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Ecalsneerg

Geckoman R.I.P [IC]

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Chris woke up in a dark warehouse to the sound of keys clattering on a keyboard. He couldn't see, but by the feel of it, he was tied to a chair with thick ropes. Damn... her father's a stage magician... I'm guessing she knows how to tie ropes.

"Liz!" he shouted. "Get the hell out here!" He railed against the ropes, but to no avail. Wait... why can't I see ijn the dark anymore? My powers aren't working. I can see in the dark, why can't I now? "What the hell are you doing being a supervillain?!"

"Currently..." Her voice came from the sound of clacking keys. "Setting up your little friends with a robot. Had it running around since last night. Nifty, huh? See!"

"This is Geckoman. There's this robbery in progress, requesting back-up at my current position. Hostages have been taken. Someone get down here!" It was a perfect recreation of his voice.

"Why, Chris? Why did you decide to mess with me like this?" Then it struck him. She actually thought it had been deliberate, that he was just tormenting her. Well... crap.

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"Whoa. Whooooa. Whoooah!" protested Chris, trying to pull free. "I didn't know. Honest." He called pleadingly towards the clacking at the computer screens visible as faintly glowing in the dim warehouse.

"Bull. Chris, you know how tough my life's been. My parents split up. I did a spell in young offender's. Then, I meet you, and you actually like me. You were this sweet, charming guy, and I think 'Hey, he actually likes me!'" Spellbound got up, turned and walked over. "Turns out it was all some sick game."

"Why do it, huh? Why act like a superhero while simultaneously playing around with someone's life!? "

"I... I didn't," whispered Chris. Only now does my timing sink in. Fantastic. If I could pick a worse moment to swoop in and have a superhero origin, I'd... actually, I don't know what's worse. "It's all just chance."

"That's not even plausible," hissed Liz. "Can't even concoct a real lie."

Oh, damn my coincidental life.

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OK, screw this. "Liz, I love you. None of what Chris Kenzie and Liz Lawlett had was a lie. None of it." He looked at Liz dead in the eye. "Geckoman and Spellbound, yes, that's messed up. And we can fix that, because Geckoman and Spellbound are orders of magnitude less important."

"How do I know you're telling the truth?" said Liz quietly, her resolve clearly weakening.

"Well, we could-" Chris was interrupted by the sound of a rifle cocking. Oh, no. Then a familiar voice boomed out.

"Spellbound! You cheating piece of trailer trash!" Slim Rick. Last I saw him, I'd... oh, damn. "You didn't say you were using my men as bait." Chris, astonished, looking at Liz.

"I needed them to lure out Young Freedom in case they disrupted my plan. I thought, well... they're thugs, it's not like I'm using anyone you guys wouldn't arrest anyway..."

"Untie me, quickly." Chris spoke quickly, and in a low tone of voice. "This man in dangerous. He nearly killed me once. Filled my with lead and handed me to Fear-Master. Untie me and run."

"You aren't going anywhere!" snarled Rick, as gunfire filled the air.

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"NOOOO!" shouted Chris as the automatic weapon fire tore through Spellbound's force field and left her lying in a pool of blood. "I'll kill you, Rick! I will slaughter you!"

"Hah, kid, you can't get out of the chair," the ex-Marine leered. On his neck, a fresh Cobra tattoo was visible. "I'm the new Cobra boss. And I could order them to execute you right now, but that's no fun."

"Heh. See this band on my ankle? If my lifesigns stop, it detonates. Kill me, you go down with me," said Chris, voice even as he lied. Looking at Rick, he grinned. "But that's no fun."

Rick calmly walked up, and tore it off, hurling it out the window of the warehouse. "You lied to me, kid. I don't hear an explosion."

"Yeeeeah... just tricked you into ripping off a power nullifier." Chris felt the ropeburn healing. "Moron. Let me free, so I can help Liz." A few thugs had grabbed her by the arms and were dragging her away.

Rick leaned in close to Geckoman's face and sneered. "No. I'm done getting toyed with by kids." His first punch glanced off, cueing a mocking laugh from Chris. The second shattered teeth and cracked his nose.

"C'mon, you can do better," growled Geckoman as the third punch outright shattered his nose, sending blood trailing down his face. He could feel the wounds healing already. There was hope. He just had to hold o-

A final punch smashed the chair to the floor and spent Chris spiralling into unconsciousness.

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Chris awoke caked in blood on the banks of the Wharton river. Afternoon sunlight burned his pained, bruised eyes.

"You... did all this during the day?" forced out Geckoman between cracked teeth. Rick nodded curtly as he and one of his men lifted the barely conscious superhero up.

"Blacked-out warehouse windows. Now shut up and get in the bag." With that, a third man started pulling a sack over Geckoman's feet. "You're going for a swim." Unable to fight back, Geckoman found the bag closing over his head, the cord pulled shut and plunging him into darkness.

There were some muffled voices and squelching footsteps on the riverbank for a few minutes. Then, unceremoniously, Geckoman was thrown; badly beaten, tied up and in a sack; into the river.

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Well, that was it, thought Chris, as the sack drifted towards the riverbed. The end. He'd lost. Vision blurring as water choked his eyes, deprived of his utility belt to cut his way out, there was nothing he could do except let the water carry him until oblivion.

"Sit down and take a deep breath, Gecko-Boy. That's the adrenaline talking."

What? Raven?

"And if they hurt you, you'll heal it up."

Erin? Listen, guys, can you let me die in peace?

What if they were right, though? Nah, he was right to start with.

"Getting a bit ahead of yourself, aren't we?" Liz! She said that when I kissed her for the first time... I can't let her die just because I want to quit!

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Arms and legs moving faster than they'd ever before, Chris twisted and turned out of the ropes, lungs starting to burn. Hang on, Liz! I'm coming. SNAP! One arm pulled free, forcing its way through water to tear the other loose even as his legs kicked and flailed to freedom.

Grunting and losing precious oxygen, he tore open the bag, and start swimming upwards. Can't... stop... going... Air thinning, struggling to move his limbs, Chris pulled up towards the surface.

Suddenly, with a splutter and choke, he swallowed some water. Not like this... not like this... he thought as the darkness started coming in again, harsh and strong in the depths. NOT LIKE THIS!

Geckoman burst out of the water, gasping for air and coughing. "Bwahahahaha!" he laughed triumphantly to the skies.

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Chris didn't care if he didn't have his mask on, or if his costume was ripped, or if he was soaking with a mixture of water, caked blood and mud from the ground. Striding across the muddy ground, he saw the thugs close the door back into the warehouse.

He was alone. He was unarmed. He didn't even have his commlink to call for back-up, and there was just no time to do anything. And Rick was going to kill Liz. If I don't stop him now, if I can't do it alone and half-dead... well, I'm not going to live with myself.

He charged headlong at the door.

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The door splintered as Geckoman smashed, muddy, bloody and angry through it. The two men who'd just come in spun and levelled their rifles even as a group who'd been standing smoking pot to one side levelled their pistols. Red scope dots levelled onto his chest as Rick's influence became clear: he had snipers posted on the roof.

And there Rick stood, a feebly struggling Liz held up by the throat, blood pouring from her torso. "Dammit," he snarled, dropping her to the floor with a thump. "Why won't you just DIE!?"

Geckoman's eyes blazed at him even through the dim warehouse. "Because, yeah, all your firepower is very nice." His voice dropped to a snarl. "Walk away now, or I won't kill you and everyone in your little army."

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Without even waiting for a response, Chris leapt at the two men in front of him. "Bring it ON!" he roared, pivoting in mid-air to send a crushing roundhouse into a man's jaw. Landing on one foot, he swept around again, his foot shattering through the rifle that had been hefted to block his assault. This man went down too, hard.

Geckoman looked up at Rick, aware of every man in the room aiming a gun at him. And there stood Rick, pulling the trigger on his rifle as he stood over Liz's still, lifeless body. He only had time to register what he'd just done before the pain hurled him backwards off his feet.

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Geckoman felt the bullets push out through his skin again, the exit wounds scabbing over. Liz... He rolled to one side, no longer operating consciously. Mud and dust flew up around him, but when the dust cleared, Geckoman stood among the wreckage. Not a single shot had hit him.

"You're all dead." He looked Rick dead in the eye. "All of you." Then he charged.

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Moving faster than any normal human, Geckoman dodged two sniper bullets as he ran, leaping over a third as he came at Rick in a flying kick. Hitting at full force, the man went flying to the ground with a dull THUMP.

It was then that the final sniper shell hit him in the shoulder. Feeling bone crunch, he fell to his knees, bullets still ricocheting around him as he collapsed beside Rick. Three shots hit him despite his sudden fall, but he ignored them. He looked at Liz, also lying on the ground, and tried to smile.

Well, at least we're all going to die lying on the ground in a row... actually, that kinda sucks.

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