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trollthumper

Working on the Railroad [IC]

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Unlike the other railyards of Greenbank, this one was mostly a graveyard from another time. Few trains passed through here, save the ones that needed to shed broken freight cars. It was mostly a place for recycling and reclamation now, but once upon a time, it had been at the heart of transit.

Nick Cimitiere was mainly focused on the "once upon a time." He was sitting around a barrel fire that glowed with a strange light -- blue, like a pilot light, rather than the red and orange of a standard flame. Anyone looking through the flame could glimpse a man dressed in the cast-off clothes of an earlier time -- the Thirties, perhaps.

"Things been peaceful here, Jim?" he asked the ghost in the fire.

"Oh, for the most part," proclaimed a voice that sounded like crackling embers and the deep echo of a rain barrel. "You get the occasional scoundrels, but they keep to themselves. Long as they don't touch mine, I'm good. You got any business with 'em?"

"If I do, I'll make sure I'm not trespassing on ya," Nick said. "And how're your own doing?"

"I make sure to watch after the strays," Jim said. "Keep 'em safe. Anyone tries to touch 'em, well... usually don't get to touch 'em twice."

"What, you --"

There was a laugh like a log splitting on the fire. "Aw, no!" the ghost said. "Only send 'em running with their tail between their legs! Maybe their asses on fire, if I'm feelin' persnickety. But you ain't gotta worry -- I keep it safe. And if somethin' weird comes along --"

"You'll let me know." Nick pulled a Hyperion Burgers bag out of his jacket, said a few words over it, and tossed it in the barrel fire. Within a few seconds, a burger appeared in the hands of the phantom, which he tore into with gusto. "Mind if I take a look around?"

"Not at all," said Jim. "See you around."

Nick got up from his place at the fire and took a look around, trying to get a better feel for the railyard. Jim had provided him with a good picture of his quarter, but there were still shadows unexplored.

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Vance liked the shadows. After receiving a rather unfortunate amount of attention in his first outing, it was nice to run around in a form much less likely to be noticed. The Facegrabber, a white, alien-looking crab-thing, would be no larger than a cat if it weren't for its long, prehensile tail. It was still more than small enough to escape the notice of most people.

This place was perfect for practicing a new, smaller form. Vance had seen no one on his travels here, and if someone did manage to find him there were more than enough places to hide.

Vance looked down the side of the abandoned train car as he gripped to the wall with new wall-crawling ability. To avoid detection, Vance had approached the train yard slowly. It was time to see just how fast the Facegrabber was.

Running as fast as he could, Vance hopped from train to train without a second thought to stealth.

"WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!"

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KC was flying around, like some kind of mutant squid-bat-thing. As he flew over Greenbank, he spotted the psychobilly necromancer himself. KC grinned. He decided to give him a little surprise and jump at him off of a train. He saw a freight train approching quickly, and decided to make his move.

He swooped down and landed on a boxcar. As he prepared to make his jump, he saw something that made his skin crawl. Some kind of white crab thing was latched onto the side of the car. "What the hell's that?"

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Nick was exploring the inside of a box car, picking up on the residue of old death. He was trying to get a sense of what had happened in the car when he heard skittering on the roof. Probably a pigeon, or maybe a stray cat, he thought to himself. Then he heard the skittering thing let out a joyful whoop.

Yeah, not a cat.

He ducked out of the box car, checking the nearby shadows for anything suspicious.

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In the dark of the night, strange things lurk where few dare to tread. The trains throw mysterious shadows, covering what ever nightmares might lurk beneath. In a place of mysterious meetings, fateful exchanges, and entirely too many victims, even the wind itself knows to still itself, wary of the forces that may be watching.

Needless to say, Vance wasn't that wary.

Not noticing that he had an audience, Creature Feature emulated one. "Aaaaaand the winner of the super-train foot race - The one! The Only! Facegrabberrrrrrrrrrr!" The tiny creature's voice was shrill, with a hint of a bizarre, alien echo. It raised two of its leg appendages as it made a crowd-roaring noise, assuming the crowd was made up of chipmunks with a cold. It's spiney tail wagged and twitched excitedly.

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KC stared at the tiny thing congratulating itself. He blinked once. Then twice. What was a headcrab from Half-Life doing giving itself congratulations? Shouldn't it be on top of someone's head? And why was it speaking? KC tilted his head to the side.

"Hi there, little...headcrab. Don't latch onto my head."

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Nick heard more movement on top of the boxcar, and then whispering. He ducked around, and found a ladder attached to the side. He pulled himself up the ladder, only to find Kid Cthulhu in his eldritch glory, talking to... a Facegrabber?

"Oh. Hey, Kid Cthulhu," he said, not taking his eyes off the tiny chitinous alien. "New acquaintance of yours? Or did Jerry make a friend?"

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Creature Feature turned towards the voice of the viewer, feeling a little embarrassed that his antics had been witnessed. "Oh, sorry, I don't... FWAHGH!"

In shock at the appearance of the tentacle-faced visitor, Creature Feature let go of the side of the car, landing on his back. He got a good look at the monstrous, sickly-green figure... in spandex?

It's like that movie, Kchooloo versus the Littlest Unicorn, where Kchooloo is rampaging against the city and the Littlest Unicorn figures out all he really wants is ballet lessons. Somehow, I don't think this guy is lookin' for Ballet lessons...

With all of his might, Vance forced the Facegrabber's legs to spasm and twitch in an attempt to get himself off his back and to the safety of the train shadows to no avail. The spindly, pointed legs were not easy to manipulate.

Out of the darkness, a regular, normal person came out, talking to the horror. A somewhat scary looking guy that he probably wouldn't want to meet alone in a back alley, but a person nonetheless! And he was talking with the green squid guy in a reasonable manner! Perhaps now was the perfect time for the good old fashioned art of diplomacy.

"Aheheh... Please don't eat me." Creature Feature pleaded.

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Nick heard more movement on top of the boxcar, and then whispering. He ducked around, and found a ladder attached to the side. He pulled himself up the ladder, only to find Kid Cthulhu in his eldritch glory, talking to... a Facegrabber?

"Oh. Hey, Kid Cthulhu," he said, not taking his eyes off the tiny chitinous alien. "New acquaintance of yours? Or did Jerry make a friend?"

"Is that that thing from those movies? It talked to me, so I'm not going to get any Raid or anything."

With all of his might, Vance forced the Facegrabber's legs to spasm and twitch in an attempt to get himself off his back and to the safety of the train shadows to no avail. The spindly, pointed legs were not easy to manipulate.

Out of the darkness, a regular, normal person came out, talking to the horror. A somewhat scary looking guy that he probably wouldn't want to meet alone in a back alley, but a person nonetheless! And he was talking with the green squid guy in a reasonable manner! Perhaps now was the perfect time for the good old fashioned art of diplomacy.

"Aheheh... Please don't eat me." Creature Feature pleaded.

"First of all, why are you...a Facegrabber? And what are you doing here?" He decided to take pity on the talking Facegrabber and flipped it over with his boot.

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"Is that that thing from those movies? It talked to me, so I'm not going to get any Raid or anything."

"Yeah, it's that thing from the movies," Nick said. "Or it at least looks like that thing from the movies. Probably isn't; even if some movie screen was spitting up Facegrabbers -- and I've seen that happen, haunted theaters suck -- they usually just snarl while trying to shove their ovipositor down your throat."

He helped the Facegrabber to its feet. "You don't need to worry about him eating you," Nick said to the tiny skittering alien. "He prefers hot dogs. Kinda wonderin' what you're doing skitting around a railyard, though."

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"Oof!" Creature Feature rolled with the help of a boot, getting back on its feet. The tiny creature cleared its throat, as the new people seemed more curious than interested in stepping on him.

"Th-The Facegrabber thing is... ah... well, temporary. You see..." Creature Feature hushed his voice a little, which had little effect considering the high, echoed pitch. "I'm a super hero... sort of. So I was... uh... patrolling."

Creature Feature, tapped his front legs on the ground nervously. He wasn't terribly sure of what to make of his current company.

"Uh, is that cool? 'Cause if it's not cool, I can totally leave and get outta your hair... er... or lackthereof. Aheheh..."

Real smooth, Vance...

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"You're fine. Your current form is quite disconcerting, though. Not that I have any room to talk..." KC said, scratching his head. "But you seem okay to me. So let em guess...you can turn into movie characters?" If that was true, that had to be the awesomest power ever. "Turn into Kchooloo! I've seen that movie at least ten times. Although he's a far cry from the original." KC said in a tone of mock egotism.

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"Uh, Kchooloo?" Vance was confused. The live-action Kchooloo movie was alright, but the guy in front of him could do a way better eldritch horror in his sleep.

"W-well, yeah, I suppose. I can turn into stuff I see in videos. I kinda need the video to do it, though." Vance was fairly new to this part of Western Freedom City, but he somehow doubted there would be a theater playing old Kchooloo flicks somewhere close to an old, abandoned railway terminal.

"I'm Va... Creature Feature, by the way. Who are you two? Do you live near here?"

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"I'm Nick Cimitiere," Nick said, offering a hand to the Facegrabber -- he wasn't sure if Creature Feature would have a firm handshake, but it was worth a shot. "Nice name, by the way. I drift around the city a bit, but West Freedom is my beat. And just as a bit of advice, you might want to watch turning into one of the Crawling Ghouls. The heroes in Freedom are a bit... jumpy about zombies. Still, with Dead Head around, most of 'em will at least try to establish sentience..."

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Creature Feature offered up a front leg to shake Nick Cimitiere's hand with. While the Facegrabber's whole body was made as an instrument for grabbing, this approach was far more gentle and polite.

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Cimitiere! You don't need to worry 'bout me, though. I'm not goin' down the whole undead roa...uh... who is 'Dead Head'?"

It struck Vance that, in the short time he had been out and finding out about super heroes, naming conventions in Freedom City were *weird*. He had originally thought that "Creature Feature" was an oddball name that he'd have to change at some point. However, maybe it would fit in all too well...

"I'm... a bit new... to the... the whole... uh..." Creature Feature coughed nervously. "Uh, y-you're not a ghoul yourself, are you? Not there's anything wrong with that! Nosirree!"

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"Nick is cool. He's a necromancer. Oh, and Dead Head is dead. Well, 'living impaired', if you want to get all politically correct. But he's a good guy too. Won't try to eat your brains or swallow your soul. So I think..." KC said, scratching his head. "But yeah, we're superheroes too. Not conventional ones, mind you, but we're superheroes no less. Conventional heroes were outlawed just a few years ago." KC grinned in his strange happiness.

"Hey check this out!" he shouted suddenly, and held up his hand. His hand became covered in a green otherworldly flame, and he created a few yards above their heads an Elder Sign out of the glowing green flames. KC was clearly in good spirits. "Cthulhu f'htagn, baby!"

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"C'mon, Kid, don't trip him up," Nick said. "There are plenty of conventional heroes in the city. We're just... a bit outside of normal." To go along with Kid Cthulhu's demonstration of eldritch might, Nick drew the shadows up around him, creating a patch of darkness. "My powers are a little bit less flashy," he said, "but ghosts tend to do subtlety well. Well, when they're not throwing pots or making the walls bleed."

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"Whoa..." Creature Feature watched in awe at the spectacular sight of the mystical and uncanny displays. This is just like something out of a movie!

"Gee, I wish I could show you my super power too."

Suddenly, Creature Feature couldn't help but feel inadequate comparatively. He had chose a small, simple form to avoid detection which didn't have a lot of flashy ways of saving the day. When push came to shove, he wasn't all that impressive a figure - not like the dazzling display that...

The little Facegrabber perked up as an idea struck him. "Hey! Maybe I can! Can you guys make moving pictures in the air? Like Kchooloo or something?"

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"Hmmm..." Nick said. The shadows faded away, and around him, a thick fog began to gather. The fog coalesced, slowly turning a bilious shade of green, and rose up around Nick. It grew taller than the boxcars, taller than the cranes. Finally, it came together into the shape of dread Kchooloo, the scourge of shorelines everywhere.

"Does this work?"

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KC's tentacles, which sprouted from his face, were merrily twitching and undulating before Nick's illusion went up. As the great Kchooloo rose, his tentacles fell and went limp. KC's mouth opened in a wide O. "Uhh, Nick? I'm feeling kind of...inadequate here."

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"That's perfect!" Creature Feature jumped up in excitement before concentrating on the portrayal of Kchooloo, his mind whirling with facts about the beast from the movie. Sure enough, the build up of energy came to him and the intense sense of vertigo overwhelmed his senses. The change happened fast, nearly knocking over the nearby train as where a creature no larger than a cat once crawled, the Kchoolian horror grew as large as a house. From its dark green, scaly form burst a number of tentacles from where the mouth and a number at the side and back of the creature, grappling onto trains for support or flailing wildly and erratically in the air. Two large wings sprung into existence, growing in size to match the monster's large countenance.

There was no doubt about it. It was the Kchooloo from the movies kneeling on the floor and trying to pull itself up to its feet.

Gone was the shrill alien voice of the old Facegrabber. Kchooloo spoke with the deep Baritones that would rumble the sea - a tone as ancient as time itself.

"This is so sweet. How do I get up with all these tentacle things?"

While certainly not the words that would shatter the minds of millions, Creature Feature's enthusiasm meshed well with the bizarre tentacle-grin the Kchooloo form was sporting as he stood on his feet. The large wings stretched out, as if they had a mind of its own, distracting the clumsy Creature.

"Whoa. Those aren't tenta... whoaOAh" Thrown off balance by the additional limbs, Creature Feature backed into another train car, lifting the wheels off the tracks before they came crashing down again.

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Nick dropped the illusion as Creature Feature teetered and crashed into another box car. "Well, there are benefits to being a human-sized eldritch terror," he said. "You can fit in underpasses, for one thing."

With a bit of ghostly effort, Nick managed to call up the feeling of a dozen cold, grasping hands, all of which worked to push on the great "Kchooloo's" back, helping him to right himself. "May take a bit of practice."

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"Yeeeah...might want to work on that. Wicked cool powers though, Creature Feature. I gotta admit you make a pretty nifty Kchooloo." KC had his hands on his hips, and was grinning in amusement. He seemed like a pretty cool guy, with neat powers to boot. Although if they ever teamed up, an odd trio they would make.

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As Creature Feature was helped to his feet, he gave a Kchoolian thumbs up. "Gee, thanks guys!"

The young ancient one stood in a balancing stance to avoid being tripped up by his new limbs. One by one, he tried getting his tentacles under control from outright crashing into things.

Man, these tentacles sure like to hit things. Each tentacle felt like it was brushing up against something as they swung wildly in the air. He craned his neck to watch the tentacles and focus on specific ones to calm down. Much to his surprise, only a few a tentacles were hitting the train cars or the ground. Most were simply swinging wildly in the air.

"That's odd..." Creature Feature blurted out to no one in particular. As he concentrated on one tentacle in particular that felt like it was brushing up against something solid while wildly flailing in the air, other tentacles reflexively went up to assail the area. "I feel... something up there. But it's, like, something that's not there..."

Suddenly, after another gentle prodding, a claw appeared in thin air, ripping and tearing at the very fabric of reality. Creature Feature backed away in surprise. As the hole it tore got bigger, the things head appeared - a humanoid being covered in fanged mouths and dozens of horrible, unblinking eyes.

"Oh no..."

Close by, another claw was ripping through reality. and another. The dimensional invaders were squeezing through the holes as quickly as they could.

"Oh no no no no no..."

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KC acted quickly, seeing the demons come from the portal. He flapped his wings so he was level with the portal, and watched them emerge. "Demons? How cliche. Taste the mental power of Kid Cthulhu!" he shouted as he unleashed a blast of raw mental force. The blast warped the air around it as it went towards the first demon's mind, attack it directly.

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