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Posted by
Mar 11, 2006

Edited on
Mar 11, 2006

Bullets soared by as a battered body tumbled through the gunfire, rolling to shelter behind a stone pillar. He had no idea where the battle had taken him, but it was dark and made of concrete, possibly a layered car garage. Hounded by the grey garbed legion for what seemed like forever, this was one of the first breathers he was able to sneak in during the chase. The blank troops closed into his location with pistols drawn and faces dead. He wished he could fight back, but that would be wrong. It was not their fault, after all.

"Return the Core," demanded the numbers in unison with their joined, monotone voice, "and your death will be swift." Grinding his teeth to choke out his rage, he clutched the stolen object even tighter as the surroundings were studied for some route of escape. The city was depending on him, no, the world. He sprung from hiding once he heard them getting too close and, with a mad dash to wall, threw himself through the safety barrier. Catching a few shots in the back of his leg, he sailed through the air with the pieces of the shattered guard rail. He dropped like a stone toward the pavement below, falling, falling, and then rising. Soaring like the bold eagle of the land he was sworn to defend, what remained of his cape spread wide as the Star Spangled Crusader's command over gravity came back under his control.

"Sorry, Mind Minions," the man apologized with a toothy grin across his wide chin, "but you can tell Mind Lord that evil will not be victorious today." Stretching one muscular arm forward, he tried to steady his shaky flight. Passing over the heads of city dwellers, the onlookers could not see the familiar streak striped red and white, now just red, but they still cheered on their great hero.

It had been a long day, but the battle was far from over. Many topnotch members of the Guardian Guild had been lost, and what remained was spread throughout the city fighting smaller skirmishes to keep the evildoers occupied. The spy within the Sinister Squad had informed the heroes of plans to construct a Doom's Day Device, D-3. The most vital component for the weapon, luckily, was a relic of advanced, arcane, and alien origin, the Core, which was being smuggled into town. This was the only weakness in the design. Without this key component, humanity would be safe. However, the object cannot merely be destroyed, for, with all its power unleashed, its destruction could annihilate hundreds of miles. Until the proper disposal was discovered, they just had to keep out of the villains' hands, but they would not let that be an easy task.

"Curse that star studded fool!" whined a nefarious figure in purple spandex, stepping up to the broken barrier as the grey, mindless drones stood around worthlessly, receiving no commands from their mind bending master. "Well, if he thinks he can escape the wrath of Dr. Ray, then his days are over!" Laughing maniacally, the fiend twisted his helmet so that a visor slid over his eyes. Raising both his arms, rings around his forearms began to glow. Locking onto his distant target, all eight bands were shining bright. "Full power!" he unnecessarily stated as twin beams of energy were discharged, ripping across the sky. There was nothing the Crusader could have done as the brilliant lasers blasted him from the heavens. Only the Core remained, tumbling in the air amidst a shower of blood before crashing down to the city streets of below. However, eager hands were waiting to catch it...

[It's super heroes and villains. What will be the world's fate? Will good triumph over evil? And try not to just make an uber man (super strength, speed, flight, heat rays, invisible all in one package), that'd be a bit lame.

Posted by
Mar 15, 2006

[OOC: Now here's a character that's not super...yet. I wonder if he's kinda too "dark" for this story, but he is who he is.]

Just below the scene of our hero's tragic end spanned a sinister, grafiti-covered alleyway. No doubt, these were the narrow playgrounds of thugs and heroes alike...

...but there was also an unfortuante crowd, caught in the middle of the epic struggle, that had to abide in the alleys as well. Terrel Axford was one of those cursed people, doomed to make meals out of garbage and sleep standing up with his back against the wall. At only 17 years old, he was a malnourished, long-haired, homeless bum.

This unlucky soul was wandering the bleak alley, once again wrestling with his sanity, when his cold, steel eyes glimpsed a shower of something crimson raining down from the sky, and something glowing plummeting to the pavement. "The hell-?" Terrel stammered, yet was interrupted; as the words escaped his lips, blood splashed upon his dirty blonde hair and black t-shirt. "Gah! What's going on...?"

Now the ground was quaking...Terrel could feel every vibration surging through his legs. Suddenly, a cobalt blue, serpentine creature sprung out of the ground in front of the teen like a mutated fish. It was as long as a human and segmented, with several pairs of black, hairy limbs, and had a menacing pair of sickle-like mandibles. When it jumped out, it caught the falling sphere in its teeth.

"Not another thing..." muttered Terrel, edging away as the creature slammed into the Earth. "If I start running now, maybe I won't get attacked..."

So the teen whirled around and started to dash away. However, more wriggling worm-like monsters emerged from the ground and abruptly cut off his escape route. "No-!"

"Foolish human!" cackled an inhuman, raucous voice. "You cannot escape the soldiers of Dr. Cursipede's army!" The pavement trembled; Terrel backed away from the live barricade and was caught in a vice of ebony legs. "And for trying to take the Core, human, we will rip you to shreds!"

Terrel sighs deeply, and helplessly watches more worm-things pop out of the ground. "I could say you're wrong, but you'd never believe me," he gloomily replied to the voice. A sullen calm radiates from the teen; no fear can be traced from his stone eyes. "I guess there is no point in living anymore..."

Posted by
Mar 17, 2006

The urchin's depression meant nothing to the cursed worm; he was just in its way and edible -- a problem and an easy solution. The writhing ringed mess reared up on its hindmost legs, spreading its wicked jaws in anticipation for the kill. Its chitinous head tweaked to an angle. The soft, membranous flesh of the beast inflated beneath its armor.

What sort of attack is this? thought the youth, although none of the confusion was shown in his expression. The segment quickly continued to swell to such a size that it burst off the plates protecting it. The many-legged demon began to writhe uncontrollably until the sac burst in a gruesome display. Its body fell and revealed a man standing behind, gun drawn. A plain mask hid his face in a featureless silver save for two bulging eyes. His entire length was clad in a military coat covered in pockets that showed its age in the number of repairs made to it. From within it, the mysterious man drew out another cylindric container to load into his launcher. He brought up a heavy, mud-splattered boot onto the still-twitching head, oozing all sorts of sickly slimes, and put all his weight onto it. He shot another canister, this time into a group of the monstrosities instead of into a monster itself. It ricocheted off the alley wall and exploded into a heavy, obviously deadly gas in mid-air.

"Kid, there was never any real point in living," the masked man told, much to the youth's surprise, despite his want to seem otherwise. "Especially when you're just going to throw your life away like this," he huffed from behind his disguise in a low, metallic voice, "not as though you'd be able to contribute much to society anyway."

"Hey, you can't judge me!" the bum objected. "You don't know me... my life..." he trailed off.

"Terrel Axford," the gasser reverberated as he readied another round. "Age, seventeen. Residence, vagrant. Priors: public drunkenness, assault, larceny, extortion, and racketeering. Quite impressive for someone so young." Another acrid cloud was launched into the crowding worms. When he reached into his coat to reload, his lenses met eyes locked in surprise and disgust. "I have a good memory."

"Yeah, well, that just shows ya how the man is trying to keep us little guys down," was his best retort.

"We police and hero-types aren't here to make your lives any worse," the gunman explained while continuing his barrage. "We just want to keep people like you from making everyone else's life worse."

"I was just doin' what I need to stay alive out here," he rationalized.

"You're a drop-out and a run-away," the masked man reminded. "There was plenty you could have done to avoid coming here, and there were even more choices for you to get out."

"Naw, you don't underst-"

"Oh, I understand it all," he cut off, firing a furious shot straight into the closest worm's open orifice. "You're from a white, lower-middle class family. They didn't have it all, but they had enough. Just like every other whiny little emo kid your age, the whole world is only focused on making your life miserable. You don't have a terminal disease, you didn't lose any limbs, you weren't tied up in a frickin' basement and ravished for weeks. No, you are the only person in the entire world that has ever had a beef with his parents." The solid silver face was flush against the vagrant's nose. He could see his apathetic eyes reflected back at himself -- a fact that made the hero even more infuriated. Heat from his loud breath could be felt radiating from the flat mouth. The thought of backhanding the little punk to the splattered ground crossed his mind, but that wasn't the kind of person he was anymore. The gasser's assault had quit in the middle of his little rant, and the demon crawlers regrouped in the clearing air and slithered forward.

"Some of us have problems we make for ourselves," the gunner boomed in an increasingly calming voice. "Some of us get attacked by mutant centipedes and other situations out of our control." He opened his coat and unlatched a larger canister from one of the straps hidden inside. "Whether you make your own problems or others make them for you, it is only how you deal with them that matters. You can roll over and die, blaming everything and everyone, or," he paused to cock the heavy ammo, "you can go down kicking and screaming.

"Back in my day, we had to worry about madmen trying to turn citizens into gold statues, but today, there is more money to be had in controlling the local rackets and riff-raff. You've run with some bad crowds, but don't blame us. You've done some stupid things. Your life sucks. Everybody's does. Or it did until we did something about it. Now, you can run away like a good little boy or stay here like whiny trash and have your lungs melt when this gas bomb goes off."

Terrel had barely moved the entire time, still staring blankly onward.

"You're Sphyx, right?" The hero hastily nodded, his launcher primed to go. "Dude, you're still using that gas gun? What has it been? Forty years? My crew had better weapons than that." The unmoving, metallic mask betrayed no emotion, but when he took aim straight down and fired, encompassing the entire vicinity quickly in the noxious fumes, his thoughts were well known

Posted by
Mar 20, 2006

Dark vapors billowed from out the grime-filled alley way as did an infestation of the mutated arthropods. Choking and writhing, they collapsed onto the hard pavement. A thick boot smashed down on one of them, spilling its innards, as the veteran hero stomped over it with a regrettable passenger on his shoulder.

"You're damn lucky I'm sworn to protect," Sphyx informed, "no matter how much of a scum you may be." Leaning over, the dizzy punk crashed off from the gasser to the street. "You're still alive, right?" he questioned, accompanied with a swift kick. "Good. I've done my job." As the destructive cloud subsided, the gunner waded through the corpses, waiting for them to dissolve. Dr. Cursipede wanted to ensure that no one would ever be able to engineer any sort of weapons against his creations and triggered them to melt away to worthless slime shortly after dying. Biding his time, the gun man launched another canister down the hole the swarm had crawled out from. His shining mask hid his joy from hearing the distant screams. Pacing about some more, his gait felt as though he was wading through mud, so he knew it had been enough time. Whichever one of the vile freaks had the Core, it would be easily found now, although much more disgusting. Kicking around his own shrapnel and spreading out the piles of mush, his search was coming up empty.

"Hey, kid," the masked man called while giving the alley one last scan, "did you see one of those monsters make off with a shiny... ball... thing?" Not only was the Core no where in sight but neither was Terrel. "Aaaah... I should have let him die.

Posted by
May 24, 2006

Edited on
May 24, 2006

“Damn that kid!” Sphyx cursed. He tapped a button on the left side of his mask, causing the large eyes on it to begin glowing a soft red. Now that his mask was in tracking mode, the masked man began to search for any trace of the hoodlum. The computerized display the mask was showing Sphyx revealed Terrel’s heat signature, leading the man through a maze of back roads and alleys. “Now we’re getting somewhere – what the heck!?” The heat signature from the hoodlum ended abruptly as a side road intersected the alley. Right where the signature ended, there was a strange unidentifiable energy fluctuation. “Damn! I lost him, and on top of that it looks like the Core is already beginning to activate!” The man reached inside his ragged cloak and brought forth a thin metal box about five inches wide and tall, and a centimeter thick. Flipping it open much like a cell phone, he began to talk. “Boss, it’s Sphyx. I lost the orb. It’s currently in possession of a hoodlum named Terrel. Pull up the police records on the kid along with a picture and send them to everyone we can trust. The orb has started to activate. Somehow it let the kid escape through some kinda cloaking or teleportation. All hell is gonna break loose if we don’t find the orb before the Sinister Squad. I’m gonna see if I can turn up any leads. Sphyx out.”

Miles away in a hidden lair, a mysterious man seated in nearly total darkness received a similar report from the Doctors Ray and Cursipede. “What do you mean the Core is lost!!! Do you imbeciles have any idea what could happen if the Core fell into the hands of the Guardian Guild? The Police!? OR ANYONE ELSE OPPOSED TO US FOR THAT MATTER!!? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELVES!!!?”

“B-b-but boss, I took out the Star Spangled Crusader!” Dr. Ray pleaded.

“A-a-and that Sphyx was right there to recover the orb! He easily defeated my-” began Dr. Crusipede.

“I do not care about your lame excuses! I WANT THAT ORB! You are lucky I do not do to you what I did to the Mind Lord for failing me, and for causing this whole fiasco,” the mysterious man threatened, motioning his hand to the unconscious villain on the floor. Several electrical burns on his face and chest were still smoldering. “Don’t think that I won’t do worse if you fail again. Now leave me, and don’t show your faces again unless the orb is recovered!”

“Yes sir!” the two doctors said as they turned tail and scurried away from the man as fast as they could.

“Idiots! I can’t trust them to do anything. It is time for desperate measures. Tech Assassins Activate!” To the left of the seated man, three circular hatches in the floor opened and three robotic humanoids were elevated through the holes, their eyes glowing a soft green.

“What is your command master?” asked three artificial feminine voices.

“Go, my mechanical henchwomen. Recover the Core by whatever means necessary and bring it here safely.”

“As you command.” With that, the three androids turned and left without a sound, fading into the darkness.

“You must be getting desperate if you are sending them out master,” said a woman hiding silently to the left of the man.

“Ah, Petra, my most trusted bodyguard. You are right as always. This plan would have been perfect if not for the spy in our midst. Yet I am even now narrowing down the list of suspects and will shortly find him or her. The spy will be made an example of. Perhaps… I may even broadcast it on public television.” The man said. Petra smiled at the thought. “As for you Petra, you are to join in the search for the core.”

“What!?” exclaimed Petra, her eyes wide and shocked. “You will be left unprotected!”

Smiling, the man answered, “I thank you for your concern, but you of all people know I can take care of myself. I will hear no more protest. Out of all my allies, my servants, my friends, my guards, and my underlings, I trust you the most. It is because I am so desperate to have that orb back that I am sending you out. Now go.”

“Yes, master,” Petra replied, setting off at once down the dark hallway. After a few minutes in virtually zero illumination, she reached the elevator. Entering a code into a panel next to the door caused the computer to scan her biosignature. As the scan completed, a bright slash of vertical light appeared, revealing the elevator. She stepped in and the doors closed behind her. As her eyes adjusted to the red light she called out her destination. “Entrance floor.” She stood in the center of the circular chamber as it hummed to life. As the elevator ran on an electromagnetic system, with several emergency backup generators in case of attack, it could go forward, back, left, and right as well as just up and down, and thanks to the inertial dampeners in the chamber, the passengers didn’t feel a thing.

As the doors opened on the entrance hall, she strode past the two guards on either side. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her side. “Hey, baby. How’s about you and I get together tonight after my shift. Whaddya say?”

Turning to her left, she looked at the guard behind her, her tight black dress rustling softly. She tossed her soft brown hair towards him, and gazed at him with deep blue eyes. His buddy on the other side of the elevator was chuckling softly. Walking up to the first man, she gave him a soft kiss on the lips. “I’ll think about it,” she said, as she turned and walked off.

“’K baby, I’ll see you in the lobby at about AAAAAAARRGH!!!” the man shrieked. His partner stopped chuckling and turned completely white as the first guard turned to stone from the inside out. He was a complete statue, clothes, gun, and all just seconds later. An expression of horror and pain was frozen on his face for a few short moments until he instantly shattered, clattering to the marble floor in a million pieces.

“Later,” Petra waved to the remaining, terrified guard as she walked slowly towards the exit. Back in his lair, the mysterious man looked on through the feed from a security camera and laughed.

Miles away, Terrel sat down and hid, trying to get his pulse under control. It had been months since he had been that worked up. He looked at the orb he was now holding in his hands. It was now softly glowing orange, which it had started doing since he had hightailed it out of the battle area where that jerk Sphyx had confronted him. “Why the hell did I take this stupid thing anyway? He’s probably got every super hero and policeman in the city looking for me now.” He was beginning to be more curious than irritated at the moment, for the strange orb was making his body tingle. This went on for a minute before the tingling stopped and the orb’s glow faded to a dull silver. ‘What the heck?’ thought Terrel.

“Hey, lookie here boys, we got us a young punk with some goods on him. Hey boy, why doncha give us whacha got and we’ll only kick the crap out of ya a little.” Laughing and sniggering followed that statement, jarring Terrel from his thoughts.

‘Great, out of all the parking garages in the area, I had to pick the one that was the stomping ground of some punk gang,’ Terrel thought. Looking out from behind the rusted pickup truck he was hiding behind, he saw five thugs dressed in jeans and black leather jackets. All five were carrying crowbars. And all five saw him. He dashed from his hiding place only to be stopped by three more thugs. There was nowhere to run, and virtually nowhere to hide, as the parking garage was virtually abandoned except for a rusted car here or there.

“Bad move brat,” said the leader of the thugs, an ugly brute of a gorilla about six foot five and two fifty pounds of muscle. “Looks like you’re gonna get the living daylights beat out of ya.”

Terrel’s pulse started to race as the eight thugs surrounded him. ‘What am I gonna do now?’ he wondered, still clutching the orb. As they raised the crowbars, Terrel started to feel the same tingling that he was feeling earlier. A strange pressure seemed to be rising inside of him. “What the hell?” was about all he had time to say.


Instantly, the air surrounding the thugs was filled with a strange orange gas that smelled of a horrendous mix of sulfur and rotten eggs. Strangely enough, Terrel could still see, and used the welcome distraction to escape. “You’re dead when we can find you punk!!!” one of the thugs bellowed through all the coughing and wheezing. Not stopping to wonder why he could see and breathe while they couldn’t, Terrel ran towards the open wall on the other side of the garage. As he reached the gap in the cement wall, he panicked and took a flying leap towards the other parking garage across the street.

About halfway through the jump he realized that he had just tried to jump across a gap over a busy four-lane road four stories below. “Holy crap!” he shouted – and then realized he was slowly drifting straight towards the wall across from himself. Clutching the orb for dear life, he slowly made his way across the gap – before starting to plummet to the ground below. Thankfully, he was just close enough to grab the ledge with his right hand while protecting the orb with his left. Pulling himself up, he looked down to the street below. In the time that it had taken him to drift across the gap, the cloud of gas that had immobilized the thugs had dissipated, and four of the thugs were running across the street now that traffic had cleared. The other four were behind him, still in the other parking garage, shouting profanities at him. Terrel wasted no time in looking for a hiding spot.

‘What the hell is going on? Do I have super powers now or something?’ As if in response to Terrel’s thoughts, the orb briefly started to glow again, and the tingling returned for a moment. ‘Great,’ Terrel thought. ‘First I’m a human stink bomb and then I can hover for a grand total of about thirty feet. What’s next?’ Terrel wove between the many cars in this packed parking garage looking for a place to hide out of sight. Placing his hand against a cement support column, Terrel fell into it. Strangely, he could still breathe, just like the last time.

Just then, the four thugs who had followed him reached this floor via the staircase. The leader, who was among them, bellowed, “Where is that freak!?” Terrel kept his breathing down, so they didn’t hear him.

‘Well, this is lucky,’ Terrel thought. He watched from inside the pillar of cement as the thugs spent the next two hours searching for him, breaking into cars and robbing them along the way. His vision seemed to be tinted gray from the cement surrounding him. Eventually, sirens sounded as police cars arrived on the scene. Apparently, a security guard somewhere had notified the authorities. Terrel breathed a sigh of relief as the cops led the thugs away in handcuffs. He overheard the police talking on the radio that the thugs across the street had been caught as well. Eventually, all the commotion died away as the cops left, their sirens still blazing as they were called away to another crime. ‘This city is getting worse everyday,’ Terrel thought. Still feeling cautious, Terrel remained where he was and tried to come to grips with all the weird stuff happening today

** There is still more to this story. Continue to the next page. **

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