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Kavonde

Bikers, Mobsters, and the Southside C's (IC)

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January 15th, 2011: 10:13 PM: Southside

It was a cold winter night in Freedom City. There was a fresh snowfall in the morning, but it had already been turned into a sickly, brownish-gray mush piled up in the gutters.

The tip that informed you of the brewing gang war pointed you at the Bamboo Wok, a Chinese-Japanese restaurant situated on a street corner a few blocks from Freedom International Airport. Outside it now were three black sedans with tinted windows, a small fleet of motorcycles, and, parked across the street, four street racers with ornate paint jobs and glittering rims.

The restaurant had two waist-high, wall-length windows facing the perpendicular streets, but the blinds had been pulled down and closed shut. Steam poured from the vents over the kitchen area, and a door suddenly banged open to allow an Asian man to haul a heavy garbage bag into the alley behind the store and manhandle it into a dumpster.

Across the street in a matching alley, a man in black jeans, boots, and hoodie leaned against a wall, watching the restaurant with great interest. His hood was up, concealing his features, but he seemed to be wearing very shiny black gloves.

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Atop the rooftop of a nearby building a glistening mass of greenish goo slowly stretched it's way across the top of an alley, pressed a pseudopod to the opposite wall, and slithered up to the next rooftop. The pleasant scent of fruit trees drifted through the chill night air. Softly, so faint it can barely be heard, a burbling voice hummed the Mission Impossible theme. As the strange substance pooled and heaped itself up on top of the rooftop, taking a moment to expel bits of gravel and roof tile, a rough simulacrum of a head and shoulders appears.

"Alright brochacho, you can do this." Jello-man whispered fiercely to himself, "After tonight everybody's gonna know 'bout Jello-man. Eye of the tiger baby!" The head and shoulders of the gelatinous man are swiftly joined by two beefy yet pliable arms, and then by fully formed hands that start out looking like mittens before sprouting digits. There the transformation ends, nearly two thirds of the mass remained heaped up to where his pelvis would be if he yet possessed a skeletal structure. He slowly slithered his way over to the edge of the rooftop and looked across the street towards the restaurant. "Those losers ain't gonna know what hit 'em."

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Volcano, propped against the alley's wall in his street clothes, watched the restaurant quietly. He'd never really been comfortable around here, in the "good" part of Southside with all the urban yuppies choking on airplane fumes, but apparently the Bamboo Wok was considered neutral territory.

He wasn't planning on kicking down the door and starting a party, but he figured that when three groups of criminal pinheads got together, sparks were bound to fly. He hadn't heard of this biker gang, the Hounds, before this, but apparently their leader was the kind of idiot who'd start a fight in a crowded restaurant with a bunch of mobsters and gangbangers. And then it'd just a matter of keeping the jackasses focused on hurting eachother and not random bystanders.

He was getting bored of just standing there, so he picked up a finger-sized chunk of old masonry lying nearby, popped it into his mouth, and chewed thoughtfully. "Tastes like chicken," he rumbled.

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Hearing the rumbling voice in the alley below him Jello-man moved to the adjacent roof edge and peers over cautiously. He spots the civilian lurking below and leapt into action. Which quite literally means he leapt off the edge of the building and splattered to a stop on the alley below, then quickly reformed himself into his halfway human form. "Do not be alarmed, bro! I am Jello-man, and I am the good guy!" He flexed his fake muscles in what he assumes is an imposing way. "I am currently on a... uh... what's the word?" He stopped and rubbed his head. "Stakeout! Yeah that's it! So bro, you gotta go. This is gonna be a real bad scene pretty soon and since I am like the big hero type I need to make sure no civvies get hurt, you dig?"

"Unless you're in one of those gangs... You aren't in a gang are you?" Jello-man said while pointing at him with one gelatinous finger, "If you are you gotta tell me ok?"

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Volcano tilted his head in fascination as the gelatinous gatecrasher reformed himself from the splatter he made jumping off the roof. He only half-listened to what the Jello-man said, but caught just enough to get the drift.

When Jello finished speaking, Volcano pushed back his hood, revealing his obsidian face and glowing orange eyes and hair. "Uh, no. No gang." He gave the gooey guardian a once-over, at a loss for words. "Ya know," he finally managed, "here I was thinkin' I had it bad, but damn. You fall in a buncha radioactive pudding or somethin'?"

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"I was in a like drug trial, and they slipped me something weird. But it's cool, bro, I like having super powers." Jello-man said affably, "So you're like super too right? That's cool. Are you here for the fight, cuz I heard there was going to be one and I am totally all over that." He pantomimed a few punches and then submerged into his fluid state and reformed a few feet back.

"So why are you all, uh, shiny?" He said slowly as he looked at Volcano curiously, his muscles dissolved as he forgets to maintain his details.

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Volcano shrugged. "Blood turned inta magma. 'Spontaneous human semi-combustion' or somethin'. Name's Volcano. Or Mike, whatever. I'd shake your hand, but I don' think either of us wanna find out what'd happen to it. Kinda hot to the touch."

He leaned back against the wall, tucking his hands into his hoodie, which on closer examination looked like it's made from some kind of dense, space age fabric. "Anyway, yeah, I live around here, an' my friend Jeff -- he's a cop -- told me somethin' might be goin' down. Figured I'd keep an eye on the proceedings. How 'bout you? How'd ya hear about this?"

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Brian Harris wasn't there to observe criminals or stop a gang war. The teenager had been at Claremont for a week or so, and even though the faculty had assured him that his expenses would be covered, he hadn't been raised to just sit around and accept the charity of others. Besides, he was going stir-crazy without anything to do in his free time. A quick glance through the classified ads showed a few job openings, not too far from Bayview, where the school was. He had called each of them, and this was the only place that had called back.

The young man touched down a few blocks away from the restaurant, dressed in khakis, an Oxford shirt and a tie, and zipped into a leather biker jacket for warmth; his resume, thin as it was, was folded into an inside pocket. He oriented himself and started walking down the street towards the restaurant. What would they say when they saw he could fly, or when they saw his red eyes? He reached up and fiddled with the wrap-around sunglasses he'd bought for this interview, and determined to make a good enough impression that it wouldn't matter.

Half a block from the joint he glanced sideways and noticed two men standing in an alley, talking. One of them looked half-melted and the other was black -- not like Brian's skin was turning or like someone of African descent. Totally black, like obsidian. His pace slowed to a crawl and the young man frowned for a moment; the black one seemed to be watching the place where Brian was hoping to get a job. Having his interview interrupted by a supercriminal attack probably wouldn't reflect well on him.

Brian jogged across the street, making a beeline for the two men. He stopped at the mouth of the alley and called out to them. "Hey! You two guys! If you're going to attack that place," he said, indicating the restaurant with a jerk of his head, "can we get it done and over with? I've got a job interview in there, and I don't want to be late for it."

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"Whoah bro. Can't two kind of freaky guys have a conversation without everybody thinking they're supervillains?" Jello-man bulked up further as he loomed closer to the newcomer. "That's discrimination. I'm Charlie and this is Mike." He kept his main arms firmly crossed over his chest and sprouted a third limb from his upper back with which to indicate Volcano.

He examined the newcomer closely, then points at the sunglasses. "Bro, it's the middle of the night. Why are you wearing sunglasses? Are you a supervillain? Do you have heat vision? Are those glasses for blocking your heat vision?" He realized what style of jacket he is wearing, gasped, and backed away, "You must a super thug in the biker gang! Don't melt me bro."

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Mike crooked an eyebrow at the daredevil dessert. "Uh, Chuck, I think he'da come on a bike if he was. An' he don't even look old enough to drive one yet."

He looked back at the kid, taking in the shades, the jacket, and the clothes. "Yeah, ya might wanna postpone the interview, man. There's kind of a three-way meet-an'-greet goin' on in there, all bad guys. I'm guessin' the manager's a little preoccupied makin' sure the the calamari's done right. Gotta prep the fish or sleep with 'em, ya know?"

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"Oh." Brain looked back and forth between the greasy-spoon and the apparent superheroes ready to assault it. He took off his sunglasses and shrugged out of his coat, slipping the glasses into the same pocket as his resume and folding the thick leather garment over a trashcan. He pulled off his tie, bundled it up, and stuffed it into a back pocket on his jeans, then undid the top few buttons on his shirt. He rolled his shoulders and altered his stance, moving his feet shoulder-width apart. "Gonna fight some bad guys. I can get behind that." He moved into the alley itself, so he wasn't so visible from the street. "When do we go in?"

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Mike shrugged. "Well, far as I can tell, they got the whole staff inside there with 'em, an' I don't wanna get any civvies hurt in the crossfire. Or, ya know, burn down the building. 'Course, that was when I was standin' here by myself. Maybe you guys can get in there an' scare 'em outside without causin' a lotta collateral damage. Or get people clear before we take 'em. Or somethin'."

He gave an embarrassed little grin. "Kinda new to this whole superhero thing, ya know? So far I've just been chargin' inta warehouses or back alleys an' beatin' up anyone I see. Civilians is new."

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Meanwhile, a narrow alleyway half a block down the street contained a lean, panting figure, swathed in a long robe-like poncho marked in several key areas by the sign of the suit of Clubs.

Marceau groaned to himself at the quiet of his surroundings.

Damn and blast it, merde. If this turns out to be another hallucination of a Jackie's, I'll never forgive her.

Which is when he spotted the glowing man, the blob, and a normal human talking idly amongst themselves next to the Bamboo Wok.

After a moments' deep and serious thought, he decided to go against his better instincts and approach them.

Walking a bit stiffly from his dead run from his home in the Fens, he went quickly for all that.

"A good evenin' to ya, chaps, you lot here for 'All you can eat and more' buffet night?".

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"I do a pretty sick movie monster impression." To illustrate Jello-man subsided into blob state and produced 8 wriggling tentacles and two eyestalks. "I could go in through the kitchen and scare them outta the building." He stopped and turned to see yet another stranger. "Let me handle this, I mean what are the chances that another guy would be here for the same thing as us?"

"Pay no attention to the men in the alleyway, we are here on superhero business. Please vacate the area." Charlie frowned softly, "Unless you are in the gang, in which case. We are definitely not here to beat you up. Enjoy your meal."

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"I don't think any of the gangs involved dress like playin' cards--"

Volcano was cut off as a low, bone-shaking noise filled the air, growing stronger and louder in intensity. It seemed to be coming from inside the Bamboo Wok, and was loud enough to rattle the windows visibly. "S'that the Horn of Gondola or somethin'?" Mike asked, clamping obsidian hands over his ears.

The horn suddenly cut off. There was a flash of azure light from inside the restaurant, and an explosion of debris as a bearded man in black biker threads with tribal designs and, oddly, a metal viking helmet with huge stag horns on it crashed through the window and part of the wall, landing in the street between the heroes and the restaurant. As he hit the ground, red sparks crackled around an invisible barrier around him, and he pushed himself to his feet immediately and drew a massive broadsword from his belt. "HOUNDS! LET LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR!"

Fierce battle cries rose from a dozen throats inside, met by gunshots and screams.

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A feeling of inexpressible relief flooded the King of Cards' central cardiovascular organ system. "What an amazing coincidence, good sirs! I am myself in the same business as you! Might I be permitted to assist in your task? Our destination is that same, after all".

Giving a sweeping bow, Marceau glanced(obscured beyond sight by his metal facemask)at the pile of talking pudding and wondered if he should talk with a psychiatrist about dangers to his mental health in the superhero work. Shrugging off the idea, he began to speak again, this time in the reverberating bass he preferred.

"At any rate, please allow me to introduce myself: I am the King of Suits, the master of the art of (weaponised)card-wielding and miscreant-merde beating".

He raised his head and smiled pleasantly behind his mask."Who might you, monsieurs?".

The introductions being broken up so swiftly by the appearance of the helmeted man accompanied by the sounds of battle from the restaurant, he shrugged and put himself in a passable battle stance. Shoving a hand into one of the numerous pockets that lined the inside of his cape, Marceau swore under his breath as he found that the cards in one pocket had become mangled and disorganized, and hurriedly began putting them right.

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As the viking man raised his broadsword in challenge, Volcano charged in, trying to grab the man's arms and pin them behind his back before he could strike. The biker slipped free, however, and turned to confront the magma man. "Aha! One who would interfere in the glorious rise of Herne the Hunter! Taste steel, foolish, ebon-skinned mortal!"

Herne brought his sword up overhead, and it briefly glimmered with reddish energy before chopping down into Volcano's right shoulder. The hero nearly collapsed in pain as the blade cut right through his obsidian skin, shearing through the stone and drawing magma blood. He fell to one knee, trying to recover, as Herne dismissively flicked the lava from his blade. He didn't seem to have noticed the rest of the heroes nearby.

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Brian wasn't prepared for how fast things would swing into action, but reflexes his mother had drilled into him kicked in and he jumped into action -- literally, leaping in the sky, his force field flickering to life around him and bathing the scene in ruddy light. "Bad move, Viking boy," he shouted, bringing his hands around to face the villain literally cutting into rocky hero. Red and black energy blasts flew from his hands, dozens of them in the space of a second, and slammed down towards the melee.

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The field of energy around Herne flickered into solidity just as Glowstar's blasts struck him, absorbing the impact fully. He staggered back a step, then looked up at the young hero with momentary surprise that turned into a fierce grin. "I think not, whelp."

Inside, there was a clash of steel and a few screams as the bikers drew their weapons and started hacking at everyone within reach. The screams were interrupted by another blast of azure force and a biker and a young, black man in a yellow jacket flying through a window and crashing into the street, unconscious. "Hey, what the hell you doin', girl?!" a voice inside demanded.

"Hey, he pulled your guy in the way!" a woman's voice shouted in reply.

"Oh, I don't think so!"

"Oh, screw this! Kill them all!"

Gunshots began barking within the restaurant, along with the clanging of steel weapons and an increased number of screams.

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"Attention bad dudes, you are all under arrest!" Jello-man announced as he rapidly morphed his way across the street. He elongated upwards into one enormous mouth and tried to crash over the Viking Biker but engulfed only broken pavement. He spat out the unpleasant debris and reformed his body. "Hey stand still! How am I supposed to defeat you if you keep moving?"

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Marceau ground his teeth in exasperation as he finally sorted the cards in Deck 8 back into a semblance of order. With no time to lose, he summoned up the mystical powers the stars had ordained for him, and gave the be-helmeted hoodlum a quick look-over. Seeing how vastly outmatched he'd be in a straight-up fight, the spindly Card Champion swept one of his smokescreen cards from its sleeve and flung it to the ground, disappearing into the haze that erupted from the broken Jack of Hearts.

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"Aha! Hiding in the mist like cowards, better to evade the wrath of mighty Herne! Fear not, mortals; my blade shall find you regardless!"

Beneath the cover of the mist, however, Herne couldn't see Volcano. The magma man's wound was already starting to patch over as the lava inside him began to flow to the surface and cool. He slowly rose to his feet, popping his neck and rotating his battered shoulder.

Herne, meanwhile, patted his belt and his pockets for a moment before snarling in annoyance. "My horn! That foul sorceress made me drop my horn! Bah, a minor annoyance for one such as me; stand and deliver, o lime-flavored lackwit!"

The viking-biker roared a challenge and took a massive swing at the place he last saw the tasty titan, but his sword smashed into the ground instead, with enough force to nearly shake it from his grasp. Herne glared at the empty spot of fog where he was sure Jello-Man should've been. "Curses!"

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Glowstar watched as the fog spilled out of the alley and across the street, quickly obscuring the fighting figured below. He tried scanning the area with his super-vision, but even though he was able to sweep through the nearby buildings he remained unable to spot the heroes and Herne. Still, as another scream came from inside the restaurant, he realized there was something else he could do. The hero swept through Herne's exit hole in a red blur and touched down just inside. "Citizens," he called in a loud voice. "I would recommend you leave the area. Now!" The hero spread his arms wide and channeled his power; with a shocking burst of black motes, red tendrils of energy erupted from his palms and sliced through the building, seeking out wrong-doers and somehow avoiding the innocents in the process.

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Glowstar's bolts of crimson energy found no shortage of targets. Mobsters in expensive suits, Southside C's in yellow jackets and hoodies, and Hounds in full viking-biker regalia with axes and swords held high. Each of them were blasted back by the impact of the bolts, over tables and counters or into eachother. One unfortunate soul was blasted onto an active stir-fry grill, but rolled off before he could burn too badly. They went down like human dominoes, and in a moment, all was quiet. Two waiters, a stir fry chef, and an Asian man with a suit and a nametag reading "Carl (Assistant Manager)" are huddled together in a corner, behind a flipped over table.

On one side of the room, near the kitchen and surrounded by fallen mobsters, was a woman with long, straight black hair, glasses, and a businesslike suit. Her eyes glowed with the same azure light as was flashing inside the restaurant earlier. She was doubled-over from the impact of one of the bolts, clutching a table for support.

Across from her by the main entrance was an African American man in a black denim jacket with a yellow T-shirt underneath. He was bald and roughly the size of an Abrams tank, and was holding an unconscious mobster by the collar of his suit. He grinned at Glowstar, clearly unphased by the attack. "That all you got?"

The woman began to stagger away, clutching her stomach in pain. "Kid, this guy is a maniac!" she called as she backed into the kitchen, pointing at the Southside C's leader. "You have to stop him!"

The gangster just grinned and pounded his fist against his palm. "You ain't runnin' from me, lady. Southside C's gonna OWN Southside!"

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"Lackwit? How dare you call me names that I don't understand!"Jello-man took one last swing at Herne, still blinded by the smoke. "Hey man, I can't see a thing in this mess." He grumped before slithering into the restaurant. "To heck with this! I'm gonna go fight someone else. This guy is a jerk."

He pushed his way through the door and slithered past the mess then stopped beside Glowstar. "Hey dude, you wanna tag out? I'm getting the part that might have been my butt handed to me out there."

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