The Super Hero RP Deluxe! (Closed, Started)

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Dr. Schwertner

Hesitantly, the doctor took the hand that was offered. Once on his feet, he stretched as best he could. He had a moment to look around at the warehouse. There was a hole in the ceiling, the metal once molten had resolidified. The power outlet had shorted and was now only fried plastic in a concrete hole. His generator was what it started out as. Scrap. All of the internals were surely beyond salvaging. The exterior was scorched. More than a week's worth of scrounging around for the very best the scrapyard had to offer, and there it all lied in a state of complete disrepair.

Vinzenz would be mournful were it not for his present company, which he still wasn't entirely sure what to make of. He met eyes with her, trying to gauge whether she really was simply a good Samaritan. "Vinzenz Schwertner," he introduced himself with a nod. "I sink...I sink I vill be all right. Sis cannot be said for mein la...my varehouse. Everysing is destroyed. Sere is no hope for rebuilding. My vork is lost."

Theodore

"Loveless, I'm gonna start by being honest here. I have no idea how to help The Specter. I'll do what I can, but if he really thinks he's dead and that he IS a specter...look, beam any info about his body's condition into my head. All of it. I need to know and more importantly if I can get him to think rationally, he'll want to know too. But first I need your help. Where Specter could be right now? You seem to know him a lot more than I do apparently. I'll try his communicator but I have a feeling he won't answer." The Crick said.

Theodore absentmindedly shook even though The Crick couldn't see. "I can't tell you everything; The Specter made me promise not to reveal his identity no matter what. I can tell you he's alive and stable and that he doesn't know that. He might be going after some cultists he mentioned to me once; I'll send you over what I have on them from my investigation. If you let him know he's alive and that I know where his body is, it should be enough. If all else fails, call me and put me on speaker."

Mina

"Vinzenz Schwertner," he said with a nod. "I sink...I sink I vill be all right. Sis cannot be said for mein la...my varehouse. Everysing is destroyed. Sere is no hope for rebuilding. My vork is lost."

"Interesting... so he was working on something here. Some kind of high energy-density device?" Mina thought, looking around the room. It had clearly been some kind of science project though toward what end was beyond her. "You're alive so your work isn't quite lost yet. As long as you live, all of this-" she said, gesturing to the wreckage "-is just stuff."

Mina nearly shook her head at her own words. She sounded like her younger self, spouting off positive-role-model catch phrases after a battle. It had been a while since she'd felt quite like that kind of old-school hero. "Regardless, we should get you checked out at a medical center. I'll have my driver take you to a hospital." she finished, pointing toward the way she'd come in.

Tom

"You know, not like, harming him, but just taking him away for a while, like a true villain?"

Tom could not believe what he was hearing.

"What?" he said, flabbergasted "are you insane? No don't answer that, I already know."

He shook his head, not sure how to respond. Obviously he had to talk Tim out of it, he hadn't heard a more terrible idea in the history of, well ever!

"If you kidnap him you'll just make him terrified," Tom said "poor guy gets nervous enough at things as is, besides I'd have to show up and stop you and that just makes a headache for us both."

I'm probably not going about this the right way... I gotta appeal to his, I dunno, narrative sense?

"Look, if a villain kidnaps someone they never fall for the villain, that'd be creepy and gross," he said "its the hero that gets the girl, er guy in this case. Besides you don't even know if George is into guys, so what if he's not and you kidnap him huh? That'd just be awkward."

Tim Merridy

What? Are you insane? No don't answer that, I already know."

"Says Mr. "I'm risking my life because it's the "right" thing to do"," Tim replied, still grinning, though he wasn't going to do so for long, as Tom continued.

"If you kidnap him you'll just make him terrified, poor guy gets nervous enough at things as is, besides I'd have to show up and stop you and that just makes a headache for us both."

"No, there's no way you'd have to show up! And I won't scare him, I'll be nice, well, as nice as a villain can be," he continued, though quickly shut his mouth, his twin apparently wasn't done trying to talk him out of it.

"Look, if a villain kidnaps someone they never fall for the villain, that'd be creepy and gross, its the hero that gets the girl, er guy in this case. Besides you don't even know if George is into guys, so what if he's not and you kidnap him huh? That'd just be awkward."

Tim's grin faded, and he made a -somewhat failed- attempt at crossing his arms.

"It's not gross," he started, pouting. "It's just being a villain, it's completely like it should be..." Although he supposed Tom had somewhat of a point. Only somewhat.

What's the point of being a villain if you can't do villain stuff?

"Well, if you're so good with stuff like this, you can go ask him," he groaned, narrowing his eyes. "It's not easy you know, if I tell him I like him, I'll scare him away, you know that. You should do it, because worst case scenario, he'll say no and avoid me, and best case scenario, you get to be a good guy."
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Sirius Hamilton

"There's nothing to apologize for. I suspected as much. You'd be surprised just how many people there are like yourself. Besides, it's certainly not my place to judge. And no need for thanks, not just yet. There's still more to see, and plenty to discuss. But first things first...am I to understand that you understand why I've taken it upon myself to invite you here this evening?"

"Well," Sirius looked at the other, wondering what Daniel was getting at. "Your card said visual arts publishing, and you seem interested in speaking to me beyond that, so I assume that you either have an interest in my work as an artist, or want to show me the building because you want to explain the techniques, both of which are okay with me. However, given that the latter would be rather odd, I assume it's the former," he replied, and tilted his head, examining the clearly wealthy and important man.

"Or did I make a mistake somewhere? I can't think of another reason for a busy man like you to take the time to give me a tour than it being because you can see a way to benefit, excuse my assumption if that's rude, Mr. Luxe." He smiled, carefully.

"Also, I'm not sure there's someone else like me out there... but it's a bit difficult to explain. I'm not a sociopath, either."

The Crick

"I can't tell you everything; The Specter made me promise not to reveal his identity no matter what. I can tell you he's alive and stable and that he doesn't know that. He might be going after some cultists he mentioned to me once; I'll send you over what I have on them from my investigation. If you let him know he's alive and that I know where his body is, it should be enough. If all else fails, call me and put me on speaker."

The Crick was slight as he jumped through the air.

"I understand. I'll do what I can. Knowing Specter, he's probably already forming some plan to track these "cultist" down. He's smart like that, reasonable, efficient...but in his current state, the way you described it? Let's just say I'm worried what will happen if he finds them any time soon..."

The Crick stopped again listening, and heard a lot of things. But nothing important. Nothing like the Specter.

"I don't know how I'm gonna find him Loveless. He's a ghost...I mean, I think I can sometimes 'hear' him, but that implies he's actually somewhere near me. I need to narrow the search, but something tells me any information he needs to find these guys is somewhere that might reveal his identity, so I understand if you can't tell me much. Guess I'll have to find these cultist before he does..."

But that's gonna be hard considering he doesn't need water, food, sleep, and is now essentially dedicating every waking minute of his existance to finding these guys. This line of thinking reminding The Crick of something. He needed a moment to not worry about the awful implications involved of an angry, unbounded Specter.

"Loveless, that 'trap' footage you made of Coil and I heading for the blimp...is Psyclone actually in the shot? Cause if he ain't then I'm starting to think we were wrong about something. I don't think the point of all 'this' was to make Psyclone famous. Killing him may make him a 'legend' but the truth is it won't. He only pulled off 3 major events. He'll be talked about but it doesn't matter. In fact, I don't think Psyclone mattered at all. Villains come and go. I think Psyclone was merely a...catalyst for something else. Or maybe he created some other type of advantage for his 'employers'. Something to do with the destruction and something to do with us heroes directly...oh, and Psyclone mentioned a name. Al. You're gonna want to look into it."

"I'll keep trying to find Specter and talk him down, or find these cultist and keep an eye on them. Which ever comes first. You stay updated on his body's condition and look into...any feasible advantage anyone could get from parts of the city being repeatedly destroyed. The only people who seem to have benefited from all this are the police. They've apprently been given funding for new suits."

Dr. Schwertner

" "You're alive so your work isn't quite lost yet. As long as you live, all of this--is just stuff. Regardless, we should get you checked out at a medical center. I'll have my driver take you to a hospital."

"Nein! No!" Vinzenz exclaimed. He didn't need his name in some hospital records in a time period he had no business being. There'd be no way for them to actually know when he was from, but no doubt there would be some concern with the legality of his presence. That wasn't something he was inclined, or even equipped to handle. He waved the offer off, as sincere as it may have been. "No, I...I am fine, I need no doctor. I do not require medical assistance, of sat I assure you. My needs are of a monetary nature. Und unless you can supply me vis a great deal of money, sere is nossing you can do for me. Because sis stuff is everysing. I have nossing else."

Trying to appeal to her better nature, doctor? the voice spoke to Vinzenz from the recesses of his mind, feeling it reaching out like a dead hand; cold and chilling. It was teasing him. He almost hissed at it to shut up, but managed to resist the urge, if only narrowly. Carrying on 'at all costs,' isn't that right doctor? Even if it means doing something as undignified as begging. First the Fuhrer, and now her. I'm curious how many boots you'll have licked by the time your work is finished. But don't let me stop you. So long as you do what you've been asked...

Daniel Luxe

"Or did I make a mistake somewhere? I can't think of another reason for a busy man like you to take the time to give me a tour than it being because you can see a way to benefit, excuse my assumption if that's rude, Mr. Luxe. Also, I'm not sure there's someone else like me out there... but it's a bit difficult to explain. I'm not a sociopath, either."

There goes that illation, Daniel thought, hiding his disappointment behind a friendly smile. Maybe the kid wasn't a sociopath, but he seemed pretty close. It would just take a little more work chipping away to his breaking point. At least he was right in that Sirius would understand why he was there. Had he not, then playing the man would be far too easy. And the suited demon enjoyed a good challenge. "While I'd be remiss not to ask about your state of mind, I think it's safe to say you're mentally healthy enough to not suddenly snap and murder me while we table those concerns and discuss your work for the time being. As to your assumptions, I find them perfectly reasonable. While I would benefit from a partnership, I also have the capacity to appreciate art and those who create it. Have no doubts that where I may benefit, you most certainly will. Even more so, provided all goes well. People remember artists, Mr Hamilton. Not publishers. And in addition, you would make a substantial amount of money. But I'm miles down the road here--I want you to consider working with me, allowing me to be your guide and professional advisor. I think you have talent, but trust me when I say that will only get you so far. When it comes down to it, it's about who you know. And I most certainly am someone you would do well to know."

Theodore

"I don't know how I'm gonna find him Loveless. He's a ghost...I mean, I think I can sometimes 'hear' him, but that implies he's actually somewhere near me. I need to narrow the search, but something tells me any information he needs to find these guys is somewhere that might reveal his identity, so I understand if you can't tell me much. Guess I'll have to find these cultist before he does..."

Theodore shook his head; desperately thinking about what he knew about the cult. It had been a long time since the investigation. They'd been taken down as far as he could remember so he'd long since relegated it to "old information". "I can't remember much, but I recall that the leader - Gabriel Oakfield - was captured and shipped upstate. To the Nashua Super Max if memory serves. The rest of the cult was disbanded, though I remember hearing about some of them a few months back who had trouble moving on.

"Loveless, that 'trap' footage you made of Coil and I heading for the blimp...is Psyclone actually in the shot? Cause if he ain't then I'm starting to think we were wrong about something. I don't think the point of all 'this' was to make Psyclone famous. Killing him may make him a 'legend' but the truth is it won't. He only pulled off 3 major events. He'll be talked about but it doesn't matter. In fact, I don't think Psyclone mattered at all. Villains come and go. I think Psyclone was merely a...catalyst for something else. Or maybe he created some other type of advantage for his 'employers'. Something to do with the destruction and something to do with us heroes directly...oh, and Psyclone mentioned a name. Al. You're gonna want to look into it."

"I'll keep trying to find Specter and talk him down, or find these cultist and keep an eye on them. Which ever comes first. You stay updated on his body's condition and look into...any feasible advantage anyone could get from parts of the city being repeatedly destroyed. The only people who seem to have benefited from all this are the police. They've apprently been given funding for new suits."

"Will do, not sure what I can do with "Al", but I'll see what I can do. Any idea on the context of the name? As for Psyclone, I never got a good shot of him specifically. Only the blimp. But we can table this for the time being. I'll try and think about it in the mean time. Just... find The Specter and... contact me. Hopefully we can talk him down. Otherwise..." Theodore said, trailing off at the end. He didn't want to think about what "Plan B" would require. At the moment, he was just glad that his power let him "speak" to The Crick without actually speaking; If Sofia knew what was going on... well, she had enough on her plate.

Mina

"No, I...I am fine, I need no doctor. I do not require medical assistance, of sat I assure you. My needs are of a monetary nature. Und unless you can supply me vis a great deal of money, sere is nossing you can do for me. Because sis stuff is everysing. I have nossing else."

"So... he was building something" Mina thought to herself. "And he needs money... Opportunity it is."

Mina wiped a little of the dust off her dress suit and smiled. "Well than it's a good thing I stopped by. Make your pitch; what were you trying to build here and what do you ideally need to build it again?" Mina said. "Allow me to reintroduce myself; Mina Fukao, President and C.E.O. of the Fukao Monetary Group." She pulled out a tablet and opened a file to work with then cleared away some dust from a fallen cement structural pillar and took a seat. "Whenever you're ready."

Tom

"It's not easy you know, if I tell him I like him, I'll scare him away, you know that. You should do it, because worst case scenario, he'll say no and avoid me, and best case scenario, you get to be a good guy."

"What? Why should I ask him for you? Don't you think he'd find that weird?" Tom said, the spiral of confusion deepening. I'm getting a headache from this...

He had to figure something out, otherwise Tim might actually follow through with his insane plan and kidnap George. Given how George seemed terrified of walking down the street at times it seemed like being kidnapped might scare him half to death. He supposed he could ask out George on Tim's behalf, but that seemed like a really weird approach. Maybe if I appeal to his villainy somehow?

"If you asking him out would scare him too much then how would you kidnapping him scare him less?" he said "besides are you really the sort of cowardly villain who can't go and talk to someone?"

Specter

Gabriel Oakfield.

Finally he had found the file, including the information on where he would get detained, and how long. Life-time, of course, nothing less for a cold blooded murderer -though, one who forced his followers to commit the murders- who purposely tore families apart to further manipulate his cult members. A sick bastard to be sure, but he couldn't be given the death penalty in the state.

However, I'm going to change that.

An eye for an eye, right? The Specter couldn't bring the file with him, so he spent some time scanning it, making sure to remember every important detail. Then he shuffled it in together with the rest of the paper that had been scattered on the floor, no one needed to know what he was looking for. He hesitated as he left his home, as he saw the picture of his family in a frame on the wall. It had been taken when he was about ten years old, what felt like forever.

I could always talk to Sofia.

But she wasn't in town. Besides... it was better like this, for her to think that he was at peace.

Because I sure as hell am not.

The Specter then left through the roof. He saw the Crick a little later, looking for something. Not him, right? The Specter considered spending some time trying to figure out just what the hero was doing, but it was simply a waste of time, and instead he passed the other, and the Crick could hear a soft "woosh" as he headed away, swiftly.

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Tim Merridy

"What? Why should I ask him for you? Don't you think he'd find that weird?"

"Just me asking would probably be weird," Tim replied, frowning, trying to appeal to Tom. "If you do it, it's not as awkward."

For me.

"Besides, you're his friend, you'd know how to say it."

"If you asking him out would scare him too much then how would you kidnapping him scare him less? Besides are you really the sort of cowardly villain who can't go and talk to someone?"

"Yeees," Tim replied, looking at Tom with a pitiful look. "I am a coward. A cowardly villain," he continued, dramatically. He tried to convince the other further, but apparently Tom was not going to budge.

Well... if I do it now, I suppose it'll be like removing a plaster before it gets the time to sit completely.

He sighed, and then he got up, clenching his fists.

"Okaaay, I'll handle it myself. I'll do it now, as a matter of fact." Before Tom got the time to reply, he got out the door and---

"Wait, where is his apartment?" he asked, realizing that he had no idea where George actually lived, apart from the fact that it was somewhere in this building.

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Sirius Hamilton

"... But I'm miles down the road here--I want you to consider working with me, allowing me to be your guide and professional advisor. I think you have talent, but trust me when I say that will only get you so far. When it comes down to it, it's about who you know. And I most certainly am someone you would do well to know."

"I know," Sirius replied, looking at Daniel. He found it rather odd that he was being offered something like that this quickly, but he nodded. What ill intentions could someone that nice have?

"I'd be ready to accept, then. Although, I do think it'd be better for both to think it over, perhaps you would not like to deal with someone as troublesome as me, or... perhaps you end up thinking the sketch you saw was me getting lucky."

He examined the other, looking directly into his eyes, as he raised the folder he had brought.

"I brought some sketches... and some paintings, though nothing with oils, only acrylic paint. I'd have to bring a larger folder to bring those. Later, you should take a look at my work, just to be sure that you're sure as well."

Dr. Schwertner

It was just the doctor's luck that the woman before him seemed interested in his work. And, if what she was telling was true, she would have the resources to help the process. He was being put on an audition of sorts. He'd hoped she was ambitious enough to follow through with a substantial investment.

"Whenever you're ready."

"Ahem," Vinzenz began, briefly contemplating whether he should ease his research across or just lay it on heavy. He was certain there was an appropriate middle ground, but he couldn't just let his silence persist. "Sere is more san von plane of existence, I know sis to be true. Sere lies an infinity of dimensions beyond a vall sat no von has ever broke srough. But I know a vay to tap into sese dimensions. In fact, I have done sis vonce before. Und to do sis again, to do sis properly, vill be no small matter. I first require a real laboratory. Not sis... heruntergekommen...decrepid dump. I require industrial tools, to machine parts from raw materials, many of vich vill not be at a modest cost. I vill need assistants, to take see to the more laborious matters."

The doctor paused briefly to make sure Mina was taking everything down. Or at the very least, still listening as opposed to calling the police for his seemingly insane theories. He thought amount about what that would all take in terms of money, but he never handled any of the financial ends of business when he worked under the Reich. "I am certain sat someone in your position can accommodate. Und do not sink I have no intention of making an agreement beneficial for you. I am offering my knowledge in exchange for your support."

Daniel Luxe

"I brought some sketches... and some paintings, though nothing with oils, only acrylic paint. I'd have to bring a larger folder to bring those. Later, you should take a look at my work, just to be sure that you're sure as well."

"But of course," Daniel said, accepting the folder Sirius offered. "I wasn't preparing to draw up a contract right this minute. I was merely expressing my interests. Rest assured, I wouldn't extend such a proposal without thorough deliberation. And I wouldn't expect you to accept without doing the same."

Tom

"Wait, where is his apartment?"

"Its 421," Tom said, both happy and somewhat concerned that Tim had decided to go do it himself. If he just meant ask George out then that was fine. if he meant kidnap him then, well Tom would have to step in.

"If you want I can come with," Tom said "for moral support and stuff."

And also to make sure you don't kidnap him.

Tim Merridy

"Its 421,"

"421, got it," Tim replied, and started walking. Of course, Tom wasn't done with that.

"If you want I can come with, for moral support and stuff."

"Really? It's not so that you can make sure I don't try to run off with him?" Tim grinned, not looking at Tom. Instead, he was heading towards George's room.

"Do as you like, it's not like I can outrun you either way." He stepped, stubbornly, further, until he was in front of George's door. Knocking on the door, he waited for George to open, before blurting out -although, he had at least made sure no one else was there- his confession.

"H-hi George, I really like you," he had said, rather suddenly, turning red as he did. "Like, like like, I'd like to date you, and that's probably super weird, but there it is. Now I've told you, and you'd probably not like to date me, because you probably don't like like me like that, but I'm asking just to have asked." He grinned, very awkwardly.

Oh god. I should so have kidnapped him instead.

He went for another way of saving it, some sort of apology.

"I'm also very sorry if I've terrified you now."

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Sirius Hamilton

"But of course, I wasn't preparing to draw up a contract right this minute. I was merely expressing my interests. Rest assured, I wouldn't extend such a proposal without thorough deliberation. And I wouldn't expect you to accept without doing the same."

"Good." Sirius just looked at him for a moment, then continued. "And I am of course going to think this through. For now, however, would you mind showing me more of the building? We can talk as we walk, right?" he asked, and waited for the other to continue.

I should stop being so weird.

He had to admit that this was a bit less formal than he thought it would be, but then again, Sirius had only seen some of the meetings his father was in. Those had been tense and awkward from the looks of it, neither sides liking the other. Then there had been the meetings with Sirius' psychologist, which had been weirder for his father than it had been for Sirius himself. He liked his psychologist, he kept asking Sirius about how he felt, but always using other words, and not asking for emotions. It was more; do you feel a lot of pleasure? Are you comfortable? A different language, for a boy that had always been a little different.

I wonder what he would think if he saw this. Me, here.

Surprise, probably. Perhaps he would be happy for Sirius too. Sirius looked at the people working, and those walking away. They looked so stressed, yet, he felt at ease. A bit too at ease, perhaps, but in the end, that wasn't something he could fix. And that he knew, people had certainly tried.

The Crick

"Will do, not sure what I can do with "Al", but I'll see what I can do. Any idea on the context of the name? As for Psyclone, I never got a good shot of him specifically. Only the blimp. But we can table this for the time being. I'll try and think about it in the mean time. Just... find The Specter and... contact me. Hopefully we can talk him down. Otherwise..."

"Don't worry, I don't know how we'd even handle The Specter..."-

"I'd find a way" The Crick thought to himself as he felt a slight, but distinctly unusual whoosh pass beside him.

"Loveless, I'll talk to you later." He said, quickly turning to face the apparition. He looked around, seeing nothing but open air. Must be invisible. Gotta keep my cool and draw him in.

"Specter, I can hear you, you know. I've been looking for you everywhere man! I know we all need rest after all the crap that went down, but I think I found a lead on Psyclone!"

The Crick stared at the open air.

"Something to do with a group of cultists, something weird!"

Mina

"...I am certain sat someone in your position can accommodate. Und do not sink I have no intention of making an agreement beneficial for you. I am offering my knowledge in exchange for your support." the doctor said, drawing a shake of the head from Mina.

The man was clearly intelligent and knowledgeable where it came to the technical aspects but wasn't anywhere near as skilled with the business and financial side. That wasn't to say it was uncommon; most of the scientific experts in the world were ignorant of these aspects. They just didn't have the time or brain power to devote to anything other than the pursuit of their goals. Still, it left a lot of problems for the business side to deal with.

"Excuse me, but I'm not familiar with inter-dimensional physics. What precisely is the purpose of your... device?" She didn't like the idea of referring to the project as a mere device, but didn't have the technical skill to find a better word. "You say you want to "tap" into this vale between worlds, but to what end? Will you extract energy from it or is it more a transportation technology?" she questioned.

Taking a moment to collect her thoughts, she continued. "Further, in what ballpark would you place the required resources? And what of these "assistants" you need; what expertise, education, and number would you require?" Truthfully, she suspected none of these would pose a considerable problem. Both transportation and energy generation technologies were in high demand, her liquid capital bordered on the absurd, and finding the right people wouldn't be too difficult. There was one issue however that she encountered with many technical geniuses.

"Finally, if this project of yours is funded, you understand that any technologies and patents will belong to the Fukao Monetary Group and it's subsidiaries. Further, non-disclosure agreements will be required. I suspect this will be a significant investment on our part and we'd be investing with the expectation of a return on that investment."

Daniel Luxe

"Good. And I am of course going to think this through. For now, however, would you mind showing me more of the building? We can talk as we walk, right?"

"Of course, as grand a place this, there is much more to see," Daniel said as he led Sirius out of the foyer. Wrapping around the back of the main desk was an alabaster staircase leading up to the mezzanine. The suited demon started walking up and soon the bustle of the lobby was overshadowed by lively chatter and cordial laughter. The top of the stairs opened into a lounge that surrounded and overlooked a lavish ballroom that was currently arranged for fine dining. While waitstaff bused drinks around the lounge, others weaved through tables with huge platters on the ground level. On either end of the ballroom, the same alabaster stairs ran down along the wall and spilled onto the dining floor. A tremendous chandelier hung from the center of the room and more fixtures that were significantly smaller, though just as extravagant, neatly enclosed it from afar.

"Quite glamorous," Daniel remarked through the voluminous atmosphere, "isn't it, Mr Hamilton? Such a shame that many of these people don't truly appreciate it. No, some are far too concerned with closing deals and impressing people as shallow as they are. Sinful is what it is. Or should be. Those people may have earned a place here, but that isn't to say they deserve a place here. They won't treasure the opportunity they have, the privilege to see this in all its grandeur. But perhaps you can. Do you think you deserve the be here? Do you believe you're the kind of person who can truly appreciate a place such as this?"

Dr. Schwertner

"I vish to first create a stable means of transporting matter from von plane of existence to sis. Sere vould be no limits to vat can be accomplished after sat. I am asking for see opportunity to make sat possible," Vinzenz stated simply. He took a moment to consider the other inquiries Mina made. He hadn't ever considered the logistics of what he aimed to achieve. Thinking more on an easier question, he moved his focus to the kind of assistants he would need. "I vant five Masters among computer sciences, physics, engineering, und materials sciences. I understand see need for...ownership of sees projects. So long as I can continue vorking, I vill have no issue vis sis. As for funding, I don't expect to operate vis maximum efficiency vis any amount less san fifty million dollars. Is sat somesing you can arrange?"

George

"I'm also very sorry if I've terrified you now."

"Uh uh," George stammered, unsure of how to respond to this. He likes me? What do I do? How does he know I'm... well... but does he even know I'm gay? He felt himself blushing more from being flustered and surprised than anything else. He didn't want to hurt Tim, but he really wasn't sure how to respond.

"It's uh, it's fine," he said, fidgeting nervously "I'm uh, well I'm not sure I'm really well..."

He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. It didn't help but he had to keep talking anyways. If he stopped things would just well up and he'd probably freak out or lose memory again or something.

"Well I, I think you're a cool guy, but I'm not," he said "well you know."

No he probably didn't, think about what you're saying.

"Not not gay, er I mean I am, well gay," he said feeling very small as he spoke "I'm just, well I'm not really ready to go out with someone. I've barely told anyone, I'm, well I'm still trying to figure out who I am I guess, if that makes sense."

He felt really awkward now, well even more so than a moment ago. It was a growing awkwardness really.

"S-sorry," he said "I hope we can still be friends."


Specter

"Specter, I can hear you, you know. I've been looking for you everywhere man! I know we all need rest after all the crap that went down, but I think I found a lead on Psyclone!"

"Deal with it yourself, I'm done being a hero!" the Specter shouted as a reply, before leaving. He didn't pay attention to that, he had to get to the prison. Who cared about Psyclone now? Psyclone was dead, and that meant the Specter had to take out his vengeance on someone else. Someone more suited.

Nothing could stop him.

Half an hour later, he was inside the prison, unseen. Some could sort of feel his presence there, those with certain powers, but no one knew he was there. At some point, he would have cared about this many people with powers, trapped inside a prison, some for very unfair reasons. Now, however, he didn't.

It's no longer any of my concerns what happens to prisoners.

Well, apart from good ol' Gabriel Oakfield, of course. It was perfect, all he had to do was to track down that bastard... track him down, and end him, force him to commit suicide. A crime without a criminal, only a ghost remaining. Suddenly, the Specter found was he was looking for, and he felt like laughing.

There you are.

He thought, phasing through the cell-door, and examining the gentle-looking man in his late-twenties. If one didn't know who it was, it'd be easy to believe that Gabriel Oakfield was a decent man, even after years in prison. However, that was a lie.

Let's see where you end up, shall we?

"Oh?" a voice said, the voice of a mass-murderer. "Do I have a visitor?" Gabriel Oakfield looked directly towards him. "One wearing a mask, no less." Dark green eyes, blonde hair, and a puzzled facial expression, the last of those were unfamiliar to the Specter. Gabriel Oakfield held a hand out, towards him. "So, do I get an introduction? Surely, there must be a reason a spirit like you is in front of me, after all these years."

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tim Merridy

"Well I, I think you're a cool guy, but I'm not," he said "well you know."

"Not gay?" Tim asked, trying to help, and was about to say that it was fine, but then George continued, bafflingly shy. Perhaps Tim really had scared him.

"Not not gay, er I mean I am, well gay. I'm just, well I'm not really ready to go out with someone. I've barely told anyone, I'm, well I'm still trying to figure out who I am I guess, if that makes sense."

Oh. Did I just sort of smash his closet open?

Whoops. That certainly hadn't been his intention. George was more than a little freaked out, making everything a little awkward. Then again, Tim had expected some kind of awkwardness, simply not this kind.

"S-sorry. I hope we can still be friends."

Why do you have to be so adorable when you say that?

"I-- yeah, of course!" Tim replied, grinning. "It's just a silly crush, I'm sure it'll wear off, and... well, if you'd like to talk about this kinda thing at some point, you know, to feel a little more confident in yourself, you can talk to me," he offered, trying to get rid of the other thoughts. "I won't mention it to Tom either, unless he heard..." he tried to rub his neck, only to remember that his hand was in a cast.

"Well, anyways, that's that. Are you fine, by the way? Nothing happened during the whole---" he made an explosion sound. "thing, right?"
______________________________________________________________________________________________

Sirius Hamilton

"Of course, as grand a place this, there is much more to see,"

Sirius followed Daniel up the alabaster staircase, taking as much of it in as he could. There was a ballroom with huge patterns on the floor, and food, and drink, and... well, it was beautiful. Even the finest houses Sirius had been in with his father hadn't been nearly this... amazing.

"Quite glamorous, isn't it, Mr Hamilton? Such a shame that many of these people don't truly appreciate it. No, some are far too concerned with closing deals and impressing people as shallow as they are. Sinful is what it is. Or should be. Those people may have earned a place here, but that isn't to say they deserve a place here. They won't treasure the opportunity they have, the privilege to see this in all its grandeur. But perhaps you can. Do you think you deserve the be here? Do you believe you're the kind of person who can truly appreciate a place such as this?"

"I don't know," Sirius admitted, examining some of those Daniel spoke of. It was true that they did not seem to care much for this beauty, either because they simply had no eye for architecture, or because they were used to it. Or perhaps they only saw it as a means to an end, like Daniel spoke of, wanting to impress.

"I don't think I could ever stop be impressed with a place like this. It looks like the sort of building where you can spend days, weeks, even years, and never run out of new things to discover. It's marvelous," Sirius continued, and smiled. "It's... well, it's hard to know if you deserve something or not. I could say that I do think I deserve it, should I manage to achieve it, but others would disagree. Perhaps they would think that I'm not working hard enough to be in a place like this, or that I am... well, less than them, because of what I lack. I don't know," he admitted, again.

"But I'd sure love to find out if I do." He looked at Daniel, eyes the same neutral grey, but there was something, interest, perhaps, in his eyes. "How about you? As someone who appreciates it for what it is, do you feel like you deserve it?"

Daniel Luxe

"It's... well, it's hard to know if you deserve something or not. I could say that I do think I deserve it, should I manage to achieve it, but others would disagree. Perhaps they would think that I'm not working hard enough to be in a place like this, or that I am... well, less than them, because of what I lack. I don't know."

"But I'd sure love to find out if I do. How about you? As someone who appreciates it for what it is, do you feel like you deserve it?"

Daniel raised his brow at the question. In retrospect, he should have expected it but for whatever the reason, he hadn't. He looked thoughtfully all around at people sitting around the garnished tables below as he considered it. He turned to Sirius, resting against the railing. "Actually, I believe I do. I am very successful in what I do, as I'm sure you've gathered. Because of that I can live a rather luxurious life, which I do. So I see these things on a daily basis, and though one should think they would be mundane to me, they aren't. I have the capacity to take time out of my day, and actually want to appreciate every aspect of this lifestyle as if it was a wholly new experience."


Specter

The Specter wasn't sure how to react. Gabriel Oakfield could see him? But he was... he was sure he was invisible. Addressing him directly, speaking of him as a spirit... what was going on? With a swift movement, he lifted the other with his telekinesis, against the wall and a bit up. Gabriel Oakfield didn't struggled a little, but he still seemed remarkably calm. The Specter couldn't understand what was going on, but he knew that Gabriel would be calm, the bastard hadn't shown an expression during court apart from his apologetic, "No one was supposed to get hurt" expression, even as Frederick had given him lifetime, had the man tried to play that card.

Such a despicable man.

Frederick had always believed that there was no benefit to a death penalty, and was quite happy the system of the state offered none. If Gabriel Oakfield had done what he did somewhere else, he might have gotten the death penalty. Of course, there were still those who meant that Frederick had given him too strict a punishment.

"Not very talkative?" Gabriel asked, and it caused the Specter to snap out of his train of thoughts, and he let himself become visible.

"You die tonight," was all he replied with, for a moment. Then he narrowed his eyes behind the tragedy mask. "I always knew you were a monster, but apparently you're more dangerous monster than I thought." That seemed to have a reaction, and Gabriel flinched.

"I'm not a monster, I---" realization hit the man, and he looked shocked. "You're the judge... you're Frederick Rolls, aren't you?"

"No, Frederick Rolls is dead," the Specter told him, the telekinetic grip getting more painful for the cult-leader.

"But you are him, aren't you? I always knew there was something... off about you, some sort of gift you were unaware of. I don't know what happened to you, but I--- I can help you."

Don't listen to him. I can't listen to a liar like this.

"No, you can't."

"Mr. Rolls, you must be--"

"Shut it!" The contents of the room was sent towards the walls, making loud noises, and alerting whoever was outside the cell. A guard asked what was going on, unlocking the door. The Specter knew that he still had time to take care of Gabriel Oakfield. However, it was far too short of a time to make a decision, and honestly, he didn't want it to end this quickly.

"I will be back," the Specter said, before disappearing. He dared not look back, but he knew that this would be on the news, the famous cult-leader having been attacked by an unknown entity.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sirius Hamilton

"Actually, I believe I do. I am very successful in what I do, as I'm sure you've gathered. Because of that I can live a rather luxurious life, which I do. So I see these things on a daily basis, and though one should think they would be mundane to me, they aren't. I have the capacity to take time out of my day, and actually want to appreciate every aspect of this lifestyle as if it was a wholly new experience."

Sirius tilted his head. "I see. It sounds like you've grasped it, then. The appreciation, I mean. Do you draw on your own?" he asked. "I draw because it's a way for me to express a sort of appreciation for what I see. I can't laugh or be happy naturally, there's mostly pleasure and displeasure, but..." he trailed off for the shortest moment, as someone who looked important -well, looked as important as Daniel, at least- passed them, before continuing.

"But I can show people the beauty of what I've seen, or that I do appreciate it. I'm not very good with words, so this is the best way to do it. It's a bit odd, I suppose." He sighed. "Born odd, destined to be odd, but I do think that I at least could appreciate this, with or without sentiments to go along." He stretched, waiting for Daniel to show him more of the building, as well as discuss the offer further.

George

"thing, right?"

He was glad that Tim was still ok with being his friend, who knows, maybe at some point I'll have a better grasp on this and... well anyways. He wasn't sure what to tell him about that though, he'd blanked out again and he didn't want to worry Tim. Well someone should know at least, but...

"I, uh, I just sort of, well..." he shrugged awkwardly "I, to tell the truth I don't remember much. I think I got some work done?"

Arg, this is a bad excuse...

"I uh, really I just felt super tired when I got home," he said "I heard that some heroes took the blimp down or something though, so I guess that's the last we'll see of Psyclone huh?"

Mina

"I vish to first create a stable means of transporting matter from von plane of existence to sis. Sere vould be no limits to vat can be accomplished after sat. I am asking for see opportunity to make sat possible. I vant five Masters among computer, biological, engineering, and materials sciences. I understand see need for...ownership of sees projects. So long as I can continue vorking, I vill have no issue vis sis. As for funding, I don't expect to operate vis maximum efficiency vis any amount less san fifty million dollars. Is sat somesing you can arrange?" Doctor Schwertner said.

Mina nodded. "It can be arranged." she said after a few moments of thought. She'd need to assign several design engineers to the project as well; just to keep good documentation of what they did. After all; unless she could replicate it later any technology they developed would likely go to waste. Further, they'd need to have access to legal, human resources, and additional technical staff as support. After personnel - and assuming his estimates on resources were accurate - she suspected the project would run somewhere around $150 Million. In her experience, R&D types always underestimated by such amounts.

Not that this amount was much. After all, she'd made $200 Million on one project today, even if it was a special case. More importantly, she'd need a "genius scientist" type for the final steps of her grand plan. If this project worked out, she'd have just the person.

Mina quickly pulled up a list of possible staff members on her tablet along with their qualifications. With a few swipes of her fingers, she put together a rudimentary list of who she'd assign. A moment later, she pulled up a list of the contracts she'd need to bring the doctor aboard. She changed a few elements to ensure his needs were met then handed the tablet to him.

"Here's my offer." she said.

Daniel Luxe

"I see. It sounds like you've grasped it, then. The appreciation, I mean. Do you draw on your own? I draw because it's a way for me to express a sort of appreciation for what I see. I can't laugh or be happy naturally, there's mostly pleasure and displeasure, but..."

"But I can show people the beauty of what I've seen, or that I do appreciate it. I'm not very good with words, so this is the best way to do it. It's a bit odd, I suppose." He sighed. "Born odd, destined to be odd, but I do think that I at least could appreciate this, with or without sentiments to go along."

"I've never been much of an artist, but I am delighted to hear you have found an effective means of expression. And I mean no offense when I say this, but I find the idea of such a binary form of exhibition delightfully charming," Daniel said smilingly. Seeing that Sirius was eager to see more of the building, he stood upright from his leaning position and motioned for him to follow. The demon led him around the railing overlooking the ballroom, towards an archway in one of the rear corners.

There was no door to speak of, merely a pair of curtains that were tied to either side of the entryway's columns. Taking a few steps inside would reveal a warmly-lit dining area, substantially smaller than the ballroom and much more simple. Though that wasn't to say it didn't look expensive all the same. It was clearly a room meant for a more personal experience, as there were dozens of small, polished wood booths instead of open tables. The sounds of the ballroom were dampened and overtook by the hushed murmurs of the few people dining in their booths. "Have you eaten yet? It's been a full day for me, I haven't had a bite since breakfast. We can continue our discussion over dinner, and perhaps dessert. I hear the tiramisu is positively divine."

Dr. Schwertner

"Here's my offer."

Vinzenz accepted the tablet and, momentarily admiring the technology, began reading through the specifics of the offer. The legal jargon seemed unnecessary, though he knew these business types. He recalled the bureaucracy of getting his first lab initially set up. It was one of the few times he had actually met the Fuhrer. There were so many documents to sign, rights to waive, the minutia of the whole matter bored him to seemingly no end. The relief he felt once it was over with was powerful. His work had officially begun.

The doctor's momentary lapse into his memories was likely disguised, unintentionally, as careful deliberation. Either way, while he hadn't read completely through the documents, he hurriedly found the place where he needed to mark and he did. It briefly crossed his mind as to what Mina's search--because there would be a search, Vinzenz was sure of it--would reveal of his history. There was no telling what documents of his employment under the Reich were still in records, if any, nor what it would take to access such documents. But she seemed like the type who had ways around those matters. "So, ve have an agreement."

Tim Merridy

"I, uh, I just sort of, well... I, to tell the truth I don't remember much. I think I got some work done?"

Tim rubbed his own cheek, a somewhat worried expression on his face. "You really should get that looked at, you know, what if something bad happens? What if it has already happened?" He knew that George would know about that it could be dangerous, no doubt, but it still made him feel uneasy.

"I uh, really I just felt super tired when I got home. I heard that some heroes took the blimp down or something though, so I guess that's the last we'll see of Psyclone huh?"

"Better be," Tim replied, grinning again, trying to keep the worry and the 'sorta disappointment, sort of hopeful,' feeling in his stomach from showing. "When someone like that comes hogging up all the attention, the cooler villains wouldn't be able to do anything, right?! I--" he sighed, not feeling like making himself too.

"Just be well, okay?" He put the only healthy hand on George's shoulder. "And don't forget, if it's anything at all, I'm still bunking at Tom's place... unless he throws me out for being too cheeky," he continued, and left, passing Tom on the way to the apartment and the couch, shrugging, his expression making it clear that it was complicated and that he wasn't really going to talk about it.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sirius Hamilton

Sirius followed Daniel around, he had to admit that he wanted to stay for longer, so when Daniel offered an oppertunity to stay for longer, even if it was for food, he took it.

"Have you eaten yet? It's been a full day for me, I haven't had a bite since breakfast. We can continue our discussion over dinner, and perhaps dessert. I hear the tiramisu is positively divine."

"I would like that very much," Sirius replied, wondering if Daniel was going to make him pay for it himself. "I've never had tiramisu."

Would he, though? Make me pay for my part?

Likely not, what was the use of showing off without spending some money, right? Or, at least that's how he understood the more wealthy culture. They seemed intent on showing off, and while Daniel wasn't being as pushy, he still thought the man would follow common courtesy.

I wonder how much it'll cost me if not.

He supposed he would just have to find out. Sirius didn't particularly care for how much he used, whether it was a lot, or just a little. Money had little worth to him outside for the basic functions, though comfortable was better than uncomfortable.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Days passed, and while things were moving underneath the surface of Neutropolis, there were few incidents worthy of note. That the citizens knew of, at least. About half a week later, Saturday, around noon, is when this story continues. It was a rather rainy day, as is common of spring, and while it was warm as long as the wind kept still, it still wasn't pleasant weather. Even so, it gave off the feeling of a dull, grey day.

Surely nothing bad could happen?

Theodore

It had not been a good week. The Specter had apparently attacked a cult leader in his prison cell. So far, no one had connected it to The Specter, but it was only a matter of time before he did something stupid. Meanwhile, his body was still in a coma of indeterminate cause. Sofia was in bad shape with all the worry and Theodore was little better because he couldn't tell her why. Further, he could only hide behind the excuse of "he's a friend" for so long before other press or heroes began to wonder about his interest.

To try and solve this, he'd put out a call to his fans to keep an eye out for the Specter and to send him details as quickly as possible. He didn't know if The Specter needed to sleep or "eat" or anything. If he did however, Theodore would be able to track him down to possible "lairs". On the other hand, he knew this was a vain hope at best. First, The Specter was ethereal and therefore hard to notice at the best of times and second, the issues of Theodore's task being unusual would eventually draw eyes.

Of course, these weren't his only problems. Thanks to a little help from The Crick, Theodore had managed to get a tracking program on his footage and begun to track it's progress. Eventually, he'd figure out where the file had gone and figure out who was doing the editing. Hopefully, before another "Psyclone Incident"

Speaking of, The Psyclone Incident brought about another set of changes. The Police were now hiring and training officers to fight against super-villains. This was a surprising move to Theodore; in the past the city had been more than happy to follow the lead of it's heroes and leave the supers to them.

Theodore figured he shouldn't have been so surprised. The Mayor was a politician and, after the heroes had not only failed to stop Psyclone but hadn't been a help in the slightest with putting out the fires and rescuing civilians, the people were pissed off. Most still thought the heroes had their best interest at heart, but cries that superheroes were "ineffective" to this new wave of crime brought into question their competence. Even Theodore - who wasn't a superhero, but supported them - was seeing a sharp dip in ratings for his opinions and powers. The only heroes that had escaped the scorn were the new ones - The Unicorn and Coil since they were still new and inexperienced.

Honestly, the only things that were keeping him going were his professional duty to the truth, his personal duty to Frederick, and about 4 gallons of coffee. Well, those and the upcoming meal with Rias. A good event on the horizon was always a plus.

It was toward that end that Theodore was getting dressed for the meal. Hopefully; a break would help.

Mina

Mina was having a wonderful week. The announcement with the mayor had gone swimmingly, she had found a new scientist to aid her in her final move, Aldric was ready to move the next piece into play, and she had more revenue flowing in than any other company on earth. The business news was wondering when she'd start buying out other major companies. The only thing she lacked this week was sleep; but that was what coffee was for.

Perhaps best of all, her "monument" was nearing completion. The Fukao-Group Tower was finished and only had a few more floors of furnishing to go. Yes, her checkmate move was all but ready to go. Soon, she'd be the most powerful person in the world. Soon, she'd be able to stop all crime.

Staring down from the top floor of the building, she readied the final phase. All she needed now was a martyr for the cause. So, she made the call. On a new burner, she plugged in some numbers, heard the ringing, and spoke. "Tess. Your payday is at hand. Here's what I need you to do..."

Aldric

"... and a bottle of Château Pétrus 2005 Red please." Aldric said to the small shop owner. Aldric followed it by putting nearly $10,000 on the table. The week was done and now all he needed to do was wait for Mina to trigger the play and everything would be done. As such, he needed the best bottle of wine he could find. After all, celebrations like this required and deserved only the best.

This wasn't the first of his stops for the day. All said and done, he'd dropped nearly $100,000 in the last 4 hours. He had all he needed for his celebration and was looking forward to enjoying the perfect meal. He'd already gotten the right food, the right wine, the right location... everything. The only way he could even hope to improve it would be to go back to his home village in France.

Sadly; it was gone. It had been gone for 70+ years now. He missed it now more than ever in his old age. No matter how much bloody vengeance he'd wrought over the years, it had never filled the void. He'd single-handedly brought generals and dictators to their knees and rid the world of evils it would never knew existed. They'd committed sins against gods and nature the likes of which mortal man was never meant to endure, but it was that little village that brought him the most pain. He missed it and he hated it.

But, for one afternoon, he would remember it and think of it fondly. Then... then it was show time.

Karen

Karen spent all of one night recovering before she was back on the streets. She helped where she could but her injury's where far from fully healed. She even had a few EMTs tell her she should be recovering. She naturally didn't listen, and kept on.

It was the people that bothered her more though, it wasn't the first time she'd seen people turn on heroes, probably wouldn't be the last, but it still annoyed her all the same. So did the sight of armored policemen, not because it was a bad idea by it self, far from it. It was the timing that bothered her. The time between the attack and the outfitting was to short for her liking, not when there was that cloud of some deep scheme still hanging over everything.

Rias

Rias week was fairly standard. She worked hung out with friends and rehearsed. She and the others talked about the current climate surrounding heroes, of course, but for the most part they focused on the band and the bar. Rias notably lamented that the city seemed to attract those lunatics despite the hero presence.

But for now, Rias and her band where getting ready for the dinner promised them after the interview.

Terry

Terry had spent the last few hours at the old subway platform he'd planned to call their headquarters. He was working. Just working.

He stepped back and looked at his handy work. His little "side project was essentially finished, mostly programmed, engineered to as perfect as he could get it. He clicked the hanging remote and watched as the project descended back into the floor. It was perhaps the most time, money, and effort, he had put into anything a long time. Aside from the early days building his suit. Yet he couldn't really smile at it, get excited to use it, not with the Specter running around, not with what the people were saying...

He walked over to his current suit and put the helmet on. He had to go on patrol. Perhaps someone wouldn't throw a hotdog at him this time. Maybe some music would-

"The Crick, the hero who's always been a hop away, couldn't seem to hop on getting a handle of Psyclone, let alone the city's recent surge of criminal activ-"

He'd forgotten he'd left his helmet tuned on the news and begrudgingly changed the station.

"So what if he may or may not be related to Dashhopper or MockingJay?! Who flippin' cares? He ain't been 'holdin up the mantle' and whatnot. He's probably just a fanboy who-"

*Chkk*

"-I'm saying it's high time we stopped treating heroes as if they're trained professionals. They're not officers, they're not paramedics, they're just privileged people! Like that cricket guy! Strutting around like he's some sort of...decorated general! He doesn't have the authority, we don't need him, the police now have these-"

*Chkk*

"-Did he really rebrand himself to be edgy. Holy shit, green and black, what the fuck even-"

*Chkk*

"Jumpy little jackass I swear-"

*Chkk*

"Bugged eyed little bitch-"

*Chkk*

"He looks like a power ranger really who the hell-"

Terry pulled off the helmet and through it against the wall of the old abandoned subway platform. It bounced off and rolled to the center of the floor with a slight spin and stopped, staring at him.

"I-I can't do this right now." Terry said, slumping against the wall.

"I just can't."

Dr. Schwertner

The Fukao-Group Tower was an impressive piece of architecture. Grand and soaring compared to other buildings in the heart of the city. The laboratory within that was currently being outfitted offered a marvelous view, even if the weather didn't permit the brightest picture. As gorgeous as the city below may have appeared, Vinzenz paid it no mind. His eyes focused only on what lied inside the large glass panes that surrounded the rather spacious room. The laboratory had taken up more than two whole floors of the building, mostly for overhead space where there was a grid of crane rails worked into the ceiling. On the main floor, industrial workbenches were arranged in a large square, leaving plenty of room to move around in between. Enclosed by the workbenches was a raised platform on which the doctor would construct his technological masterpiece.

There was an upper level to the laboratory, though it was essentially a balcony, overlooking the greater portion of the main floor, wrapping around it. There was a portion in the middle of one of the balcony's sides that jutted out further than the rest of the floor, appearing as a sort of crow's nest, allowing for a greater degree of sight than any other part of the balcony. It was against that nest's railing that Vinzenz rested. Carefully watching his new assistants as they did the busywork of constructing a suitable base for his device. He would have them begin actual construction of the components were it not for the fact that the parts were still in the process of being machined to the doctor's specifications. Vinzenz didn't fret about it, however. There was more than enough he would have them do in the meantime. Setting up a control box in the nest that he stood, for instance.

Aside from the five assistants that he requested, there were several others whose presence Vinzenz barely acknowledged. They were shifting desks and tool around, setting up various specialized work stations. Occasionally, Vinzenz would allow himself to glance at those peons, but would soon find his view situated on the specialists in the center. Among them were two engineers, two physicists, and a computer specialist. Though there were technically two computer specialists seeing as one physicist, a light-skinned middle-aged man with cropped salt-and-pepper hair and a goatee to match, had a Master's in both fields. The other physicist was evidently younger, tan with short solid-black hair, and seemed particularly eager to be working. One engineer was younger still, a fair-skinned woman with dark red hair neatly bound behind her head. The oldest engineer by far was a dark-skinned man with no hair on his head to speak of, though he possessed a neatly trimmed beard. The primary computer specialist had a dark complexion, though not nearly as dark as the chemist, and her hair was even shorter than that of the dual-degree holder.

Vinzenz had yet to remember each of their names, though that was of little importance to him at the moment. He would learn them in time. He didn't intend to grow close to any of them, they were merely like any piece of equipment in the lab, tools to utilize in order to reach his goal. That was all he needed them to be...


Specter

The Specter had learned that time passed both quickly and slowly when no longer paying attention to the time. After failing to kill Gabriel, he had withdrawn, hid one of the abandoned tunnels. Where he was, no light got through. Every now and then he heard sounds, but he never went to investigate, instead he remained in place, weary and feeling sorry for himself, making no sounds, but feeling a sinking sensation of despair.

I should have killed him.

He really should have. He had to do it, to feel at peace, yet some minor details had caused him to hesitate, like a fool.

I will kill him.

The Specter felt sure, or at least as sure as he could. However, he couldn't seem to move, couldn't seem to motivate himself. He was angry, he wanted revenge, vengeance... but he also was stranded by despair, the realization of that he was dead, truly dead, having shut most of his will to act down. And so, he wandered those subway tunnels idly, with little will to act and nothing to do.

Suddenly, he heard the sound of something being thrown into a wall, and followed it, only realizing that he hadn't made himself invisible as he faced the Crick... if the helmet was an indication, at least.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tim Merridy

Tim longed for the day he could remove the rest of the casts. He had been lucky, gotten the one on his wrist removed, though another piece, on the upper part of the arm, remained. It forced him to stay inside, and boy was it boring to stay inside when you didn't want to. He had watched some movies, quite a lot, actually, but that only got him that far. It was dull, and whenever Tom left, Tim groaned. When trying to voice his complaints, Tom had just shrugged, apparently idle threats became even more idle when the person making them had a hard time moving.

And now it seems Tom might get even more upset.

Heroes were no longer regarded as heroes, but more like vigilantes with no real reason to act, and no authority to act on. If the movies Tim had watched were to be believed -and of course they were- this would mean that they would soon be regarded as nothing but criminals.

Of course, then Tim had created a devious plan to spread a simple rumor, tell the world that their super-heroes were corrupt. Checking the computer, he could see that it hadn't exactly spread to the rest of the world... but a lot of the college students in town seemed to be repeating what he had posted, using social media. He grinned.

"Hey, Tom," Tim said, waiting for the other to get there. "I thought you guys were supposed to be the good guys." He held the computer in his hands so that Tom could read what was on the screen... and see his peers spreading what seemed to be legit facts about how corrupt the heroes of the town was.

The Crick

Terry heard a faint whooshing and looked up at the Specter floating a few feet in front of him.

He quickly rolled, grabbing and putting his helmet on as he jumped to his feet and took a stance as if to attack but then just sorta...flopped his arms to his sides. There wasn't really any point in fighting the Specter,let alone anyway of containing him. So Terry started walking over to a couch on the old subway platform. He opened a cushion, reached into a cooler, and pulled out a children's soft drink. He took a sip.

"These were for a community center event I was invited too...obviously, that's not happening anymore. I'd offer you one but...well, yeah. Oh, speaking of things that never happened, I spent weeks renovating this place. Seriously, training rooms, dressing rooms for everyone, hell I even got plumbing and internet down here! This was supposed to be our...hero's hangout, our hall of justice, or at least something you know?"

He stood up and walked over to the Specter.

"But Psyclone happened...so much power in one angry broken man...the destruction of the city, the fair, the blimp explosion...and then you go and try to kill Gabriel Oakfield. I mean, the police haven't officially said anything but people put it together. 'Mysterious entity assault infamous cult leader?' Right after the Psyclone incident too? Hell, my connection to the police knows they have YOU as the main suspect. I showed up right after your little meeting with 'Gabe' to try and stop you, I didn't say anything, but they already knew-You friggin yelled for Christ's sake I mean-"

He reached out as if to try and grab at the Specter and shake him. But there was no point, he was just clutching at air.

"You were my mother, fucking Superman! You were calm, collected, reasonable! You-I don't think you realize how much power you have! At least in the minds of people. You aren't just some guy in a mask, you're an untouchable nigh uncontainable telekinetic! And you go and make what was already shitty situation for us thanks to Psyclone even worse! Slender Girl is MIA, Red Mist skipped town, I think Sir Awesome literally has depression now, and every other hero is either hiding or just flat out done. We're getting arrested now too...Coil and Unicorn managed to avoid most of the backlash but they're still in the line of fire. Oh, and cause of all the hero backlash, we're outnumbered by villains."

"And that's partially thanks to you."

He walked through the Specter and into the subway car behind the phantom. One half was lined with speakers, police scanners, news outlets, blog information streaming from screens while the other half seemed to be a contained lab. On a tray in the lab were shreds of Psyclone's costume, some dried blood, and his mask all smashed apart.

"Now, either say what you gotta say or leave. I have work to try and...salvage at the point."

Specter

The Specter hadn't expeted to run into the Crick down here. If he had considered it, then sure, it made sense. However, he hadn't thought of anything but his own anger and despair. Motionless, he listened to the Crick's ranting. Oh, everything was so bad for the other heroes, boohoo. As for his own strengths, Frederick had often felt the limitations, and now the Specter, free, still was weak. Unable to touch anything, to ever eat a cake or pastry again, forced into an existence that was empty beyond his thoughts of revenge.

And yet this guy complains.

Still, the Specter let him continue, perhaps the Crick would eventually get to his point, and he felt too apathic to tell the other to shut up. That turned out to be a mistake.

"And that's partially thanks to you."

Rage that had been building up boiled. The Specter did try to contain it, he did so for a moment, not even hearing what the Crick said next. The moment the kid closed his mouth, a chair went flying into the wall, breaking as it did. More items rose up, and the Specter clutched his head, unable to control himself.

"How dare you!" his voice boomed, the echoes clearer than ever. "How dare you even imply that I have any part in your mistakes! Have I not sacrificed enough?! I died twice for this 'justice' you heroes strive for, twice! You, the law system, I have given you everything I am, and now I am nothing!"

More items scattered around, breaking, making a chaos, he couldn't control it, he couldn't calm himself. There was something both terrifying and pitiful about him, the way he clutched his head and the sorrow in his voice.

"I don't care what you think I was, or who you thought I am! I am dead! I am beyond your code of right and wrong! I am only a shadow of my former self, and I demand my vengeance!"

He removed his hands from his head, and pushed a table away with his mind, his hand almost steering it away as he tried to corner the Crick. He was only a few inches away.

"So shut up before I kill you too! I didn't come here looking for you, all I wanted to do was to be alone! I don't need your pathetic problems!" He shook from anger, trying to control himself and his powers. In the spirit-form, it looked more like flickering, the cracked tragedy mask staring directly at the Crick. Having calmed down a bit, he continued.

"I need to murder that man, it's my rightful revenge, it's everything I am now. Do. Not. Stand. In. My. Way. Or I will kill you. Is that clear?"

Tess

"Tess. Your payday is at hand. Here's what I need you to do..."

"Got it," she said "you can count on me."

As soon as the conversation was over she closed the phone and tossed it on her couch. This was going to be hard, not her usual brand of villainy, but how could she resist such a payday? From the sound of things she wouldn't have many alternatives anyways, no sense getting cold feet now, you had to know where this would lead when you got into it.

She let out a long breath, she needed to get out and find something to do to relax. Maybe just go drinking or something, though it felt a little early for that. Fuck it, I'll go for a walk.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Tom

"Hey, Tom, I thought you guys were supposed to be the good guys."

"We are," Tom said, undeterred by Tim's insult "and I'll continue to be even if people think I'm not."

In spite of this the jabs did bother him, the news that the Specter might have tried to kill someone who was in prison was confusing to him. The Specter had always seemed kind of strange to Tom but he'd been one of the good guys and now he was trying to kill people. Heroes didn't kill people, he knew that much, so did that mean the Specter wasn't a hero anymore? Maybe something happened to him, like some evil demon possessed him or something. Well probably not a demon, how would you possess a ghost anyways? But still, something must have happened. People don't just turn bad.

"You'll see," he said, pushing himself out of his thoughts "we aren't heroes for the attention it gets, we're better than that."

___________________________________________________________________________________

George

It had been a largely uneventful couple of days since the Psyclone incident for George, no black outs or memory losses, and he'd even gotten the doctors appointment scheduled. They'd cautioned him to avoid driving or riding a bike in the meantime, since there was a possibility it was epilepsy or possibly some form of narcolepsy. Still the news dragging heroes through the mud was rather upsetting for him, he'd always looked up to them.

Everybody has bad days, sometimes all the time. We shouldn't be getting so upset at them because they had one.

Of course he hadn't been trying to fight this backlash, there just seemed to be too many people against the heroes now. It just left him feeling rather sad.

The Crick

The Crick heard the chair clatter on the opposing wall and turned, as Specter yelled out, clutching his head. Items levitated and shattered as the Specter flickered and floated towards The Crick. He slowly began backing up. He could hear the pain and anger in The Specter's voice as everything shattered and shook. The Specter launched a table at The Crick, forcing him into a corner. He flickered with fury but calmed himself slightly.

"I need to murder that man, it's my rightful revenge, it's everything I am now. Do. Not. Stand. In. My. Way. Or I will kill you. Is that clear? Specter said, only a few inches away from The Crick.

The Crick stared at him and did a light hop over the chair. He got even closer to the Specter.

"I never knew who you were in life, I still don't, but I considered you my friend. I'm not mad that you tried to kill him, I'm really not, I'm mad you didn't even let me try to help you...I am going to get in your way. I will stop you. Because The Specter I knew...I feel like he would've tried to stop me if the situation was flipped." The Crick said, briskly walking through the Specter.

He pressed a button on the counter and a green roomba-like robot began scuttling around the floor, clearing up shattered bits of stuff. The Crick then grabbed a monitor and showed it to the Specter. It had information on death, the incorporeal, and quantum entanglement.

"But the only way I can REALLY stop you is to help you...I'm sorry, I really am I can't possibly understand what you must be feeling right now, but the rest of us are still alive. We have to deal with our own problems and your 'death' no matter how fucking awful for you is hurting other people too. Not just the heroes. The people out there. Hell, your family must-"

The Crick stopped himself not wanting to touch another nerve.

"Look, I can't fix death. I do machines. I haven't really had time to ask Loveless about your body's condition and the only info I have on 'magic' comes from Unicorn, but of course she's been busy and I'm pretty sure she can't resurrect the 'dead'. But I really want to help you it's just...I'm stuck. This is some Fringe-as-hell stuff. But thanks to Red Mist, there may be someone who can help. He was at the fair when Psyclone attacked, helped us out a bit. Dr. Schwertner I believe, a mad-scientist type if I've ever seen on. I've been trying to make contact but it's been difficult; this guy was underground as underground gets. But his tech is leagues above what I can do...or anyone for that matter."

The Crick stood and in front of The Specter. He missed his friend, he felt bad for yelling at him, he just wanted to help him so badly. Wanted the world to go back to the way it was.

"We must seem so...petty compared to you. But what happens after you kill Gabriel Oakfield? Do you think you'll find peace and move on? What happens if you're still around? You just gonna start killing anyone and everyone that gets in your way? Or you gonna keep Vol 22 of the Swamp Thing-ing, and drift around like a ghost would forever? ...just think about it, old friend."

"And if you won't listen to any of this crud, you might want to visit Loveless. He knows more about your body than I do right now..."


Specter

"... We must seem so...petty compared to you. But what happens after you kill Gabriel Oakfield? Do you think you'll find peace and move on? What happens if you're still around? You just gonna start killing anyone and everyone that gets in your way? Or you gonna keep Vol 22 of the Swamp Thing-ing, and drift around like a ghost would forever? ...just think about it, old friend."

The Specter listened to Crick, flickering. However, rather than anger, more despair filled him as Crick spoke as if this could get fixed, somehow. That the Specter could will it better.

"It is all I have," he started, with a mournful tone. "Crick, I'm dead. Even moreso than I used to be, my body is dead. I didn't choose this. I didn't... I did not want this, not at all. Everything is wrong, something is missing..." He clutched his chest.

"I had a weak heart, I was stabbed once, and... debris from the explosion last week... no, when was it? A month ago? Yesterday? Years?" He realized that he had lost complete track of time, it felt like past was simply that. The past. "The one with Psyclone. Something hit me and killed me, my heart stopped. I want to take revenge, someone killed me, and I wish for them to suffer the same fate. Please understand, no one is petty apart from me. I am nothing now, the lowest of the low. A wisp."

Still mostly motionless, but now he reached for something, unable to touch it. The more he spoke, the more the air around him seemed to darken, his voice and words giving out an extreme sadness, even to Crick, who was simply listening.

"I have given everything I have, Crick. Frederick is gone and dead, his family does not matter to me. All I want one thing for myself, and I hope that it'll bring some closure, that I'll be able to simply disappear, or at least feel... at ease once that is done. For an 'old friend', could you not look past this? I do not want to have to kill you."

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tim Merridy

"We are, and I'll continue to be even if people think I'm not."

"Suuure, so this irrefutable proof is totally bollocks? Is that what you're saying?" he spoke, but what he said fell on deaf ears, as Tom was thinking about something.

Not often one sees that.

He stretched, very carefully, eager to do more mischief, and cursing his inability to do so.

"You'll see, we aren't heroes for the attention it gets, we're better than that."

"That's like, super inspirational," Tim had to admit. He couldn't even fake being bored, as he was basically jumping up and down from both how closely Tom was following the movies, and just hearing the words spoken. "Is nothing going to make you feel down? Perhaps I should be working harder, instead of slaving around on the couch..." he looked at the tv.

"Speaking of which, I'm bored, which you might be able to hear," he whined. "If you're going to keep being all happy and heroic, how about taking your dear brother for a walk, huh? Or like, a car-ride, we can watch a movie or something. Also..." he scratched his face. "I'm thinking about going home. I'd love to stay here to watch the development of this tense situation, but I'm tired of being unable to move."

Daniel Luxe

The road was slick, the rainfall was almost covering the black Talisman's windshield faster than the wipers could clear it, and the streets were becoming very congested. Though the demon behind the wheel managed to make his way through downtown just fine. He was no stranger to the conditions, and he owed that to many years of experience. He was, however, becoming somewhat frustrated that it was taking so long to locate his troublesome spawn. It was Daniel's understanding that Jack wasn't exactly one to maintain a low profile, so it was really only a matter of time before he got loud...

Jack Crosby

The Shadow Rider donned his scarf and glasses as he watched the armored truck go by. He snuffed out his cigarette beneath his boot and his motorcycle appeared beneath him. He revved the engine loudly as he waited, allowing enough distance to come between himself and the truck. When the time was right, the engine of the Shadow roared to life, it's tires squealing as it tried to gain traction on the wet asphalt. Soon it was speeding down the road in the direction of the armored truck.

"Saps won't even know what hit 'em," Jack muttered, grinning beneath the mask. The distance between the Shadow and the truck was closing fast, and Jack didn't put any pressure on the brakes. The needle of his speedometer was dancing past 100 before the bike disappeared from beneath Jack and his Shadow took the form of a thick shield over his shoulder. When Jack hit the rear doors of the truck, they caved almost instantaneously as he rocketed into the holding compartment. He struck the back wall, bringing him to a stop and lifting the rear wheels off the street from the force of the impact. The front fender of the truck scraped the asphalt as it slid forward, almost flipping forward completely. The back end came crashing back down, bringing the truck to rest in the middle of the intersection.

Jack was a little dazed from the ordeal and was thinking he may have hit the truck harder than he needed to. Though it wasn't as if he was about to conduct a test run at the moment, so he dusted himself off and began prying at the locked security boxes and see what he could make off with.

"I have given everything I have, Crick. Frederick is gone and dead, his family does not matter to me. All I want one thing for myself, and I hope that it'll bring some closure, that I'll be able to simply disappear, or at least feel... at ease once that is done. For an 'old friend', could you not look past this? I do not want to have to kill you."

The Crick listened intently troubled by The Specter's words. He only had one thing to say.

"I would like to not be killed. Maybe slightly maimed, a broken rib or two I dunno."

He chuckled slightly and shook his head thinking for a moment.

"Frederick? Your name is Frederick-like Rolls. The judge at the fair who stepped out to...huh, that makes so much sense. Okay, look Mr.Rolls", The Crick said, hoping using his name would get him to relax and focus a bit.

"For starters, you are Frederick Rolls. And you're the Specter. You're a hero. And not just the 'super' kind. The world needs you for you. Your family needs you for you. You're not JUST the Specter. You're so much more than that. And right now you have a benefit others don't have. When they're gone, their mistakes and actions linger among the living. You can make things right...but killing Gabriel Oakfield helps no one. And it probably won't help you. I feel like from what little bit of Frederick Rolls I knew he would agree. And YOU would agree too, because you ARE him. Whether or not you want to admit it."

"We're going in circles, I know, I know, but let's get the record straight. One, I can't truly stop you from killing Gabriel Oakfield, but I can at least help you...which means I at least have to try and stop you anyway. Two. If you're going to try do this, do me at least one favor. Let me get Loveless on the line...something tells me you and him were a lot closer friends than I thought. He's helped Frederick Rolls AND the Specter. Go to him or something. And Three...either kill me now before I have to figure out how to kill you or leave now. I'm tired...and I just wanna go for a walk."

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