they label me a villain cause of how I express my feelings
Emma leaned back in her plush office chair once more, staring at her computer screen, a gin and tonic dangling from one lazy hand. “Not bad as far as projections go, but not good enough. We need a little something extra.”
“I might point out, Miss Frost, that these profit projections beat the Wall Street estimates by 21.3 percent. Are you sure that your calibrations for what is considered good enough in this situation are accurate?” The soothing and calm tone of Jarvis, her trusty AI and one of her most advanced projects – not even possible to recreate without Emma's techopathy, echoed through the Invincible Iron Woman's brain.
“Entirely sure. I wanted to beat the street by twenty five percent. I have to squeeze some efficiency out somewhere...” She leaned forward, setting the drink on the edge of the table, fingers flying across the virtual keyboard that sprung to life midair underneath her hands as she began to type.
“Why do you even bother typing? Can't you just... tell it what to do?” The door slid closed and Emma's faithful assistant, confidant and sometimes lover, Mr. Peter “Pepper” Potts, made his way in with a plate of sandwiches. “You forgot to eat again by the way, Emma.”
“And why can't you just guess my answer to your question and keep it to yourself? You're the precog here not me. And I find something... primal and visceral about typing. Like a predator creeping up on its prey and pouncing. And I didn't forget to eat, it was just lower on my priority list. But, since you've done the hunting here, I shall do the gathering.” She stopped in her typing to do a few things – first give Pepper a kiss on the cheek, then take the sandwich plate from him, and drape herself across one corner of her desk to begin eating.
“Touche' Miss Frost. You may want to move food up higher on your default priority list. Frost Enterprises doesn't need its founder and CEO to fall over from starvation before the board meeting. Which you'll be late for in about twenty minutes. Also, you have a Hellfire Club meeting tonight at eight.” Pepper replied dutifully, stepping up to pat Emma on the shoulder.
“Can't I just miss the board meeting? It's all going to be the same blah blah they always do. Then I'll say something brilliant and they'll all stare in awe, then scramble to implement my idea. And... the Hellfire Club, so soon? I just got the grease off from the last time I had to shake hands with Doctor Essex. But I am looking forward to seeing Wilson...” Emma said nonchalantly, mentioning the Black and White Kings of the Hellfire Club.
Doctor Nathaniel Essex, aka Mister Sinister, aka the Black King of the Hellfire Club, was someone she held both respect and contempt for. On the other hand, the White King, Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, now he and Emma had a certain chemistry that made them good friends and contemporaries. The final member of the Hellfire Club's royalty that she hadn't mentioned was the Black Queen, May Parker. May's quest to bring her beloved husband back to life hadn't worked, but she had restored herself to youthful brilliance with a formula she tried first on her dead husband, and now also somehow dominated the alien symbiote she was bonded to. Some said that she dabbled in magics as well, still seeking a way to bring Ben Parker back to life. One thing that was certain though, May Parker, aka Panacea, was a very cagey and powerful opponent for pretty much anyone on the planet.
“Should I be jealous?” Pepper said, looking at Emma, an eyebrow raising at hearing the White King's name.
“Oh good Heavens no. He's got a brilliant mind, but that body...” Wilson Fisk was a mutant, possessed of massive girth and once he planted his feet on the ground, was immovable. 'Nothing can knock down the Kingpin' was always his saying. “Fine. Let's go. I'll eat on the way. Chinese after? I've been wanting to get back to Beijing anyway...”
Last edited by michalecs; 07-11-2012 at 08:11 AM. Reason: Content
Prologue: The Border of North Vietnam, 1973
BOOM! A palm tree burst into a thousand splinters. A lithe blonde in a red-white-and-blue bodysuit narrowly avoided a blow that could shatter a mountain as easily as a tree. She leapt smoothly in a somersault and cartwheeled into a loose stance that left her ready for battle. Agent Diana Prince, known to the world as American Woman, held up her hands in an imploring gesture. "Superman, it's not too late to stop this! Nobody's died yet nobody HAS to...!"
The Man of Steel stared coldly at "The Lady Liberty" with glowing eyes. He rose slowly above the ground like the god much of the rest of the world often considered him. "How many will die if I don't end this war, American Woman?"
"Please, Superman. You know that this isn't the way. Your being even this close to the Northern territory has put the world on the brink of annihilation!"
"How?! I'm trying to save the world, not destroy it!"
The lovely blonde sadly shook her head. "I'm sorry, Clark, but if you fly over that border, you're just as good as igniting the Cold War into Armageddon. The Communists have prepared for this day. They have super-powered weapons of their own: Thunder & Lightning. Thunderlord. For Hera's sake, have you seen the destruction that Thunderlord can cause with his shout?! I don't know if even you could stand up to his shout! And do you really think that Red China won't send their powered troops to help? If you keep pushing this, you'll doom millions..."
"You won't change my mind, American Woman--and we both know that you can't stop me!" Like the legendary claims, Superman sped from his hovering position like a speeding bullet for the border! "I'm sorry you feel that way." A blur of red and blue sped toward the North Vietnamese border...and a red-blue-and-white form tackled him in mid-air. She hit him hard enough to bring them both tumbling onto the wet soil with a splash.
Superman lashed out with his right arm. The arm caught American Woman full-on, but she rode the impact expertly, side-flipping, her boots hitting the mud and digging small furrows as she skidded to a stop. Despite the surprise and ride, American Woman remained non-flustered and prepared for the fight.
"If you think that little bit of super-strength and speed you inherited from Uncle Sam is supposed to impress me, think again!" In another burst of speed, Superman ran toward his fairer opponent and threw a mighty punch. "I'm still stronger than you! Your punches can only bruise me--mine can SHATTER you!"
With a grunt, American Woman parried Superman's blow with a judo maneuver. "If this were an arm-wrestling match, then I'd be in trouble! I don't have to be stronger than you, Clark. I just have to be better--and we both know that I'm the better fighter!" A slender fist flashed forward and struck a nerve cluster below Superman's armpit. Shockingly, he cried out as his arm went numb!
"Come on, Clark, do you really think that Bruce and I never prepared for this possibility? You shouldn't have been so forthcoming with Kryptonian anatomy in the League databanks! Between that our files on Faora, we had at least one strategy prepared!" Silently, Diana mused, If only Hermes and Athena favor Batman with the speed to reach Vietnam with that Kryptonite ring! Goddess grant me the strength to hold him off until John, Kara, and Adam can get here!
Superman exhaled in a breath with the force of a hurricane wind, and American Woman was tossed into the mud! She scrambled to her feet and prepared for the follow-up attack...
...an attack that never came! American Woman gasped when she saw her surroundings. She glanced around with no shortage of confusion.
"What's happening? Who are you and how did you bring me here?" A moment's observation showed Diana that she wasn't alone. She listened calmly to Morph's introduction as she pulled herself together.
"Well, Morph, while I'm sympathetic to saving the universe, I'm afraid that I've left a world already in crisis. Perhaps I could help you as soon as I've taken care of that mess?"
Who needs CoTM when you can have a Skullie?
I am Tangent Man! I do not care!
~Meanwhile, at a unknown HYDRA Base~
"Hey did you hear about the guy who bagged that Deadpool guy?", One HYDRA grunt muttered to his accomplice who nodded.
"Bob, is what I hear they call him." he said before looking around as if speaking his name would summon him.
"Ah. Well this 'Bob', is apparently like one of our best guys. But, what confuses me is how can this guy who goes by the name of Bob-Really? Could have caught the merc with a mouth. I mean you and I, Hydra Grunt Number 24, we don't know anything other than his name and that he is good.", HYDRA Grunt number 21 continued.
"*Snort* Heh, yeah. I bet this Bob guy is just taking the credit for another HYDRA dude."
"Heh yeah.", HYDRA Grunt 21 said in agreement with his fellow grunt. But in the middle of their flaming of Bob, they hadn't noticed a figure who had been peeking around the corner and had heard their entire conversation. And now he was walking towards the laughing grunts. But, they wouldn't be laughing once two hands were clenching their throats.
"*ACK*He-Hey! Who are you?! *COUGH"",HYDRA Grunt 23 croaked.
"*COUGH Yeah-What's the big *erk* idea?!"
"Bob.," Bob replied. "And at the moment, I don't have any particular ideas. But you two seem to have been in the middle of making one. What was it? Ah yes, who really 'bagged' Wade Wilson.."
"No-No-NO we totally knew it was you Bob-Yeah totally!."
"Is that so? Well, maybe I won't break your necks then. Just maybe."
*The two grunts would cringe but then a flash of white light would enshroud the hallway and when it cleared-Bob was gone.
--In the Field--
Bob listened, with the patience that any loyal solider of HYDRA(Altough he was annoyed that him being teleported just had to happen right in the middle of some good fear-inducing choking.) , to Morph's statement before his response was nothing more than a mere scoff. Which was all he felt inclined to give at the moment. Maybe if he cared more, he would have given a grunt or a 'ahem' but for now, a scoff was all that was given.
"Somebody's going to get fired for this..." The device fell creating a large explosion and engulfing the man in the blazing inferno. He did not die however he would just find himself transported somewhere else.
"...If this is heaven then I want my money back." Mysterio whispered to the one closest to him.
Mysterio would sit down, but not in the grass. As he started to sit down a small device would pop out from his back and grow into a perfectly working floating chair. "Pym eat your heart out.""Don't freak out, I was just kidding. Well, a little. Last time I had to give this speech, I freaked everyone out by pretending to be God... But... okay, if everybody could maybe just take a seat in the grass there, I can explain everything." Cupping one hand over his eyes and squinting at the group, he continues.
"I can just see the news back home. 'Mysterio Master of Illusions escapes death'! The press will eat it up" Mysterio replied as he motioned towards the horizon.[SIZE=2]"I see we may have some pretty rough-and-tumble dudes out there in the audience, seriously, just bear with me. Your first question is probably, 'why am I here?' Long story short, you have been unhinged from time. As harsh and existential truth that this is, your universe is all kinds of busted up for any infinite number of reasons, and by happenstance, lucky you got chucked to the wayside. But, instead of leaving youse to non-existence or as a maggot meal or both, my friends and I have recruited you to help fix broken realities! And, of course, you're not alone. Look around you, that's not bad company, right? Except for that one guy scowling at me in the back. Eek.
Mysterio snaps his fingers as if trying to remember him. "Oh yeah I know a you! You were in that three man group! I recall your performance got cancelled after two shows." He shrugged. "I guess you didn't have the star appeal." He joked. I mean a D-string performer like him telling Mysterio what to do? That's just insulting."My name's Morph! Shapeshifter, X-Man, Avenger, and Exile extraordinaire!"
"Wait what?" Suddenly not so funny any more. "Whoa no." Mysterio got off from the chair which minimized and went back into its compartment again. "Do you realize what happened? I was *this* close in getting the Performer Supreme title, and now you tell me I can't go back? The crowd love the resurrection angle! Dammit, if only that..." Suddenly a realization. "Why didn't the Ghost protocol activate?" Mysterio went silent as he did a diagnostic check on his suit. Ghost protocols...offline? He hadn't done that. Wait... "That bitch...she set me up!"I know this may seem a little pushy and like we're giving you an ultimatum. We can't force you to help us out... but it's either you do this or some seriously bad stuff goes down back on your home Earth. ...okay, wow, that sounded like a threat... uh... it's bad stuff happening as a consequence you being reintegrated into your home reality, not by what we do. In a little while, I can show you exactly what that is, but for right now you're gonna have to take it on faith."
Last edited by Jeremi; 07-11-2012 at 02:46 AM.
Casey "CC" Cruz. Small time hood. Big time temper. Likes to hit people.
Men. Women. Children. Makes no difference to him.
For his girlfriend Maria Menudo it did. CC pushed her down a flight of stairs after beating her for spilling ketchup on his pants.
The fall broke her neck. His unborn son died inside her.
Yet here he is. Laughing with his lowlife buddies while Maria's dead and buried. A smaller casket rests beside her.
Her parents named the boy Jesus.
Now CC's walking around free because justice failed Maria and Jesus. I'm here to correct that mistake.
I draw my sais--they used to belong an ex-girlfriend--don't ask--and leap towards him shouting his name.
His two buddies scream and run. I let them. CC curses and frantically draws a gun.
Out of prison for six hours and already has a gun--
I move. He fires.
My sai bites into his chest, buries itself into his heart. A bubble of blood bursts on his lips. Bowels empty.
I shove him away. His body crashes to the street. His breath rattles as it escapes his lungs for the last time.
I flick my wrist clearing the blood from the sai.
"Justice is served," I say.
Then my senses lie to me and tell me I am no longer in New York...
Superheroic's Traitor Game Character Stable: Retired
"None taken, Emp m'dear. You guys are definitely not the first group of people that have been recruited to do this. Heck, I might not even be. And I can sure-as-shoot tell you that you're not even the first group that we've personally recruited. Admittedly, that makes you sound less special--," he tugs at her cheeks beaming an almost Cheshire Cat sized smile, "--but we like to think all of you Exiles are special little snowflakes in the big snowflake that may-or-may-not-be the shape of the Multiverse. Like I said, it's not a hard science."
"Not a game, Witchy-poo. Although if it's any consolation, in most universes there's like half-a-dozen Heaven and Hells to pick from. Chances are you weren't going to find exactly what you're looking for.
And... if I may speak clandestinely without you melting my face, please don't, I know you weren't. Because you're here."
"Unfortunately, from what I know, yours isn't one that's 'broken'. Got hit by a big ripple, a tear, a crack, a shake-and-bake, and that's how we got you. You got lost in the shuffle, so now you play the cards you're dealt and hope for the best."
"Yeah, we're going to have a lot of this, aren't we? One of the hardest parts of being an Exile is going to another world and seeing twisted and whacked-up versions of your friends and family. Sometimes, they're out-and-out bad guys, sometimes they're dead, and sometimes they're the same, except they have this horrible thing where they chew loudly with their mouth open when they eat.Originally Posted by Scarlet Nomad
The Multiverse is a freaky place. But you gotta get used to it, kiddo."
Last edited by Deadpooligan; 07-11-2012 at 06:46 AM.
"I'm sorry to hear that. Really, it's not easy for me to give this speech to people, like, ever. And I know just what it's like to be on the receiving end of it, but you don't really have a choice here. You can't go back home. Ever. And I'm not talking about a single universe in peril. I'm talking about universes-- the Multiverse.
Listen, if I told you what would happen if you went back, it'd really give you some go-getter-go-to initiative to play ball here. Maybe I'm not explaining this the best, there's people inside that can do it better than me. I'm just the doughy white grief counselor you get instead of a pudgy balding figment of your collective unconscious. Don't ask."
"See, if we're all gonna get along and get things done, the scowling's gotta stop."
"Hey! I'll have you know, out of all the Morphs in the Multiverse, I'm the only one that got kidnapped and tortured by MOJO to do a show!"
"Mojo? Big, yellow, spineless guy who runs his own dimension? No? Well, if you ever have the misfortune of meeting the guy, that's 'making it big'..."
Mysterio gets a pat on the back and a sympathetic smile."Wait what?" Suddenly not so funny any more. "Whoa no." Mysterio got off from the chair which minimized and went back into its compartment again. "Do you realize what happened? I was *this* close in getting the Performer Supreme title, and now you tell me I can't go back? The crowd love the resurrection angle! Dammit, if only that..." Suddenly a realization. "Why didn't the Ghost protocol activate?" Mysterio went silent as he did a diagnostic check on his suit. Ghost protocols...offline? He hadn't done that. Wait... "That bitch...she set me up!"
"Yep. You bought it big time, pal. Pyrotechnics failure and more than your career went up in smoke."
Last edited by Deadpooligan; 07-11-2012 at 06:52 AM.
"...Like what? Just sounds like you're hanging something over our head to get us in line." Mysterio would reply. "Could've just thrown a wad of cash for a few shows and I wouldn't even be whining."
"Oh I know ol' yellow belly. We sold him distribution rights for those fat royalty checks.""Hey! I'll have you know, out of all the Morphs in the Multiverse, I'm the only one that got kidnapped and tortured by MOJO to do a show!
Mojo? Big, yellow, spineless guy who runs his own dimension? No? Well, if you ever have the misfortune of meeting the guy, that's 'making it big'..."
Mysterio would slap Morph's arm from his shoulder. "Guess I can't expect the increased revenue from the resurrection angle..." He sighed. "What hurts most is that it probably was an inside job.""Yep. You bought it big time, pal. Pyrotechnics failure and more than your career went up in smoke."
"It is all a game," Wanda said coldly, "It is a game that I shall win. I have no time to waste on these infantile distractions." Hellfire flitted about her, casting her in a dead radiance. She clutched her pregnant belly, feeling the lives contained within it moving, attempting to be born. "So unless you can send me to the One-Above-All, I must return to hell."
She contemplated showing him the dead lights. Those vile things that were light, but not light. Forcing his mind to see all the horrors of hell would break it completely, shatter his sanity. Mephisto would do it, do it in a heartbeat. But no, it was impractical at the moment.
"This is going to sound bananas, but the Multiverse works to its own whim. Even with the knowledge that this is going to happen, there's nothing you can do to change it. Fella, if you go back home... you've got a fate worse than death. Cliche, I know, but it's true. It's not sabotage, it's not poor planning, it's a complete accident and you take a tumble from the top of the Sands Hotel. 'Miraculously', you survive, but you're a quadriplegic for the rest of your life. You sit alone in a full-care nursing home.
I could show you if you don't believe me, but it's pretty graphic and I really don't want to see it again."
"Oh I know ol' yellow belly. We sold him distribution rights for those fat royalty checks."
"Real piece of work, ain't he? My pal Heather once sold him viewing rights to a bunch of realities so we could get Longshot on our team in a pinch. Totally worth it, but geez, that's a whole 'nother story."
"I s'pose if you've got a lot of extra arms, planning peoples' deaths to get ahead is just multitasking."Mysterio would slap Morph's arm from his shoulder. "Guess I can't expect the increased revenue from the resurrection angle..." He sighed. "What hurts most is that it probably was an inside job."
He covered his mouth, catching himself.
"Oops. So much for the big mystery."
"When you put it that way, I must get a girlfriend. I must win the Lottery, and I must find a reality where I invented the Apple II. Sorry, some things just ain't gonna happen.
Although, I do have some serious reservations about putting a pregnant woman in this line of work. There's gotta be some kind of mistake..."
"Whatever the case might be, I'm glad to see you here, Wolverine."
She looked at Morph. "Very well, let the damnation of the souls of my sons be upon your head."
Irene Adler, private detective, sat at her desk. Nearby sat Raven Darkholme, the woman who was so much more than just her assistant, confidante, and trusted friend.
Irene stared at her computer screen, and at the notebook containing her written accounts. "I must say, Raven, you did excellent work in the Stryker case."
"Were it not for you, we would not have connected the murders to William Stryker in the first place." Raven replied. "Both of us deserve the credit."
"Yes, but the outside world must never know the whole story." Irene replied. She read out loud the news story from the computer screen.
"'Evangelist Confesses to Multiple Murder, Then Commits Suicide'. Reverend William Stryker, a preacher known for his fiery anti-mutant speeches, confessed to his organization's role in the murders of two black mutant children on national television. Shortly thereafter, Stryker was found hanged in his dressing room. The police have ruled Stryker's death a suicide based on the available evidence.'"
Raven smiled. "It worked perfectly, my dear. I did worry that my confession might run a bit too long and the body might be too cold for people to believe he killed himself afterwards. But as it turned out, they didn't find the body until a half-hour after 'Stryker' returned to his dressing room."
"You are quite a convincing actress, Raven. Or is it actor?" Irene smiled. "I saw the whole thing on television. If I didn't know what was really happening, I would have believed that you were William Stryker after having had the spiritual revelation that killing children in God's name is an unacceptable evil and that God had demanded that you confess to your sins."
"What can I say? I did my homework on the man. And in the end, it paid off."
Irene nodded. Raven's shapeshifting talents had served them well once again. But she knew that she and Raven must not discuss the matter to anyone else. Though many of Stryker's followers had renounced the anti-mutant crusade after the 'confession', there were still a few fanatics who would not let go just because Stryker 'weakened'. And not all of those fanatics were in prison.
It was then that there was a knock on the office door. "Raven, will you get the door?"
Raven, in the form of a very attractive secretary wearing high heels and a miniskirt, opened the door. A disheveled man stood in the hall. "Is this the office of Irene Adler, private detective?"
"Yes, how may I help you?" Raven asked.
"I'd like to speak to Ms. Adler." the man said.
Something about this man seemed ... off. Irene could sense it. But she rose from her desk anyway. She thought it was best to speak to him so she'd know as much as she could about him.
"Yes, what would you like to discuss?" Irene said.
"I'd heard you were investigating the scenes of the deaths connected to Reverend Stryker." the man said. "And I've got some information you might be interested in."
"Reverend Stryker confessed on national television." Irene replied. "We consider that case closed, and so do the police."
"But it concerns Stryker." the man replied. "It's believed by some that Stryker didn't commit suicide. He was murdered."
Irene and Raven did not flinch. Decades of detective work had taught them both the value of acting as normal as possible when someone might suspect their secrets. "Interesting." Irene said, after a pause. "And what leads these people to believe that?"
"Stryker's crusade made him a lot of enemies, after all." the man said. "Mutants, of course. And naturally they'd make it look like a suicide so he wouldn't end up being a martyr for his cause."
Irene scowled. "If you are asking us to chase down mutant suspects strictly because of your own hatred toward mutants, you have come to the wrong people. We do not believe in hatred or bigotry toward anyone."
The man paused for a moment. "Actually, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying I KNOW who killed Reverend Stryker. And his killer is in this very room."
With that, the man pulled out a gun, and pointed it at Raven.
Irene, however, immediately leaped onto him with surprising speed, and the two scuffled over the gun in the hall. After a while, the gun was knocked from the man's hand, and it skittered down the hall. With a swift kick followed up by a swift punch, the man was knocked to the floor.
"Mutant bitches!" the man swore. "I thought you might fight back. That's why I brought ..."
Irene's mutant senses saw it even before the man started speaking. She shoved Raven backwards into the office, and leaped toward the man.
"...THIS!" He revealed a miniature bomb on the inside of his coat.
Irene and the man struggled in the hall. Irene knew, however, that the man would be too fast for her. And she knew that this man was willing to die for his extremist beliefs. She would not be able to take the bomb off of him, and there was no time.
The man's hand hit the detonator. Irene's world went white...
After the explosion, a huge, blackened hole in the floor could be seen in the spot where Irene and the terrorist fought. The surrounding walls in the hallway were blackened and damaged. Raven could only stare in silence, as tears ran down her face.
Irene, meanwhile, found herself in a grassy field.
"Interesting. I did not believe my afterlife would be this pleasant. Is this ... Heaven?" she asked.
She turned to see the bizarre assemblage before her. Were these other superbeings who had recently passed on?
OOC: Irene's questions to come in the next post.
Last edited by Chris Lang; 07-11-2012 at 09:34 AM.
Bugs. Stryker's Purifiers must have planted listening devices in her office. How else would that man have known they were mutants, or that they had any connection to Stryker's death? But Irene knew that if this man was correct, there was nothing she could do about that now.
"So, what is this danger that threatens the entire Multiverse, and not just the universe I come from?" Irene asked.
"But if what you are saying is true, there is something we need to do here. Something far more important than our lives back in our worlds. As for myself, I accept the risks. I knew one day I would have to face the consequences for my actions. But some of the others here may be wondering what they have to gain by helping you."