Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Jan 6, 2016. Freedom City. Lincoln. Corner of 24th and K. 2:15 AM.

 

This building used to be a hotel, years ago. It’d been refurbished into low income apartments in the 80s. Since then it had changed hands a few times, as each owner either gradually realized it was a big money loser or just went bankrupt. The last owner couldn’t afford to make any improvements, and the one before didn’t care enough to bother. It wasn’t condemned, but it was closed by the city health department. Currently it was empty. Or it was supposed to be. There was a new owner. Her name was Kerri “The Dragon Saint” McDougal. Anyone who knew the street gang and/or organized crime scenes knew who she was. An up and coming leader of a gang called named after her. The Dragon Saints were…insane. They’d battled rival gangs and various organized crime families up and down the East Coast, rattling the old order. It was a wonder the Raven or someone else hadn’t stepped in yet.

 

Then again…the sheer outrageousness of the stories was likely working in their favor. Firefights while falling from an airliner? Dueling helicopters? Were those…hoverbikes? Then there was the merchandising and media savvy that made it seems like the worst of the exploits were just Photoshopped movie shoots and made internet stars out of the core Dragon Saints members. Next was the resulting cash building a wall of lawyers between the core members and law enforcement. Finally was the fact that they’d wisely stayed out of Freedom. Until now. A series of daring robberies in their signature over the top style had marked the arrival of the Dragon Saints to Freedom City. Tonight, Kerri was in town, with a number of old hands in tow. The latest chapter of the franchise was getting started. It was up to some heroes to put a stop to it.

 

Share this post


Link to post

Bundled in a heavy workcoat, breath freezing in the air, an old Hispanic man made his way along the sidewalk.  The late hour had begun to wear on him, clouding his blue eyes, and his trimmed mustache ruffled in annoyance.  He'd been walking through Lincoln for hours now, since before midnight, without any luck.  Pretty soon he'd have to turn around and find a cab back to Midtown, if he wanted to get any sleep at all.  At this point he'd settle for almost anything.  Armed robbery, mugging, drug deal, littering...

 

Any potential criminals must be smart enough to stay inside where it's warm, Tristan thought bitterly.  He pulled his coat tighter with a shiver.  This would be so much easier if I knew the boundaries of the city's gang territories.  Trial and error like this is for amateurs.  Which he had to admit was an appropriate title. 

 

I should buy a police scanner.  Or hire people to dress expensively and walk up and down the street as bait. 

Share this post


Link to post

PC

 

Terrifica was in Lincoln tracking the Dragon Saints. The records of the building’s sale were well disguised, but she’d managed to track them down. The plan for the evening was simply a little spying to see what they were up to. She wasn’t stupid enough to challenge a few dozen thugs and their leaders to a fight without good, life saving reasons. And even then she might hold off if the takedown of the entire gang structure was in sight. As precious as individual lives were, she would not permit the loss of one (emphasis on the one) derail weeks or months worth of work. The needs of the many were more important than the needs of the few. Or the one. She smirked slightly as she brought the Terrifi-cycle to a stop a block away from the building. She had work to do, and she always enjoyed her work.

 

GM

 

Fortunately, Tristan did not have to wait much longer. He’d just crossed the street and now was almost in front of the former apartment complex and hotel. A few men of indeterminate ethnicities but very similar themed apparel took exception to his approach. Their clothing was predominantly purple and white, with a red dragon on a black background prominently displayed. “Hey, old man. Sorry to say, but this sidewalk’s closed.” There was absolutely nothing visibly wrong with the pavement behind them. “Unless you want to pay the price for crossing us.” The speaker shoved Tristan back a few paces. “That’s the deal. Get lost, or get something upside your head.”

Share this post


Link to post

Tristan lifted his tanned, wrinkled hands in pleading submission, his expression a little frightened.  He shuffled backward, not taking his eyes off the men for a few paces, then turned and hurried across the street.  Looking for somewhere nice and dark and isolated...

 

Down the block, he moved at a fast walk, found a promising alley, and turned down it.  Tristan stashed his clothes, mid-change, behind a Dumpster, shivering as much from excitement as the cold.  The latter, he soon couldn't feel at all.  The former rose to a crescendo, mimicking his new height.  Almost every bone broke, lengthened, and reformed larger and stronger--some multiple times.  Pain would've driven him into immediate shock, were his nervous system not also transitioning, as well as his immense pain tolerance in this body.  Hair follicles morphed and rose to the surface of his skin, spreading out, turning into thick, overlapping scales.  Tristan opened his mouth as his jaw shuddered forward to become a snout; his teeth elongated and sharpened.  Muscle strands not just swelled, but multiplied, now a mathematically-calculated blend of fast and slow twitch for both massive endurance and inhuman strength.  He felt the raw power rush through him, a heady sense of invulnerability and joy. 

 

It took so little time, far less than a minute, yet the product of over a decade of research.  The satisfaction of such a long-awaited payoff--Tristan wanted this well before he started to notice girls, or cars, or money--still left him momentarily stunned, though this wasn't his first outing.  He wanted to throw his head back and roar loudly enough to wake all of Lincoln, draw them from their beds to witness the majesty of his knowledge.

 

But Leviathan merely allowed himself a chuckle designed for his regular voice, much deeper now and all the creepier for that discrepancy.  This was going to be so much fun.

 

Back he went, stomping heavily, scaly feet rasping against the concrete.  Each breath was a great pale cloud of steam now; they marked his passage like his own contrail.  The huge lizard-man felt himself smiling, tried to suppress it, and then let it go.  With all those sharp, white teeth stretching out across his face, Leviathan supposed that his grin wouldn't harm his image too badly. 

 

He rounded the last corner to the hotel and stopped.  In no possible world could he sneak up on an entire group, not unless they were drugged, sensory-handicapped, or outright dead, so he didn't bother to try.  Instead, Leviathan just stood in place and smiled that terrible smile, waiting to be spotted. 

 

You have to give them a chance to surrender first.  It's only fair. 

Edited by Blarghy

Share this post


Link to post

GM

 

The men were not impressed. This was Freedom City, after all. Freaks popped out of the woodwork all the time. Still, this guy looked mean. They should take him out. A dead monster in Lincoln? Cops didn’t look too close into human deaths around here. Nobody else would look twice. “Think you’re gonna muscle in on our new turf, punk? Think again.” All three pulled guns and fired.

 

PC

 

Terrifica would’ve intervened if the old man had persisted. No sense letting someone get hurt that didn’t need to. However, he quickly departed and she would’ve gotten on with her evening…except a monster showed up. She didn’t know the creature’s name, of course. However there had been a new creature beating criminals senseless lately. This could be interesting. It was quite likely that this was it. Judging by its displayed resiliency and regenerative capabilities, a few thugs with guns would very likely be no match for it. And if not, she was literally right here.

Share this post


Link to post

Leviathan didn't take it too hard when they failed to run away.  Now he didn't have to chase them.  His smile drooped slightly, however, when none of the shots impacted. He looked left and right, mildly surprised, then tilted his triangular head down toward his torso, and finally back up at the trio.

 

"You shouldn't play with guns," he told them like deep, rolling thunder.  "Somebody might get hurt."

 

And he launched himself at the men far faster than something of his size should've been able to move.

 

The lab-born scenarios in his muscle memory flashed to life.  Tristan spent hundreds of hours just studying alone, copying videos of large heroes and villains alike in action, practicing them slowly and painstakingly with sensors hooked to his body.  Building habit the old-fashioned way--who had time for that?  After he could manage the basic motions, he ingrained their extended, faster, full-force versions directly into his neurons and muscle fibers.  Cheap, perhaps.  Effective, certainly.

 

The first thug in his path, he hit with a casual swipe of his open hand, hard enough to toss the poor, fragile human to the sidewalk.  Leviathan's other fist came up curled and, with deceptively light effort, smashed against the next man's chest.  That huge fist was big enough to reach from one pectoral to the other and brought the force of a car crash, plenty to throw him against the face of the building he'd meant to safeguard.  Last, Leviathan's first hand came back around and impacted the third gunman's weapon arm, then the ribs beyond it.  All would probably fracture as he went flying. 

 

It happened so fast, but Leviathan still basked in the glee of success; he hadn't been at this business long enough for regular gang members to bore him.  He chuckled again and couldn't resist a cliche brag.  "Hope you have insurance."

Share this post


Link to post

GM

 

All three gang members were down and out, but the short “fight” had made a bit of noise. Another member poked his head out, saw what had happened and shouted for help. A small crowd poured out of the old hotel complex, armed to the teeth. “Who the hell do you think you is, beatin’ up Dragon Saints?” “We goin’ get you for this!” And etcetera. These men and women weren’t armed merely with light pistols. Some sported heavier pistols, shotguns, or even automatic weapons like submachine guns and assault rifles. It appeared better weaponry indicated higher status, as those with better weapons also were wearing better armor than mere clothing. Armor decorated in the same colors as the defeated persons’ clothing, complete with insignia.

Share this post


Link to post

PC

 

Terrifica was correct, as usual. The creature plowed through those three so quickly it was…disturbing, actually. It may have used a little too much force, in her opinion. However, she was not a super strong large…were those scales? Scaly creature, then. And then more of the Dragon Saints came out. Quite a few more. Twenty five, by her count. She was sure he could handle it, but…a hero wouldn’t do that. And as much as she didn’t actually feel like one, she was a professional superhero. In that case…she swung one leg and got off the Terrifi-cycle. Walking towards the situation, she spoke loud enough for everyone to hear. “Now, now, children. Your prejudice is showing. You never know. Tomorrow you could be the one with scales half of Lincoln is trying to shoot.” Her longcoat swished around her legs as she arrived. She took the Terrifi-Staff off of her belt and shook it open. “Now, shall we get started? I could use the exercise.” She smirked mockingly.

Share this post


Link to post

The flood of new gangsters made Leviathan's eyes light up.  I thought Christmas was over.  He assumed, when he ran into the first three thugs, that they were just guarding a random edge of their territory.  This many of them implied that he'd instead found an actual base.  He'd be able to deal a real blow to the gang as a whole, and of course, enjoy himself immensely in the process. 

 

"Only if you can aim better than your friends," he growled at the threats.  Before he could take further action, noise behind him turned his head.  Terrifica made his jaws open slightly; if his expression was intrigued after seeing a large group of criminals to play with, then the sight of a real hero brought a moment of childlike wonder to his face.  He tried to mask it, struggled to say something suave, failed, and settled for a deep rumble of vague agreement, low in his throat.  Two dozen rounds of gunfire drowned out any possible comments anyway--yet once again failed to hit him.  Leviathan snorted in mild disbelief, tore his eyes away from Terrifica's work, and settled his rectangular pupils on the thugs with the shotguns. 

 

"Guess not," was their only warning before he shot toward them, both arms swinging at everyone in reach. 

Share this post


Link to post

PC

 

The rifle toting thugs had remarkable poor aim. Fortunately there were no bystanders to be injured tonight.  Terrifica took two steps and pinballed through the thugs with regular pistols. One got a shot to the temple that splayed limbs over concrete. Another caught one right on the point of the jaw and flew into the street. A third got a hit to the back of the head and folded bonelessly to the ground. The fourth was tripped so hard by a leg blow he landed on his head and promptly stopped moving. The last was about to run…but didn’t count on the enhanced range of the staff. The initial hit itself wasn’t strong enough to KO him, but it did bounce him off a nearby lightpole, which did the trick. “Is that all? That wasn’t even enough to warm up with.”

Share this post


Link to post

After cheerfully thrashing his way through the first cluster, Leviathan looked back at Terrifica, hoping that he made an impression.  Five of the Dragons did it instead, and proved his boast wrong in the process.  He felt light impacts from the first couple of gunfire bursts, but then a few bullets slipped through his scales, drawing blood.  Leviathan grinned; now it was a fight.  He locked eyes with the lucky group, saw that two of them were aiming not for him but the new hero instead, and so the giant threw himself into their line of sight.  Surely she could handle herself without his help, but this was the sort of thing heroes were supposed to do, yes?

 

Leviathan regained his footing while the rifle shots went wide for a second time.  His toothy, unsettling smile turned toward the group that hit him (and in his mind, the only vaguely competent among the bunch).  "Points for you.  Well done.  Here's your prize!"

 

For a third time he sprinted, lumbering yet alarmingly fast.  One fist came crashing down against a shoulder that was as comparatively fragile as eggshells; the other backhanded a thug off his feet.  Leviathan spun around on his heel, kicked a Dragon through the air, and snapped that same foot backward into the ribs of the fourth gangster.  When the foot came down, Leviathan took one step forward, reached out, and simply wrapped his whole hand around the last thug's entire head.  The enormous hero pulled his prisoner closer and curled his arm around the man, tucking him against his side.  Leviathan had realized that he knew too little about this gang and what he'd stumbled onto; prudent, he decided, to ask some questions.  He doubted he'd encounter much resistance when the dust settled.

 

"We're gonna be best friends, you and me," he predicted in his deep, deep tones.  On his torso, the scattered gunshot wounds spat out the bullets and sealed over seamlessly. 

Share this post


Link to post

PC

The one gunman that did manage to hit Terrifica despite the creature’s inference didn’t get through her fiber armor. It absorbed the bullets with ease, as the chest fibers were the thickest part. She barely felt the impacts, as the riflemen missed their shots again. She laid into the gang members with heavier pistols. With much the same results as before. When she was finished, all five were draped across the street. “It never ends, does it? The stupidity of the minor henchmen in this town. In Boston most of you would be running by now.”

Share this post


Link to post

PC

 

The riflemen were all that were left. They fired desperately, but Terrifica slid between bullet trajectories and systematically clobbered them. Two landed in the street, two on the side, and the fifth flew into the former hostel’s vestibule. “Well, that’s the end of that.” She turned to the creature. “Now, you’re going to tell me who you are and what, exactly, you think you’re doing.” Terrifica’s voice was a touch hard. She wasn’t annoyed with Leviathan, specifically. Rather it had more to do with a fact finding mission rapidly turning into a all out brawl. While entertaining enough, it wasn’t the plan. Terrifica vastly preferred to stick to the plan. However, she was already coming up with effective alterations to the plan, should they be needed.

Share this post


Link to post

For a short moment, the enormous mauler looked genuinely hurt at the chastisement, but then his rough features returned to tough stoicism. 

 

"Bad guys with guns," he gestured casually to the literal dozens of groaning bodies laid out around them.  "You just leave them alone?  Not me.  Should call the cops, though."

 

And then he literally posed for the rest of his answer, closed fists on hips, elbows sticking wide, feet spread, head tilted up and slightly to the side, like something out of a newspaper picture.  If he had a cape, it would've billowed in the wind.

 

"But me?  I'm LEVIATHAN!" 

Share this post


Link to post

PC

 

It took all of Terrifica’s willpower not to physically facepalm. “You do realize you essentially picked that fight, don’t you? Or have you not looked in a mirror since your transformation? This is Freedom City, but the vast majority of the time the monsters are there to murder and/or eat you.” She changed her tone, sounding more like a college professor than a grumpy cowl. It tended to produce better responses. “Enthusiam is important, but you shouldn’t get overconfident because you’re tough and heal fast. Normal gunfire may not be much of an impediment to you, but sooner or later someone with brains will figure that out. Additionally, I doubt you’ve faced anyone with powers yet. It’s…considerably more difficult than laying out thugs.”

Share this post


Link to post

"Can't wait," the creature boasted.  Nonetheless, his scaly mouth wavered; not only had Terrifica successfully shamed him, but the mention of transformation brought a nervous flutter in his chest.  Leviathan had taken great care these past months to portray an identity disconnected from humanity.  Just hiding Tristan wasn't enough; he wanted to give the impression that he was the monster and nothing more. 

 

What was my mistake?  How does she see these things?

 

Increasingly unsure of himself, Leviathan helplessly waved at the thugs again.  "But they were still bad..."

Share this post


Link to post

PC

 

Terrifica sighed lightly. “Yes, they were breaking the law. However, they are innocent until proven guilty. As much as we don’t like it, we can’t go around punching criminals before we know they’ve committed a crime. We can’t do that because that it is a crime.” She paused for a moment. He was new, he didn’t deserve to be beaten up. She spoke kinder still, like she would to her own children. “By all means, stop robberies. Prevent murders. Save people from burning buildings. But don’t go around looking for thugs to punch. That isn’t what we do, Leviathan. We protect and defend, not attack and destroy.” Terrifica took a moment to appreciate the irony. She, one of the least traditionally heroic heroes on the planet, was telling a new hero about how to be a one. “In fact, that is why I’m here tonight. I’m investigating this gang. They’re named the Dragon Saints and at the moment they don’t have a power base in Freedom.”

Share this post


Link to post

But looking for thugs to punch is about all I do, Leviathan thought with disappointment.  He still felt pretty justified in attacking after guns started going off, but he only knew for sure to come back and confront the Dragons after they threatened him the first time, and he'd rather not help Terrifica associate even a false human face with his monstrous persona.  He decided to let the matter go and move on.

 

"Got even less now," he pointed out.  "Good to stop them early."

Share this post


Link to post

PC

 

Terrifica smiled. “That is true. Would you like to make sure they don’t get one at all? Because that is now my plan for the evening.” She strode into the vestibule without waiting for an answer. Then she came back. “One last thing. Once they shot at you, you were perfectly justified in defending yourself. I just wanted you to keep in mind that, even in this city, that would be the expected reaction to your sudden appearance. Assuming of course they didn’t simply run. And tonight, we’re going to abuse the self defense loophole until it cannot be abused anymore.” She walked back into the vestibule, again not waiting for a reply.

Share this post


Link to post

Leviathan's big, pale eyes followed her silently, wondering again how she knew to say these things.  He moved after Terrifica, as he could do nothing else, but increasing caution bundled around him.  He replayed his memories of the fight, noted what he'd seen so far, and tried to start building theories from the minimal twigs he'd been given.  She mentioned Boston, but without anything more, Leviathan failed to make any real connections.  He'd spent too little time there, and none of it recent, since leaving Harvard. 

 

"...Who are you?" he finally asked. 

Share this post


Link to post

PC

 

Something that seemed impossible happened. Terrifica froze for a moment. What she was doing was reviewing the memories of their encounter and realizing she hadn’t provided her name. What it looked like was mild surprise. “Ah, forgive me. I’ve grown too used to working with people who know me by reputation, at least. My name is Terrifica. My home turf, as it were, is Boston, but I spend a significant amount of time in Freedom as well.” She pointed at the elevator. “Most of the Saints will be in the basement. They’ve done some…remodeling down there. However, the evidence I need to collect is upstairs, so that is where I am going. I will attend to the basement soon enough.”

Share this post


Link to post

Now he could remember tidbits of newspaper articles and casual rumors.  Still, thorough investigation was in order, once he had his phone or computer and nimble human fingers to use them. 

 

"So I should...wait here?"  Not just the question, but the hesitant tone, gave control of the mission to Terrifica.  Leviathan would like to accompany her--he was very curious about what she needed, beyond all the guns and general thuggery that he expected would sway the police to at least make arrests, if not guarantee convictions--but perhaps stealth was involved.  He also assumed that she would prefer he didn't go ahead and turn the basement into a war zone without her. 

Share this post


Link to post

PC

 

Terrifica blinked. This was a first. A hero that was willing to do what she said? She savored the moment but stopped before it became an awkward pause. Which, subjectively, could have been over a half hour if she had so chosen. However, she cut it down to several subjective minutes. For Leviathan, less than a second would have gone by. “Not at all, Leviathan. Unless you are for some reason concerned that dealing with twice that many gang members and their leadership without my assistance would be too risky. Then by all means, stay here. As I said, I should be back shortly.” She stepped further into the building and took a sharp left. The door wobbled a bit as she passed through it, revealing that it was a staircase. Opposite it was an elevator. Straight ahead was what was once the hotel front desk but now was not much of anything.

Share this post


Link to post

He...wasn't sure if this strange woman spoke sarcastically or not.  Leviathan stood in place for some time, until Terrifica had gone about her business, before shaking his head with no small amount of frustration.  Tonight wasn't going at all how he'd imagined.  Working with another hero was fascinating and full of excitement, but he felt like he wasn't making the impression he wanted.  Standing around like a lost child wouldn't change that.

 

And so, he moved for the elevator alone and gently poked the button for the lowest floor.  By his reckoning, the least he could do was distract the remaining thugs, who might just open fire on the elevator as soon as it landed (a prospect that could be unfortunate for Terrifica, trapped in a small steel box as she would be if she accompanied him).  They'd probably heard the gunfire on the street, after all, so he suspected they'd be edgy.  If Terrifica joined the fight midway, then she'd have ample cover to sneak in unnoticed.  And if all the thugs were down and out by the time she finished collecting evidence, then well, that wasn't such a bad impression to leave her with, was it? 

Share this post


Link to post

GM

 

Terrifica was, of course, correct. There was a small foyer, and then the basement…wasn’t a basement anymore. A wide set of stairs extended downward into a massive subterranean space. It was practically a cathedral. And down there…over four dozen gang members of varying ethnicities were waiting. Leviathan had it right. They were armed to the teeth and ready for action. Curiously, a two men and one woman (the men dressed in gang colors and gear, the woman in khakis and tank top) were off to the side, looking almost bored with the whole thing. The men were a bald Caucasian with a hint of insanity in his eyes and bearing, and an African American who seemed to be faking his calm. The woman was brown skinned as well, however her hair was dark red and down to her shoulders. The bald man and the woman were almost absurdly heavily armed. The two men were set to watch the festivities, but the woman seemed to be simply watching television.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...