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General Malaise (IC)


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Hanover Zoo


Jerry Jones was a short, ugly man. And he knew it. He hit five foot six and then proceeded to grow outwards, in belly. His hair was lank and thin, and his face was wrong, somehow. He wore a permanent frown. 


Somehow, he still got along with his fellow zookeepers well enough. But they saw him as a distant, solitary, and sad man.


I..was born for more than this...he would tell himself every day as he dutifully did his rounds of the zoo. Somehow, children seemed to cheer him up when they squealed at the animals. He often took it upon himself to help them and explain to them about the exhibits. 




The tall, elderly man with piercing eyes entered the zoo quietly, and caught Jerrie's eye. Both seemed to recognise each other, but perhaps on an intuitive level rather than conscious one. 


The tall old man turned away and strutted into the reptile house...

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It was a beautiful day! The sun shone kindly down on glistening curls and dark skin, their owner having decided to leave his hat at home, and in his close and neat white shirt and jeans the handsome schoolboy cut a vibrant figure.

Strolling through the paths of Freedom City's premier zoo, Subito Sondo walked with long, energetic strides past the towering bird cages. The muscular Puerto Rican put a hand up over his right ear, wincing at the piercing screeches that rang out from the brilliantly-plumaged tropical birds. They were annoying enough for the regular Freedonians that chatted and laughed nearby, raising their voices to be heard over the avian cacophony, but for the supernaturally-empowered teen they cut through his head like daggers.


Quickly moving away from the shrieks and whoops and chatters, Subito's hazel eyes flicked around the wooded enclosures, outwardly looking like any other teenaged boy going to the zoo for the weekend. In reality he was on the look-out for trouble. His patron, the Blue Dame of Puerto Rico had appeared to him in a dream about mazes and islands that night, warning him that the Chains of Lemuria were going to cause more danger and ordering him to the Hanover Zoo to stand guard before giving him a very uncomfortable hug that wasn't helped by her ever-present azure armor.


His hand went to his brow to tug on a nonexistent hat and it took him a few seconds to realize his mistake. Sighing in irritation, he leaned back against a nearby fence, watching the broader zoo with a brief frown that soon melted into a warm and quiet smile. Drumming his fingers on the wood barrier he muttered "Today's a good day. Maybe nothin' too bad will happen?" 'Keep telling yourself that, Herald Meh, I bet I can deal with it! Would've been nice to bring Blodeu along... Such business as this? It would be best not to. Keep our work separate from hers, I trust her much less than you do. And no arguing! Let us keep watch'


Rolling his eyes and grinning at seemingly nothing Subito stretched his arms along it as he hoisted himself further up the fence, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready for action.

Edited by Arichamus
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Angus wasn't quite sure one her opinion on Zoo's. Whilst she appreciated there efforts in conservation she wasn't to keen on the idea of keeping animals in captivity.

So why was she at the Zoo today?

The answer was she wasn't quite sure, she'd just had this strange compulsion to be here today. She suspected that it was something to do with the Spirit of Justice, but she wasn't exactly telling Angus her option on this. Sometime she wished that she could converse with her the way that some National Spirits could, though she suspect her silence was deliberate. After all Justice shouldn't have it's own opinion...

Still why she was here she might as welll enjoy herself. So she wad currently wandering around aimlessey enjoying an Ice Cream.

Edited by TiffanyKorta
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"Hey! Ms. Stone, wait up!" rang out a boisterous voice behind her, along with the sound of pounding feet as Subito Sondo appeared next to her, his swarthy face shining with both the sun and sheer joy. Swinging his powerful arms up behind his head and resting it on his hands, he beamed up at her "color=#808000]Good to see you Agnus! You got a call from your spirit too? Uh," he winced suddenly and glanced away "er, sorry 'bout what happened on Thursday, at the studio. It won't happen again, I promise!" he added, looking back at the older woman with a winning smile, his eyes sparkling.


"How've you been Ms. Stone?"

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The tall man entered the Reptile house, turning his piercing eyes onto the displays there. 


He caught sight of the anaconda, sleepy in the heat, barely stirring. 


"Clever of you to keep your vermin here. Even if the fool is not aware of it" he said, coldly, to the snake, who flashed open its eyes. 


Gone were the normal slits of the snake. Instead, two all-too-human eyes peered from under the sleepy serpent's lids, which scrutinised the old man intently. 


"Yes, I know all about you. My life's study, you could say. You have grown, stronger than ever. It is fortunate indeed that my great great grandfather could stop you all those years ago. But, you were foolish to use a snake, were you not?" he smiled. 


A few minutes later...


There were screams, there was panic, and a herd of witless tourists ran from the reptile house in a blind panic. 


The reason for their distress was soon to be clear, as a giant anaconda creeped out from the building...

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When Agnus saw Subito she gave a little sigh of relief, whilst her spirit wouldn’t utter a single word Old Blue was quite chatty.

“Don’t worry about it, it wasn’t my best take anyhow.†she gave him a reassuring smile “Reminds me I’m planning to do a little ceremony next week to open the new upstairs studio, your off cause invited. And that plus one you’re always going on about, not just so I can meet her and Gail’s mysterious Stephanie...†she gave little half joking sly look.

So took a few lick’s of her Ice Cream before asking the really important question.

“So do you any idea of why we’re here? Cause I’d be buggered if i do.â€

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Heartened at Agnus' forgiveness, the sturdy boy returned her smile cheerfully. "Thanks Agnus! And I'm so gonna be there! I'll see if my girlfriend can come too." He colored slightly, but went on "She's great! She's really good at parties, knows a whole buncha stuff, and she's Welsh so you'll both have something to talk about!" his grin matched her slyness almost perfectly. A common topic the two spirit-bearers talked about at the studio were the islands they had grown up on. Subito had been pleasantly surprised how similar a lot of life was over in England!


Glancing at the ice cream cone, he opened his mouth to ask where she had gotten it when she went straight to the point. Frowning up at the sky for a moment the boisterous teen was very quiet.

'Can you tell me anything? Gimme a hint? No. The Chains will cause trouble again, and something will happen here. That is all I can say Fine, we'll deal with it. Thanks anyway Be strong my Herald. Good luck' Looking back over at Agnus he shrugged expressively "Somethin's gonna happen here 'cause of the Chains we got last year. She can't say anything else, of course." who 'she' was he left unsaid.


Rolling his eyes, Subito gave the lively zoo another once-over when a chorus of shrieks rang through the air, stopping him dead! Catching sight of the anaconda creeping out he barked "Giant snake on the loose! We gotta catch it!" pointing at the prodigious reptile and looking around for a good place to transform!




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“Great I’ve landed in a really bad Harry Potter reenactment. Luckily I speak Parseltongue.†she smiled at Subito at her little joke “Go get changed I’ll try to keep them busy for a bit.â€

With that she made her way towards the general commotion, making a good speed despite the heels she was wearing. Once she was near to the Reptile House she went for the simplest plan she could think off the Bavarian Fire Drill.

“Everyone if you could all just go this way we have people on there way to deal with the situation.â€

She put on her best authoritative voice, and she had plenty to choose from, and she confidently tired to funnel the people away from both the snake and where Subito was likely for sue to transform into his costume. She’d worry about her own clothes once he was on the scene.

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The snake, with its horrible, human, and huge brown eyes turned them to Young Brittania. Its forked tongue and hard mouth could not form words, just hiss, although one would get the distinct impression that the snake would have liked to speak, given how its hiss sang and broke. 


It seemed more than a beast. It seemed possessed by an intelligence. 


The screams did not stop of course, just intensify. Screams and cries, and in particular from one little child, separated from her parents, her own brown eyes wide at the snake, a tear running down her cheek, and an empty ice cream cone - the previous contents of which had been spilled down her dress. 

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"Watch out for skinny guys with glasses! And leave some of that thing for me!" the powerfully-built teen called after the singer, grinning despite the dangers. Doing hero stuff with Agnus was never boring.


Hurriedly shaking that from his mind and focusing on getting to cover, Subito dashed over to a small alcove in the hardened plastic wall, putting a hand over his heart and breathing "O Dama Azul, I need your strength..." 'You shall have it. Go forth and bring Victory!' a faint glow sparked to life in Subito's grip, suddenly unleashing a blazing flash of golden light that covered his body and then was gone, leaving in its wake El Heraldo!


Launching out of his hiding place, the patriotic paragon zoomed through the air, quickly taking in the sight just below him: Miss Stone helping keep people going away from the loose snake, the gigantic lizard itself unfolding from the reptile room with a strangely malicious air, the little girl right in its path and-


'Oh crap! Gotta get her out of there before I do anything else!' quickly changing course, Heraldo dove out of the sky, landing next to the girl and quickly hoisting her up into his arms. Smiling encouragingly at her, he said "Do not worry, brave senórita! I'll get you to your parents quick as a flash." The young man glanced over at the oncoming lizard, tensing himself to shield his cargo in case the monster tried to attack.

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The Giant snake, now sixty feet long, paid no attention to El Heraldo's words and premature reassurances - if it could hear them at all. Instead, the ton of snake flesh launched itself at the young man, its flesh coiling and squeezing after it had slammed into the man. 


The Eyes, now garguatuan, remained brown and human, at this size, El Heraldo could pick out every fleck in the iris, every red line of artery in the corner. It almost seemed to gloat. And...remember...eyes widening as it saw El Heraldo. 


This did not stop the coils crushing and skin tightening. 


It did not stop the little girl, in El Heraldo's arms, screaming in abject terror. A piercing wail that hit all ears for hundreds of yards. 



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The patriotic paragon jolted with horror at what he saw in the snake's eyes. For a moment he was frozen, stupidly letting the monster make the first move and get its coils wrapped securely around his body, only an automatic reaction letting him get the incredibly loud girl to what was, for now, safety. His powerful free arm busy supporting the screaming child, El Heraldo clenched his teeth and narrowed his eyes as her terrified shrieks went through his head like knives. 'Can't really blame you for being scared, kid' he thought grimly, glariing defiance at the snake that gripped him in coils like iron 'But it's still super-annoying!''


Aloud he bellowed "Yeah, that's right! Fight me like a lizard! Leave the girl alone, buster, you'll have to get through me first!"


'Yes! And a certain dashingly patriotic comrade! She can't hear you ...It might be a he, you know! Seriously?!You pick that to argue about? '


Then the iron coils tightened. All at once the breath was crushed out of El Heraldo's powerful lungs, his ribs creaked dangerously and his eyes bugged out in pain and the sheer force crushing him to death.

Edited by Arichamus
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Agnus took the opportunity to final view the creature they were facing, with a sinking feeling of recognition. But then again she had many lifetime of experience to see such strange and unusual things. It was also a chance to see if anyone was paying her any attention.

Seeing that everyone attention was, sensibly, focus on the monster she started up her aura building up it’s brightness more rapidly than she normally would. After moving around a little to give Subito some cover gave a blinding flash of light from her aura. As she did that she summoned forth her costume from whatever dimension it resided.

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Forcing himself a little out of the crushing bonds, El Heraldo took a breath that went through his lungs like a bag of razors and shouted "Hail Young Britannia! I am...graaaghhh..." he squeezed his eyes shut as the snake's muscles squeezed him even harder and stars burst behind them, but his empowered muscles and bone held fast, and taking another gasp of air he said tightly "We...will defeat this thing. We will...rescue everyone here. Let us join our shields, Britannia! For Justice will Prevail!" he shouted, eyes blazing gold and a cry like one from a thousand throats ringing in the ears of the two national spirit-bearers. They felt a flood of energy, of power course through them as the Spirit of Victory lent them their might!

"You're finished now, snakey! Young Britannia and me have got you beat!"

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The young girl, held safe in the arms of El Heraldo, was crying and wailing, paralysed with fear. El Heraldo could feel the remnants of cold ice cream trickle from her cone onto his resplendent uniform. 


The snake continued to constrict, all sixty foot and several tons of muscle conspiring to crush El Heraldo to a pulp. Its head circled, and it peered into El Heraldo's with those big, brown, and very human eyes. 


They seemed familiar...


In an intuitive flash. El Heraldo mentioned them. Eyes he had gazed into with deepest passion, in an age away, in a swamp that was not quite of this world. 


The unnamed swamp queen. The mistress of malaise...

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Floating up until she was at least head height above everyone her aura beginning to recharge after it’s burst. Right now she figure the best idea was the attract it’s attention so Subito could get the kid to safety.

“Oi Snake face! Up here.â€

To make the point she aimed a burst of light towards the thing, being extra careful not to hit Subito.

“I don’t suppose you’d surrender quietly and go back to your own little Vivarium? I’m sure your keepers have a nice rat for you to snack up for a week or so...â€

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The mighty lizard thrashed madly as Young Britannia's blast of light seared its hide and eyes, the iron coils working themselves just loose enough for El Heraldo to slip out from its grip!


Swooping into the air he clutched at his aching chest and side, wincing as pain lanced through him with every breath he took. Through a squinted eye he caught sight of the teary-eyed girl still held firmly in his right arm, and with a quick move held her closer, whispering "I'm sorry, you're alright now. We both are. I'll take you t'your family"


Turning around he called up to the glowing woman in the Union Jack "Thanks a lot, Why-Bee! This snake seems to be somebody we've met before, its got the same eyes as that foul mistress of the mere, the otherworldly Maiden of the Marsh, the fiendish Madame Malaise!" he grinned despite the crushing agony, the bright-faced young boy glad for the chance to say that. "Be right back!" he added as he flew like a golden comet in search of the girl's parents.


It didn't take long, the Freedonians had gathered a more or less safe distance from the fight, held back by security staff and calling, taking pictures and cheering on the heroes as they battled the snake. As he flew over the crowd El Heraldo heard a scream of "Oh my God! Carl, that's Jessie!" the lady shouting it easy to make out, and dropping down the young paragon quickly handed over the girl, saying "Think nothing of it! I was glad to help, and she was very brave for such a young lady. Be free, citizens!" he shouted as he swooped back for the battle, followed by a chorus of cheers!



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Agnus at first look surprised as her attack hit and then relieved when it let Subito and the little girl go free. Well today it seemed luck was on there side, let’s just hope the luck holds.

“Well you know it was nothing really I just did this.â€

She threw towards the creature another blast of light, then her brain caught up with what he’d just claimed. Guess there luck wasn’t going to hold as long as she’d hope.

“Right, I’ll try to keep her busy it might be best if you move the crowd back a little. Especially after what happened the last time we met her...â€

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With the child safe and the reveal that the creature might have something to do with Madame Malaise Agnus felt that she could let loose one the beast. Whilst she normally liked to stay at a distance and fire bolt of light at enemies there was something to be said about just hitting things.

So picking up a little speed by flying towards the creature she hit it with all the force she could muster. Hitting the serpent with a satisfactory solid blow.

“I really wish you’d crawl back to your swamp and stay there.â€

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“Right, I’ll try to keep her busy it might be best if you move the crowd back a little. Especially after what happened the last time we met her...â€

Twisting around in mid-flight El Heraldo bellowed at the crowd "Stay back! Keep away from the fight Freedonians! There's a risk to your very mind!"


Landing next to the snake just as Young Britannia's fist slammed into the mighty beast, he ducked out of the way just as it lashed out with its tail to try and grab him. "Nice moves Why-Bee!" the boy added with a pained grin at the woman, wincing openly as the agony in his ribs burned at the sudden motion. Clutching his chest he glared vengefully at Madame Malaise's minion. "Hey Malaise! You remember me? Well I remember you! I got this for ya!" he shouted angrily, his hand shimmering with gold light as he drew it back, power coursing through his arm as he struck the serpent's body with a mighty punch!

Edited by Arichamus
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The Snake paused, its head reeling from the battering it had received from the two superhero's. 


And then, it blinked. 


When it opened its eyes, gone were the brown human eyes (swollen to a good foot across) and in its place, the dark sinister slit of a regular serpent. Granted, that serpent was still over sixty feet long and weighed a ton, but the eyes and influence of the Swamp Queen were no longer present in its small - well, now large - head. 


It hissed, its tongue extending a good few feet ahead of it, and shifted its head left and right, to clear cobwebs and to make an instinctual guess about which of the heroes to crush in its mighty coils. Or at least, which one it would try to...

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As well as seeing the eye return to normal Agnus could almost sense Malaise retreating, which changed the situation completely.

“It’s no longer a threat it’s now just a confused possible angry animal, keep everyone back I’m going to try a calm it down.â€

Agnus had never gone through the cute furry animal stage singing had always been her goal and she’d had no dreams of being a vet. She got one fine with animal but normally she didn’t know the correct way to deal with them. Luckily for them both of them some of Young Britannia’s past lives had much more experience with animals.

She dropped to the ground and crouched down in front of the creature, her protective aura dialed right down, she dropped her voice into a quiet calm manner. And just because she couldn’t resist she added a hint of an Aussie Accent.

“It alright there little fella, we don’t mean you any harm...â€

Carefully she tried to move the snake back towards it’s home.

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The snake gazed at Young Brittania with big ponderous eyes, hissing once, and then twice, and then folding up in a confused manner. Large as it was, it had crumpled a few scales and bruised and swollen bumps had flowered on its enormous length. It was hurt. 


And didn't much fancy further punishment. 


The screams hadn't stopped, of course. There was even a distant sound of sirens that the miraculous hearing of El Heraldo picked up. 


Along with the cries. 


For some reason, the dashing crowds had been funnelled into one exit point, were they were making a good job of stampeding into a tiny place, crushing themselves in the process...

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"Aw yeah! Who else-agh!" Heraldo had pumped his fist enthusiastically and instantly regretted it, clutching his side and grimacing in pain. Forcing that aside the well-built boy grinned and slapped Young Britannia on her tri-colored back "Great job, Why Be! I don't think i'd have been able to do that. You work as a vet once or some-" suddenly he trailed off, eyes growing distant as he caught the distant sirens mingled with cries of terror. Whipping around the Hispanic teen saw the near stampede for the exit, their cheering crowd a panicking mass!

There was no time to lose. Almost before he realized it El Heraldo was placing the Banner over his heart, willing its healing might into the young paragon's bruised and battered body, filling himself with renewed vigor as he said quickly "Young Britannia, I'm going to stop that crush at the exit. There might be more people who've been hurt so I'll need your power to help heal them. But first, we need to get that snakey back to the reptile house." with a sharp clack the Banner struck the hard asphalt, golden power sealing his wounds and healing the crushes he'd got from the snake.

Bending for a moment he added "I'll see you there!" and then shot off into the air, racing over the animal pens in a flash and dropping into the middle of the howling, desperate Freedonians. Raising the Banner high and turning the flag a deep blue he shouted "People of Freedom! Be at peace!" as he spoke the flag bathed the crowd in quiet and tranquility, their minds suddenly clear as crystal!

Edited by Arichamus
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The Head Zookeper, a man called Willis, approached El Heraldo. He was an old African-American, with a well groomed white moustache and flecks of white hair stubbornly growing from a receding hairline. He had a fat, friendly face, and a fat, friendly stomach. 


"Hey there, hero!" he said, smiling broadly with an infectious grin at the young man. 


"Thanks for saving our skins. That there snake was bad enough, but I dare say more people would have been crushed right here..." he shook his head. 


"I don't know why we did that! It just seemed...so logical at the time..." he muttered, unhappily as he surveyed the crush. There were plenty of bruises but no broken bones. 


"Damned if I know what happened. They probably drag me over the coals for that. Been running this zoo for twenty years, and now this. What an end to a career..." he lamented. 


"Theres probably gonna be all sorts of questions. I better take your name and number, and your girlfriends. If you can spare a bit of time tomorrow, I'm probably gonna need you to help clear up what happened here!"

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