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Avenger Assembled

Going Ape (IC)

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Elsewhere

Enjoying the bananas that he only ate in the privacy of his most intimate study, Dr. Simian sat behind his desk and watched the live feed from his first test subject's venture to the surface world. Long-troubled by the ethical implications of sending his people off to fight and die in a war they didn't understand, the master criminal had hit upon a brilliant scheme some weeks earlier: make his own army of disposable cannon fodder, legions of ape-clones and ape-soldiers who could fight and die at his whim with no ethical implications at all. Growing his own army of invincible gorilla warriors had been, he reflected, a wonderful idea! That is, of course, if this test subject proved successful.

Port Regal

June 4, 2011

2 PM

Up from the sewers there roared a great ape! Howling defiance at the universe that had spawned it, the gigantic gorilla burst from beneath the streets to howl at a quiet residential street on a Saturday afternoon. As it was a warm day and there were kids playing, there were plenty of people around to scream and flee in terror! The gorilla beat his chest and roared again, calling out in defiance, "WHO DARES CHALLENGE GORILLON, THE ROARING TEN-TON BEAST!" Gorillon put his boast to good use as he put a thumb in his mouth and took a breath, suddenly growing and growing far beyond even his original mighty physique, until the giant ape towered over the nearby mansions. "WHO CAN CHALLENGE THE MIGHTY GORILLON...AND LIVE!?!"

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Eve was just getting back from her morning run. Cardio gets the heart pumping. A few missteps near the end had her banged up. When she reached the door, she felt something. The ground was shaking. Then she heard something. a Booming echo from a forty foot tall gorilla! And it wanted to challenge someone? Eve had heard of silly stories before, but she thought the silly heroes and villains went out of style back in the seventies or eighties.

She obviously had no time to suit up. But she needed her focus if she was going to deal with the threat of Monkeygeddon. She chanted a quick incantation and with a shimmer of light, the large arcane bow appeared in her hands. Taking a deep breath she rushed out to meet the super-sized simian.

"Greeting, Mega Monkey," she said with a sarcastic curtsy, "I'll be your hero today." She looked up to the large thing and squinted, using her hand as a sun visor. "Now, this whole challenge thing. Are you sure? Really? Think about it. You'll be put in a zoo for children to pay a few dollars to look at and you being the monkey, will get no royalties. Then you'll try to escape and kidnap Naomi Watts and climb up the Pyramid Plaza before getting shot down. Then there'll be some sad epilogue. Or something." She smiled, "Got it?" She was looking to confuse the beast, but hey, maybe it'd listen to Insane Troll Logic. Either way, she was ready to take on the beast.

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"FOOLISH WOMAN!" boomed the great ape. "I AM GORILLON, LORD OF TEN THOUSAND TONS! YOUR WORDS ARE AS THE HOOTING OF SO MANY NAKED MONKEYS THAT DARE CHALLENGE THE GREATNESS OF GORILLON!" He beat his chest again. "I HAVE COME FROM BELOW TO CHALLENGE ALL YOUR MIGHTIEST WARRIORS AND SO TAKE YOUR WORLD AS MY OWN IN THE NAME OF GORILLON! YOUR CHILDREN WILL GROW TO KNOW ME AS THEIR LORD AND MASTER! MY RULE SHALL BE SWIFT, SURE, AND DECISIVE!" He ripped a lamppost out of the ground and brandished it like a bat. "AND MY FIRST DECREE? DEATH TO THE ENEMIES OF THE APE!"

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The giant gorilla's voice boomed before she could cover her ears. Eve cringed as her ears rang at the harsh tone of the four story ape. What she could make out was almost surreal. After the monkey was finished talking she shook her head vigorously to get the ringing to stop. There was a short pause as she looked confused herself. "No, screw this noise." she screamed defiantly up at the beast.

Eve braced herself. She had never ran up a living thing before, but if there ever was a time that it needed to be done, it was now. She quickly scurried up the mountainous monkey and ended up wrapping her legs tightly to it's shoulder to hang on. "They say you can only last eight seconds on a raging bull before it gives up," she yelled into the monkey's ear, "Let's see if I can ride you out like the beast you are." Pulling back the bowstring, she yelled a word, "CHI!" A brown shaft of light launched itself towards the monkey's face.

It struck him in the temple and stuck there. From the shaft of light,stone began to come forth, covering the murderous monkey in a thick sheath until he was a giant statue!

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Jade Dragon jumped off to escape the giant gorilla's retaliation, Gorillon roaring in disbelief as rock and stone rose up to imprison him. "NOO! HOW CAN THIS BE! I AM GORILLON, LORD OF TEN THOUSAND TONS! I AM INVINCIBLE! UNDEFEATABLE! ROAAARRGHH!" He tried to beat his chest, but as the rock rose up to hold him fast, it was too late; the giant ape was held fast by the rocky embrace of the street, and all his rage was doing nothing but getting him stuck further in Jade Dragon's snare. "ROAARRGGHLLLLL..." He was still fighting, but it didn't look like he was going anywhere anytime soon as the Freedom City street rose up to pin him down.

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Eve jockeyed to hold on to the giant gorilla as it thrashed under the power of the Earth surrounding it. When the thrashing stopped and there was only a menacing monkey memorial. Eve cheered once the elemental prison was finished. And now she needed to dispose of this thing. But it looked pretty strong, so she added another layer to it. "CHI!" she shouted. Another brown shaft of light shot into the monkey's stone cheek. The carapace began to thicken around Gorillon. When it was done, she stood up and looked around. She resisted the urge to yell "I can see my house from here" with a smirk. Though she did notice something. No broken ground. There were no huge monkey tracks. Weird.

Eve quickly ran down the monkey to the ground to get a closer look at the area. She began to search for clues to anything that would resolve this mystery.

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As she put another arrow into the giant gorilla, Jade Dragon soon became aware of the situation she was facing: she had enough power to constrain the raging gorilla, but so far she hadn't yet been able to subdue him. Only by putting repeated 'arrows' into the beast was she able to hold him down in his rocky cage, and he was doing sufficient damage in his fury that the earth arrow's constant regrowth was only holding the line rather than sealing him in permanently, If Gorillon ever calmed down enough to really exert himself against those stony bonds, she'd be in serious jeopardy from what would no doubt be a very angry, very powerful giant ape who presumably would not fall for the same trick twice! And not only her, but the entire busy neighborhood of Port Regal!

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Eve thought on this as she quickly ran into her home to get into costume. She thought about a lot of things actually. Like how to make this costume more portable. Figuratively getting caught with your pants down is really a bummer. The suit already put itself on her.She stripped down quickly and stepped into the suit. A minute later the morphic molecules had done their job. She was now the Jade Dragon. Grabbing her focus bow, she rushed back outside. Hoping against hope that the monster monkey wasn't free.

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On this way back from finalizing the details of an end-of-year field trip to the Ocean Heights amusement park for the senior students at Joseph Clark High School, Keith LaMarr glanced at his watch over his rounded sunglasses with a sigh. It was going to take a long time to make it back to Lincoln, but there weren't many cabs in the city capable of supporting the superhuman density of his already mountainous frame. His attention was quickly turned from the long walk ahead by the sight of a massive gorilla rising over the rooftops of the builds ahead of him, followed by the sounds of battle. Setting his jaw, the bald educator fulled off his dress shirt to reveal the black and gold emblem of his heroic alter ego, tossing the garment to the ground as he ran toward the fray with earth shaking footfalls.

He rounded the final block in time to see a figure in a familiar costume squaring off against the gargantuan gorilla. "Well now, that takes me back," Wail remarked as he moved to take up a position next to the bow wielding woman, towering a full foot over her. "You'd be the new Jade Dragon, huh?" he rumbled in a resonant bass, stroking his grey streaked beard thoughtfully. "Hope you're as good with that thing as he was with a sword."

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Jade Dragon was lost in contemplation on what to do with this thing on top of actively searching for clues around the four story behemoth when a voice snapped her out of it. She looked up at the man. He looked familiar. She couldn't put her finger on it. Though apparently he knew her. Or of her. He looked exceptionally well for his apparent age (and his voice was almost music to her ears), perhaps he knew her father? She curtsied politely and then reached out a hand. "Yes, I am the new Jade Dragon. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Though, you have my name, I'm sorry i do not know yours."

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Wail's hand engulfed Jade Dragon's as he shook it, the young woman's formal behaviour bringing a small smile to the broad-shouldered man's face. "Knew your predecessor from the seventies," he supplied by way of explanation. "As for my name, you can call me Wail. Cover your ears for a second and I'll show you why." Turning to the struggling behemoth, the aging hero drew in a deep breath and let out a wide cone of sonic force that vibrating in the bones on anyone nearby. Gorillon managed to power through the onslaught, but it was enough for Wail to take the beast's measure.

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This time Jade Dragon had a warning to cover her ears before the loud started. And even though she did cover her ears, it didn't matter. Her ears rang anyway. She could feel it through her being. This was very polarizing. The man had a voice that could put Barry White and Isaac Hayes to shame. And now the sound of the worst thing ever was cycling though her head. Eventually the ringing stopped and she slowly uncovered her ears. "I see they named you very well," she was unknowingly yelling. She looked as the earth was still grabbing the monster monkey and how it was seemingly not phased by the yell. "Here, let me soften it up for you." Pulling back the bowstring, she shouted, "KÅ«!" And a black shaft of light shot at the monster's heart area, striking true. The void began to 'fill' the monster. weakening it's very essence and stripping it's hard exterior in the process. The monster began to glow black as long as the void was in the monster. "That should make things a bit easier."

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Suddenly, just what Jade Dragon had feared would happen happened: the great gorilla gave a terrible roar and tore his way entirely out of the earthen bonds in which she had been entrapping him. "I WILL CRUSH YOU SECOND, LITTLE BIG MAN!" the giant ape promised Wail while pointing a mammoth finger his way, "BUT FIRST I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE ON THE TINY SPECK THAT DARED IMPRISON THE AWESOME POWER OF GORILLON! ROAAAAR!" And with that, huge drops of saliva trailing from his gaping jaws, massive fangs bared, the gorilla that walked like a mountain leapt for the nimble archer, fists like boulders nearly tearing her limb from limb as she just dodged his powerful blows.

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"Now that's enough of that, fool!" Wail admonished the lunging gorilla, planting one foot firmly behind him, leaving a imprint in the pavement and narrowing his eyes behind his sunglasses. Taking another deep breath, the earsplitting educator let loose a tightly controlled column of sound, a pillar of sonic force that slammed into Gorillon as he leapt like a wrecking ball and kept on pushing. In the span of a moment, the great beast was lifted up off of the ground and launched over the rooftops of Port Royal, soaring uncontrollably out to sea. "And that's how we took out the trash back in the day," Wail proclaimed, dusting off his hands.

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"What was that," Jade Dragon spoke up after sticking her pinky in her ear and waggling a bit. She chuckled a bit at the silliness of it. "No really, I do thank you for coming along, Wail" she said with another polite curtsy. She looked up at him. She was glad the mask concealed the blush. He worked with my father, she thought, and is probably old enough to be such. But damn if he doesn't hit all the right spots so far. Just keep it on the low. I can work up some rapport. Through crime fighting that is. She spoke again, "If you'd like to stick around, I found a few suspicious things." She ran over to the base of the monkey's standing place with a stylish hop skip and a jump and waved to Wail. "Over here!"

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Wail chuckled as we followed Jade Dragon over to the spot she'd indicated, moving with considerably less speed or agility than the younger hero. "Heh, sorry about that. You're lucky, though; at your age I didn't have nearly this much control." With the mask in place it was honestly hard for LaMarr to gauge how old she was exactly, but the spring in her step gave him a ballpark guess. "If I'm not slowing you down, I'll stick around. Don't like to leave a job unfinished."

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"I don't know," Jade Dragon said rhythmically while looking around the area again, trying to make hide or hair of this ape scrape, "With age comes experience. You know? I bet you're a really experienced superhero." Her compliment was genuine, though she thought it sounded a bit too flirty. "And of course, you're not going to slow me down," she looked up to him, her voice was inviting, "Then again we do have a mystery on hand! Quickly rushing everything wouldn't make for a good investigation. So, let's take it slow."

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Eventually, the sharp-eyed heroes found signs of where the gorilla had come from: prints left behind by a normal-sized gorilla led from the earth churned up by his struggles towards a still-open manhole cover. Underneath, the sewers of Freedom City beckoned: the recent heavy rains had washed things mostly clean, but without some better way to track a gorilla's movements, finding where he'd come from underneath the surface was going to be much more difficult. The sound of approaching sirens meant that the police were on their way: Jade Dragon and Wail had both done a great service for the community that day, but the inevitable consequences of that meant at least a little talk with the cops.

Luckily the police were respectful and effusively grateful, there wasn't much they could have done to stop a 40-foot gorilla anyway. And since Wail had gotten rid of him, there was nothing they really needed to do except investigate. Over Jade Dragon's shoulder, Wail spotted Dr. Metropolis rising out of the pavement to begin repairing the damage the giant ape had wrought before his abrupt banishment into the Atlantic Ocean. Just another day in Freedom...

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"Ha, I have some miles on me, yes. Hmm. And I thought the stories about giant alligators in the sewers were silly," Wail remarked, stroking his grey streaked beard as he thoughtfully looked down the manhole cover. "Still better than that Nazi T-Rex." Turning back around he addressed Jade ragon with a mountainous shrug. "Not likely going to find much down there, unfortunately." He doubted Gorillon has just happened to wander above ground to attack the city, tracking down whoever had sent the beast would have to wait for another day. Tilting his head slightly, he regarded the young woman in green. "So, you've got to be the... third Jade Dragon now? I was out of the loop for a few years, so I'm still playing catchup."

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"Fourth actually," she said with a 'definitely' nod. "It's a cycle. Every twenty one years a new Jade Dragon is chosen." There was an awkward pause for a second as she looked for something to say. I can't screw this up, she thought, get to know him better. Looks and voice can't be the only thing he has. "So, you just got back, huh? I'm just starting out myself. How about we talk about it in a," she looked around, "place with less carnage." She pulled out her grappling gun and reached out a hand. "Now for the personal question," she chuckled, "how much do you weigh?"

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"Eleven hundred seventy five pounds," Wail rumbled in immaculate deadpan folding his arms across his broad chest and tilting his head slightly as he raised one eyebrow above his sunglasses as if to inquire if something was the matter. He only let Jade Dragon stew for a moment before shaking his head with a chuckle. "Sorry, but it's true, and you don't get a straight line like that too often. Especially since, in the old days, I usually ended up playing the straight man, ironically enough." He lifted on hand to tap pointedly on his opposite bicep. "Superdense muscle tissue. Most cars can't carry me, let alone one of those little toy rope guns you jumpy types love so much."

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"Oh, kay," Jade Dragon said in an embarrassed tone as she rubbed the back of her neck. "You don't look a pound over one thousand," she said jokingly with a shrug. Putting her grappling gun back on the back of her belt, she looked to the mountain of a man. "I would like to know more about you, if you don't mind me asking." She stood at ease, "I mean it's not every day that you get to meet a veteran as handsome as yourself." And there's the tip off, she thought, I mean is it too early to, say, go have coffee and talk about hero things to see if he's actually interesting under those looks and that voice? Even though she was nervous she didn't show it. Totally cool, she stood.

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Wail paused for a beat, slowly realizing that he was being confronted with a problem which, admittedly, had been not uncommon in his younger years. "Ah. This would be the part where I casually work into the conversation that I'm fifty-six. And a widower. And gay." The broad-shouldered man's tone was gentle with a hint of amusement that suggested that he was flattered and that the situation was more amusing than any faux pas. "C'mon, I'll buy you a coffee to make it up to you."

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All three statements pounded into her head. Not only was he old enough to be her grandfather. Not only was he swinging for the same team. He was holding the torch for a long lost loved one. Jade Dragon felt totally lousy. But luckily he couldn't see her dismay. Before she could apologize, he seemed forgiving about it. She nodded at the idea of coffee. "If you'll let me change into civilian clothes, we won't draw a spectacle. I know how heroes in costumes are lauded." She looked over to the mansion across the way and then back to Wail. She pointed a thumb to the destination, "It'll only take a minute or so."

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Wail nodded magnanimously. "Of course. I should see about retrieving the shirt I lost on the way over anyway," the older hero noted, indicating the distinctive 'W' insignia running across the torso of his uniform with one hand.

Shortly after, LaMarr sat on the patio of one of the coffee shops that seemed to have, from his perspective, cropped up on every street corner almost overnight, looking as inconspicuous as a heavily built man well over six feet tall could reasonably be, once again wearing his shirt buttoned over his uniform, his sunglasses hanging out of his pocket.

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