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Monorail Madness

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GM

 

Prologue

 

Nov 6th, 2018

 

Bayview Mall

 

Our story of madness on the Monorail begins a month before hand, with a chance encounter in the early evening. 'Tis but a little story of humankind both putrid and pleasant, but should be told first. 

 

'Twas a shopping day, of course, but even days of shopping come to end. Stores were beginning to shut, and people began to drift home to home food, spouses, or an evening of entertainment (of various savoury and unsavoury flavours). 

 

Amogst the thinning crowd, Ms. Kwon spied an interesting fellow. He was a tall and broad man, whose left arm was thicker than most peoples thighs, with enormous muscles. He had a shaved head and a broken nose. He was half heartedly smoking a cigarrette, and looked half-hearted. His mood was sullen, and his eyes gazed almost vacantly to the ground. 

 

His right arm was missing. Gone. Sewn up with livid scars. 

 

And more, Ms. Kwon spied a group of four punks, full of leather jackets, tattooed, and died hair, eyeing him up. 

 

"Shall we give him a hand?" sniggered one. 

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Selena tucked her most recent purchases, a new hoody and a pair of graphic novels, into the backpack she'd come to the mall with.  As she snapped the clasps shut to protect it from the weather she found herself humming the opening theme song of the most recent anime she had binge watched over the weekend.  Pushing open the glass doors and setting out into the cool fall air she spied the mountain of a man smoking and the four would-be thugs all but begging for trouble.

 

'...These guys are just too dumb to live,' she thought to herself, pulling her phone from her pocket and pretending to answer a text off to the side, hoping security would swing by on a patrol soon.  While she waited she kept an eye on the five, readying herself to break things up should they get violent.

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GM

 

Unfortunately, as the crod further, security did not swing buy and the thugs decided to move into action. 

 

"Hey man, how ya doing? Came to see if you need a hand...."

 

The large one armed man glowered at them. "Screw off" he grunted. 

 

"Hey, you hear that? We just trying to be freindly!"

 

"I wonder how he ties his shoelaces"

 

"Yeah, man, how do you tie your shoe laces....?"

 

The large one armed man stood up. "By ramming my boot up your ass" he grunted. He took a swing at the thug...with his absent arm, like he had not got used to being down when limb. He staggered a bit, clumsily. This caused the four thugs to laugh. 

 

One flicked out a knife. 

 

"You shouldn't have done that...not when we just being friendly" he said through spiteful teeth. "No you gotta say sorry, by giving us your wallet and watch. Then maybe I wont cut off your other arm...."

 

Given the strength of the man, and his massive arm, it was doubtful a flick knife could perform such surgery. But still, it was a clear enough threat...

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As soon as she saw the flash of steel Selena drew upon her power, creating a sudden magnetic field ripping the knife from the thug's hand and sending the blade hurtling past the one armed man.  The blade finally came to a stop, quivering in the trunk of a small decorative accent tree along the sidewalk.

 

"Now now boys, the man said he wants to be left alone," Selena said, barely looking up from her phone as she spoke, "You might want to try being friendly by leaving the dude alone."

 

"Then again, I'm recording this.  I figure your asswhooping will be worth a couple thousand hits on YouTube," she lied, putting as much scorn into her taunts as possible.

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GM

 

The four thugs stopped a moment, wondering just what the hell happened. 

 

"What the hell happened?" mumured the least intelligent (and it must be said, the competition was stiff in that department) of the four. 

 

The leader, who was the most intelligent (and, it should be said, had little competition) looked at his empty hand. 

 

"Damn...stole my knife..." he mumbled, still not entirely sure what had happened. 

 

He took a look at Gauss and his empty hand. 

 

"Nobody makes a fool outa the blades!" he shouted, angryily. The group had obviously tried to pick a cool name and had discarded any attempt at originality, although in fairness the way the leader pronounced their name one could imagine it was spelt with a "z". Although, one might wonder (given their intelligence) exactly where that "z" went. 

 

In any case, they were to dumb to register what had precisely happened, and too wrapped up in reputation and ego to let any insult smiled. Knives were drawn, and the blades charged!!!

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Selena sidestepped the first clumsy jab with of a switchblade and easily hopped back from a slash from his buddy.  Just a few short years ago this situation would have terrified her but after so many years at Claremont she was almost bored by their amateurish, at best, attacks.  In a series of flowing punches, spins, kicks, and a few burst of her power to pull the blades out of the way, the young shopper had laid out the thugs.  Crouching down by their apparent leader she whispered, "Guys, you're amazingly lucky.  Imagine for a minute if I was one of Freedom's many, many superheroes out for a little shopping on my day off.  So, for your own safety, learn some f*#$ing respect.  Here there be dragons."

 

'Crap...  I'm going to have to report this to Ms. Summers when I get back,' she thought when she looked down at her handiwork.

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GM

 

The four "Blades" decided that this was a day best forgotten. 

 

"You'll regret this!" muttered the least stupid of them, although clearly it was a stupid statement - for it was the four thugs who would regret this day, not Selena. He had decided that some token defiance was called for as he followed his three fools in an impressive display of scuttling out of the mall. 

 

"Thank. The damn...grrr...." grunted the large one armed man. "Damn this arm. A month ago, I would have bashed their heads together...." he said, both sad and angry. He raised his left arm and slowly crushed his fingers together into a fist. It was strong enough to crush a fruit, or possibly a skull. And he certainly seemed like he was imagining the other. 

 

"Who are you?" he asked, calming down and regaining composure. "You got nice moves..."

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The young magnetokinetic warred with her satisfaction of beating up would-be criminals and her fear of what kind of punishment Summers would hand down when she reported.  The idea of hiding what just happened briefly crossed her mind but Summers was scarily good at finding out the truth.

 

"Just a concerned citizen who doesn't like unfair fights," she said, turning away from the retreating toughs and giving her attention back to the giant slab of now lopsided muscle standing before her, "And thanks."

 

Her eyes were drawn to his hand clenching hand, having roughly zero doubt he could at least crack a skull if not fully crush it.  "Not to rub salt on the would but I'm pretty sure a month ago those pendejos wouldn't have had the guts to start anything," she added.  "Mind if I ask what happened?"

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GM

 

The man stiffened slightly, still sore at the day (and more than the day). 

 

"Sure..." he said, deciding that he should answer the question even if it did make him grit his teeth and steel up. 

 

"I worked in the circus. One of the Lions...something bad happened, got sick. Got mad with pain. And we got sloppy...." he said, angry at misfortune. "Chewed my damn arm off. Could have been a lot worse. A lot worse...." he said, convincing himself about just how worse it could be. 

 

"And look at me now. A strong man with one arm and a sack full of bitter. Couldn't go back to the circus, even though they wanted me. Couldn't stand the pity" he said, proudly. "Guess life just threw me a heap of bad luck. I just got make sure I get to the roll the dice again...." he said, determined. 

 

"Gah, look at me, drowning in my own self pity. Damnit" he said, full of self reproach. "Well, I got to do something about my life, huh? Ain't always gonna be a concerned citizen around when you needs one...."

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"I knew a girl back home, lost her arm when a shark thought she was food.  A bit of depression is normal after trauma like that.  Take your time to process.  Find a creative outlet," she said trying to be helpful.

 

Selena stepped over to the sapling where the first knife had been buried a solid two inches deep by her magnetokinetic throw.  With a grunt of effort she pulled it free.  Folding the blade she offered him the knife and a gentle smile, "And maybe keep something to remind you that your life may have changed but it isn't over."

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GM

 

And so, one month later...

 

'Twas the season of goodwill and cheer, for Yuletide was in the air. 

 

Which meant everybody rushing around jamming elbows into ribs in horrible irrate crowds trying to buy christmas shopping to the tune of looped vapid Christmas songs. 

 

Yes indeed, 'twas most interesting time of year. 

 

And the monorail was zipping around like it always does, ferrying passangers to this mall, or to that. It was busier than normal, and there were shopping bags everywhere. 

 

And on this monorail carriage, Gauss saw a familiar face. There he was, the one armed man. Still tall, still strong, but now with a shiny metal arm. She could see the shiny hand poke out of his jacket. 

 

He looked tired, he looked tense. Not despondent - no - but on the lookout, sweating slightly. 

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Standing in the crowded monorail car, a part of Selena wished she had just staid home and done her shopping online.  But she was worried about Danica catching a glimpse of the screen and spoiling her gift.  So now here she was, running around half the city in the frozen hell of the North-East's early December.  At least she had her costume in her backpack to make a quick escape back to Claremont when she was done.

 

Catching sight of a familiar, if no longer lopsided form the teen smiled to herself.  Selena adjusted her grip on her shopping bags, not they were terribly heavy but they held the handful of Christmas gifts she had picked up for her teammates and her roommate.  She made her way forward, trying to nudge as few people as possible before she was standing side by side with the former circus performer.  "So, guess I don't have to worry about you getting dragged into anymore unfair fights huh?" she said warmly, resisting the urge to knock on his biceps with her free hand.  "Happy holidays man."

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GM

 

The strong man looked surprised to see Selena. He looked startled, even. His eyes shifted left and right. 

 

"Kid...its you!" he said. There was happiness and gratitude in his voice, for sure. But there was something else too. Anxiety, fear, regret. 

 

"Yeah, happy holidays and all that" he muttered, pulling his sleeve over his metal hand. "Its...good to see you. I won't forget that day in a while. Or your fancy moves..." he added, looking concerned. 

 

"Are you...ah...getting off at the next stop?" he asked, deeply concerned now. 

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Selena frowned slightly, looking up to meet the strong man's eyes which were darting around the car.  "Everything alright?  You seem on edge."

 

Mentally the teen felt her alarm bells firing and inwardly heard Bill Murray's voice yelling 'What did you do Ray?'  Selena started weighing her options and was beginning to think maybe she needed to exit at the next stop and that Gauss should arrive shortly thereafter.

 

"I was actually," she lied as best she could.

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GM

 

The large man breathed a sigh of relief. Whatever strength he had in his body, he did not seem to match with wit or subtelty. 

 

"Thats...good....I mean, good for you. I mean...well....happy holidays" he said with a shrug, blabbering about with his words and stumbling over his phrases. 

 

"I won't forget what you did that day, kid. You are a good sort. World needs more people like you. And maybe less like me" he said, frowning. "Whatever...."

 

The train pulled up to the next stop with its high tech whirring - there was no question that the Freedom City Monorail was a fantastic piece of engineering. Smooth and silent. 

 

"...I'd get away from the Monorail though. Word to the wise...." finished the large man, unsure of whether he should give the heads up, but feeling oblidged to. 

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Allowing the crowd to exit, Selena stood by the man she had helped, and born the reprimand from the headmistress of Claremont for.  "De nada," she said after a heavy pause.  "Take care of yourself man and try and avoid anymore trouble.  Something, something concerned citizen," she finished with a weak smile before heading off the platform.

 

Getting lost in the crowd it did not take long for the teen to find a spot she could duck away and zip into the air as the monorail pulled away.  After a few moments to tuck her shopping bags and backpack, now holding her street clothes instead of her costume, into a rooftop corner she zipped off to catch back up to the car she had occupied previously.

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GM

 

The monorail car pulled away smoothly, and started picking up pace. Too fast for Selena to jump into on foot. But then, she didn't have to go on foot did she?

 

No, for she flew! And flew fast, soon matching speed with the monorail car. But inside, there was some commotion, some screams. The car didn't stop, but she saw glass shattering, with the tinkle of falling glass as it hit the street a few dozen feet below. 

 

Whatever happened, it had happened fast, and presumably furiously!

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With an effort of will, the car's doors slid open and the heroine floated inside, white cape billowing out behind her.  As her boots hit the floor she pulled one of her preferred projectiles from a pouch.  She took a second to survey the situation, seeking whatever had caused the commotion.

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GM

 

And a commotion it was, indeed. 

 

Most of the passangers had backed away, scared or panicked. One brave soul had tried to intervene, and she was on the floor unconscious (although, as far as Gauss could see with a quick scan of the eye, not seroiusly injured). 

 

The one armed man had, in his cybernetic arm, a panicked and beaten small man with ruffled white hair and an unassuming manner who was bleeding from his nose, thanks - it seemed - to a swift punch. 

 

"Don't fight it, man. I don't want to hurt you..." said the large one armed man to his victim. However, hearing Gauss approach he spun round. 

 

"Aw shoot.... a cape!" he muttered, most displeased with the transpiring situation. 

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Gauss stepped forward, the first ball bearing beginning to lazily orbit her as she fished a second and then a third from her belt even as her heart sank a bit.  'You know, I really should have seen this coming,' she thought to herself, her face betraying nothing.  Glass crunched under the purple sole of her grey boots, her white cape being blown about by the wind blowing through the destroyed windows, "Sir, I'm going to have to ask that you unhand that man.  It's the holiday season, I'd hate to ruin it for anyone any further than it already has been today."

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GM

 

The large man looked at the beaten man, full of nosebleed, that he had in his grasp. He genuinely looked torn. 

 

"Damn my luck. Damn that lion" he muttered. 

 

He turned towards Gauss. "I'm sorry, kid. I'm not a bad man. Just had bad luck, and ended up on a bad road I can't turn from now" he explained. He clenched both hands, both flesh and metal. 

 

"This guy has something I need to pay back a debt. He's a worse crook than me, I can tell you that" he added defianly. 

 

Then, with a burst of speed and strength, and still carrying his victim, he jumped out of the Monorail cart, through the broken glass that tinkled and shattered. 

 

Outside, Gauss saw the most extraordinary. 

 

His metal arm had split into three separate arms - all slender, but still strong and capable. One still held the beaten man. The other two - some electro-magnetic field, some line of wobbling energy - was linking his arms and the monorail line, keeping him suspended in mid-air, above the traffice and gawping onlookers below!

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Gauss was torn, chase after the big guy or make sure the other civilians were unharmed.  But with an unconscious woman nearby she could not justify chasing him down without at least checking on her condition first.  Trying to remember everything about First-Aid she had been taught at Claremont she checked for a pulse and steady breathing.  Looking up at the passengers she asked, "Can anyone call emergency services?  She's hurt but it isn't life threatening and I have a kidnapping to deal with."

 

Getting to her feet she stepped carefully back to the door and zipped out, heading in the direction she had last seen the metal-armed man.

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GM

 

Gauss flew out from the still moving monorail carriage. Its emergency protocols would keep it moving until the next stop unless there was some disruption on the line itself. 

 

Although, as she could see, there was a disruption of sorts. 

 

The metal armed man was using his incredible cybernetic to ride the line. Still holding his struggling victim (Who was admittedly clinging on for dear life), there was a clear electro-magnetic line between the cybernetic arm and the monorail line. The kidnapper was floating in the air above the line - and more - he was flying along it at breakneck speed!

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Gauss spotted the pair easily enough and zoomed after them, taking shortcuts every time a turn in the track's loop came around.  "You know, it's the holiday season," she yelled over the wind whipping by them once she had caught up, "I'd take it as a personal kindness if we could resolve this without me having to turn those shiny robo-arms into tinsel for my tree."

 

Her left eye glowed with violet light as her ball bearings resumed their orbit around her body, moving much faster this time than they did in the monorail's car.

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"Sorry, cape" called the cyborg, still hovering above the track with the fluctuating electromagnetic thread between his arm (or one of them) and the monorail line. 

 

"This is a personal kindness to a friend" he said, looking down at the limp man in his grasp. "I'd tell you to not get mixed up in this, but I guess that's not going to fly. So...I'm going to have to..."

 

With that, he sped along the track. 

 

There was no question - he was moving faster than Gauss. But...he seemed limited to flying along the monorail line. And there was a curve coming up....

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