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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The day was ending in Liberty Park. The sun was setting. The air was the right mix of warm and cool here no one was uncomfortable. Everyone was happy. Especially happy since the Hanover Zoo was showing off some exotic baby animals of the Australian type! Koalas and kangaroos! Platypi and Tazmanian devils! Dingoes and wombats! All of them were so very cute and tiny. You could even pet them! Though there was evil afoot on this evening. Something not so cute and tiny. No one saw it coming, but from out of nowhere, giant feline beasts roared off in the distance. The citizens saw this and were sore afraid! Some fled, others could not as they were terrified of the charging savage animals!

Luckily for the people, this happened to be Freedom City. You can't go anywhere without a hero in the distance. And as such, three heroes were in the area.

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It's Tuesday, so this must be Belgium, Jay Xavier thought. Or at least Parkside, anyway. Jubatus wasn't fast enough to cover the entire city in one evening, so he made a point of starting each of his patrols in a different area, and Parkside was tonight's lucky winner. As well, he made sure never to begin at the same time twice in a row—no sense in being overly predictable about these things. So it was that a few minutes before sundown, Xavier parked his SUV-cum-mobile home not far from the intersection of Allen and 66th… and blurred into action.

Two duct-tape-ensnared muggers later, Jubatus noticed a weird subsonic vibration in his bones. He downshifted to the normal tempo of 1, and the vibration doppler-shifted up into audibility, resolving itself to the roars of some sort of bizarre animals! Huh. That doesn't sound much like any of the usual suspects, lions or tigers. Better check it out, just in case it's a shiny new biological weapon; logical place to start is the Aussie Baby exhibit at Liberty Park. So resolved, the fastest cat alive upshifted and ran towards that target…

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Marceau Suvou had been hearing rumors about this exhibit for a couple of months now, and had been eagerly anticipating it nearly every week since. Animals from far-off alnds were dear to his heart, as they recalled his happy days traveling the world with his mother and father many years ago.

Leaning on the enclosure, the tall, red coverall-clad Frenchman smiled fondly down at the scampering young dingos on the sanded floor, watching their bright and curious eyes dart around along with their tails at the milling crowd around them. He knew by reputation that dingos were vicious predators, but the sight of the gamboling pups warmed his heart all the same.

He had just finished his day shift(the accountants were even more horribly filthy in their habits than usual), and was preapring himself for the long night of crime-fighting ahead by socializing with the people he defended, always pleasant. He turned to wander away into the crowd again when the echoing roar reached his ears. Initially frozen in place, he sprang into action, leaping behind a squad of porta-johns to discard his coveralls, pulled on his cowl, flared his cape, and firing his grapple gun at a convenient tree, quickly hoisted himself into a better vantage point.

Frowning at the giant mutated cats(What? I...what?) that stormed into view, he began planning his next move, slid a shock rod from its sheathe in his belt, looked at it, then at the cat, and cringed.

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Alicia Moore was quite curious about the animal exhibit of Australian baby animals. She had heard so many scary stories about Australian wildlife, but these things were just cute little things. Though it was getting late, she would soon have to retire to her home in the Theatre District after a while and do her heroic duty of patroling her turf for the night until she got tired. She tried not to make too much of a scene. People in Freedom City were mostly acustom to strange power types, though she got a few looks and questions.

She talked with the people, but mainly tried to enjoy the animals being showed off. Her favorite was the little Tasmanian devils. They were a scrappy type nocturnal creature and were just waking up. Though the animals got spooked after the roar, the devils roared back at their oppressors. Alicia turned to see what was the commotion. It was six very large feline creatures. If she were to guess they looked like prehistoric cross between lions and tigers. Luckily they were a ways away, she had time to intercept them.

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Big damn kitties, Jubatus thought to himself. Not sure what species, but they sure look like they could be a prehistoric breed—time-travel? genetically engineered? Whatever. Fine: Let's see if duct tape can hold 'em. With that, the fastest cat alive extracted a roll of 4-inch-wide tape from his vest as he sped directly towards the frontmost cat-thing. Operating at his standard superheroic tempo of 40 times faster than normal, Jubatus had little difficulty ensnaring his target; first taping its forelegs together, then its hindlegs, then taping fore- to hind-legs, and finally sealing its muzzle closed with a few deft loops of tape. Then he zipped back a couple dozen feet away, well out of range of the cat-things claws in case the duct-tape wasn't strong enough to hold the beast, and downshifted to observe the cat-thing's reaction…

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Twirling the electric charge-carrying weapon between three fingers, the King of Suit's careful debate how to approach the issue was resolved when a black-and-yellow streak flashed by, and the familiar figure of the Fastest Cat Alive, Jubatus, deftly entangled the enormous enemy cat in a flurry of taped limbs. Glad to see he's still in this business! I hope we get a chance to talk a little once this is dealt with... Marceau gave a sigh of relief and leaped from his perch in the tree, hitting the ground running and whipping out a card signed with the 9 of Diamonds from the bulky, pouch-filled belt he bore around his waist charged at the huge mutated cat, slinging it with a mighty arm-

-into the air several feet to the right of the thing's head. Drat he thought with evident discomfort what a way to start this off. Ah well, he took out a darker card, this one marked with the suit of Clubs "I must try again."

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Heroes, Alicia thought with a big smile, it's time to go to work. Taking off into the air, Butterfly flew over the herd of feline beasts, her wings wafting a pleasant ssweet smell as she did so. When she got directly over the pack, she licked the tip of her pointer finger and stuck it in the air as if to judge the wind. She couldn't get a bead on it so she shrugged and began to flap her wings. This smell though was not sweet. it was more of a grassy type smell with a hint of morning dew. Tiny spores rained down on the felines. Urging to make them fatigued. Though it didn't work. Those damn cats were too wiry and avoided it all.

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The feline beasts were not happy with the welcoming committee the recieved. The were surrounded on all sides by attackers. They were given specific orders. They didn't know there would be opposition! So they responded the only way they knew how, pack tactics. Two of them rusheshe towards Jubatus, two of them rushed towards King of Suits and two leaped up at Butterfly. The two rushing King of Suits almost miss him, one goes low and the oter goes high. The one going low lands the blow. The two rushing Jubatus offer no tricks, just trying to take him down.Where one misses the other gets in a suprise attack! Finally two try to jump up at Butterfly but go wide.

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Well, what do you know: The duct tape held, Jubatus thought to himself as he watched the taped-up cat-thing fail to free itself from its adhesive bonds. Then a surprise: A butterfly-winged person flew overhead, dropping clouds of some sort of… interesting-smelling dust… on the cat-things. Jube felt the beginnings of a buzz in the back of his skull. Mmmm… potent stuff… even at this range… or is it just my nose?

Thoroughly distracted by the effects of even a trace quantity of the mysterious dust, the Fastest Cat Alive utterly failed to notice the two cat-things that crept up on him, wanting to chew on his face. Think I'd better… move further ou— "—wwrroowwrrl!!" he snarled as one of the cat-things slashed at him.

Adrenaline blew the cobwebs out of Jube's brain; he put some distance between himself and the two cat-things that sought to play with him…

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The red and black vigilante stared in shock as the giant monsters barred towards him, his focus on the one moving roughly towards his head. Just managing to duck under its' swinging claws in the nick of time, he glanced behind himself for a fatal moment before turning to see the one aiming for his torso the split second before it struck. They're fas- "Argh!" yelled the King of Suits, clutching his side where the massive paw had hit him, slamming into the ground hard enough to knock what little wind was left in his lungs, waves of sharp pain emanating from the long red tears in his body armor. Panting heavily to try and fill his lungs with air, the young man stared dazedly at the blurred winged creature above Who...what is that? The one in charge of those things? he wondered, the vague memory of seeing here toss some kind of dust into the midst of the tremendous cats making him instantly suspicious. Don't know know yet he reminded himself sternly they could be..rurrgh..just be trying to help. Wait until I can stand before getting suspicious of them, don't know anything yet...

He hoped Jubatus was having a better time of it than he was.

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That didn't go as planned, Butterfly thought, these cats are just too wiry for me. But I can't give up. What if they're here for a reason? These can't be for the exhibit. Too dangerous! While she was thinking to herself she was gathering spores, looking not unlike a child making a snow angels with her arms, trying to not accidentally breath in the concoction herself, This will have to do. I really need to start carrying that sword around with me more. The spores she used would regularly mess with people's head, but in high doses it would nauseate them. These cats were about to get some serious catnip! She swooped down and tagged one of the cats that tried to jump on her and then flew upwards again so they couldn't reach her.

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The feline beasts that attacked Jubatus wanted to give him chase, but they were here on a mission. It was instinctual to stick with the pack. One ran to the two crowding around King of Suits as they continue to try to maul him and makes its own attack. 'Try' being the operative word. All three flail at the dazed King, but even in lucidness he keeps his agile reflexes! The other one runs over to the ones under Butterfly, they are not attacking, but prowling, seemingly waiting for her to come down.

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Jubatus' head cleared when he left the 'blast radius' of the big bug's dust, but he stayed away for a few clock-seconds more, just to give his turbo-charged metabolism more time to burn off the last vestiges of… whatever that dust might be. He wasn't sure who the butterfly-winged woman was, but given the meager data he had to work with, he provisionally concluded that she was (a) probably a hero-type, and (B) only recently come into her powers.

The cat-things were still up and moving, no great surprise. Fine: Obvious move was to zip in and duct-tape up a second über-kitty.

Okay, hold my breath to avoid a second dose of dust, and pay attention so I don't get blindsided by another claw-swipe, and—oh damn! For this second cat-thing had somehow managed to free one foreleg from Jube's duct-tape snare before he could tape either of its hindlegs to its forelegs.

In other words, Jube had failed.

Damn! That'll teach me to divide my attention. He zipped back beyond the reach of über-kitty's claws, and spared a moment to scan the area to see where everyone was…

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With a grunt of exertion, the King of Suits clambered to his feet, the ache in his side receding a little, enough to let him stand at least. Glancing at the battlefield he shrugged at the sight of the giant monster cats still running around the fairground and animal enclosures. Well, can't expect these things to end quickly, they need to be worked at he reminded himself briskly.

Quickly catching sight of one massive feline in perfect range of his throwing arm, he seized a card from his belt ornamented with the suit of Diamonds, made a small cut in the body with a razor card, and drawing back his arm with care threw it with impeccable precision straight into its enormous face, just halfway between the eyes and nose of the beast. "Take that!" he called out, his long legs carrying him several yards away from it so he could get into a good defensive position.

He glanced at the winged woman flying close enough to touch one of the massive cats, wincing as he saw her do so. "Braver than I am" he muttered to himself as he watched her soar again into the air, before quickly turning his attention back to more earthbound matters. I need a plan, but what...?

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Butterfly looked down at the people moving around. One was quicker than the eye could see when moving. She held the charge of spores on her arms and swooped down again. The cat she hit rolled over with sickness and couldn't do anything but yowl helplessly! Though the other cat's were ready to pounce when she came down. They both worked together, snatching her out of the air and pinning her to the ground. There was no way for her to even react to the readied beasts, they were just too quick! She struggled but even that was no use! She yelled a curse in protest.

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The feline beasts that grabbed Butterfly were quick in their work clawing and biting at the young heroine. Without her mobility she was a sitting duck. The first one knocked her in the head, with a massive mighty paw. The second one ripped into her abdomen. She felt a slight sting before going unconcious. The other three were focused on King of Suits. After taking out one of their own with a flash, the two looked two each other knowingly. One ran after King of Suits and missed! The other ran after Jubatus and nearly tripped over it's own feet!

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Oh, great. Little Miss Bug-Wings got herself clawed -- twice, yet! I just hope this was bad luck and not incompetence, Jubatus thought to himself. Well, whether she was lacking in fortune or finesse, Butterfly Wings didn't deserve to get eaten alive -- and the über-kitties were still a goodly distance away from any civilians, thank Bast.

The Fastest Cat Alive blurred up to the winged woman; picked her up, taking care not to put any unnatural stresses on her joints (a harder task than one might think, given that Jube was operating at a tempo 40 times faster than the woman); and blurred off to a few hundred feet away. Then he laid the woman down, extracted bandages and disinfectant and surgical-grade superglue from his vest, and began to perform first aid on her. Damnit, that torso wound doesn't look good… hope that's just an illusion caused by the bleeding…

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The King of Suits watched in silent awe as Jubatus neatly raced over to the fallen winged woman, picked her and was gone in a blur of yellow and black. Saluting his ally's efficacy, he examined his options.

These creatures are quite sturdy he thought, glancing with a worried eye at the massive beasts still prowling around them I will not be able to knock them out easily, it will take a group effort. whipping a bulkier than normal smoke card from his belt, he tossed it in the air twice, seized it between his thumb and forefinger and threw it onto the ground following it with a razor card that let the chemicals inside start attaching to the air molecules. In moments a thick harmless smoke field was rolling over the fair grounds, completely concealing the three heroes from the eyes and ears of the giant cats.

Dashing several yards from his original position, the King of Suits prepared himself for the inevitable counter-attack. Wait... his head whipped up with a look of deep concern ...aren't cats very good at smelling things out?

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Jubatus filled his 150-hour-long days with reading anything that caught his fancy. He knew very well that this was in no way a true substitute for specialized training in a technical field; when it came to medical expertise, however, his voluminous, voracious autodidacticism had made him at least two or three cuts above the average man in the street. So it was that the Fastest Cat Alive actually managed to do a reasonable job of performing advanced First Aid on the injured Butterfly—even to the extent of helping her regain consciousness—within a small number of clock-seconds.

"Hi there," he said to the winged woman. "I'm Jubatus, and I patched you up a little. How are you feeling?"

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