Jump to content

Gods of Tomorrow

Recommended Posts

"Mr. Fawcett, are you sure you don't want to go home with me?" Fred tried to remember the name of the young secretary. Madison, that was it. When did people start naming their daughters that, anyway? She was looking at him worriedly, as if he might keel over behind his big wooden desk at any moment.

"I'm fine, Ms. Beck," said Fred with a smile, raising his thermos with one spotted hand. "You should drink more green tea. It's good for the constitution." He rested his pen on his desk, still blessedly free of computers. "Those nice men from Stronghold will keep me safe tonight," he told her, "I just have to finish this last Ashton project."

When Fred had finally put off his secretary, who was barely a third his age, he sat down again behind his desk and studied his notes. The senior partner in the prosperous firm of Fawcett and Batson wasn't planning any housing project. There was only one word on the paper before him, in fact.


As he contemplated the meaning of Donar's cryptic words, the elderly Fawcett settled back into his chair, the only one left in the upper floors of the Rhodes Building, the North End headquarters of Fawcett and Batson Architecture. He'd feel this late night in the morning, but he had research he needed to carry out. With any luck, nothing would come up this late to bother him.

Link to comment

Under the pale moonlight, a figure was crouched on a rooftop. The figure was clad in red and blue power armor, and his eyes were trained on his target: the Rhodes Building. In the years to come, this figure would be known as Malice, and the man inside would be known as Eric Micheals, but as of right now, he was unknown. Giving yourself a fancy name and costume, and parading yourself around town did nothing but give you a small blurb in the bottom corner in some obscure page in the newspapers in this town.

For your name to have any weight you need to be the sort of person who people love and respect, or fear and hate; you need to have power. Getting that recognition, getting that name, getting that power, that's what brought Malice here this evening.

The late and great Scarab, who had the power to hold the world in his hand, and to even prove that heroes were not immortal, it was the power of this man that Malice seeked to have, and to surpass. There was a rumor on the winds that in this building, there was information revealing the location of Scarab's lair, and along with it, Scarab's vast stores of weapons and information.

On the rooftop, Malice finally stood up after waiting for everyone to clear out of the building. Eric shifted his weight from side to side, flexed his fingers and inhaled and exhaled slowly to try and calm himself. It was no little avail however as his heart continued to drum along in his chest. With a little hesitation and one last calming breath, Malice leap into the air. Here goes nothing. he thougt as he made his way to the roof of the Rhodes building.

Link to comment

The Rhodes Building is a few decades old, and only recently has it begun to attract upscale businesses. There are no obvious security cameras on the roof; no one has ever tried to secure this building against threats who could climb, leap, or fly. The doors leading down into the building are locked, of course, but nothing that should hold back a criminal genius of Malice's caliber.

In his office below, Fred paces a few times before an old man's bladder (and all that tea!) sends him to the executive bathroom he thoughtfully had installed for himself. Captain Wonder could do all this, go without sleep easily, but it's important to keep his humanity. It would be easy now to be the champion of Heliopolis all the time. Too easy. He's a man first, a hero second.

Link to comment

Seeing no obvious security on the roof, Malice lands on the roof, his eyes darting about to make sure his arrival went unnoticed. Taking the lack of alarms as a good sign, Malice makes his way over to the door leading down stairs. There he noticed just a simple lock and no alarm. He pauses for a moment at the door to both give the newly installed software to start up and to make a mental note to beef up the security of his own corporate buildings.

Using one of the tools kept on his person for minor repairs as a lock pick, Malice tried his hand at picking the lock. He made sure that he followed the steps exactly, but failed to read ahead on step 3, and his tool got bent in the lock. "@#%*" grunts Malice as he gently slides the tool out again.

He paces in a small semi-circle and breaths in and out slowly to try to calm his nerves, and bend the tool back into a useable form. Having done so, he once again tries to pick the lock, while also deciding that if this doesn't work this time around, he'll simply rip the lock off the door.

Link to comment

With a little tinkering, the door pops open thanks to Malice's tinkering. Strangely enough, given the general neglect of the rest of the roof, the hinges on the door are oiled smoothly. He could open and close the door all day without making a single squeak. It looks like the guards occasionally come up here for smoking, but there's no sign of anyone around as he heads into the building proper. Fawcett Architecture is in the top floors of the building, which puts their records storage only a single floor down from his current location.

Link to comment

With a satisfied smirk on his face, Malice stowed his tools and begins to descend down the stairs, closing the door behind him. He was going a bit slower than he normally would to help soften the sound of his feet, but he apparently didn't have to bother as no one is around. Checking one of the directories on the wall, Malice notes the location of the records room and beings heading down the hallway.

Malice navigates the hallways in bated breath, while keeping a sharp eye out for guards and attempting to remain undetected on his way there.

Link to comment

For an architectectural company's office, the space Malice passes through seems quite mundane. The grey paneled walls, institutional beige carpet, and faux-wooden doors could be in any one of fifty office complexes in Freedom City alone. While they've replaced broken paneling and the like, no one has done anything to change this building's original design.

Malice is an observant fellow, as a man in his position ought to be. A security guard is just closing the door of the records room behind him as Malice reaches that part of the building. "Yessir Mister Fawcett," he's agreeably telling someone inside the room, "I'll make sure the boys stop smoking." The guard's back is turned, but from Malice's present position he'll see him in a moment, especially since this is the way he's most likely to go out.

Link to comment

Within a few moments of wandering the corridors, Malice was practically on the records room doorstep, having so far gone undetected. Being so near his goal, Malice quickened his pace, and his nerves calmed quite a bit. That was until one of the guards came out of the door talking to someone inside. While mentally saying a few words of choice that he wouldn't repeat in front of his mother, he scanned the area to see if there was a room he could quickly dart into. But, he had grown too cocky and the nearest door was easily 30 feet away and he could only get there in time if he ran or flew, both of which were rather noisy.

Malice was about to be spotted, but thankfully for himself, he had prepared for just such an occasion. Switching on his Mindbender Special, which was accompanied by a high pitched hum, Malice raised his right arm and trained his aim on the guard shouting "FREEZE!"

Having got his attention, Malice said in a normal voice "Place any firearms, radios, cell phones or night sticks you have slowly on the ground, and then back away from them, slowly." while preparing to fire should the guard have other ideas.

Link to comment

The guard isn't stupid. At the sight of a dangerous-looking man in power armor training a weapon on him, he doesn't go for his nightstick or radio. But like security guards everywhere, he's braver than he ought to be. "Mr. Fawcett! There's a-" A blast from the Mindbender strikes him just then, and with a cry he falls, blocking the door with his unconscious body.

"Bob!" comes a cry from the records room, a high, elderly voice driven higher by shock. A moment after Malice has fired his weapon, the door comes open all the way. Having done his reconaissance ahead of time, Malice will of course recognize the senior partner of Fawcett Architecture, Frederick Fawcett himself. He's thin the way some old men are, his hands spotted with age and his hair completely white, his white suit and gold tie the sort of thing only Southern men of a certain generation still think is fashionable. But his back is straight and his eyes clear as he looks at Malice angrily.

Having come for the blueprints to the Scarab's lair, Malice has found the man who built it. Fred bends down, checking Bob's pulse, even as he looks daggers at the armored bad guy. If he transforms now, the flash of energy is likely to hit the gas line nearby, blowing up irreplaceable business records and the unconscious security guard. Bob's got a wife and two kids.

"Don't shoot that thing in here," he says carefully, "we're right next to about twenty-five years of client records. A man couldn't have a suit like that without knowing something about business," he adds, his accent thick, "so Ah'm trustin' you can respect a fellow businessman."

Link to comment

As the guard tries to shout a warning to whoever's inside the records room, Malice merely thought Bad move as he squeezed the "trigger" and the guard prompty dropped. Then the rather old man came dashing out of the records room to his friend's need. Inside his suit, Eric smilies at his change in luck. Frederick Fawcett himself, this ought to speed things up. After Fawcett says his piece Malice replies "Relax, I know enough not to use the big guns in doors, Mr. Fawcett. Bob there just got hit with the equivalent of a very high tech tazer, he'll be fully back on his feet within the hour and be no worse for wear, other than a bit of headache."

Malice pauses for a moment as he begins walking down the hallway closer to Fawcett before begining again to say in a more professional demeanor "And believe me Mr. Fawcett, I am the last one here that wants those documents to come to harm. For you see, they are the reason for me coming here this very evening." Malice leaves what he wants specifically unsaid to see how Fawcett will react.

Link to comment

"All the new records are in Memphis, y'know. On computers." The hi-tech word sounds almost alien coming from him. "This is just the stuff they hain't digitized yet; the old stuff. I don't think a young feller like you would be interested 'init." He straightens up from Bob's side, his hands up as if he's been in this situation before. Fred plays the paternal old man for the obvious supervillian, his voice soothing. "You sure you're in the right office? I don't mean to tell tales out of school, but I think those folks down in Atlantic National have their payroll in today."

Inside the privacy of his head, Fred curses himself angrily. Like a lot of older people, he has an emergency button on his cell phone, but it's back on his desk inside the records room. And his 'ignorance' aside, he's also not blind to what this guy might well be after. When the heroes of the previous generation built their headquarters, most of them turned to the architect who'd once fought alongside them.

Link to comment

Malice stands there for a moment, and although you can't physically see his face, you can tell he's quite dumb founded for a moment there. "Mr. Fawcett, I'm not quite sure if you grasp this or not... but I'm literally standing in a giant computer. Don't you think I'd know if the information I want is digitally available? No, the information I want is from the old days. You see, all of modern science and technology is based off the knowledge of past discoveries. So from time to time, it becomes necessary to study the past in order to move forward, especially if those in the past were on to something; even more so if they were onto something long, long before anyone else."

Malice takes a few steps forward so he's about 10ft away from Fawcett before continuing again. "If you haven't grasped my intentions by now Mr. Fawcett, allow me to spell it out for you. I want the location of Scarab's lair, and if the records in that room don't give me that information, you will."

Link to comment

Fawcett stares at Malice for a moment. He doesn't look fearful, so much as geninuely, honestly surprised. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything; a man his age may not have the soundest judgement in the world. He does back up as Malice approaches, trailing his hand along the wall. At his age, a fall might do some serious damage. "The Scarab? You want to know where the Scarab's lair is?" For a very brief moment, he actually smiles, quickly dismissing the flash of nostalgia in the obvious danger. "Jeez, son..." He runs his hand through his white hair.

"The Scarab was one of my best friends. He was a true hero even if you didn't take his powers into account, and a gentleman scholar along with that." He gives a pained little laugh. "You're the first person, super or otherwise, who's shown the least bit of interest in him since I moved to this dang city." He coughs a little and eyes Malice, the anger giving way to a little bit of uncertainty. "Whatcha want his lair for? He's gonna want it back when he's alive again."

Link to comment

Inside the suit, Eric smiles at Fawcetts slowly waning anger. He nods slowly when Fawcett asks him if he's genuinely interested in The Scarab. "I'm not interested in the lair itself per se. But what is inside of it. To be reincarnated and live multiple life times means acquiring first hand knowledge of centuries worth of information."

At this point, Malice becomes much more entusiastic and start talking with his hands much more than is necessary. "And if he was the scholar you say he was, then he must of records, diaries, books, heck, even stone tablets just over flowing with information. Do you know what can be done with that sort of knowledge!? To have that sort of power at your fingers, to know secrets that have been lost to the sands of time... God, do you know what you can do with such power!?" As he practically shouts the last line, he has to take a deep breath before continuing, with a bit of a chuckle, and speaking in a much softer voice.

"Well Mr. Fawcett, I don't know. I really don't know what can be done with that power. In my office, there is a piece of paper hanging on my wall that declares that I am a genius, not that it matters much in this damn city." He mutters in a small aside to himself, though still loud enough to be heard. "And yet, what wonders lie in that lair are truly beyond my comprehension. To be able to study that information and advance my understanding of the world, of the universe, of ... everything by so, so much... it's everything I could dream of."

Link to comment

Fred backs all the way down the corridor, jumping a little in surprise when he comes to the wall behind him. He's far away from Bob now, and there's no danger of setting the place on fire. But there's also no way in hell he can transform without letting this guy know far more than he ought to about the secrets of one superhero in particular. With nowhere to go without actually running, a dubious prospect at best, he straightens his back and looks levelly at the man.

"That's all well and good, but those things don't belong to you. The Scarab put them aside for his heirs thirty years ago. Just because it's taken him a while to reincarnate doesn't mean he won't do it. The Scarab died saving the world from the Scions of Sobek, and I will not betray the trust he gave me." He balls his hands at his sides into fists. "So, now what? You gonna break an old man's bones? It's real easy for a man in a powersuit to be tough."

Link to comment

It had become a distinct possibility that the location to Scarab's lair, wasn't buried in the records room, but rather in Fawcett's head, and yet Malice had yet to act. Malice had been ready to break this man's bones, to throw him through walls and windows, to burn this building to the ground, anything to get his way, but he stopped dead in his tracks when Fawcett said "It's real easy for a man in a powersuit to be tough." his determination shattered.

Malice stands there stunned, unable to come up with a response. He looks down at the palms of his hands (and away from any old men who just so happen to be inching their way along a wall towards freedom) obviously going through an internal conflict, as he is looking back and forth between the two. Am I really going to beat up an old man to get what I want? Why the heck shouldn't I, what did I build the Arms of Malice for anyway? To take the supers down, not to become like them. I'm not anything like those supers. But, I'm using my power to take advantage of those weaker than myself, and demand things of others, even it it's their life's work. But my own hard work and determination is what got me here. And how far did it get me exactly?

I build weapons of war for a living for crying out loud! That's different. No it's not, I'm just a murderer who's never pulled the trigger before. I am not a murderer! Then what was I planning on doing here tonight? I didn't plan anything sinister. How exactly can I not plan anything sinister while wearing a flying death machine? I snuck in through the roof after hours, picked the lock instead of breaking it, attempted to sneak around the building, and when I was discovered, I even set my fricken weapons to stun; no death machining going on here. And yet here I am threating an old man, while I'm safe in anti-tank armor. Shut up.



There's always Bob. .... I think I can work with that.

edited for clarity and spelling

Link to comment

Malice's sudden hesitation makes Fred hesitate too. He can't just transform and hit a man who's not actually attacking him, for all that he certainly wants to lay out the guy who busted into his building and shot his friend. The villians of his own day weren't the sort to stop and think about their actions. If sorely pressed now, he can always say his magic word...

"Son, you've obviously gone to a lot of trouble here," he says carefully. "And I can respect that. Why don't you just go on your way, and I'll get an ambulance for Bob?" Fearlessly, he walks up to Malice, his hands still up in surrender. "You don't even gotta quit what yer doing. It ain't like I'm the only friend the Scarab ever had. Why don't you try looking up some of the people he was on the League with?"

It's not as friendly an offer as it sounds, though it's not necessarily a hostile one. Langston's still got his powers, and a whole passel of super-powered security guards at the Albright Institute. Mike kept his identity secret, and John Wade's got Freedom League security. Go deal with them, not an old man who's kept his secret identity for sixty years!

Link to comment

At Malice reached a conclusion to his internal debate, he realized with a start that he hadn't been paying attention, and Fawcett could have easily ran away. When Malice looked back up, he was shocked to not only still see Fawcett standing there, but actually approaching him. In a stunned silence, Malice listens to Fawcett's proposal.

He crosses his arms in a contemplative manner and thinks to himself for a moment. He's got serious cajones, I'll give him that, but they the heck does he have to keep making me second guess myself!? I guess he does have a point though. I really don't have to necessarily use him to get to Scarab. And if they turn out to be a dead end, I can always come back... But then again, the other leads are supers.... Which also means two birds with one stone.

"Alright Fawcett, you got yourself a deal. I'll turn around and leave this building right now, just the way I came in, but in exchange, you'll have to give me a few leads. Who did Scarab know, and where are they now? But know that if you lie to me, or they turn out to be uncoperative I'll be back, and I won't be nice the next time around."

Link to comment

The threat, the reminder of the man he's dealing with, is enough to shake Fred out of the geniune pleasure he'd felt at talking the supervillian down without having to resort to his powers. He gives Malice a narrow-eyed look. Forget calling the others; as soon as this guy is out of here, he's going to go deal with him himself. "Sure, sure. You just go look up Langston Albright, he'll tell you what you need to know." He's still got the Lightbearer powers, and he's got all those superpowered bodyguards at the Institute. "If'n you can find the first Raven or the Black Avenger, they were on the Freedom League with him too. That won't be easy for you."

Link to comment

"That's it? That's all the information you got? Really? Heh. I'll going to be back a lot sooner than I thought." With that, Malice turns on his heel and starts walking down the hallway, no longer trying to be quiet. Without turning around, he gives an offhand wave to Fawcett with a curt "Ta." as he rounds a corner. Malice retraces his steps down the hallways, clambering up the steps and out the very door he used to gain entry into the building in the first place.

On the roof he pauses for a moment to put the lock back in working order, more or less, before walking to the egde of the roof. There he jumps off the roof and plumets a good 50ft before he pulls out of the dive, and accelerates up into the night sky. It's about a full minute before Eric realizes he has no idea where he's going.

When he comes to this realization he blinks a few times and he comes to a halt, hovering in mid-air. Sure the Arms of Malice had all the necessary programs and all that, not to mention what some would call a few unnecessary weapons systems, but it was missing many of the other "luxury" items, like maps. Eric than began circling the area trying to find a landmark of some kind so he could find his way back home. I think I just found my new priority.

Link to comment

With the supervillian gone, Fred takes a deep breath, then slowly lets it out. Fearless or not, encounters like that are exceptionally tough on his constitution these days. He stops to check Bob's pulse, then heads straight for the big window at the other end of the hallway. He pushes open the glass, peering up into the clear Freedom City night, and speaks a magic word.

A moment later, a flash of pure solar light blankets the room, and it is Captain Wonder who erupts from the window after Malice. Wonder knows he should just fly up to Malice and punch him in the back of the head, but that's more difficult to do after actually conversing with the man. Not that he isn't planning on giving him a beating.

"Hey, you!"

Link to comment

Okay, that looks like 11th down there... and because that's 16th, that must mean that that way's North. So if I go on 11th... then I'll be on 85th, I think. ... Why did I want to be on 85th again? Grrr... I miss my GPS...

"Hey you!"

*Sigh* "... That can't be good." Malice slowly turns on the spot and sees the rapidly approaching golden oldie that he had seen so many times when researching Scarab, Captain Wonder himself. Old Codger must've had some League buddies on speed dial. Alright, got to be careful about this. He may be only just be out of retirement, but he's been doing this for decades. Let's see if I can get him to let his guard down...

"Yeah, what do you want?" Malice responds, hands at his sides, while the HUD inside his helment is making preparations for battle as discretely as possible.

Link to comment

Captain Wonder makes a beeline for Malice, his fist drawn back as he tears his way through the air. "You want a hero who knew the Scarab? You got one!" In the moment before he strikes, when he's only an arm's length from Malice, his blue eyes lock onto the armored villian's...and this close, those eyes look familiar. Very familiar. It wasn't that long ago that a fearless old man was staring Malice down with those same blue eyes.

A moment later, though, he throws a punch, and there are other things to worry about. For all that he was out of the game for decades, the Captain's punch to the jaw (and really, who punches in the jaw these days?) hits armor with the sound of a hammer striking steel.

Link to comment

As Captain Wonder nears Malice, his body becomes visibly slack as every fiber of his being is consumed with shock and realization. That's probably the reason why Malice took no evasive action as Wonder's fist crushes Malice's face in. A dull thrumming sound is heard as the suit diffuses some of the impact, unfortunately for the man inside, there was a lot of impact.

Malice wobbles precariously in the air, his attention more focused on keeping his teeth in his mouth than his suit in the air. ...Fawcett? Can it... nah... but... the eyes.... A very confused Malice tilts his head at Wonder in a manner to suggest saying "What the heck just happened?" but something must have gotten lost in translation because the message Wonder gets is "Hit me again."

Link to comment

Emboldened by the success of the punch, Wonder draws back his fist for another blow. In the momentary tableau as his head is silhouetted against the Moon behind him, his shiny black hair flares white and silver. "The Scarab died defending this city. Shame on you for betraying what he did!" The voice is younger, the tones of a young man in the prime of life rather than an old man, but the words and tone are unmistakeable.

A moment later, though, Wonder throws that punch and hits like a cannon. There is another crack as a fist with the strength and power of a god plows into Malice's face, the sound of a shell detonating against a tank.

Link to comment
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...