#1 Posted by Hawk (15833 posts) - - Show Bio

He sat looking out over a large mountain scape birds flying high in the sky and the wolves running around below. With a fat cigar hanging out of his mouth he stared for hours and hours out over the landscape. He could feel their presence on the other side of the door, pacing back and forth. Still he stared thinking of her, thinking of the home they once had, thinking of the life before the war. 
It wasn't until the door opened that he turned around. He didn't even have to look to know who was there. Her disappointed silence look was more than enough to convey her message. With a push of a button on the wall the mountain scene in front of him flicker and then turned back into a blank screen. That world was just an illusion now, that world had long since been destroyed. Turning he saw his oldest daughter standing before him, the warrior that he never wanted her to be. For years Hawk rocked her in his arms, praying to God that would be normal, that she wouldn't be like her mother, her father, or even her brother. But instead God made her more than them all. 
With a sigh he turned to her. "Hello dear." As usual she did not speak. Hawk was convinced that it was a self imposed silence and not the war injury that the medics had claimed. Taking him by the hand Whisper lead him through the corridor of their fall out shelter. They walked and walked Hawk checking on his people as they went, each room full of people standing up each time they saw him. The beds were jammed together as close as could fit but still there was not enough room. Through the roughest of circumstances these people remained positive, these people survived, HIS people. 
"Daddy, Daddy!" he could hear her coming from a mile away. The strawberry blonde......now with pink streaks! came bouncing through the room and running at her father. The leader of men and the general of the Lord's Army, was just a father when he looked at her. "Hey dad, hey.....me." Olivia joke as she spoke to Whisper. "Um....me and Nathan were wondering if we could" Before she could finish her question Hawk had already answered and started walking away. "No, don't even think about it." Olivia stood there looking up at Whisper. "What...wha he didn't even listen to me." Whisper stood there with her hands on her hips. "Whisper we just want to ....." put before she could finish Whisper placed her finger on Olivia's lips. Leaning in really close to Olivia's ear a silent communication was passed from one Olivia to another and with a huff Olivia walked away. The woman that she was to become, had became a friend to her, a trainer, and  like a mother. 
Finally Hawk got to the entrance of the large fall out shelter where two large men with goggles and protective leather were standing. "Open it up." The large door hissed as the pressure was released and slowly it cracked open. A blast of heat entered the hallway as the guards shielded their faces from the scorching heat and blowing sand. The red sky and the towering building crumbling in front of him stood out in contrast to the metal, sterile environment of the shelter. "Are they bombing again?" A young strong voice spoke out from behind him. Nathan walking up behind his father was the image of an excellent solider. He walked out of the entrance and into the scolding heat of the day. "Yes, they will eventually find us Heat." Nathan looked back to his father "We will be ready sir."  

#2 Posted by The Recon (1404 posts) - - Show Bio

A figure moved stealthy through the long dark corridor, he couldn´t help but to think what was waiting on the other side. The walls were half smashed down to the floor, the roof had placed itself on the floor and the sky was as dark as ever. The deserted office building in a city where so much had happen. A light was flickering, meaning that there were scavengers in the building, and as the light flickered on and off, a face could be seen from the dark figure, Daniel Harris, or more known as Recon. But only from his eyes, those ice blue eyes appeared from his bandana that he uses more now as a half face mask. He moved slowly forward, through the millions of glass shards that were from broken windows and the rooftop. A light could be seen at the room that was on the other side of the hallway and there was something moving in that room.


Daniel, raised his sword, that same sword that was blessed by Despair 12 years ago, but the sword has been failing him for few years now, it has lost his power that it once had, the power to give Recon the power to react faster than a normal human. The more closer Daniel got closer to the door, the more he sweat. Recon became a scavenger as well, but he scavenged the right stuff, the stuff that he needed to survive in this god dreadful place. His brown leather torn jacket, that nearly touched the ground, his red torn costume under than a black new military pants that he found in a Supermarket. Daniel could hear some chatter in the room, probably 3-4 people. He had reached his destination, he took the door knob and the chattering stopped, but he could hear some quite footsteps coming towards the door. Daniel turned the knob and opened the door, while taking cover behind the concrete wall beside the door, and the shooting immediately began, rounds after rounds flew passed Recon.


The yelling, the swearing that came out of those guys was horrible. Daniel rolled his eyes and raised his sword towards his face, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath, preparing for a battle. He moved from the concrete wall in to the room, his adrenaline pumped so fast that he could see their bullets fly past him, raising his sword to protect himself from few bullets, hearing the clank that it made. Daniel ran for the first guy that he saw, jumping onto the wall next to him, he launched himself at him, with the sword first and it pierced through the man´s abdomen, taking the sword out, and the guy fell towards the ground. The next guy he spotted already aimed at him and took the trigger, twelve rounds flew passed him as Daniel rolled on the floor and the guys followed with their AK-47´s. Seeing the broken window that was behind the fellas, taking his time and taking cover behind a table that was flipped on the ground, the bullets ate their way from one side of the table towards where Daniel was taking cover. He pushed the table and him into opposite direction, the table towards the guys and Daniel closer to the end of the room. Daniel stood as quickly up as possible while the table was still heading towards the guys, Daniel dodging as many bullets as possible. One bullets hit his right shoulder and the another one his right side of the ribcage, but that didn´t stop Daniel as he grunted and kept running towards them, he launched with feet first making a perfect touch of their chest´s and they were both pushed out the glass-empty window and they headed towards the concrete destroyed road, but that wasn´t only thing down their, some destroyed pipes as well.


As Daniel looked out the window he saw those two fellas dead on a rusty old pipes, their blood dripping on the road. A grunt and few swearing words he heard behind him, as the first guy Daniel attacked was still...barely alive. “Who are you?” the guy said, with blood coming out of his mouth, the guy held tight with his right hand on his abdomen. “Me? I´m Recon.” Daniel said, throwing the guy one bandage. He raised the table and put his brown bag on it, taking some medical kit to stop the bleeding and cover the wound. When he had done that he took what he needed, some food, some medical kits, some rounds of ammo and he was on his way. Leaving the man lying on the floor.


#3 Posted by Whisper_ (3459 posts) - - Show Bio

Five Years Ago 

 
Olivia Anderson, the woman known as Whisper, stood on the balcony of the Wolf Pack's Scottish Headquarters; the ancestral home of the Greystrokes. It was seven AM on a rainy morning and an unrelenting feeling of doom filled the air. Thunder boomed across the skies as lightning cracked off in the distance. The rain came down steadily, plastering her strawberry blonde hair to the sides of her face and darkening it to a more red color. The war on mutants and anybody with powers had begun. It was the one thing that the world governments had been able to agree on. Sure there were heroes, but there were far too many rogues. There was a world-wide kill order on any and all mutants. DNA scanners had been set up in all public buildings. Those who had the mutant gene, whether it was active or not, were being detained. The moment one of the scanners went off, a tactical squad was dispatched to the location to apprehend the mutant. They were moved to an undisclosed location and never heard from again. There were whispers being passed around between brainwashing, work camps and mass slaughters. All were as likely as the next.  
 
Three hours ago, the United Nations had passed an emergency bill. All major countries had assembled specialized squads and had issued kill orders on specific mutants. As of then, every hero, villain and in-between who carried the mutant gene was a wanted man or woman. It didn't matter how many people they had saved, how much good they had done. They were to be hunted and slaughtered like animals who were too dangerous to let live. The first on the government-sanctioned hit list were the infamous Wolf Pack. A group of renegades and rebels. They all held pull within the government, they were all hosts to extraordinary powers, they were all incredible tacticians and they were all mutants. One of them would cause the government a world of hurt. Together, they were simply too large a threat to let live.  
 
Greystroke Manor had more than ample defenses, this was the Wolf Pack for crying out loud, they were nothing if not serious about the protection and defense of their own. But this was not only a specialized task force marching on them, it was an army. According to their source in the government, at 0730 a group of 300 men began marching upon the manor. Sylver was up on a vantage point, using her unparalleled archery skills to pick them down. The wolves that roamed the grounds started attacking in packs. Hawk used his animal empathy, resulting in the birds of prey in the area dive-bombing. Hunter went into the crowd and started cutting through, using his claws and guns in a harmonious tandem, while Hawk took an aerial approach. Risky started out on a vantage point and using her incredible sniper skills, started taking shots. Round after round after round. Chris was pushing the limits of his newly improved MAX suit, cutting through the opposition like a warm knife through butter. The members of Wolf Pack did what they did best.  
 
They were terribly outnumbered, that had never been a problem before. But they had also never gone up against men this specialized with weapons like these. There were neural blasters and power dampeners. One good shot and the Pack was at risk for losing their members. Whisper watched the bloodshed unfold from her spot on the balcony, protected by a holographic projector that made it appear empty. It would only fool them for so long, but they needed an ace in the hole and she was it. Quickly she turned around to face the French doors, her eyes widened in astonishment as they opened. "Olivia Anderson, what the hell are you doing here? You know you're supposed to be in the panic room whenever there's a threat to your safety like this. What gives?"  
 
"You need me." Her voice was strong and brave, her hand automatically sliding towards the dagger that her father had given her for her tenth birthday. She was just entering her teenage years and had already seen more than most grown men. Whisper tried to protect her and prepare her at the same time. Now was a time for protection.  
 
"You're right. We need you; we need you to be safe and sound. This is not up for debate. This is not a time for you to push boundaries and flex your wings. This is a time for you to fall in like a good little soldier, so that you can live long enough to become a general. Are we understood?" There was a slight moment of pause from Olivia. She normally had a good head on her shoulders, but the brutal clashing and sound of war in the background was enough to cause anybody to act out of character. Before she could open her mouth to reply, Whisper took control of the situation. "Take your brother and hide in the panic room right now. Arm yourselves to the teeth and do not so much as budge from the position until somebody from the Pack comes to you. This is not a question, this is not a request. This is an order." She put that certain push to the words and added enough finesse that Olivia was unable to contest them. She was bound by them and did as she was told, her body language screaming the entire time that she didn't want to. "You'll thank me for this one day." 
 
Turning back around and walking to the edge of the balcony, Whisper climbed up, standing on the flat top of the railing edge to get an even clearer view of what was going on. By a stroke of good luck, she was looking towards the left flank when she saw a soldier raise his gun and point it directly at the back of Hawk's head. One shot of the neural impulse gun, carried only by the ten most high-ranking of the soldiers due to it's expense, and he was out of the sky and down on the ground. It took him a few seconds to regain himself and start cutting through men using the nano-technology of his wings, but it was enough for Whisper's eyes to flash, her skin to tingle and for her to realize that it was that simple for one of them to be taken out of the equation. So she'd do what she did best and she'd solve the equation.  
 
Her soaking wet hair whipped against her face as the gale-force winds whistled throughout the air. The deluge of rain matching the dour mood of those in the fight. War was what the Wolf Pack excelled at, but this wasn't a war, it was an attempted massacre. One that would go no further. Raising her voice, she stood on the railing, waiting for the hologram to come down. The second she showed herself it did so. It took but a moment for the soldiers to notice her, what appeared to be a young woman in her mid to late twenties. There was a hard look to her face, a coldness to her eyes. "You come to our home and you expect us to stand here idly? You give us orders to stand down, so what? So that we can go with you peacefully to our deaths? That is not how this works. That is not how Wolf Pack works. I'm sure more than a few of you have cameras linked into your equipment. Let this be a message to all of those who think we will so easily be taken care of, swept under the rug. This is just the beginning. You came here thinking that you'd be heroes. You got the mutants. You got the renegades. You made the world a safer place. You were not properly briefed. You just made the world a whole hell of a lot more dangerous. You were right in thinking that this would be a massacre. The only difference is...it isn't ours. It's yours." All members of the Wolf Pack simultaneously looked at her, eyes wide and mouths agape. She had always been in complete and utter control of herself. Always careful with her words, always careful never to harm people, always holding back with her powers. But if there was any time to let loose, it was now. "We are done here. You are done." And with those words, all of the soldiers disappeared, a small red mist falling down with the rain, that and their weapons all that remained.   
 
At the moment she spoke, a single gunshot cracked through the air. A well-aimed bullet traveling straight for her throat. There was no time to react to it, nothing that could be done. The moment it connected with her, everything went silent. She flew backwards off the ledge and onto the balcony itself. A small pool of blood surrounding her as she gasped like a fish out of water, trying to get air into her lungs. It was seconds before she was surrounded by Pack Members and within minutes she was in their own personal infirmary, the medical skills of several members being put to use. The result? Shredded voice box and a bit of a nasty scar. She was alive, but she'd never speak again.  
 

Current Time 

 
She lay face down on what appeared to be a tattoo bench, wearing only a pair of low-rise panties. To anybody observing it would seem that she was about to get a tattoo. To those who were familiar with the equipment in the room, it was so much more. To the side of the bench there was a table with what appeared to be a mix of surgical tools and tattoo needles. But to the three scientists in the room, it was something entirely different. This was no ordinary tattoo, not really a tattoo at all. The design that was about to be etched in her flesh was merely the avenue to added attributes.  
 
The ink that would be injected beneath her skin was laced with next-gen nano-technology. She would have abilities nearly the same as her fathers in order to offset her lack of vocal powers. They would be tied to her neural system and coursing throughout her body, allowing her to call them forth by her own whim. Wrapping her hands around the bench, she laid her head against the leather covering and clenched her jaw. This was a war. They needed every leg up that they could get and she needed this. Whisper could sense the hesitation as the large man behind her picked up the needle, switching it on. He was a scientist and had worked with Starks Enterprises, the company who spearheaded the resistance by supplying funds, communication and technology. He was one of their foremost experts and had been sent to her by Cassidy Starks herself in order to help any way he could when Cass heard of what Olivia had been attempting.  
 
Looking over her shoulder at him, she gave a slight nod of her head, signaling her consent before turning back around. "This will not be an easy process, Ms. Anderson. This is no mere tattoo. It will etch itself onto your very DNA. It is not pain-free by any means of the word, you'd best prepare yourself."  
 
She thought that she'd been ready, but oh how wrong she was. It took everything in her body not to pass out from the pain. The only thing that prevented her from screaming until her voice became hoarse was the fact that she no longer had a voice. Gripping the bench with her hands as hard as she possibly could, her mouth opened in a silent scream as the needle pierced her skin. It would run, tracing the design laid out on her back sloping down to the top of her buttocks and then lift gently. She would think it was over, only for it to begin anew. This process continued for three hours. By the time he was done, there were wings etched onto her back. They could be viewed as either angel wings or those of a hawk. The tips of the wings reached up to the tops of her shoulders and encompassed her entire back. The wings sloped along the small of her back, the bottom tips gracing the top of her buttocks and wrapping slightly around to the side of her upper thigh. There was a silver glint to the tattoo, a small hint of what lay beneath it, for with a single thought, what was a two-dimensional design would spring into actual wings that could be shaped per her whim.  
 
Standing up, she walked over to the chair in the corner of the room, showing no modesty of her scantily clad form whatsoever. This was a time of war, modesty had gone out the window long ago. Giving a slight nod in the direction of Dr. Kelly, she grabbed the silk robe off the back of the chair and slid it over her form, belting it tightly around her waist before heading to her living quarters. 
#4 Posted by ChrisAngel (3955 posts) - - Show Bio

Five years.  A relatively short amount of time to live. That’s the way a person SHOULD think about it, anyway. But for him, it had to be the longest 5 years he’d ever lived. Quite possibly even feeling longer than the three he’d spent away in isolation, quite literally offworld. Five years of living just to watch the world die around you. And it WAS dying, no matter how hard he and the rest of the pack had been working to keep it from doing just that. They knew it was coming for a long time now, there’s only so long a world full of normals would take feeling like they were less than the ones with such unique gifts. On his own part, he could feel the simmering anger from the multitude like it was heat bleeding from a blast furnace.

“No matter what you do, it always comes back to the mutant problem, doesn’t it.” Chris mused, down here in the bowels of the Manor with a few ancillary screens, and facing the one thing that might help keep him alive in the coming hours, aside from his own abilities. M.A.X.  It’s a cold looking thing to be honest, the lines of the black armormesh, the dark grey plates of armor that literally covered the thing. He’d actually used it sparingly since it’d come into his possession, choosing to rely on himself.  But he’d have a feeling that he’d need it before this day was out. A slowly creeping feeling that if he wasn’t lucky… this might be the last day he’d see.

What brought on that feeling, you’d ask? Oh, just the sudden knowledge of Executive Order X. The order that had pretty much put a bullseye on the head of every mutant that lived. It didn’t matter if you’d done good, it didn’t matter if you got by on crime. It didn’t even matter if you were just an average Joe who’d kept himself and his powers out of the limelight and kept to yourself – however hard a prospect that was with the eye so prevalently on the mutant community. Now you were just one thing, as for as Order X went: a target.   It was an order that seemed to be like minded, because several other countries seemed to be riding on the coattails of our great nation, and instituting themselves. And if the word that had gotten out was to be believed, the crosshairs would soon be leveling themselves right on the doorstep of Greystoke   Manor – and soon.

Which didn’t leave him one hell of a lot of time to get this done.   Tapping a keyphrase, he’d step into the arming chamber and let it do its work. The mesh and plates weaved and arrayed about him. Damned if it sometimes didn’t feel like claustrophobia in the first moments, being encased in  M.A.X. That momentary sense of total darkness before the system came online, telltale readouts and the sight of the room about him arraying on the internal faceplate.

“Max? Systems check.”

-All systems reading 100 percent ready, sir. We are ready to go at your command.-

He’d take those first slow, ponderous steps… once more getting used to the idea of being locked within the beast again. Equilibrium…balance restoring itself a short minute or two later. Flexing the limbs, and feeling the strength in them, before moving to grab a weapon from one of the many that lie about. The Brand was weapon enough, but every little bit counted, especially now. The access iris opening above him that would lead to the roof of the manor, and he’d will himself to fly. It would have been easier with a booster assist built into the bloody thing, but who needed them, when you yourself could fly? It’s wouldn’t be long before he’d reach the rooftop, the rest of the Pack arrayed atop it… Sylver at one corner, Risky at the other taking vantage points for optimum fields of fire. Hawk perched on the very edge, like a looming, brooding bird just waiting to take flight. Hunter down on the ground, just waiting. And now him.   Clad almost like some automaton. Of course one of us was missing…or rather, hidden away. No sense in revealing your ace in the hole until you really needed here. It was a good thing nobody could see that odd little smirk. Ace in the hole indeed. Liv probably was a winning hand all on her own. But his attention suddenly shifted…catching sight of something off in the distance his look shifted to something a bit more neutral, back on the ball. “Max, enhance visual by 50.”

The onscreen image zoomed in. Zoomed in on troops. A LOT of them.

-Inbound army group. By my count sir, 300 men total - at least company strength. Body armored, armed with neural blasters and inhibitor rifles. Unknown if they have the ability to call on support if necessary. Threat index:   Serious to Deadly.-

“And the hits they keep on comin’.” Chris muttered. External vox-caster broadcast to the rest of the Pack. “We got company calling, boys and girls. 300 brave souls walkin right on our doorstep, with weapons meant to put us down and out if they get to use em. Watch you’re a$$es, keep safe.” That’s when he’d take his own leap, groundside, to stand behind Hunter.  Encased in M.A.X., he could play tank easily.

And then the storm broke. They hit the gates hard, breaking through them with seemingly no effort at all….little did they know of the defense that lie in play. Water pooled from the falling rain disturbed by the falling rain disturbed by crashing boots heels….yet the air was suddenly filled by the sudden baying of wolves…. The screeching caws of birds. It’s not something the troopers expected, yet it’s something that came to the advantage of the Pack. Then gunfire. Hunter’s at the outset…. Risky loosing shots from her spot roofside, picking them off one by one. You would think a bow would be ineffectual in a battle like this, but Sylver was showing just what happened when you counted one out…. And then his own. Having chosen a heavy weapon for this engagement. Targets marked out by MAX, each round was delivered with almost pinpoint accuracy. But he seemed to be shooting to wound… arms. Legs. Disabling. If you couldn’t hold a weapon, you couldn’t use the weapon. Though there were those who fell for the final time under the hail of weapons fire. Of course, each death was hell on him….in the sense that he could FEEL them. He’d hear the screams audibly… yet at the same time feel the lives snuffing out one by one in his mind. He had of course, to harden himself. Put the mindscreams back into a corner of his mind where they weren’t so prevailing. He’d killed before. The Corps had taught him to do it with maddening efficiency. He just had rather hoped to avoid it again.

But with each body that feel, others would fall in behind them. He’d mentally chuckle to himself. Just like a hydra. One thing though cut into that moment of gallows humor. The click of an empty ammo feed.  And troops bearing down on him.   They’d been whittled down, but not enough. Enough a pack had fixed on him. Singling him out as an alpha threat. He’d held it back as long as he could, but now was the time he’d have to use it. Focusing mind and summoning the power of the Brand… it came in the form of a blunt force beam. Something meant to act as a bludgeon, instead of a cutter. Still thinking to preserve life, instead of take it. As much as he could afford to, anyway. It it the massing pack, scattering them. The moment’s break allowing him to move to a more advantageous position. In just those few seconds of time, it was enough to watch the first of his teammates go down…. Hawk shot out of the air by a lucky shot. Down, but thankfully not out. On his feet almost as fast as he’d fallen, those sweeping wings now weapons of lethal intent.

But that’d been enough. Enough for the ace to be played. Liv stepping free of the shadow of the holofield that kept her a ghost… a hidden secret.  In a morbid – but actually fitting – way of thinking about it, like a blade suddenly freed of its sheath, exposed to the world. And even though her voice was level, you could hear the cold fury in it as she made her pronouncement… “We are done here. You are done.” He’d never seen her to the extent of her powers. Had never seen her go this far. And it shocked him just how simple and EASY it came to her. The way she just spoke the words, and the armed force just…winked out of existence. Leaving nothing to prove they’d even been there but a red mist and their guns. “Good god, woman…” Realizing he prayed you never saw the need to loose such a fate on him.

Yet what came next was as equally out of the blue…. equally unexpected.  Nobody saw where it came from, and later he wished he had. You heard the shot, then watched her fall. Split-second, dead-bang. The moment it happened he was SURE she was down for the count. Moving in this dead sprint for the Manor balcony, but damned sure he wasn’t beating Hawk to it. It looked bad for a while… but she’d pulled through. But None of them would be hearing that voice for quite some time… if ever.

 
The Now 

Another   six years had passed. Six years since the war had turned full swing. The human race had turned on it’s mutant brethren… and Chris along with them. They’d been forced to move around as much as they could. Keeping low when they weren’t deep in the thick of it. And for that moment’s time he’d be staring at himself in a mirror. Staring at the hair that had lengthened and how hung to shoulder length. That had greyed considerably but still had that touch of natural brown in it.  Staring at the creases in his face. Three years short of fifty, but looking now as if he’d passed it. Thank the war for that. Grabbing at the shirt that he pulled over head quickly in an attmpt just to be dressed fully.  Having long since passed up any desire to be a fashion plate and more dressing in a fashion that allowed him to move. Stepping out of that appropriated room and out into the hall, just to see her pass him.

And seeing those changes in her as well. Some of them physical, like the scar along throat that served as an ever present reminder of just where they all were now. Some little changes in features. But it was the change in her attitude that caught him most of all. She’d always been a particularly hard piece since he’d known her, Liv had. But now she seemed to carry herself with more of a purpose now.

And he had to wonder to himself, if the change was for the good… or for the worse?

#5 Posted by Richard Wolfe (593 posts) - - Show Bio
2017
Pacing the Greystroke Manor grounds the "wolves" prepared for battle. The mental communication was high with all the reports of smells coming in. Hawk was also communicating with them about positioning and movements of the forces. It was finally enough for Richard. As the sun was rising and the morning fog was thick over in the woods, Richard Wolfe, future king of the Lycan's, strolled out into the open to escape the noise in his head. He could hear her giggle as he made his way in front of the "empty" balcony, but he did not hide his naked body. It was not the first time she had seen him exposed. That was several years ago.
Spring 2012
The spring was cool and refreshing washing over him in a cleansing flood. He had gone to the pool in the wee hours of the morning not expecting anyone to see him. It wasn't until he heard the crunch of the footsteps on the gravel did he turn and look. Olivia was taking her morning run and Sheva had lead her straight to the spring, Richard would have to thank her later. "Oh Richard, good morning." She smiled wiping the sweat out of her eyes. "Good morning my lady. I'm sorry I did not think anyone would be along this early." Whisper smiled knowing that Richard was old fashioned and he was showing it by sinking deeper into the water, so that only his head was showing. 
"That looks quiet nice." She spoke taking off her shoes and starting to wade in up to her running shorts. "Um Olivia, I am....." Richard tried to speak up knowing that this might be an inappropriate situation. "Ah this is just what I needed" Whisper took off her shirt leaving just her sports bra and running shorts on before dipping in. Going under the water Whisper came back out of the clear spring water with a smirk on her face. "You're naked aren't you." Richard could only nod, as he stood there in embarrassment. Whisper exited the pool without a word to leave Richard to sink under the water red faced dumfounded.
Later that night, Olivia sat down next to Richard in the living room as he read an ancient story of his people. "Would you read it to me?"  and Richard began to read as she lend against him, before slowing laying in his lap. 

The wolf carries the child on a journey that takes them into the forest outside Rome. For eight days, amongst the wild animals, the wolf provides for the infant, makes a den in the earth, lines it with grass and dry leaves, making a comfortable refuge so that the child wants for nothing. At night the wolf sleeps with the young prince, embracing this king's son with its four feet and the little infant becomes so used to the wolf that all seems quite normal to him and he is openly pleased at what the wolf brings and willingly obeys the animal.

"Is the story true? Did the wolf really take care of the boy?" With a smile Richard nodded. "It's truer than you could imagine." He spoke to her like the young prince he was. That was the the first time. 
 
2017 
Looking up into the empty balcony Richard could smell her scent and he smiled knowing that she was there, safe and sound for now. As he heard the approaching sounds of war Richard quickly returned to his wolf form, letting the wave of scenes wash over him. Soon he would have blood on his teeth. 
The fighting went on for a while but the wave of soldiers was strong, it wasn't long before the sheer numbers got one of the Pack with a lucky shot. That shot was to the back of Hawk's head. As he fell from the sky, Richard was briefly distracted and that was just long enough for a young man who couldn't have been more than 18 to stab the large black wolf in his ribs. Richard went down with a thud, as the blade burned into his body. These soldiers were well prepare as the silver in blade melted deep into his ribs. Werewolves left and right transformed out of their wolf form as a scream of pain ripped through their minds. Richard the Prince was dying. 
 
2022
Sitting at the feet of a woman with deep red hair, a grey chinned old wolf struggled to keep his eyes open. She stroked his side over and over again, running her fingers along a scar made by a silver dagger several years ago..............

 
#6 Posted by Crazy_Eights (685 posts) - - Show Bio

Jacob sits in a chair staring into a mirror, his face covered in stubble and scars. A large gash diagonally across his face shows something very frightening for him. He no longer can heal, since the last days of the war he hasnt been able to tap into that power. It was his natural born with power, the very thing he manifested as a main power now gone forever it seems. He looks from his scar covered face to his hand, it whirs and a clanking noise is heard as with a thought it transforms into a small cannon and then back into a hand.  Playing with the fingers he takes a long drag from the cigar in his mouth before standing up. The sounds of metal scratching against metal echoes throughout the room. 
 
Standing in full view of the mirror, his naked body is shown in full. His lower half of his body completely cybernetic, followed by the right half of his torso. The only "human" thing that remains is his face and the left side of his torso, but if he continues at this whole thing he may truely become a robot. He wishes for the days where only 66% of his body was cybernetic. And even then his body healed after two years, he was once again flesh and blood. He feels the skin on his chest, remembering the war remember watching almost everyone he loved fighting for their lives. The Champions are no more, and he no longer is the man they once called friend nor family. He is not Crazy, simply Jacob. 
 
A sound is heard from the room next to his, he looks to the wall and his eye shifts slightly turning to X-Ray and he watches Chris move about in the room next to him. Shrugging he walks over to the small desk and removes his own set of cloths, pulling his pants on the memories of the war fill his mind. 
  

Then  

He remembers pushing Mike and Sarah out of the way, feeling the hot red steel of a cannon blast fill his chest. The feeling of it exploding as it enters his chest cavity, the right side of his chest completely obliterated. The pain never hit him, he simply kept on going. He screamed for them to get away, Sarah didn't want to leave him but Jacob stood his ground. Grendal and Marv in control he filled the gaping hole that used to be his chest with darkness and rock. Then continued forward, taking on an entire battalion of tanks on. Soon he was more gore than human, but Chris found him as the tanks rolled on. Jacob asked him "Where are they?" Chris didn't know he simply told them "Safe.." that's all he remembers. Because 2 years later he awoke in a small rundown lab, strung together by the most advanced Cybernetics he had ever seen. He was no longer Crazy Eight's he was Jacob and that person was long dead, he had hoped that Mike and Sarah even Chevie had survived and moved on.  
  

Now 


He returns to reality as he slips on his shirt, remembering how he himself had stopped searching for them. After he found his death records and his name on a large monument, he no longer wanted to find the people who believed he was dead. Because once they found out he was "dead" they had to go through all the mourning and sadness. He didnt want to put them through it once again if they were to know he was alive, because soon...he was going to be dead. He knew it deep within his soul, that soon he was going to die.
#7 Posted by ChrisAngel (3955 posts) - - Show Bio

Later that day....

It had been a rough one indeed, More casualties pouring in....seemed that there were more bodies filling this place than there were beds to fill em and at this pace, the rate of attrition was going to lose this fight for us quicker than we wanted it to, or quite how we wanted it to. The thought alone made it hard for him to relax at all. Fishing for the can of tabacco he'd managed to forage from somewhere or other on the last trip out, and the rolling papers. pulling the roll as tight as he could get it before lighting the thing with an old fashioned stick match. If he was lucky, smoking would kill him before the army groups did. But as he smoked, he got that feeling.... the feeling that someone was looking at him... or at the very least the thought that someone's mind was very much on him. Very close to...shifting his eyes towards the room next door. Jacob's room. Thinking back....

Two years ago...

"Fall back! Rally point Delta, go go go!"

The armored division that had been harrassing his team's postion for the last 12 hours had finally managed to break through the lines. Stryker AFVs, a few LAV-25s....what looked to be a couple Abrams tanks were quickly moving in, along with all the lovely infantry forces to go with them. "The things I manage to get myself into....And to think I volunteered for this op." Rising up just enough over his sandbagged entrenchment to deliver a volley of fire from the rifle that had become more like an extension of him as much as any other part of his body.

-I agree sir. Today would have been a very good day to stay in bed.- Max quipped... and he'd have ben cursed to hell if he didn't here what sounded like humor coming over his internal net. Untofrunately, he wasn't feeling very humorous right about then. He'd lost at least a good third of his column, and stood to lose a damn sight more if the staus quo held.

"Shut up, Max. and just give me troop movements." Damned AI. Was starting to becom a regular comedian.

-Abrams battle tanks advancing from right flank, sir.- What was already a bad sce was on with way to becoming a total clusterf*&k. 'Where's that Javelin!?"
Almost as quick as he called for it, the two man anti-tank team ad been prepping the rocket....though fumbling. He didn't blame them for being a bit witchy-twitchy. Everyone's nerves were on a hair trigger right now. But he needed that lead tank dead. Like NOW. Good thing he'd ducked, cause that rocket just missed clipping him by a fooot. Following it's flight path, he'd watch it hit.... and do nothing. Dud round.

Things would only get worse from there. That turrets began a slow traverse in thier general direction. He wasn't watching it anymore, First sight of that motion had him breaking from his postion in an armor-assisted sprint, grabbing hold of one of the rocket crew. All he could grab before that long barrel fired. Passini was nothin more than blood and guts on the pavement. The Abrams gunner was already selecting his next target....a target that not only was making himself exposed... but doing it deliberately.

"Jacob! Fall back!" External voxcaster practically bellowing it out from half a block down. But Chris was either unheard or ignored. Probably wouldn't have mattered either damned way. Taking a SABOT round full in the chest the way he did should have put paid to all accounts right there. But it didn't. He kept going. Practically shredding that lead tank, but it's the stragglers that were playing tail end charlie... theyre the ones who finished the mop-up work the command ride started. training pint mounted guns on him, the lit him up, body jerking like a damned rag doll till Jake dropped... and didn't get back up.

But he'd done what nobody'd asked him to. Bought him some time to get what was left of the column out of sight and into the rubble. Holding positions where they were until the armored column passed them by. Gave him time to recover at least a body. He'd taken a hit to pull them free. He'd be damned if he'd aleve him for the birds.

Max   would have yet another surprise for him though

-Life signs erratic. But he’s still alive sir. If we do not get him moved quickly, he soon won’t be.-

He’d make a quick hand signal. Two members of his team moving in with a field stretcher to pick up what was left. Which wasn’t saying a lot. Man was practically cut off at the waist, and the hole gaping in him should have killed him outright. God’s honest truth he wasn’t expecting the tight grip on his arm, or the raspy pain filled voice that spoke. “Where are they?” He knew who he meant. Mike.. Chevie.. Sarah. Truth be told, he’d be damned if he knew. Likely broke out with the rest of the unit, but he wouldn’t know specivice until we got out of the killbox. “Safe.” He’d say… all he could say for now. Hoping it’s be enough for now. It had to have done something, because the grip loosened and Jake was out. “Let’s get gone folks. It’s be another twenty before we’d all get clear… medics working on keeping jake alive untilthe medtechs could work their magic. Magic that took two years to work.

The Here and Now.

…..but was it really worth it, Chris would muse to himself… the smoke he’d so casually lit now burning itself out, and he’d barely had two puffs of it, having lost himself in those memories of his. Man was more mech now than human. He might have actually done Jake more of a service by leaving him for dead. Or at least administering the death blow himself. But he hadn’t felt right doing either. He’d reach for that half filled bottle of whiskey, taking it up and leaving his room and backin out into the hall. Picking up on those none too hidden thoughts. The thoughts that screamed of a knowledge of ones own death, coming soon. Knocking on the door first, he’d let himself in. “Thought you could use a drink, friend.”

Anything to halt that train would be a good thing.

#8 Posted by hydrabob--defunct (14860 posts) - - Show Bio

 

Bob turns a corner grunting as he struggles to move faster than his legs will allow. He looks up to a break in the street. Instead of beating himself up for losing visual contact he speaks up, "Kate, which way? Frantic typing is heard, "Take a left." Squeezing his torso around the corner thinking he is starting to catch up. He see's a red figure go around the next corner and pushes himself to go even faster. He started to regret that he decided to have that fifth doughnut today. Moving harder getting angry at his own body for being so weak. Reaching out to the corner he gets his hand around it flinging himself up onto the adjacent wall he scrambles up to the fire escape. Climbing along the outside of the cage. Scurrying up to the building he sprints across the gravel covered roof. Pursuing closer to his target, who he can hear throwing bins and people out of his way. Leaping over the small gap to the next building Bob moves to wear the chaos is headed. He wasn't going to let the target get away now. 4 months of research and sitting in a van smelling like bad Chinese. This was his chance to get a soled lead and find out where they were meeting. His group, Hydra, was in charge of getting this information. Hearing the ruckus move to the left Bob darts his eyes and see's a stair case going up to a large crowd. The red blur worked his way to the steps, seeing it as freedom. Bob hustled for the edge of the building. He thought of how much this was going to hurt him, but figured if it was the only way to bring down superhuman before he got free it had to be done. Leaping off the edge of the building ready to collide with the man he had been after since he had been given orders to take down those with superpowers by the United Nations. The red figure turned as Bob soared at him. He clicked his gauntlet and fire began to fly from his wrists. Bob curled up covering all of his important organs and hit the pyrokinetic like a wrecking ball. The two laid there in the street while a squad of men in green suits gathered them up out of the crowd, "Load the onto the plane. Kate will now where to send them." 
 
Bob woke up on a bed a doctor looking at his scorch marks, "How bad is it Doc? Will I still be able to watch Saturday morning cartoons?" He joked, but the doctor was not in the mood and tightly finished sewing his stitches. Bob winced and looked around for Kate. She was waiting in the doorway with the same dead stare she always had, "Good job, Bob. The Boomer is being worked over now." Boomer, that's what they called the people that used to be superheroes. Boomers, cuz any one of them could blow up a city any time they wanted to, "Kate, did they get him to say anything yet? I gotta know where Jim went." Jim, Bob's partner. In Hydra they gave you a serum that when you were killed would activate your replacement. Jim's replacement never woke up. Everyone figured he was either captured or working with the Boomers now. They always said that he practically was one. Kate rested her hand on Bob's uncovered shoulder her hand was could start a new ice age,"Bob. Don't worry. We'll find him and you'll deal with him when we do." She spoke like she knew he was a turncoat. She looked over to the doctor, "Slide him in." Oh man here is comes. The only thing that really let the humans stand a chance against the Boomers. A liquid that would quickly heal all injuries and promote all your other body functions. They just couldn't get it to stick to genetic code. Bob, thought that they didn't want it to. If it did then they would all be considered Boomers and how does that fix the problem. Bob closed his eyes before going into the tank, "Wake me up when the guy tells where all the superhumans are meeting. I gotta go collect on a bet." They locked him in and the plane continued to soar aimlessly through the sky. waiting for the will of one man to break.
#9 Edited by Crazy_Eights (685 posts) - - Show Bio

Post Coma

 
It had been two long years for the world, the war had come and gone. Still Boomers were fighting to reclaim their stand in the world. But Crazy hadn't seen any of it, for two years he lay in a coma. His body pushing itself to the max, his persona Jacob had pushed every single ounce of power into keeping his body alive long enough for Chris and his team to rebuild him. As soon as the new augmentations were made Jacob vanished, and Crazy found out that once his powers were pushed that hard...the personality that held it would vanish. Zeek was in complete and utter control of his body now, the other personalities fractured even further after the death of Jacob. 
 
Crazy would sit up in his bed every night lamenting over the lost Jacob, for a long time he simply would sit in his own shame. Shame that he was so weak that he couldn't die, and that part of his own body and mind had to die in his place. Chris and Liv would appear erratically to try an suss something out of him, but he did nothing but wallow in his own sorrows. Soon days turned into months, and these months were long and hard as he was taught how to move in his new body. 90 percent of his body was now cybernetic, only things that were still living flesh were his face and brain. The right side of his torso still had flesh, but much of the organs were replaced with cybernetics along with what remained of a few of his organs (heart,lungs, and stomach). His left eye was also replaced, at his request he made one day, stating if he was going to be a robot he wanted to see as one. As he learned to manipulate his new body, he found that if he concentrated hard enough he could manipulate his new body parts and turn them into weapons. No longer needing weapons outside of his body, he was able to transform the bodily fluids inside his body into ammunition. Something that Zeek found out, he had gone through a secondary mutation. His ability was to transmute his fluids into ammunition, his body was adjusting to its new "Duds".  
 
Soon he also realized that these men an women that spent two long years transforming him into what he was now, were the closest thing to a family he had now. He found the company of Chris and Liv to be the most tolerable, they were somewhat like Mike and Sarah. Soon their friendship turned into a brotherhood, and they fought and lived together. Becoming a close unit, protecting each other they survived those years after the war and and after his coma. 
 

Now

 
Mary was becoming even more erratic within his mind, Jacob as he now called himself in memory of his lost personality found that her precog abilities were becoming more an more realistic and frightening. She saw the future, but her visions were things that were going to happen. He couldn't change the outcome, what she saw happened. And today he saw his body shine bright and explode, but he also felt the feeling of pure happiness in death. He thought about it, and he was damned if it was going to happen. He was going to find a way to stop that future from ever happening.  
 
Soon the sound of Chris peeking through the door snapped Jacob from his dream state. His arm transforming into a small gun he aimed it towards Chris. Dropping his arm it returned to normal as he said "Next time knock, I almost pulled the trigger. Maybe next time I wont be able to stop..." he said as a beer was tossed through the air above his head. He sped over towards the flying beer and caught it returning to his seat in a split second, taking a swig from the bottle he made a disgusted face "What the hell? Did you piss in this?" He took another disgusted swig from the awful substance he was draining into his system. He tossed a still half full bottle into the wall, it shatters and the room goes quiet. "I cant even taste it Chris...... I wish that I could taste the piss water you give me." For a moment they both sit there both wondering if it was worth going on, the fact that he pretends to taste and feel scares them both. Then Jacob broke the silence "What's the next mission, they cant be too far behind us. Last time we ditched em, they were pretty close. And those f#cking bastards aren't stupid. They will track my location soon enough, I am giving off enough power to keep an entire power grid running for ten years." Jacob thumped his chest. "Plus I need to kill something, been a whole week since I got to fire off one of my love bullets." He mocked constantly that the ammo that he fires is actually concentrated "Power Splooge" waiting for Chris's answer he stood up an walked over to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of OJ an downed a good amount of the jug. Looking to Chris "What? I may not taste it, but still helps the body. And I "feel" the taste, and remember what it used to taste like?" he continued drinking the jug as he finished his point.
#10 Edited by _Heat_ (22 posts) - - Show Bio

Heat. From the inside and the outside. As searing desert wind it blew over his skin and as burning plasma it flowed through his veins. It had became the centre of his life, the inevitable focus of everything till it had became all that was.

Heat. His surroundings. His powers. His nemesis. His saviour. His elixir. His boon. His bane. Even his name. All had turned to heat and there was no way escaping it. Once he had been Nathan Hawk Anderson but at the age of only 16 this seemed several lifetimes away. Now he was a fugitive, a fighter, a soldier, a war criminal, a hunted monster and an outlawed weapon of mass destruction. He was…

HEAT.

As he stepped behind his father, the legendary Hawk Anderson himself, the absurdity of everything appeared to him once more. For years they had been on the run after the death of his mother, Hawk’s wife, and although Nathan had been to young to fight he remembered these years as hell on earth. Oh truly, they had not gone by without traces and scars. The image of his changed father reminded him of this fact every time anew. With hanging shoulders the mountain of a man stood there and the weariness oozed out of every of his pores. Nathan could feel it because he felt the same. The tiredness had proved to be one of the last things that still connected them to each other when they sat together at nights with a dwindling number of rescued, salvaged, stolen or plundered beer and remained silent with each other. The emptiness in their eyes was the same, the epiphany of having lost too much and not knowing why they were still fighting in this seemingly post-apocalyptic world.

The man who had been once strong in body and mind but now was not more than a broken husk of his former self with paled tattoos on his arms stood there with a slight hunch in his formerly proud bearing and sighed while watching the desert outside. Once more heat. Although stone cold and steel surrounded them Nathan could feel it how it rose up in him. To his question the old man replied with a sigh.

“Yes, they will eventually find us, Heat.”

There were only two options. Either fight or die. A harsh ambivalence. One he was used to. The one that made him so tired. But he could not afford the luxury of showing that. Maybe he did not have a childhood, maybe all his memories were concerned with running from another termination squad or burning people to cinders with his power but for now he had to show that steel in his shoulders that he had not felt for a long time, straighten up with the bearing of a faithful soldier and continue with the masquerade. Not for himself but for his father, for his two sisters and all the people who followed them.

“We will be ready sir.”

His army boots produced clicking sounds on the stone as he turned to walk deeper into the mountain. His goal was one of the many exits in the base to engage the enemy forces. Inside the energy was already building up. An old ritual. One that always ended in agonizing burning sensation of death. The intel said several five man groups. He would make this quick.

One of the men stepped in his way. Nathan had forgotten his name. There were so many flogging to their banner. The cold electric light of a datapad illuminated his helmet and changed him into a monster from a nightmare how he phased from the darkness. Heat had nothing more than a tired smile for him. The time he had been afraid of monsters was long gone. Silently the soldier handed him the electronic device. Heat’s used eyes skimmed the news and even the trying smile he had held up before vanished completely from his face. Shaking his head he turned around to his father for the last time.

“Sir… the one eyed lunatic that you call our ally struck again. This time Barcelona, Spain. 300 dead. The media say the victims looked like they were thrown into a meat grinder.”

“Let her be, Heat.”

“Just wanted you to know of her… exploits. She’s a loose cannon. We should have killed her straight when this f*cking war began, when she merged with that monster in her head and…”

“I said LET HER BE, Heat.”

A mean curse flew from his mouth and he turned once more. No time for this right now. When it came to Risky Hawk was as one eyed as she was in reality. The less said about the two, the better. He had a base to defend.

 

Several minutes later:

Scorching flames surrounded him as the took his first step out of the steel gate. The heat that gave him his name raged inside him and wanted to be let out, lash out like hungry beast and devour everything in his path. Instantly highly trained snipers shot at him but their bullets only vaporized in his glorious halo of nuclear fire. Beneath him soldiers screamed as they saw him, the legendary elemental being of fire. He could read from their lips how they screamed into their commlinks.

“It’s Heat. It’s Heat. Get down, we have to…”

They would never finish the sentence. And then he let go. He became Heat.

And the first wave was gone. Perished.

Others would follow. But he was ready to take them on…
#11 Posted by Sylver (1554 posts) - - Show Bio

11 Years Ago:

     Dirt.   Wet dirt and blood.   Burning metal.   Smoke.   Death.

     Sylver, the Wolf Pack’s vampire Elf, was very old.   She was the rock that never moved, the sky that never changed.   The only problem with that was...time did change.   Time did move.   The smells that filled her nostrils told her so.   Those smells, the stink of battle, used to be few and far between.   Now, they were everywhere.   They haunted every city and surrounded the aftermath of every demolished town.   Broken bodies of children, families hiding in fear, armies of twisted governments tearing through homes...   The images sparked in her mind as she raised her bow and fired.   

     The arrow tore off two men’s heads.   She growled with the thunder that spoke of more rain.   Darn them all, she thought angrily, as she strung her bow with purpose, And darn this bloody war.   Darn the fat, gorging politicians who feed off of innocents' deaths and darn the stupid lambs who follow them.   Sylver strung two more arrows and killed three more men.   The searing fire in her heart increased and her face became sterner.   No amount of blood could pay for what they'd done to the meta-humans, and no amount of spilled guts could satisfy her rage now.   The world was a sick place...and all she could do was dance in the flames.

     Sylver's ears pricked at a volumous noise.   Her eyes narrowed.   Oh gods...they have Rhinos.   Sylver cursed loudly and then shouted to her team, scattered across the roof of the Greystoke Manor.   "They have Rhinos!!!"   Rhinos were gods-big crawling contraptions that resembled the African beast for which they were named, only the legs were ten-foot tall tank tracks, and the skin was an incredibly thick metal.   And the weaponry (Lord help us, Sylver thought) was meant only for complete desolation.   Five helicopter guns mounted each side, with several rocket launchers and nuclear devices ready to fire on the top.   Sylver looked to her right.   Her team needed to be able to continue offensively...but they had to take out those guns while protecting the manor.   

     Sylver shot four arrows in rapid succession, adding her magic to each of them ("Multiply!"   She called, increasing the number by twenty times each).   The armies below threw up their thick shields in vain, as many of them were skewered.   Sylver grinned wickedly, her blonde hair plastered to her face, her fangs flashing, giving an almost mad appearance.   Then she heard a scream.

     Sylver turned to see Whisper lying on the ground, throat gushing blood.   Hawk was running to her in obvious panic, trying to stop the blood.   Their defenses were falling.   And the enemy sensed it; Sylver saw the Rhinos smashing through the trees, crushing them like blades of grass.   It was decision time.   

     Dropping her bow and arrows, Sylver launched herself into the air and began to fly towards the metal giants.   She picked up speed.   Her eyes became black orbs, soul-less, enraged.   The nearest Rhino raised its guns to her.   Without hesitation, Sylver sped up, and roared, a roar beyond anything human or earthly, shrill and powerful; it sent the surrounding men into a panic.   Then she hit it.

     The metal initially broke her hands, but the force of impact tore a hole in the beast's side, letting Sylver slip through.   As the bones began to reform, Sylver sprung herself at the nearest attacker and sank her razor fangs into his fleshy neck.   He screamed as Sylver ripped his jugular open and his friends shot him in an attempt to kill her.   With a feel like pulsing energy beneath her skin, Sylver roared at them again, tossing the corpse into a group of shooters.   She barreled into the group with little concern, grabbing one man's jaw and tearing it off as she went.   She threw herself over the pile of bleeding men and ran down the tiny hall to the control room.   Barely five seconds had passed since she entered the contraption, but her time was limited.   As was her friends'.

     Sylver rammed a force of magic, shapeless and powered by her bloodlust, into the door, sending it flying and into a man inside.   Ducking under the aim of a pistol, she jumped towards the gunman and slammed her fist into his gut, breaking ribs and collapsing his lungs.   Sylver grabbed the mobile control and violently jerked it towards the other Rhinos.   A scream of metal erupted as the machines collided, Sylver called to her magic to teleport her out, and the bombs exploded.    

     Falling onto the muddy lawn sixty feet away from the Rhinos, she still felt the heat of the fireball that consumed the forest.   Sylver chuckled darkly, wearily...   Darn those animals...   Her magic was draining her.   She'd used a good deal of it up earlier, multiplying her arrows and giving the trees life to attack the soldiers.   Sylver staggered to her feet, relieved to see only a few troops left.   Perhaps they would win after all--

     Then her skull split in two.   Pain ripped through her nerves, too great even for her to scream, and caused her to collapse, convulsing violently.   Sylver thrashed, withering under the invisible, fiery knives tearing into her.   A man, very pale and with Asian features, stood over her, silent and expressionless. He was bald and covered entirely with tattoos; his only clothing was the plain jeans he wore.

     But Sylver couldn’t see him; her eyes were blurred by bloody tears. Never had she felt a pain like this, except—

     A terrible vision erupted in her mind’s eye of her time trapped in the Immortal’s Purgatory.   Indescribable pain.   Torture and tearing of the soul.   She had experienced this once, and would pay dearly never to do it again.   The pain subsided for a moment, sending Sylver into panicked gasps and moans; it felt as if her flesh had been torn off.   She turned to look at the man above her and saw him only for a moment before he turned the pain on again.   But she understood in that moment, she saw a glimmer of the dark future, that she was about to die.  

      A tattoo of a snake, blood red, wrapped in the shape of a pentagram was engraved above his heart.   He was of the Devil’s Hand, a black ops group of the collective governments of the world chosen to hunt and kill all paranormal beasts with their demon-given powers.   The world truly had shaken Satan’s hand.

      The pain began again, and Sylver caught a glimpse of her teammates now under the onslaught of new enemies.   Forgive me, she begged them, I have failed you.

     And then all space and time ceased, and hell became her new reality.

     Present:

     Two men gazed upon a sleeping beauty.   Her face was passive, frozen in time, and perfect as marble.   The rest of her might have been the same, had not the myriad of tubes and wires been injected into almost every inch of her body and her left arm been missing.   The two men remained silent for a moment longer, listening to the frequent beeps and gurgling noises which signified that the subject was still alive.   Well…at least, not dead.

     The one man on the left, the stereotypical image of a scientist from the large white labcoat to the clipboard in his hand, walked up to the almost casket-like box in which the lady slept and toyed with a device to keep the balance of her systems steady.   He turned to the other man.

     “And you’re sure that she will not be able to move?”   He asked with a thick Russian accent, worry etched in his voice.   The second man, Asian, dressed from head to toe in black casual clothes, walked to the other side of the Plexiglas box.

     “Yes, I’m sure.   The alleviation of just that much of the liquid nitro will not give her control of her muscular system.   She will be able to hear us, even speak, but not move otherwise.”   Then he raised a skeptical eyebrow.   “Why do you worry, Dr. Franz?   You have been her overseer for ten years and know that without blood in her veins and with the liquid nitrogen in, she is quite detained.”

     “I know,” He replied, still staring at the girl in the box, “but your change in method has me concerned.   Why not just go to interrogate her in her mind like you usually do?   Has she begun to resist your powers?”

     “No,” The man in black growled, “no one can.   But she has disappeared on me inside that little head.   Perhaps she has used her dormant magic to lock herself away.   In any case, this is only temporary.   The blocks of resistance movements have become restless again and I need to find out now where her friends might have gone.   She has otherwise not provided me with any good intel over these years.”

     “But her genes!   The department has been able to use them to slow the aging process!   Is that not a good success?”   The scientist exclaimed.

     “Perhaps, for the desperate, needy man, but her real quality is in her mind.   She is old and knows much about the resistance and its leaders.   Until I can find a way to break her mind again, we will have to give her consciousness.   But it will not be long; supernatural gifts from Lucifer triumph over her dimensional magic…always.”

     The men walked out of the sterile, white room to prepare for the next phase of battle plans.   Nearly an hour later, the sleeping beauty cracked a terrible, fanged smile, and then faded back to sleep.

     It was time to escape.

#12 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio

The petite redhead sat in a chair behind an industrial steel table. Her demeanor was completely hopeless, her eyes devoid of any emotion. The past five years had been literal torture for her; a succession of beatings, brainwashing and brutal genetic scrubbings. The Council, a group of baseline men and women who had risen up as the new world order had managed to get their hands on the woman who had once been known as Dark Huntress. She had been subject to almost daily abuse and degradation for the first two years to cow her sense of self worth. During that time they had also initiated brainwashing procedures. They had strapped her down to a chair, forced her eyelids open and made her watch anti-meta propaganda on a continuous loop inter-spaced with footage of metas committing crimes against humanity. When they had acquired the technology, they started routing it directly into her brain. The bottom line: metas are a plague amongst regular folk, kill them all. There had been torturous genetic experiments run on her. They had literally cleansed her DNA, rendering her completely without powers. She was now one of them. Who else better to be their own personal hound than a former mutant herself?

The procedure was this: they would hand her files on known metas and allow her to vet them from a combination of her own personal experience with these people and her instincts. In the first year or two after they deemed the brainwashing a success Cassidy had been presented with many targets chosen with the one intent of testing her loyalty. Owen Boone - dead. Halle Romanova - dead. Samantha Lee aka Little Death - dead. Tempo - dead. Elspeth - in hiding after a faked death. All at the hands of Cassidy, all people she had at one point in her life called friend, accomplice or confidant. All to prove that she was no longer loyal to the meta cause, all to prove that she was the machine with no moral or personal convictions that they needed. And in return for this service that she had been forced into, Cassidy had been granted access to files on every mutant in existence.

Compartmentalizing had been a necessity, almost to the point where she had formed two different personalities. The hardened soldier and killer who was loyal to the anti-meta cause, the lapdog and hunter of The Council and the woman who went by the call sign of Redheaded Ravager, secretly passing information on high-risk mutants for saving and high-ranking humans for execution to somebody who was in a position to do something about it. This side of her was hidden so deep in her psyche so as to avoid all psy-scans and any attempt at interrogation. Cassidy had gotten to the point where there was a mental switch that she could flip, moving from one to the other.

"Your targets." The tall, stocky man stood before her, his lower thighs hitting the edge of the table. After placing the files before her on the table he clasped his hands behind his back, standing in the position of one who had military training. His name was Councilor Morrison and he was one seventh of the Leading Council. Bringing one hand forward, she opened up the file, her once vibrant green eyes quickly scanning it. There were multiple targets, a first. "Olivia Anderson. Whisper. Chris Angel. Richard Wolfe. Hawk Anderson. William Greystroke. Sylver. You want me to single-handedly take down the Wolf Pack? You've lost your damn mind, Councilor. That's a suicide mission even if I had a platoon of men with me. Do you forget what happened last time you sent somebody after this group?" There was an incredulous tone to her voice as she looked up at him. She had never once objected to a target, a mission or it's parameters, but this was something entirely different. Knowing that there was always a second option she flipped open the second file. It took all of her training not to react to the picture that met her eyes. It was a Polaroid of a child the age of ten. Red hair cascades around the alabaster skin of her face, the freckles that were sprinkled across her nose and cheeks standing out. Her most extraordinary feature though, was her violet eyes. Wide and round with a full fringe of jet black lashes surrounding them, they were truly stunning and Cass would recognize them anywhere. They belonged to her daughter, after all.

The Councilor monitored her carefully as the room's sensors checked her vitals for any sign of unease or unrest. It had taken her about three months to be able to fully fool them and now it was simply second nature. "These are both terrible targets. Do you not remember what happened the last time that The Council sent men to obtain the Wolf Pack? We can't afford losses like that, not in the middle of a war. And who's to say they won't cause more damage this time? This is way too high-risk."

"And the girl?" He continued visually monitoring her, waiting perhaps even hoping for a sign of emotion. It was a futile wish, though. Cass had become a master at compartmentalizing.

"She's an unnecessary risk. They call her Echo for a reason. She mimics the powers and abilities of other metas. Wipe out all metas and she's completely useless. But right now...she has access to the power of every meta she's ever come into contact with and that's a considerable amount. In my professional opinion, both of these targets are suicide missions. I've never had an issue taking down disgusting meta filth before, but I'm not one of your mindless zealots who go out armed with gene-bombs. I won't sacrifice my life to wipe a few metas off the face of the Earth when my skills can be put to much better use slowly eliminating many much more reasonable targets."

"You didn't read the mission parameters for the Wolf Pack op. It's not a murder mission, it's an infiltration one."

"You're out of your mind. Those are the best tactical minds on the planet as well as at the very least three men with animal senses. You're aware that they can smell a lie, correct? Are you trying to get my ass killed?" An eyebrow arched in curiosity as she nonchalantly balanced the chair against the wall, tipping back onto it's hind legs.

"I never said it would be an easy mission. But we need eyes and ears in there so that we can find discernible weaknesses. Their emotional ties, what we can use to pull their strings. What their defenses and offenses consist of. What they have in their weapons cache. All of those notable details. And the only way to do it is to get somebody on the inside. They lead the entire resistance, this is our best shot at taking a majority of them out. So are you up for it?"

Settling the chair back flat on the floor again she brought up two fingers to the bridge of her nose, pinching it to relieve the stress and impending headache that she could feel burning there. "What's my way in?"

"Show up at their base camp. You have to be entirely convincing in your portrayal. Play the poor little survivor card. You broke free from us and escaped your brainwashing etc etc. You're an assassin, you should be used to thinking on your feet. I'm sure you'll come up with something Ms. Starks. After all, your mission and by proxy your life, is dependent on it."

20 Minutes Later

Sitting in the middle of her luxurious bed, Cassidy Starks stared down at the encrypted cell phone in front of her. Some years ago she had met up with the Merciless Mercenary, the legend known as Risky herself, on one of her missions. A few broken bones and a case of injured pride for both of them later, and the two women had reached an understanding. Establishing a completely untraceable line of communication as well as numerous safehouses and weapons caches, the two women had undertaken a mission together. Cassidy passed pertinent information on to Ruby and she acted on that information. Targeting essential baseline facilities as well as saving metas that she could reach in time. It had been a damn good system between the two of them and had led to a close sense of friendship, which is part of what made what Cass had to do next so hard.

"Redheaded Ravager calling Lady of Luck. Do you copy?" Despite the fact that the phone was encrypted, they still used call signs. It would be criminally negligent to do anything less. Sitting patiently in the middle of er bed, she tucked a stray piece of hair behind her free ear.

"Copy that." Something inside of Cass lightened every time she hard that whiskey growl.

"New mission parameters have been enforced. I'll be incommunicado for the foreseeable future." There was a slight pause, her voice nearly cracking, before she continued. "I need a favor. I need you to contact your former teammates in the Wolf Pack. Tell them that I will be arriving on their doorstep. Do NOT inform anybody other than Hawk that I am acting as a double agent on their behalf. The rest need to be outwardly wary of me, as I'm sure he will be as well, despite being forewarned. I've been ordered to infiltrate them. In reality, what I'm going to be doing is passing them every bit of knowledge that I own. These battles have been waging forever and according to my sources, this will turn into a full-fledged war very soon. I've made my bed these past few years. It's time to pay my penance for that. Tell him I'm hiking in on foot. I'll be there in approximately three days hence. And Risky? It's been a pleasure working with you, my friend. I hope to speak to you again sometime in the near future amidst more pleasing circumstances."

Approximately Three Days Later

Everybody on the outskirts of the camp saw her. It was hard to miss the flaming red hair dancing behind her on the wind as she hiked up the valley. Decked out in cargo pants, a tank top, combat boots and a pack full of who knows what, she was not instantly recognizable. It was only as she made it into closer eyeshot that a little girl saw the tattoo surrounding her left eye. It was the infinity symbol, one loop circling her eye and the other resting right below her temple. It was the official symbol of The Council and the fact that she wore it in black ink across her left eyed signified that she was what was termed a hound. She hunted down mutants for the High Council. There was one hound in their short history who had risen above that status. She had become the bogey man that mothers in camps told their children about. If you're not good "she'll" come for you. They had stopped speaking her true name, somehow making the tales more menacing. She was referred to as Huntress and her history had become mixed with urban legend. The red hair paired with the marking is what gave her away. She had expected no less.

A little girl, no older than seven came running towards Cassidy as she came to a stop about twenty feet away from the edge of camp. "It's her! Mommy! It's the dark one! The Huntress!" There was an amazing absence of fear, something that only young children seemed capable of. All of the sudden, murmurs started coursing through the camp, jumping from tent to tent, woman to woman. It was a matter of about three minutes before a woman stepped in front of her and slapped her hard across the cheek before spitting on the dirt at her feet.

"You killed my son. My little Christopher! He was just a teenager! He hadn't even lived!"

Cass looked at the woman, devoid of emotion as a red palm print formed on her cheek. "I killed a lot of people." She had been deep undercover in The Council. So undercover that not another soul besides Risky had known. So undercover that she had had to become her cover in order to stay alive, in order to keep from going insane. And even now, she had to let these people believe that she was that monster. Everything hinged on both of her covers holding up. The fact that she had been undercover did not nullify the fact that she had done those things. Yes, she had saved many by passing info to Risky, but she had killed 372 mutants. Women, children and men. And that was her burden to bear. So she would stand there and gladly take the punishment. She needed people to hate her, for she hated herself.

In a motion of surrender, she got down to her knees and placed her hands behind her head. "I know you can hear me, Hawk. Come out to play before these miscreants tear me limb from limb."

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#13 Posted by Sylver (1554 posts) - - Show Bio

     It was one of those silences that could shatter glass with its noise.   The intensity was thick and sharp, like treading on glass.   If the occasional beep beep beep didn't sound, the team might have lost their nerve.   About fifteen different people, dressed from head to toe in lab gear, were bent over the now-open box containing Sylver, the vampire Elf.   Some removed a handful of tubes from her and others plugged more in.   And even though the room was forty degrees average, everyone was sweating profusely.   Save one.

       
     The Black Hand's sorcerer sat behind a window of Plexiglas, watching the operation take place.   His face showed nothing, but inside he was livid.   For ten years he'd been able to use the simplest spell to open her mind and break her will...but now, he couldn't even find her.   He'd considered the option that perhaps she was dead and that her spirit had left, but after some thought, he disregarded it.   She would've put up a much bigger fight before death.   A sick smirk appeared as he remembered one of the few times he'd brought her back to consciousness, for information and...pleasure.   To see one of the most feared creatures of the Underworld wail like a child gave him great enjoyment.   Like the time he sawed off her arm--

       
     The communicator crackled in his ear.   "Sir, we're removing the fifth nitro tube and placing in the blood supplement.   Proceed?"

       
     "Yes, Doctor.   But only use half of the supply that I told you earlier."   The frown returned to his face.   He didn't trust her.   He looked down to his hand.   He was missing three fingers and a large chunk of flesh.   He had underestimated her before...supposed her weakened.   Not again.   This time he would dangle the conscious world in her face and then send her back to the black hell that she'd been locked in for a decade.

      
       The assassin looked up and saw the one surgeon prepare to put the tube into her mouth containing the supplement.   He moved slowly, carefully.   The surgeon looked up at the woman doctor on the other side of the table.   "Ready?"

       
     The doctor didn't respond, but instead just stared at the vampire's frozen body.

     

     "Doctor Ames, are you ready?"   The surgeon repeated.   The doctor looked up, a serene mask on her face.   "I have been...for a long time."

     

     A knife appeared in her hand and she sliced the surgeon's throat.

     

     Blood gushed from his jugular, falling all over the vampire's face and body.   The other doctors screamed as the lady slashed her own throat, collapsing over the operating table.   Mass chaos ensued as the group of professionals fled in panic, screaming and tossing whatever tools they were holding as they went.   The only one to remain silent was the assassin, still sitting behind the Plexiglas, still watching.   Finally...  

     

     The vampire's body gave a sudden spasm as if an electric current had gripped her.   Then another.   Her right leg bent, then her left.   And like a puppet on strings, her torso pulled itself upright, her head lolling to the side.   

     

     The assassin stood up, a glint of amusement in his eyes.  He knew she wouldn't go down easy.   He watched as she jerked her head up, blonde hair stringy and blood-soaked like her white hospital scrubs, fangs glistening with ruby liquid.   Her eyes were black, completely, ravenous in hunger.   Even though she didn't need to breathe, her chest heaved great breaths as she soaked in the smell of corpses.   She was smiling.   The assassin gritted his teeth.   She wasn't allowed to smile...only scream.

     

     He opened the door to the operation room and shut it behind him.   Silence.   Except for the ragged breaths that the vampire was taking in, and the slick ring of steel as he removed his long knife.   It was black in color, all of it, and it possessed the power to cut spirits in half and give pain to those who couldn't feel.   He had used it to cut off her arm; he looked forward to removing the other one.   He smiled.

     

     "Sylver...you're a clever animal.   Quite clever.   But just an animal.   You've run out of usefulness for me, dear...but I need you to tell me one more thing before I walk you into hell: Where is the Wolf Pack hiding?"

     Silence.   Breathing.   Silence.

     

     "If you can walk out in someone else's body, then you should know by now. Tell me, or I'll send my hellhounds to find them.   And then maybe I can have some fun with those pretty beasts...oh, what were their names?   Risky?   Whisper?   Then I can send those sluts to visit you in the fire."

     

     Silence.   And then...a laugh.   A guttural, almost choked chuckle came from the vampire's throat.   She laughed a little harder, her ragged, bloody frame shaking.   The assassin began to walk towards her, knife held up, an insulting grin on his face.   "You're pathetic."   He stepped next to her, and Sylver reached into the lab coat of the woman lying on her lap.

     

     Sylver pointed a pistol to his head, a wicked, gleeful smile spread on her face.   "And you're screwed."   The gun fired, and the assassin collapsed in a heap, his brains now decorating the wall.

      

     Sylver held up the gun, the light reflecting off of its title, Colt.   One shot.   She'd been saving it for years to kill any demon, any beast...and she had to waste it on him.   She stepped over the bodies and into the hallway.   An old warming feeling came to her fingertips and a light surrounded her for the first time in years.

     "Away."

     

     

     "So, you learned how to possess people with your astral spirit?   That's quite a feat, Sylver, especially in your condition."

     

     The vampire Elf didn't reply, but instead stared off into the distance.   Un-bloodied, she almost appeared charming, had she not possessed that unearthly aura about her.   Instead of the white hospital garb she'd been in, she now wore a leather cat-suit, blood red in color.   It flashed against her white skin and rigid blue eyes, but she didn't care.   She liked it; it wouldn't stain when she slit more throats.   But what she didn't like were the sudden jabs of pain shooting into her stub of a left arm.

     

     "You could be a little gentler,” She growled at the old man, Samuel.   He'd been an old friend who'd gone into hiding after the meta-human wars.   His specialty was prosthetic limbs...particularly ones that contained weapons that were found on the black market.   Sylver hadn't met up with the Wolf Pack yet, but knew where they were from her expeditions out of the base in the woman doctor's body, and she could tell that their numbers were dwindling; they would need her and both her arms.

     

     "Always such a sweetheart,” Samuel mused, a smile on his wrinkled tan face.   If he wasn't human, Sylver could've mistaken him for one of those fictional wizards in story books...that, or a very tan Albert Einstein, with his white hair frazzled about.   But he was good at what he did, and that was all Sylver needed. That, and someone to talk to.   Her thoughts and pain had been her constant companions these past ten years...and her gratitude for freedom was more than could be expressed.

     “Samuel?”   Sylver said, more quietly than she’d intended.   Apparently he caught her tone and stopped working.   “Yes, dear?”

    

     Sylver remained still for a moment, chewing on her lower lip.   “I feel…lost.   Before he took me, just as the wars were starting, I was finding my place…myself.   Everything’s changed now.   It’s not like before, just moving through time…I feel like I’m missing something inside of me.”

     Sylver hadn’t intended that all to come out, but she couldn’t stop it.   She felt cold inside.   She’d spent so much energy and effort trying to escape those past few years…so much focus.   Now the world was in pieces again.   She felt tired, like she was set to run in this unending circle for the rest of her existence.   She felt stretched.   Old.

     Samuel stared with a sad expression into her face.   Sylver turned away, “Please keep working.   I need to get to my friends.”   Obediently, Samuel complied, glancing up every so often, as if to find an excuse to discuss her emotional outburst.

     About three hours later, Samuel stepped back and wheeled a large mirror in front of Sylver.   Slowly she turned her gaze to her reflection.   Embedded in the stub of her left arm and extending out to the same length as her right, was a shining, metallic limb.   Cords and wires of sorts weaved into her skin at the shoulder, connecting to her nerves.   She flexed the arm up and down, sending thoughts to make it move.   The unnaturalness of her unfeeling arm made Sylver scrunch her face.   This would take some getting used to…unless—

     “What are y--?”   Samuel started to say, before Sylver rushed past him.   She wound her arm back and launched it forward at the basement’s stone wall. BAM!!!  The dust settled and Sylver yanked her arm back through the whole she’d created.   She continued to stare down at her hand, completely unscathed.

     “Perfect.   Thank you, Samuel.”   She uttered, her tone deadened.   Sylver looked up at the mechanic.   “What?”   She said, somewhat irritably.   His face was a hard mask of fear and compassion, looking from her to her hand.

      “Sylver…hate them, hate them all, especially for what they’ve done to the world and you…but don’t lose yourself.   Your friends need you.”

     Sylver stared at him, taken back by his honesty.   After so many years of rage and pain coming from her only intelligent contact, this level of concern was refreshing and—painful.   Sylver strapped her sword, Caldavich (given to her from her friend, Talon, years before), to her hip and then crossed the room to Samuel.   She towered over his tiny frame, so she leaned over, kissing the top of his head.

     “Don’t worry.   I won’t.   I’m just…tired...of so much change.   Pain.   I’ll be ok.   It’ll just take time…and maybe a visit from my old team.”   Sylver said slowly, drawing a small smile to her face.   She stepped a few feet back and clapped   her hands together.

     “Thank you, Samuel.   Away!”

#14 Posted by _Hawk_ (2058 posts) - - Show Bio

"Maybe I should let them Huntress?" He walked up with the sun at his back and in her eyes. The silhouette of a large man flanked one side by a young man with waves of energy flowing off of him and a woman with long hair flowing down her back. The dark assassin had to squint to see anymore than the outline of their body's. "I'm here in peace, I have no weapons on me and I'm not...." She couldn't finish her sentence before Whisper's boot crushed her face. Blood began to pour on the dust filled ground out of the Huntress' mouth and she let out a loud grunt as Whisper let fly a strong kick to her ribs. "That's enough Olivia." but as he said it Whisper turned out the lights on the assassin kicking her square across her chin.

She was dragged into the compound past the crowd that had gathered, though none dared approach as the Trinity escorted her. She was dragged into Hawk's private quarters and sat in a chair were a doctor mended her wounds briefly. "She will be fine. A tough one, she is." Hawk sat across from her in his leather chair and smoked a cigar as The Dark Huntress began to stir. Letting out a groan and rubbing her jaw. "I guess that's what I deserve." Hawk looked her up and down. "You deserve to die a slow and painful death, Huntress." Quickly she replied. "Anderson I believe you kill count makes mine look like the junior varsity squad." Hawk just nodded and spoke quietly.

"There are special people in the world. We didn't ask to be special, we were born this way. We could pass you on the streets unnoticed by most. It started long ago to create weapons for those who would control the world. I am their creation. I am their offspring their creation. I am their weapon. But now they want to destroy their creation they spent so long building and training. Now they want a world were their creation is back on a leash. Well Cass my dear....... I am a old dog who has tasted freedom. I will never be caged again."

Looking over to Whisper and Heat standing in the corner, Hawk gave a head movement and they left the room. It was just Cass and Hawk sitting surrounded by his things. On the end table was a few pictures. One that stood out among the picture of a young Olivia and Nathan, and a few of his late wife Mani was a single picture of Risky. It was the two of them on a boat, Hawk was wearing just a pair of swim shorts and Risky was in a black understated bikini. Hawk's arm was around her waist in a fashion that portrayed a since of passion but not ease.

Cass stood up and walked causally over to the picture picking it up and wiping off the dust. "Now what can I do for you Cass?"

#15 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio

She turned to look at him over her shoulder. A black eye and swollen lip were the most obvious of her damage. The two cracked ribs that shot pain through her body every time she moved, not so much. Showing weakness in front of the Pack was like bleeding near a shark - they sensed it and formed an attack. Cassidy had no intent of showing them a single weakness.

Setting the picture down on the table without relaying a hint of familiarity with the woman who stood next to Hawk in it, Cass simply smiled at them and held back the wince as her lip stung. She gently wiped her thumb across it, clearing away the blood from the crack before nonchalantly leaning against the mantle of the fireplace and smiling at Hawk, arrogance evident in every inch of her body despite the beating that she had taken.

"And I'm their Hound. That's what you're trying to say, isn't it? I survived, I did it the only way I knew how." Her voice quieted for a rare moment as her eyes darted out the window, looking down at the camp that surrounded them. "I did it so that others didn't have to." It was as close to an admission of guilt or remorse that she would be getting any time soon.

"Has Luck visited you recently, Anderson?" Her eyebrow arched simply as she asked the loaded question. If Risky had been able to contact him, he'd know exactly what she meant and what was going on. If not, she'd have to play things very carefully. He wouldn't take her word, he'd be an idiot to do so, actually. So if she was left in the dark without an assist from Lady Luck herself, then things were going to get tricky and she was going to have to play her cards very close to her chest.

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#16 Posted by _Hawk_ (2058 posts) - - Show Bio

"Has Luck visited you recently, Anderson?" She put an extra emphasis on Luck and of course Hawk knew that she was talking about Risky. She had contacted him but Hawk wouldn't play the game that easy. Moving across the room slowly Hawk poured a glass of bourbon and whirled it around. Pouring another he handed it to The Huntress who had come to being called Mercy as of late. Hawk found the name ironic since she showed it very little.

"In this world, were the days are 150 degrees and the nights drop to past freezing, were we are hunted like dogs and even our own kind tries to kill us. Yes, I'm talking about you. I have had no luck in more than 11 yrs." He was referring to the date his wife died on national television. "It has been a nightmarish hell hole of a world. The only saving grace to this god forsaken world of our is that one day I will lead my people out of his coal mine fortress and I will walk on the bones of those who stand in my way."

Hawk took a gulp of his bourbon and sat down across from her. "This is what we are going to do. I am going to put you in a crucifix stocks for the next three days. You will hang outside the compound and be mocked and taunted day and night. If you survive, then you can tell me yourself what Risky had to say......" Mercy's eyes grew large and Hawk could smell the fear coming off her body, even if she didn't show it. "But I talk..." She started only to be cut off as Hawk's fist slammed into her face. ".....or I can kill you now?"

They drug her out into the sand. The heat burning their skin as they strapped her hands to a pair of large railroad ties in the shape of an X. The waves of heat came off the ground and the men forcing her up wiped the sweat away from their faces. "She won't last a day." One of them whispered to another.

"Father......you said she mentioned Risky?" Nathan spoke to him, as Whisper and Hawk stood watching the scene unfold. "Yes....and she will need some luck to not be dead at the end of this."

#17 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio

She looked up at him from beneath her eyelashes, the glower evident and a growl nearly escaped from between her derisively curled lips. Without a second’s notice, or a telegraphing of his intent, Hawk Anderson hauled off and knocked Cassidy O’Rourke for a loop.

Awakening to the feel of rough hands carelessly gripping her toned arms, the panic reaction set in. Flailing wildly, her steel-toed boot managed to connect with the jaw of one of the soldiers who was hoisting her up on the appropriately shaped ‘X’.

Her long, lithe body was secured at the wrists and ankles as the sun beat down on the black garb she wore, the hooded cloak that she’d donned before arrival just adding to the eerie image that was being portrayed before the crowd.

A small mob had gathered, a nearly wordless murmur passing between them, mother, father, child, all. The Huntress, the woman ironically named Mercy, the Hound of baseline humanity had been captured and here she was, strung up for all of them to defile with their spit, mark up with their rocks, slash with their broken bottles.

For three days she hung there, growing dehydrated and humiliated. Her alabaster skin was cut in a multitude of places from various sharp objects. Some had been thrown, others had the brazenness to walk straight up to her and take their slow time, the only deterrent being the death glares sent their way. In those three days, she truly gave new meaning to the phrase ‘if looks could kill’.

On the second night the cloak was ripped from her to give more area to work with. With lips chapped from dehydration and spending hours underneath the brutal Texas sun, it was a miracle and a display of fortitude that she was up there for a full 36 hours before passing out.

From the hours of 1 AM – 3 AM following the second night, a close watch was established on her as she slipped into a near coma-like state. One young child, a little blonde girl the age of seven, stood vigil over her. When Cassidy finally came out of it, her eyes were nearly swollen shut, every bone in her body ached, she was ravenous, her throat felt like sandpaper and her lips bled from cracks every time she moved them. She was well and truly on the brink of death and knew that she deserved every second of it, plus more. That didn't quell her fierce determination to make it through, though.

There were twelve hours left and it had come to the point where every second felt like an hour and every minute like days. At the end of the 72nd hours, two of Anderson's elite came out and cut her down as the encampment gathered around and watched, a majority of them wishing for her death. Grasping her beneath the arms, the soldier on the right unceremoniously dragged her through the camp and up to the manor where the Pack was residing.

She was groggy, in and out of consciousness but fighting her best to stay cognizant of her surroundings and what was happening. "My brother was one of your victims, you traitorous b!tch." The words were whispered in her ear before she was unceremoniously dropped on the floor of Hawk's study.

He was quickly removed as the other crouched down and tilted her head back, tipping some water from a bottle down her throat. Leaning one arm on the floor she coughed frantically as the by now foreign substance made it's way down her parched esophagus. After the coughing fit had calmed and all but Hawk had exited the room, Cassidy laid on her back staring up at the ceiling and did a quick inventory of her injuries as he sat in his leather chair with his feet up on the ottoman, a bemused expression on his face.

"You know..." A pause for several coughs as her painfully raspy voice found purchase in her throat. "When I get tied up, I usually have more fun than that." Slowly clambering to her feet, the ripped and sweat-soaked clothes she was wearing all but useless, Cass did her best not to show the immense amounts of pain that she was in. It felt as if every inch of her skin had either been blistered, bruised or sliced and her very bones ached with exhaustion.

"You're a son of a b!tch and I can't say that I blame you." Leaning forward, her hair fell in front of her face as she braced her hands on her knees. "We need to talk."

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#18 Posted by _Hawk_ (2058 posts) - - Show Bio

He sat down and rubbed his thumb across the picture of Risky and himself. Looking up at her he decided that she had had enough tourture for a while and if her words were true she might earn herself something to eat. "So speak." Putting down the picture Hawk leaned back in his oversize chair and pulled a thick dark cigar out of his shirt pocket. The instant the fire touched it the dark smoke and the smell of rum filled the room.

His eyes never looked at her as she talked. They only moved from his cigar down to his glass of whiskey and back. Cass was impressed that in his drink floated a couple of ice cubes. It had been years since she had seen them outside of the walls of the new founded cities, but here in the Texas heat they clinked in the glass of a rebel leader.

Hawk took in what Cass had to say. Then without ever looking up he called out "Whisper...." entering the room a redheaded beauty entered the room. "....take her to get cleaned up, get her fed, and some new clothes and place her in Risky's room. If someone even looks at her too long I will have their ass.......and that includes you!"

Whisper picked her up by the arm and led her down the hall. Hawk sat there stroking his beard when a large wolf walked in. Hawk's eyes went white as he opened his mind to his son in law. "Yes I smelled it too old friend......it was fear and a little hate.....but no lies."

#19 Edited by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio

It was no colder a reception from Anderson's daughter than she'd expected after the brutal kick to the jaw several days prior. Left to her own devices, a soldier positioned outside the door to her bedroom for her own protection, as well as that of everybody else, Cassidy attempted to settle in. It was not such an easy process. Small mementos still lay around the immaculate room. A photo of Risky and Hawk sat on the dresser, her staring at the camera and him staring down at her with something more than friendship. There was a bullet with a paw print engraved on it in a jewelry dish. Small things that showed Risky's personality.

Darkness drifted over the manor as Cass went over strategy in her head. There were multiple facility targets. If they wanted to take them all out, it would have to be a simultaneous hit. After insuring that all windows were secure, she stripped down to the black lace bra and panties - one of the few luxuries that she allowed herself - and climbed into the oversize bed, feeling more alone than she had in ages.

The cool night air permeated the house in a pleasing manner as she shut her eyes, silently wishing that for once there would be no nightmares. She had no such luck. Tossing and turning in the midst of one, some small noise broke her out of it. Her eyes shot open and the blade that had been kept beneath her pillow was in her hand as her door opened slowly. Playing opossum by keeping her body still and maintaining the deep breathing that accompanied sleep, she awaited the imminent attack.

He approached her bed from the side that she was settled on and reached over her, a chloroform-soaked cloth in his hand. Latching her hand around his wrist in a hold, she slammed him onto his back on the bed next to her. Scurrying from beneath the covers, her blade was quickly placed at his throat.

"Who the fck are you?"

"Work for Hawk."

"And did Hawk think it would be a wise idea to send you to my room, armed with chloroform in the middle of the night, soldier?"

"No. By myself. You sick b!tch, you killed my entire family." And with that, he reversed the hold, slamming her small frame down on the bed and barring his arm across her throat. It was a move that would have worked on most, but these men were not accustomed to Cassidy O'Rourke. Forcing her throat up against his arm until she had enough leverage, she managed to knee him in the back, hitting the cluster of nerves in his spine and temporarily stunning him.

Sliding to her feet by the side of the bed, she slid her knife into his leg, intentionally sliding a millimeter past the femoral artery as it embedded in the muscle of his thigh. He didn't make a noise and she gave him credit for that before brutally elbowing him in the nose, breaking it, and then the temple, effectively knocking him out.

Looping him around her neck in a fireman's carry, she balanced his weight and hauled him down to Anderson's office. Butting open the door with her shoulder, she unceremoniously dropped him on the floor, smirking as the knife in his leg jerked.

The enormous leather chair turned around behind the desk and Hawk faced her, once again. Wearing nothing but her undergarments and a smear of blood across her stomach, she couldn't have appeared more confident. Red tousled hair spilled around her shoulders and down her back, providing glimpses of the thin white scars that criss-crossed her back. Coming to stand in front of the desk, she rested one hand on it, while indicating the soldier with her other, head tilted at a slight angle and her eyes narrowed slightly in amusement.

"Are we done testing my capabilities and resolve? I'd be more effective without your men rebelling and attempting to kill me." There was a sneer in her voice as she said attempted. "It's getting tiresome and frankly, they're not worth my effort." Turning her head to look him in the eye, the corner of her mouth tilted up in a smirk. "They don't have permission to enter my room."

Dragging her fingers across the surface of the desk, she sunk into the sumptuous leather seat in front of it. Crossing one leg over the other, she absentmindedly rubbed her calf with her foot. "Is it always this exciting around here?"

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#20 Posted by _Hawk_ (2058 posts) - - Show Bio

"Is it always this exciting around here....." She couldn't even finish the sentence before the shot rang out. The redhead sitting in front of him jumped by the quick and unexpected blast. He had never taken his eyes off her yet his .40 bullet hit the intruder right between he eyes dropping his stone cold on the ground and leaving fragments and brain matter behind him.

"I don't guess I was clear enough." He spoke rather softly for a man who just killed without hesitation or concern for the consequences. "Please feel make yourself at home in my quarters. I will make sure you have a peaceful night." He got up slowly leaving the gun on his desk. A couple of men came in when Hawk opened the door and he whispered to them in a low tone. "....get that piece of shit out of my office and spread the word of his death. My orders are to be followed to a T! Make sure his quarters are cleared out and his belongings burned, anything useful should be passed out." The men moved in silence and without a glance toward the still revealed Huntress.

Hawk brought over a towel and pointed toward his private shower. "Make yourself at home. I will stay in my office tonight, through that door you will find a small shower and my bed. It isn't much but you are welcome to it.....tomorrow we can discuss way you have come to us."

Whisper entered his office with Richard as The Huntress went into the other room. "I do not have the time or the energy to deal with those who can not follow my orders. There is a reason she is here and I intend to find out why." Whisper looked towards his door with a scowl and her father knew her thoughts. "She is not the first woman you have seen in my bed little girl....." She hated to be called that and that's one of the reasons Hawk took pleasure in calling his eldest daughter that. She walked out flipping him the bird on the way out. Richard stayed behind for just a moment.

Hawk's eyes went white as he opened his mind to Richard's thoughts. "Your daughter is not happy that she is even here, but I understand you wanting any info that she has. I suggest you make it quickly for the sake of the community."

"I'm afraid if we do not do something quickly....there will be no more community."

Hawk began to read with his back towards his room.

#21 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio

The night passed like wildfire. Anger, aggression, need, all rolled into one session of unabated passion. Adrenaline made healing injuries superfluous and the pure animal instinct that overcame took care of everything else.

Clad in a pair of jeans and a button down shirt borrowed from Hawk's closet. the Huntress sat on the back veranda, finding simple joy in a bowl of cereal, a commodity that had become treasured. The heady cinnamon flavor burst across her tongue as she crunched down. All senses went on alert as bare feet padded softly behind her.

Coming around the table, the treasured daughter and lauded lady of the Pack, Whisper herself, took a seat across from Cass. Unable to communicate verbally due to an injury to her throat, Olivia Anderson had mastered the art of silent communication and scathing glares, one of which she bestowed upon Cass right now.

Swallowing her cereal and narrowing eyes, Cass laced her fingers behind her head and settled into an infuriatingly relaxed stance. Nearly everything she did was designed to initiate a response and exacerbate, half as a defense method, half just because she enjoyed it. "You hate me and what I've done, that much is evident." Leaning forward, she laced her fingers in front of her, resting her forearms on the table. "You don't know the half of it, nor the reasoning behind it. I don't owe you an explanation beyond the fact that I did what I did for the same reasons you did what you did." What had happened at the Wolf Pack manor that fated day so long ago had gone down in legend and Cass was privy to the gritty factual details.

"You're not without your fair share of blood in this, Olivia, don't go casting stones in my direction." Standing from the table, she slid a file over, a file of all the targets she'd been assigned to whom she'd gotten to safety through faked deaths and other means. 'There's more than one side to every story."

-----

She sat in the 'war room' a conference room with a large table and numerous chairs with maps and other features tacked up on boards. In front of her was file upon file upon file, hard copies and the only copy of date she'd been able to pilfer throughout the years. By themselves, they meant nothing, together, it began piecing together the all encompassing picture of the stranglehold that was held on the mutant community and the country overall.

Within the files were the locations of bases and their weak points. As soon as Hawk entered the room, her head perked up and that guarded look entered her eyes. Bangs fell down in front of the marking that encircled her left eye as she handed him a file from her position on one of the chairs, one leg tucked beneath her casually. "Take a look, let me know what you think." Her mind was racing at the speed of light as she began formulating plans and possible avenues of attack.

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