The Exemplar: Engage

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The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Ink on 11th June 2013, 3:44 pm

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[Attn: Closed]

Armada, Attack!
Warriors, Rise!
Exemplar...Engage!



I've forgotten how long it's been since my dad passed away. It feels like it's been years. God knows my sense of time is terrible. The Exemplar disbanded not a month later. That was one heck of a decision. Then again, most of them have gone and settled into normal lives. When daddy died, I guess it scared a lot of them. The chance to have a normal life isn't something to take for granted, I suppose. I still see some of them every once in a while but...I miss it. I miss going out and smashing bad guys' skulls together. Ah, come on, Polly, how would Liberty or American respond if you'd said that out loud? "It's not about that. It's about helping people and doing the right thing." They're right but...god beating up bad guys was fun.

The Exemplar, the debatable greatest superheroes on the planet, disbanded some time ago. This woman, the jovial young Paulina Powers, walks in through the front door of her large suburban home, feeling strangely empty. It was a feeling she'd hand since the day her father perished, helping to defend Earth's Greatest Champions against their deadliest foes joined under the title of "The Nefaria". She lived alone now but that wasn't it. She'd lived alone before. Now was simply the first time she actually felt...lonely.

Then, as if a star listening from the sky had heard her wish, something truly unexpected occurs. As Paulina sits at her reading desk, she sees a light approaching the window. Using her psionic powers, she wills a barrier of psychic energy into place. It helps nothing. The figure is the mighty demigod, Gladius, powerful enough to level the entire building ten times over. As he crashes through the window and the floor, Polly looks to him as he lies in the basement of her home. Forming butterfly-like wings upon her back, she floats down to him. "Gladius! What are you-"

"Mortal friend, Powers," Gladius says as she helps him up. "This world is in dire need of its greatest champions."

"So you came to ME, of all people? Not American or Liberty, or-"

"You were the nearest and know, by heart, the whereabouts of the quarters where the rest lay their heads."

Super Criminals and Villains were at large by the dozen in the bustling city of Skyline as of late. Meanwhile, more and more heroes were beginning to decline. The Exemplar, the shining examples of heroism in this city, had gone. The next best thing, the Warriors, had only just disappeared. The city was falling into chaos. But Polly hadn't the faintest idea of how bad it was until she saw this, the Exemplar's biggest gun, second only to the nigh omnipotent Number 7, battered and thrown aside. "What did this to you?"

"I am unsure. But if I were to venture a guess, they will have been the cretinous demi-devils known as the Negative. There were but three of them. They attacked, having taken me unawares. Fight, I did, but their power was great individually. When combining their efforts..."

The Negative...the Warriors tended to take care of situations involving them. They had the only usable weapon against them in the city; Scarecrow. The Negative were a high level threat. They would need to be dealt with in high level response. They'd need the Exemplar treatment. "Come on," Polly says, deciding to help the injured demigod outside. "Try not to change back into your mortal form. I have a feeling this one is the only thing keeping you alive right now. I'm getting you to some place where you can get medical attention. Then...then I'm getting the band back together," she says as she moves him toward the garage where her car sat.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Ink on 20th July 2013, 11:33 pm

[Attn: All]

"Go..." Mercury says. "You have to go...to the Negative Zone." Every hero present drops everything right then and there. Those were the absolute last words anyone would ever want to hear. Imagine visiting Hades...except the exact opposite. Instead of vicious, soul searing flames, all is frigid and dark. Time and space are but vague ideas and the idea of concrete form was a joke. All was distorted and vile there, as is the notion of hate; the most basic yet shapeless of ideas. She seems to be preparing to say something else but then she passes out.

"Blast it. All right, Exemplar, back to the tower, double time," American says.

"I would ask if you wish me to stay and safeguard the city in your absence," Gladius says.

"Uh...no," Polly says. "You come too. You can use your healing powers or blessings or whatever to revive Mercury. She might have crucial information that we'll need to know before sun down."

In time, the team returns to the tower. Gladius and Polly stand in the med bay with Mercury and Man-Monster out of commission before them. "Anything yet?" Polly asks.

"I do not believe-" Mercury suddenly sits straight up, breathing heavily. "I withdraw the statement."


The team sits or stands 'round the conference room table as Mercury suddenly comes flying in, stopping on a dime with Gladius and Polly right behind her. "The negative zone. We have to go there," she says in a panicked rush. "If we don't, Zoa will use Scarecrow and get free. Then he'll-"

"Mercury, slow down," American says. "Take a breath and-"

"Okay, I'm...sorry. Ah...beginning. Details. The Warriors were looking into the possible reemergence of the Negative King, a villain we've fought before who wants Zoa's power for himself. We defeated him but when his 'shrine' was destroyed, it made some sort of rift and we were all pulled into the Negative Zone. We couldn't find Negative King but someone...someTHING found us."

"Zoa," Silk says.

"Zoa's always held a grudge against Scarecrow for defying him. We fought through the Negative spawns for...I don't know, weeks? We just kept running and fighting. I kept us warm, lit us up. Without me they aren't going to last there for much longer. Zoa caught us. He was about to capture us all but Scarecrow managed to muster up the energy to crack open a rift. The idea was to send him through while the rest of us fought Zoa off but Zoa anticipated us, he tricked us and I fell in. Scarecrow is a two way living portal between our world and the Negative Zone. He's Zoa's only ticket out. Zoa can only leave through a portal Scarecrow creates. He could always resist Zoa from out here, but in there..." For all her heroic acts and adventures, the girl half looked like she was going to cry.

As everyone turns to American, the star spangled superhero turns to Polly, reminding them all who was really in charge. Polly takes a moment. "Okay, Mercury, how do we get into the Negative Zone?"

"The same way we got in and these things are getting out. The rift at Negative King's lair beneath the city. We have to hurry. I don't know how much longer Scarecrow can hold out and Zoa might as well be god in there."

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by EphPhoenix on 21st July 2013, 10:15 am

[Attn: Open]

Coír could only make a face. There was going to be a severe amount of itching powder in her suit.

As they returned to the base and Mercury spoke, he paled. He'd read about the nightmare land the Negatives belonged to. His heart began beating rapidly at the thought of going there. Fear welled up in him and he did his best to tamp it down. There were people needing help and heroes were courageous. Heroes were courageous...

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Ink on 21st July 2013, 2:43 pm

[Attn: Open]

"The sun is beginning to set and offer its protection to another land," Gladius says.

"Mercury, maybe you should stay behind. You look pretty rattled," Polly says.

The room suddenly sees a rapid increase in temperature as Mercury pulls her face from out of her hands, revealing burning yellow, glowing eyes. "With respect, Ms. Powers...don't mistake my fear for helplessness."

American nods to her with his arms crossed then looks to Polly who turns to him. The Warriors never ceased to amaze, at least. "Okay then," she begins. "Man-Monster, are you all healed up?"

"We'll enough, I would say."

"You and Silk sit tight while the rest of us head in. Defend the city to the best of your ability. Get as many lights going as you can. Everyone else, we're moving out in 30 minutes." Then she pauses and looks to American. "Anything inspirational to add?"

"Just one thing. Call your parents and tell them you'll be a bit late. Because we ARE coming back tonight. Count on it."

Mercury thinks back for a bit. She and her mother had come to an agreement about how this works but...it had to have been at least a week. "I...I'll be back by then," she says as she turns and flies off. Flying without having to become a human rocket still took getting used to but she was gone pretty quickly.

Wild-Child stands and walks off with Silk just as American, Polly, Man-Monster, and Gladius head to the Situation Room to talk strategy.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by EphPhoenix on 21st July 2013, 5:08 pm

[Attn: Open]

"I swear, you might as well bunk there for all the time you spend there."

"I know, I know, mom, but hey, at least I'm learning...?"

"I'll focus more on the friend part of it. Just be safe, dear. Okay?"

"Yes, mom. I love you."

"I love you, too, dear. And bundle up, it sounds windy out there."

Coír pocketed his cell phone. He was high up in the air--privacy was easier to come by these days since he could fly. He lowered back to the ground.

"I'm ready!"

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Ink on 21st July 2013, 6:24 pm

[Attn: Open]

Mercury lands in back of her home in the quietest of corners in Kindling. The instant she turns the doorknob, the entire door flies open. Standing there is a slightly taller woman with one hand over her mouth as if in shock. She had brown hair, tied back into a bun. Mercury stumbles into the woman's arms. "Mom," she says.

"God, Susie, I had no idea what I was agreeing to when I let you do this," Sarah says as she squeezes her daughter. "I thought I lost you again."

Susie says nothing. She simply stands in her mother's embrace. "I'm sorry mom...but...I'm not done. Not yet. Some friends of mine are in trouble. I have to..." Her mother turns and looks directly into her eyes. "They need me." There is a moment of quiet between them. "The Exemplar is going to help. I'll be back this time, mom. I promise."

Sarah releases her daughter and steps back. "You know, you're going to end up giving me a heart attack, little girl." Susie smiles at her mother half-heartedly and steps back. "He'd be proud of you." Susie stops and looks back to her mother. "I'm proud of you."

Mercury floats up and hovers there as the smile on her faces grows more and more genuine. Then she turns and flies off back to the tower.


Silk had returned home as well, but not in costume. She walks up to the front door and opens it to find her father sitting on the front steps. "And where have YOU been?"

"I-I was...the Exemplar is back, did you see the press conference?"

"So you went to be around one of the single most dangerous groups of people alive?"

"Dad, they're heroes, they-"

Pat's father gets up and walks to the girl, placing his hands on her shoulders. "Patience, I don't doubt that. Anyone who does the things they do is either a hero or a thrill seeker and, frankly, I've met the American. He's one of the most genuine people I've ever had the pleasure of speaking with. But, Pat, these people...trouble goes out of its way to find them."

Suddenly the sound of heels on a hardwood floor rattles through the house and an African/American woman rushes out from the kitchen and nearly tackles young Patience. "Oh, Patience, my baby!" She says in relief. "There was an attack in the city. I didn't know if...are you okay?"

"Yes, mom," Pat says. "I...there's this effort to help clean the city up and...if it's all the same...I mean...well, I wanna go help out."

"Absolutely NOT!" Her father barks.

"But dad, I just-"

"Oh, honestly, Lang? What's the harm in it?"

Pat looks to her father. Langston sighs and walks halfway up the stairs. "Those things attacked this neighborhood a year ago and turned most of it to rubble. Patience, I know that the Exemplar can handle it...but please be careful," he says before continuing up.


Wild-Child sits in her room at home. Her mother wasn't in. She'd probably been called out to help the clean-up effort or control traffic. "Way to waste your time, Ren," she sighs as she gets a few more pods from her drawer to put in her glove pouches. She hears as siren and watches as a police car races through the neighborhood. "Just be safe, ma," she mutters before leaving a note on the kitchen table and swinging off through the back window.


The three girls return to the tower individually, only minutes apart. The veterans arrive near the front door shortly. "Okay, the Ex-Flier's on the roof," Polly says. "Mercury, can you show us where we're going?"

Mercury nods and flies up to the roof. "Express route for those of us that can't fly, Polly?" American says. Polly forms up a platform beneath herself and the other non-fliers, lifting them up to the roof.

"Going up," she says.

On the roof is a sleek aircraft with the Exemplar's insignia on the top and across the side. It's colored blue, gold, with silver with a futuristic design that makes the H-Jet owned by the Hero Armada look like a biplane.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Red on 21st July 2013, 7:35 pm

[ATTN: Exemplar]

Gosalyn was amazed at how calm everyone else seemed about this. She'd already called home - her mother was out, probably working - and left a message, and she'd spent a few minutes in her own warehouse trying to charge her suit.

She had enough power, sure - so long as this mission didn't last longer than the night. Everyone else had their powers. She was just a kid.

She returned to the tower last, suited up, and looked to find Coir, staying near him as they flew up to the roof. It was nice wearing the suit. It was easier to pretend she was feeling okay.

[ATTN: Open]

"Pizza here for a Matthew?"

The man stood up, waving his hand and walked up to the counter to pick up his pizza. He opened the box, immediately pulling out a slice as he shoved his way out the door. That'd been something he'd missed. Actual, good pizza.

There had been one thing he'd gotten from the girl - things like that were pretty common. It wouldn't surprise him if those creatures showed up again. Which meant he needed more supplies other than just a lighter. "Wonder where I can find a boat shop..."


Last edited by Red on 21st July 2013, 9:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Guest on 21st July 2013, 7:52 pm

(ATTN: Open)
Pretty soon the entire hospital had turned on the news, waiting on the edge of their seats *or hospital beds* to hear news about the new threat. They were told to turn and keep all the lights on, so now the hospital was lit up like a Christmas tree.
The nurses were relatively calm, as were the patients, but some of the visiting families and guests were hysterical.
In the small, dinky room towards the far side of the hospital- Alex was subject to Finnick's intense glare.
"What?" He finally asked, arms crossed, and glaring back.
"What are you gonna do about it?"
"I'm going to punch you in the face if you don't stop giving me the sku-"
"Not about that, dumba**. About that." He pointed at the tv.
"Oh," Alex responded blandly. "I don't know. They seem to have it handled."
"So that's it? You're just going to sit on your a** and not do anything?"
Alex shrugged.
Finnick scoffed. "So you're just going to take the p***y way out?"
It was Alex's turn to glare.
"I'm not taking any way out- my sh*t's at my apartment and without it I can't fight-"
"Then go get it."
"And go through that sh*tstorm outside?"
"Yes." Finnick said, utterly serious. Alex sighed, if he hadn't been hospitalized...
-
After being forced to return to his apartment, Alex was not all suited up. His signature talons clicking against the knives holstered on his belt as he overlooked the city, in utter turmoil. He stood atop the hospital, his dark form almost invisible except for the shine of his metallic weapons, and the bright design of a Scorpion on the back of his jacket.
'And now I wait..' He sighed.
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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by EphPhoenix on 21st July 2013, 9:27 pm

[Attn: Open]

Coír floated, lost in his own thoughts. After he had gotten off the phone with his mother, he'd made a quick flight back to where he had met the girl. He was figuring it would be difficult to find her, but lo and behold...

"What are you doing?"

"You okay, hero boy? You sound like you have throat cancer, now."

A whole mess of cars had been torn apart and she had several batteries linked together. Coír made a face.

"My voice is just fine!" he protested, it cracking slightly.

She snickered and sparks flew. "Hey! I'm working. Stop that."

Coír felt awkward for some reason, he shook himself. "A--anyway..."

"What does it look like I'm doing?" she said, interrupting him. "Those creatures aren't gone or there'd be something on the news about you guys having saved the day. So...I'm not about to leave myself or my kids vulnerable to possession--and if you make any joke about it being nine-tenths of the law, I'm going to put some serious voltage in you."

Coír shut his mouth. He had been about to do just that. "Kids?" he said instead. "You don't look old enough--"

"I'm not. Almost seventeen." She pointed. "Foster home, dude."

"Oh."

"You being here confirms it," she went on, "or do you go to every citizen to warn them?"

"W--well, I was just...uh...patrolling this area, is all. I just...I just happened upon you being here and wanted to make sure you weren't up to shenanigans."

She had turned to look at him halfway through his speech and finished by laughing. "Ohhhhh, you're adorable. Try not to squeak so much when you're flustered and not telling the truth. Elise, by the way." He looked at her and she chuckled again. "You're a quick one. My name, hero boy?"

"Oh. Oh, yeah. Um, I'm--"

"I know who you are." She stood up, grinning, crossing her arms. "We've met."

"We have? Before today, you mean?"

She smiled a mysterious smile. "Perhaps. Anyway, I got work to do and I believe you have to go try and stop the menace. You should come back next time, I've officially decided I'll have something for you the next time we meet."

"Um...okay...? Wait--"

"Do not dig yourself a hole by asking if it's legal. All of these?" she waved at the car batteries and lights. "Got'em from a junk yard. Know a guy. On the up and up."

"Sorry..."

"Apology accepted. Now shoo, you're distracting."


Coír looked at the jet, then back in the direction of Elise. He hoped she'd be okay. Had he met her before? He didn't remember.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Ink on 21st July 2013, 10:19 pm

[Attn: Open]

As the jet races off, the last glimmer of sunlight begins to peaks down from the horizon. The basic city lights would only mildly agitate the little devils and it certainly wouldn't stop the behemoths. They began to emerge quickly, pouring out from the woodwork as the heroes in the jet fly by with Mercury outside, leading the way. As the streak of fire roars across the skyline with the large jet in tow, people below are crying out for their saviors to help them as the attacks begin. The Negative are relentless. They drag people from their hiding places, flip cars, and pile up on anyone armed. Some people had taken to using lights but against such numbers it still was ill effective. "How are we supposed to close the breach once we get the rest of the Warriors back?" Polly asks.

American focuses mostly on the flying for a moment. Mercury was surprisingly fast. "Mercury seems to believe that Scarecrow can close it," he finally responds.


In the streets below, Patience has once again donned her colorful costume and swings along. At top speed she would swoop down and kick clusters of the little devils up into the air. Meanwhile Man-Monster backs her up, having transformed into some depiction of the kraken and using the tentacles to attack multiple targets at once. But even they wouldn't be enough to manage this alone.


At last the team arrives at the building. When Mercury's hand nears the door, she suddenly feels a surge of cold. "They're in here," she says. Suddenly her entire body ignites and she kicks the door down. One of the little hellions lunges out at her and falls to the ground, unable to move, before it even reaches her. "Smart move, attacking a walking night light," Wild-Child remarks.

As the heroes walk in, they discover that the floor has completely caved in and below them, in the basement level is some sort of black vortex. "That'd be it," Mercury says.

"What? No Welcome Mat? Geez, jerks. I'm glad I forgot to bring the cookies. What kind of neighbor doesn't have a welcome mat?" Wild-Child says.

American suddenly picks something up. "The building's buckling, she's coming down, everyone back to the Ex-Flier!" He barks as the structure begins to tremble. Sure enough, the building collapses. But there is no dust or flying debris. Everything to dragged down into the violently swirling vortex. "Mercury, how big a portal can Scarecrow make?"

"A few yards on a good day," Mercury responds.

"Everyone, hang onto something," American responds before driving the Ex-Flier up then back down directly into the vortex. The trip wasn't instantaneous. The portal lent itself to a long, dark tunnel, rattling everything inside violently. When all is finally calm, the group seems to have been spat out in space without stars. All was dark but not without its visibility. Slabs of rock and seemingly misplaced or lost pieces of reality floated endlessly.

"Okay...no snappy remarks," Wild-Child says. "Just...this place gives me the creeps."

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by EphPhoenix on 22nd July 2013, 9:24 am

[Attn: Open]

"I've got one," Coír said. "It looks like we landed in reality's chili con carne aftereffects..."

He had chills up his spine. This was less cool and more head-spinning creepy. The sooner they were out of this place, the better.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Ink on 22nd July 2013, 1:10 pm

[Attn: Open]

Suddenly the Ex-Flier rattles as if struck by something.  Everyone looks around to one another in ominous silence.  "What was that?"  Polly asks.

An eerie black fog begins to form around the jet, blocking view through the window.  "What the devil?"  American says as he tries to activate the jet's instruments.

"Oh no," Mercury says, getting up and rushing to the door.  "He knew we were coming?"

The fog forms into a massive hand, clutching the jet in its grasp and a ghastly voice echoes through the air.  "To one who exists such as Zoa, life holds no surprises," it whispers.  Mercury opens the door and looks out to see the massive form of Zoa, holding the jet in one hand.

"Zeus's Thunderbolt!"  Gladius says as he peers up at the master of this reality in a giant incarnation of his base form.

"Everyone, out of the jet!"  Polly orders.

As everyone leaves the Ex-Flier, they land on a materialized floating isle beneath them.  Zoa disappears and just as quickly this astral deity reappears before the heroes in his shrunken down state.  He disappears again and soon there are several of him all around.  "You enter my domain again, child?  And you bring more of your allies for me to amuse myself in tormenting?"

"Where are they, Zoa," Mercury says.

"And what condition are you in where you think yourself capable of making such demands?  I am not Brimstone.  I do not bargain.  Especially not within my own realm," the demon hisses.

Mercury simply glares at him, uncertain of any action she can take that wouldn't be incredibly stupid.  "Fine," she says at last.  "Then we won't negotiate.  We'll force you.  Gladius?"

"Demon, you have annoyed me enough!"  Gladius says as he holds up his spear.  A bright light illuminates the area and Zoa recoils in pain, hissing as his body releases smoke.  "This is a dark place, tis true.  But you still fear the light.  I know the nature of this place, fiend.  I have seen it through the eyes of Hades himself.  You boast lordship here but you are weakened when pure souls enter your domain."

"In other words, we're calling your bluff, tall, black, and in serious need of conditioner.  Seriously.  What are you, made of canvas?"  Wild-Child says as she throws a few flash pods in Zoa's way that detonate and release bright flashes of light.

Then they hear it.  The sound of Zoa's underlings, The Negative roaring unintelligibly from various floating isles all around.  "All right, everyone, let's get moving!"  Polly says.

"Seconded!"  American says, hurrying everyone along.

Mercury flies up and sky writes a 'W' to let the rest of her team know where she was.  If they saw that, they'd head right for it.  The hordes attack from all sides, launching their tendrils to snare the heroes as the small ones attack in swarms.  In here there were winged beasts among other creatures of different forms than they were seeing in the land of the living.  Mercury and Gladius engage the larger beasts, leaving Polly, Coir, Sentinel, and Wild-Child to deal with the smaller creatures.


In the mortal world, more of these little devils and two story behemoths stampede and stomp through the streets, mauling or collecting people.  Silk swings around, using a makeshift 'light gun' to drive these things back while Man-Monster takes the physical approach, transforming rapidly from one creature to the next and plowing them aside or juggling them out of the way.  "These are persistent little things, are they not?"  He says as Silk lands on a billboard, clearing a swarm of them climbing up a wall.

"They're...something," she says.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by EphPhoenix on 22nd July 2013, 1:57 pm

[Attn: Open]

Coír tore into them with a will. It was kind of a relief, actually. Most people he had to fight he had to hold back. Not here.

The ugly hordes went flying as his fists collided with them. Moreover, he was doing better than he knew he'd have been doing in the past thanks to the martial arts training he'd been receiving.

A four-armed cat-like beast raked his back and he groaned, rolling forward, turning and charging it, slamming his fist into its face and slamming its skull into the rocky ground. More were closing in and he shot into the air--just as a winged monstrosity slammed into him and took him back to the ground hard, knocking the breath out of him and making him see spots.

"Get--off!" he roared, slamming his fists hard against the thing and launching it off of him.

He was on his feet in seconds, grabbing a nearby floating rock and hurling it at the creatures. They scattered and he took the time to charge them one at a time and break them. He stood there catching his breath as an unholy horde was heading his way. There were several cuts and bruises along his body, and a trickle of blood coming down his arm.

"D*mn..." was all he could say as the horde got closer.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Red on 22nd July 2013, 3:44 pm

[ATTN: Coir, Scorpion, Open]

Sentinel took a breath as the Negative appeared, pushing back the fear that had been creeping up on her ever since they entered, and charged into the fray.

Well, sort of - she stayed back, pulling out her laser and clearing back the negative with that as Coir got in on the fight. With a thought she shut down all the meters on her visor, including battery power - right now all it was doing was making her nervous, she had plenty of battery, and Argus was useless here.

She glanced back at Coir, seeing a veritable horde of monsters running at him, and she fired off a concussion missile at the horde, landing hard next to him. He, above all, is not going down today.


Meanwhile, in the mortal world, a man had been caught outside in the chaos, walking in the street carrying several plastic bags of equipment. He darted into an alley near a hospital as several of the creatures followed in pursuit, dropping the plastic bags at his feet as he turned to face his pursuers.

The negative leaping at him suddenly went flying back, a crackling red light almost like a firework slamming into it and sending it screaming back. The man ruffled through the bag and loaded another flare into the gun, before he pulled out a massive, high powered flashlight along with it that he swept the walls with. Of course, he was only human, so the question was how long he could really last before one of the devils caught him by surprise...

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Ink on 22nd July 2013, 4:24 pm

[Attn: All]

Gladius flies around at speed, plowing into these beasts and knocking them over not unlike the fall of the mighty Chronos, the Titan, falling before his sons. As one falls, he immediately turns himself and shines a beam of the sun's rays from his spear, burning the monster and forcing it away. "Burn at the touch of holy light, devils!" He shouts as more of them attack.

Meanwhile Mercury flies about, loosing streams of fire from her hands. She sweeps and many of the little critters recoil, flying back in pain or in terror. She turns and launches more concussive volleys but one of the little ones manages to peg her and she turns to bring it down. The moment she turns, another tackles her. She punches it off and gets up in time to be brought back to the ground by one, then kept down by two, and soon swarmed by many more. She explodes out from beneath them in a fiery detonation that flings them all away like flies but she was growing noticeably exhausted. There were just so many of them.

The Star Spangled Superhero and Polly work together. As he grabs one and throws it to her, she wills up an enormous golf club and launches the creature away before projecting a house and crushing these little devils beneath it as they move to attack American. "Got you back," she says.

"Somehow, the Wizard of Oz reference seems fitting," he says before turning and punching another over the side of the isle. He leaps from their isle and onto another but is caught by one of the behemoth tendrils. He reaches into his belt and grabs a hold of one of his stars, slicing the tendril off before falling onto a smaller floating slab of rock and getting up.

Wild-Child leaps up and throws a few more flash pods just beneath her, steering more of the horde back. "I know they always say no flash photography but c'mon, they're absolutely ADOWABLE!" She remarks.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by EphPhoenix on 22nd July 2013, 5:33 pm

[Attn: Sentinel]

"Glad you could make it," Coír said breathlessly, giving her a grim smile. "I was afraid...you weren't gonna want to break...a nail."

He looked at the oncoming onslaught and braced himself. "What's that line from Shakespeare? 'Once more into the breach, dear friends.'"

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Guest on 22nd July 2013, 10:28 pm

(ATTN: Man, Area around hospital)
Beneath him, Scorpion heard a blast. He turned, almost jumping in surprise. He was used to such noise, but being alone, with no one to call for backup, made it a bit more unnerving. He looked over the side of the building to see a man, late twenties or early thirties, fighting the things back with a flare gun- and a flash light.
The man had spunk, he'd give him that. He aimed his clawshot at a lower window sill, it grappled onto the edge and he leaped off the building. Swinging down, feet first, crashing into one of the creatures attacking him and sending it flying back. The clawshot dislodged itself from the window, on the upswing Alex did a flip, landing perfectly on his feet, a few feet away from the new man. He turned, surveying him.
"You looked like you could use some help." He looked back at the creatures, his eyes barely leaving them. "But why aren't you inside?" Finnick normally did the talking, but he was currently in the hospital.
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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Red on 23rd July 2013, 12:31 am

[ATTN: Coir, Scorpion, Open]

She fired off another concussion missile into the mass. "Got your back," she said, turning around and sweeping her laser in an arc to catch some Negative sneaking up on them.


The man jumped as Scorpion landed next to him, pointing the flare gun at him. Suspicion was in his eyes, suspicion that quickly vanished. "Impolite to sneak up on a guy," he said, sweeping the massive flashlight over the walls again. He fiddled with the collar on his coat. "I was gonna pick up supplies before the s*** hit the fan, but I was a bit slow. I'll be fine, you can do your hero thing somewhere - "

He spun, firing the flare gun again into the negative, and for a moment a grin spread across his face. "-Else. Well. Unless you know a spot easier to defend?"

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Guest on 23rd July 2013, 12:47 am

(ATTN: Man)
 Scorpion raised an eyebrow. Something about this guy didn't seem....right?
But he still needed help, nonetheless.
"I didn't sneak up on you, I was trying to help. But if you're looking for an easy position to hold, I could take you to the rooftops- easy to keep- or into the hospital."
His clawshot was at the ready, willing to drag its owner and his new 'friend' wherever that might be.
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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Red on 23rd July 2013, 1:22 am

[ATTN: Scorpion]

"Hospital," he said, without hesitation. "Then go be a hero somewhere else." He scooped up his plastic bag, hooking it on his elbow. "You might want a light of your own though, superboy."

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Ink on 23rd July 2013, 1:26 am

[Attn: Negative Zone]

The situation wasn't getting any better from inside the belly of the beast, unfortunately.  The swarms were growing larger and larger in numbers, dwarfing almost any chance the heroes have to retaliate.  For every pack of little demons that Gladius or Mercury sweep with their powers, for every cluster that Wild-Child's pods frighten off, for every one that Coir or American battle away through sheer physical force, ten more show up.  Mercury finds herself bogged down beneath a pack of them all at once.  Even with her strength and resilience this was too much.  If she were able to see anything aside from black, it'd be red and blurry.  Then everything goes quiet.  Is she...losing consciousness?  Her ears were ringing too loudly to pick up the shrieks and hisses of the Negative anymore.

Suddenly the entire pack begins to fly up and away from Mercury, flung over the side of the isle like toys by an invisible force.  Someone steps down by Mercury and for a moment she can only see their outline...their strangely green outline.  With that thought, it all registers to her and her eyes open wider, adjusting to being able to breathe and somewhat concentrate again.  "Cassidy!"  She says as the alien girl helps her to her feet.  Then she felt the refreshing sensation of her friend's healing abilities working their magic.

"Hello, Mercury.  I have been curious as to whether you would return.  You do not disappoint," says the Invader.

"Cassidy, you don't know how much I missed those healing pick-me-ups," Mercury says.  "So if you're here..."

One of the behemoths restricts Gladius with a tendril to each limb then begins stretching.  However, in a blink, each tendril is sliced clean away.  Then, the behemoth itself is sliced directly down the center and as it falls, the Half-Ghost stands, sheathing her Soul Katana.  "I made an oath never to kill again," the girl says.  "It is not killing, however, if my target is not living."  But even she appeared relatively beaten up.  Her garb was tattered and torn in many places but she appeared perfectly calm.  She disappears in a blur and slices into the hordes with what almost seems like one fluent motion.

Another behemoth shrieks and falls over the side of the isle as the jade juggernaut stands in its place, cracking her crystalline knuckles.  "You know, this is about the first time I get to say this to YOU, matchstick.  What would you do without us?"

"The same thing I did for the first two years of my superhero career?"  Mercury jests as she begins to get back to prime condition.

"She's gotcha there, Diamond," a familiar voice says as the black and white clad vigilante leaps down from one isle, into a cluster on another, sweeping them all off with her staff.

"Where's Scarecrow?"  Mercury says

A thunderous voice rolls through the depths of this endless void and a massive black hand appears, holding Scarecrow tight.  At the end of that hand is the giant-sized Zoa.  "He is comfortably where he belongs, child," he says with a cackle.

"American," Flip-Side says as all of the heroes turn their heads up to gaze upon this master of the realm.

"I read you loud and clear, Flip-Side," American responds.

"Uh Oh!  If I had a Spidey Sense, and I kind of do, it'd be going ballistic because someone's about to get a royal beat down, Team-Up style!"  Wild-Child remarks.

"Warriors, bring him down!" Flip-Side commands.

"You heard the lady, Exemplar," Polly says. "Keep fighting off these hordes to give Mercury and Gladius a shot at Zoa! In other words, ENGAGE!"

Zoa growls then sweeps over the isle with his hand, spawning more hordes. "ATTACK!" He roars as the heroes charge.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Guest on 23rd July 2013, 2:39 am

(ATTN: Man) 
Scorpion. "Light...?" It did seem effective against...whatever those things were. "Alright, any idea where I would find one?" He grabbed the man under either of his arms, shooting his clawshot up to the top of the hospital. Both of them were pulled, almost flying upward. The clawshot unclamped itself from the building, and they flew above the hospital, Scorpion managing to land then, relatively peacefully, on the Hospitals rooftop. He released him and nudged his hand towards the door. "That'll take you inside. If anyone asks tell them I sent you."
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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by EphPhoenix on 23rd July 2013, 10:39 am

[Attn: Sentinel, Open]

Coír's heart leapt with joy at the though of reinforcements. However, his urge to geek out was tempered by the jaws that were currently trying to snap his face off. The jaws slammed at him again, and this time, he aimed the beast at another, its jaws snapping the other's head clean off. He followed with a kick to its gut that launched it like a football.

He and Sentinel were getting swarmed and she was showing wear. "Sen--Gos," he said, heart pounding as he forced the words out, "if your power gets too low, you get the h*ll outta here. Only one of us is allowed to die if it comes to it, and that's me..."

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Ink on 23rd July 2013, 1:26 pm

[Attn: All]

"Hey, were doing pretty good this go around!"  Diamond says as she lifts a behemoth over her head and lobs it over the side of the isle.

"Power in numbers, baby," Wild-Child remarks, reaching for more flash pods only to find she's out.  "Uh oh.  Okay, Plan B.  Hit stuff."

Polly mentally projects a few jets to races around, napalming the little cretins as American bowls through as many of them as he can in one go.  Half-Ghost spins in place rapidly, slicing open her attackers. Invader juggles them all aside with mere thought, bringing the flying foes crashing down with telekinetic assault. "We're pushing them back!" American says. "Keep pouring it on!"

Zoa sneers as Mercury and Gladius attack him and even with all his godlike power, they succeed in giving him pause. "Your boast many claims of godlike power, demon," Gladius says. "But I am the scion of the gods, themselves. And just as I see the weaknesses in them, I see them in you!" Gladius fires another beam of captured sunlight from his spear and Zoa shields himself with his hands.

"Arrogant buffoon," the dark one hisses. "You have yet to even scratch the surface of my realm and you claim, already, to comprehend its nature. You say that pure souls weaken me in this realm. This is but half of the truth. For no soul is truly pure. All souls contain darkness. And it is darkness that calls me its master!" The hordes all disappears in clouds of black smoke as Zoa grows even larger and claps his hands around his foes.

None of the heroes can see anything but darkness and themselves. Each of them is alone in some form of void, emptier still than the realm where they'd just been. Here there was nothing. All was black. But there was sound. The sound was the echo of footsteps through this infinite abyss as the heroes wander aimlessly. Then comes a voice, spoken as if their enemy stood on their shoulders, at their very ears, whispering to them. I know the darkness of your soul, well.

Half-Ghost stands ready to attack upon hearing the voice when she suddenly hears footsteps that weren't her own. Some manner of reflection stood before her, surrounded in a misty black aura. You are the least complex of all the precious heroes. Born to kill, raised to do it without remorse or emotion. The ultimate weapon of the ultimate sin. You boast reformation but you feel nothing for the good deeds you commit, just as you felt nothing for the countless murders. The reflection suddenly attacks her and she is forced to defend herself.

Diamond-Girl finds herself suddenly caught in a headlock, courtesy of her own black reflection. You know well why you do what you do. You aim to distract yourself from an addiction. An addiction you would do anything to satiate. Even if it came to threats and theft.

The Invader and her own dark image stand with equally repelling telekinetic force building between them before the true one is suspended in the air, unable to move as her own powers are overshadowed. You claim that you stole your world's gem to protect it. You lie to yourself and your allies. You were drawn to it. You knew it would help you to fix your personal demons. In the end, your world's near-death condition is your own doing. All because of your selfishness.

Flip-Side struggles to maintain against her own martial arts skill, deflecting countless blows and having several attempts at reversals denied. You at least acknowledge the darkness of your existence. A personification of black and white...yet you fight the 'good fight' as if it will allow you to atone for the very nature of your abominable existence.

Polly projects a few massive boxing gloves but they are deflected by black walls of like psionic projection. Then an eerie black serpent coils around her snares her, slowly crushing the life out. You wanted excitement. You wanted thrills. You wanted ATTENTION. And what came of this? Your involvement in this killed your father. Yet still you fail to learn your lesson?

Wild-Child finds herself attacked by her vicious significant other, The Hunter. The savage side of her tackles to her to the ground, mercilessly clawing at her as she shields her face with her arms. Poetic that all of your self afflicted anger and spite is already so perfectly personified by this feral creature. You may lie all you wish that this is not what you truly wish you could be. But you are far from heroic.

Sentinel's dark image matches every gadget or gizmo she can throw at it but uses it smarter until it has her at its mercy. You boast great intellect...and equally great arrogance in it. People are mere tools to you. You could care less about anything that doesn't involve numbers and calculation. You are perfectly content with allowing others to die if you get the results you so desire from your precious experiments.

Coir's dark reflection attacks with ferocity, just as strong, just as quick, and just as good a fighter...but much more composed at this point. It attacks silently as the voice whispers to the real thing. Who is it that you are trying to impress? Masquerading as the hero you could never be must be exhausting. You deny all that is in front of you and appreciate nothing. Your loved ones need you and care about you but you would shun them at a moment's notice to go out and play pretend so that the world itself might reaffirm you and sooth your fragile ego.

Gladius is battered by his own reflection as a warrior. As he's kicked to the ground, the black spear of his opponent is placed to his throat. You claim yourself the scion of the gods...as if your so called "gods" are perfect. They wreak of indecency. Their arrogance was their undoing and it seems that they have passed that trait along to their last boon to mankind. It would seem that they are doomed to repeat history.

Mercury finds herself pinned to the ground by an image of herself whose flames run black and whose face is blank and expressionless. It was horrifying. I needn't tell you of your darkness. You already know of it. Fire is the very core of hellish existence. It is pain. It is destruction. It is death given form. You received this power because you wanted to take your life by the reins and get precious revenge on all that made you miserable.

American stands in an arm lock against his reflection. You are the worst of them. You pretend to be the picture of perfection. The embodiment of the "American Dream". You lie to billions whenever you don your red, white, and blue costume. Such is the American Way. Do horrible things and then lie about it to help you sleep at night while elsewhere others suffer and pray to their gods that justice might be served.

"I'm going to stop you right there," American says before releasing then stepping to the side so his reflection's momentum carries it forward. It turns around swiftly to attack again but is met with punch to the face that carried it from its feet and throws it on its back. The star spangled superhero stands and adjusts his gloves. "I'm not perfect. Not by a long shot. And I could never pretend to be. That's the point. It's not about being perfect. It's about trying the best you CAN to do good." As the reflection dissipates into black smoke, resonating with a hiss from the great fiend, American is freed from Zoa's black prison and reappears on a large, empty isle of the Negative Zone.

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by EphPhoenix on 23rd July 2013, 3:05 pm

[Attn: Doppelganger, Open]

"That's...not true!" Coír exclaimed, the shock of the words leaving him open for a right hook that sent him sprawling.

He recovered and charged back. "I know this is a gift! I'm not trying to be a hero! And I appreciate every second I'm allowed to do this! It will end, one day, I'm sure of it, but until then, I'm living my dream!"

He decked the creature, a solid hit. "You can't get in my head," he told him. "I already faced the worst in myself. I may be a pretend hero, but I'm not a bully. And I never turn my back on the ones who care about me. So...so there!"

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Re: The Exemplar: Engage

Post by Red on 23rd July 2013, 3:19 pm

[ATTN: Open]

"Oh hell no - " Gosalyn protested at Coir's words, before suddenly she was surrounded by darkness. "Coir?"

Her mirror image appeared before her, lunging without hesitation, and even as she tried to force her back the other suit of armor seemed to shrug her off, until a well placed missile sent her flying back and hitting the ground hard.

"You're wrong," she snapped, rising to her knees. "Once... you were right. Not anymore. Hell, the only reason I'm still doing this is to protect people!"

She fired her last rocket at the doppelganger, throwing it back as she got to her feet. "I don't need the hero gig for experiments," she snapped. "Helping people is it's own reward."


The man flinched in surprise as Scorpion grabbed him and sent them flying up into the air. The moment they landed, he pulled free of the kid, irritation in his eyes. "I asked for directions, not a joyride," he snapped. At his question, he sighed, reaching into the plastic bag and pulling out another flashlight. He tossed it on the ground between them. "Right there. Sayonara," he said, turning and throwing open the door into the building.

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