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Just past midnight

March 6th, 2021

In the shadow of the Doomforge


The House of Usher had returned.


The Raven had been after them for months at this point. He had researched the old Ushers that the previous Ravens had fought. He had been following any leads, stopped any of their operations he could find. All that he had learned was that they were back and their influence on Freedom City was growing. They had yet to meet another Usher directly.


A recent operation had uncovered one new piece of information, at least: The Ushers' base of operations were somewhere in Kingston.


And so, Raven and Nevermore headed towards Kingston, in the shadow of the Doomforge...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Raven and Nevermore sat in the Unkindness, perhaps a mile away from the wrecked Doomforge, half-hidden in a dark alley. The car was hunkered down with an extra layer of armor deployed, this one covering even the tires. It let them focus on the data screens in front of them. Raven's face looked like he'd eaten a week-old lemon. 


"They're not ghosts, but still hard to track. They know the game they're playing."


He tapped a few keys and several small holograms sprung up in front of each hero in his seat. Raven was silent for several moments before he continued. 


"Part of me wants to break them here and now, but they seem prepared for us, and I don't feel we're entirely prepared for them. This mission is going to be strictly recon. If we encounter more than one of them, drive off but do not focus on capture. They seem to love surprise attacks. Any thoughts on routes and tactics?"

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Nevermore II


"Ghosts would probably be easier to deal with." Charlie grimaced, looking through the holograms that Alek brought up before them. He hadn't been able to look into the Ushers nearly as much as he would have liked. He hadn't exactly been relaxing or anything, he had his own things to deal with at Claremont, but the whole Usher situation just rubbed him the wrong way.


"Got it. I saw what they did to Bowman last year." He wasn't about to take chances here. "I'd say stick to the shadows, but that one guy did something weird with them. Don't wanna risk him hiding in them." Charlie moved the holograms around, bringing up a map of the area.


"Everything's still in bad shape from the Terminus Invasion, right? We should stay high, out of sight. Stick to rooftops if possible, try and get a good overview. I don't think we should get too far from each other."

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Raven skimmed through some fuzzy satellite photos of the neighborhood. Nothing good enough to track the Ushers on, but enough to get a sense of the buildings.


"Make sure you've got some flash bombs."


He sounded irritated; Charlie could guess his boss hated not being able to rely on one of his most constant tools. Alek had once told Charlie he was practically born in the shadows, and was certainly raised in them. He had a natural talent for avoiding detection. 


"Rooftops is a good call. Better perspective. More escape options. Stick together. Same roof, unaugmented eyesight distance at most. Probably ought to shoot for something like 10-15 feet separation, easier to communicate."


He entered a command, and the holographic display shut down. The seals around the driver's compartment hissed as the canopy started to lift up. Alek grabbed a couple of extra items and clipped them onto his belt before he climbed out. He surveyed the alleyway for several moments, until Nevermore had exited the Unkindness as well. Then he tapped a couple of discrete buttons on the inside of his gauntlet, and the car-tank sealed itself up tighter than a bank vault. The dark avenger of justice then turned to the nearby building and raised one hand toward the roof. There was a nearly-silent hiss of air as a thin grapnel line extended out, and a whirring that was barely louder as he started to ascend. He jogged up the wall to speed up, and his voice carried over his shoulder.


"Let's move."

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Posted (edited)



The tenacious two reached the rooftop with no issue. They could see the Doomforge in the distance, the Unkindness parked beneath them. The street ahead still showed the signs of the Terminus Invasion. Craters in the road. Boarded up windows. The tops of some buildings were just gone.


Kingston was silent, but not completely abandoned. People moved in the streets, even at this late hour. Most stuck to the shadows, out of sight. Some moved with fear. Others with confidence.


Ahead, there was a small gathering of people on the street, standing under a broken street lamp. Four men, two women, wearing random clothing. They were clearly armed. For now, they were silent, looking around, sometimes motioning to each other and pointing if anyone passed them by, before quickly resuming their vigil.

Edited by RocketLord
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Nevermore II


"Got it."


Nevermore raised his own gauntlet towards a building, firing off a line that attached and then pulled him up. A silent shadow moving in the night alongside Raven, he landed on the rooftop and quickly folded his cape around him.


He moved ahead, towards the edge of the roof. Perched like this, at the corner of the rooftop? Charlie had to admit that it just felt cool. He knew this was serious, but he couldn't keep a slight grin from his lips, though he made sure to quickly suppress it when Raven caught up to him.


Nevermore pointed towards the group, then tilted his head slightly, as if to say "what about those guys?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Raven III


Raven took in the scene with a visible frown on his face. Charlie knew Alek was chewing on the problem. Multiple angles, multiple options. After a half-minute of thinking, he nodded, apparently to himself. Then he moved his hands through a rapid series of gestures, before tapping his cowl in a way as to send a signal to Nevermore's own Head's Up Display. 


--Move to rooftop above them. Tag designated mark with drone.--


He'd marked the top of the broken street lamp, where the metal curved up above the position of the bulb. Even if it had cast light, it would be a hard place to see, especially if they used one of their small recon drones. They were basic disc-shaped devices, barely able to do more than course-correct after being thrown. But the robo-crows were still being worked on, and would be a bit obvious if they flew in now


Raven followed his own advice and quietly moved between the rooftops until he was almost overhead of the small group. There he crouched and waited, the glow of his cowl-lenses almost entirely gone, and his form naturally blending into the shadows. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nevermore II


Drone. Right. Got it.


It was kinda weird. Charlie had gotten used to acting on his own, or at least without supervision. He was good, he was confident, but the moment he was back with Alek it was like he was learning everything all over again. He hadn't even realized it until now.


--Got a better one--


He reached into his belt and sent out a small raven shaped drone. It moved quickly, its coating reflecting the area around it, giving an illusion of it being almost invisible. 

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The drone moved silently until it had reached location that Raven had pointed out, where it silently attached itself to the top of the broken streetlight. 


The voices it recorded were transmitted directly to Raven and Nevermore's cowls.


"I dunno, man. Don't like this." A woman's voice. Shaking slightly, like she was cold.


"What's not to like?" one of them asked.


"Like, those Ushers? I know they pay well and all, but they creep me out. Have you seen they way they're actin' around each other? I'm telling you, they're not right."


One of the others scoffed. "Who cares? Pay's good. Benefits? Good. No capes wanna come in here and mess with the House, man."

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  • 3 weeks later...

The cowl of the Raven's suit covered all of his upper face; his eyes were hidden behind one-way lenses except for very rare occasions when dealing with scared civilians, or calmly speaking with heroes or law enforcement. A dangerous situation like this, they were down, obscuring all but his mouth. Despite the armored plating above them, Nevermore knew that his mentor had raised an eyebrow in curiosity at the Raven-drone. Clearly he hadn't realized that at least one such drone had been completed. The vigilante's attention turned to the streets below for several moments; he was clearly assessing the situation. 


Finally, he pulled his gauntlet up and uncovered the small tablet within. A few taps and swipes, and both of their HUDs had a basic sketch of a plan. Nevermore clearly saw that Raven wanted the drone to move further down the street then produce a noise to attract attention. Meanwhile, Raven would silently zip down and grab one of the thugs.


While his apprentice worked to reprogram the drone, Raven was carefully rearranging components on his suit and equipment harness. A slim plate extended over his mouth, sealing his cowl up entirely. After a few moments, his cap retracted up into a small pack, and the surface of his suit smoothed out. In the blink of an eye, his form blended into the background, rendering it essentially invisible even to Nevermore's suit's vision. There was no sound as Raven moved to the edge of the roof and waited. The only signal Nevermore got that he was ready was a set of 3 rapid clicks on their communication headset, only just audible within Nevermore's own cowl.


These criminals were in the realm of the predators of the night, now. 

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