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[ArchEvil] Load-Bearing Bosses [IC]

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Date: June 17th, 2011 (Friday), later afternoon/early evening

Continued from ArchEvil: Terrible Bosses

Just as Ferros reached up the ring the doorbell on the building Doktor Archeville had instructed him to go to should he feel he was ready to audition for the fabled Interceptors, the building collapsed, threatening to fall upon him! Inside, in the secret basement lair of that team, Geckoman, Thrude, and Willow had just witnessed the team's secret benefactor -- Archeville himself, now some sort of hideous fish-man! -- usurp control over the core members of the team, then teleport away with them as he ordered Vince, the team's AI 'mascot,' to activate the building's auto-destruct, bringing it down upon them!

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Fall on him is exactly what the massive brownstone did. Luckly, amidst the massive quantities of brick and mortar that held the building upright was the steel frame that had been the back bone of so many of these old style buildings.

As the rubble and dust settled, there was silence for a second or two. Then suddenly a large five by five section of the rubble where the sidewalk had once been flew upward and outward rebuffed by Ferros' powers. He floated out of the hole, atop the metallic disc stylized yin-yang he was becoming more and more famous for.

"I'd be willing to bet that this isn't supposed to happen, ya know?" Ferros said mostly to himself. It seemed the nearby buildings didn't suffer much damage, which was good, but the brownstone itself was in ruins. Hmmm there's a lot of metal down there. A lot! Let's see if I can't unearth it. There could still be people inside! Ferros stretched out his hands and focused on the mess of rubble in front of him.

The rubble shook. The earth quaked. Behind his mask, Ferros was sweating with exertion. This was by far one of the heaviest objects he'd ever tried to move. "Come on. Come on!" But move it he did. For a second or two, it didn't respond. But then whatever was down there must have torn from it's foundations, and released whatever was holding it. The non-metallic rubble above the subterranean structure began to pour off to the sides as the underground structure rose on the wings of Ferros' power. Finally, after a few moments of exertion, he'd managed to lift the structure to street level.

It was rather strange, looking at it from the air. It was like peering inside a ruined doll house with the roof removed. Whatever ceiling was once there must have collapsed with the explosion. He brushed aside debris and refuse with a wave of his hand one direction and then the other. Beneath the rubble he'd cleared, he saw Thrude, the interceptor and goddess he'd met not long before. She lay beside two others. A small, frail woman, and a younger green clad hero. "So," Ferros asked, bravely, "Is this where I'm supposed to go to show off my powers and apply for a spot on the Interceptors?"

Then Ferros noticed the state the team was in. The young hero's costume was in shambles and he seemed to be cradling a missing hand, watching blood pour to the ground beneath him. The two women were rolling on the floor of the metallic structure, clutching at various injured body parts. This wasn't a test for him. This wasn't even some training exercise for the Interceptors gone wrong. This was a terrible accident, and this building had just fallen on them! This wasn't the first building he'd seen explode in his life. The scene of the accident now that he knew what it was struck a nerve deep inside him, "Hey, ... no. Oh no." The structure lurched as emotion flooded over him threatening to occlude his concentration and cause him to drop the entire thing straight through the whole it had come out of. He steadied himself, wiped his mind clean, and caught it. The structure gave a sudden lurch, but did not fall.

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Geckoman screamed in agony as the falling piece of plate glass just hit him in the arm, and sliced clean through it. The sheer velocity of the bullet proof shards just smashed through the fragile elbow joint, and tore off the arm, even as rubble slammed into his body and threw him down under its crushing weight.

The muffled continual stream of profanity erupted into outright roaring profanity as the building was lifted off of the teen. "Oh god, that hurts! Ow! Ow! My arm! Again!" He forced himself to his feet, and staggered through the wreckage to his team mates. "Girls, get up and move, we're in real trouble. And I'm bleeding like a stuck pig, Thrude, I need you to scorch it closed with lightning, or surviving that building collapse isn't going to help me out in the long term. Short term, still doesn't help out, as it just means I'm alive through the screaming agony."

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Thrude lay prone and half-obscured under a pile of crumbled masonry and half-melted steel, one of many left in the wake of the Brownstone's sudden implosion. Her arm reached out blindly, scraping at several spots on the ruined floor before her fingers closed around her massive battle axe. A few sparks shot out of the runes etched into the blades, and then goddess and rubble alike groaned as she heaved with the strength of thirty-thousand men, shoving an entire wall off of her shoulders. "ARRRCHEVILLE!!!" The Daughter of Storms screamed at the sky. Thunder rumbled in the distance, punctuating her words. "A THOUSAND DEATHS ARE NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU! I WILL PERSONALLY SEE YOU BOUND BY YOUR OWN ENTRAILS AND STAKED OUT FOR THE CROWS, I SWEAR IT!"

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"Thrude, I need you to scorch it closed with lightning, or surviving that building collapse isn't going to help me out in the long term. Short term, still doesn't help out, as it just means I'm alive through the screaming agony."

Thrude nodded solemnly in acknowledgement. "Hold out your arm, and hold very still." She raised Vendrvapn high above her head, and sparks shot out of her eyes. But unlike most of the lightning her comrades had seen her call down from the heavens, this wasn't a raging waterfall of electricity. Instead, a narrow trickle lanced down next to Geckoman, burning his wound shut and punching a bullethole in what remained of the floor.

The goddess slapped Geckoman on the bicep still attached to a working arm. "That's a brave lad! The girls will truly fancy you, now that you've some scars to show off!"

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"Patience, Sister. Now is the time for measured thought followed by appropriate response," came a cool, measured soprano as Willow shoved aside some debris and extracting herself from the wreckage. Her armor was battered, shards of glass and metal embedded in it at odd places, and the section that had covered the dryad's head has been smashed into splinters, a vivid bruise already forming on the left side of her face.

Willow glanced over at Geckoman, her face impassive and her narrowed amber eyes were cold, judging. If she noticed the missing arm, or even if she cared, she gave no indication of it. She strode out of that pit, her armor wilting, breaking off in chunks that rapidly transforming into dust and brushed past the human who was obviously holding so much wreckage aloft. She may have nodded at Ferros, it was a subtle movement, and he would never be sure for certain.

The ancient guardian looked down at her fellow immortal; there was pain in those amber eyes, and sadness and so much rage. "The appropriate response being: I will have his heart."

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The ground on which the three interceptors stood moved once more. Ferros placed it beside the subterranean shaft from which he'd ripped it. Thankfully there was enough room in the nearby street that the floor was in no danger of falling back through the hole. He swooped down on his flying disk and skipped off of it to trot next to the trio. The expression on the mask he wore was as impassive as the steel it was made from. The disk shrank, and fastened itself to his midsection like a belt buckle.

Ferros took another short moment to observe, he pointedly looked at each of the three in turn making sure they knew he was trying to figure out what was going on. "Okay, hey, slow down, ya know?" He spoke with his hands out to his sides, a gesture that welcomed any actual conversation that might be directed at him for once. "I realize I'm an outsider here, ya know, but Dr. Archeville told me to come here because he said he'd like me to join the team if the rest of the members were okay with it," He shot a quick glance at Thrude. His mask grew a pair of eyebrows which promptly rose to form a questioning expression, "And now you're telling me he just blew up the place?"

He turned to look at Willow, "And nothing was ever solved by rushing off with a clouded mind, ya know? So, hey, let's take a moment, clear our heads, and figure this out."

His right palm smacked himself in the forehead, "And of course, where are my manners, ya know?" He looked to Thrude, "I remember you," He brandished a finger at her, "We fought those robots together. Though we weren't really properly introduced. And I don't really know you two at all, ya know? I'm Ferros. I guess you could call me an Alchemist."

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Geckoman snarled as the wound sizzled shut. "Dammit, that hurts! But, hey, I'm not dying, so... good good?

"Woah, woah, woah, no cutting out of hearts. We're superheroes here, not... actually, I don't know who cuts out heart anymore? Weirdos who live alone and sharpen spoons? And they just don't know how hard it is to get blood out of things..." Geckoman gibbered, trying to calm Willow down in his own bizarre fashion.

"There's four of us, and we're alive. Minus one arm, but give me a few hours, and I'll be right as rain. Well, I hope. I've never lost such a big chunk, I don't know if I'll recover properly." He looked pensive for a brief moment, sighing heavily. "But we need to find that fish and kick his flippers up between his ears."

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Thrude beat her fist against her rune-etched mithril breastplate in a salute to Ferros. "Aye, Eastman, I remember your valor in the face of those mechanical monstrosities! Your sorcery is powerful indeed. Hopefully it will prove a match for the corrupt Teutonic sorcery of the traitor Archeville!"

Another thunderclap echoed across the West End. "He told me much the same, Eastman. We were, the lot of us, outlanders, vagabonds, and wanderers. He promised us honor, glory, comraderie. And it was all a lie! A lie he shall pay dearly for!"

"Viktor Archeville took us for fools. His foul magic ensnared those it could, and the rest, he thought to burn in hellfire and leave for dead! There is nothing to discuss! We need find this madman, and vanquish him, before he succeeds where his ancestors failed!"

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Thrude screamed in barely-coherent rage and smashed Vendrvapn down on a pile of rubble that used to be one of the walls of her home. The axe blade compressed into a giant hammer-head a nanosecond before impact, crushing the bricks and mortar into pebbles. She leaned against her massive weapon, driving the head against the pavement and leaning against the ebony haft.

Thrude collapsed down to a kneeling position, propping herself up against Vendrvapn. She closed her eyes and rested her forehead against its shaft. She whispered to no one in particular. "Hear me, spirits of the air. I am Thrude, The Daughter of Storms. Heed my call. The Tyrant, The Betrayer, pollutes your home, fills your currents with his poisoned words. Help me find him. Carry his words to my ears, and carry my blade to his heart."

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Oh, dear god, what the hell is with all the stabbing?! Stop with the stabbing! Stabstabstabstab, it's like all you people think about! I'm being less aggressive, and I've got an arm off! 'tisn't just a flesh wound! Geckoman flicked a small, bleeping green object backhand, the little object clipping to the raging deity's armour.

"I guess, I'll.... uh..." he began, fiddling with the Pitchoo's remote. "Follow along, I guess? Try and stop the ludicrous impalement fixation..."

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The winds blowing silently and invisibly throughout Freedom City bent to the will of the Asgardian princess, seeking out the voice of Viktor Archeville wherever it spoken and ferrying it back to the goddess. At first, the eurus and zephyrs were confused. The Betrayer's voice seemed to come from all corners, all directions, speaking of blood and fire and a new world beholden only to Him. Patience, the goddess counseled her elemental servants. The true voice will live on, even as the echoes die.

And soon enough, a minute passed, as did Viktor Archeville's broadcasts. What remained of the Interceptors felt a cool breeze wash over their faces. Suddenly, they could hear faint traces of Archeville's voice, whispers carried on the wind.

"...find the witch...the vampire...and their abomination of a child...

"...insolence shall not go unpunished..."

"...cannot hope to defeat me..."

"...prune the weeds so the orchids may flourish..."

Thrude smiled like a shark and rose to her feet, the mithril plates and thick leathers covering her knees and feet scraping against the asphalt. She stared wide-eyed at the towering downtown skyline in the distance.

"Yes, my valiant draconic comrade! Follow me. Everyone, follow me, to victory, and vengeance!"

Chains of azure lightning appeared, writhing around her body. She bent her knees in a crouch, and then shot into the air like a rocket. Cracks appeared in the pavement, radiating out several meters in all directions from the point where she had stood. She flew east, toward the coast. Inside of five seconds, Thrude left a dozen miles of roaring thunder and shattered windows behind her.

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Ferros sighed as the goddess rocketed off into the skies of Freedom City. "Hey now, guess there's no stopping her!" He quickly trotted toward the Pitchoo. Hopping onto the stairs outside the ship, the mask he wore twisted into a smile as he addressed the ships green-clad pilot, "Mind if I tag along? With her charging in pel-mel, it may be best for the rest of us to remain as close to each other as possible, ya know? That way we don't get even more separated."

With one foot on the outer steps of the pitchoo, and one hand grasping a railing near the door he extended another hand toward Willow. "You coming?"

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He turned to look at Willow, "And nothing was ever solved by rushing off with a clouded mind, ya know? So, hey, let's take a moment, clear our heads, and figure this out."

"You do not understand."

Willow's mask of cold fury slipped; in the space of a heartbeat grief marred her angular features and she looked intensely vulnerable "The Abomination has warped my Heart, twisted it, corrupted it." The dryad's voice was still mingled with grief and she placed a curious emphasis on the word heart but as she spoke the mask reasserted itself, her voice taking on a steely edge.

With one foot on the outer steps of the pitchoo, and one hand grasping a railing near the door he extended another hand toward Willow. "You coming?"

"I will make my own way, human." Willow replied approaching the mighty oak that was in the Brownstone's backyard. The dryad had been listening to the voices of the wind, the flora of Freedom City finding the corrupted Doktor Archeville as much of anathema as she did. Now the whispers where telling her where to find the traitor. She glanced back at the Pitchoo, a tear rolled down her coppery cheek.

"And after I deal with the Abomination. I.. I will have to deal with..." The ancient guardian cut off abruptly with a fierce shake of her head and stepped into the tree.

Continued in "

ArchEvil: Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit," already in progress.

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