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Dr Archeville

Unbalanced: Ironclad's Oct 2010 Vignette

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The following takes place on October 23rd, 4:32 PM, in the Southside. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent. They're superheroes, they can deal with it.

The street was a warzone. Broken bits of masonry and even a few burning cars were littered up and down a five-block distance, all down a single street. Ironclad had heard the emergency ‘all officer’s’ call over her suit’s systems not five minutes ago – and the call had been immediately countered in favor of calling in the STAR squad, the city’s official response to when superpowers ran literally riot. Ironclad had mobilized faster than anyone though, and now hovered over the scene, a very unofficial response. But even she was taken aback by the sheet scope of destruction here. What could cause so much mayhem in such a short time?

Her answer came by way of a Buick, aimed straight at her and tossed from street level. She tried to dodge, but the heavy mass of steel smashed her out of the sky and Ironclad plummeted out of the sky, impacting on the street and leaving the read surface even more cracked and broken.

Ironclad picked herself up from her crater, sensors already scanning for a threat. There was only one other thing moving on the street and it was coming straight for her. The heroine raised her armored head and saw a man, walking down the middle of the street with a stiff gait. He was shot, and hugely muscled – grotesquely so, in face. His muscles were enormous, with thick veins that pulsed with every little movement. It was a disgusting parody of human musculature, pumped up to eleven. Almost lost against all that were three white patches, on both biceps and on his neck. Ironclad climbed to her feet and set herself. “Max,” she said, speaking loudly. “You’re on three patches of that junk. Man, your body must be burning up right now, huh?”

The big man smiled at her, there was a shimmer in the air, and suddenly he was right in front of her. He gripped her by the neck and lifted Ironclad easily. “I spiced it up,” he said, grinning. “A bit of Zoom, just to put a kick in it.” Ironclad grunted, kicking her feet in the air, clutching at the big man’s arm, and his smile grew. “My name’s Cass, and I’m gonna choke the life out of you.”

The heroine balled both hands into fists and put them against the druggie’s chest. “Stand in line,” she hissed. She fired both wrist blasters at once; she was ready for the blast and counteracted with her flight systems, but Cass had no idea it was coming and ended up flying all the way to the other end of the street. Ironclad covered for a moment, letting the big man get to his feet, and then she charged. She accelerated to better than highway speeds in half a second, and when she reached him she was going even faster. Somehow though, Cass was even faster. Just before she impacted, he grabbed her and swung her into a building, using the heroine’s own momentum to drive her deep. She crashed through brick and wood and plaster, and lay in the impact crater, unmoving. Cass picked his way through the debris slowly, obviously relishing having the heroine at his mercy. Ironclad waited until just the right moment, and then fired a shot from each blast hitting two precise spots on the ceiling. The structure had been weakened by the heroine’s ballistic journey through it, and now the whole front of the building slid down in a massive wave of brick and timber, burying Cass.

Ironclad relaxed in her crater, breathing in quick gasps – but when the rubble shifted, she stopped breathing entirely. The debris parted in a loud slide and the big man stood, a little worse for wear but steady on his feet. He freed himself from the last of the rubble and took a step towards the heroine – and then paused, the wide grin fading to an odd, distant look, like he was listening to a song only he could hear. He took a few short, gasping breaths, clutching at his over-muscled chest, and then simply fell over.

Ironclad stood slowly and advanced on the ganger. She kneeled at his side and felt for a pulse, not surprised when she didn’t find one. “Winners don’t do drugs,” she said, “because drugs make your heart explode.” She walked clear of the ruined building, already calling emergency services, but she stopped old when she saw that a dozen or more mean dressed, in jeans and leather jackets and not much else. The charged up her wrist blasters and hovered a few inches off the ground. “If this is Round Two,” she said to the new group,”let’s get this done.”

The tension stretched between the two sides, until one of the gangers stepped forward. He was a black man, tall and thin. In addition to the jacket and jeans, he wore a tattered top hat and his face had an inverted cross painted over his lips, nose, and cheekbones in white facepaint. He touched a finger to the brim of the hat and spoke respectfully to the heroine. “Los Diablos Rojos thank you for your service in destroying Il Diavoli Neri’s enforcer. If you should ever want a good time,” he smirked, “just drop us a line.” With his speech concluded, the hated man spun and walked down the street, turning a corner and disappearing. In ones and twos, the other gang members pulled their own vanishing acts, until Ironclad was along on the street.

The heroine checked all her sensors, slowly powering down her weapon systems and lowering herself to the ground. She was alone on the street, but she nerves were still jangling. After a moment she asked the empty lane, “Does anyone want to explain what just happened here?”

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