Disclaimer: I do not own any DC characters or locations. All rights belong to DC Comics.
Rating: T+ (Except for #9, where a specific subject is touched upon. That chapter is rated M, so reader beware)
Note: The second story arc follows Rose Wilson, as she arrives in a new city and enters herself into an underground fight club to make a little money. But as she soon discovers, there is something far more sinister at work behind the curtains. She ends up fighting for her life and working to bring down a sick, twisted man. During this time, she comes to deeper terms with her own set of morals, and discovers that there is a lot of things wrong in Silverstone City.
Rose Wilson: The Ravager
Int. The Orchid Lounge Nightclub – Night
Rose sits quietly on the small, wooden bench, working on taping her hands up. She doesn't need to protect her knuckles or her wrist, and she certainly doesn't need to add to the damage her punches can already do, but she might as well look the part. She's currently two levels below The Orchid Lounge, a nightclub near the heart of Silverstone City, about a three hundred miles away from Gotham. It's been three weeks since she left, three weeks since she went looking for a new place to stay... three weeks since she made a fool out of herself trying to come on to Dick, only to be shot down.
That's all behind her now, though. Now, her mind is focused only on the upcoming fight she's preparing for. She heard about it shortly after arriving in Silverstone, whispers of an underground fight club with no rules, no limits, and huge cash payouts to the winners. In serious need of funds, she decided to find the place and enter; her skills aren't much suited for anything else, after all. No way in hell she's about to go work at a Taco Bell.
According to the manager, the fight club functions as a series of tournaments, with different brackets depending on a person's renown and skill level. One tournament takes place per night, three nights a week, and in front of an audience consisting of some of the biggest criminal scumbags in the city, from small timers to mob bosses. Bets are made on each fight, with payouts taking place at the end of the night. At the end of the tournament, activities end and everyone goes home, until next time.
Tournament entries come from all different backgrounds; mafia thugs, MMA hopefuls, boxers past their prime, and then the more talented fighters looking to make themselves or their bosses heaps of cash. Since Rose is a brand new entry, with no background on her whatsoever as far as these guys are concerned, she's forced to start out on the bottom bracket, basically the fodder tournament. It consists of only the more unskilled entries, and offers only menial entertainment. The audience isn't nearly as large for these fights as it would be for the upper level brackets, where the real betting takes place.
As such, Rose's payout at the end of the night won't be huge, not yet, not until she earns her place and makes herself known. She doesn't like being around this much underworld scum; they're thieves, murderers, rapists, and the like. But she puts up with it. She isn't here to bust them. She didn't come to Silverstone to be the new cape in town. All she wants to do is make her own way in life, and right now, that way involves beating up a bunch of nobodies and getting paid for it.
Finishing with her tape job, Rose sits up and looks around. She's in a small locker room, which connects to the corridor leading to the ring; that's where all the tournament bouts take place. It's silent, save for the muffled thump-thump-thumping of the club music coming from two levels above her. The fight club itself is fairly well hidden, not to mention well guarded. The only way to get in is to know about it, and to know about it, you had to have the right kinds of connections. It had been mere chance that she overheard the manager and one of his clients talking about it a few nights ago, while visiting the club herself.
A knock on the door suddenly calls her from her thoughts, followed by a man's voice on the other side; it's the manager.
Manager: Miss? You decent?
Rose: I'm good.
She's wearing her workout pants and a sports bra, the only real attire other than her actual Ravager costume that's suited for sanctioned fights. Maybe if she wins a decent amount tonight, she'll go out and buy something more appropriate. As the door opens, she stands up from her seat and cracks her neck from side to side, loosening herself up.
The manager is a small, portly, and balding man, dressed in slick, dark clothes that really only someone taller and better proportioned should be wearing. A pair of sunglasses adorn his face, despite the fact that he's indoors at night, and wears a variety of jewelry, from large gold rings around his fingers, to dangling chains around his neck.
Manager: You almost ready? You're on in five.
Rose: I'm plenty ready. Just show me to the ring and let's get this done with.
Manager: You're absolutely sure you want to do this? I mean, while there aren't any rules restricting women from participating, and you are in very fine shape, these are some really tough guys we're talking about here. Would be a real shame to see a pretty thing like yourself get roughed up.
Rose: You set 'em up, I'll knock 'em down. That's all you need to get through that bald head of yours, got it?
Manager: Sure, sure, got it. Just know that we're not responsible for any injuries you may incur as a result from these bouts, nor do we cover any medical expenses you might find yourself with as a result. Capiche?
Rose: I hope you gave my opponents the same speech; they're the ones who need to worry about it.
Manager: Right, of course, whatever you say.
The man then takes a step closer, his eyes narrowing and focusing on the white colored eye patch covering Rose's left eye. Curiously, he starts reaching up his hand, as if to touch it.
Manager: How do you expect to fight with this thing, anyway? You making some kind of fashion statement, or are you really missing an-
He stops, as Rose lashes her hand up and grabs his wrist, forcing his grubby fingers away from her face.
Rose: Hands to yourself, or you'll be missing one.
Manager: Alright, alright, sheesh. Anyway, better get going. Fight starts in... two minutes now.
The manager motions for her to follow him, leading her out of the locker room and through the long corridor that connects to the fighting area. When they finally move through the doors, Rose lifts an eyebrow in surprise. The 'ring' that she's supposed to be fighting in is more like a small arena. Not quite as large or elaborate as the one she fought in during her stint with the Terror Titans, but impressive nonetheless, especially considering it being located beneath a nightclub.
The audience wraps around the whole arena, in raised seats made of soft, padded leather, along with electronic betting devices integrated into the arms of each. As expected of her entry level bracket, the audience itself is rather small. There are far more empty seats than occupied ones, and those present don't look to be eagerly anticipating the upcoming fights. They're likely only there so scout the up and comers, and maybe throw in a few small bets here and there.
As Rose makes her way to the center of the arena, she notices her opponent entering from the other side. He's a tall man, built broad with moderate muscle definition and dressed in boxing trunks. She has to refrain from openly grinning; the poor guy doesn't know what he's getting himself into. If all of her opponents are as big a pushover as this one looks to be, she'll be walking through these fights.
When Rose and her opponent, whose name she had been told is Ken Burke, make it to center, he scoffs and folds his arms.
Ken: Are they serious? I gotta fight a chick?
Rose: There a problem with that?
Ken: I just didn't sign up to be beating on women, is all. You know what you're getting yourself into?
Rose: Do you?
A few moments later, the announcer's voice comes in over a loudspeaker.
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another exciting night of The Orchid Lounge Fight Club. We have a lot of new contestants ready to show off their skill, so let's get things started, shall we? Remember, you can place your bets using the monitors located on the right arms of your seats, and there is no limit to how much you can put down. Now then, allow me to introduce to you the first fighters of the night! From our very own Midtown district, we have Ken Burke, a regular here at the Orchid Lounge, and a real rising boxer.
This time, Rose can't keep the grin from forming. If this guy is trying to become a boxer, he's in the wrong place. She almost feels bad for him, having to fight against her in the first round tonight. This isn't a boxing match, after all, and Ken is going to soon find himself way out of his league.
Announcer: And then we have a brand new entry tonight, the very beautiful, and very talented Lillian Wilson.
She isn't stupid; she isn't going to give her real name in a place like this. Instead, she had chosen to use her mother's name as her alias. It still fits her just fine.
Announcer: At least, I'm told she's talented, we have yet to see what she can do in the ring! Is anyone out there daring enough to place a bet on an unknown? You have three minutes before the match begins to decide, so choose wisely!
Ken hops around on his toes to keep loose, as they wait for the match to begin. He briefly shadow boxes, throwing a few punches into the air taking in even breaths. Rose is sure he's a plenty talented boxer, at least for the amateur that he is, but she knows this isn't going to end well for him. The three minutes go by fairly quickly, all bets placed and ready to go. With all preparations taken care of, the announcer starts things up.
Announcer: Is everyone ready? In that case, let's get started! Contestants, keep in mind that the fighting continues until someone gives up or is unable to continue. Aside from that, there are no rules. Now, begin!
Ken: Don't worry, I'll go easy on you; wouldn't want to mess up that pretty face of yours, after all. Maybe after this is over, I can buy you a drink upstairs. Or we can head back to my place, whatever floats your boat.
Instead of saying anything in response, Rose moves in quickly and delivers a hard cross punch to the guy's jaw. He reels backwards, clutching his cheek and stumbling to keep his balance; the blow nearly knocks him off his feet.
Rose: Got anything else you want to add?
Ken: $@%#, what the hell?
Rose: This is a fight remember? Might want to keep that in mind.
Ken recovers, shaking the punch off and countering with a couple jabs of his own. He doesn't even come close to hitting her; by the time he finishes throwing his second punch, she's already coming up from beneath him with an uppercut that whips his head backwards, followed by a spinning roundhouse to the gut. Surprised murmurs begin to travel through the audience. Clearly, not many had been quite expecting the fight to go this way.
Rose starts bouncing on her toes and takes a boxing stance, mocking her opponent with a smirk. He glances up at her, frowning and glaring at her; he's a proud man, and he won't be giving up in this fight. No, he'll keep going until he can't stand anymore, which doesn't take very long. Ken charges in again, this time throwing all care or skill out the window and swinging wild. Rose sidesteps out of the way, keeping light on her feet, then brings in a hard punch to his side, knuckles digging in between his ribs.
When he doubles over from the stabbing pain, Rose jumps straight up slightly, raising her knee hard and exploding it straight into his face. Grunting in surprise, Ken stumbles back with blood gushing down out his nostrils, nose broken. Before he even gets a chance to comprehend how badly he's losing, she finishes things with another spinning kick, this one crashing across his face and sending him to the ground; he doesn't get back up, instead lying there and groaning, likely with no idea where he is anymore.
Announcer: What a shocking result! And quite the impressive show from Lillian; I can't recall a more one sided fight. I hope a few of you out there took a chance on the new girl!
Turning from the arena, Rose walks casually back towards the corridor that leads to the locker room. With that win, she'll have another fight soon, whenever the rest of the round one bouts finish up. She can't recall exactly how many participants are in the tournament, but she shouldn't have to fight more than maybe four times in total. What she does remember is that whoever wins the whole tournament gets an extra bonus, in addition to the sum given for each individual victory.
As she nears the hallway, the fight club manager appears, running up to her in a hurry.
Manager: Okay, okay! I take back every doubt I had about you! I mean, that was great, incredible. Where did you learn how to fight like that?
Rose: I've been around.
Manager: Of course, gotta keep the mystery, I get it. But damn, you can bet people took notice of you for that one. I mean, sure, Ken isn't the best we have to offer, but people knew him. He's been a pretty prominent figure in the lower brackets for a few months, even won a couple times. But then you come in out of nowhere and beat him, and you made it look easy! Keep this up, kid, and you'll be on your way to the upper brackets; that's where the real money is.
Rose: Well, that is the goal. I didn't come here to lose, I came here to make some cash.
Manager: Just keep doing what you did back there, and I'll see that you get there myself!
Int. Rose's Apartment – Night
It's close to three in the morning by the time she gets back from The Orchid Lounge, but it's worth it. Following her bout with Ken, she beat the next three fighters, and did it just as seamlessly as she had the first time, becoming the first person in any bracket of the tournament's history to win during her debut. Even more impressive, is that no one had even heard of her until several hours ago. In a single night, she'd gone from a complete unknown to a favorite. When she returns the following week for the next tournament, she'll have a lot more eyes paying attention to her.
Overall, she had won two-hundred and fifty dollars that night; nothing spectacular, but it's two-hundred and fifty dollars more than she had going into the night. She's happy just to have it, especially considering it'll be the only money she makes all week, until next time. As it stands right now, she can barely afford the tiny rathole of an apartment that she recently set herself up with.
Just temporary, she tells herself. You start getting a steady income, Rose, then you can find a place that doesn't look like it should be the scene of a murder investigation on CSI.
She throws her shoulder bag over onto the old couch, then heads over to the refrigerator and takes out a beer. On her budget, she can only afford the cheap kind, and it tastes like garbage on the way down. Still, cheap beer is better than no beer, even if it is bitter as hell. After finishing her drink, she tosses the empty bottle into the sink and heads straight to bed.
Int. The Orchid Lounge Nightclub – Night
One month later...
Manager: Alright, this is it, Lil. You're debuting in the upper brackets tonight, so things will be a little lot than you've been used to so far. Just remember, I vouched for you to get you up here; no one's advanced this much in such a short amount of time, and you're the first to skip over the mid brackets completely. So, you know, don't go getting your ass handed to you and go making me look bad, now.
Rose glances up from her seat on the locker room bench, just glaring at him.
Manager: Uh, not that I think that's going to happen, of course! Let's be real here, you're a machine. Four weeks at this and you haven't lost a match yet! I tell you, I've never seen anything like it.
Rose: I've had a lot of practice.
Manager: Right, right, I'm sure you have. Either way, you're gonna turn a lot of heads tonight, I'm sure of it. You keep on winning, and you're in for a real treat, I'm telling you. You said you were in this to earn some cash? Well, the winner of these tournaments can take home up to five grand a night, if the bets are good.
At the mention of potential earnings, Rose's eyebrows lift in surprise. Five grand in one night? Now that's something she can live with.
Rose: Then let's get this show started; we're wasting time.
Within the next few minutes, Rose is standing in the middle of the arena again, facing off against her newest opponent, a man named Sheamus Finnegan. The only thing she knows about him is that he apparently has ties to the Irish Mob. She knows that he won't be the pushover that the others in the lower brackets were, even if she'll still likely win in the end. He certainly doesn't look like a pushover at least, his body absolutely ripped with hard muscle, a body that he's honed into a weapon.
Rose only half hears the announcer introducing the two combatants and telling the audience to place their bets. She's too busy studying Sheamus, trying to get a feel for how she should approach him. He's doing the same to her, remaining silent and simply staring. He isn't taking her as lightly as Ken first did; if she's made it into the upper brackets, then he knows she's good.
Announcer: And begin!
As the bout commences, Rose instantly comes out of her thoughts and falls into a determined focus, squaring off against her opponent. The two begin to attack each other, coming in with quick, precise blows. She has to admit, this Sheamus guy is fast, and he knows what he's doing. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't have metahuman enhancements to help him. Rose, on the other hand, is on an entirely different combative level.
Even though she knows she can end the fight quickly, she instead finds herself putting on a show, letting him land a few hits only to come back with counters of her own. It isn't anything she can't handle, and the crowd eats it up. The audience is packed full tonight, too, here to see the real competition that this fight club has to offer. They eagerly lean forward in their seats, hanging on each punch, each kick. Eventually, though, Rose has to bring things to a close; she has more fights to win tonight, after all.
She makes sure it looks good, going for a more stylistic approach than a practical one. It isn't something she'd try if she were fighting a person of equal skill, but this isn't someone like Dick Grayson, or Cassandra Cain. This is a mafia goon, one with superb skill, admittedly, but not the kind she's used to dealing with. So, she brings the fight to an end with a theatrical series of spinning strikes, eventually knocking him out cold.
Announcer: And the victor, Lillian Wilson! Let's give her a round of applause, folks, because that was impressive!
The crowd responds in kind, clapping to her victory. There is of course no cheering, or other vocal congratulations. These are important, dignified people, as far as the criminal underworld goes, not a bunch of wild drunks at a UFC fight. With her first fight completed, she returns to the locker room to await her next opponent.
As she does, a single thought goes through her head.
I could get used to this.
Chapter #9 Preview: After tearing through the upper level brackets in The Orchid Lounge Fight Club, things seem to be going well for Rose. When she discovers a darker secret about the place, however, things get complicated. What's worse than a bunch of criminal overlords betting on highly trained fighters beating the crap out of each other? Find out in the next chapter!
Int. The Orchid Lounge Nightclub – Night
Weaving around her opponent's attack, Rose delivers a hard uppercut to his chin, then follows it with a thunderous knee to his chest. As he stumbles back, she leaps and spins, whipping her leg around and kicking him square in the side of the face. He goes down and stays down.
Announcer: Folks, I don't believe it, but we have our winner of the night! In her debut here in the upper brackets, Lillian Wilson has come out on top! Keep in mind that she participated in her first fight just one month ago in the lower brackets, and now she's the one to beat. Simply incredible!
Releasing a long breath, Rose places her hands on her hips and walks out of the arena, heading toward the corridor that leads back to the locker room. Right now, she plans on taking a long, hot shower to relax her sore muscles.
This really hadn't been like the lower level tournaments; she'd actually had to work for it after a while. Even though her first fight had been simple enough, the following ones grew increasingly difficult. Sure, she had still emerged victorious with little difficulty, but this new crop of fighters is far more talented than the fodder she beat before. She makes a mental note to not let her opponents land as many hits as they did tonight; they can probably land a few on their own anyway, with their skill, and they know to hit where it hurts. The third man she fought had even been going for pressure points.
As she's about to enter the locker room, the fight club manager comes running up to her down the hall, waving his arms at her and laughing.
Manager: Aha! I knew you wouldn't disappoint! I can't believe what you just did, that was freakin' amazing!
Rose: You mind? I really just want to take a shower right now.
Manager: Right, right, of course, no problem. I just wanted to let you know that you really impressed a lot of people tonight. You came in like you owned the place and tore those other guys apart! You got a real future here, kid, if you keep winning like that.
Rose: Yeah, well I'm hoping I don't have to keep it up too long. Just need a bit of cash to last me a while.
Manager: Whatever you say, Lil. Just passing along the info.
Rose: Another thing, don't call me Lil.
Manager: Uh... right, sorry. Lillian.
Rose: By the way, you can leave my earnings in my bag while I shower. I don't want to stick around here any longer than I have to.
Manager: Sorry, no can do.
Glaring back at him, Rose narrows her gaze. What the hell kind of crap is he trying to pull?!
Rose: I just fought my ass off out there, you @$$%&#@! Now you're not going to pay me?!
Manager: No, no, no, you don't understand. I can't leave you your earnings because the boss wants to pay you himself, meet the new champ. He'll be waiting upstairs in his office when you're done; I can show you the way.
A cool breath passes her lips, as she relaxes.
Rose: Oh... alright then. Give me fifteen minutes.
After showering and changing back into her black jeans, grey turtleneck, and dark leather jacket, Rose follows the manager up to the actual nightclub part of The Orchid Lounge. The pulsing music assaults her eardrums as soon as they're through the doors, moving through the crowds of dancing patrons, past the bar, and around the tables.
He leads her up to the second level of the club, away from the noise and the people, and down a long, dimly lit hallway. A sign on the doors at the end of the corridor reads: Owner, Arnold Pavoni. A pair of tall, bald, and massively built men stand on either side of the doors, their eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses; no doubt the club owner's own personal security bouncers.
Manager: Alright, the boss is right through there. Just keep in mind that he runs everything around here, and he's the one paying you for tonight, so be respectful.
Rose: Uh huh, sure.
Manager: Okay, uh... well, he's waiting, so go on in. I'll see you next week.
With that, the manager heads back down the hallway. When Rose steps forward, one of the big goons reaches for the door handle and opens it, nodding her through. She gives him a curious look, then walks inside the office; the door closes behind her. The man sitting behind the desk is dressed in a white suit, with a black tie. He's overweight, too, his large gut squished between his desk and his soft leather chair, and though his hair still has its dark color, he's lost all but a small strip around the sides of his head.
He notices Rose enter, but doesn't address her right away, as he's in the middle of speaking to someone over an intercom. Instead, he merely glances up at her and waves her farther inside. Standing behind him in the corner of the room is another one of his security goons, this one even bigger than the previous two, and just standing there with his arms folded.
Pavoni: What's taking you so long, Jerry? She ready yet or what?
Jerry/Intercom: Yes, just about. You did want Holly this time, right?
Pavoni: Yeah, yeah, the one with the two different colored eyes. Haven't seen her in a while, we'll have some real fun.
Jerry/Intercom: In that case, I'll bring her right up.
Rose glances at the intercom curiously as it cuts out. Does this guy send his employees out to pick up prostitutes for him or something? Because that's sure what it sounded like... Talk about sleazy. But it isn't any of her business, so she simply forgets about it and folds her arms.
Rose: So, you wanted to see me?
Leaning forward, Pavoni brings his hands together and smiles at her.
Pavoni: Ah, yes, welcome. I saw your performance tonight, you know, and I have to say that you put on quite a show. I was a little skeptical when my manager came to me and urged me to put you in the top bracket, but you proved that you're one hell of a fighter. Not only that, but you kept the crowd entertained, and that's important. The more entertained they are, the more they bet; the more they bet, the more money I make.
Rose: Yeah, well I'm not here to make you money, just so we're clear. I'm here to make myself money.
An amused chuckle exits the man's throat, as he begins to light up a cigar. Taking a puff, he gives her an understanding nod.
Pavoni: Of course, I expected as much. Just thought I should let you know how good you are for the business; that means I like you, and when I like you, I pay you more. Nico, the safe.
The big guy standing in the corner moves at the command, walking over to the other side of the room and entering the combination of the wall safe. Once unlocked, he reaches inside and pulls out a few thick stacks of hundreds, then gives them to his boss. Pavoni begins thumbing through the cash, placing each hundred dollar bill out in front of him one at a time, counting the total out loud.
Pavoni: Five hundred per victory, that's two thousand off the bat. And then of course the bonus, since you won tonight's tournament; normally another two grand, but as I said, I like you. So, I'll throw in a little something extra. That brings the total to six thousand.
Rose's breath catches in her throat, stifling any sort of response she might have made to the revelation of her total earnings. In one night, she more than tripled the amount of money she'd saved up so far.
Yeah, I can definitely get used to this.
Pavoni: Once again, I want to tell you how much you impressed tonight, not only me, but our frequent customers, as well. They like you; you're young, you're sexy, and you kick a whole lot of ass in the ring. That's the kind of thing that really gets them going!
Rose: Just trying to make a living.
Pavoni: Of course, of course. Now, here, take your money and go get some rest. I'll see you back here next week, yes?
Taking the fat envelope from him, she briefly looks inside and runs her thumb over the wads of bills.
Rose: Oh yeah, I'll be back.
Pavoni: Excellent, I look forward to it!
He briefly leans forward over her desk to give her a handshake, which she returns, though she can't help but cringe at how grimy and sweaty his hand is. Pulling her hand back quickly, she gives him a small wave and finally leaves the office. The dim hallway is just as quiet and empty as before, with the exception of one small change. About ten paces away, and sitting in a chair up against the wall, is a young girl, no older than nine or ten years old.
Dressed in a simple white dress, the blonde haired girl swings her legs slowly, her feet not even touching the floor. She raises her gaze briefly and looks at Rose, before turning away again suddenly. Rose stops walking for a moment, narrowing her eye at the girl and wondering what she's doing here of all places, at a nightclub. She must be the daughter of one of the guys who work here... maybe even Pavoni's. After all, what other reason would there be for someone her age to be here?
Still, there's something strange about her, something that Rose can't quite put her finger on, even though she feels like she should know exactly what it is. After a couple more moments pass, Rose eventually continues on her way, now with a strange, nagging sensation in the back of her head.
Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night
Two minutes later, Rose is outside and sitting on her new motorcycle, which Dick had given to her as a parting gift. She never would have accepted it, if not for the fact that her previous one had been destroyed during her crash while under the influence of Scarecrow's fear gas. With no other mode of transportation, what choice did she have? As she sits there, though, holding her helmet up and staring at the visor, she can't shake that weird feeling that something's wrong. She's missing something... and it's killing her, not being able to figure out what it is.
That's when it happens, a precognitive flash running through her mind. But this isn't like anything she's experienced before. Normally, her precog gives her a brief look of an incoming attack, no more than a couple of seconds notice before it happens. But this... this is something else entirely. It isn't just a couple seconds, it's near ten, and it doesn't involve any attack directed at her. Rather, it's a series of several different images, all pasted together quickly like some kind of crazy slideshow. She sees the girl that she'd just passed in the hallway. She sees Pavoni's office. Then she sees Pavoni and the young girl together, and then...
Oh my god!
Instantly, she's off and sprinting back into the club, pushing past and practically knocking over the bouncer at the front door. Rose suddenly realizes what was so odd about the girl.
She had two different colored eyes.
Int. The Orchid Lounge Nightclub – Night
By the time she's halfway down the hallway leading to Pavoni's office, a half dozen security goons are chasing after her. She doesn't care, though; they won't reach her in time, and even once they do catch up, they'll find themselves in a world of pain. Sprinting towards the double doors at the end of the corridor, she plows straight through the pair of men guarding it. Two punches, an elbow, and a knee is all it takes to get the both of them to drop to the floor like bricks.
Bursting into the office, Rose doesn't slow up. She lunges straight over the desk at Pavoni, who's shirt is already mostly unbuttoned. He barely even has time to register what's going on before she lands on him, driving him down to the floor.
Rose: You sick son of a @#$%!
One punch, two punches, three, four... she's crazed, wild, swinging with everything she has. Within seconds her hands are coated with his blood.
Rose: You'll be lucky if I don't kill you!
Before she can continue her assault, however, she feels multiple pairs of hands grabbing at her, trying to get her off; security has finally caught up. Instantly, she turns from Pavoni and starts attacking the other men, albeit nowhere near as brutally, needing only to knock them out so they won't give her anymore trouble. In minutes, the half dozen goons are lying on the floor motionless.
Taking in a few deep breaths, Rose glances back down at Pavoni, who's barely moving and groaning in pain, his face covered with bright scarlet. Slowly, she begins to calm herself. As much as her gut is telling her to continue pummeling the scumbag, there's something more important to take care of first. Her eyes dart around the room, finding the young blonde girl standing in the corner, watching everything with wide eyes, terrified. Swallowing a hard knot, Rose moves forward slowly, gently, not wanting to startle her.
Rose: It's alright, I'm not here to hurt you, promise. I just wanted to stop the bad man, that's all.
When the girl doesn't try to run away, Rose reaches forward and lifts her white dress back up from around her ankles, putting her arms into the sleeves. Rose's jaw tightens, nausea bubbling into her stomach, as she finishes clothing the the girl, who isn't doing a thing to help herself.
Rose: Holly, was it?
The girl doesn't say anything, but slowly nods in confirmation.
Rose: Right, Holly. That's a pretty name. Everything's going to be okay, Holly, I promise, no one's going to hurt you anymore. Come on, let's get you out of here.
Unfortunately, they never get the chance to leave. Whether she's not paying attention or her precog just doesn't feeling like kicking in at that moment, Rose doesn't see what's coming. An inhumanly powerful blow connects with the back of her head, sending her stumbling forward in a daze. The next thing she realizes, a massive hand is lifting her up by her neck and slamming her into the wall, denting it. A quiet grunt of pain bursts from her lips, as the impact forces the air from her lungs.
Standing there and holding her against the wall in a grip that she can't break free of, is the big guy from before, Nico. She's not about to let him hold her, though, oh no. Winding up her fist, she throws a vicious punch directly at his face, connecting with full force... and barely even causing his chin to move. Instead, he just stares at her, emotionless.
Nico pulls his arm back, still holding onto Rose, and then swings her over his head and slams her down on top of the desk, caving it inward. She falls to the floor, coughing up a small spray of blood and trying to blink away the bright spots forming in front of her vision. Meanwhile, Pavoni is slowly recovering, crawling back up to his knees.
Pavoni: You little #$@%!
Stumbling to his feet, he walks over and swings his leg forward, kicking Rose across the face. Still dazed from being slammed through a desk, and still held down by Nico, she can't do anything to stop it. She winces, feeling her lip split open. Pavoni steps back again, beginning to wipe his bloodied face clean with his shirt.
Pavoni: %@#$, I need to get cleaned up. Call Jerry, have him come take Holly back. And take this piece of #$%@ down to the facility, tell Mordred I got another subject for him.
Rose makes another desperate attempt to escape Nico's grasp, but his strength really is incredible, easily superhuman level and much greater than her own. Realizing that she isn't going to get away, she glares up at Pavoni with ire seething from her body.
Rose: You will suffer for this, do you hear me? If it's the last thing I do.
Pavoni: Don't worry, girl. It will be.
The last thing Rose remembers before falling abruptly into unconsciousness is Nico's huge fist driving straight into her face.
Int. Underground Facility – Night
Rose awakens sometime later, groggy. A small groan escapes her lips, as she blinks a few times in attempts to clear up her vision. Everything is blurry, and there's a bright white light shining directly on her face that practically blinds her. And ugh, her head throbs something awful, a pounding ache directly between her ears.
Okay, that Nico guy hitswayto hard to be normal.
As things start to come into focus, Rose lifts her head and looks around, wondering where she is. It's a large room, with a tall ceiling and white walls. Surrounding her is a variety of various medical equipment, from IV drips, to heart monitors, to tables of different sized scalpels and drills and devices things that look like they're straight out of a horror movie.
Groaning again, Rose blinks a couple more times and then tries to sit up, only to realize that she can't move. Glancing down at herself, she notices that she's lying on a slanted medical table, with thick leather straps wrapping tightly around her chest, arms, waist, thighs, and ankles. Also, her clothes are gone, a revelation that sends a a disgusted shiver down her spine.
Okay, Rose, so you're bound, naked, and in some kind of operating room. This hadsobetter not be some pervert's idea of a good time.
Just as that thought runs through her mind, a voice reaches her ears. It's a calm, but very creepy voice, sounding half deranged and half giddy.
Voice: Ah, you're awake, good. I was wondering when I'd get a chance to begin.
Rose moves her head, looking to her left to see a thin man dressed in medical scrubs, a white doctor's jacket, latex gloves, and a stethoscope around his neck. His scraggly black hair is peppered with a bit of gray, and stands wildly on end, as if he's never touched a comb before in his life. And those eyes... one of them seems to stare off in another direction as the other, which is milky and appears dead. Just the sight of it makes her want to throw up.
Rose: And who the hell are you supposed to be?
Dr. Mordred: Ah, ah, a good question, my dear. You may call me Dr. Mordred. Pleasure to be acquainted with you.
The doctor then takes an overly theatrical bow, before standing straight again and then walking towards her, all the while grabbing at his elbow, like some kind of nervous habit.
Dr. Mordred: Yes, yes, you are a fine specimen, indeed. But I heard you won tonight's tournament; makes our meeting odd, premature. Must have done something to upset the boss, yes. Otherwise, you would not be here yet, no.
Rose: What are you babbling about? And why am I strapped to a table? And for that matter, where the $#%@ are my clothes?
Dr. Mordred: No worries, no worries, I just needed access. I have a little bit of work to do, you see. Well, a lot of work, okay, yes. Can't do it when those pesky clothes are in the way, no.
Rose's gaze begins to narrow venomously at the man.
Rose: I swear, if you even think about-
Dr. Mordred: Oh, no! Not that! Please, you insult me; I am a professional. Things are strictly business, I assure you.
Rose: Yeah, that doesn't reassure me at all.
Giggling like a madman, Dr. Mordred moves back over to one of the nearby tables and grabs at a syringe, then pokes the needle into a bottle of unknown liquid and begins to fill it.
Dr. Mordred: Don't worry, my dear, it will aaaall be over soon. You won't feel a thing, I promise.
Chapter #10 Preview: Rose is trapped and about to become the subject of a madman's twisted experiments, but can she escape and get some answers about where she is and what's going on? She certainly doesn't intend on letting anything stop her from helping the young girl, Holly, and anyone that gets in her way is going to pay the price! Also, is Pavoni really the one running everything, or is there another person behind the curtains? Find out next time!
Int. Underground Facility – Night
Dr. Mordred flicks the end of the needle gently, after pulling it out of the bottle. The syringe is now filled, and ready to be put to use. Turning back to Rose, restrained on the medical table, he begins making his way towards her. She cringes slightly at the sight of the needle; it brings back memories, bad ones, of her father drugging her with his serum.
Rose: I don't know exactly what you plan on doing, but you'd better keep that thing away from me.
Dr. Mordred: What, this?
He brings the syringe closer to her, pressing his thumb down slightly on the the back end of it and causing a small spray of the liquid inside to leak out. Rose flinches again, her eye twitching. Her hands go into fists, muscles tensing up.
Dr. Mordred: Oh, the syringe bothers you, yes? I see, I see. Trypanophobia, fear of needles; quite common, really. But I wonder, is it a natural fear, were you born with it, hmm? Or maybe it was brought on by some... traumatic experience in your past? Ah, perhaps the latter, I would bet on it, yes.
Rose: Don't try to pretend you know anything about me.
Dr. Mordred: No, no, of course not, I don't pretend anything. I am simply here to work, you see, and that is exactly what I intend to do.
Mordred reaches his free hand up to her head and pushes it to the side, while bringing the syringe up towards her neck.
Dr. Mordred: Just relax, you'll only feel a small pinch, yes. Then, you won't feel a thing.
Rose: Let me ask you something before you stick that needle in me, Doc.
The doctor's hand pauses, as his creepy, half dead eyes glance up at her.
Dr. Mordred: Mmm, perhaps, I think. Alright, go ahead, one question.
Rose: Are these straps really just made of simple leather?
Dr. Mordred: Why, I don't know if- what do you mean? I fail to see the relevance of-
Rose: So they're not reinforced in anyway against someone with enhanced strength?
Dr. Mordred: Well, I mean, I'm not sure if- why do you ask?
Rose: Oh, no reason.
Grinning slightly, Rose clenches her fists harder and strains her muscles, forcing her arms and legs outward, and pushing against the straps with everything she has. Within seconds, the leather binding her begins to snap off from the table, gradually freeing her. Soon, she bursts free of the bonds and brings one of her hands forward, grabbing Dr. Mordred by the neck and forcing him backwards.
Dr. Mordred: Oh my word! No, not supposed to happen!
With a violent shout, Rose lifts the doctor up off his feet, and then slams him down on top of one of the nearby counters, denting the metal material.
Rose: The needle. Drop it or I crush your windpipe.
Without hesitation, the doctor releases the syringe and holds his hands up in surrender.
Rose: You're going to answer a few questions for me, got it?
With a nervous gape, he nods his head rapidly.
Dr. Mordred: Yes, yes, of course, whatever you want!
Rose: Good. First, what is this place?
Dr. Mordred: Oh, this, you see, just a special facility. Secret, built underground. Few know about it, I just work here, do what I'm told.
Rose: And it's run by Pavoni?
Dr. Mordred: Ah, yes, he owns it. Sends me his subjects, I work on them, and give him back the results.
Rose: What subjects? And what for?
Dr. Mordred: Oh, just the fighters, the one from your tournaments, yes? You know them. The top ones he keeps, let's them fight to make him money. But the not so profitable ones, he sends them to me, has me make them better.
Rose: Better, how?
Dr. Mordred: Stronger. Faster. How did you call it, enhanced? Yes, that's a good word. Enhanced. But the success rate is very low, few successes.
A few quick thoughts begin running through her head, new questions now.
Rose: Like that guy he has with him, Nico?
Dr. Mordred: Ah, yes! My first success, a very good one, very strong. But, not so bright. Not supposed to be.
Rose: Not supposed to... what do you do to their heads?
Dr. Mordred: I... nothing, no. Well, maybe. I just make them listen, that's all.
Rose: You mean you brainwash them, make it so Pavoni can control them. That it?
Dr. Mordred: Well... maybe a little, yes.
Rose: Why? What's he need with a bunch of brainwashed supes?
Dr. Mordred: For muscle, yes, why else? He has plans, rivals, needs the firepower, so to speak.
Rose: What plans? What rivals?
Dr. Mordred: Please, I don't know, he tells me little, understand? I'm just the doctor!
Letting out an annoyed grumbled, Rose's fingers tighten slightly around the man's neck. He might be lying, but then it doesn't matter what Pavoni's plans are, or why he really needs his own private meta fighting force, because she's going end him before it becomes a factor. After what he did, after what she discovered... he would pay for it.
Rose: And the girl, where is she?
Dr. Mordred: I- wait, what are you-
Rose: The girl! Don't play dumb!
Dr. Mordred: What girl?! I swear, I have no idea what-
Rose: Her name is Holly! She has two different colored eyes, one green, one purple! Your boss is using her for- he's-
She can't even bring herself to say it. Every time she attempts to describe what Pavoni is doing to the poor girl, her words catch in her throat and her eye burns hot in grief. In a brief outburst, she lifts Mordred's head upwards and slams it into the table.
Rose: Just tell me where she is!
Dr. Mordred: I don't know! I haven't seen her in weeks, I swear, okay? They come through here, I do my work on them, and I send them back. You understand, yes? I'm just-
Rose: Them? There's more?!
Dr. Mordred: Th-there have- yes, a few, now and then. They come in, Pavoni tells me to do my work, so I just listen. He pays me, I do the job, simple.
A hard lump forms in Rose's throat, jaw clenching. She can feel the anger growing inside of her, spreading like wildfire.
Rose: What work? What the hell do you do to those kids?!
Dr. Mordred: I- I- I-
Rose: Spit it out!
Dr. Mordred: I sever their vocal cords! They make no noise that way, yes? That's all I do, no more, no more!
Rose: Why... why would you need to sever their vocal cords?
Dr. Mordred: Because, Pavoni, he... he doesn't like it when they scream.
And that's it. She snaps. Rose takes a hold of the doctor in both hands now, whirls him around, and throws him as hard as she can through the air. His body crashes over an IV stand, skids across another table, and finally smashes into the far wall head first, his neck twisting at an odd angle. He doesn't get up, doesn't even twitch a finger.
Rose: Damn it!
She brings her fists down on the counter, leaving behind two deep dents. Her eye is hot and wet, burning with tears of rage. She squints her eye shut for a moment, hitting the counter again and yelling out incoherently in fury. What the hell is going on here? What is wrong with these people? How can so many be in on this, seeing these children get hurt and doing nothing about it?
An image of Holly, frightened and alone, flashes into her head. Rose's eye snaps back open, staring a hole through the counter. Not her precog, just her own guilt at not being able to save the girl when she had the chance. But this isn't over, not yet, not while she's still breathing. If it's the last thing she does, she will find Holly, and she will save her, along with all the other children Pavoni's ever hurt.
And once I've done that, she thinks, while searching around for her clothes, I'm going to fix everything else that's wrong with this city.
It takes a few minutes of searching, but she eventually finds her clothing stuffed in a nearby storage locker. She dresses quickly, feeling relieved to no longer be so exposed in such a strange place. Now, it's time to get out of here. She can't do a thing to help those children if she's stuck in some madman's meta breeding facility. Grabbing two large scalpels form the table next to her, she hurries into the hallway.
The corridor is empty, and runs straight in either direction. Just as in the previous room, the walls and ceiling are pure white, with a black tiled floor, giving the whole place a rather creepy, surreal feel to it. Briefly, Rose contemplates which direction to go in, glancing back and forth. She has no idea how to get out of this facility, which means she is essentially forced to guess. And then, she notices something out of the corner of her eye, something that causes her to curse quietly to herself.
Glancing up near the ceiling, she spots a security camera pointed straight at her. Whoever else is in this place, they now know that she's free. That's when she hears the voices, shouts coming down from the hallway from her right. She looks in that direction to see several guards carrying handguns running towards her.
Well, looks like I'll be taking the left path then.
Turning, she sprints full speed down the left end of the corridor. With the distance already between her and the men chasing her, and how much faster she is than them, they won't catch her any time soon, not unless she hits a dead end or something. No matter what, though, she can't let anything stop her from escaping. There's too much counting on her.
Rose reaches the end of the hallway and turns the corner, keeping an eye open for any stairs, elevator, or other exit she might come across. Instead of an exit, however, she finds herself coming face to face with another group of armed guards. They raise their weapons, taking aim at her, but by that time she's already moving between them and delivering knockout blows to their skulls.
More guards appear. This time, she swings her scalpels at them, aiming at tendons and ligaments, disarming and disabling them in a flurry of graceful, acrobatic strikes. With the miniscule blades, she can't really cut, so instead she thrusts, stabs, gouges. She's like a demon, constantly moving, never letting them get a clear shot at her. The few that try only end up a shooting wall, or one of their comrades, as she swiftly ducks out of the way.
The moment that she has a clear path, she continues sprinting down the hall, searching frantically for a way out of this place. Turning another corner, she finally sees something that surges her nerves with relief: an elevator. Coming to a stop in front of of it, she reaches forward to hit the button, only to then notice that it's already on its way down. No doubt more security sent to bring her down. Moving away from the elevator, she heads through the door right next to it and comes out to a stairwell.
Evidently, she's at the bottom level of this place, because the only way is up. Dr. Mordred had said it was underground, and it looks like she has a long way to go. Better hurry. She races up the steps, taking them three at a time and hitting her top speed, or at least as fast as she can go up a flight of stairs. When she reaches the third landing, a gunshot rings out. She hears the bullet strike metal, probably the railing, and then ricochet in another direction.
Rose looks upward, spotting several more armed men moving down the stairs from above. One of them leans over the railing again, trying to aim at her. She never gives him the chance, as she whips one of her scalpels at him with deadly accuracy. The surgical blade embeds itself in his wrist, causing him to cry out with a mixture of pain and shock, and also drop his handgun down through the air. Reaching out, Rose catches the pistol and keeps moving.
She's never liked guns. They're too simple, too easy. Her father always liked to mock her about it, saying she'd never been any good at them, and that's why she never uses them. In reality, she handles a gun just fine, they've just simply never appealed to her. On occasions, though, she has been forced into using them, and it seems that this is another one of those times. She takes aim while running up the stairs, fires a few shots. The men coming toward her go down, bleeding but still alive. She sprints past them, not looking back.
Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night
Rose takes in deep breaths, exhausted, as she pushes the door open and exits the building. It's condemned, abandoned, good cover for an underground hideout built deep below the surface. Too bad the security sucked, because she got out, and now that she's out, nothing is going to stop her from taking down Pavoni and putting an end to him.
It won't be tonight, though, too many things preventing it: She's tired, beat up, a little dazed, and starving. She just fought her way out of a heavily guarded facility with nothing more than a couple scalpels and a handgun. The Orchid Lounge will be closed by now, this late, so Pavoni won't be there. She doesn't know where he lives.
Too many disadvantages.
Tomorrow night, that's when she'll strike, when she's well rested, geared up, and knows exactly where to find the slimebag that she's after.
Taking in a deep breath, she drops the scalpel and empty handgun she'd been carrying to the ground; they land in a puddle. It's raining, she realizes, but she barely feels the raindrops hitting her skin. She's too numb from tonight's event to feel much of anything right now, really, except the ever growing disgust she has with the lowest piece of scum on earth, Arnold Pavoni.
Rose: You're dead, Pavoni... I swear to god, you're dead.
Bowing her head, she stares at the ground as she walks, stuffing her hands into her jacket pockets. She kicks a puddle on her way down the street, heading towards her apartment.
Meanwhile, a man sitting in a car parked across the street watches her carefully. He wears a grey business suit, round glasses, and has long, slicked back brown hair. Lifting up his cell phone, he makes a call.
Pavoni/Phone: What the #$@% is it, Jerry? I'm trying to sleep!
Jerry: She escaped.
A dead pause follows, before Pavoni finally speaks up again.
Pavoni/Phone: And how the #$@% did that happen? Where's Mordred? And what happened to security?!
Jerry: You should have checked up on her a little bit more, before sending her straight to the facility. She isn't normal.
Pavoni/Phone: And what the hell do you mean by that?
Jerry: I mean, she's a meta. She could not have escaped otherwise, with what she did tonight.
Pavoni/Phone: Goddamn @#$%! Is she gone? Can you find her?
Jerry: I'm already working on it. I'm disappointed, though, Arnold. You really should have done a better job checking her background before you allowed her into your tournaments.
Pavoni/Phone: What the hell are you talking about?
Jerry glances downward at the object he's holding in his other hand; it's a driver's license. The name on it reads: Rose Wilson.
Jerry: Well, for starters, her name isn't Lillian. It's Rose.
Pavoni/Phone: So, what's that got to do with anything? People lie about their name all the time in my tournaments, never makes a difference. It's their ability and performance we're after, not their names.
Jerry: Well, you'd have found some intriguing information about her if you'd bothered to run a check on her name through my files. I went ahead and took the liberty myself, after you sent her to Mordred.
Pavoni/Phone: Alright, humor me.
Jerry: Ever heard of a man that calls himself Deathstroke the Terminator?
Pavoni/Phone: Sure, the crazy mercenary who wears the mask, right? With one eye? Some kind of super soldier or something, real cold blooded.
Jerry: Yes, and do you know his real name? It's Slade. Slade Wilson.
There's another long silence, before the wheels in Pavoni's head finally start turning.
Pavoni/Phone: Are you telling me-
Jerry: Yes, Arnold. She's his daughter, and according to my information, she's been enhanced with the same serum that gave Slade his super soldier abilities. Are you starting to realize why sending her to my facility was such a stupid move? You should have just killed her.
Pavoni/Phone: Well, #$%@, if I had known, I would have-
Jerry: But you didn't know, because you were sloppy. You didn't do your homework, and now I'm cleaning up after your messes, again. I've put up with your screw ups for a long time, Pavoni. I've even allowed your disgusting habit to continue. But that's only because I need someone in your position as a figurehead to my operations. The moment you become more trouble than you're worth, you're done. Keep that in mind.
On that note, he hangs up. He sits there in silence for a few moments, trying to remain calm; he's always calm, no matter how much Pavoni ticks him off. Eventually, he turns the car on and shifts into gear. He still has work to do tonight.
Chapter #11 Preview: Rose has escaped the facility, and now she can work on bringing Pavoni down. She isn't as safe as she thinks, however, as she's tailed by a mysterious new enemy. Since Pavoni has failed, Jerry plans on getting rid of the troublesome Rose Wilson before she becomes a liability to his plans, and he knows that doing so won't be a simple task. Find out how he intends to get rid of her and more, in the next chapter!
Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night
The rain is coming down harder now, almost a full on downpour. From his car, Jerry watches the apartment building across the street carefully, one window specifically. The light had gone out an hour ago, a sufficient amount of time to wait before attacking. Of course, he won't be the one doing the attacking, no. He never acts directly, not unless he needs to. Instead, that duty falls on the 'hired help'. Holding a finger to his ear, he makes contact through his wireless headset communicator.
Jerry: She should be asleep now, Drasko. Do as instructed.
On the roof of the building across the street of the target's apartment, the large, muscled man, Drasko, acknowledges the command and gets to work. His expression is emotionless and actions robotic, as though he has no real mind of his own, instead carrying out orders without a second thought. Lifting up the RPG-7 launcher, he rests it on his shoulder and takes aim at the designated window. Even through the rain, it's an easy shot, being so close. When the sights are lined up correctly, he fires.
The rocket surges through the air, covering the short distance in the blink of an eye, crashing through the window's glass. A split second later, it detonates upon impact with the far wall. The subsequent explosion rips apart everything inside the apartment with the resulting pressure wave and shrapnel. Within moments, everything is quiet, save for the other residents of the building awakening in a panic.
Jerry: You'll have approximately ten minutes before the police arrive. Take aim again and hold for five. If you don't see a target, then you are to go in and investigate yourself. Make sure that she's dead; I want a body.
Drasko obeys, this time raising a specially modified sniper rifle and taking aim on the devastated apartment. He waits for any sign of the target moving within, as unlikely as it is that she survived the explosion. The minutes tick by, but he keeps track, counting in his head. Three minutes, three and a half minutes, four minutes, four an a half minutes... almost time to move.
Suddenly, a dark figure appears in front of him, blocking his vision of the building beyond. Lowering the scope from his eye, he looks up to see a woman standing there, a woman garbed in an odd, armored costume, and a one-eyed mask covering the upper part of her face and head, with long white hair coming out the bottom of it. She's holding a sword in either hand.
Ravager: You people must think I'm pretty dumb.
With a vicious growl, she swings both blades with lethal precision at Drasko's body. He reacts quickly, however, in spite of his size, reaching forward and grabbing her wrists. Her action is stopped cold, pushed off by his far superior strength. Raising his foot, he kicks her away with a boot to the chest.
Ravager: So, you're one of them, huh? Pavino's metas. Guess I'm gonna have to take it up a notch.
She moves in again, faster this time. Drasko takes a swing at her, but she's already out of the way by the time his fist even starts moving. A powerful kick smashes into his jaw, followed by two whirling strikes with her blades. He falls back, grunting out with pain, as blood begins to spill from the deep cuts running across his arms.
Drasko doesn't let the pain stop him, though, instead recovering and surging forward again. She's too quick for him. Dancing around the side of him, she slashes again, cutting the backs of both his knees. This drops him to the roof, unable to stand. He tries to stumble back to his feet, but his legs won't respond. Then, a bone cracking blow explodes on the backside of his skull, driving him face first into a growing puddle and knocking him out cold.
Ravager: Strong, but slow. And stupid. Not a good combination.
Sheathing her blades, she looks down at the unconscious man and hears something, muffled chatter coming from the earpiece he's wearing. Curiously, she reaches down and takes the device, holding it up to her own ear and listening.
Jerry/Comm: Drasko, where are you? It's been seven minutes, you're running out of time.
Glancing over at the edge of the rooftop, Ravager moves forward to the ledge and examines the street. Whoever is on the other end of the communication must be nearby... There. She spots the car parked just a short distance away, the same car that she'd seen across the street when she escaped the facility. Leaping from the roof, she lands on the hood of he car with a thunderous crash. Staring back at her through the windshield is a neatly dressed man in a business suit and glasses.
Ravager: Out of the car, now.
The man smiles back at her for a moment, as if pleasantly surprised by her presence. Casually, he grabs his coat and hat, then opens the car door and steps out into the rain, which has now lightened into a mere drizzle. He takes a moment to slip into the long black trenchcoat and place the equally colored fedora on his head, then closes the door behind him and turns to Ravager, who jumps down from her spot on the car's hood.
Jerry: Impressive. Your ability matches your reputation, Rose.
Ravager: How do you know my name?
Jerry: I have a lot of resources. Oh, and this helped.
Removing her driver's license from his pocket, he tosses it to her. Ravager catches the license and stares at it for a moment, then tucks it away.
Ravager: I really don't like it when people go through my things.
Jerry: Of course you don't.
Ravager: So who are you, huh? One of Pavoni's goons?
Jerry: Not exactly. The name is Jeremiah Belmont, but you can call me Jerry.
Ravager: Well, Jerry-
She reaches back in mid-sentence, grabbing one of her swords and slowly drawing it.
Ravager: -you have about ten seconds to come up with a reason why I shouldn't maim you for trying to kill me.
Jerry: Ten seconds? My, we are impatient, aren't we?
Without the slightest shift in demeanor, Ravager holds her blade forward, the razor edge inches from his throat.
Ravager: Five seconds.
With an amused grin, Jerry lifts a hand and pushes his glasses farther up on his nose.
Jerry: Well, if you insist; I can give you Pavoni.
Ravager: You'd sell out your boss, just like that?
Jerry: My boss? Please. That man doesn't have half the brains to run what you've stumbled upon. He's nothing more than a front, an illusion. He would be only a marginal loss.
Ravager: Then who's really in charge?
Jerry: Ah, but that isn't part of the bargain I'm trying to strike.
Ravager: Well you'd better come up with something else, then, because I don't need you to find Pavoni. I know where he works.
Jerry: Yes, but I know where he lives. There is a lot that can happen between now and whenever you decide to make your move on him. You don't want to fail because you took too long, do you? I can have you there before the sun rises.
Ravager: I'll take my chances, thanks. What else you got?
Jerry: My, you do know how to haggle. Very well, perhaps you'd like the location of the children he keeps?
His words get a brief rise out of Ravager, her eye widening slightly behind the mask.
Ravager: You know where they are? Tell me.
Jerry: Not before we agree on the terms. If I tell you where they are, you leave me unharmed and go on your way, and forget we ever had this conversation. Remember, the longer you take to act, the more chances that Pavoni has to harm them.
Ravager: Give me Pavoni's residence, too. And I'll need a car.
She still hasn't had a chance to go retrieve her bike from out front of The Orchid Lounge yet; that is, of course, if it's even still there.
Jerry: You can take mine; I have others.
Ravager: Alright, fine.
Pulling her sword back, she sheathes it and folds her arms across her chest.
Ravager: Now tell me what I want to know.
Jerry: Pavoni keeps the children locked in a sub level of The Orchid Lounge, the floor below the arena, where the tournaments take place. It's inaccessible by stairs, and in order for the elevator to bring you there, you must have a properly encoded key card.
Ravager: And where am I supposed to get one of those?
Reaching into his pocket again, Jerry pulls out a blue colored card of laminated plastic, with a magnetic strip on one side of it.
Jerry: It just so happens that I have one.
Without hesitation, she takes it from him.
Ravager: And Pavoni?
This time, Jerry reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pen and small pad of paper and scribbles something down quickly. He then folds the paper, and passes it to her.
Jerry: The address is on there. And the keys are in the ignition, in case you were wondering.
Skeptically, Ravager narrows her gaze at the man.
Ravager: Why are you so willing to help me, anyway?
Jerry: Let's just say that Pavoni has outlived his worth, and I wouldn't mind one bit if he were gone. Of course, being threatened by those swords of yours is... persuasive. In any case, we're done here. You go do your business, and I'll take my leave.
Ravager: Yeah... I don't think so.
Jerry's eyebrows slowly lift, giving her a curious look.
Jerry: Oh? And here I thought we had a deal.
Ravager: How else was I going to get the information out of you? But now that I have it, I can't have you warning anyone that I'm coming, can I? Don't worry, I won't kill you... But I will put you to sleep for a while.
A soft chuckle escapes Jerry's throat, a grin forming on his face.
Jerry: You are smarter than you look, Rose, I'll give you that. Too bad it won't help.
Before Ravager can make a move, Jerry tosses something by her feet, a small round device. It goes off instantly, emitting a blinding flash that holds for several seconds. She tries to move through it, but it disorients her, and blocks her vision. By the time the flash dies away, Jerry is gone.
Ravager: Damn it.
There are more important things to take care of right now, though. First stop, The Orchid Lounge to free the children. Then she'll deal with Pavoni. In the distance, she starts to hear sirens approaching; no doubt police coming to investigate the explosion that just took out her apartment. Time to move. Hurrying into the car, she turns the key, shifts into drive, and burns rubber, racing down the city streets.
From a nearby alleyway, Jerry watches her leave. Things hadn't gone quite according to plan, but this works well enough, too. He knows that in Rose's current state, only one thing overshadows her hate for Pavoni, and that's her concern for the children; that being the case, he knows where she'll go first. Taking out his cell phone, he places a quick call.
Jerry: Nico, you still at the The Orchid Lounge? Good... get your men ready, you're about to have company.
A smirk crosses his face, as he hangs up the phone and stuffs his hands back into his pockets. Even if he's wrong and she goes to Pavoni first, it makes no difference. She'll still walk into an ambush eventually, with the added bonus of taking out the troublesome Pavoni first.
Ext. The Orchid Lounge Nightclub – Night
The first thing that Ravager notices when pulling up outside the club is her motorcycle, still parked right across the street. She grins briefly, relieved that she doesn't have to go through a third bike in the span of a couple months. But her relief disappears about as soon as it comes, as she returns to a hardened demeanor. There are more important things to be worrying about now. Getting out of the car, she takes a long look at the front of the darkened building.
The Orchid Lounge is closed; it shuts down at two in the morning, and it's near six right now, the streets still quiet and empty. In spite of that fact, she isn't expecting to just walk right in there, free the kids, and get out with no resistance. No, there's bound to be some sort of security still in the place. If she had some time to come up with a plan, she could probably go about things a little more carefully, but she isn't about to waste any time standing there like an idiot. Instead, she goes with the direct approach.
Int. The Orchid Lounge – Night
Her precog goes off the second that she kicks in the front door. She manages to lunge behind a low wall for cover just as the gunfire goes off, automatic weapons tearing up the club entry. Moving as fast as she can, she keeps low and works her way around the side of the nightclub, all the while hoping that they don't get a lucky ricochet.
They were waiting for me... figures. I'll have to deal with that #$&%@ Jerry later.
Over the gunfire, she hears someone shouting out a command, and then the chaos stops. Must be the thug in charge.
Thug: Hold your fire, damn it! We're supposed to be keeping the damage to a minimum! Spread out and find her!
Ah, the old split up and look for me routine... I love it when they do that.
Without having to worry about jumping into random gunfire, Ravager moves swiftly behind counters, tables, and everything else that she can use for cover. A few of the gunmen catch a brief glimpse of her out of the corners of their eyes, turning with a sudden gasp only to find nothing. Within minutes, she has them jumping at shadows. Once they're sufficiently spread out, she strikes.
They're all just a bunch of goons with guns. Easy. Staying quiet and hidden, she takes them out one at a time, crippling each with vicious blows to the neck and head. Though she only intends to put them to sleep for a few hours, the current urgency of her mission causes her to strike a little harder than she should.
One of the gunmen catches sight of her and takes fire, but she dives behind the bar in plenty of time to avoid being hit. The bullets instead blast into the wall of liquor bottles on the shelves above her, splashing a cocktail of alcohol down upon her. She waits until there's a break in the fire, then sprints quickly away from the bar and behind another waist-high wall. This time, he can't get a clean shot, and pays the price for it. Ravager lunges out from cover close to his position and kicks his gun away, then hits two precision blows to his neck. The man collapses instantly.
Still on guard, she looks around carefully and listens, searching for any sign of more guards. When she's certain that they're all taken care of, she heads quickly towards the back of the club, beyond a door marked 'restricted access', and comes to the elevator. Once inside, she finds the slot to swipe the key card that Jerry had given her, but on her first few attempts, nothing happens.
Ravager: Oh come on!
Finally, after about five swipes, and making sure to put it through slowly the right way, the elevator lurches into motion, bringing her down past the fight club arena to the level below it, where the children are being held. She isn't quite fully prepared for the condition that they might be held in, but she can't think about that. She just has to free them.
Ravager is on her guard when the elevator doors finally open, ready to react to anything on the other side, which would most likely be another ambush. To her surprise, however, there is nothing, just a long, empty hallway with a few doors along its sides, spaced out evenly. Glancing around carefully, she begins walking down the corridor, checking each room behind the doors.
Playroom, kitchen, bathroom, dining area... The implications send a disgusted ripple up her spine, while a bubble of nausea knots in her stomach. He locks them up, but keeps them in an illusion. Treats them well, gives them nice things... but all while using them. All while... I swear, he's dead.
Finally, she comes to the door at the end of the hallway. It's locked, but that doesn't really stop her for long. With one hard kick, she ends it flying off its hinges and crashing to the floor. Flicking the light switch on, she swallows a numb lump in her throat at the sight inside. It's a small room, with two rows of beds, one against either side wall. In those beds are young children, all dressed in their pajamas, looking to range in age from maybe seven to twelve years old, both girls and boys. In all, there are about ten.
As she stands there, just staring at them for a few moments, some of them begin to awaken, partly because of the light and partly because of the fact she just broke their door in. They rub their eyes tiredly and look up at her, uttering silent surprise. That's when she notices the scars on their throats, all in the same spot.
Their vocal cords... they're all mute.
The only solace she takes from that is the fact that she already dealt with the one who had done that to them, Dr. Mordred. Still, the doctor's crimes pale in comparison to Pavoni's.
Ravager: It's alright, I'm here to help.
The children stare at her with wide eyes, some trying to hide beneath their covers. She realizes that they're afraid of her, though considering the outfit she has on, it's no real shock. In an attempt to put them at ease, she removes her mask.
Ravager: See? I'm not scary. I'm gonna get you all out of here... the bad man won't hurt you anymore, I prom-
A precognitive flash goes through her head. This time, Nico doesn't get the jump on her, as she reacts instantly and rolls forward just in time to avoid his wide, swinging punch.
$@%$, he's going to fight me here, right near the kids!
Ravager: Everyone get to the back of the room!
The children all clamber out of their beds and hurry as far back as they can, while Nico rushes in for another attack. He brings his fist downward at her this time, but she flips away. The tile floor rumbles and cracks upon impact, clearly indicating how strong he is. But strength is all he has, just like Drasko from earlier. She has the speed advantage, with much great reflexes. She also has her swords.
Ravager: I'm ready for you this time, you big oaf. Give me your best shot.
Nico turns, his expression and actions completely robotic, and then charges at her again. This time, he brings both arms in, trying to grab hold of her. He never even comes close, as she jumps upwards and pushes off his shoulders, then flipping around behind him. In the same motion, she slashes her blades down and leaves behind two long cuts on his backside. A grunt of pain leaves his lips, as he again turns to face her. With two lightning quick strikes, however, she cuts off both his arms at the shoulders and kicks him to the floor, where he writhes and screams.
Releasing a long breath, she sheathes her blades again and looks over at the children. They're all cowering and staring wide-eyed at the bleeding man.
Ravager: Come on, quit staring and move! Everyone, let's go, get out of here!
Her voice snaps them out of it; they look back at her, blinking for a few moments before running out of the room and heading back down the hall, with her at the lead. She takes them up the elevator, and finally out into the main part of the nightclub. Putting her mask back on, she tells them to wait at the front area, while she makes a call. She just hopes that the response is quick.
When done with the phone call, she joins the children again at the front entrance of the nightclub and take a long look at them, searching for someone in particular. She doesn't recall seeing her down in the bedroom with the others, but that's probably because she just missed her, and distracted by Nico. But even right now, the girl is nowhere to be seen.
Ravager: Holly... Where's Holly?
The kids just blink at her in confusion, none of them able to utter an answer.
Ravager: You know, Holly, she's one of you, she... blonde hair down to her ears, two different colored eyes? Tell me you know her.
A young boy, maybe twelve, steps forward and starts making frantic hand motions. His lips move, as if to speak, but nothing comes out.
Ravager: Alright, hold on.
She searches around the welcoming podium briefly, soon discovering a pad of paper and a pen. She passes it to the boy.
Ravager: Write it down.
The boy quickly scribbles on the paper; his handwriting is rather messy, but still legible. When she reads the message, her heart sinks. Clenching her jaw, she crumples the paper into a ball and tightens her fist around it.
“He took her.”
Ravager: Don't worry... I'll get her back.
Chapter #12 Preview: Rose has saved most of the children that Pavoni kept locked up, but Holly is still missing. The next stop on her list is Pavoni's mansion, where she intends to deliver her own brand of justice to the sickening man, and free the young Holly. But things are never that easy, and Rose is bound to run into complications during the process. Tune in next chapter to see what happens!
Ext. The Orchid Lounge Nightclub – Early Morning
It takes fifteen minutes after she called them for the police to show up, and by that time the sun is beginning to poke its way over the horizon. That's fifteen minutes that Ravager could have been using to get to Pavoni's home. But she couldn't just leave the kids there with no supervision, not after what they'd gone through, and especially considering where they are. Now that the cops are finally here, however, she can keep moving. The moment that the squad car rolls up and parks in front of the club, she starts running to her motorcycle. Of course, the police aren't about to just let her run off like that.
Officer #1: Hey, hold on! Are you the one that called this in?
Ravager: Uh huh. The kids are safe, and the guys inside were the ones holding them here. Just do your job, investigate the place, and make sure they get taken care of. I still have work to do.
Officer #2: Sorry to burst your bubble, Missy, but you aren't going anywhere. We'll need to take you in for you questioning.
Officer #1: Yeah, like what the hell are you doing dressed up like that?
Officer #2: And you do realize it's illegal to carry a blade over three inches in length in this city, right?
She moves past them, sitting down on her bike and placing the helmet onto her head.
Ravager: I don't have time to answer any questions. Just take care of the children, will you?
One of the police officers draws his weapon and points it at her; there are too many questions about this situation to just let her go, after all. For all they know, she could really be the one responsible.
Officer #1: Ma'am, step off the bike and put your hands up. Now.
Ravager: If you want to stop me, Officer, you're going to have to shoot me.
Revving the engine, she slowly glances back at him. They stare at each other for a few moments, but the officer isn't backing down, keeping his pistol aimed at her.
Officer #1: I don't want to have to do that, Ma'am. But if you don't shut your vehicle off this instant and get off, I will.
Wasting my goddamn time.
With a lightning quick motion, Ravager kicks her leg upwards and knocks the man's gun out of his hand, sending it hurtling through the air. Without so much as another second's hesitation, she guns the throttle and races down the street. The second officer draws his own pistol now, taking aim and firing a couple of times; he misses, and she's gone.
Officer #2: Sh*t, call that in.
The other officer is already back in the cruiser, radioing in dispatch.
Dispatch: Go ahead.
Officer #1: Yeah, we got a 595 headed east. Suspect is on a black street bike, has long white hair, and is wearing a... strange, armored costume.
Dispatch: Could you repeat that? Did you say an armored costume?
Officer #1: Affirmative, like some kind of vigilante playing dress up.
Dispatch: Ten-four, I'll put out the alert right away.
Ext. Pavoni's Mansion – Early Morning
Unfortunately for the Silverstone police, they don't catch up to their suspect. By the time the alert gets out and the other officers on duty are searching for her, Ravager is already halfway to her destination, which is actually outside the city itself in a rather secluded location. Ten minutes later, she's pulling up outside the gate of the mansion, an overly elaborate residence with marble statues lining the walkway, walls of hedges, and a pair of fountains on either side of the yard. Half the money that went into this place is dirty, no doubt.
Ravager stops her bike, shutting the engine down and looking straight up at the top of the wall that wraps its way around the property. A pair of cameras are pointed right at her, and no doubt Pavoni has armed security inside to keep out intruders. Just as with her infiltration of The Orchid Lounge, this isn't going to be subtle. Stepping off her motorcycle, she removes her helmet and walks up to the iron gate; it's locked, but not with anything she can't get through.
It takes a few kicks to the center of the gate to break the lock, but soon the iron doors swing open with a loud thud. Her precog goes off a second later, giving her a view of multiple assailants firing at her. She didn't need the precog to tell her that she would need to take cover, though, as she's already moving behind one of the nearby statues. The rapid gunfire goes off a split second later, sending sprays of marble chips flying into the air.
The men attacking her, however, don't realize what they've just gotten themselves into. Ravager isn't screwing around, she isn't wasting time, she isn't holding back. She's in her 'zone', so to speak, so focused on her goal that she isn't going to give any of these untrained gunmen a chance to stop her. They don't have any experience other than pointing and shooting. They don't coordinate, they don't try to flank her, they just fire on her position until their clips are empty and have to reload.
That brief moment of reprieve is when Ravager makes her move, darting out from cover and racing across the lawn. She moves behind the fountain, behind hedges and trees, racing up to the front of the mansion. They take aim and start shooting again, but their weapons aren't built for accuracy, nor are they able to keep up with her impressive speed. Within moments, she's leaping over the railing surrounding the outdoor patio and attacking the closest man to her.
Though she always keeps the man she's attacking in between her and the other gunmen, they still think it's a good idea to keep shooting, only succeeding in hitting their own comrades. Then, when she has to move to another man, she darts in and around cover, leaping up over walls, diving through surrounding bushes and hedges. Halfway through the whole attack, the men start to realize just how outclassed they are, and decide to more careful, sticking together.
But there's only five left, and even with them all grouped together and waiting for her, she tears them apart. Lunging up and over a low wall on the patio, she lands right in the middle of them, sending them into a panic at her sudden appearance. Before they even get a chance to recuperate and attack her, she's already dropping them to the ground with vicious blows.
Ravager: I am getting real sick and tired of people shooting at me today.
Moving around to the front door of the home, she kicks it inwards and enters. Time to find Pavoni and put an end to this.
Int. Pavoni's Mansion – Early Morning
The inside is about as much as she would have expected out of a mansion; large, elaborate décor, expensive furnishings, etc. A little ways past the open foyer is a second floor balcony, with two separate staircases leading up to it. She contemplates briefly where to begin searching; it's a huge residence, and she's after a single, slimy man, not to mention Holly, who could be held in any one of these rooms.
She waits, listening for a response. Nothing.
Ravager: Pavoni, get out here, you son of a b***h!
Again, nothing. Well, it was worth a try. Letting out a calm breath, she begins to walk slowly through the mansion, keeping an eye out for anything. She's not about to let Pavoni get away, not this time. She doesn't make it very far, though, before a gunshot rings out and forces her into cover, diving behind a display case. Another gunshot, and this time an expensive piece of pottery explodes in a shower of fragments.
Pavoni: Damn it! Do you have any idea how much that cost?!
Ravager: You're the one that shot it, moron.
Glancing around the side of the display case, she spots the man up on the second story balcony. He's dressed in a loose bathrobe and silk pair of underwear, not a sight she wants to see right now. Raising his pistol, he takes another shot, but he misses wide. She doesn't even have to duck out of the way for that; apparently, he's never been to a shooting range before, and his accuracy is terrible.
Not wasting any time, Ravager races through the foyer and heads straight up the stairs after him. He takes another shot, misses, and then his gun jams. He hits it a few times, cursing, trying to get it to work. Realizing how fast she's covering the distance between them, however, he quickly retreats back down the hallway and through a side door. A few seconds later, Ravager bursts through the same door, body-checking her way through it.
It looks to be his bedroom; a large, canopied bed is located near the back of the room, next to what appears to be some kind of hot tub. A large, sliding glass door leads out onto a balcony outside, overlooking the pool in the backyard below. She's not paying attention to any of that, though; rather, her eye is focused on Pavoni, and the young girl in a white dress he has wrapped in one of his arms, holding her around the neck. With his other hand, he points the gun at her head.
Pavoni: Take another step and I blow her brains out.
Ravager doesn't know whether or not the gun is still jammed, but she isn't about to take any chances. As much as she hates obeying the command, she stays still, not about to put Holly's life at risk. The poor girl is in tears, her hands clawing at the much larger man's arm that keeps her trapped; she can't get away.
Ravager: Holly... it's going to be alright, you hear me? I'll get you out of this, I promise.
Pavoni: Shouldn't make promises you can't keep, lousy b***h. You'll never get that chance! Do you know how much trouble you've caused, huh? How much you've cost me?!
Moving the gun away from Holly's head, he points it straight at Ravager now, glaring at her with ire.
Pavoni: By the time I'm through with you, I'll make you wish you were never born!
His mistake is ever thinking that turning the gun on Ravager herself is a good idea. It's the worst thing he could have done, as he's now lost his leverage. The moment that Holly is no longer the target, Ravager sprints straight forward, catching the man off guard with her speed. Pavoni's eyes go wide, his throat emitting a gasp of surprise. In a panic, he gets off two quick shots; one of them sails past her head, missing wide, but the second rips into her shoulder.
In her current state of mind, though, she doesn't even feel it, closing the rest of the distance and cracking her fist across the man's face. At the same time, she disarms him of his weapon and wrenches his grasp away from the young girl, putting her in the clear. Before Pavoni has a chance to know what's going on, Ravager delivers hard shots to his body, precision strikes meant to cause as much pain as possible while making sure he retains consciousness.
Pavoni: No! F**k!
A vicious palm strike to the center of his face shatters his nose instantly, and the following jab to the throat brings him to his knees, coughing and sputtering, as he struggles to breathe. With a kick to the jaw, Ravager puts him flat on his back. She stands over him, drawing one of her swords and pointing it at him.
Ravager: I told you I'd make you suffer, Pavoni. Time to follow through on that.
Ext. Pavoni's Mansion – Early Morning
A figure garbed in a long trenchcoat and a fedora hat moves casually up the walkway, taking careful notice of all the bodies littering the property. Some are unconscious, some are dead, most of which were shot up by each other, the careless idiots that they were. Even still, Ravager certainly did a number on them, and from the sounds of it, she's finally found Pavoni. The man doesn't stand a chance.
Pushing his glasses farther up on his nose, Jerry stops momentarily, glancing up towards the second story of the house. He wonders how much time she'll take with Pavoni, whether she'll make it quick or drag it out. Either way, he has to hurry; while he has no doubt that Ravager will end Pavoni, her still being alive would leave a loose end, one that he can't have lying around. He has to be certain that neither she nor Pavoni leaves this house alive.
Int. Pavoni's Mansion – Early Morning
With a furious shout, Ravager throws Pavoni as hard as she can through the air; he hits a door and crashes straight through it, landing in the bathroom. He tries to get up, but the best he can do is lie there in pain. He's missing a hand now, and he's bleeding profusely from his groin. Glancing up, he sees Ravager slowly walking towards him.
Pavoni: You... you're insane... f***ing psycho!
Ravager: You don't know anything about me, Pavoni.
Walking into the bathroom with him, she delivers a hard kick to his already bleeding face.
Ravager: But allow me to explain a few things.
Driving the point of her sword down, she stabs the man's thigh, eliciting a horrid scream of agony.
Ravager: I hate killing, you know, I really do. Mostly, it has to do with my father; he's a real cold blooded b**tard, and for the longest time I tried to do my hardest to be the complete opposite of him. I did my best to never kill, to show everyone around me that I was nothing like him.
Grabbing the back of Pavoni's head, he lifts him up and then smashes his face against the sink.
Ravager: It was difficult at times, especially when killing came as a second nature to me at that point. My old team had a large part in keeping me in check, though, making sure I never crossed that line. For a while, it worked, and I never killed, no matter who I thought deserved it. Thing is, I came to realize over time that I wouldn't be able to abide by their strict 'no kill' policy forever, especially when I was on my own.
Removing the sword from his leg, she then throws him into the shower, sending him crashing through the plexiglass door.
Ravager: I tried so hard to be as different from my father as possible that I realized I wasn't being true to myself; I wasn't being my own person. My experiences, everything that I've been through in my life, have shaped me. Through those experiences, I've built up a moral code unique to myself, a moral code that I choose to follow.
Standing there in front of the slumped over Pavoni, Ravager raises him up with one hand, staring hard into his eyes. He's weak, defenseless, and near death; she still hits him, driving him back to the floor with a wild punch.
Ravager: See, it isn't the act of killing itself that's difficult. No, it's what comes after, knowing that I have to live with the consequences of taking a life. It's all a matter of asking myself if I can deal with it, if I can cope with that decision. That's why, in most cases, I don't kill. Yet, sometimes... there are some people that just flat out don't deserve to live.
Taking in a deep breath, Ravager slowly reaches down and grabs the back of Pavoni's head again, this time dragging him over to the toilet.
Time to end this.
She forces his head down, sending him face first into the toilet water. He tries to resist, tries to struggle away, but her powerful grip is firm, unyielding.
Ravager: The list of people that I will allow myself to kill is very small. At the top of that list, though, are people like you, people who take advantage of children, hurt them, rob them of their innocence... you're the lowest kind of scum on this earth, Pavoni.
Pavoni's struggles grow fiercer, more desperate. The air in his lungs has depleted, and he has no way of breathing in anymore.
Ravager: A lot of my fellow heroes would call this murder. But you know something? I don't care what they'd think, not one bit. I'm on my own now, and I'm doing things my way. To me, this is the first step in righting all of your disgusting wrongs. To me... this is justice.
As the minutes slowly tick by, Pavoni's frantic struggling becomes weaker and weaker. Eventually, they become nothing more than small twitches and spasms, until he finally ceases moving altogether. Ravager stands there for a few moments, not moving, just staring down at the lifeless man in her grasp. A nauseous sensation churns in her gut, but she ignores it. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks; in her mind, she did the right thing.
Releasing Pavoni, she turns from the bathroom and walks back into the bedroom. She looks around, searching for the young girl who's no longer there.
Ravager: Holly? Holly, you there? It's alright, you can come out now... he won't be hurting you anymore.
A few moments later, the little blonde girl pokes her head around the side of the bed. She waits a second, then cautiously walks into the open; she's in tears, frightened, and clutching at a teddy bear for comfort. Taking a knee, Ravager removes her mask and gives the girl a small smile.
Ravager: You're safe now, promise.
After a brief moment of dumbfounded staring, Holly runs across the room and dives into Ravager's arms, hugging her tightly. Though she sobs hard, she never makes a sound, the result of her surgically removed vocal cords. At first, Ravager just kneels there, letting the girl hold onto her but not reciprocating. Eventually, though, not even she can resist; she returns the hug warmly, arms wrapping around her.
By now, Ravager is finally beginning to feel the pain from her gunshot wound, her shoulder starting to grow stiff as a result. Still, she does her best to ignore it and push on. After all, she still needs to get Holly out of here, to a safer place, back to her family. Releasing a long breath, she stands up, carrying the sobbing girl in her arms.
Ravager: Come on, let's get you out of here.
She turns from the bedroom, intent on heading back out the door, down the hall, down the stairs, and out the front exit of the mansion. However, she stops cold when a precognitive flash ripples through her mind. It's different again, not like normal. She sees more than just one brief image, instead witnessing a whole series of events: a leaking gas pipe, a man in Pavoni's kitchen, the man setting a newspaper in a toaster, setting the timer, and then...
Ravager: S**t! Hold on!
Turning around, she races straight at the sliding glass door that leads onto the outdoor balcony. She lowers her shoulder and covers Holly as best she can with her arms to make sure the girl isn't hit by any shattering glass. Without slowing down, she sprints across the balcony and leaps through the air, aiming for the pool. About midway through the fall, the mansion behind her erupts in a massive explosion, scorching fireballs bursting through the windows.
Ravager feels the heat on her back as she plummets into the pool water with her arms wrapped tightly around Holly, making sure not to let go. The shock wave from the explosion also hits her, leaving her momentarily dazed below the surface. She quickly recovers, though, swimming upward and pulling the girl with her. Holly is terrified again, but Ravager does her best to calm the poor girl, as she swims over to the edge of the pool and hoists her up.
Once Holly is safely standing on the side of the pool, Ravager lifts herself out, barely able to crawl her way up. The gunshot wound is throbbing harder now, and her entire body feels as though it were just run over by a truck. Gasping for breath, she collapses on her backside stares up at the morning sky. Holly moves next to her, shaking her shoulder and trying to get her up.
Ravager: Just a second... just need a breather.
She doesn't get that breather, however, as she suddenly realizes they're not alone. Bolting straight upright, she turns and leaps back up to her feet, putting herself between Holly and the new enemy. Jerry walks slowly forward, the burning mansion in his background. He brings his hands together in a slow, mocking applause.
Jerry: Once again, Rose, you don't fail to impress.
Glaring at him, Ravager draws one of her blades with her good arm, while holding her other over Holly.
Ravager: Stay behind me, Holly.
Jerry: You know, killing you is proving to be quite the challenge. You're like a cockroach... and cockroaches need to be squashed.
Ravager: Well what are you waiting for, huh? Give it your best shot.
Jerry: Ah, but I won't be doing anything. I loathe getting my hands dirty, so on the off chance that the explosion didn't kill you, I brought backup.
As if on cue, a thunderous crash erupts near the side of the pool area. A portion of the wall surrounding the yard suddenly bursts inwards, bricks and mortar flying everywhere. Standing there in the newly created hole is a hulking behemoth of a man; no, it can't even be called a man, not really. It's more monster, a towering mountain of muscle with a brutish face. The monster slowly moves its gaze, eventually focusing on Ravager.
Jerry: You like him? One of my newest metas, fresh out of the facility. The formula we used on him was a little... unstable, though. He wasn't exactly supposed to mutate like that, but beggars can't be choosers. He's still far more advanced than any of the others, and he listens to his commands just fine, in spite of his... limited intelligence. I call him Blockbuster, after those other brutes that were created in a similar fashion.
Ravager swallows, staring up at the beast. Things just got a whole lot more complicated.
Jerry: Blockbuster... kill her.
Chapter #13 Preview: It's Ravager vs. the new Blockbuster! Does Ravager have a chance to even survive in her current condition, let alone emerge victorious? Find out next time, as she fights for her life!
Ext. Pavoni's Mansion – Early Morning
The hulking beast that is Blockbuster takes a few steps forward, glaring and grinning at Ravager. He growls a real, bestial growl, then full on roars as he charges at her, swinging his massive arm like a club. Ravager reacts instantly, grabbing Holly and pulling the girl out of the way while dodging the incoming strike. Blockbuster is a lot faster and a lot stronger than the previous metas she fought, but fortunately she still has a speed advantage, if only a marginal one. Her precog and reflexes are really going to have to work on overdrive if she wants to get out of this alive.
Ravager: Holly, run. Get as far away from here as you can.
The girl looks up at her in a panic, pulling at her arm.
Ravager: I can't really leave with you right now, just go!
Blockbuster rushes in at her again, growling. Ravager runs away from Holly, leading the monster in a different direction; it's her that he's after, not Holly.
Ravager: Holly, just run!
Finally, the little girl manages to sprint around the pool and across the lawn. With her arms still clutching onto her teddy bear in a death grip, she races through the newly made hole in the wall and disappears. Ravager flips backward to evade another attack by Blockbuster, but her landing is unsteady, causing her to tumble backward to the ground. In top form, she'd have a much greater chance against this beast, but she's currently suffering from a gunshot wound and a body battered by an explosive shock wave. She can feel her balance thrown off, and her legs throb hard, as though she's just run a marathon.
Running up to the downed Ravager, Blockbuster raises both fists above his head and brings them crashing down at her. She rolls to the side, just managing to avoid the incoming strike, which shakes the ground upon impact. Reacting quickly, Ravager draws one of her blades and slashes it at the monster's arm, but barely leaves a mark. She draws blood, yes, but what would have normally been a limb-removing cut on a normal person is about the equivalent of a paper cut to him.
Ravager: Well sh*t.
Blockbuster continues his attack, swinging his arm around again at her. She ducks, then flips forward over his second arm, landing on the other side of him. Taking her blade in both hands, she hacks at his knee cap, trying to go for the more vulnerable points on his body now. However, the attack again barely affects him, drawing only a small trickle of blood. As she attempts a followup attack, Ravager is suddenly caught off guard by a sudden kick from Blockbuster, swinging his leg upward and nailing her injured shoulder. Instantly, she takes off through the air, crashing into a nearby gazebo.
F**k, that's a broken arm.
Rolling out of the collapsed wooden structure, Ravager forces herself back to her feet, while holding her limp arm and gritting her teeth. Fortunately, the broken arm is the one already weakened by the gunshot; if it had been her only good arm, then she'd really be in trouble. Still, things aren't looking good and they're only getting worse. Blockbuster leaps at her, threatening to land right on top of her and smash her into the ground. Ravager moves fast and rolls forward just in time, narrowly avoiding the monster's feet as he crashes back to earth.
Blockbuster follows with another couple of smashing fists, driving them into the ground, as he tries to crush her again. Her enhanced reflexes and her precognition are the only things keeping him from hitting her right now, but she knows she can't keep this up forever. Her body is starting to feel more sluggish, and the pain is only getting stronger. If she doesn't figure out a way to end this soon, she's a goner.
Ravager dives out of the way of another attack, then has to lurch backwards to avoid another. In the process, her feet slip out from beneath her, causing her to fall suddenly to her backside. Blockbuster doesn't miss the opportunity, reaching down with both hands and scooping her up into his grasp. With a chuckling growl, he starts squeezing harder and harder, holding her up close to his face so he can watch her pained reaction.
A scream emerges from Ravager's throat, as she feels her bones beginning to cave under the pressure. A few more moments and they'll likely shatter, with Blockbuster mushing her into a bloody paste. But she can't let that happen, she won't let it happen. She manages to wriggle her good arm free, then reaches back and draws her other sword. What she has in mind is pure conjecture, but she doesn't have a whole lot of options remaining. Clenching her jaw tightly, she thrusts the blade forward at the monster's face, driving the point straight through his right eye socket. While most of his body is highly durable, some parts of him still must be squishy, and his eyes prove to be one of them.
With a howl of sudden pain, Blockbuster drops his victim and holds one of his massive hands up to his face. He falls to a knee, shaking his head and beating his other fist against the ground in frustration; he likely never expected that something could actually hurt him, if he can even think for himself at all. Upon falling back to the ground, Ravager takes a moment to catch her breath, using her sword as an anchor to push herself back up to her feet.
Ravager: I have had... just about... enough of this.
Moving around his thrashing arm, she lunges straight up at his chest and stabs her sword at where his heart should be. The blade strikes his hard flesh and sinks in only a third of the way, likely not reaching anything vital on this monster. Still, it causes Blockbuster pain, as he falls back and howls again, while lifting his hand to grasp at the weapon lodged in his chest. That's the moment Ravager is waiting for; the second that his big palm raises up in front of the sword's handle, she charges forward again throws herself against the back of his hand as hard as she can.
The abrupt force causes Blockbuster's palm to lurch against his chest, driving the blade straight through his body and out the other side. The monster blinks a couple times in shock, staggering backwards and falling to the ground. He opens his mouth as if to growl or utter some other sound of agony, but nothing comes out except a blood-filled cough. After a few long moments, Blockbuster finally falls down to his back, lying motionlessly.
Feeling the adrenaline from battle start to drain from her body, Ravager falls down to the ground herself, sitting there and breathing heavily. Her broken arm screams in pain, while the rest of her is completely exhausted and wiped, barely able to hold herself up. At least now... now she can catch that breather she'd been wanting.
Jerry appears in front of her now, holding a simple handgun and pointing it straight at her head. Under normal circumstances, she'd be able to disarm him and have him begging for mercy in a matter of seconds, but right now she can barely raise her gaze to look at him, never mind jump up and attack.
Jerry: It would be so easy to kill you right now, and after all the trouble you've caused, I really should.
Ravager: So what... the hell are you waiting for?
He stares at her for a few moments, firelight from the burning mansion glinting off his glasses. Eventually, he lifts the gun away from her and take a step back.
Ravager: The hell are you doing?
Jerry: Letting you live.
Surprised, Ravager takes in a few deep breaths before she's able to utter a response.
Ravager: Not that I'm complaining... but why?
Jerry: Killing you now would be in poor taste. You're a worthy adversary, Rose; I won't dishonor you by putting you down like a dog.
Ravager: Says the man who tried to blow me up.
Jerry: Yes, and you still survived that. Then, even weakened, you triumphed over Blockbuster, as well. You're impressive, very impressive. Putting a bullet in your head while you can't even stand would just be a waste. Consider this a reward for your feats this past night.
Ravager: You realize I'll still bring you down if I ever see you again.
Jerry: Of course I do, Rose, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Now, you may want to gather your strength and get out of here; this is a secluded location, yes, but home explosions don't exactly go unnoticed for long. The authorities will be arriving shortly.
Grunting, she slowly manages to push her way up to her feet, staggering there for a few moments before she's able to start walking again.
Jerry: Oh, and that girl, Holly? I do believe you should go find her before she gets lost in the woods that she ran into. You went through all this trouble to save her, after all.
Ravager: We'll meet again, Jeremiah, count on it.
On that parting note, she turns and hurries away from the burning property, heading out through the hole in the wall that Holly had gone through. In her weakened state, she struggles to keep her balance, half running and half hobbling, but she pushes herself. Holly is still counting on her.
Jerry: Oh, I am, Rose. Believe me, I am.
Ext. Wooded Location – Morning
Ravager: Holly! Holly!
Taking deep, slow breaths, Ravager pushes herself through the forest, stumbling over fallen trees, sliding down hills, and trudging through a small swamp. She's been out here for nearly half an hour, wandering aimlessly through these woods in search of the young girl, who could be anywhere by now. Still, she isn't going to give up. She can't, no matter what.
Still nothing. Even if Holly can hear the calls, she can't answer. The best that Ravager can hope for is that they stumble across each other, or that she sees the girl somewhere through the trees. Pushing herself beyond her limits, she starts crawling her way up another hill, her breaths growing quicker and raspier. Suddenly, her legs give out, plunging her face first against the ground. A surprised groan bursts from her lungs, as she slides back down to the bottom of the hill. Rolling over onto her back, she stares up at the sky through the forest canopy; everything is spinning.
Get up, Rose, come on. She tries to move, but her body refuses, remaining motionless. Goddamn it, get up, you lazy b***h! She's counting on you!
But she can't, her body simply doesn't obey her mental commands. She has finally pushed herself well beyond what she should, and her muscles decided to lock up on her. All she can do is lie there, staring at the spinning sky, while consciousness gradually leaves her. As the world goes dark, she swears that she sees something out of the corner of her eye, a small figure approaching her. Before she can even begin to wonder if something is really there or if she's just seeing things, she passes out cold.
Ravager awakens several hours later. She blinks a few times, glancing around wearily and then trying to get up. Her entire body seizes with a paralyzing pain the moment that she attempts to move, eliciting a sharp gasp from her lips. Dropping her head back down, she takes in deep breaths and tries again, this time doing so slowly, gradually. She manages to raise herself into a sitting position, but no farther.
Sh*t, I feel like I just went ten rounds with Superman.
A second later, she becomes aware that she isn't alone. Turning her gaze to her side, she notices a small young girl with blond hair nestled against her, fast asleep. Her heart immediately skips about three beats in pure relief.
Ravager: Holly... you found me. Good girl.
She lets out a small laugh of disbelief and then collapses back against the ground. She found Holly, but there are still a few problems with the current situation. One, she can barely move. Two, they're lost somewhere in the middle of a thick forest. Three, as day goes on and the sun starts to fall, the temperature will go down, and neither of them are really dressed to survive a cold night lying there in the woods. Realizing the severity of the circumstances, she knows she has no other choice.
Really,reallynever wanted to have to use this.
Carefully, she reaches into one of the small compartments on her belt. She certainly doesn't have as versatile a utility belt as, say, Batman, but she does keep a few things of importance in there for when the occasion arises. She finally manages to pull out a small, round communicator. Dick had given to her when she left, telling her to call him if she ever needed anything. She really had planned on never using it, not wanting to go running to Dick whenever she had a problem. Right now, however, she doesn't have much of a choice. She just hopes it's still functional, after what she's been through today.
Ravager: Come on, come on... work you piece of-
Her words cut off when the communicator begins hissing with static, which quickly cuts out and is replaced by a familiar voice.
Dick/Comm: Rose, is that you?
Ravager: Ha... what do you know, it still works. You sure build them to last.
Dick/Comm: What do you need? Is something wrong?
Ravager: Oh, you could say that... listen, I'm gonna need, well... a favor. How fast can you get that Bat-Jet of yours here for a pickup?
A brief silence follows before she receives a response.
Dick/Comm: According to your coordinates, it says you're almost 300 miles away from here.
Ravager: Yeah, so sue me, just answer the damn question.
Dick/Comm: A couple hours at the most, shorter if I hurry. Why, what's wrong?
Ravager: Look, I'll explain when you're on your way, if you really want me to. Just hurry up, okay? I... really need some help right now.
Dick/Comm: Alright, I'll be there as soon as I can. Just hold on.
Ravager: Trust me, I'm not going anywhere.
Int. Silverstone City General Hospital – Night
It took an hour and a half from when Rose first called Dick to come get her before he finally arrived, and another hour after that to get her in a change of clothes, come up with a story, and then transport both her and Holly to the hospital to get looked at. Only when Rose knew that the young girl was being taken care of did she allow herself to be treated, pumped up so full of pain medication that she passed out for about six hours.
When she finally awakens, Rose takes in a deep breath and slowly opens her eye, blinking away the blurriness. The hospital room is dark, yet strangely inviting; then again, after lying for several hours in a forest, even her old apartment would be inviting right now. Letting out a long yawn, she raises up her unbroken arm and holds it to her forehead, trying to fight the dull throbbing between her ears.
Dick: Finally awake?
Still yawning, Rose takes a look over to the corner of the room, where Dick sits calmly in a chair. He gives her a small wave when she sees him.
Rose: You're still here? Figured you'd have been back to Gotham ages ago.
Dick: I wanted to make sure things went smoothly, no complications or anything. I've been answering police questioning all day.
Rose: They bought that I found Holly in a back alley, being assaulted by some random street thugs?
Dick: And that they roughed you up when you tried to help her; explains the broken arm and the gunshot, as well as the internal bleeding.
Rose: And then you showed up and ran the goons off. Huh, almost didn't think that would work. So, how is the girl, anyway?
Dick: Just fine. Her injuries were pretty minor, just some scrapes and cuts... well, and the internal scarring.
A long breath escapes her lips, eye closing for a moment. She forces down the numb lump forming in her throat.
Rose: That poor kid's been through more than any child should have to. I hope that b**tard Pavoni rots in hell for what he did to her.
Dick: About that... you weren't the one that blew up his house, right?
Rose: That's what I said, isn't it?
Dick: Yes, and I believe you. Just checking; turns out the fire left his body so scorched, that determining the cause of death is going to be nearly impossible, if it wasn't the explosion itself.
Rose: Huh, imagine that.
Folding his arms across his chest, Dick's eyes slowly narrow at her.
Dick: Yeah... imagine that.
Rose: So, if Holly's alright now, did her family come by to pick her up yet? They were probably worried sick about her.
A brief pause lingers in the air, as Dick hesitates to respond.
Rose: Something wrong?
Dick: The girl, Holly... she doesn't have a family.
Rose: What? You're telling me she has no family? No parents, cousins, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles.... nothing?
Dick: That's exactly what I'm saying. Her full name is Holly Anne Sanders; her parents died in a car crash four years ago, and she was an only child. Most of her extended family passed on before she was even born, and those that are left are either in prison or in no way fit to take care of a child. She was in the foster system before her disappearance.
Rose: Wait, so... so she was a foster kid? Well, who was looking after her, huh? Shouldn't they be here?
Dick: The couple that was taking care of Holly before isn't... available anymore. Somewhere along the road, their life took a downward spiral. Drugs, alcohol, domestic disputes, things like that. They didn't even report Holly as missing until a week after it happened. Right now, they're being held up on a laundry list of charges, not the least of which includes negligent endangerment of a child.
Holding her hand back up to her head, Rose closes her eye for a moment and lets out a small groan. Her headache is starting to get worse.
Rose: Then, what now? What's going to happen to her?
Dick: Well, she's in court custody at the moment. I imagine they'll insert her back into the foster system soon.
Rose: What? So she can end up in another sh*t hole like the last on? No, no way! After what she's been through, she deserves better!
Dick: Rose, I wish there was something else we could do for her, but that's the way things work. She has no place else to go.
A long pause follows. Rose takes a deep breath, carefully thinking the situation over. She can't just let them throw Holly back into foster care, not after how it had treated her before. Eventually, she comes to a wild, snap decision. It's a long shot, but to her, it makes sense.
Rose: What if I looked after her? Doesn't have to be permanent, just temporary, at least until something else can be done.
Dick: Rose, I don't really think that-
Rose: No, quiet, just hear me out on this, alright? I know I can be a real b***h at times, and I know I don't really have a great track record as a 'people person'. But there are some things I'm serious about, and right now, I'm serious about that girl. She's been through too much for her life to be left up to chance now, and I know I can help her. I... I can do something good for once that doesn't involve punching someone in the face.
Dick: Listen, Rose... I can understand your wanting to help her. But becoming someone's legal guardian isn't something that's accomplished with a snap of your fingers. There's a process, petitions to fill out, court proceedings, they have to determine if you're fit to take care of her, and-
Rose: What, you don't think I'd make a good caretaker?
Dick clears his throat briefly, shifting in his seat.
Dick: It's just... you don't have a job, you don't have any money, you don't have a home, and then there's the dark stuff they'd dig up on you when running a background check... Your current identity and position doesn't exactly fit the right profile.
Rose: Yeah, well... okay, so all that could be a problem. But, maybe you could help me out with that? I mean, you do have the resources to make it happen, and... please, Dick, let me do this. For Holly.
Looking back at her carefully, Dick takes in a deep breath and slowly lets it out. Eventually, he gives a small shrug and holds a hand to his head.
Dick: I know I'm going to regret this, but alright, fine. I'll see what I can do.
A small, satisfied smile forms across her face.
Rose: Thanks, Dick, really. You're... a good friend.
He nods at her again, then standing up from his seat and walking over to the door. Before he leaves, though, he stops and glances back at her.
Dick: Rose, another thing... about how we left things between us last time, I didn't mean to-
Rose: Let me stop your right there. Listen, you were right; I did some thinking on it, and yeah, it never would have worked. I just... I don't know, guess I was feeling emotionally open at the time, and you were being good to me, and... just don't worry about it, alright? It's in the past, case closed.
Dick: You'll find someone eventually, you know.
Rose: Ha! Right. You know anyone who can put up with this personality? The only ones that could are either dead or, well, you.
Dick smiles, a quiet laugh escaping his lips. He gives her another nod, then opens the door to leave.
Dick: Get some rest, Rose. You've earned it.
Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day
Three weeks later...
Rose: So, this is the place, huh?
Dick: Yeah, everything's set up and ready to go for you. Fully furnished, best home security system known to alien and man alike, and all expenses paid for by Wayne Enterprises.
Rose: Not bad, Grayson, not bad. I could get used to this.
They were currently on the top floor of the Silverstone Residential Towers building, which consisted of some of the most expensive apartments in the city. When Rose mentioned that she needed a new place to live, this wasn't what she had been referring to, but she certainly isn't going to start complaining now.
Rose: Holly, come see this, you're gonna love it.
The young blonde haired girl with two different colored eyes pokes her head in the doorway curiously, gazing around in wonder. She's dressed in proper clothes now, a nice blouse and jeans, and real sneakers. Though she can't speak, her wide eyes say it all; she's impressed. Clutching her teddy bear to her chest, she comes farther inside and investigates, eventually hopping up onto the leather sofa and smiling. A few moments later, she finds the remote and turns on the large, flat screen television across from her.
Dick: I think she likes it.
Rose: Certainly seems that way.
It had been a long process going through court and filing petitions to become Holly's legal guardian. The whole thing had really been a pain, but Rose never once considered giving up on it. Dick had really been the one who made it happen, though, setting her up with a completely new, squeaky clean identity, providing everything from birth certificates, a social security number, driver's license, a new bank account, a job, health insurance, the works.
Once that was in order, she had been able to start the court proceedings, which involved everything from paperwork to private interviews with both her and Holly, making sure that this was something they both wanted. Though Holly hadn't known her new caretaker for very long, Rose did more good for her than anyone else had in a long time. Rather than face the unknown of foster care again, the girl had accepted Rose's offer to become her legal guardian.
Dick: That's not all, though, follow me.
Giving him a curious look, Rose walks after him; he leads her into the bedroom.
Rose: And here I thought we put that behind us. But now isn't the best time to change your mind, Dick, there's a kid in the other room.
Dick: Very funny.
Heading to the far wall, he enters a numbered code on a small security panel, causing a section to swing around. On the other side of the wall, now facing them, is Rose's Ravager gear, everything from her full costume, including a backup, to various swords, masks, and a few other unknown gadgets. Rose's lips begin to curl into a pleased grin.
Rose: Grayson, you really know how to make a girl all tingly.
Dick: I'll keep that in mind. Go ahead and take a look, though, I've gone and given your stuff a few upgrades.
Acknowledging his suggestion, she takes a walk over to the equipment wall and examines her armor and weapons.
Rose: What kinds of upgrades?
Dick: Well, for starters, I took the liberty of finally outfitting your armor with some Kevlar materials, or a mix really. Some Kevlar, some Promethium mesh. Point is, you're now as bulletproof as Batman.
Rose: These swords look sharper, too.
Dick: They are, about 500% sharper, to be exact. Filed them down with some of WayneTech's top laser sharpening tools; they'll cut through things like steel, concrete, stone... well, most normal materials really. Still won't help against the really tough stuff, but at least they're more effective than your average blades. Just be careful with them, don't want any accidents.
Smirking, Rose gently runs her thumb against one of the blades; her skin barely even touches the edge before she feels the sting, followed by a trickle of blood.
Rose: You know there's no way I can pay you back for all of this, right?
Dick: Don't worry about it. You just do what you do best, stop the bad guys.
She gives him a firm nod.
Rose: You can count on that. If anything good came out of my run in with Pavoni, it's that I learned just what kind of crap goes on in this city. Well, now they have someone who's going to clean it up.
Dick: I'll hold you to it.
Reaching forward, Dick extends his hand. She returns the gesture, shaking it and taking in a deep breath.
I hope you're ready, Silverstone City. There's a new hero in town, and her name is Rose Wilson.
Chapter #14 Preview: Rose is now officially the new vigilante of Silverstone, but is the city ready for a do-gooder that acts outside the law? Her new activities are bound to pick up some attention, both from law enforcement and the media. How will her presence affect crime in Silverstone, and just what is her new day job? All those questions and more will be answered in the next chapter, which picks up six months into Rose's new crime fighting career!