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Gideon Gauss

I have the will that will pave the way!

0 · 240 views · located in Atlas City

a character in “Hadean”, as played by PirateofPie

Description

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Theme 1 – [url][/url]
Theme 2 – [url][/url]
Theme 3 – [url][/url]
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Full Name: Gideon Gauss
Alias: None
Age: 52
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Caucasian

Hair: Blonde

Eye color: Green

Body: hard to tell in a suit, but he appears to keep in good shape.

Height: 6'4

Weight: 257 lbs

Hometown: Atlas City

Affiliation(s): Mayor of Atlas City

Personality: The Mayor of Atlas city, who hopes to continue bringing the city into the future!


Likes:
- Voters

- Public Adoration

- Technological Advancement

- Martial Arts

- Antique Collecting



Dislikes:
- People with no vision

- The technologically stunted

- Unforeseen circumstances

-




Fears:
- Lack of public adoration

- Great harm be calling Atlas City and the world at large

-

-


Skills:
- An expert at the political sciences

- Well studied in other sciences, particularly robotics and meta-physics.

- Well traveled

- Has trained proficiency in Tae Kwan Do, Jeet Kun Do, Judo, Karate, Tai Chi, Krav Maga, Bajiquan, Muay Thai, Capoeira, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Sambo, and one last obscure martial arts.

Costume Identities: N/A

[url]Uniform[/url]
[url]Mask[/url]


Equipment:
- Tie

- Suit

- "Protection field provides by a "healer" from Tibet. Being the mayor of Atlas city can be dangerous!






Background: A native son of Atlas City, Gideon always had a large vision of where that city would head into the future, and now that he's an elected official, he has the means to see it through. First step was mayor and the next step...governor!



Powers: N/A

Name -
[Type of Power – Level (#)]



Power Origins:



Image


Color Code:[color=](insert color code here for easy reference)[/color]

So begins...

Gideon Gauss's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Yue Bayushi Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Albrecht von Richthofen Character Portrait: Evangeline Richter Character Portrait: Hugo Hemrod Character Portrait: Joseph Wright Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Hudson Li Character Portrait: Amy Lin Character Portrait: Leah Lin Character Portrait: Ezekiel Walker
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March 12th, 2045, 9:40am: Atlas City, North Carolina, USA

Day 2


Albert's comms crackled to life as a reply came through. "HQ here Albert. Not certain on that ETA yet, government is supposed to be filling us in on that soon. Sounds like the weapon is some sort of canon, or artillery, not sure. They're going to level the residential area close to the beach, they want civvies moved to the West as much as possible to avoid any collateral."

______________________________________________________


As Vicki and Maeve arrived on scene to help defeat the Beast of Decay, close to a dozen of its offspring rushed up onto the beach, with 3 targeting Maeve, 2 targeting Vicki, and the remaining others charged towards where Yue, Jericho, and Alex were operating. The sand behind these creatures darkened, as patches of dark mold grew.

______________________________________________________


And explosion of noise erupted from the entrance of one of the roads leading to the beach, as several of the Beast's offspring were torn to shreds, some bursting into bits of flame. The massive .50 caliber machine gun Richard had was making quick work of the offspring, but this was little more than a temporary measure. The man in tweed too had fired off shots, taking out two more of the dark beasts before needing to reload.

Down another adjacent street, explosions could be heard as offspring got blasted into gory, misty messes. Richard and the man in tweed looked over to see Man-Hawk working to keep his own street cleared of monsters, and allowing more innocents to escape.

______________________________________________________


Three more offspring landed around Man-Hawk, heavy, wet breathing audible all around him as they all lashed out with their veins, and malformed, claw equipped arms. So far he was managing to dodge the attacks, but another distraction had cropped up, now bursting from... His coms? His phone?

The sound was blaring from phones, radios, TVs, and everything else across the city.

______________________________________________________


Across the city, supers and humans alike, both heroes, villains, and average folk, got the startling, hopeless tone of a National Emergency Alert coming through on whatever speakers were close by. Even the heroes on the beach, the NAHLA heroes, ACHI, and SINS were getting the same message.

"This message is being transmitted at the request of the United States Government. This is not a test. An existential threat against the United States of America has appeared on the coast of Atlas City, North Carolina. The United States Government has commenced preparations for a counter offensive against the threat. A forward assault base will be established in the residential area of Atlas City closest to beach front. All homes and buildings in this area will be demolished in 20 minutes to create space for this counter offensive. Please evacuate the area immediately and retreat to safe zones set up by emergency and government services, as well as hero organizations. Safe Zones will be located in the following locations."

The message continued by listing various locations across the city to be retreated to. 20 minutes. The city had 20 minutes to ensure all living civilians were out of the front line before the military did whatever it was they had planned.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss
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Henry had managed to take all the energy he had left to escape from the boardwalk area with the gathered heroes. He felt like he'd run two marathons in a single day. It was absolutely exhaustion. One super was still fighting the beast. Everyone has given it all they had and it still wasn't enough.

If all the heroes, around the world, had shown up to put a stop to this monster, would they even be able to put a dent in it permanently? Something was wrong...what was this thing. What was it's arrival signalling. It was surreal, hard to believe, that as long as heroes had been on this Earth, they were not prepared for this.

People died. They were not ready. He was sure if it now...this was what brought him back to Atlas. It had to be this. This couldn't just happen again. Back, decades ago, when the world awoke to power and things changed, mankind never thought it would go through that again.

But this was it...the moment they needed to step up once more. To be better. To think bigger.

This could not happen again.

***

A drone had hovered high above the city, smashing apart and shattering into nothingness after the Beast's assault against the reactor. Other drones monitored the city, documenting the sheer catastrophe enveloping in America's hero hub, all in the screen of a small phone, tightly gripped by shaking hands.

This was his city after all, his hometown. Gideon Gauss did not want to see his city burn. It was hard...loss of life in this scale could not be easily accounted for. Some families wouldn't even have bodies to bury. He felt for them. Once the dead and the lost had been determined, their loved ones would receive handsome compensation. Then there was the Beach...that was a heavy blow. Jobs were lost, lives were lost. The heroes lost.

The heroes lost. Gideon learned all he needed to know, giving the footage a once over. There was only one scene he'd watched twice over. The Death of Lone Star. Arrogance incarnate and now...?

"Sir?" A woman in a suit stood behind him, large sunglasses painting her face as even more expressionless than it was naturally. "The people are looking for you to say something."

Gideon looked over the footage once more before putting away his phone, managing to lose his smirk as he turned around and straightened his tie. "It's days like this that are the hardest," the blonde man sighed. "The ones where I get proven right."

"Mayor Gauss..." The woman with the shades spoke in slight reprimand.

"Oh, don't worry," Gideon reassured her. "The people need comfort right now, I understand that. But there are times when comfort isn't enough. Perhaps, I won't cancel my afternoon appointment after all. This is a time for action."

With that, the mayor turned around and stepped away from his makeshift office, towards a sea of worried faces gathered in the bunker with him. He had no podium, no teleprompter with him this time. He spoke from the heart.

Gideon Gauss loved his city. And when the brightest minds dimmed and the demi-gods that soared through the sky, fly too close to the sun, only to fall...He would be there to save his city.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Amelia Brunel Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Niall Khadkani
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Henry stayed quiet for a moment, listening to the others talk. Food really wouldn't be bad at the moment, come to think of it. He got up and moved out of the way so the pink and white haired kids could take their friend to the tent. Biting her tongue...that's rough. Good thing they managed to get back to the tent in time.

And then suddenly. A bit of excited movement was spotted in the corner of his eye from Akiko. It seems Klaus had awakened and appeared....different. Work out. Looking over from his chair, Henry nodded.

"Yo, Cobalt!" he greeted with a surprised expression. Klaus seemed alert but still worse for wear, like he hadn't slept in days. "Good to see you awake, man but uh...what the hell happened to you?" he asked.

***

"There aren't any words I can say that will comfort you and for that, I apologize. Many lost their lives today, heroes and civilians alike. I don't have the full details myself, but rest assured once the area is secured, the details will be made public and the loved ones of the deceased will be notified.

...And speaking of such matrers, I like to take it upon myself to personally pay for the funeral expenses for each and every family who's lost of love one in this tragedy. I will also be starting a charity. Proceeds made to the Gideon Gauss fund will go to the those that have lost their livelihoods after the events of today... "


Gauss tapped his fingers on his desk, dismayed. The speech was almost perfect for the situation, but not quite. He'd had an impromptu meeting with some of the civilians in the various shelters after he was sure things had died down and that had gone well enough, but this speech was one addressing the entire city. It had to reassure them that when all else failed, one man still had their backs, that someone would always look out for them.

"Not sure I like the charity having my full name. Or rather I do, it belies a personal touch but the invalids of the city would scream narcissism to discredit me. Maybe just the Gauss Fund. Maybe something else...no matter. I'll run the rest through the algorithm..." he muttered to himself, pressing a button on his desk as the holographic likeness of himself presenting the speech began to pause mid-sentence, running through various programs using hundreds of thousands indifferent parameters to simulate the perfect response to a city-wide tragedy. The key word here was empathy and though the irony was not lost upon Gideon, of a virtual intelligence emulating compassion, past success has taught him to appreciate it's effectiveness. Good thing too...it could placate the masses for him while there was real work to be done.

Pressing another button on his desk, Gideon patched in his secretary. "Mrs. Lal, begin preparations downstairs, if you please. ...My afternoon's going to be rather busy, I'm thinkin'."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss
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#, as written by Nulix
Cannonade blinked as Jemma transformed before them. They didn't know the extent of Jemma's powers besides growing wings, but they seemed... diverse. Suddenly a chipper alert sounded on their phone. "Oh shit," Cannonade hummed, deepthroating the last of their pizza slice before rising from their chair.

"I'sh s'artin," They communicated with an open mouth, rubbing their hands together. They clasped Richard and Klaus' shoulders as they passed between them. With a confident swagger and a swallow they walked toward the elevator on their journey back toward their room.

***

On the balcony of their room Cannonade breathed. They could smell garlic from their breath in the tight confines of their helmet. They had suited up, ready to attend, but there was something troubling. The battle on the beach was not a victory, even Cannonade knew that. It was a disaster. They had won eventually, yes, but not without death and destruction. And the Super Roman knew they'd have to face that and the questions the press had. Cannonade sighed. It would have all been easier if they'd died. But they didn't. So, for now, they had a job to do. Cannonade leapt forward, off the balcony, and rose high into the air.

The world became colder and wetter as they ascended. Right now they needed some music. Press managing music.

"I don't fuck with you!" Big Sean's voice began to blare in their ear. "You little stupid ass bitch, I ain't fuckin' with you! You little, you little dumb ass bitch, I ain't fuckin' with you! I got a million trillion things I'd rather fuckin' do... than to be fuckin' with you."

The crowds had gathered at the waterfront pavilion- hundreds, maybe thousands in attendance for the memorial. Backstage the performers and politicians, including the mayor of Atlas City, were being prepped for showtime. On the amphitheatre stage techies prepared. The crowd was in a sombre mood. The press present readied their cameras, waiting for the memorial to begin.

And then, sonic boom.

Cannonade landed dangerously close to a small child, sending a shockwave out as they landed in the centre of the crowd. Suddenly the crowd erupted in yells as flashbulbs went off. Cannonade simply rose their hands to each side, indicating for the crowds to back off as they began to push their way forward toward the stage.

"Little stupid ass, I don't give a fuck, I don't give a fuck, I don't I don't I don't give a fuck,
bitch I don't give a fuck about you or anything that you do,
don't give a fuck about you or anything that you do."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Yue Bayushi Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Albrecht von Richthofen Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Jamie Kerrow
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Club Shapeless: Atlas City


Maxwell watched Vicki Vortex and Zeke have their little bout of bickering outside from the computer screen of his office. He chuckled slightly at the sight, finding the whole thing somewhat endearing. Zeke in particular was starting to grow on The Shape, much like Maeve and Kiran had. Spiderblood was still a slight enigma, but also still new and in need of some opportunities to really show off what they were capable of.


He stood up from his desk and walked over to one of the walls of the room, a mirror like floor to ceiling set of black marble slabs. Maxwell donned his mirror mask over his head, finished tying his black silk tie, and buttoned up his red dress shirt. Perhaps a black three-piece with a red shirt wasn’t the correct colors for mourning, but he had other, important matters to attend to.


Upon returning to his computer, Maxwell had noticed that Zeke and Vicki Vortex were taking an elevator? Down to Kiran’s floors. He sighed and frowned in mild annoyance. Shouldn’t Zeke have known better? Shouldn’t someone else have told them not to bother Kiran down there? Well… It’d be a test of their mettle to be sure. If they could survive all that, Maxwell would certainly respect them, though he wondered if Kiran would.


He left the office, heading in the direction of the conference room as guards and other employees scurried around. One of them seemed to be watching some Western movie or something? As soon as a fellow guard with him saw where The Shape’s gaze went, he slapped his coworker around, telling him to get back to work and not slack.



“Sir! SIR!” Shouting, from one of the guards that worked surveillance around the city.


“Yes, what is it?” Maxwell asked, a little taken aback by the panicked tone the guard had.


“Boss, I don’t want to alarm you, but we NEED to get a team together ASAP. Look at this!” He showed Maxwell the screen of his phone, images of a collapsed building glowing from it. “We thought this building was some kind of Witchfinder store house for a while, and it got ripped down today. But not just ripped down! There was gunfire coming from inside earlier, like a firefight! We didn’t have any people able to actually witness the thing, but we really should send some people to take a look quickly.”


The Shape nodded in agreement. “Yes, we should. I think I’ll send some of our heavy hitters out to take a look. Hopefully Maeve and Zeke at least, maybe even Spiderblood. But we need to do a meeting first. Get some vehicles and equipment ready in the meantime.” The guard nodded and was about to leave, but before he did he handed Maxwell one last thing.


“Just got this today. Some corpo called Menagerie Tech is looking for a high level shapeshifter. Part of me is wondering if it’s that one from the park…” After his boss took the notes, the guard gave a quick bow of his head and went off to get everything in order for the investigation.


Maxwell entered the conference room of Shapeless, quickly punching in a text message to Kiran.


Zeke and Vicki Vortex went down to the labs. Please take it easy on them. And we need to meet upstairs now, got business to take care of.


He sent the text, taking a seat at the head of a long table, with gorgeous black marble on top, and the familiar black jaguar statue illuminated behind him. Maxwell pressed down a PA system button on the table and spoke.


“Maeve, Kiran, Zeke, Spiderblood, and all executives, please join me in the Conference Room now to discuss some urgent business, thank you.” He sighed and leaned back in the chair as he punched out one last text message, the meeting almost ready to start.


Cousin, the meeting’s almost ready. Let me know when you’re ready to join.


Sent.


__________________________________________________________________


The Resort


George, still in his office, gazed into a gold framed mirror, with white marble shelf underneath it. On the shelf sat a small box containing a pair of platinum cufflinks, and in his hands was a soft, light blue silk tie. As he finished tying the Windsor knot, the sounds of some kind of explosions rang out from some other part of the property. He felt his heart race as he returned to his desk to quickly pick up a Walther P5, slipping it into a holster underneath his black suit jacket.


As he left his office, a staff member ran at full sprint towards him. “Sir! The ahh… Guests have been… Sparring outside.”


George took the information in quickly and stifled the need to sigh. That was relieving to know it was only that. But by the sounds of it…


“Thank you for letting me know. Could you please make a call through to one of our construction contractors? And spread word to the staff that we’re going to remain closed a little while longer, so that we can get these repairs finished. If we have to cancel guest stays, go ahead and do it. Tell them we had some ‘unruly super guests’.”


The staff member gave a hesitant nod and rushed off to begin the damage control process. George took another moment to let himself be eased out of that anxiety he had felt. Today almost sounded like it was going to be quite terrible, but not so terrible as some kind of attack on himself and the heroes. Before he got to comfortable though, he felt his phone buzz. George pulled it out and took a quick glance over the contents of a text, before yet another sense of anxiety hit him.


It was the Attorney General.


He made his way down the halls of the resort, trying to make sure he was able to gather all others he needed to see. During this journey, he came across one in particular that was littered with room service carts. Sheri’s, he believed. He knocked on the door to see if she was in, but with no response coming, he decided she may be out, or unavailable.


The little journey continued until he came to Liz’s door. It had been a while since they’d spoken, perhaps now would be a good chance to check in with her. He was about to knock on the door until he heard talking inside, and the sound of… Kokomo? George knocked before opening the door to peer inside, greeted by floors covered in sand, tropical heat, and the strong scent of drinks typical to vacation spots with these attributes.


George gazed at the two in the room, Sheri and Liz. The drinks, several of which had been clearly polished off and left around the makeshift beach, were alcoholic. At quite an early hour. While the old man’s face was pleasant enough, there was an ever so slight shift in his eyes, a tiny narrowing as he made eye contact with Liz.


“I see you’ve both made yourselves quite comfortable, I’m pleased to see. I hope you have been enjoying your stay at the resort thus far.” Before either could get in another word, he had indicated with his hands back to the hallway.


“If you both have time, I hope you’d be able to join me and the others in the library. There are some matters I wish to discuss shortly.” He was about to close the door to continue gathering the others, but stopped for another brief moment, turning his gaze to Liz once more. “And Ms. Baker, I believe you and I should also have a private chat soon, when it’s convenient.” His eyes had briefly lingered again over the drinks, both around the room and in the super’s hand, before he close the door and continued his search.

__________________________________________________________________


Seemed like just as soon as Richard reached the kitchen, everyone else had disappeared. ‘Jemma’ to go deal with… Something? Right around the time some explosions started happening (apparently the sparring between Alex and Silver Fang?), so he guessed it was related to that. Cannonade, everyone’s favorite gravity wielding super, had also disappeared to go to the memorial no doubt, though it seemed a bit early for that still.


In the end, only Richard and Klaus had remained, but the two soon parted ways as well, probably for the best since Klaus seemed to have a lot on his mind anyways. Richard was about to head back to his room, but ended up running into George on the way back. “Oh, Mr. Carlisle, good morning.” He spoke with a little surprise, though admittedly he felt glad to see the old man again, he still hoped to get more answers out of him soon.



“Good morning Richard, how has your day been so far?” George responded politely.


Richard shrugged slightly and gave a bemused nod. “The other guests are a little… Unique, but it’s been good otherwise. Are you ready to head to the memorial?”


George nodded with a sigh before responding. “Yes, but there’s some matters to attend to first. I’d like you to join me and the others in the library quickly. There’s matters we need to quickly discuss.”


Richard nodded hesitantly, a little offput by George’s rather… Unsettled reaction? “Ahh, sure thing! I’ll shoot a quick text to Klaus, I think he’s still here. The others are… I think in that NAHLA guy’s lab? Maybe?” He quickly typed up a message to Klaus, telling him to meet in the library, before hitting send.


George gave a slight bow of his head in gratitude. “I appreciate it Richard, see you shortly.”

__________________________________________________________________


Moments later, a knock came from outside of Sairyn’s lab, with George peering in to those gathered, not crossing the threshold himself. “Pardon the interruption, but I’d like if you could all join me in the library. We have a matter to discuss quickly. Something I’d like your help with.”


He was about to turn away and leave before he noticed something on the shapeshifter’s lips… Red.


It appeared like it might be blood. George’s eyes quickly came to meet both Sairyn’s and Alex’s. He said nothing further, hoping they knew well enough to not make him need to talk with them. Time would tell of course, for now his best choice with this collection of supers…


Was to help them grow into something even greater.

__________________________________________________________________


George sat quietly in the library, in a large, red chair next to a fire. He’d momentarily picked up a book to pass the few moments he needed till the others would arrive. Wuthering Heights, sort of a macabre, miserable tale if he was being honest. But he felt a strange familiarity with it, like something in the eerie atmosphere of the book was reflected in the real world.


Terrorist attack at a diner, complete with super drugs and Frankenstein’s monster. A towering behemoth of rot and decay attacking Atlas City. The brutal murder of a super on live stream. A Witchfinder warehouse collapsing on the inhabitants.


He believed he hadn’t seen the dead wandering any moors yet, but that could still be yet to come for all he knew.

__________________________________________________________________


Memorial, Atlas City Beach:


From all around Cannonade there was shouts and cheers of excitement, a mixture of people calling out the hero’s name, along with other heaping praise. The memorial had yet to start, but already people were getting worked up, though at this exact moment more because they could feel safe.


More cheers erupted as some activity near the stage caught the attention of others. Seemed some other big names were here too, including Captain Valor, and none other than Backlash, The Baron, and the other hero to have ‘saved’ Atlas City: Albrecht von Richthofen.


Before Cannonade truly had time to react though, there were men in black suits starting to make a perimeter around them, almost as if they were about to be arrested, until they could see who was running at them from the stage.


Gordon Ford. The President of the United States.


“Cannonade!!!” He shouted in glee. “Oh I’m so glad you came here to join us! Truly, Atlas City and America owe you a great debt!” Along with the overjoyed, yet still incredibly boring President, were several other figures. A woman of African American heritage, in about her 40’s or 50’s, with curly dark hair, and an olive green power suit on. She seemed serious, somber, perhaps a little cold, but there was a sense of sympathy and mourning about her. Claudia Burke, Attorney General of the USA.


There was also another man with them, much younger than either of them in only his 30’s. He was tall, quite handsome, and had blonde hair parted to one side and slicked back. He had a smile that could put a Kennedy to shame, but the air of a man who’d be comfortable in just about any setting that could exist. Calm, collected, and very much in control of himself. This was Victor Covistic, the Secretary of Defense of the United States.


“Cannonade, pleasure to meet you, and happier to see you made it today.” Victor spoke in a relaxed, but pleased tone as he offered a handshake to the gravity wielding hero.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss
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"I'm gonna say it... I'M GONNA SAY IT!"

"Say what?"

"The F-BOMB! I'm gonna drop it, I swear I'm gonna do it!"

"No, don't do it."

"I'mma do it!"

"No, don't!"

"No one can stop me, I swear I'm gonna do it! I'm gonna say it!"

"No!"

"On live tv!"

"NO!"

"I am! I'm gonna say it! I'm gonna drop the F-Bomb!"

"PLEASE!"

"Everyone's gonna hear it! I have to say it! You MADE me say it!"

"NO, I DIDN'T!"

"You did! And after, I say it, I'm gonna make sure everybody blames you! HEY EVERYONE!" the crimson-clad villain known as F-Bomb called out. "FuuuuUUUUUUUUUGH-!" he cried out getting punched in the face and sent flying offscreen past the now relieved civilian.

The Grinning Gremlin chuckled to himself, glad that he thwarted the loudmouth villain. "Hohoho! You've taken a tumble! Be careful of yours words you inconsiderate bumble!" the pointy-eared purveyor of justice giggled. The last he would laugh for today, for even he knew when to be somber at a day of national mourning. A long line of cars had begun to overtake the busy Carolinian roads, traffic was stopped up all throughout the street, all the way up to the interstate.

The Grinning Gremlin sighed and scratched his dark blue chin, noting all the people still likely on edge, made more irritable by the slow moving traffic. But they would all be there in time. In time to honor the poor, lost souls on that horrible day. None of them would forget. Not the many dignitaries present, not the vast of supers in attendance, and certainly not the populace of Atlas City.

Least of all, Mayor Gideon Gauss. He could hear the faint cheers amongst the chorus of noise outside his armored tinted windows. It gave him a slight smile. It wasn't always loud but it was there. The support of the people. A power greater than any other. If left unchecked it had limitless potential, moreso than any heat ray or supersonic flight and that was because those who wielded it didn't mindlessly treat it like a toy. They valued it as an asset. A resource that was to be carefully managed and utilized when most convenient.

Thanks to the traffic, he would arrive "fashionably late" or whatever lackluster dimwits without any sense of efficiency would like to call it. But today, it suited his purposes just fine. It gave him more time to handle other business he was putting off for some time now and catch up with family...

Gideon glanced at his phone as the notification popped up.

"Cousin, the meeting’s almost ready. Let me know when you’re ready to join."

"I'll be there in three minutes, little cousin. Forgive me, but I'll have to scan in," he texted back, barely looking down at his phone as the drone unit in front of him activated it's scanner, displaying a gridlike pattern over his face, and soon enough, the rest of his body.

And in Club Shapeless...an identical double of Atlas City's mayor was displayed, holographically slouching in one of the Club's many cushioned seats.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss
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Pyromancer's glare seethed, with contempt that nearly overshadowed his flames. Kiran was right. About the pointlessness of challenging him, of the fact that they needed him. Without Kiran, his hand would be too far gone. Of course, without the tinkerer, his hand wouldn't be so fucked up in the first place.

Pyromancer's flames died down. The heat within his body faded, evaporating into steam and perspiration that coated his physique. Wiry, sculpted, and bare; his modesty protected with the barest threads of his jet-black fireproof underwear. The adrenaline was leaving his body, and in its place was pain. Pain that throbbed, and burned, and screamed through his hand. Kiran was right, and Pyro hated them even more for it.

Meanwhile, Scourge was reeling back. He groaned, and moaned, and clutched his face, black bile dribbling between his fingers. "YOU WHOOOORE! GAAKH!! THAT WAS A FOUL!" He snarled, not a trace of pleasure in his pain.

"You made me drop my manager."

Pyromancer and Scourge turned to look, utter confusion written all over their faces. "...Manager?" "What manager?!" They both asked in unison. Scourge drew back his hands. "Are my ears as far gone as my eyes?!" He asked, foul blackness oozing down the hollow sockets which were once his eyes.

Then came a voice, delivered from all around them through the loudspeakers. A man's voice; calm and commanding and candid in equal measure. A voice whose cool authority swept aside Kiran's, if only for a moment. A voice that fizzled the last trace of Pyromancer's - or Zeke's - fury.

Zeke straightened himself, slicked back his hair, and walked over to where he had left his jacket. He looked up to one of the screens, staring straight at Kiran's face, then held up his crumpled, bloodied mess of a hand.

Meanwhile, Scourge seized up when Kiran addressed him directly. "Yes, mother," the monster replied, his tongue flapping faster than his brain.




The conference room. Zeke and Scourge had gathered here, the former sat near Maxwell while the latter loomed right beside Kiran, any chair far too small to fit his gigantic green frame. The pyromancer was dressed in his full ensemble, of dark azure coveralls and a red-eyed gas mask which obscured his emotions. Meanwhile, Scourge’s eyes had been restored. His bright, yellow peepers leered up and down Gideon Gauss’ hologram. The mayor’s shoulders were the broadest and biggest in the room, obvious even under the covers of that suit. Scourge was most pleased.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Yue Bayushi Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Albrecht von Richthofen Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Jamie Kerrow
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The Time Tunnels

Outside the cracked glass that occasionally dotted the walls of the time tunnels sat the Outer Chronoclasm, a realm of pure chaos and destruction. A black void of a realm, constantly moving with unseen forces and energies that few could make sense of, and fewer could even conceive of surviving. It was a torrent of utter destruction, the likes of which even the roaches had learned long ago to respect.

Two soldier roaches guarded this tunnel, waiting for reinforcements to arrive and do a changing of guard. Word had already spread that a massive assault on the tunnels had cost them hundreds of laborers, at least. Work on their war ships would be slowed to a grinding halt as a result, and the Queen… Still living, but the utter disrespect she’d suffered at the hands of those filthy interlopers, it was inconceivable to the roaches, and they would have their revenge.

The two guards chattered and clicked in their insectoid tones, nearly mimicking machines. Topics of conversation had varied from their beloved Queen, the attack earlier, the tastiest fallen comrades they’d consumed, and much more. But soon their talking stopped, having noticed something odd out of their peripherals. Something had been moving strangely, coming from… Behind the glass?

The quiet of the hall was erased by an explosion of noise; glass bursting open, the tinkling and crashing sound of it hitting the floor, the mighty roar of the chaos beyond the glass.

Winds whipped around the hall, threatening to pull the two roach guards to a fate that might be worse than death. A heavy thud was heard, causing them to turn their gazes back towards the now destroyed window. There was a figure standing there.

Twelve feet tall.
Muscular.
Bipedal.
Carrying a sword.
Covered head to toe in armor.
Surrounded by a blue, mist like light.


The armor was shaped intentionally to mimic that of what one would see on a knight, but the material was far from simply ‘medieval’. It was more like a patchwork of a thousand war zones, across thousands of years. Some of it bore the steely look of an ancient warrior, some of it gleamed as though from some far flung, space-age time. And other parts still looked as if it could have been stone.

All of it appeared to have severe cracks throughout it, but they were fused together, like thick scars or fissures. The same was true of the sword in fact. It must have been shattered into thousands of pieces, yet here it stood in one, monolithic piece. A testament to its long journey. And to its wielder.

And the blue light, a strange substance that seemed to be both at once a sort of intangible mist, and light. It glowed a beautiful, vibrant, soft tone of blue, and when touched it might seem as though it were air, or a cloud. At least that is how it currently would feel…

Whoever this individual was, he was what the bugs had seen on the other side. Out of the Chronoclasm. The roaches tried to respond quickly, one opening fire on him nearly immediately, landing every shot on the intruder.

The shots did nothing to the man. He turned to the roach that had shot him, and sent a mighty fist into its skull, colliding the creature’s entire body into the ground beneath him.

The other now began to open fire as it tried to flee, but the towering intruder was able to catch it in only a few mere steps. The knight wrapped a hand around the creature’s neck, lifting it off the ground, before slamming it back down into it. Once. Twice. Thrice.

He lifted it back up in front of him, bringing the roach to eye level with him.

“*klik* Pitiful…. Creature? *kilk* Man… Human! What *klik* ever you are… You cannot… *klik* defeat the Roaches! We are… *klik* the masters…. Of the End of Time!”

The hulking figure was silent a few moments, before a soft, amused sigh could be heard from within his mask. “Well I guess today isn’t your day then, because I’m from the Beginning of it.” Bright blue light surrounded the man and the roach, as he pierced his left fist through the carapace like chest of the Roach, and pulled at its head with his right, removing it with ease.

As he dropped the corpse of the roach to the ground, he walked back to the other that shot first at him, his feet landing heavily on the ground, body swirling with the bright blue, misty light that followed him wherever he walked. It began to pour forth from him, surrounding the other roach and lifting it into the air, screeches erupting from it as it felt its body being crushed down by some kind of incredible pressure.

“I will only ask this once, ‘pitiful creature’. Where is the Artifact?”

The roach looked to him, what little its eyes could show were showing fear. “It was *klik* taken by a human, to another time! We don’t know where *klik* it has gone!” The words were sputtered out as the mountain of a man stood before it, the blue light enveloping the roach pulled it closer and closer to him. “You *klik* fool… You think you can *klik* defeat us? Who are *klik* you to think you can defeat what has *klik* already passed!”

A moment of silence passed as the tall figure held his sword out, feeling the weight of it as the blue light swirled around them. “I’ve fought worse.” His voice was monotone as he lifted the sword and cleaved the roach from top to bottom, it’s thick armor offering up no resistance.

The body fell to the floor, and while the blue light continued to swirl, the giant knight quickly went over his next plan of action. It sounded as though someone either very stupid, or very unaware had gotten their hands on the artifact. Either way, he needed to figure out where they had gone, and quickly. Otherwise…

His thoughts were cut off by the sound of approaching roaches, a group of twenty or so who quickly spotted him, and the remains of their comrades. They lifted their weapons to him, and the blue light cascaded towards them.

No time to waste then.

_________________________________________________________________________


The Resort

Richard had been on his way to return to the library when he heard some loud noises coming from another part of the resort again. He couldn’t place exactly where it was, but it sounded like there had been some crackling? Like electricity?

He passed by the buffet dining hall, stumbling upon Devon who seemed to be taking advantage of his own coffee routine. But he seemed kind of tired, almost as if he’d had a rough night or something. At least mentally. Richard chose to put it aside and gave a wave to the German. “Hey, George wants to see us in the library. You should come along.”

Richard continued on towards the library, passing through the kitchen first, and once again stumbling upon someone, Henry this time. Strange, he also seemed a little on the tired side. Had others been having trouble sleeping or something? Might be a bit of projection on his part though, he doubted Henry had the same reasons to be losing sleep as himself. “Hey Henry, sorry to interrupt you, but George wants to see us all in the library, you should come with.” With that, he exited once again, Henry in tow, and Devon gravitating in the same direction.


_________________________________________________________________________


George heard a soft, English voice pipe up in the library, and upon lifting his eyes from the pages of his book was greeted by Klaus, a man who had the most interesting timing of any man he’d ever met. He smiled back to Klaus, giving a nod in greeting.

“Good morning Klaus, and yes I’m doing as well as can be expected in the circumstances. Thank you for asking. How are you managing? I expect this has taken quite a toll on everyone.” In fact, George had been weighing that on his mind considerably. He’d speak to the others as a group, but felt it was time to offer them some much needed mental respite; someone to talk to.

Before anything else could be said, a flurry of noise erupted from another part of the resort. Sairyn’s library. George furrowed his brow and let out the softest sigh one could imagine, the tiniest loss of composure he could muster given his growing agitation. “Excuse me a moment Klaus.” George briefly exited the library and made his way to the lab.

On the floor in a heap was Sairyn, Pendleton, and Yue. Standing in the room was a nearly shirtless Alex, and some ball he was holding in his hands. George looked to all of them, brow furrowed slightly, eyes that uncomfortable narrowness of someone ready to scold. But rather than do that, he was very simple, brief, and commanding.

“Library, now. Everyone.”

_________________________________________________________________________


The team was now gathered together in the library, everyone capable of arriving there at least. George was seated back in his seat, and Klaus had remained in his for the time being, still enjoying the steaming cup of coffee he had.

“Now that you’re all here, we have some matters to discuss, namely the memorial, and a… New Mission that’s come to us. But before we begin, how about you all update me on what’s been happening today. Seems you’ve all run a little more loose and wild than I had anticipated.”

His voice carried a little sternness to it, but was not cold or unkind. It was almost like a parent who had come home to find their children drawing all over work documents. Of course, blowing up a chunk of the property was a little more expensive to fix.

_________________________________________________________________________


Club Shapeless: Atlas City

Maxwell smirked upon reading the response he’d received from Gideon, but chose to disregard the remark. They’d both had their independent successes, but now they were going to have to rely on each other, work together to get what they wanted out of Atlas City, and potentially beyond.

As each member entered the room, he would greet them with an affirming nod, though under his mask he was raising an eyebrow at Spiderblood’s entrance. What were they riding? Was that a dog in a spider costume? He decided not to address it, there had been weirder things to have happened here.

And Scourge… That was a mountain of a man, something he hadn’t anticipated seeing so soon (and in such good condition) from Kiran. But here he stood: The Shape’s response to ‘Balthazar’, or whatever those Witchfinder nuts called the monster they’d bought.

“Thank you for joining me everyone. We have some business to discuss, some of it being… Breaking news. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that what is discussed in this room stays in this room, but I’m going to out of care for our mutual needs.”

His eyes flicked over to Zeke, Kiran, and Scourge before continuing. “At times I believe it is essential to remind everyone that a betrayal of each other is a betrayal of me. I expect you all to protect each other as much as you would protect me, and our business operations.”


_________________________________________________________________________


The Memorial: Atlas City

Victor followed Cannonade with his eyes as Cannonade passed by with very little regard for their welcomers. He smirked. “There’s that famous confidence I’ve heard about.” He chuckled, speaking mainly to himself and the Attorney General.

She looked on with uncertainty and discomfort. There were other words she could think of than ‘confidence’ that would be impolite to voice out loud. “And you’re thinking about trying to invite them to work for us?” She asked in a tone trying to mask her incredulity.

Victor nodded and smiled. “At the very least inviting. Last I heard they were missing a team, so perhaps we can help them out.”

“If you say so…” Was all the AG could mutter back.

The President briskly followed Cannonade, as did his entourage, as he attempted to make friendly overtures to the hero. “Again, it’s so good to have you here! We’re inviting some of the heroes who were on the beach that day to speak some words of encouragement to the crowd, is that something you’d be up for? We can absolutely get a time slot in for you!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Yue Bayushi Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Jamie Kerrow
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The Resort

George listened intently as Devon started off, describing events that frankly baffled the mind. The old man maintained a stoic face, but his mind worked over the information as it came out. Now he was aware of the fact that there were a great many matters he had been unaware of up until now. That both excited and worried him, as the conversation implied potentially new allies, but also enemies.

It was when Devon presented a strange orb that the room seemed to draw in to that one space, George himself carefully studying the strange, arcane device. "It creates a weapon you say? Most peculiar... I urge caution, but this is promising. We will need any and all assistance we can get. With your permission, I can perhaps have some of my own researchers take a look at it, and perhaps some of our more scientifically oriented team mates." He gave a nod of his head to Sai and Klaus in consideration.

Henry spoke next, confirming more of Devon's story, and adding onto it. "Henry, it sounds like your team has had some substantial experience with this... Strange series of events. It concerns me greatly that so many events appear to be coalescing at this time. Whatever these ‘time roaches’ are, if they’re connected to the creature from the beach, they're going to need to be dealt with. As for the woman, I'll see what I can do to locate her as well. I'm worried she could be connected to the soldiers that had appeared on the Beach the day of the attack. Even if she's not, her appearance warrants investigation."

Before George could ask further about the situation with Wayland, Akiko had seemingly appeared from nowhere to explain what had been communicated between her and the otherworldly man.

Richard listened intently, feeling his skin crawl as Akiko described what Wayland had seen. It was bizarre to think he'd stood next to that man only a few days ago, but somehow this girl had been speaking to his spirit? That did seem a little less strange than the Time Roach stuff, which felt completely out of his element. But this.... Felt like a description of Hell itself. "You ahh... Spoke to his spirit?" He asked a little uncertainly. "Did he say anything about getting to that place he saw?"

There was a moment of silence before Akiko and the others made it clear that that was knowledge Wayland hadn't possessed. With what she recounted though, maybe that was for the best.


Akiko continued, now describing the rest of the events with Polarity/Isotropic, and an 'artifact' she'd escaped with. George needed only a split second of consideration before he rose a hand to interject again. He opened Wuthering Heights to a blank page and produced a pen from his jacket.

"Black stone with symbols? Do you think you could recreate some of those symbols for me? Write them down here?"

He nodded to the blank page, placing the pen down next to it. The old man's eyes carried hint of intensity to them now.

_________________________________________________________________________


Club Shapeless: Atlas City

Maxwell gave a brief nod to Maeve as she entered the room, feeling quite pleased as she took her seat next to him. "It's quite alright, I'm glad you were able to join us." Others may have seen it as presumptuous for her to take a seat next to him, after all she was still very new to the organization. The Shape, however, felt it was exactly what he wanted. She was remarkably powerful, confident, and a sign like this signaled a growing sense of loyalty. There was ambition there for certain, but when ambition and loyalty came together, they were a force to be reckoned with.

Scourge's voice filled the room for a moment, as he remarked upon Maxwell, and his comparably lesser size. He smirked under the mask as he looked in the direction of Kiran's 'child'. "Fearless, and feared." He replied confidently. "Don't worry, I'm quite formidable. I wouldn't be in charge here if I wasn't." Maxwell spoke pleasantly, intent on proving something to Scourge: that the newborn giant of a man could trust The Shape to lead.

And finally, they were drawn back to the matter at hand by Zeke, who seemed to have the embers of resentment still burning inside, directed at Scourge. Maxwell was going to have to find some way to cool them both off later, infighting was not going to help.

"Yes, breaking news, as in only having taken place probably 20 minutes ago. Our 'friends' the Witchfinders have had a little accident befall them." Maxwell pulled out his phone, making a few quick swipes while a screen on the wall flickered to life. On it were images of a collapsed warehouse. "After the attack at Atomic Anne's, I had some of our men collecting intel on where Witchfinders might be storing weapons. We'd had suspicions that this warehouse might be one location, and it seems they've been confirmed."

He turned back to those gathered, clasping his hands together on the table. "I need some of you to investigate it immediately, before authorities catch wind. Everyone's been fairly caught up in the memorial, but it won't be long until someone shows up. Having said that, I'm also concerned the authorities may have been involved in this somehow, but we can't not move on this. Whoever is arming these terrorists, we need to find them and deal with them. Quickly."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Yue Bayushi Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Jamie Kerrow
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"I...can write down what I remember, yeah," Henry nodded apprehensively, taking the book and pen. "Just keep in mind, I wouldn't advise studying it at the earliest convenience. At least not for too long/ Maybe hire some specialists for this kinda thing. Psychics, mystics..." he went on as he began to recreate the symbols he'd see inscribed on the stone to the best of his abilities. Usually when things like this have a language, it's a 'caution' sign for anyone who dares to read it."

"This is all I can remember. Even when I think back to it, the memory's kinda blurry...Weird, when everything else that happened in those tunnels feels so vivid. ...But probably for the best." Henry looked towards the others who had made the trek across the End of Time, turning to a new blank page.. "You guys remember any?"

***
With the arrival of the dragon woman, the meeting proper could begin. Maxwell took a bit of time to intimidate as he was wont to do, but he was quick enough in getting to the business at hand. And what a sordid business it was. Witchfinders...moronic fanatics with no idea of how the world truly worked. Quite the blemish on business, they were, always showing up to throw a wrench in the works. Their recent exploits in Atlas City were no different. And with a third-party supplier in the mix...Gideon was more than willing to get his hands a little dirty with this one.

"I can promise you this much, Shape. The authorities will be off your back as long as you need them to be," Gideon replied, his hologram displayed before the group, scratching his chin in thought. "As for those that may be involved...Perhaps an internal investigation, of sorts, is in order."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Yue Bayushi Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Jamie Kerrow
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The Resort

George placed a hand down on the book, stopping Henry and the others from writing anything else. He gently thumbed back to the page with the symbols and carefully studied them. A moment of silence fell over the room before the old man sat back up in his chair and looked to the group.

"Finding this woman is a top priority. Ladies and gentlemen, I am asking you to use all the skills and abilities at your disposal to find this Polarity, or Isotropic. I need you all to capture her alive, and this... 'Artifact', I need you to obtain it intact. It may be that we need to destroy it, but I want to avoid even the tiniest mistakes until we have a clearer idea of what it is."

He looked to Sairyn a moment, as to several of the others gathered. "Mr. Pendrake, I would appreciate your talents in collecting whatever data you can gleam about this woman. She may have connections to the mystery soldiers from the beach, or not. As for everyone else, whatever you can offer in the search for her, you're welcome to provide that assistance."

"What's got you so spooked about this 'artifact' Mr. Carlisle?" Richard asked bluntly, eyes searching George for the tiniest clue, the slightest tell, that could reveal some of the knowledge he was so intently holding back. "You've seen these symbols before? Where? And what do they mean?"

George remained as stoic as before. "Unfortunately, none of those questions will be of any help to you all right now. You need to stay focused on the tasks at hand, finding this woman, and the artifact. Not to mention the other tasks at hand."

_________________________________________________________________________


Club Shapeless: Atlas City

The Shape gave an appreciative nod to Gideon. "Your assistance is greatly appreciated Mr. Gauss. And an internal investigation could be very much warranted, though I recommend a cautious approach. If it becomes too obvious that we're looking for Witchfinder agents, or people working for their suppliers, it could drive them more into hiding."

Maxwell chuckled slightly before continuing. "Of course, again, time is of the essence. We need to find information, evidence, leads. The Witchfinders, much as I disdain their antics, aren't what we're worried about. Uncovering their supplier is our goal. Once we do that... Well the rest should be evident."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Y'mari Abara
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Atlas City, North Carolina, Memorial Day, The Beach




The trio of chimes from his helmet HUD is what first caught his attention, his head swinging to the left as he watched the empty beach. A warning about a spatial anomaly some eight yards away. Alas...
Nothing.
Though his HUD kept chiming at him for a time, eventually it quieted down, and Nebulae Recluse huffed before resuming his walk. The sunlight and gentle crash and rush of the waves were soothing enough, and as Recluse looked out over the coast, he let himself smile. The memorial was today, and while he was wary to go and take part in the proceedings of the event, he certainly was enjoying the lack of people milling about.
His armor shifted silently as he walked along, the gloves and heeled 'boots' creaking and crackling with faint bits of static electricity.

He grunted his dissent at the sparks and cracks, rolling his eyes before simply continuing along. The pier was quickly falling into the distance behind him, and as Recluse continued to meander his way away from civilization behind him, he stretched his arms and took a glance over his shoulder.
No one following him yet, it seemed like.
Which was appreciated.

"Hm. Chart route to ah... Hm. Cancel that. I'll find my way." He sighed as the HUD AI chirped an affirmative, and once again went silent. To any outside observer, the sleek blue, black, and cyan armor pivoted on a heel and began walking inland, returning to the city. More than a few minutes were spent silently walking, chuckling when some people would stop, point, and then turn to dart off in another direction. Others would simply ignore him and keep walking, perhaps unaware of his infamy, or uncaring of it. It didn't matter regardless, as he eventually found the alleyway he wanted.
A few quick turns, a brisk climb up a fire escape, and warping of said fire escape within a field of stars and a purple-gold-orange cloud of space dust, and Recluse was where he wanted to be. Namely on the roof of his apartment building. He walked to the edge of the roof, humming some small song under his breath as his hands came up and tapped along the back of his helmet.

The HUD AI chirped at him again, flashing a quick display before it quieted and went dark, his vision blocked by the no-longer operating helmet. There was a quick pop, a hiss, and a gasp as the piece of armor came off his head.
It came to rest on the edge of the roof, the raised heels of his boots slowly smoothing out across the soles of the boots. He was high enough that he was able to pass a curious eye over the nearby Club Shapeless.
His eyes roamed over the building, taking especial note of the relatively obvious scorch marks in the parking lot from a recent... Explosion. Y'mari popped a laugh at the memory. Ahhh...

He shrugged and rolled his neck, leaning on the edge of the roof and elected to simply watch the Club, a sort of bored bird watching. He had absolutely nothing to do today, and if the other night was anything to go by, the club was bound to be interesting.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Jamie Kerrow
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‘Fearless, and feared,” came Maxwell’s reply towards Scourge’s prodding.

The giant man’s eyes wrinkled with a smile. “HAHA!” He leered closer, and his voice dropped into a purr as he replied, ”Ohhh, I like you. Your confidence is pleasing to me.” The monster’s milky yellow eyes darted from top to bottom, quite pleased indeed.

Pyromancer and Scourge listened on. The former took mental notes to summarise the situation. Witchfinders. Warehouse. Weapons. The latter nodded along to Maxwell’s explanations, the Shape having engaged his full attention.

Scourge cackled, then held his arm up and clenched his fist. ”Don’t worry, boss. We’ll uncover the Witch-Bitches’ suppliers and PULL them by their roots!” Veins bulged under his skin, too tight and too many to be natural. ”Kicking, screaming, and BEGGING if need be!! Hya-ha-ha-HA!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Jamie Kerrow
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"Right, so...I can't stay for much longer, but in addition to holding off any prying eyes for as long as I can, I may be able to provide additional assistance. Not that any of you lack in competence, but it would ease my own state of mind to send one of my own in with the rest of you." Gideon's hologram slowly phased out of sight as the device emitting him began to rattle and shake.

Soon, a swarm of grainy silver sand seemed to swim from beneath the floor. All converging on the holographic emitter and quickly forming into a sleek, vaguely humanoid exterior..at least form the torso up. It lacked legs, opting to instead hover silently above the floor by utilizing some sort of anti-gravity array. The blue light of the hologram emitter now acting as a singular eye.

"A bit cliché to deem it, 'State of the Art' but the acquisition of Nanomachia Ltd. a few years back proved to be well worth the trouble. And given that I've spent a good month or more ironing out the flaws in their designs piece by piece, I daresay it's quite a bit more advanced than your average military grade war-mech,"[color] Gauss chuckled, his voice emitting clearly through the robot's vocal array. [color=goldenrod]"That's all the time I have for now. Infiltrax will make itself useful, I can assure you of that much."

With that, Gauss voice faded out, leaving his creation to sit impassively, awaiting for the start of the group's mission.

***

"Mayor Gauss, we've arrived," Gideon's driver alerted him. It wasn't long before the Mayor stepped outside and stretched his legs a bit. After a lengthy limo ride in the midst of traffic, he was more than happy to finally set foot outside once again. Especially among the people of his city and honored guests. From the visitors from the Nation's Capital to the dignitaries from across the sea, it almost brought a smile to his face to see them all gathered here to honor those that had fallen in Atlas City's greatest disaster.

"So many grieving parents. Too many died too young, Diane," he sighed to his secretary.

"Then it will be our job to give those poor souls a legacy their loved ones would be proud of, sir," she answered back succinctly.

"Indeed. Upon the ashes of this soul-crushing loss, the foundations for Atlas City's brightest future start today. ...I think I may use that in the speech."

"Sounds like a plan, sir," Diane gave an immediate thumbs up. "Would you like me to see to the accommodations of the President, sir?"

"It's like you've read my mind. Please, so do, Diane," Gideon nodded, as another pair of feet stepped out of the limousine behind him. A small boy with blonde hair and a tiny suit. He clutched a Lone Star toy tightly. "You alright, Ben?"

"Will we see Phaser here? O-or the Gamma Guard?" the boy, Ben asked sheepishly.

"Maybe after the ceremony, son," Gideon assured, patting him on the back. "For now, let's find our seats."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Yue Bayushi Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Albrecht von Richthofen Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Jamie Kerrow Character Portrait: Y'mari Abara
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Club Shapeless: Atlas City
Maxwell chuckled slightly at Scourge’s response, nodding in affirmation. “I have every faith you’re all the most capable people that could be put to this task. Just ‘pull carefully’ with this one. Weeds can grow back if any root is left behind. We need to make absolutely sure we get every last root in our grasp first. Then we can rip them out, and toss them in a bonfire.”


Things began to near their end, with Gideon making his final remarks. “Thank you Mayor Gauss, I’ll be sure to put this to good use.” Maxwell said in regards to the automaton his cousin had leant to them. As Gideon’s form disappeared, the others began to ready themselves to leave, with Maeve leading the way.


After his chair lightly shook from the press of her finger, The Shape rose a hand to stop her. “Hold on, there’s one last matter I need to address.” He swiped across his phone again, pulling something else up onto the wall screen. An email this time, one that appeared to have been written for quite a variety of recipients.


The sender was a corporation called Menagerie Tech.


“Apparently this company, Menagerie Tech, has had an issue lately with a ‘lost asset’. They’ve requested assistance from just about everyone they felt was safe to ask in this matter. The asset they’re looking for in specific is some kind of shape shifter.”


Under his mask, Maxwell allowed for a slight smirk. “There’s no doubt of quite a handsome reward for helping reunite them with their lost ‘property’, but businesses like ours have more things to consider than money. If you come across this shape shifter, I ask you to do what you can to ensure it ends up back here at Shapeless instead.”


The Shape looked to all others present. “That’s all from me for now. If you need anything else feel free to ask now. Otherwise, you can head to the warehouse now.”



__________________________________________________________________



The Memorial


Before leaving the resort, George had made sure to get Devon’s ‘blueprint’ put into a secure area where it could be researched later. The object was strange, something he’d never encountered before. But based on the discussion of the strange interdimensional travel, he was allowing himself to have a small amount of optimism that this could be a potential breakthrough in their fight. It would remain to be seen, but hope was an important tool, one they were all in need of.


Atlas City finally came into sight again, striking George with a strange sense of foreignness, but also nostalgia. It had only been a few days ago, and yet it felt like years. The old man continued to gaze out through the window of the 2025 Rolls Royce Limo he and Richard both sat in the back of.


Richard adjusted his tie while taking a quick glance at George. The old man seemed deep in thought, understandable given the circumstances. The White Death was also in a slight trance, thinking back to the day the ‘Beast’ had attacked. Standing on the balcony, looking out at the ocean, seeing that towering mound of death… It was like it had never even happened, like it wasn’t real. How could it have been? And yet, here they were, going to a memorial for the people who died from it, the ones that couldn’t be saved.


“How does the suit fit ?” George asked quietly of Richard.


Richard nodded an affirmation before he spoke. “Quite well actually, little surprised you had something in my size.”


George chuckled slightly, trying to keep up a positive exterior, hiding the sense of melancholy growing as they drew closer and closer to the memorial area. “Actually we just work quite fast. Some things can’t be anticipated for, so the only alternative you have is to reach a solution as quick as possible.”


Richard smiled in agreement, but said nothing more as the car pulled up to the memorial. All the passengers inside stepped out and made there way to find spots to sit. Richard had hoped he and George might sit a little closer to Henry. He wanted to be close to someone he knew, and someone he felt could offer some more immediate assistance if any was needed.


White Death had already spotted some familiar faces, a few quite famous, including the briefest of glimpses of Cannonade. Seemed they’d arrived earlier, and were already busy being adored by the crowds.



George and Richard finally took their seats near the edge of the crowds, hoping to avoid being clustered too close together with anyone, and wanting easy access to be able to stand up and leave their seats if it became essential. The old man had noticed plenty of familiar faces, but what caught his attention most immediately was that Henry had gone to join what appeared to be a family, possibly his own relatives. It was touching, but he had some concerns as well, primarily for the safety of the two adults and their children.


“You know George, I think we should come up with a team name at some point.” Richard stated nonchalantly.


George, a little surprised, cocked an eyebrow at the comment. “Really? And what do you suppose you should all be called?”


Richard shrugged. “No idea, I kinda thought that was more your department, speaking frankly.”


The old man’s mouth perked up at the corner as he shook his head. “No, while I might be your ‘boss’, I think you’re all much more qualified to come up with that sort of thing on your own. Besides, builds some camaraderie with each other, and lets me avoid being criticized over choice of name.” He chuckled slightly.


__________________________________________________________________



Start of the Memorial


As everyone took their seats, or found a place to stand and watch, a deafening quiet came over the crowds gathered in Atlas City. All eyes turned to the stage, or the screens, whichever they had easiest access to view. After a few moments of silence set in, a projector screen lowered at the back of the stage, and on its left and right side two banners unfurled downwards, decorated with the stars and stripes of the American flag.


Images began to fade into view on the screen, and the televisions across the city, country, and world. Pictures of men, women, children; they were of homes, parties, happy times. Hearts broke and tears began to stream as the pictures became accompanied by the sounds of Lee Greenwood's “Proud to be an American”. Those who tried not to cry struggled, some failed. They leaned on shoulders, tried to give comfort where they could as they watched images of their happy loved ones pass by.


After a while, the song finally came to its close, and the screen faded to its blank, white color once more. The first speaker came to the front of the stage, slowly, almost cautiously. Once he was at the podium, Captain Valor took a moment to compose himself. The hurt was clear in him to the crowd below, but he maintained his composure as the screen behind him flickered with color once more. Now images of Lonestar faded in and out, introducing various glimpses of the hero’s life and adventures.


“My fellow Americans, people of the world. We all lost loved ones on March 12th. For me, it was my fellow hero, sometimes rival, and always good friend; Lonestar. We had…” Valor went quiet a moment as his eyes glistened, two tiny trickles of tears making their way down his cheeks. “We had a lot of adventures together. Saved a lot of people. Saved each other even a few times.”


The hero continued on, regaling the crowd with a few tales of the adventures the two heroes had had. Of course, this was all mostly known to the public. There were many ‘adventures’ they hadn’t heard of though, the kinds of which Valor and Lonestar would both ensure were taken with them to the grave…


“All I want to say now is thank you everyone, America and the whole world, for all your continuing support. And to Lonestar buddy, we’ll meet again one day. Till then, know that you’ll always be in our hearts, a true American hero.” Valor began to exit the stage, wiping away a few tears as the screen continued to show a montage of Lonestar, before slipping into images of more of the heroes and soldiers that laid down their lives to fight the Beast. As America’s heroes passed by on the screen, they were accompanied by a favorite song of Lonestar’s, Toby Keith’s “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue”.


While the crowd was hit by a wave of emotions, the sadness had begun to subside near the end of the song, giving way to a roar of cheering and applause. They could be proud of those who sacrificed so much for them, and honor that freedom by continuing to fight this fight for their families, friends, and America itself.


As the song subsided, other speakers had gone up to the stage, survivors, family members of victims, heroes. Once they’d said their piece, it was time for the message they all really needed to hear. Gordon Ford, President of the United States of America, stepped up to the podium. Near the back of the stage, stood near other speakers, the Secdef and Attorney General both stood by, looking on and hoping Gordon knew what he was doing.


“My fellow Americans…” he started. “This has been a truly, truly painful time for us all. Our country has suffered a grievous injury like never before. So many lives lost, families torn apart… We’ve never seen anything like this.” There was a pause as he sought for words to give power to what he was saying. “But we are a strong nation, a strong people. We’ll rebuild, and fight this fight to keep our free nation as free as it ever has been. You can all sleep soundly at night, knowing we’re working tirelessly to keep you all safe, and to give you the answers you deserve. The people who did this will be brought to life, this I promise you. And to help keep that promise, your government is starting new initiatives to try and fight this menace, including a new team we are calling F.I.S.T. And to speak more on that, I’d like to introduce our Secretary of Defense, Victor Covistic.”


There was some cheering for the President as he stepped away from the podium, though the message he gave perhaps didn’t have the amount of impact he’d hoped for. Victor, for his part, smiled at the President as he went to the podium himself, but inwardly thought very lowly of everything the President had just ‘attempted’.


Once Victor took the podium, he also allowed for a brief pause, a moment of quiet, as he went over everything he would need to say. “Thank you Mr. President. Ladies and Gentlemen, people of America, citizens of Atlas City… Before I say anything else, I need to take a moment here to apologize. As Secretary of Defense, I’m partially responsible for the response we gave to the monster that attacked this great city. We believed we were ready to take this thing on, that we had everything we needed to destroy it. We were wrong, we underestimated the Beast, and we need to take responsibility for that. Myself, my colleagues, and everyone in your government takes responsibility for our handling of this attack.”


There was silence in the crowd as they took in what he had to say. “As the President said, we are all working tirelessly to strike back against our enemy, and while I cannot, for security reasons, tell you everything you deserve to know, I can tell you that our enemies are not long for this world.” He took a pause, hands pressed firmly on the podium as he squared his shoulders and looked directly into the faces of the crowd before him. “Again, I cannot say much for security reasons, but what I can tell you is that the military is developing a team called F.I.S.T. First Initiation Strike Team. They will be instrumental in allowing us to deal with these threats in more precise, fast, and tactical ways. We are also developing another team, known as Bulwark. This team will differ from F.I.S.T. as it will be the newest American Hero team we put together, designed for the specific purpose of ridding us of monsters like this Beast. We will have more details on this team at a later date. But for now…”


Another moment of silence. It stretched on for a second as Victor held his gaze with the crowd, letting them have a moment of anticipation. “For now let me say this. America, today is a day for mourning. Feel this grief, this sadness, this hurt. Let it all go through you. That’s what we can do today. Tomorrow? Let these feelings embolden us. Let it steel us, our resolve. The ones who did this to America, to the American people, they want us to be afraid. They want us to live in fear of them, to put us on edge. But our men and women in uniform, our Supers, our best and brightest minds, are all working in unison in this fight. One people, one purpose. They crave justice, to bring retribution down like a mighty storm. Our enemies have caused us to be afraid long enough. It’s time for these cowards to TRULY be afraid. They’ve awoken the Beast of America, and we are ravenous.”


With that, Victor stepped away from the podium as a roar of passionate emotions erupted from the crowd. The cheers were near deafening, filled with a sound that could be described as sorrow burning up into righteous rage. America had been struck a heavy blow, but it would strike back with a million times more force.


Once the crowd had let that wave of emotion pass through it, other speakers began to take the stage…

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Albrecht von Richthofen Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Evangeline Richter Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss
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Medical Area: The Memorial

Upon hearing the tall man's request, several of the medical staff simply looked at him, blank faced. They were not prepared to tell an absolute stranger about patients they were caring for, and certainly not one that most of them weren't familiar with. Luckily, a hand rose out of the group of people to wave over to Henry. George stood, face grave and stony as he ushered Henry to join him.

Before the cosmic titan could ask anything of his new 'employer', George cast a pointer finger to his lips and led Henry to a part of the tent with fewer people, and less noise. "Thank you for coming Henry. There's been a... Complication today." He looked a little shaken, but not just because of the attempt on his life...

"Someone just tried to assassinate me. Richard has gone to try and catch the sniper, and I guess he hoped you'd be able to serve as protection for me." He looked to Henry and gave him a concerned smile. "For what it's worth, I don't feel quite as in danger with you here now. But we need to stay focused, figure out what to do about this right now."

__________________________________________________________________


Stage: The Memorial

As Cannonade finished their rousing speech, the crowd broke out into a raucous chant:

"Can-On-Ade!" Was how it started.

"Crim-Son-Shield!" Was how it was followed.

The two names continued to be chanted for a few moments, before they bled into chants of 'U-S-A', and other proud and patriotic cheers. The President stood, clapping profusely in his fit of enthrallment for the 'heroes of the city'. Victor and Claudia both found themselves clapping as well, though both less inwardly enthused. Claudia looked to Victor, trying to hold back a smirk.

"Looks like that idea just got flushed down the toilet." She teased nodding at Cannonade.

Victor only smiled and gave a slight shrug. "Mmm, I think it may still be too early to say. And at the very least, I still have other candidates I've got lined up." He pointed with his eyes in the direction of the newly rebranded 'Crimson Shield'.

"But... He's working for ACHI. I doubt they're gonna want to let him go."

"Who said anything about them letting him go? Don't forget my area of expertise as well Claudia, I'm a businessman first and foremost. I have a mutually beneficial business arrangement I think Ivetta will be pleased to hear."

Claudia nodded along. Victor probably had the budget afford trying to get the pilot on their payroll, but this all assumed they were willing to work with the government. Time would tell, she supposed.

"By the way Victor, what was all that about the 'Beast of America'?" She questioned, raising a curious eyebrow. "That's some pretty intense choice of wording there, not sure it's what our speech writer's would have come up with."

Victor turned his gaze back to Claudia again, the two of them now resuming their seats, the clapping having come to a close with the next speaker getting prepared. "Our enemies sent Hell itself to our shores. The people are absolutely terrified, and how could they not be? How do you stop being scared of monsters and beasts?"

Claudia stared back and sighed. "By becoming one?" She asked, already expecting the answer.

He chuckled in response before turning his gaze back out to the audience. "Don't worry about the speechwriters. It's going to become politically popular very soon, because for as angry as me, you, the President, or any of these heroes may say we are? None of us are more angry than America and her people."

Whilst heroes, politicians, and businessmen participated in the memorial, off to the side Douglas MacNamara flipped through a few messages on his phone. He looked up long enough to listen to Cannonade's speech, smirking a little to himself before going back to sending a reply text message. 'And a special team run by Super Roma's Number 1 no less. Interesting. Very interesting...' He thought to himself.

'One more thing to keep our eyes on.'

__________________________________________________________________


Club Shapeless: Atlas City

The door's of the meeting room opened gently, giving way to the sight of a masked figure standing on the other side.

The Shape.

There was the briefest moment of silence before he granted a bow of his head to Vicki Vortex. "Vicki, pleasure to see you again. Won't you come in?" He said indicating to the meeting room. Kiran was absent currently, but as Maxwell allowed the rocker in, retaking his own seat at the table, he set to work in assisting Miss Vortex in her task.

"Lab Rat isn't here at the moment, as you can see. But what is it you'd like to speak with them about? Perhaps there's some way I can be of assistance."


__________________________________________________________________


Roof of the Galliant Building: Atlas City

Richard's mouth swung open about as fast as Sairyn's had.

What was this guy's problem? Richard was about to snap something back at the guy, but bit his tongue on remembering that Sairyn was the one with the drone's that Richard currently needed. It wasn't made any easier though by the inclusion of unrequested software being sneakily put on his phone. Of course, this was ignoring all the data collecting software likely already on the phone when he bought it...

"Alright, alright, I got it. And the thing doesn't like 'made up words'? Is that supposed to be a special 'feature' or something?" He remarked mostly rhetorically. It was a slight dig, Richard found he couldn't help himself in the face of the tinker's choice of wording, which the icy hero found to be somewhat grating.

Richard pulled out his phone and started to get the software running, and once it was operational, he spoke some brief orders. "Uhh... Tracer; fly to the rooftop of the Galliant Building in Atlas City."

He heard some shouting from the other end of his earpiece, something about poison? "Are... You alright? What was that about a... Tongue?" He asked confused.


"I'm sorry, your request for 'tongue' cannot be completed as requested." Tracer chirped through his phone.

"Disregard that Tracer. Please come to the roof of the Galliant Building." He heard Klaus's voice come through the other end as well, and quickly muted his phone so Tracer wouldn't get any more confused.

"Thanks Klaus, see you shortly."

After he felt confident things were settled and that the drone was almost in position, Richard snuck out of the elevator and carefully made his way across the roof, with the thick, cool fog encompassing nearly the whole area. As it spread out over the roof, it began to leave a thin coating of frost on the surfaces it touched, giving them a slight glimmer.

Richard wasn't sure if his plan would work, but since he couldn't see someone that was invisible, he figured seeing something frost covered would at least bridge the disadvantage.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Henry Stewart Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Ezekiel "Zeke" Walker Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Silentium Character Portrait: Albrecht von Richthofen Character Portrait: Scourge Character Portrait: Hugo Hemrod Character Portrait: Joseph Wright Character Portrait: Amelia Brunel Character Portrait: Gideon Gauss Character Portrait: Hudson Li Character Portrait: Niall Khadkani Character Portrait: Jamie Kerrow
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Maxwell grinned under his mask at Vic's various remarks, a little amused by her candidness in what she had to say. "You know Miss Vortex, our resident tinker may be away, but I certainly think I could be of some assistance to you. Both in getting back your 'personal investment', and I suspect in many other things." His gaze was fixed on the rocker, considering her, and what she'd been through. She'd told him next to nothing, but she didn't have to. The Shape had seen plenty of performances before, and while her almost flippant behavior was authentic, Vicky Vortex was practically draped in pain.

"As for keeping my secrets Vicky, I'm not really worried about any of that. You don't seem the sort to burn bridges with friends, and I think you might be looking for some right now. Some resourceful, well connected friends."


______________________________________________________________________________________


Richard stared down the glistening air, noticing a red dot now trained on him. "Carlisle? Oh he's my grandfather figure." He remarked sardonically to the sniper. Richard's right hand was tensing up, readying up as he responded again. "As for how many of us he's got around, that's need to know information. And you don't need to know. Though I have to ask; who hired you to kill some random, old billionaire, and why?"

Before an answer could be given, time began to skew around the sniper. Klaus had arrived, and not a moment too soon. "Appreciate the help! Now as for ideas..." Richard paused, finally being able to see glimpses of the enemy. A robot? Seriously? This was beyond anything he expected... But not something he was going to be any more intimated by.

"I've got a few." Richard grinned as the red dot swayed slightly. He flicked something with his right hand, and the red dot quickly separated into thousands of directions as it shone through a piece of glassy ice. Taking a dive to the side, Richard fired off a few shots at the robot, before tucking and rolling into cover. A few shots silently rang out from the sniper, but while Klaus made a few attacks of his own, Richard came back around in a full charge at his steely foe.


______________________________________________________________________________________


George nodded stoically to Henry, though his eyes showed a certain dread, the realization of how precious a commodity time was, and how forces were now at play that sought to rob him of as much of it as possible. "We'll need to contact the others. Richard is going to try to subdue the shooter, but you're right, we need to get out of the city. I think it's finally time we made that trip out to sea..."

______________________________________________________________________________________


THUD

CRACK

Richard's body slammed into a sheet of reinforced, skylight glass, causing the whole piece to buckle and crack. He gasped silently, his whole back searing in pain from where it connected with the skylight, his chest contracted and unable to move, incapable of taking in any air. Gripping onto the side of the angled surface, he steadied himself enough to roll off of the glass and onto the layer of concrete that made up the roof of an entirely different skyscraper. The fight had gone unexpectedly wrong when the assassin grabbed Richard and threw him from the roof of the Galliant building, and onto whichever building he was on now.

His whole body shook violently as the realization came over him of just how close to death he had been. The assassin made a miscalculation, a mistake. Had he thrown him in a different direction, or with less strength, it would have been pavement Richard was landing on. Finally, his chest managed to release from its contraction, and deep, shaky breaths returned to him as he gulped up as much air as his lungs could handle.

Laying prone, resting his forearms on the ground for support, Richard slowly rolled himself over onto his aching back, gazing unsteadily into the bright blue sky above him. There was rapid, unintelligible chatter come through his comms device, something about the other group being attacked by some villains? An explosion at the mansion? Needing to retreat? His brain couldn't make any sense of it, so he pulled the device from his ear and decided to just lay there.

Just 10, maybe 15 minutes. 20 tops. He just needed a second. He just needed some Time.



To Be Continued.