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GM

 

For one night only....Broken Wishbone...

 

Headed by the presumably lunatic singer Marcus Skulll (yes, three "l"s...for art), Broken Wishbone were an upcoming metal band with a heavy, heavy clean beat. Staccato riffs and tight drumming gave them a crisp, bullet like vibe. A heavy a talented bass line gave them an unusually powerful melody. TIme signature slips gave them a unique twist. And Marcus Skull had a way with words that spun frustration and optimisim together into a rather nice soup. 

 

And they were playing at some rather dingy club called the Neat Beat. It wasn't a great name, but it had a certain anarchic vibe in contrast to its name. Alcohol free, drugs free, it was both clean but rebellious. 

 

It was sold out, and had sold out quickly, but Mr. Alexander LLoyd had got a ticket....

 

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Alex liked the volume of the place, its darkness pulsing with sound of such intensity he could feel it in his flesh and bones, it was difficult to resist the urge to turn into air and enjoy its furious volume even more intimately but he knew better than to use his gifts in public view without good reason.

 

He'd dressed for the occasion, black t-shirt, blue jeans and comfortable sneakers, standing in the crowd and bouncing to the beat lost in the sea of neon lights and sounds as he enjoyed the first evening out he'd had in a long while and just...enjoying himself as much as he could, if he was lucky he might get to spend the small hours with someone special in a quieter place once he'd had his fill before heading home with a phone number and a spring in his step.

 

time would tell, but for now he intended to enjoy the almost primal passion of furious sound and dazzling lights.

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GM

 

And this was just the warm up band! Some three piece imitation called the Ballbusters. It had to be said, they had balls. 

 

Big red bouncy plastic balls. That they busted with sledgehammers to the beat of their industrial rock music. 

 

Not bad!

 

They finished their final song to much applause and much busting of balls, and the lights went up and the backing music came on. Everyone was waiting for the main attraction, and it would not be long. It was getting hot, it was getting sweaty. 

 

The crowd was a mixed bunch, although their were more men than women. Very eclectic. Mr. LLoyd saw one guy in a wheelchair, to the side, and to the back, deep in conversation with a few men and women (fans, although whom of?) who was getting a lot of attention. He was in his thirties, well groomed and handsome to the point of nausea - although it should be said that the women talking to him did not look particularly nauseated. 

 

"Whose he?" said a small girl who bumped into Mr. Lloyd and pointed at the man. 

 

The "girl" was not actually a girl. A young woman, maybe seventeen. Maybe twenty. Not much older, surely. Wearing a thick bobble hat despite the heat, and black and grey clothing, t shirt over long sleeved t shirt, a few chains, ripped jeans. Big green eyes and ruffled blonde hair under her cap. She was five foot, or just a few inches above, and had a thin frame. How she would survive in the mosh pit was anybodies guess, but she didn't look frightened, just curious. And rather pretty, with a certain fae cut to her cheekbones and nose - although her speech was most assuredly American, and hardly refined in style. 

Edited by Supercape

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He felt himself blushing a little with the heat and the proximity to the rather pretty lady who'd approached him suddenly with a question but he reigned himself in enough to answer.

 

"Dunno..." he answered honestly as he looked over at the guy in the wheelchair before turning back to his aquaintance "Wanna go find out?" He asked rather uncharacteristically forward.

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GM

 

"Sure!"

 

"I'm Pixie. Pleased to meet ya!" she said cheerfully. And rather loudly. Even the interval music had a tendency to make one need to raise the voice. 

 

Without waiting for an introduction, she keenly pulled Mr. Lloyd towards the gentleman deep in conversation. Closer up, he looked pretty much the same as before. The astute medical eye would note some deformities of the legs; something orthopaedic, one might presume. But his body was otherwise lean and strong, his face strong of jaw and chiselled of cheek, his eyes a grey blue that sparkled. He had two groupied chuckling by his side, and a couple of other men and women speaking to him. 

 

"I loved your last album!" and so on, with variuos variations and permutations. He smiled a broad smile to every compliment. 

 

He turned over to see Pixie and Alex, and was about to open his mouth when Pixie jumped in. 

 

"Tell me all about Broken Wishbone!" she demanded - not unpleasantly. 

 

"I would have thought you would have found out before coming to a concert. Or did your boyfriend drag you along for the heat?" he asked, a rumbling broad tone with a mid-atlantic flavour. He studied them both carefully. Smart and deep eyes, studious but warm. 

 

"Maybe ask him for his opinion?" he smiled, giving Alex a look - inviting his answer. 

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"Cool name, Im Alex" he answered as he felt himself being guided through the tide of bodies and noise towards the gathering of people around the man in the wheelchair, listening intently as he could given the distraction filled environment for clues quite taken aback by pixie's spontainious behaviour once again though feeling a little bit charmed by it all the same.

 

he gave the mans question some thought, he'd tried not to listen too too much of their music, he'd wanted most of it to be fresh but he'd made sure it was to his tastes before putting up for the ticket of course.

 

"Well i bought a ticket didn't i?" he joked "but really, i try to reserve judgement till i've heard em play live, unless thats no longer possible in some of the bands i was born too late to catch i guess...i hear that Marcus Skulll and his band have some pretty tight drumming and staccato riffs but really i tend to enjoy the beats myself..the bass is the hidden king of music or so i've heard it said, its the backbone, drums are the heartbeat, guitar the sinews and the vocals are the soul of the song." he mused reactively before snapping back to the earlier statement.

 

"oh uh...we've only just met." he explained with a nervous laugh "Like a minute or two ago, right here....another benefit of live preformances i guess, meeting like minded people." offering his hand out.

 

"M' names alex, and this pixie."

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GM

 

"You make a nice couple" grinned the man right back. "I'm Felix" he said. 

 

Felix Mossau. The name clicked now. An electronic musician and journalist. A cool mixture of experimental and modern, nobody could quite define his music, for it crossed too many genre's. He was successful, but more as an avant garde artist and writer than shifting a lot of units. 

 

"As for Broken Wishbone, I'd pretty much agree" he said to Alex. "A sound summary of their sound!" he laughed, giving him a thumbs up. 

 

"But do they have anything to do with wishbones?" demanded Pixie. It was enthusiastic, rather than threatening. 

 

"Not as far as I know" said a quizzical Felix. "Although..."

 

His face darkened. 

 

"I heard Skulll had fallen in with some cultist girl. Under her spell. Witchcraft, if you believe that kind of thing. Not sure if that has anything to do with wishbones. Don't they have some mystical power or something?"

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This conversation had taken a turn for the weird that much was certain but this was freedom city, weirdness was the order of the day every day, even for those who didn't actively partake in it but still he remembered studying a little bit of history here and there and scouring his brain for info he answered as best he could.

 

"Only thing i ever heard about that was they used to use goose wishbones for divination, even the teutonic knights who were pretty down on pagan stuff used em to determin their military campaigns depending on how the winter was gonna be according to how the bone was once it dried out." he answered a bit mystified "that and the whole wishing thing of course."

 

honestly he was a little out of his depth when it came to magic, he'd experienced it here and there of course but as it wasn't his thing (he had low compatibility with the arts too apparently.) he stuck to mostly how to disrupt spell casting as far as his knowledge went, usually it involved not letting em wave their hands around however they liked or punching them in the gut or throat to keep the words from spilling out, though smashing various foci and objects of power was another tactic.

 

"I imagine thats given a lotta mystique to his band, nothing like a hint of danger to get the blood pumping eh?" 

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GM

 

"AND NOW!...

 

Trump de de dah trump deee daaar daaaaaar!

 

"BROKEN....WISHBONE!!!!!"

 

Marcus Skulll entered the stage, along with his band (yes, the drummers drumsticks were bones, it seemed) to the sound of of industrial rock beats and that lovely strange music. 

 

His guitar was, it seemed, a chainsaw. And doubled as both. He fired it up, its engines adding to the noise, and started playing the feedback as he did. 

 

Cheers, predictably, errupted. 

 

"Is that a chainsaw!" gulped Pixie, in fear. 

 

And then, she vanished. 

 

Not metaphorically. Not into the crowds. She just vanished. Invisible, or magicked away. Pop! She was there, and then she was not. 

 

This made even the cool Felix gasp. "What the f..."

 

His no doubt innocuous words, involving no swearing, were drowned out by a mighty diminished seventh cord that peppered into a strange rhythm, and the crowd cheered some more!

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Neat 

 

That was his immediate thought anyway after watching vanish disappear seemingly into thin air he did his best to react in a suitable manner "Woah...well, it is freedom city after all i guess, lotta intresting folks call it home." he said with a half hearted laugh "Imma go look for her, check she's ok." he stated

 

"Nice to meet you man, looking forward to your next article" he stated as he back peddled into the crowd "and your next piece, i love the discordance!" he called before turning his back and fully putting his attention towards trying to find pixie, assuming she was still here.

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GM

 

Pixie remained invisible, but he heard her shout in his ear through the din of Broken Wishbone. 

 

"IM STILL HERE!" she yelled, voice shrill. "THAT HAPPENS WHEN I GET STARTLED!!!!" she continued. 

 

And she had good reason to get startled, for from the mosh pit, to the tune of a dynamic tritone cord over a 13/4 bassline, you could hear screams of pain. And progresively, panic. 

 

Now, mosh pits were hardly safe, and every now and again there was a broken bone. First aiders would rush to help, but the two women how came rushing through the crowd with a kit looked white faced and shocked. 

 

And the one, the younger one, screamed and clutched her legs. 

 

Legs weren't meant to bend that way. 

 

All around the front row, broken arms, broken legs, and quite probably all sorts of other broken bones were evident, and hardly helped by the panic and franzy (for some were still entranced by the music and violence)....

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"oh sorry pixie, i thought you teleported or shrank or something." he explained earnestly before finding his attention focusing back on the chaos errupting from the mosh pit, he felt his own stomach churning slightly as he looked at the battered and broken mess before him.

 

his hand instinticely reached for the cool, familiar metal of his beltbuckle, it had been a mainstay of his heroic career so far, his journalist sister believed that his heroic alternate identity's sole power was a metalic form transformation he'd used it to such extent so commonly but he wondered if it was the best take for this situation, so he spared a few moments to look at his surroundings for other objects and items that might work better to his favour quickly.

 

Wooden furniture, strobe lights and pyrotechnic launchers along with metal scaffolding and lighting were the things that sprang immediately into his notice but they were largely unsuitable for the situation so he carried on, the air would've been a natural second choice but it thrummed with sound and he worried that it might make maintaining cohesion in a gaseous form more difficult

 

the only other thing that stood out to him was the bands instruments and the various speakers of the sound system, all currently out of reach and perhaps best saved for when he;d figured out what was going on, so with little more time for analysis or contemplation he settled on his standby

 

"time to show you my trick pixie." he said softly certain that everyone else had their attention focused on the chaos occuring in the mosh pit and with the cover of darkness he wouldn't immediately be recognized.

 

feeling the wave of warmth spreading over him as flesh turned to steel once more and with a metallic twang his powerful legs carried him through the air over the swarm of people and onto the stage for a better look at the situation going on below it.

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GM

 

As Alex moved towards the stage, he could feel a twinge. Then a twang. 

 

The a sharp pain in his chest, something cracking. A rib...or maybe the echo of a rib. Whether he was flesh and bone, or steel and iron, he could feel something grind in his ribcage. A sharp and most unpalatable pain. 

 

Which was better than most of the twenty off people in the mosh pit with broken this, and broken that. 

 

And yet, despite the screams, Broken wishbone and Skulll carried on playing. 

 

"Behold the bones!" yelled Skulll into the microphone, before catching sight of Alex. He lost his nerve a bit at this. Something he had clearly not be expecting. But something drove him forward anyway. 

 

"By the mistress of bones, stay out of this, metal head!" he demanded, pointing his roaring chainsaw-guitar at Alex. 

 

 

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"I got a better idea, Mikey, how bout i come up there and grind your bones?" he twanged slightly enraged by this...this betrayal of what music was meant to be, a universal language and the best hope for the realization of the universal bonds of brotherhood amonst all life in the universe.

 

"but first imma have to kibosh your bad vibes! Time to test your metal on mine!" with no-one between him and the band on stage and their equipment, he took a deep, deep breath, now made of metal his ribs (dented and bent as they might've been by the grating cacaophany) stretched as his lungs pulled in and pressurized a massive volume of air that was soon let loose with explosive force through thick steel vocal cords in a scream of which intensity that it rippled the air before it as it errupted from behind his glittering teeth in a thunderous shock wave in his attempt to not only catch the band but their sound system to stop whatever their music was doing in its tracks.

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GM

 

The shockwave cut out the music, for the speakers blew in spectacular fashion. The force was enough to send most of the band and instruments (and large plastic ornamental skull) hurtling to the back of the stage. 

 

Marcus Skull, by virtue it seemd of determination and determination alone, stood standing, although his hairstyle (carefully crafted to look totally uncrafted) took a bad hit, and his eyes seemed more bloodshot than normal. 

 

He launched himself, completely heedless of his stupidity, into the crowd, who parted ways rapidly. His target, fortunately, was Alex rather than the myriad of broken bones. And his aim was very much off. 

 

 

He fell short, his prized guitar chainsaw bent at ninety degrees, and his nose quite bloodied from landing flat on his face. 

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Perhaps it was the memory of bones but he felt himself wince a bit when Marcus skulll kissed the concrete.

 

"Oof wipe-out....well thats a wrap for you, mike, you're gonna sing the blues from now on cuz you're a jailbird." 

 

It didn't take long for him to gather up the various band members and fashion some restraints from rigging his next instinct was to check on pixie, but first he he had to call this in on his smartphone.

 

Still he scanned the crowd for signs of her.

 

"Hey dispatch, its facs again, nother meta incident at the neat beat, ive tied it up but we got injured, lots of broken bones so if you could send a few ambulances too, that'd be great, thanks."

 

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GM

 

Dispatch may have been on its way, but this was pandemonium. Everybody was stampeding to get out of the panic, and in doing so the panic fungated and multiplied. Felix Mossau had been knocked sideways and, with impressive strength, was rightening his chair against the wall, teeth gritted. He understood the panic, and rightly feared it. 

 

It would be the devil of a job for dispatch to arrive. 

 

And besides, they had another problem. 

 

Onto the stage strode a tall, thin woman with antique garb and a long bone staff. her eyes blue, her hair dark, her demeanour eagour. 

 

"I!" she declared theatrically. "I am the mistress of bones!"

 

This only increased the panic. 

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The situation was going from bad to worse to remember when it was only bad?

 

this he thought is gonna require some thinking letsee.

 

there was another threat, several badly injured civilians and a stampede of panicked concert goers, an invisable girl who despite not having any trouble making herself heard was competing with a din of terror and confusion.

 

It behooved him to solve these problems as quickly as possible and for the self proclaimed calcium queen that ment catch and release.

 

"Ah so we meet in the flesh....relatively speaking anyway...the police are on their way as we speak, if i were you id get running." He began he knew i she wanted to do that she'd have slipped out unnoticed and not appeared but the art of haggling was going for an absurd offer and finding an advantageous middle ground, time was against them both however.

 

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GM

 

"Darn"

 

The mistress of bones, as she proclaimed herself, was most pleased with the cracking of ribs below her in the mosh pit, but...

 

"A superhero"

 

Gosh, are you are superhero? came Pixie's invisible voice at Alex's ear. 

 

"Well, this is Freedom City, I suppose I should have expected it" said the bone witch, displeased but accepting. "And yes, running does sound prudent, even if it runs counter to my pride!"

 

And with that, she heeded to good advice, and ran from the stage, left. 

 

"Wait! Wait!" mumbled Mr. Skulll, his voice week and garbled. He spat out a bloody tooth as he held his smashed nose (trying, with partial success, to stem the bleeding...)

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He felt a pang of sympathy for marcus, at least from what he'd figured was going on but he had other things to deal with right now.

 

"Am i Super hero? You tell me pixie, thats something people call you, not something you decide for yourself, i do my best and i hope that it helps." He whispered back, it wasnt cool to go blowing secret IDs after all.

 

Scanning the stage he spotted a side speaker amp half buried in rubble and felt the begining of a desperate plan hatch

 

"Hey pixie do you play any of these instruments?"

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GM

 

"I ah..." said Pixie, somewhat unsure. "I can play guitar. A little bit. I mean, not like super good. But a bit" she explained. "Like strum some chords and stuff. A few scales. I'm not in a band or anything" she explained, rather fast, as growing anxiety came from growing speculation as to Alex's plan. 

 

"And Ill call you a superhero. That sounds awesome! Like, totally awesome. I can say I met a superhero today. How awesome is that?" she added, trying to distract or deflect Alex. 

 

"Me, I'm like super shy and stuff. Cant stand people looking at me. Making fun of my ea...making fun of me. That's why I learned to become invisible!"

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"Well im very flattered pixie, thank you very much." He said sincerely, inflating a little bit with pride at the high praise.

 

It was of course also a bit of a wake up call, he'd attempted to save himself embarresment by pushing his nascent plan onto pixie, hardly heroic at all

 

 

"Cool, maybe you can uuh...teach me how to play sometime after this is all done." He mumbled shyly , stooping to pick up a near by intact guitar and leaped away towards the amp.

 

Uncovering it and placing his hand on it he began to absorb its properties and plugging the guitar into an aux port on his back there was only one thing left to do.

 

Giving a sharp downwards strum of his wooden hand he let a raw riff echo out from the speakers his pectorals had turned into

 

"HEY FREEDOM, ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?" His amplified voice boomed to the crowd as he let his heartbeat boom through as the drumline.

 

He only had a rudimentary understanding of how to play the guitar but it was enough to know where the notes were and what the cordes sounded like, so he played, noise and fury exploded from his trabsformed body in a wave.

 

He played what was in his heart, love, platonic for the people, nascent romantic for pixie, love of music itself and knew wether it was cheers, boos or laughter at his  expense it wouldnt be panic and what harm might've been done could be kept minimal.

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GM

 

The crowd cheered. 

 

Of course, having the mad mistress of bones depart was good news, granting a fertile soil. But fear was in full swing, and pain was playing a merry tune. 

 

But a bit of drama, a bit of performance, and bit of showbiz..

 

And a heap of inspiration, and Alex had them cheering again. The pandemonium evaporated, and surely much injury was averted. A stampede was the last thing anyone needed when a few dozen men and women already had broken limbs and ribs - and it seemed other bones too. 

 

"Awesome!" whispered the invisible Pixie in his ear. 

 

Even Felix gave a hearty clap from his wheelchair. Despite being in the zone of breakages, he was unharmed...

 

 

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All in all he was rather pleased with himself, he'd avoided making a fool of himself and even managed to impress pixie! twice no less, it had all worked out so well, he was a little tempted to just call it a day, arrange to meet up with pixie outside and leap off into the sunset on his way back home, but there was a bone breaking mad cultist leader out there that he'd let get away, knowingly and willingly no less.

 

He couldn't stomach the thought of letting them off completely scott free, not without at least trying to bring them underwraps for real at least once before calling it a night.

 

"THANK YOU, THANK YOU! PLEASE COOPERATE WITH THE EMERGENCY SERVICES WHEN THEY ARRIVE!"  he boomed out over the crowd of faces "IF ANYONE HAS ANY INFORMATION REGARDING THIS CULT OF BONES BUISNESS I URGE YOU TO COME FORWARD WITH IT TO EITHER MYSELF OR FCPD. THANK YOU, YOU'VE BEEN A WONDERFUL AUDIENCE! GOODNIGHT!" and with that he unplugged the guitar from himself returning it to the devestated stage and hopping off into the moshpit, careful not to land on any of the injured people.

 

"Now comes the hard part, pixie he mumbled as he approached Mr. Mossau.

 

"Good evening Mr Mossau, i was wondering if you'd heard anything regarding this whole...bone head cultist affair, seeing as you're a journalist in this area." he opened up diplomatically, unsure if a man as observant at Felix Mossau would recognize him in his transformed state.

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GM

 

As the emergency services struggled in - and the audience cooperated, Felix raised an eyebrow. 

 

"I say you before. With that short girl" he commented. 

 

Said short girl, Pixie, was still invisible, of course. 

 

"So you are some kind of superhero. Of the benign kind, thank goodness. Plenty of shattered bones from the other type. Not that things are so clear cut. This is human behaviour" he sighed.

 

"As for information. Well, first off, my bones didn't break. Not now, anyway. Plenty of breaks in the past" he explained, pointing to his legs. "Some kind of genetic problem. They snap easy" he said, bluntly. "Now, I don't know what that means, but it is an observation. I was the only one without any snappage. Which is a world first" he explained. 

 

"I dont know anything about this mistress of bones, but it looked awfully like Marcus Skull's girlfriend. Or ex-girlfriend, seeing as she walked out him..."

 

Marcus Skulll looked up from his blooded nose and broken guitar. His wits restored, his appreciation of the situation sunken in, he quickly turned and tried to run....

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