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Dr Archeville

Cold Case [IC]

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Date: June 5th, 2010 (a Saturday)

Sunrise 5:32am, sunset 8:21pm. High 92 oF, low 72 oF; clear, wind ~9mph SW.

North Bay is a posh district of expensive waterfront homes and historic mansions owned by some of Freedom City's wealthiest families. It features exclusive yacht clubs and beachfront property, with few stretches of public beach. During the holiday season, North Bay's stately mansions are beautifully decorated and there are tours to see them.

There were also a fair number of bodies buried up there.

And not all of them rested peacefully.

Which is why, slowly making his way up from his usual haunt of Lantern Hill, the Revoltin' Revenant known as Dead Head came to the area. He knew there were those he could help here, in his own unique fashion, and he intended to do so.

So focused was he on his task, though, that he did not notice the layer of frost which covered the headstones of the small family plot he was shambling through....

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Lady winter was, quite frankly, tired. This superhero business was much different than what she was normally accustomed to. She managed to stop a mugging or two already today, but some part of her thought that it wasn't enough. Didn't help people had a habit of staring at her every moment she was in their presence. But for now, she needed a rest. Far from the living.

That was probably why the the Russian picked this graveyard as a resting spot. Not a lot of rich people respected their loved ones, in her opinion they barely respected anyone and few people visited anyplace the dead inhabited which was another point in her favor. As she stepped through the gates, the ground slowly started to cover into a layer of frost, the mist from Lady Winters mouth slowly vanishing as the temperature cooled to a point she could be happy. "Much better." She murmured as she took a seat on a bench not far from a particular family plot, frost and ice slowly encroaching over the area...

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Dead Head did eventually notice the unnatural cold, when he knelt down to brush some dust off the metal plaque on a grave marker and his fingertips stuck to it.

"Well, that jes' ain't right," he mused as he freed and flexed his fingers. He looked around, and saw a blue-skinned blonde in the distance. "Gotta be her doin' this... hey, she looks like that ice guy, Glacier! I bet she's a scout, preparin' some attack!"

The Revoltin' Revenant unslung his shovel and dragged it behind as he shambled at full speed towards the intruder. However, if he had chosen a more stealthy approach, she might not have sensed him before he reached her.

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Lady winter was just starting to relax for the first time all day when she hear the sound of metal on frosted dirt. "Vat?" She muttered as she turned around...In time to see a shambling corpse coming after her with a shovel! She practically leaped off the bench in shock as her eyes narrowed. The dead wish to play? Then we shall play! She quickly focused her ice powers into her hands and let forth a barrage of ice towards the Revoltin' Revenant.

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The heck? She missed me? Must not be that experienced... which means....

The zombie dodged the ice-blast -- something it probably should not have been able to do, a dim part of her mind told her -- then suddenly stopped about 20 feet from her.

This usually only works on low-rankin' goons, but if I can end Glacier's plans without a real fight, so much the better.

It glared at her with flaming green eyes, and raised its left arm and pointed at her. Its mouth opened, lips pulling back to reveal badly stained teeth. It began to moan, softly at first then rising in volume to a shriek.

"Brrraaaiiinnnsss.... brrraaaiiiinnnsss.... brrraaaiiinnnss!!!"

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Lady Winter's eyes widened as fear struck deep inside her. Only though sheer will did she stop herself from fleeing like a coward. " She shrieked in Russian as she tried to launch another ice attack onto the zombie, hoping to freeze his legs in place and stop it's advance.

This is not normal. These things are not meant to be so agile.

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This time Lady Winter's blast hit the mark, and -- perhaps enhanced by the adrenaline flooding her system -- did better than she'd expected: the zombie was not completely encased in ice, and rooted to the spot!

Gotta get out! Can't let her do... whatever... stuff she's gonna do!

Hey! Dead folks! Anyone wanna help a fellow deader out?

Deep beneath the earth -- six feet under, to be precise -- things began to stir.

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Despite the lingering terror that gripped the ice heroine, she charged forward as a massive Hammer made of Pure ice rapidly formed in her hands. I'm ending this thing here and now. "Die zombie!" She screamed as the massive hammer came down on the Revoltin' Revenants head and shattering him in one fell strike.

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Awww, nuts-

That was what flashed through Dead Head's mind as the strange blue woman created a giant hammer of ice in her hands. He was unable to come up with anything really coherent before she'd used said hammer to smash his frozen body to nearly a dozen pieces.

Fortunately, he'd seen this coming, and "went loose" so as to scatter as much as possible. And now those dozen or so pieces were rapidly wriggling free from the ice still clinging to them and crawling to rejoin one another.

Lady Winter may have missed this sight, though, because as that was going on, the ground all around them heaved and cracked. Bony hands burst out from the graves surrounding them as nearly two dozen skeletons woke and crawled their way up. Points of emerald fire, like the light in the zombie's own eyes, blazed in their eye sockets.

Don't hurt her! Jes' hold her!

Meanwhile, another soul was about to enter the scene, drawn by Lady Winter's cries, and the all-too-familiar stench of undeath.

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Erin still wasn't sure that patrolling by herself was a good idea, but with Edge recovering from his recent ordeal, Hellion working extra hours, and Psyche and Phalanx getting extra training, Young Freedom wasn't doing much as a team lately. She needed to keep her skills sharp. She was sitting on the edge of a roof near the beach and wondering if she should indulge herself and go swimming when she heard a cry of distress that instantly raised her hackles. Zombies...

In the blink of an eye, Erin was up and moving, racing across the rooftops in the direction the cry had come from. In seconds, she'd arrived on the edge of a cemetery where the evil undead were indeed stirring. They seemed to be skeletons rather than zombies, but Erin wasn't about to split hairs. Leaping directly into the middle of the fight, where a lone costumed figure was attempting to fend off the entire horde. Drawing her bat, she proceeded to even the odds with silent and singleminded intensity.

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No! Not more of them. Lady Winters heart sank as more zombies broke free of their earthy confines. She doubted she could take all of them down. Even if her startling array of weapons could take most of them down, they would overwhelm her before that happened. She felt that all was lost... Until of course a girl who looked like she was only in her teens appeared and started cracking skulls with her staff.

"Well, this evens the odds." She muttered before hefting her Hammer. She spotted the remains of the zombie she just smashed trying to reform together. <"YOU ARE NOT DOING THAT!"> She yelled as she started attacking what was left of the zombie, though in her panicked state, she was mostly hitting the ground while body parts slipped past.

You shouldn't be able to do that!

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As the last skeleton fell, the last of the zombie's pieces re-attached, and it stood once again before Lady Winter. But now, its murderous look was gone, replaced -- as much as it could be, given the permanent rictus grin -- with... fear?

Wander?! Oh ****!

The super-zombie turned to the newcomer and threw its arms into the air (not literally, thankfully), then pointed to the blue-skinned blonde.

"Whoa! She's the bad one here, not me! She attacked me first! She's one'a them Ice People! She was freezin' the place! Probably preparin' fer an invasion from the north!"

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Wander finished dismantling the last of the skeletons and landed with a thud in front of Dead Head, her bat raised and poised. The concentration in her eyes had been supplanted by something that looked an awful lot like hate. "I know what you are," she grated. "I saw what you did. Give me one reason to believe you before I knock your head where you won't find it again."

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Lady Winter backed off, hammer still raised at the zombie. She was more than surprised when it started talking without the word "Brains" as its only word.

"Bad one?! I come here to take rest after long day and you tried to eat my brains! How does that make me bad?!" She shouted, her hair tangled from panic and her English sounding broken slightly broken from the distress of being terrified by brain eating zombies.

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"Shootin' at me as soon as ya laid eyes on me is what makes ya bad," the zombie shouted back to Lady Winter (though still keeping one eye on Wander), "I only moaned atcha after ya shot me, an' that was jes' t'scare ya off! I don't want you messin' up the place, killin' all the nice flowers folks left fer their loved ones, or damagin' the bodies un'erneath. An' when ya froze me solid, all I could do was ask th' locals fer help!"

It still held its arms up.

"An' then you come up here," it turned slightly so it was facing Wander fully, "with yer bat swingin', assumin' the worse. I-"

Realization suddenly dawned on the zombie's face. Well, as much as it could show on his face, anyway.

"Well, ain't this a case'a th' pot callin' th' kettle black? Here I am 'bout t'call you on assumin' the worse, based solely on appearances, when that's exactly what I did! Ha!" The zombie lowered its arms when it slapped its knees while doubling over in laughter.

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Erin eased back a bit at the zombie's unexpected behavior, uncertain what to do when it neither fought nor cowered, but laughed like a lunatic. Still holding her bat up, but no longer poised to strike, she looked from the zombie to the costumed stranger. "I know what this is," she said, nodding in Dead Head's direction, "but I don't know you. Who are you?"

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The dead must be mad Lady Winter concluded when Dead head just stated laughing. She took a shuddered sigh and lowered her hammer, leaning forward as the adrenalin started to wear off. "Me? I am called Lady Winter. Only just started going into this superhero business." The Russian explained, though her eyes kept drifting towards Dead Head with worry in them.

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Dead Head had stopped laughing -- which was a mercy, given how utterly freakish a laughing zombie both looked and sounded -- and put its hands on its hips. As the temperature slowly rose back to its original near-summer hear, the two heroines noticed a definite aroma from the zombie.

"Superhero, hunh? Ain't many'a them that hang around cemeteries. So, what's yer story, Blue? Are ya one'a them Ice People?"

Crazy gal, he thought of Wander, bustin' up them skeletons. They coulda re-buried themselves if she hadn't broke 'em!

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"I have you know I like the cold. Though very few have the same appreciation for it as me. The Dead usually complain little about it and plants don't die unless I stay for a at least an hour or so." The Blue Russian explained, the tremble in her voice subsiding, but her hands clearly grasping the Massive Hammer she was using as a leaning post.

"No. I was born looking like anyone else." Lady Winter said, managed a glare despite her shaken resolve. "How I become...this, is still a mystery to me." The last part was practically a whisper as she looked at her blue hand, a fine layer of cold mist slowly forming from the warmer weather. Anyone studying her would quickly realize she wasn't breathing beyond what she needed to say.

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Wander looked back to Dead Head, her sympathies clearly with the chilly blue woman. "If you attack everyone who walks into a cemetery after dark, it's a wonder someone hasn't put you down before now." The way she handled the bat clearly said that this was an oversight that could be quickly rectified." She looked over to Lady Winter. "Are you okay?"

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"Yeah, that's what I did, attacked someone I just saw wanderin' 'round here after dark," the zombie said coolly, "not tryin' to jes' scare off someone who was messin' up the place, an' who attacked me first. Not that I could do anything even if I was inclined t'do so, since Blue here froze me solid in a big hunk'a ice 'fore I got near 'er."

Okay, that ain't entirely true -- I was gonna bop her one after she'd shot at me. But what Wander don't know won't separate my head from my shoulders.

Then it turned to Lady Winter, and gave her a rather indignant glare. "Th' dead complain all the time, Blue, you people are jes' too wrapped up in yer own lives t'hear 'em. Most ain't strong enough to cross over an' make enough ruckus t'get through to y'all, but that don't mean they ain't wailin' somewhere."

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Lady winter nodded slightly, hefting her hammer over her shoulder as water was starting to drip for the head. "I'll live. Been doing that quite well recently." She said to Wander. She then had her own indignant look aimed at Dead Head. "Trying to scare someone that can obviously freeze you is very poor choice to make. Running towards them while brandishing shovel and looking like you would attack is even poorer choice to make. Excuse me if I jump to a obvious conclusion." The Dead man did however see the Russian grow more unconformable as he talked about the dead.

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"The zombie has made worse," Wander told the newcomer dryly. She didn't comment on what the zombie had said about the dead, she knew the screams and wails of the dead well enough. In her world, the zombies screamed with the horror and pain of the damned, even as they killed. And sometimes, when she wasn't fighting and the world was a vacuum of silence, the wailing continued. The dead were far from quiet.

A little reluctantly, she holstered her bat and stood down from attack readiness. "Do you have a place to stay besides the cemetery?" she asked Lady Winter.

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Lady Winter sighed, air chilling for a moment before straightening up. "Not at the moment, there are still legal documents to handel and all that. I can easily make a place to stay for a night if I so desire, though the living are much more vocal about my habits." She finished with a glare at the Zombie next to her. "In any case, it was time I moved on and see if there is somewhere I am needed." Besides, the zombie is still giving me the creeps

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Alright, Burt, time to fess up to yer mistake. An' if it gets Bat-Girl outta here, so much the better.

The zombie's features softened a bit, though perhaps that was just its decaying muscle tone. It faced Lady Winter, "Okay, I admit, I jumped to conclusions an' made a mistake due to a hasty error in judgment; I could certainly've afforded t'take my time. I, of all folks, should know not to judge someone based on they appearance. I'm sorry, ma'am."

"An' now," it said, turning not to Wander but to the bones at their feet, "I need t'get these fine men an' women back to their rightful place: in their earthy tombs."

The bones began to twitch and reassemble themselves...

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