective Hannigan rubs his lips in order to get a better train of thought. “So what you’re saying is that Ashtoreth just so happened to be inside of that crypt as you two were fighting off those assassins?”
“Yeah and just four days before that, Jill and I were ambushed by Cig and Dreadlock in the Castro District.”
:Cig, Marzanna, Dana Tan, Dreadlock, and Ashtoreth. That’s five super villains in the same city in less than a week. Call me crazy, but that’s more than just a coincidence
“I agree.” Jill replied, “There’s something else going on other than a hit out on a Sentinel. No offense Shi’, but I don’t think you’re that important to draw out five super villains at the same time.”
“Hey!” Shijin exclaimed, “I don’t know if I should take that as an insult or a compliment.”
“Either way, the four of us should stay on our guard.” Knowles replied, “I have a feeling that, whatever this is, it’s far from over.”
As the rest of San Francisco’s finest investigate the entire cemetery for any trace of evidence, three men sit inside a dark sedan just outside the entrance. They are the current members of the Fallen as Wraith sit in the driver’s seat as he looks through his binoculars. Dreadlock sits in the passenger seat as he looks over to Wraith and back at Cig as the pyromaniac sit in the backseat of the car.
“So…you tink our man is able to slip by the law?” Dreadlock asks.
“I doubt it,” Cig answers, “I don’t know many zombies who are that smooth enough to just sneak by.”
“I wasn’t talking to you, mon. I was talking to Mr. Mute here. Hey man, you don’t say much do you?”
Wraith lowers the binoculars and shakes his head as he hands Dreadlock a cell phone. The expression on Dreadlock’s face becomes confused until he notices someone approaching their car. At first it seemed like just another homeless person passing by, but it turns out to be the living dead Ashtoreth as he enters the backseat of the car.
“Thank god you guys showed up.” Ashtoreth says, “I thought I was gonna be shit outta luck out here.”
Wraith starts the car and begins to drive off from the cemetery avoiding any kind of detection from the police. As Ashtoreth begins to get a little bit more comfortable in the car, he pulls out an old envelope and hands it over to Dreadlock.
“What the hell is this?” Dreadlock asks.
“It’s the package that Miss Ibermann wanted. She told me to dig up a stiff named Abraham Winston at the National Cemetery, search for an envelope that he took to his grave, and get out of the cemetery before I draw any suspicion.”
“Yeah, real smooth there on the drawing any suspicion part, James Bond.” Cig jokes, “Did you really have to devour seven security guards out there?”
“I’m an undead zombie who feasts on the flesh. So sue me. Besides it took a little longer than I thought and I wasn’t expecting to fight Shijin and some blonde in a suit of armor.”
Wraith taps on the cell phone, which he just handed to Dreadlock. He sees only one number listed on the screen and decides to make the call. After several rings, Stephanie Ibermann finally answers Dreadlock’s call as she is standing on the edge of the pier overlooking the bay.
“I am in the middle of something. This better be good.”
“Yeah, Ms. Ibermann. I just thought I let you know that Ash’ is with us and he found your package.”
“Good. Tell Wraith to drive back to the rendezvous and I will join you boys as soon as I can.”
Stephanie taps the side of her Bluetooth and turns around only to see an exhausted Marzanna and Dana Tan standing before her.
“You lied to us!” Dana shouted. “You paid us to kill a Sentinel, but instead we get ambushed by Angels and zombies! Why didn’t you tell us about this?”
“Expect the unexpected, that is what my father would always say.” Stephanie replied, “Besides I would’ve expected more from two well trained assassins.”
“Expect THIS!!!” Dana lunges forward and wraps her metallic hand around Stephanie’s throat. “I got friends in high places and if you think for a second that, metans like you, can use us like soiled tissue then you got--”
“League…of Assassins.” Stephanie replied interrupting Dana’s sentence.
Dana’s emotion quickly goes from anger to fright as she loosens her grip. “Wh-What did you say?”
“About an hour ago, our people received a message that the League of Assassins are looking for you. Probably because of your failed attempt to kill this city’s most popular Sentinel. Any way, they gave us an ultimatum and we decided to tell them the location of your current whereabouts.”
“But…I’m right here.”
“My point exactly, which is why I suggest you leave town as soon as you can.”
Dana drops Stephanie to the ground, looks back at Marzanna, and walks away from the pier. “This ain’t over! YOU HEAR ME? As soon as I finish with them, I’ll be coming back...FOR ALL OF YOU!!!”
As Dana begins to run away and vanish into the night, Stephanie pulls herself back up and walks over to Marzanna. “Don’t you think, for a second, that you are not getting off as easy as she did.”
“Hey, that’s the beauty about working for the Syndicate.” Marzanna replied, “There are always plenty of leniencies for hardworking troopers like us.”
“Nevertheless, we are giving you one last shot at him. So make this last one count.” Stephanie hands Marzanna a manila envelope containing a dossier of another person. “But in the mean time, we need you to remove someone else from our equation. Apparently this woman is doing some research into one of our…inside men and it's imperative that she must be taken out before his cover is blown. There’ll be an extra five hundred thousand delivered into your account once this side target is gone. Do we understand each other?”
Marzanna looks at picture of her intended target. She couldn’t help but smile as she looks back at her employer. “As clear as crystal.”
Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:38 AM
Posted 12 July 2011 - 08:04 AM
This is probably the longest running fiction in the new FPL. Anyway, Dreadlock? Isn't he from the Infinium era (19th century)?
I like to think of this as more of an ongoing series. Which is why I seperate them by arcs just to show which of these certain stories begin and end. As for Dreadlock being in the 21st century, the metan's do have their way of pulling certain people out from time. That and I just needed a good solid member of the Fallen.
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