Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

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Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:08 am

shaydeswhisper: Perspectives: April 2009 - Post here

Whenever you have finished your intellegence gathering on the victim... err... I mean subject of your story, post them here. Have fun stalking!
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Re: Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:11 am

Static Bolter: An evening's practice. (Radiant Redemption)

Form flowed into form, each movement of the katas fluid and graceful. This training was not specifically required, but Kaijuko found these times of quiet practice to be peaceful, allowing time for reflection on the tasks of the day. Ippon-me became Nihon-me and moved into Sanbon-me, Kai's sword flashing and shadow dancing as she played and sparred with an imaginary opponent. Each movement was so well practiced, her training throughout her life having brought her to the point where a partner was unnecessary.

In truth, the sword itself was unnecessary. Kaijuko's previous bonding with the Nictus form, Radiant Ebon Glory, having imbued in her the ability to work without relying upon something so mundane as a weapon. Spectacular power was now as normal to her as breath. Knowledge unfathomable to human beings seemed perfectly natural. No longer was it I, at that moment where she had discovered Radiant trapped and dying in the depths of a Council facility it had become We.

The Council. Kaijuko/Radiant's day had been spent in clearing another of their facilities. It was as though Paragon was infected with them. The soldiers had put up a formidable resistance, but ultimately it had proven futile as Radiant morphed into the Dark Dwarf form and charged them down; her bulk filling the tight corridors of the underground facility, leaving them with no way to avoid attack. The few injuries Kaijuko/Radiant sustained were quickly relieved by draining energy from her adversaries. Only a little though; great care was taken to keep from feeding too much upon each soldier. Taking too much energy led to thinking of people as being little more than food, and that was something Kaijuko/Radiant had sworn never to do.

The blade's flow ended momentarily as Kaijuko came to the end of the kata. She retrieved a second sword from where it rested at the edge of the training mat and began anew, this time two flashes of metal went whistling through the air. Radiant reveled in the graceful movement, having come to enjoy the pensive mood of her host as they danced together across the floor.
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Re: Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:13 am

shaydeswhisper: Static Bolter - Best day ever.

((Kinda long winded, as usual. Hope I did you justice, Boltybutt.))

Tonight had been a more wonderful night than Beth could have ever imagined. She had spent the majority of it with Vincent Bannister, or as he was more widely known, Black Starbeam. Tonight though he wasn't wearing his faceplate, there were no nanobots swarming around in his system. His eyes were not glowing. Beth couldn't be more happy. It seemed lately the time she got to spend with Vincent, as opposed to Black Starbeam was few and far between.

She had put on a beautiful dress, one that seemed to shimmer with every stray bolt of electricity that played across her. They had went to a fancy restaurant, some swanky place that she'd never heard of. Not only had Vincent picked the place, but he actually sit across from her and ate a complete meal with her. No coercion, no guilt trips were necessary. He just sit across from her and ate, what Beth considered one of the best meals she'd ever ate.

The conversation was about, surprisingly normal stuff. Most of the time, especially lately, most conversations with Vincent had always drifted about their other lives. Superheroing, The Reciprocators, and strategies to fight crime, seemed to be all they any more. Tonight was different. They talked about themselves, hopes, dreams, and even fears. She felt closer to Vincent than she'd ever had.

The restaurant had a dance floor and some soft music that was provided by a band. She had looked at him in disbelief when he'd stood up, offered his hand to her and asked her to dance. True they had danced together, but it had always been at functions hosted by the any one of the member groups of the Shield of Paragon. They'd always danced as Static Bolter and Black Starbeam, never as just simply Beth Wells and Vincent Bannister.

When they got to the dance floor, they danced had danced close. Beth's whole body was fluttering with all sorts of emotions and sensations. Her knees felt weak while at the same time tense. She felt like running away from the situation not sure if she could handle being so close. All of these was despite the fact she could think of no place she'd rather be. She almost melted at the feel of Vincent's strong arms around her waist. Then he started to lean forward.

At first the significance of the movement escaped her, until his face started to get closer. She blushed furiously as her body started warring with itself. Part of her started to lean forward, while her legs were wanting to desperately move as fast as they could to carry her out of the restaurant. She could feel the place closing in on her. She could feel the eyes of everyone in the place on the two of them and she couldn't take it. She could feel her heart trying to beat its way into her throat, and for a moment she thought perhaps she might just pass out.

Vincent's face drifted closer and closer, until he was just a whisper away from her. Time seemed to slow greatly, each second an eternity. Something started to tickle her face, despite herself she started snickering. Vincent seemed unphased by this, his lips just barely away from hers. The tickling started again, on her cheeks and lips, and she couldn't stand it any longer. Vincent's whiskers just tickled too badly. Vincent's... whiskers?

The next thing Bolty knew she was lying in her bed. She blinked groggily, trying to focus her eyes when she realized there was weight on her chest. The tickling on her face was even more intense now and she started to desperately try to move it away from whatever was tickling her. Thats when her eyes were able to finally focus on the white furry mass that had taken residence on her chest.

Tohbi, her unusual pet bunny looked at her with eyes and a face that said 'Good morning' and 'I am hungry."

"Toooooohbi", she sighed, "You ruined something magical. Even though it was only a dream. A wonderful, beautiful... dream."

She pushed him off of her chest, partly annoyed that she would probably never be able to return to her dream, partly wistful as the last images still played in her mind. She finally succeeded in dislodging the invader and pushed him off of her onto the bed. She sat up and yawned and stretched trying to prepare herself to face the day.

Tohbi looked up at her with a bunny look that said something akin to 'That's alright that you treat me this way. Today I will be feasting on your socks. Say goodbye to the one sock from every pair you own.' Then he hopped off, perhaps to see if Yuki would take mercy on him and feed him.

*****

The day was long and tiring. Bolty sat at her desk trying to make her way through the never ending stack of papers that seemed to cover it. Most people weren't aware of what she went through on their behalf. Every time one of the Reciprocators broke something, angered someone, or in any way inconvenienced anyone, it was her that had to deal with it. Sometimes it just made her head pound.

She picked up one the papers and glanced at it, a list of damages and estimated costs to fix them. This was due to shattered windows. The result of Cyberette's apprehension of a group of a group of Hellions that were on a rampage in Atlas park. She started to read the debriefing that was attached to it, but stopped when she got to the explanation of why the sonic resonance of Cyberette's suit had something or another frequency of the windows, and further more... blah blah blah. Beth's eyes started to cross as she looked at the paper. She loved Jess, but she couldn't keep up with her when she started talking science. There had been times when Jess, Beam, and Officer Zap and started talking science, that made Bolty think her head was going to explode.

She signed the approval line, and moved the paper to the stack that was for finished items. This seemed significantly shorter than the stacks of papers that were still begging for her attention. She couldn't really focus on this aspect of her job so she instead reached to get her lists of people she had to call back.

Gingerly she took hold of her phone, half expecting it to explode when she touched it. She had found a manufacturer that made phones that were quite resistant to electric shocks. She had already fried two of them this month despite that. Still this brand had a much better track record than the previous ones she'd tried using.

"Yes sir... I know sir... I understand that, but... Yes... I'm sure it was just the stress of the situation, I'm sure he's never even met your mother...", she tried to state her case, but kept getting cut off.

The first call she made was to an older man that Vermillion Star had rescued from a troll beat down. He had almost gotten himself killed and Star hurt by trying to join in the fight. Vermillion Star had in his own tactful way told the man how he felt about that, and upset him greatly. Apparently the man didn't appreciate being cursed at in such a manner.

The next call went about as well.

"Yes reverend, and while I appreciate your concern about our souls. The individual you saw is a very important member of our team, and we have no intention of letting you 'banish her back to the hell fires from whence she came'"

This call was from another concerned citizen, a reverend of some sort, that had spotted Fluxie among a team of Reciprocators in Independence Port. According to him working alongside a being such as Fluxie would rain down eternal damnation on all of them. She was started to get very annoyed by the whole thing, and was just a tongue slip of handing it the same way Vermillion Star might. Bolty was a bastion of patience 99% of the time, but she doesn't sit well with her friends being insulted.

The other aspect of her job seemed to be den mother to the Reciprocators. Her office door might as well have been a revolving door with the amount of use it would see on a daily basis. One time she thought amusedly if she put a cover charge on her door, she'd be a rich woman in no time.

Normally she loved that aspect of her job the most, because she loved the contact with all of her Reciprocators, today however it was just hard to concentrate. Different Reciprocators came in, just to say hi, to ask for advice on how best to deal with one of their peers, or to request something or another. Today all of them started to blur together. That was until she looked up and Beam was standing in front of her desk wearing a nicely tailored suit.

Without knowing why, a blush started to flame its way across her cheeks. She jittered nervously as she looked up at him. It took a bit before her mouth could find any words but finally she managed to squeak something out"

"Hi, Beam"

If he noticed her acting oddly, it didn't show on his face. Instead he returned her greeting with a nod.

"Bolter. I was wondering if you'd care to accompany me to Spanky's Boardwalk, in Talos."

She started a bit. Beam was asking her to go somewhere dressed in a suit. Was her dream going to become a reality? Her mind was a bit frantic. What should she say? How should she act? What did she have to wear? Why hadn't he given her more time?!?

"Yes", she finally managed to get out.

"Great," he replied, "Suit up, and I'll go grab my faceplate and change out of this monkey suit, and I'll meet you back in ten."

With that he was out the door and already moving to his office. She sat there for a moment taking everything in, when it finally hit her. He wanted her to work something with him. She let out sigh as she stood up, and moved over to where she stored her uniform when it wasn't in use. She sighed as she kicked off her shoes.

This had been a rough day.

*****

On the way to the boardwalk, Beam had explained the situation to her. It seemed simple enough. Patrols had been lax in the area lately. A group of Tsoo, pushing drugs had moved in and had been causing problems along the boardwalk and beach area. Beam decided a show of force would convince them to pack up. Bolty figured if nothing else, it would be a good way to let out some of the excess energy she had.

When they got to the area she saw one lone Tsoo sorcerer standing to himself and looking around. Most likely a lookout. Bolty give Beam a grin.

"I've got this"

With those words she took off, moving at inhuman speeds towards the man. She came to a stop behind the man, skidding in the dirt. A streak of dirt rose into the air behind her as she brought up her hands toward him. The man didn't even have time to turn around before as the blue bolt of electricity arced from Bolty's finger engulfing him. He spasmed violently before falling face first in the dirt, unconscious. Raising her finger in the air almost like a gun she blew it off striking a pose.

Beam had made his way to her after a moment and looked at her with glowing yellow eyes.

"Show off", he said with a slightly amused tone, "Let me show you what I can do."

The operation didn't take very long at all. The group of Tsoo that had taken up shop in the area weren't very organized and didn't offer a whole lot of resistance. As Beam had predicted a solid show of force had scattered them before very long.

This only served to frustrate Bolty more. She was hoping to be able to take out a lot of frustration tonight on the Tsoo, but even that fell through. What a horribly unfulfilling day today had turned.

Beam had turned looking toward the boardwalk and spoke with a suddenness that made her twitch in surprise.

"I want a hot dog all of a sudden. We should go get some."

"Really", she asked surprised.

"Yep", he said heading toward the hot dog cart that was parked just a short distance away.

She stood there unmoving for a moment, due to pure shock. She quickly moved to catch up as one thought crossed her mind.

Best day ever.
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Re: Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:15 am

Cyberette: A Dim Image in a Mirror (Androgyne)

Smoke billowed darkly against the ruined horizon of the warzone. Inthis place of constant turmoil, aggression, and violence Ani Hess foundsome strange satisfaction. E had been with the Vanguard for years, nowand there was a familiarity with the constant fighting. Even wheneverything else seemed muddled and confused, the warzone never changed.The only change was where the lines were drawn in the ebb and flow ofthe battlefield. Gains of inches one day to lose it a few days post.The Victories and losses are plentiful and constant here. Back andforth. The ceaseless fighting meant one thing, really. Constant focus.No matter whatever else was going on in the world around em, this was aplace where there was one directive. One key to success.

E letthe dirt and soot fall through his fingers as e gazed out at thewasteland before em, and shifted his gaze to a battle further off inthe distance. Immediately e felt eir muscles tense, ready to leap off,to traverse distance in space in a matter of an instant and join in thebattle against the common enemy. But their was a steep dropoff. A chasmof darkness that halted forward movement in eir mind. It didn't hitoften but it was still too fresh to shake off completely. Being lockedaway.

Away from any assistance. Buried. Without the ability tohelp yourself. Trapped. Alone. For minutes, hours, days, weeks... Whendesperation consumed time and left nothing but bleakness. When yourlife unravelled like smoke. You try to capture it, and hold onto it,but it slips passed your fingers, contrary to your own wants. Your lifeleaves you; Abandons you. And what little resolve you have begs thestars, gods, earth, whatever would listen, to come to your aid. Withany luck, and thankfully this time had proven for the better, you'reheard. By what? You don't know. You may think you know....

Eshook the thought away, looking to eir arm, still encased in plasterand gauze. Then again out to the distant battle. And then to thestrands of fate e was gifted with seeing. Even when all the clues arebefore you, sometimes it's still hard to see what... and when....exactly things will happen. E had an exercise in mortality. It wouldpass... but it still clung every once in a while.

E pivoted and took a breath, flexing his slung arm. "One last hurd-" Beeb-eep!

"Huh." E reached down and acknowledged the text, taking a moment to read it.

[Ghost In the Shell. Movie w/me U in? plx rsvp nao.]

Esmirked. Fate? E decided e could use a break from the certainty of thewarzone and exchange it for the uncertainty of an unknown movie.

{OK. BTR B GOOD.}

[LOL nub. is BTR than Good is gr8.]

Soon after, in the confines of her apartment, cuddled against her inthe dark, e stared at the screen, as the words from an animatedcharacter seemed to draw out more worth than most things said in thelast handful of days.

"There are countless ingredients that make up the human body andmind, like all the components that make up me as an individual with myown personality. Sure, I have a face and voice to distinguish myselffrom others, but my thoughts and memories are unique only to me, andcarry a sense of my own destiny. Each of those things are just a smallpart of it. I collect information to use in my own way. All of thatblends to create a mixture that forms me and gives rise to myconscience.

I feel confined, only free to expand myself within boundaries."

E could see why this was one of her favoured movies. It was starting to grown on em.
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Re: Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:17 am

Black Starbeam: Memories of a Day (Disheartener)

The dull thump ran straight through Lilith's body, causing her leg to ache again. The sword slid into her flesh, the point driving home as she lunged forward into it. Her mouth opened in pain as it struck bone. “Sonofabitch!” she had screamed, lashing out with her claws to leave a deep gash along the cheek of the Warrior whose sword she now had embedded in her leg. She swung again as the Warrior staggered back, releasing the weapon. Instinct kicked in and she swung at the source of her agony, snapping the blade in two. Instant recognition of what she'd done kicked in as she looked at the point of the blade, still embedded in her leg.

The thump sounded again. The explosion rocked the area, sending her flailing through the air. Oddly enough, she recalled, her thoughts had been concern at the fact that she'd worn a skirt, rather than any damage to herself. The dirt of Talos Island covered her from head to toe, blasted from the large crater where she'd been standing moments ago. The Warrior Elite stood grinning at her with a stupid smile, holding an artifact of some kind at arm's length. Her new dominating thought was to wipe his stupid, ugly, smelly grin from his face. Preferably with claws.

Another thump. The shock of a full force punch ran up her arm as she leapt at the Elite, striking him in the face. As she had hoped she wiped the grin from his face. It wasn't as satisfying as she'd hoped for, but her blades left a nice scratch along his cheek. She found herself smiling at the small victory.

A fourth thump resounded. The sound of her hand hitting that of the police officer she'd handed the Warriors over to matched it. He smiled at her. He gave her his thanks. All she could think about was the mess she'd made of her clothes and how she'd flopped into the dirt unceremoniously.

The thump came again. She stared into her Screwdriver, which shook again, as it had with every thump so far. The cushions allowed her to sink deeply into them. She almost regretted trying to come here to relax, waving off yet another offer to join her on the couch. But the thing was... whatever it was that Zero was in the middle of mixing was helping her to relax more than anything else she could think of at this moment.
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Re: Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:23 am

AlwaysAPrice: Black Starbeam - Never a Weakness (pt 1)

((This is only half of what I wanted to do with this and doesn't complete the perspective I planned to provide. I do have the conclusion outlined in my head but 1) time's up so I want to at least get what I have finished posted (it's still the 22nd here!). It kinda stands on its own, if as a cliffhanger. 2) I'm a little uncomfy with my own direction so I'd like to wait for my subject to give me the OK to finish from here.))

It was frustrating at times, the awareness that no matter how many of these murderous punks he rounded up, there were always more downtrodden, hopeless youths whose own frustrations with the realities of life in the Row left them ready to step up to replenish the ranks of the Skulls. More so, it was mind-boggling that after all these years they refused to recognize the simple fact that this was his protectorate.

In the years since the first Rikti War had thrust him into the role of Kings Row's guardian, the Black Starbeam had battled countless threats, from the mundane to the extradimensional, both within and beyond the Row, yet he always came back. No part of Paragon City lacked for threats, tyrants, and manipulators since the Rikti came, but the Row seemed to hurt the most for it. To too many of the city's heroes it was forgotten, a ghetto of small-time criminals, thugs whose capture wouldn't bolster their renown a lick. If you weren't born Row, you likely didn't care.

Vincent Bannister may not have been born Row, but he was reborn here. His identity and character were forged here more than anywhere else, and in some ways that made him more committed to its protection than even its own children ever could be. The Skulls had a commitment of their own: to death and the power they drew from it. Like the organ harvesters of the Vazhilok and the corrupt preachers of the Lost, to them the Row was both proving ground and a feed trough. Here they found the city's human refuse, the people no-one would miss, people who often had lost even that small amount of self-worth needed to motivate a cry for help.

People like the homeless man in the alleyway below, backed against a rusted, crumbling dumpster overflowing with garbage. Between him and the mouth of the alley are three musclebound young men, their individual identities one of several sacrifices they'd made to attain whatever meager amount of renown they were awarded within the gang. Clad in identical black denim and leather and with faces hidden behind masks of bone cut from human skulls, they presented themselves as a single inescapable predator to their helpless intended victim.

The Black Starbeam steps off the roof of the building above and plummets feet-first towards the ground between the Skulls and the homeless man. Strictly speaking, this entrance wasn't necessary. He was agile enough to make it down the fire escape in the same amount of time this drop would take, but he had a reputation, a mystique -- as much as they dared to defy the legend of his guardianship of these slums, the Skulls feared him on sight. That was important to preserve both to intimidate them and to reassure their prey, and the mundanity suggested by the rattle of the steel before he appeared would detract from that. The right entrance could decide a fight in his favor before the first punch was thrown.

He crashes to the pavement in a low crouch, knuckles and knees splintering beneath him on impact. His contact lenses flare with a brilliant yellow light to greet the Skulls with a baleful supernatural glare. The Skulls freeze in their tracks. Starbeam gives his cape just enough time to settle around him before he rises without a sound. The silence is important. As they take in the shining eyes, golden hair, and the unmistakable fist emblazoned on his chest, he wants them to hear the barely audible yet unmistakable wet grinding sound of torn cartilage and fractured bone being reconstructed and knitted together beneath his skin.

Scanning his opposition from this new, closer vantage point, it clicks for him that something isn't right. These Skulls are thick, weathered, their arms decorated with a hodge podge of professionally inked death imagery and cruder improvised prison ink. Their bone masks are etched with the eldritch runes of the crude death magics the Skulls devote themselves to mastering. These were not punk kids out to pick on a random vagrant like they'd first appeared. These men had been Skulls a long time -- Bone Daddies -- and only the outer two of their little phalanx seemed surprised by his appearance. The center one, who had led their advance on the homeless man behind Black Starbeam, he didn't flinch at anything.

He acknowledges the lure with an almost bemused growl, tinny through the faceplate supplying him with regenerative nanites. "Really, guys."

The Daddy to the right grabs their leader's shoulder to demand explanation. "Hairline, you wanna tell us what the--" He's cut off. Hairline snaps his hands out and digs his fingernails into the chests of his supposed allies, directly over their hearts. Shadows swirl around his knuckles and both of the other Bone Daddies gasp in shock as he siphons what seems to be their very souls to strengthen himself. They slump against his grasp and he whips his hands away to let them collapse, unconscious, having served their purpose.

"Looks like you almost thought this one through," Beam notes. The initial surprise at the idea of this being a set-up has faded; he hears the homeless man behind him scrabble to his feet and run with a slurred gasp of gratitude. At least he's prevented whatever might have befallen the man if he hadn't been around to take their bait.

Hairline grunts, "I ain't cocky. I prolly ain't takin' you down." Despite this admission of doubt, he rushes Starbeam, perhaps confident that the strength he's stolen from his companions would buy him the time to make whatever impression he was here to make.

"Good to know." The Daddy moved fast and low, aiming to take Starbeam off his feet with a tackle, but his intent was easy to read. A hard knee snaps up into his bone-covered forehead, neutralizing his momentum and snapping him upright, dazed and open for a straight kick into the solar plexus that sends him hurtling back to where he'd began his charge.

Hairline's back to his feet quick, crouching. He's tough. Probably tougher for what he's taken from his supposed allies. "I just gotta make sure you get the message." As he stands he claws at the shadows around his feet and throws both hands at Starbeam -- the hero knows to expect a bit of dark magic from Skulls of this rank and knows how to evade it, but the wave of mire that rushes at him is blacker and colder than he's come to expect.

It penetrates to the bone, leaving the Black Starbeam feeling sluggish -- a gravelly giggle echoes through the darkest corners of his mind. He grits his teeth and stalks forward anyway, overcoming by sheer force of will the cloying grasp of the shadows, the arcane chill his nanites do nothing to abate, even as they quickly repair the damage wrought by the entropic energies unleashed on him. He lunges out of the murk, leaping forward and driving a knee into Hairline's sternum.

Hairline is staggered but not dissuaded. He curls his fingers into a claw and snaps his hand forward, no doubt to try to mask his own pain by siphoning Starbeam's vitality as he had his companions. Starbeam sees it coming, has seen it coming plenty of times, and reacts instinctively. He deflects the incoming claw with a quick sweep of his hand and seizes Hairline's wrist. Pivots, pulls, locks. He swings Hairline over his shoulder and drives him forcefully to the ground. A loud crack from the elbow precedes the Bone Daddy's scream of startled pain, a scream muffled by Starbeam's shin as he pins the Skull's head to the ground with a knee. "I'm listening, Compound."

The rechristened Bone Daddy gives a whimper as the energy borrowed from his allies to give him even a brief edge that nevertheless failed him fades from his body. Even in defeat, his tone when he finally does gather the breath to speak is mocking. "Back pocket, Vinnie."

The Black Starbeam is still for a moment. That's a new one for the Skulls. Keeping pressure on the broken arm, he reaches down and produces an envelope. A greeting card, with something else inside the envelope. Starbeam releases the arm to the Bone Daddy's pained clutching, relying on the knee to keep him in place though he doesn't show any further inclination to put up a fight. With a flick of his thumb he rips open the envelope's flap and pulls out the card.

"To A Wonderful Son" dances across the front in jaunty block letters, decorated with ribbons of glitter paste and illustrated confetti. An icy finger drags down his spine as he flips the card open. Whatever pleasant pre-printed message it originally contained has been violently scratched out with the same charcoal used to scrawl a new message in a disjointed, mocking script.

YoU NeVer
visiT AnyM0Re
Luv,
daDdY


Feeling it between his fingers through the envelope, he knows what the accompanying surprise is before he shakes it out of the envelope into the palm of his hand.

A skeleton's finger, patches of moist earth on the bone indicating its recent exhumation. Tied to it with a black string is the ring that was worn on this finger in life. Anthony Bannister Sr.'s wedding ring.
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Re: Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:25 am

Rouge_Typhoon: Legio

(( Sorry if it sucks Lang ))


Markus stood in the middle of the dojo in the Citadel staring at the training dummies in front of him. His fingers gripped his gladius tighter as he launched himself towards the dummies. The blade of his sword quickly attacked the vital areas. After what seemed like a split second he jumped back to his orginal location.

"I could do better" He thought to himself. "It would be better if these could attack back."

He moves to the weapons rack replacing his gladius and drawing dual longswords. "I must be perfect" As he leaps forward his blades are blur of steel attacking the dummies each strike landing with pefect accuracy. With one final spin his longswords his swords connect with the dummies leaving identical long gashes in their chests.

Markus smiles a small smile "More training and all runs will go this smoothly. I still wish they were able to fight back"

A small beep emits from his communicator. The screen reads that there is a troll rave in Skyway. "It seems as though I got my wish" He dashes to the teleporters and is dropped near the rave.

Leaping over the fence Markus starts landing blow after blow to the trolls. Unconcious green forms falling all around him as he makes quick work of the lot of them. Markus looks around, once the last one is fell, at the PPD arresting the trolls. "I was right much better when they can fight back"
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Re: Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:33 am

Mr Mundane: Yuki Frost, Ace Defendant

Yuki looked down at the body of Archon de Winter. Blood pooled under his head. It formed rivulets in the cracks of the roadway underneath him. He was dead. Yuki looked at his face, contorted in the remnants of fear, his eyes empty. She looked at the hole in his head. She looked at the gun in her hand. She heard shouts, but didn't look up. She stared at Archon de Winter, dead on the ground at her feet, as the PPD arrived. They weren't sure what to do. They called for her to throw down the gun. At some point she did, while staring at the face of Archon de Winter.


"Miss Daniels? Will you answer the question please?"

Yuki blinked and looked up. "Sorry, your honour. Not guilty."

"Miss Daniels, this is not a court of law. This is an heroic tribunal. You're not charged with anything - not yet. We just want to establish what happened."

"Oh ... sorry. I ... No, I didn't kill ... him."

"You are saying you did not kill Archon de Winter, is that correct Miss Daniels?" the judge restated.

"No. I mean, yes, that's right, I didn't kill him."

"Very well. I will ask Jacinta Miles from the prosecutor's office to proceed with her questions. Ms Miles?"

A thin woman with a stereotypical grey skirt-suit and a stereotypically severe blonde bob stood. "Thank you Mr Mbende.

"While you are correct that this is not a trial, I believe Miss Daniels here has sensed the way the wind is blowing. Perhaps she has some 'super intuition' in these matters - though it hardly takes an enhanced being to recognise that when you kill a person in cold blood your arse is on the line -"

"Ms Miles," interjected the judge. "There is no jury here to convince. This is an evidentiary tribunal. I'll ask you to limit yourself to the facts of this matter and keep the rhetoric for a more appropriate forum."

The prosecutor smiled a thin smile and bowed her head. "I understand Mr Mbende. Forgive my overzealousness in the pursuit of justice.

"Very well," she stated in clipped, precise tones. "Miss Daniels. You killed Mr de Winter in Founders Falls on the 24th of April of this year." She paused and stared at Yuki as if expecting a response.

"Er ..." Yuki said after a few moments of silence. "No?"

"I put it to you that you did, as surely as I am standing here."

"I ... No, I didn't."

"I put it to you that you did!"

Yuki just stared at the woman.

"I put it to you that you wanted to kill him."

Yuki narrowed her eyes and clenched her jaw. She was about to speak when Jonah Tanu'a, her lawyer, caught her attention and made a shushing motion. He stood, and in calm, quiet words said, "Mr Mbende, this is clearly badgering. If my learned colleague has some evidence as to my client's intent I'm sure the court would happily receive it."

The judge nodded. "I agree that this is badgering. I will allow questions into intent - so long as they bear on the events in question." He turned to Yuki. "Miss Daniels, how about we start with your recollection of the moment of the Archon's demise. What were you doing at the time?"


Yuki closed her hands around his throat, squeezing as hard as she could. She watched his smiling face slowly turn to a look of concern, and then fear as he stared into the hatred in her eyes. She released her grip only to punch him, hard, and then reached to his belt, unclipping his gun ...


"I ... I was apprehending the ... er ... him. I was arresting him."

"I see," said the judge. "And were you engaged in combat with him at the time?"

Yuki nodded. "Yes, we were grappling, and we were punching each other."

"I see. And this is when the Archon was shot?"

Yuki nodded.

"Miss Daniels was found with Mr de Winter's own gun in her hands when the PPD arrived on the scene," Ms Miles told the judge before turning to Yuki. "Care to explain that, Miss Daniels?"

"I ... I had to remove his gun. It's standard ... you know, it's what we do. He had a gun, I had to take it off him." She turned to the judge. "So he couldn't shoot me."

"Had Mr de Winter made any attempt on your life by that point in the proceedings?" Ms Miles clipped, dragging Yuki's attention back to her. "Had he even so much as threatened your life, Miss Daniels?"


"Get her!" the Archon yelled to his men. "Catch that bitch! But don't kill her - I want her alive!"

The Penumbra charged her. Yuki stared into the face of the Archon as he laughed. She tried to reign in her hate, to focus on the task at hand. Penumbra first. She checked for civilians, then cooled the air between her and the elite forces before sending sheets of ice crackling towards them. One of them swung a flamethrower through the air to counteract her attack, sending up a plume of vapour. The others reached for stun batons as they drew closer to her, partially obscured by the mist. Yuki readied herself.

"Alive, men! I want her *alive*!" His laughter became maniacal.



"No."

"No indeed. In fact, several witnesses claim Mr de Winter specifically instructed his men not to kill you. Does that accord with your own recollections, such as they are, Miss Daniels?"

Yuki nodded.

"And yet you killed him, in cold blood?"

"I didn't -"

The prosecutor cut her off. "Perhaps, Mr Mbende, now would be a good time to view footage of the beginnings of this oh so fatal encounter?"

The judge nodded and indicated to his assistant to activate the video player. A screen on the wall of the tribunal room flared into life. It was security camera footage, poor quality, black and white, from a high angle, but it was clear. The Archon, followed by his men, spilled out from the right of the screen, across a street where they stopped and took up positions. Hot on their heels was Yuki in her 'Cips uniform, eyes flaring. There was some yelling back and forth. The Archon raised some sort of weapon and fired it at Yuki, who dropped to the ground to avoid whatever it was. Several of the Penumbra charged at her in her prone position, but she slicked the ground under them and they skidded to a stop, giving her time to clamber back to her feet. The Archon yelled some more, and the soldiers charged at her. There was a mist obscuring the action as a flamethrower vaporised ice, and when it cleared several of the troops were lying on the ground, and Yuki could just be seen chasing the Archon off the screen.

Mr Mbende nodded. "This shows us that there was a fight, but it shows neither the moment of death, nor what instigated this conflict. That there was a fight on the street is not in doubt."

"Mr Mbende, we offer this video to show that there was clearly no rifle fire involved in this conflict. It goes to show that the act of murder was not an act of self defence."

"At the moment, Ms Miles, there is no question about Miss Daniels' motives. At this stage Miss Daniels is denying that she acted to kill Archon de Winter at all. In any case, this video only shows a portion of the engagement. My concern is to determine the sequence of events and the facts of the matter. Do we have any evidence to illuminate these other two critical points?"

The prosecutor snarled. "We do." Ms Miles pulled out two hefty manila folders and handed one to the judge, flipping open her own copy. "I have here witness testimony as to the events preceding what we witnessed on the video."


Yuki and John were completely surrounded. Yuki held her hands up high and caused ice crystals to shimmer around her fists. John swirled his cape around himself dramatically. The children laughed, tugging on their uniforms, as the creche's carers smiled and watched on.

John checked the time on the wall clock and tapped Yuki. "Five minutes. Are you sure your information is correct?"

Yuki nodded. "He'll be here," she said grimly before smiling down at the children. John extracted himself without anyone noticing and stood by the door as Yuki said her goodbyes and the carers slowly herded the children out of the foyer and back to their play room. Before they had made it there were gunshots from outside. The children were startled, but still hyped up by the visit of two superheroes, and so they didn't cry. Instead they ran back to the foyer to see what was going to happen next, not realising it was a Council attack.

John patted Yuki on the shoulder. "I'll get the kids. You'll be all right?"

Yuki just nodded, her jaw clenched as the Penumbra approached their position. A bullet shattered one of the windows next to Yuki, causing her to flinch. Now the children started crying. John patted Yuki once more in support, then ran off to help the carers shepherd the children to safety.



"So Miss Daniels, and another as yet unidentified Reciprocator, were defending a creche?" The judge smiled.

"Well ... Possibly. But ..." the prosecutor stammered. "But the intent is not the issue here, simply the sequence of events."

Still smiling the judge nodded. "Very well. Let me see if I have the sequence of events correct. Miss Daniels and a compatriot were entertaining at a children's creche in Founder's Falls when a unit of Council Penumbra soldiers attacked. While her fellow hero assisted in the evacuation of the children, Miss Daniels exited the day care centre to confront the squad - on her own. The video footage shows us that words were exchanged; this turned into conflict. The conflict was short, and ended with Miss Daniels chasing the Archon down an alley. Then there's a gap in our knowledge, during which Miss Daniels caught up to the Archon and engaged him; she managed to get his gun off him, and at some point he was shot."

Ms Miles nodded. "Yes, Mr Mbende, that is correct."

The judge nodded and turned to Yuki. "Miss Daniels, at this point I'd like to ask you -"

"Mr Mbdende, I actually have one more line of enquiry I'd like to pursue before we go any further."

The judge looked annoyed at the interruption. "Ms Miles, does your evidence directly help to establish the facts of this matter?"

The prosecutor nodded. "Mr Mbende, I believe I can prove that Miss Daniels intended to kill the Archon."

"Very well, but be advised again that this is an evidentiary hearing, not a trial. If you stray from establishing the facts of this case I will direct you to end your questioning."

Ms Miles nodded and approached Yuki, who glared at the prosecutor. "Miss Daniels - Can I call you Yuki?"

"No."

"Miss Daniels ... Tell me about your father."

Yuki leapt to her feet, but before she could speak Mr Tanu'a intervened. "Mr Mbende, clearly this line of enquiry is speculative at best. Miss Daniels' father has been dead for over a year. He can't have been directly or even indirectly involved in the events of the 24th."

Miss Miles ignored the attorney and focused on Yuki. "Tell me, little miss hero, why did you kill your daddy?"

"I ..."

"Miss Miles! Cease this line of questioning at once!"

"And why did you kill Archon de Winter? Is it because you knew who he was? Is that it?"

Particles of frost began to build up around Yuki as she glared at the prosecutor.


"Harder! You're not punching me hard enough!"

"Shut up, Juno," Yuki whispered through gritted teeth.

"You don't look angry enough! They won't buy it!"

"You want me to look angry you son of a bitch? I am angry. It's taking every ounce of self-control I have not to kill you right now." Yuki punched the Archon in the face, hard. "You want harder?" She punched him again, ice forming on her fist. "Because if I start punching you harder, I don't know that I can stop."

The Archon said nothing. Yuki dragged him further down the alley, away from the main street, away from whatever remained of his crack troops, and threw him against a wall. There was barely any impact but she did it anyway. He punched her and threw her across the alley. Yuki growled and leapt for him, wrapping her hands around his throat. It was safer than punching him. If she punched him any more she was sure she would freeze him to death. This way ...

The Archon smiled. "That's ... that's better. That's my girl."

Yuki snarled and squeezed harder. And harder. And harder. She watched his smiling face slowly turn to a look of concern, and then fear as he stared into the hatred in her eyes. She released her grip only to punch him, hard, and then reached to his belt, unclipping his gun ...



"You leave my father out of this."

Ms Miles looked nervous, shivering in the sudden cold, and backed off. She swung around to the judge, presenting him with a document clearly embossed with the Council insignia. The judge took the document and looked it over.

"You see, Mr Mbende. Miss Frost here knew the Archon. She knew him, and she hated him. She hated him enough to kill him.

"Archon de Winter was one of the Council operatives who worked with Mr Daniels - Miss Daniels' dearly departed father - on a secret scientific project, as this document demonstrates. I believe Miss Daniels blames him for her father's death - a death she also caused herself! In fact -"

"Mr Mbende, I must insist this line of questioning end," Tanu'a said again. "Clearly Ms Miles is trying to provoke a reaction from my client - there is no probative value in this enquiry. It establishes no clear line of evidence."

"'No probative value'? Miss Frost is conducting a vendetta against the Council - I have evidence," she said, brandishing a huge folder of papers, "that clearly shows Miss Daniels targets the Council - targets them in order to unleash her rage upon them!" She swung around to face the judge, leaning heavily on the desk in front of her. "I intend to prove that this 'hero' is hunting down everyone involved in her father's project, so she can kill them - just as she killed him! God alone knows how many other people lie dead at this Yuki Frost's feet simply because they were unlucky enough to work with the father she hated so much!"


Yuki stood, staring into nothingness, not listening, as the lawyers argued. She saw Archon de Winter's face, contorted in fear as she punched him. She saw her father, his face contorted in fear as he witnessed her powers. She saw the citizens of Paragon City, faces contorted in fear as the courts declared her guilty of murder. She saw her father ...


She looked up to see her lawyer smiling as he read over a document. Behind him stood John and the reporter, Miss Watkins. They were leaning over the bar behind him, faces grim, talking to him. He nodded as he read. He stood up.

"Mr Mbende."

Something in his tone of voice stopped Jacinta Miles mid-rant. The judge nodded.

"I have here a document which I believe the court needs to see. May I approach?"

The judge nodded again. Mr Tanu'a approached and handed it to the judge, who began reading. John and Jennifer nodded and smiled encouragingly to Yuki.

After a moment the judge asked: "Has this document been verified?"

Mr Tanu'a nodded and handed a notice to the judge, who considered it.

"What ... What is this magic document you feel can save your client from -"

"Ms Miles, sit down," the judge told her. "I've been provided with a classified document, verified by the state, which exonerates Miss Yuki Daniels of this crime. I'm declaring this evidentiary hearing to be closed."

Yuki blinked and sat down. The prosecutor continued to rant, raising objections and demanding to see the classified evidence, but Yuki didn't hear her. She was thinking of Archon de Winter, dead at her feet. John and Jennifer Watkins came up to her, smiling. They congratulated her and said reassuring things, but she didn't hear them either. She just saw de Winter's vacant, lifeless face.

"Yuki?"

She looked up. John was tapping her on the shoulder. She smiled at him and nodded. "I'm fine. I'm okay."

He looked concerned, but nodded and walked over to talk to Mr Tanu'a, leaving her with Jennifer. Miss Watkins, eyes intent, leaned close and, in a low voice: "I have to ask you this Miss Daniels: Did you do it?"

Yuki frowned, leaned forward and whispered in the reporter's ear. Seeing the shocked look on Jennifer's face, Yuki started laughing.

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Re: Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:36 am

Kaijuko: Cyberette

(Late and short. But here are the contents of my brains.)

The Black Starbeam, Static Bolter, Radiant Redemption, Yuki Frost, Mr. Mundane, The Androgyne, Ron Clements, Lady Equilibria and Legio. They were an assemblage of Heroic might capable of subding the greatest of tyrants and arch-villains or smashing a Rikti assault force, they had faced down the worst threats of this world or any other and now they all stood in the heart of the Citadel of Defiance. Their fortress and sanctuary and looked to her for leadership.

"Roast then?" Margret Jesska also known as Cyberette, or as smply Jess, looked at her assembled companions to gauge their reactions.

"Hmmm..." Lady Equilibria considered.
"Sounds good to me." Radiant Redemption nodded.
"Aye mate", came from Mr. Mundane
Yuki Frost and Static Bolter looked at each other and gave enthusiastic nods.
Starbeam and Legio simply nodded in solem agreement.
"If you cook it we'll eat it Jess!" Androgyne and Ron Clemens gave voice to their support

"We need sides... Potato, mashed and baked... Green beans... Corn and fried peppers with dinner rolls... I think that should just about cover it."
She considered.
"Potatoes peeled and washed.. Beam and Marcus can you two take that? We'll need a lot of potatoes for ten people mash and one baked each, those just need to be washed and wrapped in foil." Starbeam and Legio acknowledged and made for the kitchen.
"Corn and beans. Kit can you do that one. I think three bags of each should do, you'll need the two biggest pots three quarters full and brought to a boil. Should cook in about eight minutes so hold off for now. Just have everything ready".
"Lil can I get you to cut the peppers into thin strips? We want some green, red and yellow." Lady Equilibria nodded.
"Yuki and Beth to the grocery store, we need those dinner rolls, things to drink and a desert. Maybe a couple, I leave it up to you both to decide what we're drinking and having for desert. Ron could you join them?" A small chorus of affirmatives sounded leaving her with just two Heroes with tasks unassigned.
"Ani, John you two are with me. The first thing we need is our marinade..."

Paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumn, and a half teaspoon of salt and pepper were combined to become a delicious marinade. While Ani carefully mixed that Jon chopped some fine slivers of garlic and buried them in the main body of the roast in deep slits to let their flavour seep throughout the whole dish. The roast was coated in marinade and left to soak while Jess checked on everyone elses progress.

Beamer and Marcus had a small mountain of potatoes between them which they were busily rinsing. The baked would be ready to cook in the next ten minutes she was assured.
Beans and corn were potted and ready to go, Kit had set them out to thaw in water so they should cook more quickly allowing them to go on last and conserve stove space.
Peppers were cut and in pan with oil, ready to fry on command. Lil had made dozens of nice even strips ad then on a whim also cut a dozen carrots into medallions fo add to te mix.

Duely impressed and lacking only her away mission Jess set the oven to preheat and ordered everyone to the bar for refreshment.
Someone asked for music while they waited.

It was going to be a good night in the Citadel.
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Re: Perspectives: ReciprocApril 2009

Postby AlwaysAPrice » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:49 am

AlwaysAPrice: Never a Weakness (pt 2)

The Black Starbeam blows through the checkpoint in the north of Steel Canyon airborne, without slowing. Among the several instructions he'd issued to Resistance on his way here was a request that the PPD be notified of his approach. As he neared the War Wall he'd triggered his comm unit's ID signal broadcast to alert the gate's monitors, and deep within the barrier the inner steel gate grinds open just far enough to allow him to pass without slowing.

He emerges on the other side of the War Wall to silent devastation, the sounds of the Canyon absorbed and neutralized by the great barrier of concrete and energy behind him. Baumton provides nothing to fill the vacuum once you enter -- not just silent, it is silence. Whereas Kings Row was neglected out of indifference, it was fear, sorrow and, in some twisted way, reverence which left this once-vital section of the city abandoned, crumbling, burning. In a way, this was for the best. There was much here that it was best to leave buried.

Seven years ago, the day the Black Starbeam was born, Vincent Bannister had buried his father and brother here, near the family company headquarters where both had lost their lives as casualties of the Rikti assault. Though he thought he had buried the pain of their loss deep beneath the foundations of his character, the Skulls had unearthed it along with his father's bones.

There was little left in Baumton that could be regarded as a signpost. The streets were filled with debris and wreckage from the shattered skyscrapers, and after years of burning and slow collapse the destruction throughout the zone seemed nearly uniform. Nevertheless, the Black Starbeam knew the way to what had once been Bannitronics' main office in Paragon City by instinct, even from the altered vantage point flight provided, even in the dark of a night lit only by the dim smoldering of Baumton's seemingly eternal fires.

As he nears Bannitronics, a new source of light appears. A rare sign of life in this massive graveyard, but one of malignance rather than hope or growth. Some ways away from the crumbling shell of the building, centered perfectly over the graves he dug by hand seven years ago, a circle of flickering lights dozens of yards in diameter dances malevolently in the air. Flying closer, it becomes clear that it is produced by torches held aloft, close to a hundred of them. The Black Starbeam does not slow, angling his flight to descend towards the ring of fire.

As he nears, the black leather and bone masks identify the torchbearers. The vast majority of them are high-ranking members, experienced Bone Daddies of the stripe that sought him out to deliver their macabre invitation to the night's festivities. They have gathered in some kind of dark ritual around the desecrated graves of his brother and father, and at the center of their sepulchral roda stands one man with his hands clasped behind his back, the only one of their number to go maskless.

He is tall, long of limb, dangerously wiry, sinew and bone and little else. He wears only tattered black pants and studded leather armbands; stringy, greasy hair is slicked back with sweat, tattoos cover his torso and arms in designs far more intricate and far more ghastly than any Skull Starbeam has encountered before. The dark sigils of Skull death magic intertwine through every layer of the designs, unpolluted by prison ink. His thin mouth is twisted into a savage grin as beady black eyes track the approach of the twin streaks of yellow light streaming from the Black Starbeam's eyes.

Starbeam angles for him, and a menacing whoop travels through the circle as the torchbearers catch sight of the quarry their master has flushed out. He touches down opposite the grave from their leader, never taking his eyes off the man even though the remains of his brother and father lie exposed between them. As the leader's grin widens around a macabre chuckle, Starbeam elects to say nothing.

The laughter fades. "The Black Starbeam...I see now why they have given you this name." His voice is hollow, reedy, a hiss of stale air from an opened tomb. It carries more than a hint of an accent, Eastern European. "Greatly more evocative than 'Vincent Bannister'!" Grave dirt and rubble crunch under Beam's feet as he stalks forward between the exhumed skeletons through the shallow pit. His taunter's smirk parts as a breath is taken to speak again, but his speech is impeded somewhat by the force with which Starbeam's knuckles drive his teeth into his throat.

The man's head rocks back and he staggers away, dropping to the dirt and rolling to distance himself from Starbeam. He scrambles back to his feet with one hand raking through the dirt in a slashing motion, as if gathering it to hurl at the hero's eyes, but instead the gesture serves to summon shadows from within the graves -- grasping coils of darkness lash out of the Netherworld at his command to seize the Black Starbeam's arms and legs. Starbeam seems to struggle for an instant, but actually moves only enough to test their hold, judge the effort that will be needed to extract himself when the time comes. ...it will be considerable.

Starbeam continued to stare him down silently. There would be a point to this elaborate set-up. A trap or ambush of some kind, something worse than the hundred Bone Daddies he could see. For now, immobilized, he would contain his rage at the desecration before him, keep the leader talking until he gave himself away. Buy time.

The Skulls leader dabs blood from his mouth, glaring at Starbeam as he strides back towards him. "Tsk. Tsk. Vincccent." He draws the "c" out into a sibilant hiss, scolding in his tone. "Introductions are yet in order. You see, I too have learned to answer to a name more significant than my Christening, a name that declares to my allegiants and my enemies the power I have become. Once, Vladimir Petrovic -- today, I am Marrow Grinder."

Beam's arms flex in place as he seeks any give in his shadowy binds. It is there, but it is slight. He glares at Marrow Grinder and scoffs. "Another Petrovic?"

Grinder smirked. "Cousin. From the old country, as they say. You see, Vincent, the power Snap and Drinker discovered in the immolation of their enemies...of their parents...it is nothing new to our bloodline. They chanced upon a taste of Death's power, and they accomplished great things -- but on such a small scale."

Grinder strolled around the grave, circling Beam, keeping his hands clasped behind him, out of Beam's sight. Hiding something. He grinned as he rambled on, basking in the rapt, hateful glare of the Black Starbeam's blazing yellow eyes.

"I, on the other hand...I learned of the potential that lurks in every death very early on. I learned of it and craved to know more, studied it, gave myself over to Death, and in time I came to understand things that my cousins could never fathom. There is one lesson in particular I would like to share with you, Vincent, one they understood, benefited from, but never totally grasped the potential of."

Grinder stepped behind him and purred the next word in his ear. "Family. Family, Vincent." He backed up just in time to avoid Starbeam's jerk backwards of his head in an attempt to smash in Grinder's face, again, and resumed circling. "The strongest emotional bonds can fuel the most powerful magics man can wield. But as much strength as they may lend, they will always -- always -- restrain the heart, the will. Tether you, much as the darkness I have drawn from their graves tethers you. Your presence here is proof of that, whereas I understand the greater potential that can be tapped in their release, their sacrifice. For years you have tormented and frustrated the Skulls, and this is why my cousins turned to my expertise to at last destroy you."

Marrow Grinder had circled the gravesite and Starbeam completely, and stood again across from him. "And I will destroy you. For you revealed yourself and your weakness to me months ago. I waited and watched for so long, Vincent. What would it take to end the interference of the Black Starbeam? I waited, I watched, and when it seemed the apocalypse had come and the dead rose to plague the living? I was rewarded.

"For where did you go when the dead walked? Did you defend your precious decrepit Row? No, Vincent, you came here. Where no sane soul dwells, a place needing no protectors, for here the dead have only other dead to feast upon. You came here, here, to this building. Tell me, did you find them then? Your father, your brother, were they among the risen? ...did you bury them a second time that night, Vincent?"

Black Starbeam's fists clenched until his knuckles felt as if they would burst out of his hands.

Marrow Grinder's deviant grin finally faded, his lips pressing into a tight scowl. "Your family, Black Starbeam, that is your weakness. That...is my weapon." His hands came out from behind his back, and Beam finally saw what he had been concealing, the reason that Marrow Grinder despite his apparent command over this gathering was the one among their number who had come unmasked. The desecration of his family's remains had not only been to get his attention, but had been performed with a far more sinister purpose.

As Marrow Grinder lifted the bone mask he had claimed this day to his face, Starbeam's eyes flicked down into the grave and discerned its source. Sawn from the skull of his father. This was a black wake.

((To be continued.))
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