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Other OPEN Capes: 72 [M] [IC]

Started by gimmepie July 24th, 2019 6:42 PM
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gimmepie

Age 24
Male
Australia
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 10 Hours Ago
20,358 posts
7.5 Years

Capes: 72

The group had assembled in the headquarters of the APS. Ordinarily, these meetings would be held in the impressive ops room of the Union des Héros’ own headquarters, but that was hardly an option now. In the wake of the Free People’s bombings, a sizeable chunk of the Union’s building was now a pile of rubble on the street before it. Its protections had been enough to keep the structure standing, the damage was reparable. As a HQ though, it was no longer viable. It was no longer stable or secure. The building wasn’t all that had been lost in the attack either.

“Twenty different bombings, several different effects,” Fermé said, his deep voice sounding slightly hollowed out from an already growing exhaustion. “Among them, were not only the Union HQ but also the operations bases of every major independent hero organisation in the city. It wasn’t obvious at first because the assault was spread out and hit several seemingly unrelated areas as well, but after we realised those areas were being heavily patrolled and the Free People claimed responsibility for the bombings, it became apparent what this was. This was a coordinated assault against the hero capes of Paris.”

Particule listened intently, ignoring the sounds of several of his Squire teammates groaning at the revelation. He too had not missed that it was, for the most part, only hero capes that had been targeted. They were currently in an enormous city where the villains were now going to be roaming largely unchecked with it possible that members of the Free People were still among that number.

Particule focused his attention on Fermé, there would be time for lamentations later. What was important at that moment was getting the information.

“Guys, stop rattataing and listen. We need to hear this,” he intoned, sounding a touch exasperated. Being the lead member of the Squires could sometimes leave you sounding more like a tired adult than one of the teen heroes.

“It gets worse,” Fermé continued, ignoring the brief exchange. “Calc - that Thinker from England - has finished his Endbringer simulations and his predictions indicate that somewhere in the Middle East is likely to experience an attack in the next three days. This is the first time we’ve been able to prepare so far in advance, so the Union is putting all their attention into preparations. Unfortunately, that means we probably won’t be expecting any backup. At least for the next three days, the people in this room are the only hero presence in the city. Until arrangements are made in the future, I am acting leader at this time.”

Particule felt a sour feeling in his gut hearing that. Fermé was extremely competent and was almost certain to have been given a leadership spot somewhere in the near future himself anyway, but the fact that he was currently in charge of the Paris team was a nasty reminder that Particule’s uncle, Nuage, the former leader, had been one of the heroes that had perished in the attack.

“How will we be handling this?” Particule asked.

“We’ll be working round the clock for the next seventy-two hours,” Fermé replied. “We rest in shifts here at the APS headquarters, our temporary command centre, when we aren’t getting those few hours of sleep, we’re on the street responding to calls. There is no way that not only local villains but those from other nearby locales won’t be trying to capitalise on this.”

“This is going to be a rough three days,” Catalyseur said, her top hat and mask resting on a nearby table. “I’m sure you guys will be able to tough it out though. You’re made of good stuff.”

Astronaut

space adventure

Non-binary
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
33,111 posts
11.9 Years

Ambuscade: Priority Mission I

"Martha."

"Listening."

"Cue the music, with previously mentioned exceptions."

"Dropping the beat."

Spoiler:


With twenty different bombings in Paris over the past night, authorites were spread thin and struggling to help all the victims. Therefore, Dirk Alorenne had been sent out this chilly, early November morning to dispatch his drones in a search-and-rescue mission. Well, that wasn't entirely correct. Ambuscade was here. Nobody would know he was Dirk Alorenne underneath the helmet.

He had brought a varied arsenal of drones, forgoing inconspicuousness in favor of utility. The city was a mess right now anyways. As such, ten drones of slightly different sizes and vastly different purposes were hovering in the air above and behind him, as he came to a stop in front of what used to be the classy headquarters of a relatively large and benevolent independent hero organization. They feared they had lost all of their most prominent capes, not to mention several civilians who had been attending an event in the building at the time of the bombing. Preliminary reports said that the explosion had actually originated in the very hall where they had been. Likely a bomb had been smuggled in. Parts of the building were still burning, and several walls and roof parts had crumbled. There could definitely be people trapped under the rubble, and the firemen, police and medics that had been scrambled to this site were struggling to keep the already retrieved or even unharmed people at bay as it were. He wouldn't be able to see much from any position on the street.

"Birbie," Ambuscade said, turning slowly and glancing upwards behind him.

"Listening!" a quite generic male voice responded.

"We're going up there," the hero said and pointed.

"Acknowledged! Getting into position!"

One particularly large drone with four embedded propellers broke from the swarm to lower itself near Ambuscade's feet. He immediately stepped onto it in a crouching position.

"Ready."

"Executing!"

Birbie took off towards the rooftop Ambuscade had targeted in his visor. The swarm followed, and soon they were settled at a point several stories up, where they could get a much better overview of the disaster. Leaning his elbows onto the low stone railing, Ambuscade zoomed in on the ruined hero locale with his visor.

"Alright, let's recon first. Huey, Dewey, Louie: do your thing."

"Affirmative!" several young-sounding voices piped back all at once. Three quite small, silent drones rapidly set off down towards the flaming rubble across the street.

Dirk zoomed out again and sat in silence for a moment. It was still pitch black; dawn wasn't here for another hour or three. The moon hung as an eerie shard above the city, shining its faint light down on the crisis. It was pretty, he thought. Not like the city. Paris was way too dirty. Too full of people and drama. He was pretty sure the moon had none of that.

"Martha."

"Listening," the disembodied voice from before answered.

"Change music track," Ambuscade ordered and switched his visor to view the three recon cameras in split screen. "Keep aforemented exceptions."

"Naturally."

gimmepie

Age 24
Male
Australia
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 10 Hours Ago
20,358 posts
7.5 Years
Bond



Bond had long been of the impression that while Paris didn’t quite deserve the entirety of its reputation for aesthetics and prestige, it was a beautiful city and it was somewhere she was very happy to live. It was more painful than she had expected, seeing her home in ruins.

Of course, the entire city was far from condemned. In fact, Paris was so large that even after 20 Tinker made bombs had gone off across it, the majority of the city was still largely undamaged. With the way that the bombings had been spread though, it was difficult to traverse the city without encountering one of the areas that had been subject to a strike and in travelling from one side to the other, it would at many points become necessary to take a detour.

The APS armoured vehicle pulled to a stop, in front of a rubble drowned street. This was the area that they had been dispatched to, and the street was so severely damaged that it was impossible to pass through in the cars.

Bond opened her door and climbed out, as from the driver’s side and the double-doors at the back of the vehicle a small team of APs operatives exited. The group gathered around her, looking at her expectantly.

To Bond it was a strange thing. She was just a short, teenage girl really. Out of costume, as Enora, she would be expected to respect these adults and follow their instructions. They might even look down on her a little some of them. The minute she donned her mask though, the dynamic was dramatically reversed and suddenly almost every person in the city, grown or otherwise, viewed her as an authority figure.

“Okay,” she said, her tone projecting confidence and sureness, “Because it was so late when the bombs went off, there’s probably not that many casualties since it’s not a residential area. We’ll keep an eye out for anyone of course, but I’m told that our priority is the base of operations for Les Nationaux.”

She didn’t wait for an affirmative or a salute or anything, she simply turned and made her way down the street towards the cape building. From behind her, she could hear one of the APS agents talk quietly to one of their fellows.

“Are we totally sure that particular group is a priority?”

“Come on, it’s a huge organisation. I don’t much like them either, but surely they can’t all be bad.” Bond said, turning to look at the man as they walked. He looked back at her, so utterly bewildered that for a moment Bond wondered if it had finally occurred to him that he was taking orders from someone who still had to ask permission to leave the classroom.

“Ma’am.” His demeanour quickly returned to one of professionalisms. Bond couldn’t help smiling slightly behind her mask at that.

Still, she couldn’t fault his dislike of the organisation. She hadn’t been lying about her own views on them either. Les Nationaux weren’t just a private hero organisation, they used the prestige that afforded them to act as political activists and lobbyists and the majority of their membership were non-capes who were focused on that side of things. The heroes of the organisation, for want of a better word, were more a propaganda tool to promote the group’s agenda than anything. Catch criminals, protect the public, endorse the right wing Presidential candidate. Maybe every so subtly decrease the number of non-French people, especially those of colour, wandering the streets.

Even for Bond, it wasn’t exactly easy to feel sympathy for that particular band of people, despite the state of the building they had just arrived at. Les Nationaux’s HQ was far from being a skyscraper, but it had been a tall building as it wasn’t hard to realise that it had recently become significantly shorter.

The bomb had gone off on one of the middle floors of the building. This was obvious even to someone such as Bond, who was in no way an expert on explosive devices. Although, it was hard to say an explosion had been what had occurred.

To Bond, it seemed almost like the middle floors of the structure had been erased, causing the floors above to very suddenly succumb to gravity and drop onto those below. It was less like the building had exploded and more like the middle of it had suddenly ceased to exist. Looking around the street, it was clear from the other buildings that this was the case and that the bomb’s effect at radiated out like a disc, removing everything in the way.

“Alright then, let’s get to work.”

With her APS squad in tow, Bond pushed her way into the building through the crushed remains of the front door. One of the agents handed her a hard hat which she quickly slipped onto her head. Her power was not one that would save her from being crushed by a fallen slab of building if she didn’t see it coming.

“Hello?” Bond called out.

Her call was meant by a faint groan, the sound reaching her from above. She looked around, noticing that a section of the ceiling above her had caved in, leaving a gaping hole up to the next level of the building a large pile of concrete, iron and plaster rubble leading up to it.

Carefully, Bond made her way up the rubble pile, ascending through the space between levels and climbing out onto the second floor. She felt the ground shift slightly beneath her and cautiously moved forward until the ground felt sturdier. She looked around, much of the second floor had been destroyed by the bomb. Splintered desks, crushed filing cabinets and shattered computers lay around. Two bodies lay to her left, pulverised by the cave in from above, blood pooling around the mangled corpses.
Bond, looked away from the sight as she moved forward, the APS squad moving up behind her. She wasn’t looking that direction, but she heard the sounds of one of the agents moving off to check the bodies.

“Two dead.”

Of course they were dead. Most capes wouldn’t even have survived half a building falling on top of them and Bond was pretty sure that the pair of victims had not been capes. They were dressed in office attire, surrounded by what was left of their desks. No, they had been two of the lobbyists or activists who had stayed late at work for some reason. Chances are they’d been horrible people, but Bond was far from the sought to bask in their gruesome deaths.

At the sound of the agent’s voice, the groan rang out again.

Bond turned towards the sound and moved towards it, a few of the agents following along with her as the others moved to explore the rest of the reachable building. It didn’t take long to find the source of the pained noise.

The origin of the sound was a young man, probably a few years older than herself, dressed in a black bodysuit with a white starburst pattern moving out over it from his chest with curly, dark hair and a matching black and white mask. He called himself Sans Tache. Bond recognised him, his power allowed him to summon several small, thin sheets of hard light barriers. The individual barriers were quite weak, but enough of them jammed together formed a not unformidable defence or a good way to trap people.

Sans Tache was lying in a pile of rubble, trapped under a heavy girder, bleeding and bruised and clinging to consciousness with the beam across his midsection. Bond supposed it had been his barriers that kept him alive, reducing the impact.

“Do you think you guys could lift this together?” Bond asked, turning back to the APS operatives that were still with her.

“Probably, not for long though.”

“Alright, do it, I think I can get him out of the way before you drop it.”

The pair of agents positioned themselves, getting a grip on the metal. Then, on the count of three, with a noise of exertion, they pulled up lifting the girder off of the wounded cape. As soon as the weight was lifted from Sans Tache, Bond activated her power.

It felt almost like a pulse or wave of something from within her, a strange force that separated her from the normal flow of time. In an instant, everything around her seemed to freeze in time. The dust in the air stopped moving, the gasp from Sans Tache didn’t finish leaving her lips and the APS agents were statues displaying grimaces from physical expenditure.

Of course, the reality wasn’t that she had frozen the flow of time. Rather, Bond was moving apart from time’s regular flow, her own personal stream of time moving faster. She had an intuitive grasp of that, although she could never explain the physics of it.

Knowing she had only moments, Bond positioned herself in the best possible place, ready to roll Sans Tache towards her. She flexed her fingers, then took a deep breath, grabbing the downed cape and pulling hard towards herself.

The minute her fingers touched Sans Tache, her timeline and that of the rest of the world reconverged and everything was back in motion. The young man rolled just as the iron fell from the agents’ grasp, slamming down hard… onto San Tache’s arm that trailed behind.

“Muk!” One of the agents exclaimed as a blood curdling scream left the parahuman, his arm flattened by the beam, bloody pouring out of torn flesh.

It was times like this that the specifics of Bond’s power irritated her. Being able to dilate time wasn't as helpful as one might think when you could only do it for a few seconds and you rejoined the regular flow of time the minute you touched something that was outside your personal flow.

It would have been different if she had already been touching the man when she used her power, but in her haste she had forgotten one of the most basic rules governing her ability. Mentally berating herself she yelled for them to lift the bar again.

The agents once more, with great effort, lifted the hefty girder as Bond moved San Tache’s arm out the way, eliciting a fresh shout of pain. The squad’s medic hurried over and promptly began administering aid as Bond stepped back and pressed a finger to the device in her ear.

“Found Sans Tache and two bodies so far at the Les Nationaux headquarters. Tache is badly hurt and needs medical attention fast. Going to look around for more survivors but I’m not getting my hopes up.”

Astronaut

space adventure

Non-binary
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
33,111 posts
11.9 Years

"Rubber": Lousy Looters I

A dark hood covered her head but her platinum blonde hair was still visible beneath it, leaking out over her shoulders. The broken shop door next to her had its glass shards spilled onto the doorsteps. The metal grid outside that was supposed to protect it from invasions like these, had been easily clipped with strong tools. With all the commotion on the next street over, it was a wonder not more people had had this brilliant idea yet.

Of course, just as she thought that, three dark figures ran onto the street, a few houses down. Some screaming could be heard from the bombing site on the next street over, but the figures seemed to ignore that and set course for another shop across the street from where she was crouching.

"Hurry up!" she hissed with a glance inside, as the new thugs broke a window to an electronics store without hesitation. "We're not alone for much longer."

"If you would help me carry-"

"I'm lookout!"

"Nobody will care! Everybody's too busy, the police have their hands full," the other voice objected, and its source came into view in the broken doorway.

It was a tall, lanky man with stripy, black hair and a bony, gloomy face. He carried a heavy bag over his shoulder. "I got as much jewelry as I could fit. The alarms went off, but like I told you, nobody cares."

"Okay, let's go then," she sighed. "Come on!"

Sudden shouts made her look back up at the thugs on the other side of the road. Were there four of them now? And two of them were on the ground. No, wait... The fourth figure did not move like the rest of them.

Horror rose when she watched the newcomer's arm stretch out and grabbed another man's knife hand - even though they were standing several meters apart. Next, his other arm stretched out too, and punched the thug in the gut while letting go with his first hand. The thug was pushed backwards and fell into a sorry pile against a parked car.

"Oh muk!" the thin man exclaimed.

"Cape. Run," she barely whispered, and set off down the street without looking back.

Daisuke Mitsuharu

Punching Bag

Male
Seen 2 Weeks Ago
Posted August 4th, 2019
180 posts
6.4 Years
def search_and_rescue(): return start


In the aftermath of the Paris terror attack, which caught the Union of Heroes by surprise, the Squires were kept busy filling in the shoes of the injured. Bridgette, as part of the Squires, also found herself spread out dangerously thin trying to lend aid to all areas affected by the attack, with varying degrees of success. She had always taken the backseat when it came to missions, as she was always accompanied by a professional hero who handled most mission-related affairs for her. This time, however, things were different. Now, it was up to her to take the initiative. Four years as a Squire never quite prepared her for the responsibilities of a full-fledged hero.

“Casper. Found someone who needs medical attention.” Bridgette whispered into a transceiver attached to her suit.

“What are their injuries?” A voice responded after a brief moment of static.

“At a glance? First degree burns. I can’t tell much else from looking at them.”

Beep. “I just sent you my address.”

“Roger. I’ll haul them off to the nearest hospital.”

“Thanks.”

Though it was true that most of the terror attack was concentrated on hero-affiliated facilities, the explosions used to carry out the attack affected more than just the facilities they intended to harm. There was also collateral damage - to the nearby businesses and even innocent bystanders who were simply caught up in a blast.

The local bakery was one such party, and incidentally, it lay right next to the building where Takahiro worked, which was an offshoot of the Union of Heroes HQ in Paris. The Union of Heroes held jurisdiction over it, of course - complete jurisdiction, in fact. For all intents and purposes, it was just a location Takahiro rented out to store his ever-growing army of AI-controlled robots. If inspiration for a new design ever struck him, he also used it as a place to fabricate new robots.

In her first two years as a Squire, Bridgette spent a lot of her time there. Dynamo was the one who introduced her to the place, initially for the purpose of training her powers. But, since then, it doubled as a spot where she would hang out after school and repair her gear.

The building had three floors, each of which were quite spacious (and for good reason). The first floor was a hub for software development. Aside from a sea of computers lining its walls (not to mention, the random electronics and gadgets that were sometimes strewn about), it was an open space which housed little else.

With the first floor being devoted to software, the second was devoted to hardware. From what Bridgette knew of Takahiro, he liked streamlining the design process - often through dividing up tasks between different stations. Considering how the second floor was arranged, this inclination towards efficiency definitely showed. Unlike the first floor, the second floor was not just an expanse of computers. It had multiple rooms, each handling a separate element in one of Takahiro’s projects.

Obviously, a lot of money and effort had been put in by Takahiro to furnish the place. Yet, everything in it was torn down in just a single night. The thought pissed Bridgette off - not just because she had a sentimental attachment to the place, mind you, but also because tools still in development, which would have greatly benefited the general populace, were also lost in its destruction.

What Bridgette couldn’t wrap her head around was the motive behind the terror attack.

Since they first appeared alongside parahumans, heroes have always been positive influences to society. In times of disaster, heroes always respond to the call of action; in the resolution of crimes involving both parahumans and non-parahumans, heroes always take the role of the intermediary to prevent escalation. Even if there were bad apples lurking in plain sight among the Union of Heroes, to discredit the work done by the entire organization would be unfair to the good guys.

In Bridgette’s eyes, one thing was for certain: the Free People have a vendetta against the hero establishment, which explains why they carried out their attack.

Whether or not they were justified in their actions, it was hard to tell with the lack of information.

Still, they were going to pay for their crimes; Bridgette would see to it that they did.

Juno

pay day

Age 25
Female
Canadia
Seen September 10th, 2019
Posted September 9th, 2019
4,235 posts
5.9 Years

CORVUS: LOUSY LOOTERS II


Perched cautiously atop a sign that read Lumiere Bijoux, a small, dark figure looked calmly down at the commotion below. It was too hectic for anyone to have looked up and noticed her, but she pulled down the feathered mask that was resting on top of her head, and Ava Dumont stood up as Corvus.

Now, where to begin?

Her eyes trailed after a couple who had been running from the very store she stood on top of. They looked pretty confident and brazen until Corvus' partner in the mission finally stepped out and spooked them; no doubt they thought they were in the clear before he made his presence known.

But no one seemed to have noticed Corvus yet, and she thought she could have some fun with that. As Rubber continued causing panic on the ground, people did not pay attention to the black birds steadily gathering overhead. They flocked together, but sparsely so it didn't look like a synchronized effort.

She stared wordlessly at the back of the smaller hooded figure's head. A singular crow swooped down from the flock and followed her closely.

"Come on, come on, down this alley, I- ow!" The crow's beak found its target and caught the woman square in the back of her head, yanking her hood down. Silver hair spilled out as she flailed her arms in the air, trying to get her hood back on. A second crow followed suit, and then a third. "What the hell? Help me!"

As she struggled to free herself from the birds, she caught a glimpse of her accomplice staring up dumbly at the sky.

But he wasn't looking at the sky.

A cacophony of screeches from above caught her attention as well, and she looked up to see the dark shadow descending upon them. The crows' brothers and sisters had joined in on the attack, and sharp beaks and claws were now raining down on the pair, scratching and pecking at every inch of them.

The thin man swung the heavy bag he was holding wildly in every direction in an attempt to keep the birds off them, but did so to very poor results. He managed to bat one angry crow directly into the blonde woman's face, who screamed and fell backwards. "I'm sorry! I-" He dropped the bag he was holding to reach over to his partner, but quickly ended up holding his arms up to defend himself instead, as a flurry of beaks drove them apart. Within minutes, both looters were on their backs with their hands up, as the birds hovered over and kept them down.

"Targets from Lumiere Bijoux incapacitated." Corvus said softly into her earpiece, almost too quietly for Rubber to hear over the screeching crows. "They took a turn down the alley between the jewellers and the electronics store. Can you grab the bag?"

gimmepie

Age 24
Male
Australia
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 10 Hours Ago
20,358 posts
7.5 Years
Incendiaire, Immune, Rhino, Godhand and Catalyseur

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Ryan asked, pounding his fist on a table for emphasis. "We're heroes, there are villains in need of stopping, or civilians in need of rescuing! Let me at 'em, boss!" He was usually late for these meetings, in part because his armor took time to put on by himself, so the fact that he was suited up and ready to go, but stuck on the sidelines, grated on him a little.

This outburst was punctuated by the beeping of nearly every phone in the room. Catalyseur showed the message to Ferme, who had yet to open it himself and the two of them were quick to engage in a whispered discussion. Eventually, she turned to Rhino with a wide grin - one far too wide for the sombre atmosphere really.

“Well, Rhino, you’re getting your wish,” she answered cheerily, “Bad Karma has been spotted wandering through an area not too far from here. You, Godhand, Incendiaire and Immune are coming with me to apprehend her, an APS squad will follow behind.”

She donned her mask and tophat and was already striding out the room before everyone present fully realised what had just happened.

“Wonderful,” Incendiaire commented, slowly climbing to his feet and following along behind the hero. He’d always found the bubbly woman one of the harder Union heroes to work with on account of her outgoing nature.

"Yeah, it is." Ryan grinned as he put on his helmet, becoming Rhino. "Let's go save the day." His voice echoed slightly in the helmet.

Godhand made his way out silently behind the other squires, adjusting his gloves along the way.

“Tch… boring,” Immune muttered to herself. She was holding a clipboard, reading what appears to be a dossier of health conditions. “Boring, boring, boring. Everyone is in top condition, and no signs of outside contusions. 100% Healthy. 100% Boring.” she yawned, clasping her right hand to her mouth while crossing her left arm that was holding the clipboard across her chest.

“This will be plenty exciting,” Catalyseur chimed, “Now move it, Immune.”




Credit had to be given where it was due, Bad Karma was no coward. She was walking brazenly down a partially damaged road in her typical grey bodysuit and kevlar, twirling a weapon resembling a handgun.

“Rhino and Godhand should go in first since you can be invulnerable to an extent, knock her off balance and then we can hopefully trap her and bring her in. Don’t be too rough, she can heal by transferring damage onto you but not if she’s dead,” Catalyseur said, her tone remaining confident, relaxed. It was either entirely natural or a very well-practiced persona. “Off you go.”

“Right.” Was Tiergan’s only response to their senior hero before he began his slow stride forward, scoping out the area for anything he could use to his advantage. “Alright Rhino, you head in first, do what you do best. If she’s quick to react and starts shooting you’re better suited to handling bullets than I am. I’ll be close behind, Just keep in mind her power and boss lady’s advice. Confound, push, unbalance. Don’t smash, crush, or injure, it’ll only make things harder on us.” He tossed to his current partner as he continued to scan.

"But smashing is what I do best!" Rhino half jokingly complained. The plan seemed simple enough, but making it "hands off" was putting a serious cramp in his style. He put himself between BK and his team, running straight for her. He'd been wanting to try a new maneuver, and this seemed like a good time. He launched himself into the air, a decent three meters, landing in front of Bad Karma on one knee and punching the ground. The impact sent out a shockwave of kinetic force, hopefully enough to knock her off balance if he'd judged it right.

Something was very strange there. Bad Karma seemed to flicker with the impact, but otherwise remained unaffected.

“Does she have a power I don’t know about?” Incendiaire asked Catalyseur from where he had remained behind with her.

“No.” Catalyseur said, sounding perplexed and curious more than off-put or concerned.

Incendiaire on the other hand was feeling plenty off-put. He summoned up the billowing flames and set them after Bad Karma. Much like the kinetic force, they passed right through.

Godhand skidded to a halt as soon as the fire blasted past him and focused all his attention on scanning their surroundings again.

Rhino was more annoyed that his trick hadn't worked, but Bad Karma was ignoring him. He was about to grab her when Incendiaire's flames went right through her, tipping even him off that something was amiss.

“Did the Free People have a Tinker that does holograms?” Incendiaire asked, “‘Cause I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t have the power to become intangible.”

It was at that moment that the holographic image faded away, revealing a small spherical device, floating along. A split second later, the device detonated with a pulse of blue light.

Incendiaire turned away from the light, finding himself face to face with a woman in grey bodysuit and Kevlar vest.

“Muk.”

The real Bad Karma reached out and touched him, and suddenly he was blasted off of his feet and sent sprawling across the road several feet. She reached for Catalyseur next, but the heroine was already backing away, taser wand in hand.

Rhino spun around, seeing Incendiaire get blasted back. He charged back the way he came, intent on keeping Karma away from Immune and Catalyseur. "Back off, BK!"

“Aw, you got this, Rhiny? Thanks hun, I’ve got… other matters to attend to,” Immune stated with somewhat of a secretive grin as she backed away. She then looked around the area, to her injured comrades. “Injuries, fractures… and… could it be? Broken limbs all around?! Ah, things are finally getting exciting! Hehehe… heheheahahahaha!”

“Less laughing and more fixing my broken bones would be nice,” Incendiaire groaned from where he was laying in the dirt.

Immune kneeled down next to where Incendaire laid. She had goosebumps, taking in delight the severity of his injury. “Alright Airey, you big baby, just let momma Immune take care of it,” She said, as she touched his forehead and held it as a soft light enveloped him. “Next time, will you have something worse? Burns? Dislocated torso? You can do it, I believe in you!”

“I’m more a provider of burns than a recipient,” Incndiaire replied, his flames flaring back to life and rapidly beginning to shift in shape.

As incendiaire spoke, Rhino had closed in on Bad Karma. The villainess narrowly sidestepped the incoming attack, a maneuver born of practice and skill more than abilities. As the Squire shot past her, she brushed her had over his back, blasting him back with the same effect that had previously been used on Incendiaire.

The lapse in attention cost Bad Karma though, as she wheeled back around to Catalyseur jamming her taser wand into her ribs. The villainess cried out from the sudden pain as the charge ran through her, stumbling back but managing not to fall.

Just like he promised, Godhand wasn’t far behind Rhino and just as Catalyseur sent Bad Karma staggering he slid in on his heels from the opposite side and swept at her feet.

Bad Karma let the Squire sweep her, dropping to the ground onto her back with a grunt. She then quickly rolled to the side, grabbing Godhand’s ankle. A charge matching the one she had endured ran from her hand into the hero’s leg as she instantly recovered from her earlier tasing.

The Squire was forced back a few steps as he fought to keep control of his muscles through the violent shock. Thankfully, his costume was augmented with non-conductive materials, and this was far from the first time he’d felt the current of Catalyseur’s tazer. Godhand recovered his balance quickly and stepped forward with his fingers angled to a point, rapidly thrusting towards any pressure points he could spot in the villain, anything that might slow her down.

Bad Karma rolled sidewards as Godhand reached for her, pulling herself into a crouch. His fingers grasped air, hers didn’t. She tapped his leg, smashing his legs with her third dose of the pummeling effect she had earlier displayed. The Squire was blasted off of his feet and slammed into the ground several feet away.

Landing with a pained grunt, he assessed his legs. His left foot was twisted at an ugly angle, but his right leg only hurt like hell, maybe hiding some massive bruises and a tiny fracture or two, that was enough of a reason to behind struggling to stand.

The villain climbed to her feet and made to walk towards the downed Godhand, only for a beast of pure flame to rush forward and block her path, forcing her back towards where she’d knocked Rhino.

Unseen by the others in the heat of the moment, Rhino had gotten back to his feet. As Bad Karma backed up toward him, he got in close behind her, charging up and stomping a foot onto the ground. A shockwave radiated out from the impact, but only for a meter and all the energy was directed upward. Rather than knock the villainess down, Rhino would push her into the air. He immediately stepped forward, getting his arms around her stomach and locking his grip. "I have you now!"

Bad Karma laughed, although it was a struggle in Rhino’s tight grip.

“Did you seriously just touch me?” She twisted, just barely managing to press her fingertips to the hero’s leg, releasing a charge of tasering electricity.

Under his helmet, Rhino's face twisted as the electricity coursed through his body, his muscles tensing up from the stimulation. He rode the wave, pulling Bad Karma against him as he tightened his grip further. "Yeah…" he gasped, "And I'm not letting go that easy!"

“Oh really?” Bad Karma replied, far too confident for the predicament she was in. “You know the best thing about having my boss? He can build all sorts of bombs and then use them on me. Then I just transfer the injury to someone and I get to walk around with the power to induce the same effect I suffered in anyone I touch. Like you.”

It was easier now, with the tight grip Rhino had on her, to press her fingers against Rhino. There was no pain now, no electricity. But an effect radiated from her hand into him, an intense feeling of defeat, self-loathing, futility. A wave of pure, unadulterated negativity that the strength of one’s body would provide no resistance against.

Rhino immediately felt the fight drain out of him. "One touch…" he muttered as he just let go, unceremoniously dropping Bad Karma to the ground. "That's all it takes to beat me." He didn't have the will to keep going, he was too depressed to stand, but even falling over felt too good a fate for him. So he just stood there, shoulders slumped and head held low, uncaring of the fight. "What's the point of it all, then?"

“Honestly?” Bad Karma responded, shrugging, “I’m in it for the money and the fun. I don’t really care much about Befreir’s ideology and I don’t think he really does either. I like messing with you.”

Incendiaire watched as this took place, his constructs rapidly growing in intensity and shifting into more tangible, bestial shapes, helped by a boost from Immune’s power. So he was ready for what came next.

Catalyseur rushed forward, swinging her wand like a bat. Bad Karma noticed the attack, scrambling to avoid it and separating herself from Rhino in the process. Instead of pressing forward, she stepped away from the villainess, turning and throwing her taser wand into a pile of rubble like a javelin.

It dug into the pile, sending rubble flying. One piece careened over the top of the assembled capes, striking a second pile on the opposite side of the street. It knocked a similar little stone, which caused a larger one to shift place. A moment later, a localised landslide of debris was tumbling in Bad Karma’s direction.

Bad Karma was forced to continue her backwards movement, creating space between herself and the heroes. Incendiaire took this as his chance, sending his three flaming beasts to encircle Bad Karma. If she wanted to attack them or make a break for it, she’d have to pass through a wall of searing flames.

“Hey psycho girl,” Incendiaire said, looking at Immune, “Maybe fix Godhand and Rhino up before she tries something else?”

”I can heal GH,” Immune replied with a shrug. “But she did something to Rhiny’s mind, and that’s a bit out of my control…”

“Sucks to be you, Rhino,” Incendiaire said to the whimpering Brute.

“Quit flappin’ then and get to it.” Tiergan insisted, dragging his twisted foot to the equally twisted healer. His scowl had deepened, not from pain or annoyance but from the frustration of running through scenarios for dealing with Bad Karma in his head. “So, it really seems like there’s no efficient way to deal with Karma directly without either crippling her beyond reason or getting ourselves beat up. At this point indirect forms of subduction are all I can see working. A few things come to mind, thanks to Incendaire and Boss for their recent displays, actually. If we could bury her in rubble like the Boss’ little landslide, or expose her closely enough to Incendaire’s flames for long enough, we could choke her out, make her faint or at least immobilize her with inorganic matter.”

“We can just hold her here until the APS can come and trap her in containment foam probably,” Incendiaire offered.

“Can we really afford that chance? The headquarters of our superiors were decimated along with most of the members, that’s why we’re here in the first place. It doesn’t feel like we’re in a position of superiority in any way right now, what if she gets backup before we do?” Godhand responded.

“...Man, you call this an injury?” Immune started with a bored, uninterested sigh, touching Godhand’s foot, enveloping it in a soothing light. “At least give me a broken foot next time, geez.”

“I try not to get hurt.” Godhand growled. “Especially with you around.”

"Why bother with all that?" Rhino dejectedly chimed in. "Nothing we do to her sticks. Even I can't keep her in place, and hitting things is all I'm good for." He let himself fall back, hitting the ground with a dull thud. "Might as well just lay here, let the rubble bury us alive…"

“Rhiny.” Immune said, in a more firm tone. “Mommy Immune will give you a lollipop later. Chill.”

Rhino sighed, too sad to argue. "Yes, Mommy…"

As it was, attention was largely on Immune at that moment. It was the perfect time for Bad Karma to make her move. She covered her head in her arms and ran forwards, directly through the flames. She gritted her teeth, refusing to scream as she sprinted for the heroes.

Catalyseur noticed the sudden movement, yelling a warning. Incendiaire set the flaming beasts after the villainess from behind. It was too late though.

Bad Karma pressed a hand to both Godhand and Rhino, healing in an instant as the flesh of the young heroes began to burn as though engulfed in flame. She then dove to the side, forcing Incendiaire to halt the approach of his beasts lest he accidentally immolate his team mates. She rolled to the side and made a break for it, leaving the smouldering heroes behind her as she ran.


Janp

Age 22
Male
Czech Republic
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 17 Hours Ago
3,482 posts
6.5 Years

MAXMILIAN MIDDLETON
HOSPITAL CRISIS

Max jumped over a huge boulder blocking the entrance to the side alley. Slums were in ruins. Already destroyed buildings where kids like Max lived were reduced to cobble.

He run around a destroyed living place made out of old wooden boxes. Max knew a gang living here. But a small hands sticking out of rubles hinted that they aren't living there anymore. No one will for a long time.

He made it to the end of side alley, to the biggest wooden structure there. Once big castle made out of wooden crates (that were full of stones to make them harder to knock down), it now look like Bastille during revolution. Once majestic towers were now down, the gate, made out of rubber bands and empty banana boxes, was lying few meters away.

This place was sanctuary for homeless orphans. They build it themselves. Bunch of older kids used to take care of it since then. They let anyone in and no one dared to attack them. That was one of street rules. Kids could go in to sleep or eat when they had nowhere else to go.

Two days ago, his former group decided to stay here. They didn't know it, but he was informed about their whereabouts and activities. But the place was empty now. Maybe they got to the safety somehow. Seeing the construction still standing gave Max a little bit of hope.

But he should return to his mission. The streets all over him were full of people. We won't be able to make it to the Hôpital Cochin any time soon. Unless…

Max took off his jacket. He didn't took his cape with him as it would only be in his way. He looked on the ground and picked a piece of glass. He gently cut himself in the shoulder of the left arm. It hurt, but he decided not to activate his pain absorbing powers. It's not worth it for this small scratch. He teared a small piece of bandage on his other arm and bandaged the scratch.

He could feel the power increasing. Not much, but he could now see every single person on the street, they movements and some features.

Putting his jacket back on, he looked around himself. He could see more victims of the attack buried under the ruins, but he didn't care about them now. He was looking for a way to get up. On the roof of some undamaged building. The easily jumped on the pole of ruble and quickly got up on the roof by jumping and climbing one of the walls. That's something he wouldn't be able to do without the power boost.

When on the roof, he scouted the city and located the hospital. He run and jumped from one building to another. It was really close, but he made it.

It didn't take him long and he made it to the building right in front of hospital. The square in front of hospital was full of people. They were trying to get their beloved kids, wives, husbands and parents inside or just see the ones already in.

Max put his mask on and carefully climbed down the building. He dived in the crowd. Some people made room for him when they've seen him, others ignored him. He wanted to punch those people, but resisted the temptation.

It took him few minutes before he got to the entrance. He got there just in time to see a man punching a doctor, who came there to inform the masses about the situation.

Max instinctively drew his Tonfa and attacked. But the attack never landed. Max stopped in the middle. He should know better to control himself. It was just a scratch. He was able to control himself in worse situations. But events of the last few days made him nervous. He didn't sleep much and was tired.
He kept his weapon drawn and pointed at the man. Four security guys rushed out of the hospital. Two helped doctor back up on his feet and two pacified the man.

“What’s going on here?” Max asked.

“He says his daughter has been severely injured during the bombing and is now in the hospital,” the doctor started explaining. “He punched me when I didn't want to let him in. I’m sorry, but we can’t let anyone inside now for security reasons.”

“Sir please, I have to see if Barbara is okay,” said the attacker now calmed down. He was clearly shaken by everything that happened.

Max closed his eyes for a moment and his power level returned back to normal. His mind cleared. He put his Tonfa back on his back.

“I was sent here by Les Écuyers. To help,” Max turned to the man. “I’m sure your daughter will be okay. But you have to stay calm down.”

The man, finally coming to his senses, stood there wordless.

Max then turned to the doctor: “Do you think I could help you somehow?”

“There have been several security breaches,” one of the security guys replied instead of doctor. “We would really appreciate your help, cape.”

He nodded to Max and let him inside.

“There are two side entrances. We don’t have enough men to guard both of them. We barricaded the east one, since it’s not that easily accessible. Especially now. Could you check it?” he asked.

"No problem. Just show me the way there."

Security guy pointed on the wall on the other side of the room: "There is a map. You have to go through the main hall, turn right and follow the path until you see a Radiographic Imaging room. Then go left and immediately right. The entrance is at the end of that corridor."

Max took a brief look at the map to confirm the path and got going. The hospital was full. Injured people were sitting and even lying on the floor, while hospital personal took care of them. He tried to avoid accidentally stepping on someone, which slowed down his progress.

When he finally got to the east entrance, he found it opened. Uninvited guest got here. He walked out of the building to find the side street blocked by rubble, so whoever got here was really determined to get inside. Which could be a anxious parent or an evil cape.

Max barricaded the entrance once again, this time more and dived in the hospital. He has to find whoever got in!

gimmepie

Age 24
Male
Australia
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 10 Hours Ago
20,358 posts
7.5 Years
Bond, Ambuscade and Livewire

Bond climbed out the video with a sigh. The sun was still a ways off from really appearing in the sky and already she was exhausted. This would mark the second rescue site she’d had to attend that morning and she could already feel herself sweating from exertion.

This area was looking particularly grim. It originally hadn’t seemed like it was going to be a priority until the spatial distortion caused by this particular bombing belated resulted in two buildings stretching and swinging into each other before toppling over onto a residential street, obliterating two apartment blocks and seriously damaging others. If she strained her eyes, she could still faintly see the remains of the distortion as it dissipated.

There was going to be a lot of casualties at this one, and she and the small APS squad weren’t going to be enough so headquarters had called Ambuscade and Livewire away from lesser concerns to participate in the operation. She looked around to see if she could spot either of the other Squires but it seemed like she may have been the first to arrive.

A buzzing noise appeared behind her then, turning out to be a metallic drone hovering in mid-air.

“Hello there, Bond,” came Ambuscade’s voice over the radio. “I’m only a minute away, but my boys are there to help you already.”

Two more drones appeared from above, looking just like the first one - sleek. Ambuscade’s voice continued. “I’ll send them scouting for survivors in need of help. They’ll alert you if they find anything before I get there.”

“Ever the social genius,” Bond remarked at the drone, noting the appearance of several others. “Let me know where to start moving to while I wait for you and Livewire to get here. We’re going to need more hands - actual hands.”

Ambuscade groaned over the radio, clearly meaning for her to hear it. While he was mature enough to always help out when needed, it wasn’t exactly a secret that he preferred his drones to anything he absolutely didn’t have to do with his own hands. Huey Dewey and Louie buzzed off towards the crisis, cameras at the ready.

Next to arrive was Bridgette - or Livewire, as her costume would suggest to the public.

Apparently a bombing incident had devastated a nearby area, more so than others. The death toll was also expected to be high from what she was briefed on, though the details of the entire affair were still fuzzy to her. HQ had called her in last minute, so she hadn’t yet fully digested all the information.

“Bond!” She yelled as the squire in question came into view. “Boy am I glad to see you here.”

Another buzzing noise approached, and within moments, Ambuscade finally hopped off his big drone and came to stand next to the girls. As far as hero attires went, his certainly wasn’t a partygoer’s dream. The colorless, grey overalls and large, blank helmet weren’t what made him popular with the fans, but he always shrugged and said he didn’t care about that anyways. He did have his fans still - most of them geeks in awe of his creations.

He gave Birbie - the large drone - a pat and turned to face the others while the remaining six drones he had brought caught up with him and zoomed around above like bored wasps.

“Not a pretty sight,” he commented with a nod towards the crumbling buildings. “My boys have already located several injured people and unstable structural features. We need to get them out of there before it gets even worse.”

“Where are we going then? The APS guys can go one way and we can go the other,” Bond offered. “They can do plenty with numbers and muscle and we’ll be fine between your drones, Livewire’s magnetism and my wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.”

“No objections here,” chimed Livewire. “If we’re settled on this, then let’s head over to those civilians that Ambuscade mentioned. Sounds to me like they’re our first priority.”

“Got it,” Ambuscade nodded with his whole helmet, and set off by foot. “Follow me.”

First priority was not a poor assessment. The area amounted to little more than an oversized pile of rubble. The lowes floors of the buildings were more or less intact, but the higher levels had been obliterated by the impact. Corpses littered the area, more disturbingly, pieces of corpses in some places. The odour of death, dust and blood was strong and several people could be heard crying or groaning.

“Who first?” Bond asked, looking towards her teammates. “One of the ones making sound makes the most sense to me, will medics be here soon?”

“Got you covered. I’ve already notified them before coming here,” Livewire replied. “Not sure if they’d be able to drive around with all the rubble clogging up the road, though.” Then, she deployed her EM field.

Electrons brushing up against each other let Livewire know that survivors from the terror attack were few, though some did undoubtedly exist. If the attack blindsided even the heroes, it stood to reason that the civilians would fare worse. And fare worse they did. All who were caught in the brunt of things were goners for sure, while most who paraded the streets at the time of the incident were either squished beyond recognition or dangerously skirting the line between life and death.

The man who Livewire detected with her EM field was one individual who fit in the latter category. He was in a special circumstance compared to others around him.

Steel, charred from the late-night explosions, pressed against the man’s body. The piece of metal was several times larger than he was, and though it pinned him in place, it did not prevent him from moving entirely. He squirmed, in a futile attempt to wiggle out of his predicament. However, the more he did so, the more blood drained from his wounds. Further resistance just seemed to suck the vitality out of him. Literally.

Worse, the “unstable structural features” that Ambuscade reported on previously were also at play, in the form of cement being held together by beams just minutes away from buckling and sending the man off to the afterlife at their descent.

“Think I found someone who needs our rescuing. ASAP, actually.” Livewire informed her squire mates matter-of-factly. “I don’t have a visual on his status, but he’s somewhere not too far from us. And close to death, from what my EM field is telling me. We should still be able to save him if we hurry.”

“Hurrying I can do,” Bond said with a grin. She flared her power, noting the familiar site of everything around her appearing to freeze in place and began her sprint in the direction indicated by Livewire. Her power wore off only a few seconds later, and she knew from hearing others describe it to her that it would have seemed to her teammates as though she had instantaneously appeared a short distance ahead. It wasn’t a huge head start, but she figured that any headstart was probably a good one if someone’s life was in the balance.

At least, she figured that until she found the man in question. This was her second encounter with someone trapped under a steel beam that day and she was well aware of the fact that the strength to actually lift the object was not a power she possessed.

“Ah crap,” she mused, “Live can you do anything about this?” she called back, before crouching down and talking to the near-unconscious man. “Don’t worry about it, helps on the way and a two tonne beam is nothing you can’t handle.” She couldn’t be sure, but she thought the strangled sound he made might almost have been laughter.

“Two tonne?” Ambuscade’s voice came right behind Bond. He glanced along the heavy beam for a moment and then nodded. “It’s a bit much but using leverage against the ground, we should be able to help with that. Hummer?”

“Yes sir?” a drone hummed next to him. It didn’t look much spectacular.

“Stabilize that beam, lift it half an inch, and wait for further instructions. Avoid the human.”

“Yes sir!” the drone hummed and zoomed down to Bond and the victim, while Ambuscade motioned for her to back away.

“Can you get him out when the beam is lifted?”

Hummer’s body suddenly unfolded from its initially rather oval shape, and became an intricate entanglement of metallic limbs and electric wiring. Wasting no time, it slipped some parts in under the beam and proceeded to take stand against the floor to lift it ever so slightly. However, sparks started flying already from the start. Two tonnes was probably too much after all.

“Got you covered,” Livewire interjected. She reached out with her magnetic field, shaping it to the attunement of the beam and made it flux, levitating the beam and allowing the drone to pull the man to safety.

“See,” Bond said to the man, “No problem, now we just need to repeat this for everyone else. Medics are on the way.”

Astronaut

space adventure

Non-binary
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 1 Hour Ago
33,111 posts
11.9 Years

Rubber & Corvus: Worst Case Scenario

"Targets from Lumiere Bijoux incapacitated." Corvus said softly into his ear through the earpiece, almost too quietly for Rubber to hear over the screeching crows and groaning looters behind him. "They took a turn down the alley between the jewellers and the electronics store. Can you grab the bag?"

"On it, sis!" Rubber responded and started running down the street.

Since that always felt too slow, he soon took a leap and stretched his elastic body out in front of him in an elongated cartwheel. He landed on his feet again just in front of the murder of crows. Two screaming people were buried beneath their feathers and caws.

“Hey, uh, mind letting up on the dangerchicks a bit so I can… Oh nevermind,” Rubber began, but then realized that he was unlikely to get hurt anyways.

He simply reached in with a longer and longer arm until he could grab the bag that had fallen to the ground, and pull it back.

“Wowee, you guys got a lot of goodies here,” he commented as he glanced down into its concents. “But there’s a problem, guys. You forgot to pay!”

The girl managed to whack a crow aside and look up at the hero with angry eyes.

“I’m here to remind you, and oh, also to arrest you,” Rubber continued, unpausing. “If my friend tells the birds to bite less for a while, will you follow me kindly?”

One bird fell to the ground at that, red streaks in its feathers. Before Rubber could comprehend what was going on, a sharp object buried itself in his abdomen.

“Ah!” he gasped.

Having watched the exchange from the rooftop, Corvus dropped to the ground and marched over, a concerned look etched on her face. As she got closer, she spotted a knife in the thin man’s hand, who was grinning smugly as he planted it in Rubber’s side.

Corvus frowned. Several crows found their way to the man’s wrist and pecked him until he dropped the weapon and returned to a fetal position on the ground, whimpering.

“Sis…” Rubber panted, falling to his knees. “I’m… I’ve been struck!”

But she continued marching straight past him and reached out to the bloodied bird, cradling it in her arms. Pulling off her cloak, she pursed her lips together and wrapped it up securely. The look of concern on her face turned to anger as she held the unmoving bird to her chest, and the pecking and screeching intensified. A couple more crows who had been circling overhead swooped down to join in.

“Ow- quit it- sorry! I’m sorry! We’re unarmed now! Completely!” The thin man tried to hold up his arms, but quickly retracted as the crows continued attacking.

“Yeah! We’ll come with you guys! Stop!” the girl echoed.

Finally, the screeches died down, and Corvus reluctantly put the bundle down. She exhaled sharply and glanced at Rubber, who was still writhing in the corner of her vision. "Oh, quit being dramatic, bro, we still have work to do.” She said, but a small smile was on her face and she held out her hand this time to help him up. “Let’s get these assholes to the station and clean up the rest of these looters out here.”

Rubber stopped shriveling up at once, and sighed. The knife that had seemed to be embedded in his abdomen popped out and landed in his hand, his skin intact despite the slight rip in the fabric on top of it.

“Fine,” he said before gesturing to the looters with the weapon. “But we’re adding assault to their charges!”

He got up on his feet just as two police finally caught up with them, turning into their side street with tasers lifted.

“Gentlemen!” Rubber said to them, cheerfully. “How nice of you to visit us. Would you mind taking over? I think I hear another explosion down the street.”

The policepeople moved to arrest the two criminals, slightly wary of the crows still looming above, when Rubber turned out to be right. A strange wobbly noise reached them all, accompanied by an eerie red light. It came from where Rubber and the looters had just left.

Rubber glanced at Corvus. “Non-Tinker weapons don’t usually do that, do they?”

“I-I don’t think so?” Corvus shrugged nervously. “Let’s go check it out. Gentlemen,” she nodded at the police and the two of them bolted towards the noise.

As they ran against the fleeing crowd towards the smoky street, a lone figure came into view, holding a familiar-looking object. One of Ambuscade’s gadgets.

“Don’t come any closer!” the figure screamed. “You… you all ruined everything! But I’ll show you! I have the higher ground now! You have to listen to me!” he waved the beeping item in his hand threateningly.

“Oh, I’ll show him the higher ground.” Corvus muttered. She turned to Rubber. “Can you keep him busy for a couple minutes?”

Jorah felt his nerves tugging at his brave hero-face. If that gadget was a bomb, and if it had any chance of going off, and if it was anything as strong as what had just wrecked the other street… His heartbeat rose, and it wasn’t from the jog.

He was also fairly sure Ava could tell he wasn’t entirely confident anymore, but he wouldn’t let it show anyways. He was Rubber now, and Rubber was brave.

“Can I?” he answered with what was meant to be a snicker. “I’ll give him so much business he’ll make a fortune and be able to retire by the morning! Go do your thing, sis.”

Ava nodded at him and gave him a thumbs up. She backed into the smoke before finding her way on the rooftops of the shops again, and disappeared from view.

He turned to the man holding the gadget and walked forward, holding out his arms wide (perhaps a tiny bit elongated for dramatic effect) to get extra attention drawn to himself. The tinkertech in the bad guy’s hand pulsated threateningly with each wobbling beep, letting off a wave of red light every time.

“Hey, friend,” Rubber started.

“I’m not your friend! This is all your fault!” the man interrupted him when they were some twenty meters apart. All other civilians seemed to have run for cover now, at least. It was the two of them in the middle of the wide street.

“Okay, we’re still at ‘acquaintances’, my bad!” Rubber corrected himself and made his arms go back to normal size in an attempt to look less threatening. He gestured casually at the tinkertech. “That doesn’t look healthy, man. Seems to be leaking some radiation there.”

“Give me what I want!”

“Or what? Will you leak all over us?”

The figure looked more angry at that, and held the item up towards Rubber while advancing a few steps. The hero held up his hands again, apologetically. “Okay! Okay, I see that you’re serious about this. What do you want?”

The tech suddenly started ringing instead of beeping. Neither Rubber nor the other man were prepared for that, judging by the startled twitch the latter displayed at the noise. Jorah felt his blood freeze. What if… What if it was going to go off? Right here and now. Should he reach out and grab the tech? Did he have time to do that, or would the bad guy just set it off prematurely? And even if he did, how could Jorah even stop it if it was already about to go off?

“Corvus?” he whelped through the communicator, very aware that there was no hiding his panic anymore. Some role model he was.

"Hey bro, good work so far, I'm almost in position." Corvus whispered back hurriedly, lithely hopping from rooftop to rooftop with her winged friends close behind. She was quiet, but if she had made any noise, the ringing sound from the device would have drowned it all out. She paused for a moment. “I suppose I should tell you my plan since I need your help. And your consent.”

“That doesn’t sound very good…”

“I’m up here, see?” Careful to only attract Jorah’s attention, she waved her arms from the top of the store that the agitated man was standing in front of. She continued to speak into the earpiece in a hushed tone. “We’re gonna attack him from behind, hard and fast - that should probably be enough to startle and disarm him.” She paused again. “What happens next is a bit unpredictable, but I assume he won’t be happy about it. So I’m gonna need you to uh, be ready and prepared to handle the situation down there quick should things go down poorly.”

Rubber swallowed hard. Handle the situation, with a bomb. A worst case solution formed in his head.The more he thought about it, the more it sounded doable. “I understand,” he said, with slightly more resolve.

“Alright, good luck, bro. You got this, you’re indestructible.” With a little luck and precision in her attack, that hopefully won’t be necessary anyway, she thought to herself, but best keep him on his toes just in case. With that, Ava took a deep breath and turned her attention to the man standing a few feet away from her. More and more crows gathered silently around her, and they knew not to make a single sound.

Despite the alarming sound coming from the device he was holding, the idiot still seemed to be pondering Jorah’s question. Ava watched him relax his grip and hold the device to his side. This was their chance.

With a raised palm, she directed the dark, winged creatures straight towards the man. The mob quickly split off into two organized groups, one aiming to attack the man’s lowered hand, and a larger group to take down the man himself.

From her position on top of the store, Ava could barely make out the situation below amidst the flurry of dark feathers, but trusted her instincts and abilities of companions. By the time the man turned around to react, the crows had reached their target already - his squeaks of surprise were quickly muffled as he was separated from the bomb, then pecked and clawed into retreating.

As she peered down, a victorious smile crept across her face. “See, bro, nothing to worry about afte-”

Before she could finish her sentence, her thought was cut short by a faint but unmistakable beeping sound. As the dust that was kicked up during the scuffle had settled, a clear red light was emitting from the now unattended tinkertech. “Muk. Um, oh. Okay, red. Red means stop, right?”

The beeping became more rapid until it was almost a constant tone, mere feet from where Rubber was.

Worst case scenario, then.

“I’ve got this,” he told Corvus, hollowly, over the line as his legs finally started moving forward. “I’m indestructible.”

His body slammed down and wrapped itself around the menacing object, changing shape into an all-covering rubbery blanket and embracing the orb for all he was worth. When the explosion happened, he first felt as if he has been punched simultaneously in all parts of his body. His elongated lungs lost their air, he almost lost the hard grip he was keeping around himself to contain the blast. For a second, the world went blank from shock spiraling through him.

Then he started to come back to his senses, over seconds, maybe half a minute. Still wrapped up like a big rubber ball, he dared to reach out within himself and assess how he was doing. His fingers still flicked when he moved them. His legs turned when he shifted them. He didn’t find searing pain anywhere. Not a scratch… on his body.

As his hearing started to come back as well, he unfolded his body and retook his proper shape. A few scraps fell down onto the street, the only stuff remaining of the detonated bomb. And the whole front of the uniform was burned away, leaving him literally half naked.

“Dammit. Corvus, consider me not PG until we get back,” he had just enough time to say, before his insides twisted horrendously all of a sudden and he threw up heavily on the ground.

“Oh?” was the confused noise he chose to go with, before dizziness overcame him, and he fell down as well. Luckily not into his own mess.

"What now, can I look yet? Are you decent?" Ava had been covering her eyes since Jorah was unwillingly stripped of his uniform. No response. She sighed. Proud as she was, and relieved the situation was contained, Jorah can be such a drama queen sometimes. Begrudgingly, she made her way down to the ground and jogged over, grimacing with a hand still partially shielding her view.

"Hey, come on! Get up and get covered so I can finally give you a hug and a high five. You want to get some snacks before we head back? I’m kinda hungry after all that."

But as the dust settled, something looked... off. She put down her hand.

“Hey, what did you-” Her relief from their victory quickly turned to horror, as she dropped to his side and tried to help up his somehow more rubber-like than usual body.

“Jorah? Jorah! Can you hear me?!” As she cradled Jorah and studied at his face, she suddenly saw Lucas in him and thought back to her older brother. How he was also taken from her far too soon.

No, no no no. Not again, I can’t.

“Jorah, bro, please wake up…”

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