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Carnifex-04 "Scourge"

"All I need is PAIN!"

0 · 230 views · located in Atlas City

a character in “Hadean: The Brave”, as played by CrossKnight35

Description

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Theme 1 – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance OST - Red Sun
Theme 2 – Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen OST - Black Curse Island
Theme 3 – Beast in Black - Unlimited Sin
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Full Name: Carnifex-04
Alias: Scourge
Age: Newborn
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Ambiguous


Hair: Bald

Eye color: Pale yellow, pupil-less

Body: A hulking mass of muscle, with pallid green, tightly stretched undead flesh covered in scars and stitches.

Height: 2.26 meters/ 7'5

Weight: 227 kg/ 500 lbs

Hometown: Atlas City

Affiliation(s): The Shape

Personality: Vulgar, brutish, and crass, Scourge stands out amidst the Shape’s refined ensemble. His words are profane, his actions impulsive, and his jokes tasteless. He finds thrill in dominating dangerous foes, and ignores those he deems weak or defenseless. He's a card-carrying killing machine, through and through, but he holds a sense of loyalty towards those who have earned his respect. One of them being the Shape himself.


Image


Likes:
- Domination of powerful foes.

- Pain; giving and receiving.

- People he deems interesting.

- His creator.

- Electricity.



Dislikes:
- Indecisiveness.

- Cowardice.

- Punchables faces. That he can't punch.

- Being dismissed as a dumb brute.




Fears:
- A life without worthy foes to crush.

- Sensory deprivation.

- Castration.



Skills:
- Brute force: Scourge’s fighting style is direct and unrefined, with a focus on large sweeping haymakers, grapples, and overwhelming his enemies with the nearest heavy object. He’s not without tactics, however, knowing when to go all-out and when to use his superior size and reach to keep faster enemies away.

- Marksmanship: Scourge knows how to operate heavy weaponry on instinct alone, favouring gatling guns and big cannons.

- Knowledge of human anatomy.


Costume Identities:

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A heavy, black, spike-covered leather belt, underwear, and boots with a mouth-covering mask that connects with a high-tech collar. It does little to nothing in the way of protection, and that’s the way he likes it.


Equipment:
- Thrall's Collar - part of Scourge’s costume, the collar is a tracking device, kill switch, and performance booster all in one.

- Gatling Gun - brought on by Scourge for special occasions. Not exactly portable.

- Body Modifications - Scourge's body has been equipped with a series of prototype augments courtesy of his creator:

  • Prototype Armoured Skin - an extra layer of synthetic skin that enhances Scourge's already top-tier defences.

  • Rib Cage Plating - self-repairing, reinforced rib cage plating that renders Scourge immune to small arms and resistant to heavy firepower.

  • Toxic Glands 1.0 - prototype poisonous glands that turns Scourge's blood corrosive to the touch.

  • Pile Bunker - Unusually durable bone stakes embedded within Scourge's forearms. With a mental command, Scourge can drive these stakes forward at high speed, piercing even the toughest armour at critical range.

  • The Penetrators - twelve-feet long tentacles hidden within Scourge's forearms. These tentacles grow stiff on command, and make use of extreme centrifugal force to destroy their targets. A viscous, pain-inducing white fluid seeps from the tip to corrode his enemies' mental and physical defenses.

  • Berserker Node - Scourge's strongest augment. A complex array of organ and system redundancies that ensure Scourge's ability to continue fighting after enduring injuries that would kill lesser supers a hundred times over. Additionally, when Scourge nears a critical state, the Berserker Node will imbue him with a "second wind" which rapidly enhances his performance while repairing his injuries. This ability can only be used once every six hours.


Background:

An undead abomination born from a mad scientist’s twisted experiments. Scourge was fused from the corpses of many mercenaries, terrorists, and traitors who had fallen at the Shapeless Club's hands. He served as an enforcer for the organisation, but met spectacular failure on his first real mission.

Dissatisfied, Scourge’s creator departed Shapeless, and tossed him aside like garbage...

Powers:

Image









Ruinous Scourge -
[Brute - 9 (normal) 11 (near death), Shaker - 0 (normal) 2 (near death)]
Scourge was made for one thing, and one thing only: to deal as much physical damage as possible. He’s strong enough to uproot small buildings and toss military vehicles, and tough enough to survive point-blank explosions that would reduce his surroundings to rubble.

Scourge gets even stronger the closer he gets to death, gaining the power to exude blood red, corrosive haze from his wounds which turns melee combat with him into a death sentence. As a trade-off to all his power, Scourge is slower than most metahumans and even regular humans, and his enormous size makes him an exceptionally easy target to hit.


Revenant Scourge -
[Brute - 3]
In the event that Scourge is mortally wounded, he can survive for a prolonged amount of time as long as his brain matter is intact. He is entirely dependent on outside forces for reconstruction, however.

Power Origins:
Other - Mad Scientist’s experiments



Color Code:#2b6d00

So begins...

Carnifex-04 "Scourge"'s Story

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Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex
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5 days ago.


Sirens wailed outside Vic's apartment. Atlas City was panicked and overwhelmed well past the strike of twelve, sprawled on its arse in the aftermath of the Beast. Up above it all, Vic slept peacefully, lounging over the broken remains of almost every material possession she had. Something tickled her ear and she stirred. Black beads on stalks peeked over orange claws. A hand bopped the creature's portable house, and its eyes were slurped back into its shell.

"Freddy," Vic slurred, "Where's your brother?"

Tap. Tap.

From across the apartment, in the dark, Vic heard - not the shuffle of a hermit crab. Footsteps, with the specific, dangerous sounding clack of a stiletto heel.

"Anastasia, lights..." Vic called out, cradling Freddy against her chest. Cold light flushed the room and showed off the extent of the carnage, and the slick, blonde high ponytail of the woman going through it. Vic's jaw dropped. "Stephanie?"

'Stephanie' didn't turn around for her. She lifted Vic's many white sheets that used to cover her furniture, and threw everything that wasn't of interest to her behind the pink derriere she pointed Vic's way. She was wearing a garish get-up of all pink, a big baggy jumpsuit with a funny neckline that made her look like an astronaut. It wasn't quite on brand.

"Wh- wait, Steph, what the hell are you -" Vic stumbled over her words as she did the same with her feet, wobbling to a stand. Her brain kept rebooting itself as it tried to troubleshoot this clear ERROR in her reality. "No, you can't be - how'd - If you're here for your stupid reusable smoothie cup I told you you must've left it at the gym, I never - and that was SIX YEARS AGO what are you doing here?!?" She didn't reply. Just kept searching. Vic stormed up to her and shot a hand out for her shoulder. "ARE YOU CRAZY?! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU -"

"She won't talk," a smooth male voice wafted down from the balcony. Vic jerked back from the blank brown eyes that stared through her, and whipped her attention up to the robot leaning over the balcony railing in a decidedly un-robot-like fashion. "It was the only way I could get her here. Not having to talk to you." The robot peeled off its masking tape label, and chuckled at his name - 'Dipshit'. "Vicki, Vicki... Vicster. What do we say about vandalizing company property?"

"Mack Bullard," Vic acknowledged the voice coming through her robot. Stephanie shouldered Vic's hand off her and strutted over to rummage through the other side of the apartment. "I didn't... realise agents breaking and entering with exes was in... my... contract..." Vic seethed between her teeth. "Nor did I read 'possessing my shit' in the fine print."

The robot shrugged, struggling to get the sticky tape off its fingers. "Your contract's almost at its end. And forgive STAs for intruding on our own property, but you're a hard girl to get a hold of."

"Well you've got me now," she exasperated. "What is it? Wanna talk about renewing the contract? At two-fucking-AM?" She threw a dirty look back at Stephanie. Near her feet, Pinhead poked his head out from the mess, hiding. It clicked. She ignored the instinct to put her hand on the pocket the chip was tucked in. "Whatever you're looking for, you're not gonna find it here. I'll look over whatever contracts you want tomorrow, Christ."

"We know you have her." Bullard stated. "We know you were at the beach-"

"Oh yeah, who told you that, Tobias Flanagan?" Vic mocked him in a very stupid voice, "I made you take 'tracking chip' out of the contract."

"We weren't tracking you."

A hand snaked around her waist to her pocket and Vic snatched it away, shoving Stephanie back with a gust of wind. Pinhead made a painstakingly slow dash for it.

"Don't be such a diva, Vicster! This is all just to ensure that Miss Wright's memories of her service are passed down to her successor, to make life easier for you."

"... Right." On a normal day, she wouldn't be all-g with her agency taking her dead not-really-girlfriend's memories anyway. But this was swiftly escalating to a, 'there's definitely something more nefarious going on, how did I not realise how shifty these guys were earlier' situation. Gold mist sputtered from Stephanie's fingers like glitter. "You couldn't go through SINS to get her. What the hell makes you think getting past me will be any easier?"

Rudy and Zach the robots marched out of Vic's jam room to flank Bullard. Stephanie pressed a button on her collar, and a glass dome sprang up around her head. Vic instantly regretted asking the question.

"It's company property you're living in, Vicster." Bullard tutted. All three robots whirred, their limbs transforming into... very... gun-like protrusions. Huh. Vic didn't know they did that. A sickening crack sounded behind her. She twisted around to see Pinhead, frozen under the pressure of a tacky fuchsia heel.

"... Your skin, I mean."

The robots fired. Pinhead crunched. Useless sparkles shot off. But what screamed over it was the shrill sound of all the air in the apartment being sucked out through unseen vents. Vic struggled as the air rapidly fled the scene. She smashed in Stephanie's helmet with an award. A tranquilizer got her leg. Her head slammed against glass, multiple times, and then -

And then she was out the window, along with the couch. She faded in and out of consciousness and being. Somewhere between the concussion and the oxygen deprivation, she'd lost how she got here. She clutched onto Freddy tight. The crab came and went with her.




Now.


Vic jerked up in bed, feeling like she'd just fallen seventeen stories into it. A video played on the flatscreen television on the wall. Her own face bobbed and swayed on screen, in a shower cap, red dye leaking onto her forehead, and prioritizing her smirk over forming her words. Her eyes quick to dart away whenever they made contact with the lens, always interested in elsewhere, even when the camera pulled her in close to...

Vic scrambled for the remote. Beep - tex, the American superpowered superstar, front-woman of Cold Front, has still yet to be spotted since falling out the window of her apartment. STAs has released a statement -

She turned off the TV and was cast into darkness.




Vic dressed up and left the VIP suite of Shapeless. Her once bottle-red hair was now dyed silver, with brown roots showing. The ~disguise~ made her look like a ghost, but somehow less unhealthy than what that iconic Vicki Vortex red did for her. She could almost say that her skin fell back on the spectrum of what skin should look like. She slipped out the back of the club into the alleyway for her morning smoke.

Just one, she instructed herself as she shuffled it out of the packet and lit it up. A moaning caught her attention. Like a sick cat, only bigger, deeper, and more distinctly annoying. She sauntered towards the open skip bin the groans echoed from. She hauled herself up and leaned over. Her eyes crinkled in amusement at what she found within.

"So this is where you've been," she said. She took in a long draw and exhaled through her nostrils, smoke curling around her smirk. "Did the Rat throw you out?"

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Two yellow slits gleamed in the darkness of the bin. A mountain of meat, pale, sickly green in colour, the skin stretched too far and too tight. Carnifex unit 04, nicknamed 'Scourge'. He looked vaguely like a man, but he was more like several; melded and sewn together within a mad scientist's flesh pits.

The creature straightened himself, his sigh muffled through a mask of thick, black leather. ”I’m TRASH,” he replied, with a coarse, rumbling voice like an avalanche. ”So my creator threw me out… like trash. LAST WEEK’S trash.”

The creature drew out a groan as he fell back. Lower, and lower, a slow descent that ended with a dumpster-rattling thud. Tin cans tumbled. Rats scurried. Pigeons retreated, but scattered their surprise all over the alley walls.

The creature laid on his back and stared, into nothing in particular, content to contemplate on its sorry existence…

...Until he realised that Vic was still there, and he turned his narrowing eyes towards her. ”Whaddaya want, Vortex?! Can't you see that I'm SULKING?"

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Vic returned his whining with a cheeky brow raise. "I see you, Oscar," she placated, "Momdad issues, huh. Take my advice, make bank then change your number. Works a charm."

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Scourge blinked. There was... a distinct lack of insults in her reply. He glanced aside to consider her words. ”So you're saying… money takes the ache away?" He asked, with a voice lower than she'd heard before.

He cast his gaze downwards, and his mind wandered. A vast mansion. Vaults full of gold. Swimming pools full of movie stars. Maids in leather and leotard feeding him grapes as he slouched upon a throne of petrified, muscular heroes…

”Ohhhhhh, now that's the dream…," he purred, his eyes starry and gazing off into the distance.

...But the dream faded, and Vic's face returned to fill his vision.

”But… where do I START?" He asked, his posture straightening as he looked up to Vic. Flies buzzed around him, reveling in the rot and decay which had accumulated over the days.

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"For you..." Vic scrutinized him. She tapped her chin with her cigarette as she genuinely thought it over. "You know, the weirder... and more niche somebody's sex thing is, the more they'll pay for it. You're..." Her eyes flicked down to his forearms, where she recalled that slimy, acidic tongue slithering out on its way to crush her trachea. "... definitely somebody's niche."

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Scourge's eyes widened into big, fat 'O's. ”I'm… I'm WHAT?" His face froze. Disbelief was splattered all over his face, and Vic saw the tiniest hint of pink fill up his cheeks.

Scourge thought it over. And over, and over. ”I… I mean… I think I'd enjoy the work. And I'm definitely... He looked down, to the black leather triangle between his legs, something foul and far too large straining behind it. ”...Built… for it."

The monster pondered for a little bit longer. Then stirred. ”Alright, Vortex. You've convinced me!" The meat mountain rose to his feet, his steps like rumbling thunder within the bin.

”I'm Scourge the gigolo, BABY," The monster spread his arms, and garbage tumbled off his triumphant, rising form. ”AND I'M TAKING ON THE WORLD!"

Scourge looked down, to the flies which had gathered around his body. He had not thought of them before, but at this moment, he couldn't bear their presence any longer. ”Ugh. You might wanna stand back for a sec."

With a bellowing roar, Scourge curled his arms to his chest and flexed. His muscles swelled, and the stitches alll over his body tore, expelling a black and red haze that felled every fly in his vicinity...

...And spread a foul, sulfuric scent in the process.

”I'm gonna take a shower." Scourge looked down, his gaze drawn to Vic's new dye job. ”That's a good look for you, by the way,” he admitted through a lowered voice. ”Makes you look less like a crackhead."

The fallen flies sizzled, dissolving onto the pavement by their feet.

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Vic cringed in the air bubble she'd made for herself. Wow, didn't expect to talk him into being a whore that easy. Actually, she wasn't sure she liked what she'd unleashed on this day.

"Keep workshopping that," she coughed in the face of his 'compliment.' She leaned her head in her hand and looked deliberately away. "And after you shower, I don't know, there's this cafe that does pottery classes in the CBD. Before you commit to turning tricks."

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Some time later…

Cafe Michelangelo. Various pots and urns stacked upon shelves that stood against a thick brick wall. The tables were carved of polished mahogany, the chairs, black and sleek; every edge a finely handcrafted curve. Vic and Scourge set themselves on a table fit for four, the latter's hulking form dominating much of the area for himself, even as he sat hunched within his beige trench coat and trilby.

"Hey, Vortex. I realise, I hadn't asked..." He looked to her, with gigantic hands slathered in mud. "How, uh, how have you been?"

He glanced left and right, then leaned closer. "No offense, but a star like you wouldn't be caught dead hangin' out with my Dadmum." His voice lowered further. "There are way, way easier - safer, even - ways to get crack."

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Vic punched the misshapen vase she was attempting, returning it to goo. The coffee and half-eaten bagel on the table jumped at her aggression. She was having a hard time. The cast on her right hand she'd received from smashing in Scourge's face a couple days ago definitely wasn't helping.

"For the last time," she seethed out of the medical mask she wore. She was in gaudy tiger print jeans and a singlet boasting The Endless Summer, wishing she'd brought a jacket with her to combat how overdramatic the aircon was in this joint. She kicked Scourge under the table with her boot. "Stop it with the crack talk. And I wouldn't be, so call me Cooper out here."

She started rubbing her clay back up into a phallic shape. "I didn't take a trip down the murder labyrinth and kick your ass for drugs. I had my reasons." She shrugged. "It really sounds like it should be, but I can't say it was my worst decision. Things have been... better here, in Shapeless. I’ve dropped the gin, been drinking a lot of this detox tea stuff. Feeling springy. But Shape won’t pick up a hint and I still haven’t taken Maeve out for saving my life, so, I’ve just been masturbating to my own O-face I got access to from my dead girlfriend’s memories. Not my first choice of a rebound either. But you don’t get many options when you’re going incognito to avoid being killed by your agency over a contract disagreement. Ah shit, and H.P. Lovecraft's wet dream's coming to kill us - why is this so hard."

Her pottery creation flopped over.

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"Stop it with the crack talk. And I wouldn't be, so call me Cooper out here."

Scourge held both his hands up. "Okay! Okay! Just had to ask, y'know, considering the reputation of some musicians..."

The monster clasped his arms and tucked his chin atop them as he listened. He nodded along at first, a smile creeping up his eyes at her posigive comments… but wrinkles swiftly set between his brows and underneath his eyes as her rant became more… personal.

"Whoa, whoa, VORTEX!" He yelled, shaking head and hand alike. "Now that's TOO much information!" Scourge froze. The gears in his head turned to imagine what Vic's O face would look like….

...A malnourished Thai ladyboy getting railed by a seedy sex tourist, he privately concluded.

Scourge shifted into whispering distance, and cocked a brow. "So… you're interested in The Boss." The monster gave a slow nod. "I expected trashier tastes from you, Vortex!.. But I can't deny, the man's got style..." His gaze wandered to the side as he purred, "And he sure can rock a fucking tie~"

Scourge leaned back and folded his overly long, orangutan-like arms. "HMMM… know what I think? I think you ought to go for a more direct approach," Scourge turned back towards her. "Like… fuck the hints, and the mind games, and the innuendo," Scourge pumped his fists. "Just get out there, pull him into an empty closet, AND JUMP HIS BONES."

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"SCOURGE. Your entire THING is too much information," Vic snapped back, shaking her hand at his whole self.

She glanced over her shoulder. Luckily, pottery wasn't too hot right now with the whole 'the end is nigh' blues hanging over their heads, but they'd caught the attention of the few that were in here, and every single one of them had a phone on their person. Including the man with the doomsday sign at the window. Vic turned cautiously back to what she was doing and rested her heel on the edge of the table. A fat slap of clay hit Scourge in the face.

"Maybe I just like playing," she continued, "Maybe I want to function as more than a fucking wall socket."

Her throat clenched, swallowing down another thought.

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Scourge hunched low, allowing the shadow cast by his trilby to hide his features. Clay splattered over his face, and his gaze darted back towards Vic. The crease between his brows deepened.

"Maybe I want to function as more than a fucking wall socket."

Those words repeated in his mind. It was a simple sentence, but the sentiment behind it… was… head scratching. Not unlike how Vic’s hands struggled with the clay, his head meat struggled to digest such thoughts. The more he tried, the more his skull throbbed and thudded.

”Look, uh… I’m like, the worst person to discuss this with,” he said quite frankly. ”Dadmum... wired me a certain way. I eat, I kill, I fuck. Thinking ain’t even a word in my dictionary.” Scourge paused and stared at Vic for a long, silent moment.

”I’m a fucking wall socket. But you don’t have to be,” He realised. ”...Maybe... you can be direct… without... fucking him.” His eyes lit up, as if he had come into a discovery worthy of Aristotle. ”You humans love your lunch dates, right?! A bottle of wine to loosen the lips, some scones to pump the dopamine, and y’all can figure each other out.”

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Vic stared at Scourge, the last of her bagel poking between her teeth, the rest of it bulging in her cheek. She jerked suddenly back to reality and shifted her foot off the table.

".... Right. Bottom line, nine story murder dungeon under - at this point? - what I assume to be his house. Either keeping me around because he knows how to dispose of me, or he trusts me, and if he does, then what the hell kind of person does that make me? Do you like it? It's a decanter. Don't become a prostitute."

She shoved her very... suspicious creative decanter over to him and got up, her chair dragging loudly against the floor. Without a glance, at the very split second a flash started to go off, she flipped her finger for a photo on her way out.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Sheri Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape)
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Richard raised a hand to interject just before George could begin responding. "Hold on, I know I'm repeating myself here, but we're still ignoring the giant mutant Witchfinder, Balthazar. Like I already said, there were rumors of those things in Belarus, and Devon thought maybe we could find info in what was Old East Germany. If Sasha's saying these drugs have some ties to Russia, and these Balthazar things were used in a Civil War that involved Russia, I think that's worth investigating." He paused for a moment to see if George or the others would say anything in response.

"At any rate, whatever we do, we need to follow an actual lead. We can't run up and down the East Coast checking every dock to see where this stuff is being shipped to, and for all we know they could be shipping to multiple cities, maybe even to the West Coast too. And we still don't know who it is that's behind all of this. For what it's worth, I think we should investigate where they ship to, but I think we need to learn more about who we're dealing with. Maybe that book has some answers, maybe Russia does, and maybe there's more to be found in Europe or here on the coast. There's a lot of avenues here to cover, and I'm not sure how we're gonna manage the time to be going back and forth between all these places."


George quietly cleared his throat to regain control of the room, to which Richard silently conceded, sitting back to hear what 'the boss' had to say. "As a matter of fact, the ship is equipped with several hypersonic VTOL troop transports. Getting you to Europe, even Russia, could be done in a matter of a few hours. Timed correctly, you could be in Russia one day, and back in Atlas City the next. The sub will do its part to take advantage of our maritime access points."

He'd briefly thumbed through some of the pages in the black book, and with his other hand gently, and absentmindedly, drew circles across the tabletop. "Most of these numbers are American, but a few here and there seem foreign. I assume this belonged to a Witchfinder? Some of these contacts are likely other Witchfinders, but the foreign ones... Well, I'll have some of my people look into this, we might have a faint trail to follow here. In terms of going to Russia, I can ensure you have easy entrance. We're going to be owing a 'favor', but fortunately this favor benefits us as much as it benefits the man we'll owe it to. There's a situation developing there, one which I know no details of thus far, but I expect it's going to be relevant to our interests."

"Before we plan that out much more though, I've also got a personal question George. The Beach, and Doctor Heather Wright. What happened to her in that recording George, what did she see, what did YOU see, and more generally... What is going on?" Richard's words were firm and interrogating, except at the end. There was a slight let up in his voice, a strain. Worry, trying not to teeter into fear.

George released a deep sigh, casting a somber, melancholy gaze over the group as he searched for the words to say. "The world is so dreadfully complicated, and secrets only complicate it more. I've had to deal in secrets for so long... We all have..."

He looked between Henry and Devon for a moment. "Let's start with those soldiers I suppose. Firstly, how would they know who I am and what I'm doing? Well the answer is simple: they wouldn't. My associations, connections, all the work I do, has been completely clandestine. The only people who have any knowledge of what I do is those within our organization. Even all of you are still very much outside of the know on these matters. And the chances they infiltrated our organization is practically impossible, partly because they’d have no idea how to find us, let alone join. They should not, under any circumstance, know who I am or what I do. And yet, someway, somehow, they do."

There was a brief pause to let that information sink in. "What we do know is that this is not my first encounter with them. Our organization has undertaken…. Other investigations in the past. On some occasions, we were intercepted by this shadowy group, but not on all of them. I can’t recall right now when our first interaction with them was, but I believe it was sometime in the 1980’s. So, we have some history, and as Freischütz correctly observed, you will undoubtedly be facing them at some point. Luckily, I can assure you that they are at least human, as far as we can tell. They still bleed, still die. We’ll need to develop strategies that capitalize on all of your unique powers to ensure you can perform a swift, deadly response if needed."

"Now, as for what Akiko asked, as well as what Richard inquired, both that artifact and Doctor Heather Wright are connected. You see… March 12th was not the first time Earth was visited by something like this. To my knowledge, it was February 24th, 1974."

______________________________________________________________________________________


The phones of Club Shapeless’s most prominent employees (and associates) gently buzzed or beeped as a message came through. Short and simple; Meeting at the club in 10.

Maxwell gently rinsed his face in cool water before dabbing it dry with a plush, red towel. He went about the rest of his morning, routine, dressing in a fine, charcoal grey suit, while Wagner's 'Das Rheingold', Entry of the Gods Into Valhalla, played over surround sound in his suite. No sense in denying that Lilian’s words from last night had had more of an impact than perhaps he let on.

He finished tying a dark red tie, neatly attended to his silver hair, and finally began to make his way to the conference room. This time he wore no mask, no costume, no special outfit. Some of the people in there knew his face anyways, and the ones who didn’t were trustworthy enough to be let into that inner circle now. He was deep in consideration of what the best course of action would be right now, how best to proceed in rooting out their shadowy enemy. But first, he’d need to go over the results of the battle that had taken place with the mysterious group of heroes the other day.

Entering the conference room, Maxwell took his seat at the head of the table, and waited for the others to arrive.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape)
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#, as written by Sepokku
Lilian turned off the song that had been blaring on the stereo as she raced through town. Somehow it felt fitting to be listening to Faust the night after she had made a deal with the metaphorical devil. Maxwell’s help with her research would advance her leaps and bounds, but what if she started a World War by helping outfit him against the Union? What if the Witchfinders grew in power and decided Maxwell was a threat to their interests? There were a lot of what-ifs in the air, and Lilian hated not knowing what her best course of action was. Her self-driving car slid to a quiet halt in an abandoned parking lot half a mile away from Club Shape. “What am I doing?”

The question echoed quietly in the now silent car for a split second, before the car itself answered in the same monotone that most machines used, “You have arrived two thousand one hundred and twelve feet away from the Club Shape.” With a wry smile, hidden by the helmet that Lilian always wore when dressed as the Bodhisattva, she thanked the car and reminded it to stay alert in case she needed it. Taking a step out of the car she started the short walk back to the club she had visited the night before. The bouncers from the previous night weren’t at the door; instead, it was Arnold standing at the door, his shoulders somehow wider than the doorway. “Finally,” she let out a low mutter, her voice coming out warbled and modulated by both the mask and tampering with her vocal cords.

Arnold raised an eyebrow when he saw the Bodhisattva coming, “I knew I wasn’t scheduled tonight.” Letting out a long sigh, he opened the door before cracking a crooked grin. “Lovely to see you again. My grandmum is in complete remission.”

Lilian paused to analyze Arnold. He was barrel-chested with arms like a gorilla, a bit simple, but he’d been a good person for as long as she had known him. “I told you she would. I found a great recipe for lentil soup the other day. It’s supposed to be great for recovery. I’ll bring it the next time you’re working.” She started to head inside.


Only Maxwell was in the conference room, she seemed to have beat the others here. Removing her helmet, she found a seat opposite to him and placed the helmet on the table in front of it. She sat down and smiled across the table, “Long time no see.” Crossing her legs she removed her balaclava and placed her elbow on the table, before resting her chin on the fist of that arm.

"The purpose of this meeting is full transparency in the pursuit of a meaningful alliance?” Her voice inflected upward, making the statement into a question.

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Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape)
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"... yeah, I've got the invite... I don't need to know, seriously, I don't need another reason for him to-... Jesus, fine! I'm-"

The doors slammed open. Vic slouched there, being pushed into the room by a broad green chest, holding a McDonald's cup precariously by the lid in one hand and a bottle of gin in the other - in her defense, it's very hard to cure your alcoholism when you live in a bar. Music blasted from the earphone dangling down her chest, loud enough to reach the pair on the other side of the room. Her gum popped, and she slid her sunglasses down, meeting the eyes of a very familiar man.

Well, damn. It was him.

The longer she looked, the more she felt like she was staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. She licked her lips clean of gum and grinned.

"Hey... Maxwell," she greeted, and pulled her face mask up as she moved over to jump into a seat. Right next to Lilian. One sneaker came up to rest on the edge of the table and she popped the McDonald's lid up to shamelessly pour the gin into the cup. "Can I call you Maxwell? Oh, sorry -" she stuck the lid back on and shoved the straw under her mask to slurp, holding a hand out to Lilian. Something about the hazardous, uncouth collage of tiger stripes, dyed hair and a hippy vest looked... really, really out of place in the business room of ties and blazers, and she threw herself around completely aware of it.

"Jane. How you do."

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Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape)
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Behind Vicki Vortex was a pillar of green flesh, thrice her size and naked save for a pair of boots and a thong. In his bloated hands was an equally oversized tray with a dozen bowls and plates - sushi, sashimi, miso soup, takoyaki, yakitori - and chopsticks to eat with.

”Hey BOSS!” Scourge called out to Maxwell, then looked to Lilian with a quirked brow. ”...And Woman!” He lumbered towards the table and set down the tray. ”I brought Japanese. I hear it’s good for the SOUL!” His voice was a gargled shout, with a lack of subtlety that matched his appearance.

His eyes wandered to the seat on the other side of Lilian, and widened. That was where THEY sat. A hot, heavy feeling rose within him. A heat so intense that it made his chest feel so tight and small. He glared daggers towards the empty seat, and every voice in his head compelled him to hoist it up and toss it through the wall…

...Every voice, save one.

”Make bank then change your number. Works a charm."

Scourge blinked, then exhaled. He approached his creator’s seat, dragged it out, then sat. The metal creaked and bent under his weight, yet somehow, it didn’t break. ”Hmmm… feels nice to be the one sitting down this time. HE HE HE!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Sheri Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape)
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Sheri's eyes flickered toward Henry at his insistance they weren't a kill squad. Hmph.





Maeve bent low to avoid the door frame as she stepped into the room, closing the doors gently behind her with a barely audible click. She straightened, looming over nearly everyone else in the room save the frankenstinian servant, her gaze sweeping over those gathered and lingering ever so briefly on the sloppy woman opposite Landon. A familiar face.

She crossed the room in two steps, plaster dust shaking faintly off her boots. Maeve lowered herself slowly into the seat on the other side of Maxwell from Bodhisattva, inclining her head slightly to nod to the other two women in greeting, then turned to regard Maxwell instead.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Sheri Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss
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George frowned slightly at Henry’s insinuation. "Henry, allow me to clarify something. I’m not asking you, any of you, to go out and be a ‘kill squad’. While our organization won’t hesitate to kill when necessary, understand we’re not some government organization, or some corporate entity, going around erasing anyone that’s ‘inconvenient to us’. Understand that we’ve been interacting with this group for nearly sixty years. In all that time, do you think we never attempted to capture an enemy combatant alive? To try and interrogate and gleam some information off of them."

The look on the old man’s face contorted slightly, an attempt at hiding the sense of discomfort what he was about to say made him feel. "Understand, these people WILL kill you if they are able to. They have no qualms with killing whoever stands in their way. More importantly, they have no qualms with dying, or tying up loose ends. Any live combatant we captured died. Sometimes it was cyanide pills, sometimes it was turning their gun against themselves, sometimes it was their heads exploding in front of us. The times they tried to tell us anything, all they could do was weep and cry about the danger their loved ones were in, or the futility of their lives. I need you to understand, whatever your morals and values, these people live and die by entirely different rules than you. They will not ever hesitate to try and kill you."

Richard shrugged. "Based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m not particularly worried about needing to kill one of them. They don’t seem particularly concerned for human life, especially when they showed up in Atlas City."

George turned a narrowed gaze to Richard. "Be that as it may, as I said, you’re not a kill squad. I expect you all to do whatever it takes to protect your lives, and the lives of innocents. If, by some chance, you’re able to capture these soldiers alive, I would consider that a valuable asset in our mission. But I consider all of you much more valuable. Do not put your lives at risk against these people. Be smart, and fight hard."

The vigilante reddened slightly, but nodded obligatorily. "Fair enough. But I am curious, was there anything you were able to learn from these soldiers at all? Even just where they all came from?"

George nodded slowly, hesitantly. "In a manner of speaking. Some bodies could be identified, and the ones we were able to have raised many questions. Among them, we’ve found soldiers, convicted criminals, construction workers, outdoorsmen, frankly a large spectrum of people with no real unifying career connections. In fact, many of them aren’t even from the same countries, or speak the same language. Americans, Russians, Indians, Brazilians, Congolese, and so many, many more. With enough digging and research, we were able to find that many of them couldn’t even speak English, or another unifying language, so how did they end up being hired and working together? How does such a cobbled together force end up being so incredibly effective?"

The old man paused once more to take another sip of water, brow furrowing further as he returned to Henry’s questions. "As for what happened in the 70s, we’ve got more than just files, I can assure you of that. We’ve documented it about as well as could possibly be hoped for, but I need to also clarify something else. Unless their spies have infiltrated our organization, and I doubt they have, SINS, NAHLA, the CIA, the US Government in general, all know nothing about ‘First Contact’. I am one of a small number of people on this planet that knows this event even happened. It was a struggle to suppress it even from the British Government and other interested parties in the United Kingdom, but we managed, with difficulty."

______________________________________________________________________________________


Maxwell’s eyes rose to meet the approaching figure of Bodhisattva, a smile forming on his face as she took the seat opposite of him and, with the simple removal of helmet and balaclava, reintroduced him to the familiar face of Lilian. "A long time indeed. But very pleased to see you again face to face." He said with a soft, somewhat nostalgic smile. "As for my current attire, it’s partly transparency, but largely I want to seal the bonds of trust with the people I consider most important in our organization. What better way of demonstrating that trust, of proving what value these people have to me, than revealing what lies under the mask of their mysterious employer?" Before anything more could be said, the door opened once more as someone dressed in a manner best described as ‘loud’ entered. Maxwell recognized Vicki Vortex, though the changes she’d underwent more recently had made her much harder for those outside of Club Shapeless to identify.

As their eyes met, a knowing look passed over his face, as if to reassure her that yes, she was seeing the same man who helped protect her from the paparazzi a few days prior. "Maxwell, The Shape, Mr. Landon, all those work fine. I’ve even been called Max from time to time, though I’m not as young as when I was last called that." He chuckled as he leaned back in his seat, crossing his left ankle on top of his right knee. Vicki, for her part, showed her usual lack of deference by placing her feet up on the table. Anyone else might find it to be a variety of negative things, but Maxwell found it quite amusing. ‘Devil May Care’ attitudes were just as fitting in this room as a suit and tie. The gin, however, may pose more of a problem. He’d not had time to keep a very watchful eye on her, but he hoped this wasn’t a ‘bad habit’. Bad habits, while useful for lower ranking volunteers of Maxwell’s, were not always as useful with those in his inner circle. Something he’d pay attention to in the future.

Next, Scourge entered the room, his incredibly large arms filled with an incredibly large quantity of Sushi. Maxwell was quite sure he hadn’t seen this much at one time since the last business trip he’d had in Japan last October, when he still controlled The Union. "If you don’t mind my saying Scourge, a piece of advice I’d offer; don’t eat too fast, and use the ginger as a palate cleanser. Gives you a chance to enjoy more of the flavors to their fullest. And I do hope you enjoy your new seat at the table as well." He smiled, but was quick to notice the sound of the chair’s strain. Seemed he’d have to put in an order for something more custom made.

Finally, Maeve entered, towering over most of the others, and quietly taking her seat. Maxwell noticed her regard for Lilian and Vicki, and it occurred he may need to introduce them, but he’d give both women the chance to do that for themselves first. He gave a pleased nod to Maeve, as always, happy to see her taking her ‘chosen place’. She wanted to establish her position in the organization, and that kind of dedication always brought a sense of pride in Maxwell. "Maeve, thank you for joining us all. Now that it seems nearly everyone is here, I think we can start."

He looked firstly between Maeve and Scourge, before continuing. "I don’t wish to start on a dour note, but I don’t think it should be avoided. I want a full report on what happened at that warehouse, to Zeke, and what you know of the heroes who showed up."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape)
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#, as written by Sepokku
The first arrival after herself entered the meeting, and with an amused smile, Lilian watched as the newcomer came into the room with an air of disrespect. The new arrival’s taste in music wasn’t bad, she was a girl with good taste in that regard at least. The music got louder and louder until Lilian found herself sitting next to the woman who was supposed to be a partner for the immediate future.

“Jane. How you do.”

The bemusement that had spread across her face slowly turned to a cold and serious expression. “Yes, Jane Doe. I'm Lilian, Lily for short.” A towering viridescent pillar of flesh followed shortly after Jane, “And John Doe.” She honestly couldn’t help but feel the corners of her mouth slowly turn up as the creature made its place next to her and laid out its Japanese feast. The poor thing could barely form a coherent sentence but it was a specimen with incredible physical prowess as if the ancient city of Sparta had sculpted the creature with their utter devotion to the craft.

It took more than a little self-restraint to stop herself from reaching out and touching the creature that sat before her. The stitchwork alone suggested he had been made by another biological tinker, and she always learned much from dissembling something. Thankfully the next person to enter distracted her thoroughly enough.

A towering figure sculpted from ivory and adorned with lustrous onyx features strode into the door. The figure took her seat and Maxwell started the meeting without further ado. Lilian perked up slightly as she leaned back in her chair and listened to him with her eyes closed.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape)
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Scourge held a thumb and index finger to his chin as Maxwell gave his advice. “HO! Spoken like a true - what’s that word - gore-meh, BOSS!” Scourge cackled, feeling smug at his use of a fancy word, as he filled up a plate of sushi. He made sure to grab an excessive amount of ginger on the side.

“I want a full report on what happened at that warehouse, to Zeke, and what you know of the heroes who showed up."

The smugness drained from his face. His wrinkles and veins deepened, as memories of defeat swam back to the surface. “It.. was a disaster, Boss,” Scourge admitted through a low voice. “By the time we got there, the whole place was all up in smoke! Worse still, five heroes were in our way. A gunslinger, a blob of ink, two red-headed midgets, some ghost broad, and that famous hero who freaked out Zeke…”

Scourge scratched his temple and furrowed his brows. “...Uhhhh, Dragon of Arizona, was it?” Scourge folded his arms with a huff. “I squared up against her. She was FAST! ...And a lot stronger than I expected.” The giant undead monster chuckled. “But I can take a hit. And I DID. Over, and over, and over, and OVER! Until… Well, I couldn’t. Thought I was done for. But then…”

Scourge shrugged. “She just… disappeared. Into some weird circle of swirling energy. I was a WRECK, though! I couldn’t even stand.” He bowed his head. “So I crawled. Back to My Creator... He wasn’t pleased.”

Scourge cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his head. “As for Zeke, he was tangled up in a fight against the gunslinger. There was fire and smoke EVERYWHERE. Last I saw, he got a whole pizza place dropped on him.” Scourge looked between Maeve, Vicki, Lilian, and back to Maxwell. “Not to be grim, Boss, but Maeve and I can survive that. No way HE can.” And as far as Maxwell knew, Pyromancer had not heeded any messages or calls from the organisation...

Setting

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Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape)
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Maeve leaned one arm on the table, resting her chin in the palm of her hand. The assumption that Pyro was dead was an easy one, but if years of fighting with the Fomóraigh had taught her anything, it was not to take death as fact until she'd seen the body.

And disposed of it.

"It would be prudent to move forward under the assumption he's been captured instead," she mused. Her voice would be nearly inaudible if it weren't for the reasonably close proximity in which they all sat. "And make whatever changes necessary to prevent information leaks."

Her eyes flickered over to "John Doe", his mangled face reflected in them like smooth black glass. "As you said, they have a ghost broad."

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Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape)
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Vic smoothly turned the rejected handshake from Lilian into a hi-5 from Scourge without breaking eye contact with the woman. She settled back into her chair and listened to the meeting while trying to use chopsticks with her hand in a cast. She had known Zeke, somewhat, on the day he went MIA, as an asshole who was her guide into hell and threw a fireball at her back that still stung. Eh, maybe it was a shame. She was clawing Scourge's eyes out a couple days ago.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Sheri Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss
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"So, everything is more complicated than we'd realized. Guess it's not entirely unexpected. When we come face to face with those troops again, it's gonna be an interesting talk," Henry sighed, leaning back in his chair. "As for everything else. We'll need to know just what happened in the 70s, George. And maybe just how it is you know all this. But first thing's first. If the current mission we're tasked with has to do with stopping the shipment of these drugs, that's what I think we should focus on first. I still think we should start taking a look at the shipments coming into the west coast before we make our way to Europe."

***

"If what you're looking for is better intel on your opposition, there's no better record keeper than one of my machines. Of course, it's prime directives lied elsewhere but I able to glean a bit of footage of the little scuffle from it's databanks." Gauss' voice chimed in, his nanomachines beginning to emit video footage, holographically. Two different videos, showcasing the group of heroes that had faced them at the warehouse. The videos were seconds long, but Gauss was able to pause both, so those gathered got a good look at their foes. "And if I clean up the footage a bit...there." he stated as the footage's resolution became far far clearer. "I have to admit, I don't recognize any of them. And I'd convinced any official organizations wanting to butt their noses in that this was already being looked into by the local authorities. While, it's possible they were simply some nosey vigilantes, perhaps there's something worth looking into here.""

Setting

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Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss
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Vic stopped mid-slurp of her gin. Her groove came to halt, and the noodles she'd been struggling with slipped from the grip of her chopsticks.

Holy shit. The footage from the warehouse. She knew those guys.