The following original story is rated FR15 for some sexual implications, harsh language, and some amount of non-explicit violence. The story is set in the 616 Marvel Universe.
Eighteen Years Later
"Welcome, everybody, to Ameline Island. I am your guide for the day, Anthony Maximan. You may call me Tony... or Maximum."
The remark from the 21 year old tour guide, though awkward, brought some laughs to the arid atmosphere within a bus traveling across a endless spread of grass field. Anthony smirked. With a slick tongue such as his, not to mention a lifelong experience of buying his way out with his words, pleasing this crowd for the rest of the trip wouldn't be a big problem.
Though Summer was unusually warm that year, Anthony had dressed rather suitably for the weather; a thin bole jacket covering a mere piece of white undershirt, with a pair of blue denim jeans and Adidas sports shoes underneath to match. Being short-haired helped, too; the fussiness of his hair didn't.
"All surrounding areas of Ameline Island is covered by the vast ocean. For a decade, she has been a world-renowned tourist attraction. But much more famous is her exquisite Sports Coliseum."
As Anthony continued selling the tourists the brighter side of the establishment with his handheld mic, the bus began to come to a stop near a monument on a cobblestone sidewalk carved into the grass field. The stone statue had the black shape of a head mounted upon a short pillar. Four metal poles linked with pelted ropes cordoned off the monument, but they were clearly not meant to protect the piece, but merely serve as a reminder not to cross the barrier.
"And everybody, the head monument you see ahead of you is carved in the representation of the Founder of said coliseum, Mr. Lepton Foxe. Mr. Foxe is a much respected figure to us, the inhabitants of this island."
The tourists, while following a flag-waving Anthony down the bus steps, gasped with astonishment as they stepped into the fresh air. Their surprise wasn't born from the sight of the famous figurehead standing in the distance, but from how widespread the entire plain field had looked from the outside of the crammed vehicle. It was as if the grass field was just a measly percentage of the island mass.
"18 years ago, this island was still a barren desert. But came Mr. Foxe and his grand vision, and this No-Man's Land was turned into the best Entertainment Center mankind has seen. The island's Grand Coliseum, along with the Travel Agency I work for, are both owned by the great Mr. Foxe himself. Just so you know, Mr. Foxe has utmost intelligence. He's also a very charismatic entrepreneur."
Whether Anthony bought half the things that came out of his mouth was not part of his job descriptions; making sure the tourists do was.
After leading the people to the end of the sidewalk, Anthony had them taking souvenir photos with the disembodied head of Lepton Foxe. Naturally, the cordon kept them from sticking their own heads beside the statue, leaving the less interested folks taking photos of the gold words imprinted on a footstone beneath the monument instead.
Founder of Ameline Island's Entertainment City
Soon, the tour was continued back on the bus. As the foreigners returned to the rather air-conditioned contraption, one of them, dressed in a denim jacket over a maroon striped shirt and white jeans, pulled down a black cap over his face - much to Anthony's obliviousness.
"Alright. Sit tight, folks. We're about to take off."
When the assigned tour guide gave the okay to go, the driver, after doing his usual headcount, had noticed an increased number of passengers in the bus.
"Why did the 17 passengers we carried became 20?" the driver queried.
Anthony did his own count, and discovered there was indeed an additional number of three passengers aboard.
"Hey folks, did any of you happen to board the wrong bus?" the tour guide inquired in a cheery voice.
As the wandering heads looked amongst themselves in confusion, the three hitchhikers knew they were busted. It suited them either way, as pulling out a gun while the bus was moving could prove unhealthy for all of them.
"Don't move!" exclaimed two men sitting at the very back of the bus, including the suspicious figure Anthony failed to notice before.
"This is a robbery!" yelled another gun-wielding criminal at the front of the vehicle, jumping out of the seat located right behind the tour guide. Confusion built up with more confusion, the robber at the front hurriedly seized the opportunity and pointed his piece over the driver's head, giving it a good smack with his fist when his movements proved to be sluggish. "Drive, you idiot! Now!"
The bus began its return onto the asphalt road at normal speed under the demand of the robber. The last thing they wanted was unnecessary external attention. Behind, the other two had began their assault, each of them ordering the helpless tourists to toss their valuables into a white leather bag as they moved down the aisle. Like locusts, they swept their jewels and cash away into their possession in no time at all.
In a further attempt to assume normalcy, the armed man up-front ordered Anthony to continue talking to the tourists, as if the tour had proceeded as per usual. In a panic - and after receiving his share of head-smacking - Anthony fumbled his hands across the floorboard to pick up his mic.
"Alright, alright! I'll talk! I'll talk! Erm, do you folks kn-know that, th-the coliseum's operating hours last from as early in the morning at 7AM till as late as 4AM the next day."
While Anthony nervously ran his mouth off, the bus suddenly came to such a rapid stop, and the robber standing at the front without support nearly toppled his entire body over the driver, much to his conniption.
"What the f***!? Why the f*** didja stop the damn bus!?"
The frightened driver then raised his shaking hands towards an object at the front. A traffic light.
With automobiles coming in from both ends of the street, the robbers did not want to risk it, and hope to sit it out peacefully. Unfortunately, in no time at all, a honking truck behind carrying fuel canisters began to pull up in the next lane, right beside the bus. In their own panic, the criminals had themselves seated back down, hoping that they would not draw attention from the passengers in the aligning vehicle.
The passenger shouting sprightly from the delivery truck turned out to be 22 year old Akonis Hammer, Anthony's best bud from teenhood, dropping by in his working hours for a little chat. The tour guide shuddered, unsure of whether if he should respond. Nevertheless, the robber sitting across his seat gave a nudge on his head, signaling for Anthony to reply to prevent any suspicion.
"Let's meet at the usual place this afternoon!" continued Anthony's friend, seemingly unaware of the situation.
"I don't have anything to bet on!" Anthony replied as casually as he could try, yet his eyes rolled to the side of his sockets, towards the robber sitting across him in an attempt to hint his friend on the heat of things. "My wife confiscated all my money!"
It did not require superpowers to perceive the suspicious figure in the bus.
"How about that!" Akonis Hammer casually replied, quickly shifting his attention away from the window in front of him, where the robber was leaning against. "Serves you right, Anthony!"
Soon, the green bulb lighted up. Riding in shotgun, Akonis gestured for the driver to drive on, and both vehicles began riding down the same road. Yet, the tanned young lad wasn't going to remain in his seat for long.
Ensuring that he remained unnoticed by the passengers in the bus, Akonis unhinged the truck door swiftly and hopped towards the back of the car, where the fuel canisters were placed. In just mere seconds, he attached himself from there onto the back of the bus and unhinged the emergency backdoor with equal agility.
The member of the gang sitting in the furthermost back of the bus, however, noticed Akonis' entrance as soon as he got on board. But just as he pulled out his weapon, the latest hitchhiker plunged himself towards the robber and wrestled the gun away with such strength the trigger could barely be pulled before the pistol was tossed out of the window, to the back of his gas tank-filled truck. Upfront, Anthony used the timely confusion, along with the tourists' frantic screams, to give a few rounds of his fists to the robber nearest to him, right across his seat. With a kick, the thug fell back against his seat, and the other tourists then gave their timely assists, hitting the man with their purses and high-heeled shoes.
Meanwhile, behind the commotion, Akonis' kick sent his victim flying all the way to the very back of the bus. Just as Akonis was going to give chase, the overlooked third member of the gang pulled him back by his stomach, allowing his comrade his opportunity for escape through an open window behind. The crook peeped through the opening, checking urgently his trajectory across the truck one feet away from the side of the bus. Jumped he did, and he successfully landed on his side in an opened spot unoccupied by the canisters.
Back on the bus, the thug who had restrained Akonis from giving chase before was being pounded, not merely by Akonis himself, but also by the other tourist passengers who suddenly felt braver ever since Akonis' interference. At the front of the bus, the robber Anthony was pounding was met by more tourist hands than before, and all he could do was bellowed with agony under the barrage of angry fists.
In their fury against the ex-tyrants, they had forgotten about the third member, and the truck Akonis had exited out of was slowly driven away ahead of the bus. Akonis noticed that just in time, and signaled to Anthony, who quickly urged the bus driver to keep chase on the vehicle before him.
"Hurry!" Anthony pressed on. "Drive faster! Faster!"
In front, the truck ride for the criminal wasn't a pleasant one, as he struggled to stay on top of the canisters when a curve on the road appeared up ahead. Naturally, he had a better plan to stay on board.
"OPEN UP! OPEN UP NOW!"
The hapless driver whom Akonis had abandoned was shocked to find the robber pressing a pistol against the glass window behind his seat. He panicked. Rather than sliding open the glass panel, he floored it, and the truck began speeding dangerously down the road... where a populated area soon approached.
Eventually, the speeding truck was winding through the urban areas, near the Grand Coliseum itself. The traffic began to increase, but it was not enough to stop the hulking bus from pursuing its frightful prey. Behind the truck, the robber's grip on the car became increasingly difficult, and he could not risk to shoot the driver at this speed, either. But his concerns regarding his safety would soon be proved to be needless.
As the truck made its way through the congestive traffic, the bus tailing behind took a shortcut. Before long, it suddenly cut off the truck's path and forced the driver to put on the brakes. The abrupt halting naturally threw the hitchhiker off-board. Before the distant guards of the Coliseum could interfere, the robber got up immediately upon his fall and grabbed one of the gas tanks from behind the truck, threatening to fire his pistol against it if anyone made a move against him.
Nearby, one of Lepton Foxe's higher ranked lackeys, Aldric Harloch, was also present at the scene. His ostentatious lime-green suit donned over an equally elegant lemon top distinguished him effectively from his bodyguard, Ludovic Perfidus, who had stepped out of Aldric's car with him, all dressed in a dull grey suit draping a red striped shirt.
"Don't fire!" Aldric ordered, fending off the security guards' raised pistols with his arm.
The two words spread down the guards like an echo, neither them nor Ludovic knowing how to deal with the tour bus robber turned terrorist. Two other individuals, however, knew just the proper way.
It happened in the blink of an eye. Two small projectiles fired from both sides of the robber. Not bullets. Something bigger. From one end, a triangular-shaped, claw-like weaponry was lashed out by Akonis, stepping out of the bus in the nick of time. From the other end, a fire bolt tearing through the air after its generation within Aldric's palms. Despite the size of either projectiles, it happened too fast for the robber to catch on, but the two opposing directions they came from did trigger a deadly emotion in the crook's mind - confusion.
In a state of panic, he would have pulled the trigger, were the projectiles not fast enough. But the two of them hit his hand successfully, perhaps even at the same time. The sharp jerk of pain thus caused the robber to free his grip on the weapon, leaving him vulnerable.
With the bargaining chip out of his palm, the security guards quickly moved in, only to be thrown the canister the robber was still holding. He missed. The guards ducked. The distance between the guards and the crook was not far enough for the latter to pick up his pistol once more, before the guards pinned him down against the truck.
"Nice move, Mr. Harloch!" Ludovic complimented his boss. "Talk about having a sharp eye and faster reflexes. If any bullet had hit the canisters, it would've caused an explosion."
"What are you talking about!?" Anthony's distant voice cried out. "FYI, the deed is all due to Akonis my man!"
Audaciously walking towards the dropped weapon in the manner of a hoodlum, Anthony proceeded to picked up the 'sharp claw' that had previously injured the robber's hand, casually flashing the keratin-made weapon before Aldric.
"My bud, Akon, was clearly the one who used this well-crafted weapon to injure that maniac's hand!" Anthony continued, wrapping his arm around a reluctant Akonis. "The one who has any real moves at all is our very own Akon Hammer, not you!"
As Aldric Harloch bitterly glared at the two young punks who more than put down a middle-aged man such as him, salt was added to his wound as the tourists from the bus stepped down to thank the hero who had saved them from the criminal clutches.
"Akon, very good!" Anthony further extended his compliment in a humored voice, with a thumbs up this time.
"Alright, cut it out, Anthony," Akonis lectured, lightly shrugging off Anthony's arm from his shoulder. "Mind your words!"
But Aldric Harloch disregarded Akonis' supposed humility. That day, Akonis had made an enemy out of him.