Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

Disclaimer: I do not own any DC characters or locations. All rights belong to DC Comics. I do, however, retain the rights to all characters and locations of my own creation, which include: Rebecca Chavez, Holly Sanders, Apathy/Ruby, Jeremiah Belmont, Michael Kubrick, Zaria (as well as her Celarian race), Shao Shen, Trance, Police Chief Gerald Palmer, Officer Stevens, Officer Harrow, Emilia Marconi, Francis Baldoni, Arnold Pavoni, Senator Thomas Greene, Agent Croft, as well as Silverstone City and all its interior locations of my own creation.

Rating: M (this arc was a little more... intense than my last ones)

Note: Familiar enemies have returned, and they're coming after Rose! Finding herself and her friends under attack, Rose must work to stop them before she loses everything and everyone she holds dear.

Side Note: The first part to a two part arc, the second to last full arc of the series. After part 2, there will be one more story arc, followed by a couple follow up chapters to bring things to a close. Already got most of it worked out. Now, let's see if this gets more comments than the whopping 1 that my last story arc got...

All Chapters: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic/8/ravager4s-fan-fic-archives/660884/#1

Chapter #77

Ext. Silverstone City Park - Day

It is a peaceful day, a nice day. The sun shines brightly, with not a cloud in the sky, and a cool breeze blows gently through the streets. Rose closes her eyes momentarily, taking time to enjoy the wind whipping through hair. It seems like such a long time since she's actually been able to just relax and enjoy a day like today.

Vendor: Next.

Opening her eyes again, Rose takes a step forward up to the hot dog cart.

Rose: One with onions and relish, and one with everything.

Vendor: Coming right up.

When the vendor hands over the pair of hot dogs, Rose pays for them, then walks back across the grass towards the picnic table, where Circe sits, watching the two girls, Holly and Lyta, having fun over on the playground a short distance away. Sitting down across from her, she hands over one of the hot dogs.

Rose: And there you go, one with everything.

Circe: Much appreciated. It's odd, how much of a taste I've developed for these things. Such a simple food, yet so... savory.

Rose: Well, that cart does sell the best ones in the city, from my experience.

The two eat quietly for a moment, though it doesn't take long before Rose puts her food down and releases a long sigh.

Circe: Something wrong?

Rose: No, that's the thing. Everything is... great. I mean, as good as they can be, anyway.

Circe: Some people would be happy about that.

Rose: And I am. There's just... a lot of things on my mind, is all. You know, I still don't think I've thanked you for before, for setting me straight. So, thanks.

Circe: Please, I was only doing my duty as your friend. Nothing more.

Rose: Yeah, well I still appreciate it. I think I really needed that slap.

Circe: Now that part was a pleasure.

Smirking slightly, Rose raises up her hot dog to take another bite.

Rose: If I ever act even remotely like that again in the future, promise you'll slap me harder.

Circe: Oh, I'll do more than just slap you. Count on it.

Rose: You know, I realize something. We've known each other for quite a while now, and I still don't know much about you. Well, other than the fact that you used to be a deranged sorceress with god-like power.

Circe: And that's all there really is to know. Trust me, my history is a long and complicated one, and I'd very much like not to go into it. The past is the past, and that's where I want to leave it.

Rose: Guess I can't fault you for that. You were, like, a big Wonder Woman foe, though, right? I think I recall Wonder B*tch mentioning something about that before.

Circe: Yes, Diana and I have a long, outstanding history with one another.

Rose: But you aren't going to elaborate on that, are you?

Circe: Not a chance.

Retaining her cool demeanor, Circe finishes off the last of her hot dog, washing the bite down with a gulp from her water bottle.

Circe: Though, I imagine that if she could see me right now, see how far I've fallen, she'd have herself a good laugh.

Rose: I don't know-

Glancing to her left, she watches Holly and Lyta for a moment, both girls traversing the monkey bars quite adeptly.

Rose: -can you really call living a happy life with your daughter 'falling'?

Circe, too, looks over at the two two girls again. A long breath of air emerges past her lips.

Circe: No, no I suppose I can't.

Rose: So, now I'm not usually the one to pry on these things, but I'm curious. Are you ever going to get a date?

At this question, Circe lets out a very amused, very genuine laugh. She smiles, holding a hand to her face and shaking her head.

Rose: Didn't realize I was telling a joke.

Circe: I'm sorry, but the concept of mingling with these mortal men is just so... ridiculous. I may be a mortal woman now, but that doesn't mean I'm going to give myself to any of these weak minded, self centered pigs.

Rose: Well... I suppose when your former partner is the god war, it's hard to find someone who really measures up, huh?

Circe: Quite. I've yet to meet a man who I find worthy of my affections, as if I even have many affections to give.

Rose: I'm sure there's somebody out there for you.

Circe: Perhaps, but I haven't found him yet. One of your fellow super heroes, maybe, should I ever meet one. Some of them seem like they could be rather... virile.

It's Rose's turn to laugh, though her is a much quieter, more reserved sort of laugh. A broad smirk curls across her face, as she shakes her head and lets out a long sigh.

Rose: I will say, you are a unique woman.

Circe: Something I pride myself on very much, thank you.

As they continue to sit there, watching their daughters play, Rose's phone begins to ring. She doesn't want to answer it, but for all she knows it could be Dick calling about something important. Best to just pick it up. Finally pulling the phone out of her pocket, she holds it up to her ear.

Rose: Hello? Uh, yes, this is she... yes, I know a Ruby Lawson. She's what?!

A brief burst of panic sets in her voice, before she calms herself.

Rose: O- okay, I'll be right there. Yes, thank you.

Circe lifts a curious eyebrow, as Rose hangs up and stuffs the phone back in her pocket.

Circe: Who on earth was that?

Rose: That was the hospital. Ruby's in their intensive care wing, admitted last night.

Circe: Isn't that the woman that messed with your emotions these past couple weeks?

Rose: So what if she is?

Circe: Well, then why should you care? I say good riddance.

Rose: She isn't a bad person, she just made bad choices. That's something we've all done. Anyway, I have to go. Can you let Holly know what's going on? I'll be by to pick her up later.

Exhaling deeply, Circe merely shrugs her shoulders.

Circe: Of course. That's what I'm here for, isn't it?

Int. Silverstone General Hospital - Day

After pushing her way through the hospital entrance, Rose hurries up to the front desk in the main lobby. She didn't realize that she would be this worried over something happening to Ruby like this, and yet she can already feel a sense of anxiety setting in. Ruby really isn't a bad person; yes, she made some bad decisions and did some bad things, but who hasn't? Rose is guilty of that a hundred times over throughout her own life. She'd be a hypocrite to condemn the woman for that.

Rose: Hi, I just got a call about a friend admitted here last night. Her name's Ruby Lawson. What room is she in?

The secretary briefly glances up at her, then turns to her computer, pulling up the information.

Secretary: Let's see... here it is. Ruby Lawson, room 38B. I'm going to need to ask you to sign in on the visitor's list, please, while I alert Doctor Watson that his patient is expecting a visitor.

Rose quickly signs off her name on the clipboard, along with her time of arrival, and then hurries off again to the elevator. She hits the third floor button, then leans back against the elevator wall and utters a long breath, one hand brushing her hair out of her face. She waits quietly as she ascends, ignoring the lame background music coming from the speakers. Normally, such soft, classical music would probably have her ready to rip the speaker off the ceiling, but she's too worried at the moment to get annoyed.

As the elevator doors open, Rose moves out down the hallway, keeping her eyes on the numbers. When she finally makes it to 38B, a doctor is already standing outside, waiting to greet her and making notes on a clipboard.

Rose: Dr. Watson?

The doctor looks up from his clipboard, putting the pen into his front pocket and extending his hand.

Dr. Watson: Miss Wilson, I presume?

Reaching forward, she briefly shakes the man's hand.

Rose: That's me, yeah. How is she?

Dr. Watson: Well, she's stable right now, but her injuries are rather severe. I'm not going to lie, she's lucky to even be alive. We barely managed to stop the bleeding before we could get her in for an emergency transfusion and surgery. We've been working on her all night.

Rose: Uh, okay, so... do you know what happened?

Dr. Watson: I haven't the slightest clue. She quite literally appeared out of thin air in our waiting room last night, around midnight. Bleeding everywhere, too - the janitorial staff is still scrubbing the carpets.

Flipping through his clipboard, he pulls out the medical report and lets Rose take a look.

Dr. Watson: Six puncture wounds; three through her abdomen, two through her chest, one through the shoulder. Miraculously enough, most of her vital organs went undamaged; that's the only thing that saved her. She would have bled out in a matter of minutes, though, if she didn't... I don't know, teleport here when she did.

Rose: Who could have done this to her?

She's just thinking out loud, mostly, as she goes over the details on Ruby's injuries. The doctor is right; Ruby is lucky to be alive.

Dr. Watson: I'm afraid that isn't my area. Best leave that to the police. Though, if I had to make a guess, I'd say some gangbanger got a hold of her. When she arrived here, she was dressed in some fancy costume like those super hero folk. Maybe she just got unlucky.

Rose: Yeah... maybe.

Not a chance. No way some random goon takes out a teleporting empath.

Rose: By the way, how did you know to contact me?

Dr. Watson: Oh, right, almost forgot.

Rummaging through his pockets momentarily, Doctor Watson eventually pulls out a small, crumpled, and bloody slip of paper.

Dr. Watson: Before she passed out, she managed to scribble this down, said to call you when we got a chance.

Rose tentatively takes the paper from him, opening it up and staring at the writing. Parts of it are barely legible beneath a thick, dry crust of crimson, but she can still read it. In addition to her name and number, there are another two words: 'They're coming'.

They're coming? Who's coming?

She stares at the paper for a few more seconds, then turns it over. On the other side is an address: 586 Fiske Avenue.

Rose: I don't suppose she's awake right now, is she?

Dr. Watson: Out cold, and will be for a while. You can go in and see if you want, but be brief.

Rose: Right... I'll just be a few minutes.

Giving her a nod, Doctor Watson heads back down the hall to attend to his other patients. Rose utters a long sigh and pushes through the hospital room door. It's exactly what she expects from this place by now. Dark, quiet, heart monitor beeping methodically... she hates that it feels so familiar, with how much she's been in this place over the past couple years.

Rose sits at the bedside, just staring at the Ruby beneath the covers. An oxygen mask is fixed around her mouth, and of course the multitude of wires and tubes keeping her alive. Eventually, Rose bows her head, staring at the floor.

Rose: What did you get yourself into, Ruby?

For a few long moments, she continues to sit there in silence. Each passing minute, the feeling welling up inside her grows more intense. At first, she doesn't know what it is, but she soon realizes exactly what she's feeling, aside from the obvious worry. It's anger, with a little dash of determination. And maybe a little guilt. She hasn't felt quite like this in a long time, and now that she's feeling it again, she knows exactly what she has to do. Raising the bloody note back up to her face, she stares at the words written on it. Her eyes narrow, and then her fingers clench, crumpling the paper into her fist.

I don't know who did this to you, Ruby. I don't know who they are... but I'm damn sure going to find out.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Setting the glass of water on the nightstand, Rose leans forward and gives Holly a gentle kiss on the forehead. The girl smiles, settling down against her pillow and gazing back up at her adoptive mother. For a brief moment, the two just look at each other lovingly, until finally Rose stands up straight.

Rose: Alright, you know the drill by now. Security system is up, doors are locked, and if anything happens, you know where the panic room is.

Holly: I know, Mom, I'll be fine. Not the first time we've done this.

Rose: Yeah... just like old times, right?

Holly: Right.

The two smile at each other again, and then Rose makes her way back over to the door, flicking the light switch off.

Holly: Hey, mom?

Rose: Yeah, hun?

Holly: I'm glad you're helping people again.

Rose: It's like you said, Holly: if you can help people, you should. Well, I can. So I will.

A small laugh finds its way out of Holly's throat.

Holly: You said that, remember?

Rose: And you reminded me.

A small pause goes by, and then Holly's tone grows a little more solemn.

Holly: You're gonna find the guys who hurt Ruby, right?

Rose: Yeah, I am.

Holly: Promise?

Rose pauses a moment, then reaches up and slides the faceplate down over the front of her helmet.

Ravager: I promise.

Holly puts on another smile, reassured by those words. If her mother says it, then it has to be true. Whoever put Ruby in the hospital would pay, now she's sure of it.

Holly: Good.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night

Ravager stops outside the front of the building, gazing up at it carefully. From the looks of things, it's pretty deserted. As a matter of fact, it looks more like it's condemned, with how run down it is. It certainly didn't look like any place important... so then why is the building's address on the note that Ruby left for her? After taking a calm look around the area to make sure that no one else is in the immediate vicinity, she walks up to the front of the building and looks inside one of the boarded up windows.

Through a small gap in the wood she can see the interior. As she thought, the place is just about empty, and pretty dark, too. She doesn't really see what kind of clue she's supposed to find by breaking in there. But there has to be a reason that Ruby sent her here. Narrowing her eyes slightly, she takes a step backwards, pauses, and then looks up, a thought suddenly coming to her.

I wonder...

Moving around the side of the building, Ravager finds the rusted over fire escape and hoists herself upward, scaling towards the roof. When she makes it to the top, she pauses momentarily and looks around. There isn't a lot up here, just an access door leading inside the building, an old air conditioning unit, and a few stray pipes. Narrowing her gaze, she continues moving forward across the roof, further examining things.

That's when she sees it: a large, dark brown stain near one corner of the roof, the remains of a thick pool of blood. Kneeling down close to the stain, she tentatively dabs it with her gloved fingers. It's still wet and sticky in some areas, mostly beneath the dried surface. The pool had been quite thick in some areas.

Definitely lucky to be alive... what the hell did this to you, Ruby?

Lifting her gaze, Ravager takes another long look around, trying to find anything that could be considered a clue. Ruby had gone out of her way to send Ravager to the place where she'd been attacked, so there had to be something she could use. Her gaze stops on the top of a second fire escape across from her. Looking closer, she notices something curious and then stands up to investigate. Caught in the metal of the hand rails is a small tuft of brown hair.

Interesting...

Could it belong to the attacker? Before she gets a chance to take the evidence, however, she suddenly stiffens up as another presence makes itself known. Looks like she'll have to deal with something else before she can continue her investigation. Uttering a long, annoyed sigh, she turns around and stares at the figure standing across from her.

Ravager: I was wondering when you'd make your move. You've only been following me since Levitt Street.

Shiva: Disappointed I didn't attack sooner?

Ravager: Disappointed you even decided to come back. Seriously, is this your new thing now? Showing up randomly when I'm in the middle of something more important?

Lady Shiva's eyes narrow, her arms folding across her chest.

Shiva: Yes, well... we were interrupted last time, if you recall. I loathe having my fights interrupted.

Ravager: And so now you're back to 'settle' things, right? Took you long enough.

Shiva: I would have returned sooner, had I not ended up in Hong Kong before regaining my drive to combat you. I don't know what that woman did to me, but if I ever see her again...

Ravager: -she'll probably end up doing the same thing, so don't waste your time.

Turning her back on the woman, Ravager moves her attention back to the tuft of hair caught in the hand rail. Reaching into her belt, she pulls out a small plastic bag and places the sample inside it.

Ravager: Anyway, I don't really have time to 'settle' things right now, so why don't you come back later? Book an appointment with my secretary and I'll get back to you. I think I have an opening next Tuesday...

Shiva: Oh no, you do not get off again that easily. Our rematch has been delayed quite enough, and I sense that you've recovered from the depression that held you back last time. We finish things now.

With no further hesitation, Lady Shiva sprints across the rooftop, ready to attack. Ravager breathes outwardly, eyes narrowing and head slightly turning back to look at the approaching woman. When Shiva lunges in with an expert, vicious palm strike to the back of the head, Ravager idly sidesteps, spins, and catches her arm.

Ravager: Big mistake.

Chapter #78

Ext. Silverstone City – Night

Shiva's eyes go wide, as suddenly she's flipping through the air. Instinctively, she twists her body around to land on her feet in a crouch, only to then be forced to raise her arms to defend against an incoming knee strike. The force of the blow knocks her backwards regardless. As she stumbles off balance, she turns and rolls, springing back up to her feet again in an instant and taking a defensive stance.

Shiva: Now that is what I expected from you.

Ravager: Yeah, I got better. A lot better.

Shiva: So you have. Good, then my time won't be wasted here.

She lunges forward again, this time leading with a quick side kick, aimed high. Ravager leans to the side, pushing her leg away, then counters with a pinning kick of her own. Shiva ducks, pivots, and then brings up a hard upper cut. She strikes only air, though, as Ravager moves around the strike with ease, then delivers a powerful kick to the gut that sends her reeling.

Shiva recovers in seconds, however, ignoring the throbbing in her stomach and then charges in again. This time, she's done testing. This time, she unleashes everything she has, a series of vicious, relentless strikes meant to cripple her opponent.

It isn't nearly enough.

Ravager does more than keep up with the attacks; she's one step ahead the entire way. She doesn't even need her precog to tell her where the strikes are coming from, instead blocking and dodging with pure skill and reflexes, which has risen to completely new levels ever since her training in Nanda Parbat. She plays on the defensive for a few moments longer, then decides to finish things.

Leaning away from one attack, she spins around her opponent and drives her elbow into the back of Shiva's head. When the blow doesn't put the woman down, Ravager keeps going, throwing a hard kick to back of the leg, causing Shiva to stumble to one knee. Then, she grabs one of Shiva's arms, twists it around, and tugs. With a loud snap! it breaks. A surprised cry of pain erupts from Lady Shiva's throat, but she stifles it a moment later, just kneeling there on the roof and clutching her broken arm.

Ravager: I may not be wasting your time, but you're wasting mine. I have better things to do right now.

Shiva: That was... impressive. I've not seen anyone fight like that since my daughter.

Ravager: Your daughter... you mean Bat Chick, right? Cassandra? Yeah, I beat her. Funny enough, she wants another rematch, too. Must run in the family.

Stifling a groan of pain, Lady Shiva slowly rises back to her feet, turning to give Ravager a long look.

Shiva: Where did you train this past year? I knew you had potential, but you could not have accomplished this level of improvement on your own.

Ravager: A very long way from here.

A small moment of pause passes, as a sudden sense of understanding finds its way to Shiva.

Shiva: I thought I recognized some of those movements. You trained with Dragon, didn't you? For how long?

Ravager: Hell if I know. A month and a half, out here. In there... I don't know, years, maybe. However you want to calculate the time warp thing.

Shiva: I see...

A brief moment of silence passes between them again, while Lady Shiva's lips curl into a very slight, barely noticeable smirk. When she speaks, it is barely more than a whisper, a statement meant mostly for herself.

Shiva: Congratulations, Richard... you found a way to beat me.

Ravager: Anyway, are we done here yet? I have places I need to be.

Shiva: Of course. I, too, have other obligations that must be taken care of.

Ravager: You mean assassinations.

Shiva: Do I?

Ravager's eyes narrow.

Ravager: Count yourself lucky that I have something more important to do right now than drag you to prison.

With her smirk widening ever so slightly, Lady Shiva turns from her and heads towards the ledge of the roof. Even with her broken arm, she doesn't appear to be slowed down very much. Before jumping down to the fire escape below, she glances back over her shoulder and gives a subtle nod.

Shiva: Until next time, Rose.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

The heavy, reinforced door slides open after Rose inputs the security code. The panic room/command center is cleverly hidden inside her apartment, the entrance disguised as part of the far wall in her living room. Just another thing she owes Dick and can never pay him back for. She isn't in here for the computer system, or the protection, though. Rather, she's here for the more scientific aspects, specifically the small lab station on the left side. She never needed to use it before, but right now it's sure going to come in handy.

Moving over to the work table, she takes out the small plastic bag and removes its contents, the clump of brown hair. She can use it to get a DNA sample, then maybe have Dick run it through a database and see if it brings up any suspects. At least, she hopes that will work. She isn't exactly an expert at this whole detective thing. Her specialty involves beating people to a pulp.

After taking off her gloves and helmet, she lifts up the hair and closely inspects it, feels it between her fingers. Something about it seems... off. It's quite shiny, and very soft. Either the person it belonged to has amazing conditioner, or...

It's not hair at all... it's fur.

But what kind of fur? The more she thinks about it, the more her hopes sink. She probably just got a sample of some stray animal, and that isn't going to help her cause at all. Though, if it does belong to a stray animal, like a dog or maybe a cat, then what on earth was it doing on the roof? Narrowing her eyes, she reaches over and grabs the nearby microscope, then pins the tuft of fur down on a slide and puts it in place to be inspected.

During the next twenty minutes, Rose carefully examines the fur, while cross referencing its microscopic appearance with records in the computer system next to her. She'll have to thank Dick later for such an extensive database on... well, just about anything she could ever need, really, even the composition of different animal furs. Eventually, she has her answer.

Wolf fur? That can't be right. What the hell would a wolf be doing in-

Her thoughts suddenly cease, an unfortunate revelation coming to her. No, it can't be. Could it? Breathing outwardly, she hurries out of the command room and makes her way into her bedroom. There's one way to find our for sure. Entering the passcode on the wall panel, she watches as her back wall turns over, revealing all her gear on the other side. And by all, she means all, including the equipment that's been damaged in the past. She never throws any of it away, because she never knows when she might have a use for it. Like now, for example.

Pulling open a small box, she reaches in and grabs the sword hilt. It belongs to one of her old, broken blades, with only maybe a few inches of sharp steel still attached. But the blade itself isn't what she's after. Rather, she's after what's on the blade: dried smears of blood. In seconds, Rose exits the room and arrives back at her work station.

Rose: Alright... I'm going to need some help with this.

Reaching into her belt, she pulls out that special communicator that Dick gave her so long ago. She just hopes he's not busy right now. Pushing the button, she waits for a response.

Batman/Comm: Whoever this is, I can't talk right now!

In the background, she can hear the sounds of fighting; some yelling, some grunting, some crashing.

Rose: Dick, it's me. I need your help with something.

Batman/Comm: Rose?

Some more shouting. She hears some goon cry about his nose, and another crash through what sounds like glass.

Batman/Comm: Give me a minute!

She waits patiently, tapping her fingers against the table as Batman finishes up with whatever it is he's doing. Several minutes later, things finally quiet down.

Batman/Comm: Alright, I'm done.

Rose: Sounds like one hell of a party you're throwing down there.

Batman/Comm: It's a regular blast. What do you need?

Rose: I need you to walk me through how to do a DNA match.

Batman/Comm: Don't you have those manuals I gave you?

Rose: I might have neglected to read them, and I don't have the time right now. Please, this is urgent.

A small sigh comes in over the communicator.

Batman/Comm: Alright, give me a bit. I still have to check out this area, then I'll walk you through it.

Two hours later...

Rose leans back in her chair, just staring up at the large screen in front of her. She's been sitting like this for the past hour now, after going through the whole process of getting the materials prepared for sequencing. All that's left to do now is wait... though she could be waiting for a while. Right now, the progress bar reads: 17%. Uttering a long yawn, she glances at the clock. It's 3:24 in the morning. At least she doesn't have to be up in the morning, with tomorrow being Sunday. She can wait here as long as she needs to.

Several minutes later, a tired voice comes from behind her.

Holly: Mom?

Spinning around in her chair, Rose sees Holly, looking absolutely adorable in her pink pajamas and mussed up hair, standing in the doorway. The girl lets out a long yawn, before walking into the room.

Rose: Hey, what are you doing up? You should be sleeping.

Holly: I had to go to the bathroom, then I saw the light. Whatcha doing?

Rose: Well, right now I'm waiting for a DNA analysis to finish.

Blinking curiously, Holly stares at the computer screen.

Holly: What's a DNA analysis?

Rose: Here-

Motioning for the girl to come forward, Rose reaches down to help the girl up into her lap. She then turns the chair around back to the computer screen and starts pulling up a screen of information.

Rose: -I'll explain in just a second.

Holly: Will it help you catch who hurt Ruby?

A long breath seeps out of her lips, as she brings up a hand to brush back Holly's hair.

Rose: I hope so, sweetie. I hope so.

Int. Parking Garage – Night

The parking garage is mostly empty, save for a few cars here and there. At this hour, very few people are out and about. One couple, however, Billy and Dana, drunkenly stumbles across the third level towards their car, the only one in the immediate vicinity. They're both all smiles and laughs, after having enjoyed yet another late night out partying, and of course neither cares that they aren't in any condition to be driving home.

Billy: You was totally kickin' tonight, babe.

Dana: Mmmhm, I know I was.

As they reach their car, Billy suddenly moves in with an aggressive kiss to her neck. Even more aggressively, he pushes her back against the car and starts slipping his hands beneath her shirt. Dana giggles, playfully attempting to push his hands away.

Dana: Hey, easy there bad boy, someone might see us.

Billy: All part of the fun, babe. Come on, just a quickie; ain't no one around.

A shadow abruptly moves across the open space of the parking garage, slipping behind one of the pillars lining the center of it. Dana catches this out of the corner of her eye and lets out a startled gasp.

Billy: Oh, sounds like I got ya all revved up already.

Dana: No, I think... I think I saw sumin'. Over there.

Looking back over his shoulder, Billy narrows his eyes and takes a close look at where his girlfriend is pointing. Of course, with how blurred his vision is at the moment, he's not seeing much of anything. With a stupid grin, he turns back around and starts pulling down her skirt.

Billy: You're jus' seein' things.

Dana: No, Billy, I really thought I-

Crunch.

Something big and heavy lands atop their car, caving in the roof. Dana utters another shocked yelp, while Billy slowly looks upwards. When he sees the thing standing there, his eyes go wide with disbelief.

Billy: What the h-

A large furry arm comes down and grabs onto his throat, cutting off his sentence. With one swift jerk, the arm pulls him up and over the car, leaving behind a trail of blood. Dana stares straight up at where her boyfriend disappeared and screams in horror, briefly falling to the ground.

Dana: BILLY!!!

When her legs finally start working again, she fights her way back up to her feet and starts running, though in her current inebriated state, it's more accurate to say that she hobbles and trips her way along. Rounding the corner of a nearby pillar, she presses herself up against the flat of the concrete and closes her eyes, hiding.

Dana: Omigod, omigod, omigod.

After several moments, Dana opens her teary eyes again and sniffles, looking back around he edge of the pillar. She sees nothing but an empty lot. Maybe the attacker is gone? As soon as that thought runs through her head, however, a shadow casts over her. Blinking, she eases her gaze upward to see some kind of horrifying, scaly shark creature crawling its way along the upper half of the pillar.

Dana: No, no-! AAAHHHH!!!

Her scream is abruptly cut off, as the creature descends upon her, claws and teeth ripping into flesh, blood spraying everywhere. Within seconds, the creature drags Dana's lifeless corpse back into the shadows and begins to consume her.

---

A short while later, two naked figures stand casually in the shadows of one corner of the parking garage. The man licks his bloody fingers clean, savoring the flavor. The tattooed woman, on the other hand, turns her head and spits out a thick glob.

Zaria: I hate drunks; can taste the alcohol in their blood.

Kubrick: Tasted fine to me; and since when have you hated alcohol?

Zaria: Always, when it's in my food. Makes the blood bitter.

Kubrick: Huh, different taste buds, I guess.

Leaning back against the wall, Zaria folds her hands over her ample chest and gives him a hard look.

Zaria: You did remember the change of clothes, right?

Kubrick: In the car. You know... one of these days I'd like to find an outfit that doesn't shred every time I wolf out.

Zaria: What's the matter, embarrassed?

Kubrick returns her gaze, a small grin forming across his face.

Kubrick: I got nothing to be embarrassed about.

Slowly, Zaria's gaze drifts downwards, her own amused grin forming.

Zaria: Clearly.

Moving forward, Kubrick lashes out a hand and takes hold of her by the throat, then leans in and plants a lustful kiss on her lips. She returns the act in kind, pressing back firmly against him, only for him to then suddenly turn her around and force her up against the wall. Bringing himself up close behind her, he roughly bites into her shoulder, drawing blood. The sharp, sudden twinge elicits an excited gasp from Zaria's throat.

Zaria: Mmm... just how I like it.

Kubrick: That's why you're with me, Zee. I know how to give it to ya.

His grin grows, while his eyes already begin to take on a more feral appearance. Zaria returns the smile, then looks back ahead of her and exhales deeply, as her man gets to work.

Chapter #79

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Rose utters a tired groan as she awakens the next morning. Shifting up straighter in her chair, she stretches her arms out and opens her mouth wide in a heavy yawn, then rubs her eyes to get the sleep out. As her vision begins to clear, she realizes that she isn't alone, with Holly still sitting on her lap and leaning forward against the desk, eyes locked onto one of the three computer screens.

Rose: Holly? You're still up?

The young girl doesn't answer at first, instead using the computer mouse to scroll down the information on the screen. Now fully awake, Rose sits completely upright and brings a hand up to Holly's shoulder.

Rose: Holly?

Holly: I'm just reading still. There's a lot of interesting stuff on this computer.

Rose: Oh yeah? Like what?

Holly: Like, it tells you all about how to be a detective, and there's a bunch of files on bad guys, and it says whether they're in jail or if someone still needs to catch them, and all sorts of stuff!

Rose: And you've been reading all night?

Holly: Yup, I'm not tired or anything.

Leaning forward, Rose gently takes the mouse from her daughter.

Rose: Hold on a second, hun, I need to check on the DNA thing.

Holly: Oh, that? That finished hours ago.

Rose: It did?

Holly: Uh huh. It said that the match was positive. So... that means the blood on your knife and the hair you found came from the same person, right?

A cold, numb sensation sinks into her gut at the information. She had been hoping that her initial guess would be wrong, but apparently she doesn't have much luck. Not that she can't handle him, because she can. Quiet easily, in fact. That's not the problem, though. The problem is the kind of damage he can cause before she finds him.

Rose: Yes, Holly, that's exactly what it means.

So, Kubrick's back in Silverstone. And where he is, so is his shark b*tch. They're not so bad by themselves, but together they're a problem. A big problem.

But why have they come back? Are they just looking to leave their mark on the city again, to stake out their previous territory, or are they back for something more? Like, revenge, perhaps? They do know who she is, at least she assumes they do, since they were working for Jerry in the VRA, so maybe they're looking to get back at her for the times she's dealt with them. If that were the case, though, then why haven't they made a move on her already?

Rose: Come on Holly, let's get going. Why don't you go take a nap, and then we can go see Ruby in the hospital later today, alright?

Holly: Awww, but I told you, I'm not even tired!

Rose: No arguing, Missy, you were up way too late. Go take a nap.

Releasing a disappointed breath, Holly slides off the chair and starts heading back to her room.

Holly: Alright...

Rose, too, gets up from her chair and heads back into the main apartment. After falling asleep in her Ravager uniform, she could really use a shower. A few minutes later, she's stripped down and relaxing beneath a spray of hot water.

Ruby wrote on her note that 'they're coming'. So she must have meant Kubrick and Zaria. But if she knows those two, then that means she was working with them when she was trying to break down my emotions along with Trance.

Narrowing her eyes, Rose takes a glob of shampoo and begins to scrub her long white hair.

But that doesn't make any sense. Only Kubrick and Zaria would have a grudge against me out of that group, and psychological warfare is definitely not a part of their M.O. No, someone else is pulling the strings here... but who?

When Rose gets out of the shower, the phone rings. Putting a towel around herself, she walks out of the bathroom and answers it.

Rose: Hello?

Palmer/Phone: Wilson, morning. It's Palmer.

Rose: I know your voice, Chief. Why are you calling?

Palmer/Phone: I just arrived at a crime scene... a very strange crime scene.

Rose: And why are you telling me this? I'm not a cop.

Palmer/Phone: You don't say, I had completely forgotten.

Rose: Just get to the point.

Palmer/Phone: When I say it's a strange crime scene, Wilson... I mean it's a strange crime scene.

Rose: That doesn't exactly tell me anything.

Palmer/Phone: Let's just say I could use your special kind of expertise, and pronto. That is, if you're feeling up to it.

Pausing for a moment, Rose sits on the edge of her bed and holds a hand to her forehead, contemplating.

Rose: Yeah, sure, whatever you need. Where are you?

Palmer/Phone: The parking garage next to the Keifer Chemicals building, third level. Just get here as soon as you can.

When the chief hangs up, Rose utters a small sigh and then places another call, waiting a few moments before someone picks up.

Rose: Hey, Circe? Yeah, what are you and Lyta doing right now? Listen, could you come over for a while and watch Holly? She's asleep right now and I have... business I need to take care of. Great, thanks.

Int. Parking Garage – Day

The third level of the parking garage is crawling with squad cars and police officers, as well as several unmarked vehicles and a forensics team. As Ravager drives her bike up to the scene, all eyes turn towards her, some curious, others cautious, and others still concerned. Bringing her ride to a stop, she steps off and heads over towards where Chief Palmer is standing, behind a wall of police tape. Before she can cross the line, however, a familiar officer runs up in front of her to stop her.

Stevens: Hey, hold it there, Ro- uh, Ravager. This is a police line, you can't cross.

Ravager: Stevens... I see they gave you your job back.

Stevens: Yeah, well, when they found out I was being mind controlled, they kind of let me off the hook. But I still can't let you-

Palmer: Cool your jets, Stevens, I called her.

Taking a step back, Officer Stevens blinks over at the chief, confused.

Stevens: Oh, ah, I didn't realize, sir. Was that necessary?

Palmer: Go take another look at the bodies and then ask me that question again.

Stevens: Uh... right, sorry.

Stepping past the police line, Ravager walks with Palmer towards a lone car with its roof caved in from some kind of heavy force.

Rose: So what's the deal?

Palmer: Some poor sap found a couple of Does this morning, called it in. It's pretty brutal.

Rose: Chief, I appreciate that you want my help, but if you start calling me in for every homicide, I'm never going to get a break.

Palmer: This isn't exactly what you'd call a normal homicide, Ravager. This is... well, see for yourself.

As they come around the other side of the car, Ravager freezes, gaze lowering towards the ground. Her stomach turns over briefly, but she fights the nausea down. It's the body of the John Doe, or at least what's left of it. Huge splatters and pools of crimson are everywhere, while the man's limbs and head have been torn off, and chest cavity ripped open and emptied. Taking in a deep breath, Ravager folds her arms.

Ravager: I see what you mean...

Palmer: We figured this was weird enough to get your attention. You should see the other one, it's in even worse shape. Any idea who, or what, did this?

Ravager: I might have a few ideas.

Palmer: Care to share?

She pauses a moment, glancing back over her shoulder at several nearby officers. In particular, Stevens is practically hovering over them.

Ravager: I'll explain tonight, when we can be alone. In the meantime... stock up on silver.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night

When Ravager parks her ride in the dirty, dank alley, she pauses briefly to take a careful look around. Definitely the right spot. It might have been a long time since she's been here, but she remembers it well enough. Hopefully, she can find some more clues here, too.

Ravager: Alright, I'm here.

Palmer/Comm: You know, Wilson, when you said you'd explain things when we were alone, this isn't quite what I had in mind.

Ravager: What, you didn't expect me to take you to dinner and tell you over a bottle of wine, did you?

Palmer/Comm: Hardly. I just wasn't expecting you to break into my office again, leave behind a headset, and then take off.

Ravager: You want me to work with you, we do it my way.

Palmer/Comm: So you're serious about this? Detective Kubrick, a werewolf?

Ravager: Hold a second.

Knocking on the door, she waits for the little window slot to slide open, revealing a beady pair of eyes on the other side. Those eyes go wide a second later, as Ravager gives a mocking wave, then spins and kicks the door off its hinges. Moving inside, she swiftly knocks the man out and proceeds down the hallway.

Int. Zaria's Pool Hall – Night

Ravager: To answer your question, yes, he's a werewolf. You never wondered where he disappeared to?

A frustrated sigh comes in over the line.

Palmer/Comm: Damn it, well that's not good.

Ravager: Well if that isn't stating the obvious. You seem rather quick to believe in werewolves, though.

Palmer/Comm: Let's just say, I have experience with monsters.

As Ravager reaches the top of the stairs at the end of the hallway, she pauses, holding a hand to her ear in order to hear more clearly.

Ravager: What do you mean?

The only thing she gets as a response is stone dead silence.

Ravager: Chief?

Palmer/Comm: Never mind, it's not important. Just keep moving and do your thing.

Narrowing her eyes, Ravager pushes the thought to the back of her mind. If it's not something he wants to talk about, then she can't force him. Right now, she has more important matters to take care of. When she descends the steps into the underground pool hall, the patrons immediately cease their activities and look her way, most caught somewhere between surprise and confusion.

Ravager: Hello, boys. Which one of you b*stards can tell me where to find Zaria?

She's answered by the three nearest men lunging in to attack her. They know who she is, and they know that she knows who they are. Not specifically, maybe, but only the biggest criminal scum of the city find their way down here. Unfortunately for them, they don't know just how hopeless their attack is. It doesn't take very long for her to put down the initial few assailants with a few hard, crippling blows. Even when the rest of the place swarms her, she makes it look easy. Not a single person comes close to landing a blow on her, while she in turn beats them all senseless.

By the end of things, broken, unconscious bodies are strewn everywhere amongst snapped pool sticks and upturned tables and chairs. The only person left standing is the bartender, behind the counter. Ravager casually approaches the man and leans forward against the counter.

Ravager: So, tell me, where's Zaria? She used to own this joint, didn't she?

Bartender: Uh... I have no idea, really. I just sort of picked the place up when she vanished. But, can I interest you in a shot of my finest vodka?

Reaching back behind her, Ravager draws one of her swords and swings it at him, halting the razor edge just inches from his throat.

Ravager: Here's how it works. Either you tell me where Zaria and that flea ridden boyfriend of hers is, or I start making incisions.

The bartender's face goes into full on panic mode.

Bartender: W-what the- but I told you, I don't know! I haven't seen her in months!

Palmer/Comm: Wilson, what the hell are you doing? You can't torture the guy!

Ravager: I'll do what I have to in order to get the information I need. These two have to be found.

The poor bartender is terrified, practically in tears over the sharpened blade pressed to his throat. A hair's breath closer and it would be drawing blood.

Bartender: P-please, man, I don't know! I swear!

Palmer/Comm: You're walking an extremely thin line here, Wilson! I will not hesitate to put you in cuffs!

Several moments later, Ravager utters a frustrated breath and pulls her sword back, sheathing it. Still glowering, she turns from the man and starts marching away. Uttering an exasperated breath, the bartender sinks down to the floor in relief.

Ravager: Well, this was a waste of time.

Ext. Silverstone City – Night

Leaning forward against the parapet and holding herself up with her arms, Ravager takes a long look around the surrounding neighborhood. After a brief moment, she hangs her head and lets out a heavy sigh.

Ravager: Sorry for getting carried away back there. It's just... this is personal.

Palmer/Comm: No matter how personal something is, you can't let it control you. Take it from a man who knows. Lose your cool and you'll likely lose your head.

Ravager: Yeah, right. Just wish I could clean up all these loose ends I still have hanging around. Even with Jeremiah gone, there's Kubrick, Zaria, and god knows who else out there still gunning for me.

Palmer/Comm: We'll find them, Wilson. Don't you worry.

Another long breath escapes her throat, as she steps up on the ledge of the roof and jumps over to the next one.

Ravager: I need to figure out a better way to track them down.

Int. Zaria's Pool Hall – Night

An hour later...

The bartender frowns to himself, as he sweeps up some of the broken wood and glass littering the floor. Whoever that b*tch was, she had certainly left behind one hell of a mess for him to clean up. And of course that was before threatening to slice and dice him for information that he didn't have. He never would have taken over this bar if he knew something like this was going to happen. This isn't the kind of thing he likes to deal with. At least by now most of the customers she knocked unconscious have recovered and left.

As he starts sweeping some of the glass and wood into his dustpan, he suddenly becomes aware that he isn't alone. Looking up sharply, he sees two figures standing there, one a large man with shaggy, unkempt hair and the other... well, the other is all too familiar. Those tattoos, that body, that ass... really hard to forget.

Bartender: Zaria, you're back! W-where have you been?

Zaria: None of your concern, Jason.

Pausing, she takes a moment to look around the place. Her eyes eventually settle back on him.

Zaria: I can't say I like what you've done with the place.

Jason: Oh, it's not my fault, I swear! There was some crazy chick in here looking for you, she tore the place apart, beat up the customers.

Zaria: Is that right? I believe that sounds like someone we know...

Kubrick: So, she knows we're here. Doesn't matter; won't do her any good either way.

Jason: And I didn't tell her anything, honest. Not that I could have anyway. I mean, I didn't know anything at all. But I looked after the place just like you asked me to!

Folding her arms across her chest, Zaria utters an annoyed breath and gives Kubrick a sidelong glance. He simply shrugs, then starts heading behind the bar counter, paying no more attention. Eventually, Zaria's gaze finds its way back to Jason, while she licks her lips.

Zaria: Yes, Jason, you've done your part, and I must thank you for doing such a good job.

Jason: Oh, it was my pleasure. No trouble at all.

He flashes her a big smile, just happy that she's recognized how well he took care of her bar for her. Maybe if he's lucky, she'd give him some 'special' thanks later! Of course, that doesn't happen. Instead, his smile quickly shifts into a horrified, slack-jawed expression, as he witnesses Zaria abruptly begin transforming into her more monstrous, threatening form, clothes shredding from her body.

Jason: W-wha the hell?! No, no! S-stay back! NOOO!!!!

His voice cuts off and is replaced by a bloody gurgle, as claws rip open his throat. A second later and Zaria pounces, knocking him to the floor and tearing his body apart. From behind the bar, Kubrick merely pours himself a glass of whiskey while he watches, an amused grin on his face. Midway into the festivities, though, his phone rings. Turning away from the carnage, he pulls out his phone and answers.

Kubrick: What is it? Yes, of course... right away. Whatever you say.

The conversation is brief, as he hangs up less than a minute later. It doesn't take long to receive the orders, after all. Several minutes later, Zaria approaches the counter and sits down on one of the stools, now back in her human form. Thick, wet splotches of crimson stain her naked body, most of it concentrated around her mouth and chin. Pouring another glass, Kubrick slides it over to her.

Zaria: Was that him?

Kubrick: Who else would it be?

Lifting her glass, Zaria downs the entire drink in a couple gulps.

Zaria: So then it's time.

A grin finds it's way across Kubrick's face.

Kubrick: Let the fun begin.

Chapter #80

Int. Circe's Apartment - Day

Sitting quietly at the living room couch, Circe sips from a warm cup of coffee while reading the newspaper. This is how most of her afternoons go, at least on her days off. There is peace to be had in the simple things, like relaxing and catching up on current events. For a long time, she isolated herself from the world, but now she takes a great interest in keeping up with it.

Turning the page, she takes in a deep breath and sets her mug down on the coffee table in front of her, then sinks back into her seat and lifts the newspaper closer, carefully reading a particular story. No sooner than does she get invested in the story, though, a knock sounds on the apartment door, drawing her attention away. She utters a deep sigh, as she gets up from the couch. Probably Rose in need of something, though she could have at least called first.

Circe opens the door with an expression of indifference, fully expecting Rose to be standing there.

Circe: Yes, what is it this time?

But it's not Rose. Rather, it's a man, a man she recognizes instantly. The hair is a bit more mangy than she remembers, and his face covered with more stubble, but she never forgets a face. When he sees her, he grins, and her eyes go wide.

Circe: You!

Smack!

The man's arm clubs her across the face, sending her tumbling backwards to the floor. If she still had her magic, she could fry him in an instant, or turn him into a pig, or otherwise horribly mutilate him... but she doesn't have her magic anymore. She's mortal now, the price of freedom from Tartarus.

Kubrick: You remember me; I'm flattered.

He walks forward, as Circe slowly crawls her way backwards, a hand clutched to her cheek. She has to get to the living room, at least. She needs a weapon to use against him.

Circe: What are you doing here?

Kubrick: What do you think I'm doing here? Getting a little revenge, is all. When I heard you were hanging around with that Wilson b*tch, I jumped at the chance to take care of you personally.

Circe: What's the matter, couldn't handle the fleas?

Narrowing his eyes, Kubrick reaches down and lifts Circe up by the throat.

Kubrick: You turned me into a monster! For a crime I didn't commit!

Circe: But that you had every intention of committing. You just picked the wrong target.

Kubrick: Shut up!

With an angry shout, he throws her across the room. She lands on the coffee table, crashing through it hitting the floor hard. For several moments, she can barely move, groaning and lying there in a pile of broken glass and splinters.

Kubrick: Do you have any idea what it was like? Having to go through what you cursed me with?

Moving forward into the living room, he stands over her briefly and delivers a hard kick to her gut. She recoils, a pained grunt bursting from her lips.

Kubrick: I've come to terms with it now, sure. Hell, I even enjoy it. But for five long years, I hated myself. The things I did, the things you forced me to do... I wanted to die. I wanted to off myself and be done with it, but I couldn't. Too much of a coward, I guess.

Circe finally manages to right herself, getting on her hands and knees and breathing deeply. Her hands are cut up from the broken glass, and her stomach is teaming with nausea, but she tries to concentrate, looks up and finds the end table. Kubrick strikes her again, this time a kick to the face, but at least it pushes her closer, in spite of her very obviously broken nose.

Kubrick: But I'm not a coward anymore, no. I'm a monster, and I love it. The power is... unreal. Looks like your little curse came full circle and backfired big time, doesn't it?

Sniffling back a trickle of blood, Circe slowly pushes her way back to her feet, using the end table for support.

Circe: That may have been a lack of foresight on my part, I admit. Should have just turned you into a warthog while I had the chance.

Smirking, Kubrick comes closer and grabs her again, pulling her by the hair. Circe manages to make a desperate reach for the object on the end table, the only thing that can help her right now.

Kubrick: But you didn't, and now you get to suffer for- AAAHHHH!!!

He recoils sharply, dropping her and staggering backwards. With horrifying agony ripping through his body, he glances downward to see the back end of a letter opener sticking out of his chest. A silver letter opener. Falling to one knee, he grabs at it, tugging. It barely moves. By now, the wound is starting to burn, emitting small wisps of smoke.

Circe: What was that about suffering?

Kubrick: You... goddamn... b*tch!

Leaning up against the couch momentarily, Circe takes in a deep breath and wipes her nose clean. Then, she begins hobbling towards the exit. She has to get away, has to find Rose.

Kubrick: NO!

His body begins to change, going through the rapid transformation into his werewolf form. Doing this with a silver blade jabbed into his chest, though, causes excruciating agony, a pained howl ripping from his throat as his larger, clawed hand takes a firmer grip on the letter opener. With one final yank, his massively increased strength rips it from his body and tosses to the floor. Then, he turns his gaze over to the retreating Circe, his wolf eyes glowering with pure hate.

Kubrick: Where do you think you're going?

In a single leap, he pounces on her, knocking her to the floor and slicing his claws into her backside, opening long wounds and shredding most of her shirt. Instantly, Circe's muscles tense up, eyes closing and throat erupting with a loud scream of pain. She can already feel the warm blood beginning to flow down her back.

Kubrick: You know, I was just going to kill you. But since you had to go and be difficult-

Bringing his snout in closer, a low growl emerges from his mouth, his hot breath stinging the back of her neck.

Kubrick: -I might as well commit the crime you already condemned me for. Then, I can enjoy ripping you limb from limb.

Int. Silverstone General Hospital - Day

The hospital room is, as usual, dark and quiet. Ruby still hasn't awoken yet since her attack, and as such lies motionlessly in bed, the steady beeping of the heart monitor assuring that she's still very much a live. For now, anyway, as long as she keeps receiving the proper medical care. A short time later, her doctor enters the room, clipboard in hand. At least, it's supposed to be her doctor. It is a man dressed in a doctor's uniform, but the round glasses and bald head aren't familiar to the one who normally checks in on her.

Moving forward silently, the man lifts a filled syringe and jabs the needle end of it into Ruby's IV bag. When the contents of the syringe have been completely emptied into the bag, the man turns away and leaves as quickly as he came, glancing back only briefly to give the woman a long glare.

Strange: Sorry, my dear, but it is necessary.

The hospital room remains largely quiet for several minutes after he leaves. Eventually, though, the beeping from the monitor rapidly begins to increasing, her heart rate picking up. A short few moments later, and her body begins to spasm uncontrollably. A small team of doctors and nurses suddenly rush into the room in a panic, checking on her status and working to calm her down.

It doesn't work.

Within seconds, the monitor flatlines, and her body settles down. The most prominent sound in the room now is the high pitched whining of the monitor, a very loud and unceremonious death knell to the newly departed.

Int. Circe's Apartment - Day

Kubrick sits calmly on living room couch, leaning back and pressing a button on his cell phone. He has quiet the satisfied looking grin slashing across his face. Waiting calmly, he holds the phone to his ear and licks a bit of blood off his fingertips.

Zaria/Phone: Done yet?

Kubrick: Of course.

Zaria/Phone: Took you long enough.

Kubrick: Yes, well I added something to the schedule before I disemboweled her.

Still smirking, he glances back over towards the main hallway leading to the apartment door. A huge pool of blood surrounds the woman's remains, sprays of crimson everywhere, from the walls to the ceiling.

Kubrick: B*tch got what she deserved.

Zaria/Phone: Well, if you're done having your fun, you can come back now.

Kubrick: All in good time, Zee. I think I'll stick around for leftovers. For all the torment she caused me, at least she tasted good. What about you, anyway?

Zaria/Phone: What about me?

Kubrick: Finished off your target yet?

Zaria/Phone: I can't until later tonight, when he's alone. Even I'm not dumb enough to do it in the middle of a police station.

A small laugh finds its way out Kubrick's throat.

Kubrick: So you're not. See you soon, Zee.

Ext. East Silverstone Middle School - Day

As school gets out for the day, Holly and Lyta walk across the front lawn in search of their mothers. Normally, they aren't ever late in picking the girls up, but neither seems to be here at the moment.

Lyta: I don't see my mom's car, do you?

Holly: No, and I don't see mine, either.

Furrowing her brow in confusion, Lyta scratches the side of her head and purses her lips.

Lyta: That's odd... my mom's never late.

Before they can become too concerned, however, a friendly voice calls to them.

Rose: Hey!

The girls look over towards the far side of the school lawn to see Rose running up to them and waving.

Rose: Sorry I'm late, got caught up in traffic.

Holly smiles a large smile, coming forward to give her mother a brief hug.

Holly: S'alright, we weren't waiting too long.

Lyta: Hiya, Rose. Have you seen my mom anywhere?

Rose: Oh, yeah she just had something she needed to take care of. I'll bring you home.

The group moves around towards the back of the school, which is mostly deserted at this time. Curiously, the girls look around.

Holly: Where's the car?

Rose: I had to park on one of the back streets. I was so late that I couldn't get around to the front of the school before it all filled up.

They continue along, turning around a very deserted side street. There isn't another person in sight, and the only car parked nearby is a large van with tinted windows.

Lyta: Wait a minute, that's not-

But her voice cuts off abruptly, as a damp cloth comes up over her mouth and nose. Before Holly can react, the same thing happens to her. Her instinct is to fight back, but consciousness quickly slips away from her, leaving her without a chance to do anything. In seconds, both girls are out cold. Wrapping an arm around either girl, Rose lifts them up effortlessly and carries them towards the van, a wicked grin forming across her face.

Rose: There, that's better.

Int. Gerald Palmer's Apartment - Night

Palmer utters a long breath, as he pushes his way into his apartment. His call goes unanswered yet again. Bringing his phone down from his ear, he stuffs it back into his pocket and heads into the kitchen to grab some food. He really wishes that Rose would pick up her phone more often. It's starting to become a real guessing game when it comes to getting a hold of her. Maybe he can stop by her apartment later on, see if she's found anything else. She had said that she'd check in again tonight, but midnight rolled around and still she hadn't shown up. Either she just didn't feel like it, or something was wrong. Though he's sure she's just off doing things her own away again, it can't hurt to check up on her, just in case.

Pulling out an odd assortment of food containers from the refrigerator, Palmer just stares at them for a moment. Eventually, a disappointed sigh escapes his lips.

Palmer: Leftovers it is.

After filling out a plate of various leftovers, he walks over to the microwave and pops it in the microwave. Nearby, on the counter, is a small picture frame, with a photograph inside. The photograph depicts Palmer, as well as a woman and a young girl, smiling at the camera. It was taken a long time ago.

When his food is done heating up, he takes the plate of food and heads into the living room, where he intends to watch the late night news while he eats. Things don't exactly go as he expects, however. The moment that the living room comes into view, he drops his plate of food and pulls his gun, aiming it at the woman sitting on his couch.

Zaria: Hey there, Chief. How's the family?

Palmer: You! What the hell are you doing back here?!

An anger that he hasn't known is a long, long time begins to bubble up in his chest. He had managed to put these emotions behind him, after moving on, but then again he never thought he'd see her again.

Zaria: Please, put that thing away before you hurt someone.

Of course, Palmer's aim doesn't budge.

Palmer: They never believed me when I told them what killed my family. But I knew. Oh, I always knew. You don't forget something like that. You don't forget a monster!

Squeezing the trigger, Palmer fires off a shot. But his target is already moving out of the way, avoiding the bullet before the gun even shoots it. He tries to follow her with his aim, but her movements are too quick, too inhuman. She ducks behind the couch, then suddenly leaps over it, flipping through the air and knocking the gun from his hand with the barbed tail now protruding from her lower back.

Zaria: I thought I told you to put that away.

Raising her leg, she smashes her foot into his chest, sending him flying backwards into the wall behind him. The plaster cracks and caves inward upon impact, and for a brief moment he stays there, embedded into the wall. Soon, though, he eventually falls forward to the ground, barely holding himself up on his elbows and knees.

Zaria: Oooh, that looked like it hurt.

She reaches downward, grabbing the top of the man's skull and lifting him upwards with a single hand.

Zaria: Your wife was delicious, by the way. Sweet, savory... but the girl, mmm. Better than the finest veal on the market.

Palmer responds by spitting directly in the woman's face, the glob of saliva hitting her in the corner of the eye. She doesn't flinch from this, though her expression does immediately sour.

Palmer: Go to hell, demon.

An amused grin slowly spreads along Zaria's face. Holding her free hand up, she transforms it into its natural form, large claws extending from her fingertips.

Zaria: You first.

Wasting no more time, she swings her hand forward, slashing her claws through man's neck. A short second later, Palmer's body drops away from his head and crumples to the floor. Zaria then holds one of her clawed fingers forward, catching out a few drops of blood dripping down from the severed skull. She licks the blood clean, eyes closing and breath exhaling through her nose.

Zaria: Mmm... delectable.

Int. Abandoned Incineration Plant - Night

Rose groggily opens her eyes, flinching briefly at a sharp pain in the back of her head. It feels like a damn sledgehammer hit her, with how hard her skull throbs. Looking around, she utters a small groan, having no idea where the hell she is; everything is dark and blurry at the moment. When she tries to move, she realizes that she's strapped in and restrained to something. Must be a wall, since she's vertical.

The lights abruptly turn on. For a short moment, she flinches at the intense brightness, only amplified by the migraine assaulting her head. Fortunately, she manages to fight through it and blink away the haze, vision clearing up. What she sees, though, catches her instantly off guard. She's looking at... herself? No, it's just her reflection. Must be a mirror or something. However, that theory is instantly squashed when the face just half a foot away from her begins to speak.

Impostor Rose: Wakey, wakey, Rose.

Rose: What in the...

A delighted sneer forms across the impostor's face, eyes narrowing wickedly.

Impostor Rose: We have so much we need to discuss.

Chapter #81

Int. Abandoned Incineration Plant - Day

A cold, numb sensation begins to well up in Rose's chest. For a long moment, she just stares at the impostor standing in front of her in stunned silence. This doesn't make any sense, none of it does. How can she be staring at herself right now? She doesn't know anyone who could do this that would have a bone to pick with her. So what the hell is going on?

Rose: This... this isn't possible.

Impostor Rose: Oh, but isn't it?

The impostor turns away from her and begins walking over to a nearby table, where a few garments of clothing reside, including a long coat, a fedora hat, and a pair of round glasses.

Rose: Who are you?

Impostor Rose: Come on, Rose, you're not that dense. You already know the answer; you just don't want to believe it.

Deep down, she does. The stabbing sense of dread in her gut doesn't lie. She knows who this is... but that doesn't mean she wants it to be true.

Rose: You were dead. I killed you... I cut your goddamn head off.

Impostor Rose: No, you killed a stand in-

The impostor begins to put on the long coat, followed by the hat.

Impostor Rose: -with a very specific neural stem designed to replicate my personality. The appearance was not difficult to accomplish for someone of my... talent.

Turning towards Rose again, the impostor slips on the glass and grins, as her face begins to morph and change into something different, along with the rest of her body. Within seconds, someone different stands in her place, someone very familiar. Sickeningly familiar.

Jerry: What's the matter? You didn't think you'd really seen the last of me, did you? No, you're too much fun.

Rose: So what, I ruined your big scheme and now you're falling back on petty revenge?

Jerry: Petty, is it? As I recall, you delivered your own petty revenge not too long ago, when you thought you killed me. Calling the kettle black, are we?

Rose clenches her jaw, but says nothing, merely staring back at the man.

Jerry: But no, this isn't just simple revenge. This is so much more than that; this is the absolute mutilation of a person's life. When we're done, you will be begging for me to end it.

Rose: So that was you orchestrating Ruby and Dr. Atkinson, to tear me down psychologically.

Jerry: Yes, so it was. But, when that failed, I had to move up the next stage of the plan.

Rose: Which is?

A wicked sneer curls its way across Jerry's face.

Jerry: Tearing away from your life everything and everyone that you hold dear. Which, I have to say, was an amazing success.

Rose pauses, stiffening up at the declaration. No, he's bluffing. He has to be.

Rose: I don't believe you.

Jerry: I thought you might not, so I brought a few things for you.

Reaching into his coat pocket, he pulls out three items; two photographs and a written document. He holds them up one at a time.

Jerry: You recognize the apartment in this picture, yes? It belongs to your friend, Circe, the witch turned mortal. What do you suppose that bloody stain on the carpet is?

Her jaw clenches up again, a numb knot tightening in her throat. She tries not to let her shock show, her grief show.

Jerry: Not even a guess? Well, if you're curious, that stain is all that's left of her. I did ask Kubrick to leave behind some evidence, but I guess he was hungry.

Though her mind tries to deny it, her gut is already telling her that Jeremiah is telling the truth. It sickens her, but she believes him.

Jerry: And this picture is a little more graphic, but... well, it speaks for itself.

The image depicts a head, just a head, severed from its body. It's Palmer, the Silverstone City Police Chief, also a friend. The numbness in her throat grows, eyes beginning to water. When Jerry feels that she's looked at the picture enough, he pulls it back and then holds up the document.

Jerry: And this is Ruby's death certificate. She died yesterday afternoon when her heart gave out. An unfortunate turn of luck, because last I heard she was due to make a full recovery.

Finally, Rose closes her eyes and turns her head, while her entire body burns with a burning blend of anger and grief.

Rose: The girls...

Jerry: What's that?

Rose: Where are the girls?! What did you do with them?!

Jerry: Ah, yes, the girls. I figured you'd want to see them, so I had them prepared. Just a moment.

Turning away from Rose, he makes his way over to the door at the back of the small, empty room. When he opens the door, he sticks his head out and motions with his hand for someone to come in.

Jerry: Right this way now, don't be shy.

Returning into the room, he's followed by two more individuals. Holly and Lyta walk obediently behind him, their faces expressionless. They simply stare blankly forward, standing straight and rigid. Rose's muscles tense up at the sight, her hands curling into tight fists.

Rose: What did you do to them?

Jerry: Oh, nothing much. I merely used up the last couple of stems I had lying around. I think they'll make good pets, don't you?

Rose: You son of a b*tch! I'll kill you for this!

Jerry: You already tried that once, remember? It didn't go so well.

Smirking, he slowly walks around behind the two girls and puts a hand on either of their shoulders.

Jerry: The witch girl shows the most promise, of course, with what I've seen of her magic so far. But this Holly girl has some real talent, too. You've already trained her very well, and with the stem increasing her bodily functions, well... I'm sure I can find a use for her.

Rose: Get your hands off them, you twisted freak!

Jerry: Please, you worry too much. I'm not Pavoni. No, I think I'll make them into my personal bodyguards. I'll raise them, train them further, and eventually they'll be unstoppable. We'll be unstoppable.

Rose: Unstoppable for what?

Jerry: For the next stage of the plan, of course.

Rose: And just what the hell is that?

Jerry: The city.

Holding his arms out wide, a large smile twists across his face.

Jerry: Your city. I'm going to raze it to the ground, burn it into ash, and then when it's gone I'm going to show it to you, so that you can witness just exactly how much of a colossal failure you really are, to this city, to the people who trusted you, and to yourself. Then, when you've finally realized just what a pathetic waste of air you are, I will kill you. It will be slow, and it will be excruciating. The entire time, you will be begging for me to simply end it, but I won't. I will drag it out, make you suffer, and only once I have finally destroyed who you are as a human being, will I finally put you out of your misery.

Ext. Ruins of Silverstone City - Day

A small flash flickers in front of Rose's eyes, and suddenly she's not held captive anymore. No, instead she's kneeling in the middle of rubble. Just rubble. The skeletal remains of a few buildings still stand, but for the most part the entire city is no more than a smoldering pile of steel, concrete, bricks, and bodies. For a long moment, she just stares in disbelief, her gaze slowly circling the area.

The sky is dark and cloudy, opening up a sudden downpour that soaks her to the bone. She doesn't make a move to get out of the rain, though. She can't. Her legs simply won't let her. All she can do is kneel there in utter defeat, horrified at what she's seeing. Silverstone City, the place she had called home, the place that she had built a life for herself, is gone, all its people dead. Anything and everything that she had held dear no longer exists, and she can feel the pain of it in her chest, the absolute mortification of guilt consuming her.

She caused this. Everything she had done here in this city, it had all led up to this moment, her biggest failure. Jeremiah had not just beaten her, he had destroyed her, as promised. Swallowing a hard lump in her throat, Rose bows her head in shame, hands digging into the bloody dirt beneath her and eyes squinting shut. As she does this, she feels a hand on her shoulder. Such a touch should be one of comfort, of condolence. But it isn't. All she feels is menace.

Jerry: Isn't it grand? Of everything you've accomplished in your life, this is what you will be remembered for.

She says nothing, instead sinking her head lower and holding a hand up to her face.

Jerry: It's over, Rose. I win.

Rose: No...

Jerry: I'm sorry, what was that?

Rose: You haven't won... not yet.

Jerry: Look around you, Rose. Of course I have.

Rose: No.

Lifting an eyebrow, Jerry tilts his head at her in confusion.

Jerry: Yes, I have.

Rose: No!

Jerry: Do stop saying that.

Rose: No! No! NO!

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite - Day

Rose: NOOOO!!!

Eyes snapping open, Rose takes in deep, heavy breaths, chest heaving. She's sitting cross legged on the floor, dressed in a pair of gym shorts and a tank top, with a thick sheen of sweat beading across her body. Falling back on her hands, she stares blankly forward for several moments, then squints her eyes shut again.

That vision... it felt so real. Too real..

And extensive, far more so than any other vision she's had before. It didn't just cover a small period of time, it had covered days. It had shown her the exact layout of a possible future, what could happen if she failed. She knows that now, and she knows that she has to stop it. Otherwise, everything she loves will disappear in a cloud of smoke and ash.

Opening her eyes again, she glances up at the clock and cringes. It's one o'clock. Scrambling back up to her feet, she rushes into her bedroom and flips her gear wall around. She doesn't have a lot of time before things start. Did her vision really have to take up that much time?

You're not going to beat me, Jeremiah. Not this time.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets - Day

Ravager speeds down the street, weaving in and out of traffic on her bike. She isn't messing around right now. Clicking a button on her handle bar, she pulls up the phone application on the screen built into her dashboard. She clicks another button, dialing one of the numbers on her speed dial, which activates the built in communication system in her helmet. The phone rings, and rings, and rings...

Come on, come on, pick up!

Circe/Phone: Hello?

Ravager: Circe! Listen to me carefully!

Circe/Phone: Rose? What is it?

Ravager: It's Kubrick, he's on his way to your apartment! He's going to kill you!

A small pause comes in on the other line before Circe responds.

Circe/Phone: Is that so... a shame I don't still have my magic. Though, I do believe I have a silver letter opener I could-

Ravager: That won't work!

Circe/Phone: Then what do you propose I do?

Ravager: Don't worry, I've already called a friend. She should be there shortly to help you.

Circe/Phone: And what are you doing?

Ravager: Heading to the school! It's Jeremiah; he's still alive, and he's going to abduct our daughters and turn them into his personal slaves! He also means to have Ruby and Palmer killed!

Circe/Phone: Oh my- how do you know all this?

Ravager: I saw it.

Circe/Phone: What do you mean, 'you saw it'?

Ravager: I had a vision. I'm pretty sure I've figured out how to have them at will now; just requires a little time and meditation.

Another small pause.

Circe/Phone: What are you saying, Rose?

Rose: I'm saying, I'm not just a precog anymore.

Gunning the engine, she turns the corner of a street sharply and continues her mad drive through traffic. She can see the school in the distance.

Ravager: I'm a seer now.

Int. Circe's Apartment - Day

Circe blinks down at her phone as Rose hangs up. A seer? Did she say that she's a seer? As in, one who can foretell the future? Ridiculous, such an ability could not be acquired by a mortal girl like her, certainly not without some connection to magic forces. Gaining brief glimpses of the future with precognition is one thing. Seeing full blown visions of things to come, and doing it at will, is on a completely different level.

But she can't think on it for long. Kubrick is on his way, after all. She has to deal with him first. Glancing down at the end table next to her, she stares at the silver letter opener for a brief second, then reaches out to grab it. If Rose's friend doesn't get here in time, it may be her only way to defend herself. Of course, no sooner than does she grab the letter opener, a small flash flickers in the room, accompanied by a quiet boom of thunder. When everything goes quiet again, another woman is standing there. Circe blinks in surprise, narrowing her eyes at the woman.

Circe: You...

Grinning, the magician takes a bow, removing her top hat and holding her arm in front of her chest as she does so.

Zatanna: Zatanna Zatara, at your service.

Ext. East Silverstone Middle School

As school gets out for the day, Holly and Lyta walk across the front lawn in search of their mothers. Normally, they aren't ever late in picking the girls up, but neither seems to be here at the moment.

Lyta: I don't see my mom's car, do you?

Holly: No, and I don't see mine, either.

Furrowing her brow in confusion, Lyta scratches the side of her head and purses her lips.

Lyta: That's odd... my mom's never late.

Before they can become too concerned, however, a friendly voice calls to them.

Rose: Hey!

The girls look over towards the far side of the school lawn to see Rose running up to them and waving.

Rose: Sorry I'm late, got caught up in traffic.

Holly smiles a large smile, coming forward to give her mother a brief hug.

Holly: S'alright, we weren't waiting too long.

Lyta: Hiya, Rose. Have you seen my mom anywhere?

Rose: Oh, yeah she just had something she needed to take care of. I'll bring you home.

They don't get a chance to head back to the car, though. A brief moment later, as they turn to leave the lawn, the roaring sound of a motorcycle engine being pushed to the limit suffocates the air. All eyes turn towards the road, where Ravager speeds in like a bat out of hell. In a panic, Holly and Lyta duck out of the way, screaming. Rose, on the other hand, just stands there, eyes glaring at the incoming Ravager.

In mere seconds, Ravager reaches the school grounds. In a single, deft motion, she flips herself backwards off the bike, hitting the ground hard and rolling several yards before managing to spring back up to her feet. The bike, on the other hand, continues rocketing straight forward, crashing with a thunderous explosion as it smashes into Rose, the impostor Rose.

Holly: ROSE!

The young girl runs forward in horror, eyes on the burning wreckage. The distress on her face is gut wrenching, but it's also misplaced. She realizes this fact a short few seconds later, when she looks over to the apparent attacker to see her mother's familiar costume.

Holly: ...mom?

Ravager: It's me, Holly. But that was not.

She points to the flames, her eyes locked on. She's ready for anything. A few moments later, several larger pieces of her ruined bike scatter and fly through the air, as a silhouetted figure emerges, tendrils of flesh twisting and rippling as it pulls itself back together.

Ravager: Holly, Lyta. Run. Get as far away from here as you can, and look out for each other.

Holly: But mom...

Ravager: Just do it, Holly! Run now!

But Holly is still frozen in fear, watching the scene with wide eyes. Her legs are shaking, too. However, a sudden wave of comfort fills her, when a hand reaches out to grab her own. Turning her head, she sees Lyta standing there next to her, giving a caring and consoling look.

Lyta: Come on, Holly. Your mom can handle herself.

Swallowing nervously, Holly eventually nods in affirmation. The girls turn and begin to run away from the school, holding each other's hand tightly for support. When the two are safely gone, Ravager moves forward and reaches back over her shoulders, drawing both of her blades.

Ravager: Did you really think I wouldn't figure out who was behind it? Did you really think I'd let you destroy my life?!

Walking out of the wreckage, the now fully regenerated Jeremiah Belmont clasps his hands behind his back and glares at her.

Jerry: Once again, Rose, you do not fail to impress. But I'm afraid those girls weren't my only targets.

Ravager: Oh, yeah, you mean Circe, Chief Palmer, and Ruby, right? I wouldn't worry too much about them. I have a friend on the job.

This comment actually catches Jerry off guard. Lifting an eyebrow, he straightens himself and then slowly forms a grin.

Jerry: Clever girl.

Wasting no more time, Ravager sprints forward, both blades extended and ready for use.

Ravager: Let's finish this, Belmont! Just you and me!

Chapter #82

Int. Circe's Apartment – Day

Circe narrows her eyes at the magician woman, then folds her arms across her chest and frowns. She doesn't like this one bit, having to be aided by another magic user that would have been inferior to her own power, if she still had any power.

Circe: You must be joking. You're the one she called to help me?

Zatanna: Does that shock you?

Circe: It disappoints me. With all the other hero friends she has, I would have expected someone... different.

Zatanna smirks a little. It's almost satisfying, seeing a once superior, villainous sorceress put off like this.

Zatanna: Considering what I can do and how I can help, she thought I was best for the job. Now, if you're done complaining, I believe you have a wolf problem that needs taken care of, yes?

Circe: So I do...

Zatanna: From the sound of things, he should be here soon. I wonder if-

A knock on the apartment door suddenly draws their attention.

Zatanna: Ah, that should be him now. Shall we let him in?

Eying Zatanna for another brief moment, Circe then looks over to the door and sighs.

Circe: It's open!

A small pause passes, and then the door flies off its hinges, crashing into the floor. Kubrick steps into the apartment, a wicked grin slashing across his face. This is his chance to get revenge on the one who cursed him, after all, his chance to finally tear Circe apart. What he hadn't been expecting, though, was for someone else to be standing there. He gets halfway into the living room before he sees Zatanna, causing his eyes to instantly widen. He remembers her from their last encounter.

Kubrick: Son of a-

Zatanna: Teg kcab!

Kubrick suddenly lifts off his feet and flies backwards, crashing into the kitchen table and breaking it in half. He continues across the floor until smashing against the refrigerator, causing it to topple over on top of him.

Circe: Would you watch what you're doing?! This is my apartment you're destroying!

Zatanna: Uh... whoops. I'll fix it in a minute, soon as I'm done with big ugly here.

The fallen refrigerator suddenly bursts upright, launching forward through the air. Circe and Zatanna lunge out of the way, both narrowly avoiding the massive projectile as it crashes against the nearby china cabinet, sending shards of broken glass and wood everywhere.

Circe: Damn it all, that cost money!

Zatanna: Quit your whining, I told you I can fix it.

Kubrick lunges through the air, now in his werewolf form. He goes straight for Zatanna, knowing that he'll have to take her out first if he's to have any chance at getting to Circe. Unfortunately for him, getting to Zatanna is going to be its own challenge. The magician woman is ready for him, already standing back on her feet with a hand held forward.

Zatanna: Nruter ot namuh!

Instantly, Kubrick reverts back to his normal form and crashes into an end table, his jaw smacking against the edge and opening a deep cut. He probably should have seen that one coming, considering she did the exact same thing to him the last time they fought. Groaning, he slowly pushes himself back to his feet and wipes the blood from his chin.

Kubrick: Mangy b*tch. I'll tear you heart out, I swear.

Zatanna: Yeah, I don't think so. Teg kcab!

Once again, Kubrick flies backwards as though struck by some incredible, invisible force. This time, he launches directly against the back wall of the apartment, which just happens to be the wall that faces the street. Bursting through the wood and plaster, the man plummets down ten stories into the streets below. Zatanna blinks, a little surprised.

Zatanna: Uh... oops. I might have put a little too much 'oomph' into that.

Circe: Did you just... kill him?

Zatanna: Nah, I'm sure he'll be fine. Mostly.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Day

It's business as usual for most of the city folk out and about. They certainly aren't expecting anything out of the ordinary to interrupt their otherwise peaceful day. Of course, things seldom ever go as expected. The disturbance is extremely abrupt, as a body smashes into the top of a car parked on the sidewalk, caving the roof inward and literally exploding the windows apart. People start screaming and running in a panic, as if they think they're under attack. A few more curious individuals, however, rush over to see just what the hell happened.

Bystander: Someone call an ambulance or something!

Lying there atop the ruined vehicle, Kubrick utters a very long, very weak groan, coughing out small mouthful of blood. He may be much more durable than a normal person with his werewolf physiology, but that really hurt.

Kubrick: Stupid... b*tch... ugh.

Int. Silverstone General Hospital

The hospital room is, as usual, dark and quiet. The only sound is the familiar steady beeping of the heart monitor, assuring that the patient lying beneath the covers is very much alive. A short time later, a doctor enters the room, clipboard in hand. At least, it's a man dressed in a doctor's uniform, but the round glasses and bald head aren't familiar to the one who normally checks in on this particular patient.

Moving forward silently, the man lifts a filled syringe and jabs the needle end of it into Ruby's IV bag. When the contents of the syringe have been completely emptied into the bag, the man lets out a heavy breath and looks over to the form beneath the covers.

Strange: Sorry, my dear, but it is necessary.

Apathy: What, exactly, is so necessary?

Blinking in surprise, Hugo Strange spins around to look behind him. Standing there in full costume is Ruby Lawson, otherwise known by the superhero alias of Apathy. She leans casually against the far wall, arms folded across her chest, while staring at the man from behind the shadowed face covering of her hood.

Strange: What in the name of-

Briefly, he turns back to the bed and throws off the covers, only to reveal a row of pillows beneath, not the patient that should be there.

Strange: How is this possible? You should be crippled!

Apathy: Shoulda, coulda, woulda. But I'm not. Hell, I'm feeling better than ever.

Narrowing his eyes, Strange reaches into the front pocket of his lab coat and pulls out another syringe, this one full of the same substance he just injected into the IV bag. Apathy responds by uttering an amused, snorting laugh.

Apathy: Pfft, really there, doctor? What exactly do you hope to accomplish with that?

Strange: I have a job to do, dear. I won't let one small set back keep me from it!

Apathy: Keep talking, buddy.

Before Strange reaches her, she vanishes in a small puff of smoke, only to then reappear right behind him in the middle of a spinning kick aimed at the back of his head. He stumbles forward, trying to maintain his balance, but Apathy teleports again, this time to his side while delivering a hard punch to his face. She repeats this several more times, pretty much beating the crap out of him. By the end of it, Strange is lying motionlessly on the floor, unconscious.

Apathy: You know, I could have drained your will to fight, or made you quiver in the corner in utter terror... but that was so much more satisfying.

Ext. East Silverstone Middle School – Day

Ravager spins quickly, evading Jerry's incoming bladed arm. Whirling her blades around, she slices them towards his neck, but he ducks below them and backs off a bit to put distance between them. He then extends his other arm, shaping it into a whip and lashing outward. Ravager jumps over the initial strike, while throwing one of her swords at him. The blade plunges straight into his chest, forcing him to take a couple steps back.

Jerry: Please, Rose. You should know by now-

Reaching up, he grabs the hilt of the sword in his chest and pulls it out effortlessly. It doesn't cause him any pain or even draw any blood. With an amused grin, he tosses the blade back at his opponent's feet.

Jerry: -that isn't going work.

Ravager: Then I'm just going to have to find something that does!

Retrieving the fallen weapon, she sprints towards him again.

Ravager: If I recall, taking your head off should be pretty effective!

This time, Jerry doesn't move. He simply stands there with a large smirk on his face, watching Ravager's blades swing forward at his neck. Just as they're about to lop off his head, however, he raises up a cone shaped shield from his surrounding flesh, hardening it plenty enough to block the weapons from cutting through. He then forms one of his arms into a large mallet and clobbers Ravager across the chest, sending her flying back through the air. The blow only slightly stuns her, though, as she flips around in mid air to land back on her feet.

Jerry: You didn't think I was actually going to let you take my head this time, did you?

Ravager: I'll get it eventually... one way or another.

Jerry: Your determination is... admirable. Futile, but admirable.

Taking in a few deep breaths, Ravager briefly contemplates her next plan of attack. Eventually, she sprints forward again.

Jerry: I thought we went over this-

As Ravager lunges in, swinging her blades, Jerry pulls back his hammer-hand in preparation. In mid leap, Rose throws one of her sword at him, forcing him to deflect it. In that brief instant, her now free hand flies to a compartment on her belt, unseen by her opponent. When she reaches him, she braces herself for impact, while extending her free hand forward. The hammer bashes into her chest again, sending her rolling backwards across the ground.

Jerry: -that isn't going to work.

Ravager: Then it's a good thing I tried something different.

Narrowing his eyes, Jerry slowly turns his gaze down to his shoulder, where a small, round device has been attached. The device blinks with a red light.

Jerry: Clever g-

His voice cuts off abruptly, as the device explodes violently, causing Jerry to become engulfed in a fireball. Ravager holds her arm up in front of herself, trying to shield herself from the wave of heat that follows. She'd never used those explosives that Batman cooked up for her before... apparently they're highly potent. That's good. She needs potent.

When the smoke and flames begin to clear up, she sees Jerry kneeling there on his hands and knees. A good deal of his flesh drips from his body, as if melting. It also looks as though he's actually in pain, something he hasn't expressed since they first met. Standing up, Ravager takes in a deep breath and walks over to him, holding her blade up against his throat.

Ravager: Not so tough now, are you?

Jerry: That was... well played, Rose... well played.

Suddenly, police sirens begin to fill the air. Ravager briefly glances to the side, noticing a swarm of cop cars speeding towards the school grounds. In that instant, Jerry lashes one of his arms out, forming another hammer that smashes against her chest and stumbles her backwards. He takes this opportunity to hobble back up to his feet and then sprint away. His flesh is already starting to reform itself.

Jerry: We'll finish this another time, Rose!

Ravager briefly contemplates chasing after him. By the time she gets back up to her feet, though, he's already a great distance ahead of her, apparently able to move quite a bit faster than he used to. That, and the cop cars arrive a second later, screeching to a halt. The officers burst out of their vehicles a moment later, pointing their weapons at her. They don't know the details, after all. All they know is that she caused a couple of explosions on a school's front lawn.

Officer: Down on the ground!

Before Ravager makes a move to comply, however, they're interrupted.

Palmer: Weapons down, damn it!

The police chief makes his way forward past the line of other cops. They reluctantly obey, lowering their guns, though they're sure to keep them at the ready just in case.

Palmer: You'd better have a damn good explanation for this, Wilson! What in the hell is going on here?!

Ravager: It was him. Jeremiah Belmont.

A small, shocked pause passes between them.

Palmer: Belmont? You mean the guy behind the VRA sh*tstorm?

Ravager: That's him.

Palmer: I thought he died. Twice.

Ravager: Looks like he keeps finding a way to come back. I caught him here trying to abduct Holly and her friend. He also had his goons attempt to kill two more of my friends, and a third later tonight.

Palmer: And you're sure of that?

Ravager: Chief, I've never been more sure.

He pauses again, taking a careful look around at the tattered schoolyard. The remains of Ravager's bike are still burning just a few yards away.

Palmer: This guy really has it out for you, huh?

Ravager: You don't know the half of it. But he's gone for now... I threw another wrench in his plans. In the meantime, I need to talk with you.

Her gaze slowly moves back over to the other surrounding cops.

Ravager: Privately.

Int. Gerald Palmer's Apartment – Night

The interior of the apartment is dark and silent. After all, the owner isn't due to get home from work for another hour or so. That gives the infiltrator ample time to get in and make herself at home before getting to work. At least, that's what she expects, as she opens the window and slips inside from the fire escape. Closing the window behind her, Zaria takes in a deep breath and grins.

Zaria: Oh this is going to be fun.

No sooner than she says that, the lights flicker on.

Palmer: You're right, it is.

Standing there in the living room waiting for her arrival is not only her intended target, but also Ravager, Zatanna, and Apathy. Zaria immediately stiffens up in shock, glancing rapidly from person to person. This was definitely not supposed to happen!

Ravager: What's the matter? Didn't expect to see us?

Without saying anything, Zaria turns and tries to get the window open again so she can retreat. She might be a vicious, powerful killer, but even she's not crazy enough to take on three capes by herself, especially when one of them could turn her into lamppost with a couple of words. Of course, she doesn't get very far.

Zatanna: Pots!

Instantly, Zaria's actions cease, as she freezes up like a statue. She can still move her eyes, though, which she does to carefully glance back over at them.

Apathy: Well, that was rather... anticlimactic.

Palmer: I'm not complaining.

Moving forward, Palmer walks right up in front of the immobile alien woman, glaring at her with pure, intense hate. In a quick motion, he draws his gun and points it against her forehead. Not a single other person present makes an attempt to stop him.

Palmer: This b*tch murdered my family. By all rights, I should blow her away right now.

Ravager clears her throat and casually turns her head away.

Ravager: I'm not seeing anything.

Breathing out a long sigh, Palmer then pulls the gun away. He holds his gaze on Zaria, though.

Palmer: But I'm better than that.

Zatanna: We have a team ready to take her to a place where they have the equipment necessary to hold someone like her. Same place we sent Kubrick to earlier.

Apathy: I can have her there in a second.

Moving forward, Apathy holds a hand to Zaria's shoulder.

Apathy: Be back in flash.

A second later, they both disappear in a wisp of smoke. Once they're gone, Palmer releases another heavy breath and then sinks into the nearby arm chair.

Palmer: Well, that's one less weight on my shoulders. Thanks.

Ravager: You couldn't expect that I would have just let her kill you, could you?

Walking over farther into the living room, Ravager comes to sit down on the nearby sofa, then reaches up to remove the faceplate and helmet of her costume.

Rose: But you're welcome. And speaking of thanks-

She turns to look over at Zatanna now.

Rose: -I owe you a big one for helping out with Circe and healing Ruby.

Zatanna: Please, happy to help. How are the girls, by the way?

Rose: They're with Circe now, a little shaken after what happened today, but they'll be fine.

Zatanna: Ah, well that's good. Hey, mind if I grab a glass of water?

Palmer: Please, help yourself.

Once Zatanna leaves the room, Rose glances over at the end table next to her and notices a framed picture of Palmer and two other people, a woman and a young girl, probably around Holly's age. Curiously, she lifts it up to take a better look.

Rose: This them?

Palmer: Yeah, that's them.

Rose: They're beautiful.

Palmer: They really were.

Another long breath escapes from Palmer's lips, as he sinks further back into his seat, holding a hand up to his forehead.

Rose: Listen, Chief... I'm sorry about what I said before. When I... well, I didn't realize...

Palmer: Don't worry about it, Wilson. You weren't yourself then.

Rose: Still doesn't excuse it, and I'm still sorry.

Slowly turning his head to look at her, Palmer gives a subtle nod.

Palmer: Thank you.

A brief moment later, Apathy reappears in the center of the living room.

Apathy: And that's all taken care of. Those two should be locked up for a good long time, same with that crazy doctor who tried to off me.

Walking back into the room, now with a glass of water in hand, Zatanna smiles and sits down on the sofa next to Rose.

Zatanna: So, what's next on the agenda, then?

Apathy: Anyone up for drinks? I'm buying.

A gruff laugh emerges from Palmer's throat.

Palmer: Up for drinks? I could use a whole damn liquor cabinet right about now.

Rose: Well, she did say she was buying.

Apathy: Well then what the bloody hell are we still doing here? Let's go already!

Int. Abandoned Incineration Plant – Night

Jerry stands in front of a mirror, carefully inspecting his face. His flesh is still partially melted from the explosion, and isn't healing as fast as it normally does.

Jerry: Interesting... it appears that fire creates instability in my new molecular structure. I'll have to remember that.

From behind him, an amused laugh comes from an unseen woman, who sits back in the shadows.

Woman: She really took it to you, ah?

Jerry: I underestimated her.

Woman: Again.

Jerry: I was careless.

Woman: Need I repeat myself?

Taking in a small breath, Jerry turns to the woman behind him and folds his arms across his chest.

Jerry: And not only that, but I lost three of my best people today. It's just you and me now.

Woman: Oy, sounds like a real party.

Jerry: We'll have to move up stage three of the plan. Contrary to what she thinks, Rose hasn't won. Not yet.

Woman: But she's pretty damn close, ah?

Narrowing his eyes, Jerry turns back to the mirror, prodding his scorched flesh tenderly.

Jerry: When the time comes, you will take care of her, won't you?

Woman: That's my job, isn't it?

Jerry: I wasn't asking if you'll follow the order. I was asking if you can handle it.

A small pause passes, as the woman slowly curls her lips into a smirk.

Woman: Si, I can handle it.

#1 Posted by Nyrax (12 posts) - - Show Bio

Woah! Now that was one explosive arc, and I can't help but wonder if the woman at the end is who I think it is.....

#2 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nyrax: Ah, you'll just have to wait and see, now won't you?

#3 Edited by csguterres (201 posts) - - Show Bio

Great arc! Do you have any plans to start another series after you finish The Ravager?

#4 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@csguterres: No plans to start a full series, no. I want to give myself a little break so I can start to breathe again, ha. However, I do plan on writing a short mini series, maybe a few chapters long or so, that will detail Michael Kubrick's backstory, such as what led him to crossing Circe and being turned into a werewolf, how that destroyed his life, and how he met Zaria, who helped him to come to terms with what he is. Glad you liked it in any case, it's always nice to actually get a comment from the people who read my stuff!

#5 Posted by Time_Phantom (527 posts) - - Show Bio

You're getting good at the death and dismemberment thing :) You totally had me going and then BAM! It was Rose having a vision. Zaria and Kubrick were... creepy... but it was great. Jeremiah has a plan for everything it seems. And like an early reviewer... Is the woman at the end who I think it is? (Of course you can't tell) Till next time....

- Time Phantom

#6 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@Time_Phantom: All your questions will be answered in the next arc! Well, hopefully anyway.

#7 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

Can i just say that you commitment to this character and the level of work you do is DAMNED impressive. If you don't receive many comments on your postings, i really wouldn't take it as an indictment of your work or of peoples indifference, i just think that it can sometimes be a little intimidating in knowing where to start with your work or which particular work to comment on. A truly epic undertaking and i salute you.

#8 Posted by CapFanboy (5111 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger said:

Can i just say that you commitment to this character and the level of work you do is DAMNED impressive. If you don't receive many comments on your postings, i really wouldn't take it as an indictment of your work or of peoples indifference, i just think that it can sometimes be a little intimidating in knowing where to start with your work or which particular work to comment on. A truly epic undertaking and i salute you.

He put into words what most failed to comprehend.

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#9 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: Thank you very much :) I should hope that my execution of this character is good, since she is my favorite character of all time. I've been through a lot with her these past few months in writing her story, and we've helped each other grow (she as a character and me as a writer). It's always great to hear that my work is appreciated, so thanks again :)

@CapFanboy: Ah, yer makin' me blush

#10 Posted by CapFanboy (5111 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: That isn't a bad thing...is it? D:

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#11 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@CapFanboy: Nah, of course not :D

#12 Posted by CapFanboy (5111 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4 said:

@CapFanboy: Nah, of course not :D

Hahah xD

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