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Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus

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51 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Tue 20 Dec 2011, 2:23 am

Maeglin

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Dirk's mouth flapped. "You--you! What did you do?"

She laughed. "Don't act so surprised, my boy, or I might take offense--"

There was a soft knock at the door. Apparently the guards had learned their lesson, and waited until the woman said, "Enter."

A guard, eyeing him sidelong, strode across the room and whispered something in her ear. She seemed concerned at first, and then smiled widely. She nodded to the guard. "Thank you, Joe. Tell them to wait upon my order."

The guard nodded and left the room.

"Well, Dirk. It appears we have company."

Dirk went cold. Mark? No! But he said nothing.

She frowned, sadly. "And it appears he is not as cooperative as you have been."

Yeah, that sounded exactly like Mark. Better to be safe than sorry, though:

"You're bluffing."

"I only wish," she replied, holding out her hand, palm up. Inside it lay something small and dark, and Dirk stepped closer until he realized what it was: the end of one of Mark's cigars. He could smell the distinctive blend from here.

Dirk huffed. His heart rate picked up, though he tried not to let his naked worry show. "Okay. You've got Mark." His sigh trembled.

"Oh, don't worry!" her voice was high-pitched and sweet. "I have no ill will toward your friend, just as I have no ill will toward you. But if he insists on being uncooperative..." She trailed off, ominously. Warning. A thinly veiled threat.

"Let me talk to him," Dirk begged.

"I'm afraid I can't do that."

"Why not?"

She was losing patience. "I have to protect my interests."

There. He caught something in her eye, just for a moment. A flash of--well, more of a crack--briefly, where he saw something show through: something dangerous.

Dirk clenched his fists, looking down, and reassessed his situation. She could potentially be trusted, but not entirely. And although he couldn't imagine her ever losing her cool, he had a strong suspicion he wouldn't like to see her angry, just the same.

So, don't get her angry. Cooperate.

"Okay. I, ah--okay. Let's make a deal."

She seemed more than pleased with the idea. Somehow, Dirk felt as if he was playing into her hands. Still, he wasn't sure there even was another playbook. "Go on," she said.

"I hear you out," Dirk began. "I...go with you, quietly, listen to you, I-I...cooperate. And you let Mark go."

Her smile widened. Now she looked more like a shark than a preschool teacher.

"Deal."

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52 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Tue 20 Dec 2011, 11:19 pm

There was a loud crash as Mark found himself being thrown into the dustbins outside. They hadn’t killed him. Now that was odd. Very, very odd. What possible reason did they have for keeping him alive? Especially after he’d put at least half of his captors in hospital for a while. He let out an involuntary sigh. He was getting soft. Fifteen years ago he’d have been able to take out the whole squad, rather than just seven of them. That’s what comfortable living did to you.

But reminiscing was not going to find Dirk, so it looked like he was going to have to head back inside. Then he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Two people were heading towards an armoured vehicle. That one of them was the woman wasn’t completely unusual. What surprised him was that the other was Dirk, and he seemed to be following willingly. The sudden shock of seeing Dirk prevented Mark from calling out before the hatches on the vehicle slammed shut behind them.

Sprinting towards the vehicle yelling uselessly, Mark was unable to reach it as it set off, and could only watch as it shimmered and disappeared from sight.

Damn, how do you track a completely invisible car? Damn again, they’d taken all his cigars. Now Mark was really pissed.


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53 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Wed 21 Dec 2011, 3:48 pm

Maeglin

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Okay, he was going with her, but that didn't mean they were friends.

She seemed to think so, though, judging from her hand on his knee.

It made him uncomfortable, but Dirk didn't say anything for the entire ride, instead sitting quietly with his hands folded on his lap. His apprehension was growing. He was glad Mark was safe--if she had even kept her promise, a possibility he didn't overlook--but Dirk still wasn't happy with the situation.

On the other hand, she did have a persuasive angle...

"This warehouse is a training facility for the Brotherhood," she explained as they strode along a catwalk where people worked: building things, training, reading, watching informational videos--Dirk didn't understand most of it, though he tried to take mental notes while still paying careful attention to her. He had no idea where this place was (the van had had no windows) and he had already more or less accepted the fact that he wouldn't leave it alive.

"Here we are working to regain our religious freedoms. Not an ignoble goal, I think you'll find," she went on, as Dirk followed. There were no guards with them, and that somehow made him more nervous. "We are hardly responsible for the riots--though some who share our beliefs are. They are just ordinary, distraught people who have had something dear to them taken away, so of course they will react badly. We are working to stage a quick and peaceful solution to the problem, but we are prepared for the situation to become violent."

Dirk remained silent. It was wrong, he believed, for such a thing to be outlawed--not to mention difficult. How do you outlaw an idea, a belief, something so inward? But just because he didn't agree with everything the World Government did--say, dubbing Supers Enemies of the State--it did not mean--well, vigilantism aside--he was suddenly going to advocate anarchy and take the law into his own hands.

Still. He was maybe, perhaps, a bit, beginning to admire her for doing so.

"I want you to stop these riots." Okay, not quite as demanding as he had meant it, not that he was in any place to make demands.

She turned around and sighed at him. "My dear boy, haven't you been listening to what I've been telling you? That is precisely what we are attempting to do!"

Dirk was confused at that. "Then...why did you bring me here?"

"Well, to explain to you, mostly: to make you understand, so that you and your friends will cease to complicate our efforts."

There was something more.

"...And?" Dirk prompted.

"And. Now I have a deal for you, Dirk. Would you care to follow me?"

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54 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Wed 28 Dec 2011, 12:05 am

“Just go ahead, I’ll finish loading the truck.” The other three Brotherhood solders left, heading back into the building. The remaining one threw the last couple of boxes into the van, then was surprised to find himself being thrown in. He turned only to see the doors slam shut, and a few seconds later the van was moving. Missing his sidearm and with the doors sealed he had no escape.

For a few minutes he was tossed about in the dark, then the van stopped suddenly, sending him crashing into the wall. The doors opened and the soldier found himself being thrown out of the van with much more force than he’d been thrown in.

“Ok asshole,” came a voice from above as he lay sprawled on the concrete, “I’ve no time for games, so where do you and your buddy’s hang out together?” The solider turned up to face his assailant.

“Oh shit!” he exclaimed, “I knew we should have killed you.”

“Yeah, I was wondering about that. Add it to the questions you need to answer.”

“Orders from above. We were to capture you alive and then let you go. We were only to kill you if you tried to get back in. I’ve no idea why we got such a stupid instruction.”

“Maybe I’ve got a fan. Now, where might I find that fan, in case they want an autograph?”

“I’m not going to tell you. I know you hero types, you have rules.” Mark grinned.

“Had rules sonny, had rules. Past tense. You and your friends made that something of a luxury.”

“You’re bluffing, I don’t believe you.” The soldier caught sight of something glinting in Mark’s hand, his own laser pistol. It was now pointed right at him.

“Want a bet?”


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55 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Wed 28 Dec 2011, 4:00 pm

Maeglin

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She led him into a luxuriously furnished and dimly lit parlor.

“Shut the door,” she said.

Dirk narrowed his eyes at her, and paused, but he obeyed.

“Sit down.”

He wasn’t about to do that. “I’ll stand, thanks.”

“Would you like a drink?” she asked, going to a decanter and pouring herself a whiskey.

“I’m sixteen.”

She smirked at that, finding him amusing, took a sip of her drink, and set it down with a clang. “All right, Dirk. You’re a smart kid, so let us dispense with the games. What can I offer you?”

Dirk’s mouth fell open slightly. “Um. What?”

She smiled knowingly. “Or perhaps I thought you were a smart kid.”

Dirk frowned. “I don’t want anything from you.”

“Surely you can think of something.”

“Why? What do you need from me?”

“Fine. I’ll go first.” She practically floated over to a red sofa and sat down, holding her drink on her knees. Dirk remained standing. “We need you, Dirk, to take part in a very important…ritual.”

“A what?”

“Or experiment, if you like. A little from Column A, a little from Column B. What is important is that this ritual will bring the riots to an end, for good. All we require is a willing sacrifice, and I think for such an offer you would be the perfect--”

“Okay, lady, if you want to sacrifice me to your ancient gods, why don’t you just do it? Why do I need to be willing?”

“It’s part of the ritual. I am, of course, more than willing to make a deal in exchange for your cooperation. I have a great deal of power, Dirk, and I can offer you anything--even in addition to the very noble outcome of stopping the riots.”

She drove a hard bargain, even before she decided to throw in a new car, too. Dirk frowned in thought.

“Certainly you must wish for something. I can grant quite a lot.” She paused and stared at him intently, as if searching him. “Perhaps for your parents to accept you for who you are?” she asked, tempting. “For Mark to stop treating you like a child? For complete control over your powers?”

“Ha! I’m onto you!” Dirk exclaimed.

“I beg you pardon?”

“You want me to wish for something that won’t matter once I’m dead. Nice try!”

Now she smiled at him in such a way that made Dirk feel as though he had shown her his hand before the game was over.

“Perhaps something deeper, more altruistic? You're certainly the type. How about the cure for cancer? Post-human acceptance the world over?” She paused again, staring at him intently, as if she was reading him like a book and the print was too small to see. “No, too far. Hmm. What about--oh. Oh.”

Dirk felt like he was getting his fortune told at a fair, like she knew something about himself that he didn’t. “What?” he demanded, trying not to sound as interested as he was.

“I could bring Jennifer Wilson back from the dead.”

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56 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Thu 29 Dec 2011, 9:58 pm

The armour didn’t quite fit and Mark shifted uncomfortably. He looked over the warehouse.

“Are you sure this is the place. You wouldn’t be stringing me a line.” His head slowly turned towards the Brotherhood soldier strapped down in the passenger seat.

“Yes, this is the place. It’s not like I could escape before you’d found out if I’d lied.”

The soldier turned to Mark and was surprised to see him rummaging in his wallet. He took a few coins and notes out, and then tossed the wallet over to the soldier.

“What’s this for?” the soldier asked in confusion.

“Don’t worry, you friends will know what it means.” The soldier looked at the thirty coins inside the small wallet. A second later Mark’s fist connected with his face, and he slumped unconscious.

Mark slid out of the van seat and looked towards the warehouse as he pulled on the armour’s helmet. There were numerous cameras around the building, and what looked to be other kinds of hi-tech sensors. If it wasn’t the place, it was somewhere damn important.

“Dirk, if you’re still alive in there, you better have a damn good reason for this. Otherwise you’ll soon join your new friends.”


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57 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Fri 30 Dec 2011, 4:54 am

Maeglin

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Well, that was about as fair as a punch in the goolies.

Dirk didn't speak for several seconds. He was pretty sure he didn't breathe or blink for several seconds. Then,

"What?!"

"Ooh, struck a nerve, did I? I'll draw up the contract straightaway, then, shall I?"

Dirk struggled with this a moment. "How...how could you possibly do that? You're bluffing!"

Suddenly either she grew or the room shrank. She seemed to increase in darkness and power, sucking the life out of the lights, the walls, Dirk, everything. The room grew hot, stifling, and she looked, now, fully capable of whatever she claimed. "I do not appreciate my power being questioned," she said, her voice low and loud. "But since you require a demonstration--"

She reached for him across the room and took his arm. Immediately it ignited into red. Dirk cried out, glad to have his powers back, but when she let go of him, they fizzled out again. "Next time, don't overload your circuits," she scolded. She caught the look of bewilderment on his face and added, "You know, if you want complete control of your powers, it's not too late to change your mind." She was smiling again.

Dirk reclaimed his arm, shaking his head. He was almost afraid to ask this, but the option had to be explored. "What if I don't want to make a deal?"

"Nothing."

"What?"

"Nothing."

There was nothing benign about her implication.

Fair enough. If he had to die either way--well, why not have his death do some good? What could this woman possibly do with his corpse that would outweigh the benefits of stopping the rioting alone, not to mention bringing Jennifer and Mark back together again, the way it was always meant to be.

It did not take Dirk long to decide. "I want Jennifer Wilson to come back alive and unharmed, and none the worse for...wherever she's been."

"Done."

"Done? Already?"

"Oh, yes. You don't think I can do these things and not do them instantly, do you? She is alive and well. Well I say 'well'... At any rate, once the ritual is complete, I will send word to her father where she can be collected. Congratulations, Dirk."

Dirk didn't dare say she was lying. This was too good to be true! He only wished he could see her, before...

"This way, young man. We have much to do."

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58 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Mon 02 Jan 2012, 11:38 pm

They were in a two story room. It looked like the inside of an old church or cathedral. Except where the alter would be was a raised balcony, steps on either side leading up to it. The stained glass windows had a strong red theme, basking the room in an eerie light. It made Dirk uneasy, there had been no sign of windows, never mind stained glass ones, outside the warehouse.

In the centre of the room lay a hospital surgical table with heavy restraints. It was surrounded by several large devices that Dirk had never seen before, but all seemed to have cables and tubs that led towards a cylindrical metal tank, housed just underneath the balcony. There were two people working the controls. Both had extensive cybernetic implants, to the point they barely resembled humans anymore.

From side alcoves hooded figures in black and red robes approached towards the bed. Both them and the cyborgs gathered around it, waiting for Dirk. One of them bowed towards the pair.

“Welcome Jezebel. Everything is prepared and ready,” it spoke. There was something almost inhuman about that voice.

“No need to worry,” whispered Jezebel to Dirk. “All you need to do is get onto the bed. Despite what you thought, this may be a sacrifice, but it needn't mean you’re death, if you’re strong enough. And remember, you are doing this for Jennifer and Mark.”

With that reaffirmation Dirk approached the bed. The cyborgs helped him onto it, surprisingly gently, almost reverently. Then they began to attach the various machines around to different sections of his body. Once they were attached they switched on the machinery. It began humming in varying pitches, and Dirk was wracked with, not pain, but a sensation he almost couldn’t describe. As Jezebel strode past heading for the balcony, Dirk called out to her.

“Why me?”

“Because you are lost. Because you are powerful. But mostly, because you came to me. Call it… providence.” She gave a sly smile and a laugh, as if she was enjoying a private joke.

The hooded figures moved to surround the surgical bed. A low murmur was rising from them and their gloved hands began glowing. Dirk felt his powers began to activate, but forming streams that snaked out towards the outstretched hand of the hooded priests. For a second Dirk caught a glimpse of the face under one of the hoods. It looked like cracked black stone, or formed ash. He’d seen and known about post-humans with different appearances, but nothing like that.

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59 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Tue 03 Jan 2012, 3:15 am

Maeglin

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Okay, now it was beginning to hurt a little. Not a lot--just like those blood pressure cuffs when they got too tight, annoying, really, nothing serious...

He tried to distract himself by thinking about Jennifer. Maybe this woman, this Jezebel--a foreboding name, somehow--wasn't lying about everything. Hopefully Jennifer hadn't woken up somewhere terrible, hopefully she was just sitting comfortably somewhere, a little confused, maybe, but alive, and just waiting for Mark to pick her up.

Ow, okay, it was definitely seriously beginning to hurt now. The machines in his arms and legs and torso were definitely extracting things now, like blood and tissue and--gross, things he didn't want to think about. But the worst part was in his head. He had no idea what it was actually doing, but it had the effect of a very strong migraine combined with a dangerous dose of caffeine. And worst of all, he did not like the thoughts that threatened to crop up on him: thoughts of swear words and looking up married women's skirts and dead baby jokes and bad guys winning. What was this doing to him?

Focus, Rogers, he told himself. Think about who you're doing this for. Imagine the look on Mark's face when he sees Jenny for the first time in two years: well, it was kind of hard to imagine, as Dirk hadn't ever really seen Mark happy, but it was nice to hypothesize.

But that was all wrong. Jennifer had woken up in a coffin underground, and was screaming and crying and trying to get out, and Mark was too busy coming after him to kill him for switching sides, and he was a traitor and a fool and a weakling and Jezebel laughed, her skin peeling back to reveal a demonic face with horns and bat-wings and naked breasts covered in blood, and he was bound to this table where she was about to plunge a knife deep into his chest and--

Dirk screamed.

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60 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Fri 06 Jan 2012, 10:35 pm

Slowly, Mark moved through the warehouse. As he went, he planted small explosive packs in key areas. Explosives the Brotherhood has casually left around. A few bluffs here, a few grunts there, and he’d reached what appeared to be his goal. Judging by the size of the doors, and the reverence the Brotherhood were treating it, it certainly seemed to be the heart of the complex. Mark pulled out the detonator, pausing for a moment. Maybe going in guns blazing wasn’t the best option.

Then he heard the scream.

“This has gone far enough.” With a flick of the switch Mark detonated the explosives around the base, and kicked the door open. It took a second for his eyes to adjust, the whole room was bathed in a red glow. Then he spotted Dirk on the table, surrounded by chanting freaks and the woman from earlier standing over him. ’Well that’s not ominous at all’ though Mark sarcastically.

“The woman was staring at him, then leap over the table towards him. For a second Mark had the impression of a pair of leathery wings behind her, but that quickly faded. He braced himself for an attack, but she landed a few meters away, then slowly approached.

“We don’t have to fight over this. We can make a deal. Is there anything I can offer you Mark? Your wife loving you once again? Your daughter returned to you?”

“There’s nothing you can offer me lady, I’ve heard that line too many times before. Stop this now.”

From the table he heard Dirk moan, an almost indistinguishable ‘Please, stop!’ Mark didn’t realise it was meant for him, asking him to stop. Jezebel just smiled.

“And how can you make us stop. That gun of yours won’t hurt me. Shooting the machines won’t help you. You know that will just kill Dirk.”

“I know enough to know one thing.” Mark fired off three quick shots from the hip. The laser bolts impacted into three of the hooded figures, who crumpled. “Shooting techno-gizmos may hurt Dirk, shooting chanting weirdoes just hurts your plans.” Mark brought the pistol up to Jezebel’s face.

“Now let him go!”

The whole room exploded in red.


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61 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 8:26 pm

Maeglin

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Dirk didn't want Mark here for many reasons.

First, he was deeply ashamed to be where he was. He didn't want Mark seeing him in pain, and he certainly didn't want the older man to see him like this--well, he guessed Mark would assumed he had been captured--and oh, boy, when he found out that Dirk had gone willingly!

Second, if there was any possibility of this ever working out in their favor, Mark was going to mess it all up. Provided Jezebel wasn't lying, at least something good could come out of whatever her plans were. But with Mark charging in, guns blazing, well, now everyone was going to go home empty-handed.

Or dead.

"Please, stop!" Dirk tried to tell him, but it was no good.

A few shots went off, and the chanting figures stopped. Immediately the table he was on began to groan, and a few of the machines sparked, though nothing mechanical had been hit. Apparently the technology was so intertwined with the...magic?--could he call it that?--that killing off the participants problematized the mundane part of the experiment.

The amount of pain Dirk was in suddenly spiked as the air crackled around him. Whatever power they were harnessing was coalescing into a spinning thundercloud above his head.

"Nooo! What have you done?" Jezebel shrieked, and moved to attack Mark.

A thin arc of blue lightning shot out of the cloud, of its own accord now, no longer controlled by the hooded chanters, and it struck Dirk in the chest. He screamed again, limbs convulsing against the heavy restraints, but his scream was now drowned out by his powers, the Red, going nuclear.

But as unexpectedly and catastrophically as they went off, they was being sucked back in again. The red energy was being reversed, drawn backwards, but not into Dirk. It was turning dark, fading through maroon to purple and finally going black, drawing into the thundercloud before him, sucking warmth and life and sound and air from the room. Like a vacuum. Like a black hole.

As Dirk, still strapped to the table, was forced to watch, still hooked up to various machines that were also supplying power to feed this...thing, whatever it was, it became apparent that the thundercloud was slowly solidifying, like a planet coalescing.

And it was forming into the shape of a person.

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62 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Sat 14 Jan 2012, 7:44 pm

With a scream of fury Jezebel leapt at Mark. In the instant required to close the gap, her appearance changed utterly from beautiful woman to horrendous demonic creature, massive wings, dark cracked stone-like skin and razor sharp talons. With reflex the gun fired, but though the bolt hit her square in the face she, if you could still call it a ‘she’, kept coming. The next second Mark found himself smashed to the floor.

Mark didn’t consider himself exactly a religious person. He may believe in a higher power and an afterlife, even if only to keep some hope that Jenny wasn’t completely gone, but he wasn’t what you’d call faithful. He’d never taken the idea of angels or demons literally. Until now. It wasn’t just her, the other hooded figures cast off their robes, revealing similar appearances underneath. They started shrieking and taking to the air. Jezebel rose her arm to strike Mark as he lay pinned.

Then help arrived from a most unexpected source, as laser bolts began to streak across the room. The surviving Brotherhood had rushed to save their leader, only to be confronted by a hoard of demons. How else would religious fanatics act? They opened fire.

Jezebel scream illegibly at them, making Mark’s ears bleed slightly. As she was distracted Mark slipped anther explosive pack out and stuck it to her side, sliding out from underneath. Rolling behind a patch of cover, he whipped out the detonator and pushed. There was a heavy rumble, and Mark peaked out from behind the cover.

Jezebel was still standing. Admittedly missing a large part of her side, but still standing, almost ignoring the damage. Her eyes focused on Mark with unnatural fury.


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63 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Mon 16 Jan 2012, 3:33 am

Maeglin

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The black shape woke.

It blinked at him.

It looked just like him.

And it smiled at him.

"Hello, brother," it said, and Dirk might have cried out or struggled more if he wasn't simply breathless from the energy that was still being drained off him. The thing had his voice, and it was talking to him inside his head! But every time he tried to activate his power, it just got sucked up into the black hole. When he heard Mark cry out, or Jezebel scream, his powers activated of their own accord, flaring up like an oil fire, only to be drawn up into...

Whatever it was. The thing that had his face, and his voice. Dirk wondered, distantly, through the pain and the noise and the confusion, if he still had his face.

Now, all around them, the room was coming apart, was also being drawn into the dark figure. It was growing skin, hair, was turning into him! One of the Brotherhood screamed and arched across the room, only to be absorbed into the body of the black hole. Dirk was actually glad he was strapped to the table, otherwise he, too, might get sucked in.

"Oh, no, dear brother, not you. Not yet. I need you, see. Need you to feed on. Two sides of the same coin, or something. I need you to exist."

"Ahhh!" Dirk screamed. "Stop it! Who are you?"

It laughed. "I am everything you could never have the potential to be. I am the equal and opposite reaction. I am your clone; the dark thing you see when you look in the mirror." He stopped, paused in thought. "Never considered a name, though. How about 'Kirk'? Yeah. Call me Kirk."

"Stop, stop, please stop." Dirk was begging, and he was not at all ashamed. Man, machine, and demon alike were being sucked into the abyss as it--as Kirk--slowly solidified, took shape: and that shape was him.

God, this was a nightmare! Mark, where was Mark? Dirk hadn't seen him sucked into the void--yet. Maybe he'd gotten away?

"Stop what?" It was eerie how nonchalant he was about it all, as the building crumbled and people were dying around him, inside him. "Stop ridding you of your problem? These demons and these Brotherhood, all gone in one fell swoop, no muss no fuss? I thought you'd be pleased, brother!"

"Stop calling me that!"

Dirk realized, suddenly, that he was free. The restraints and the tubes and machinery had come off in the force of the vacuum. So Dirk, knowing evil when it stared him in the face, leapt at Kirk, meaning to stop him by whatever means necessary.

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64 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Mon 16 Jan 2012, 8:59 pm

The moment something erupted in the centre of the room and began pulling, well, everything towards it, Mark whipped out the grappling hook and fired into the wall behind him. With a strong grip he could stop himself from being pulled into the singularity, for now. He lost sight of Jezebel a he was buffeted by passing debris. Was that her getting drawn in, or anther demon? For a second a mad thought crossed Mark’s mind, if these were actually demons, then maybe they were summoning…

He pushed that thought to the back of his mind and tried to think how to close the damn thing. Finally Mark got a good look at the centre of the singularity and saw Dirk leaping at… Dirk?

“Aw, hell. I hate it when that happens.”

That still didn’t change things. Either this was a true black hole, in which case Dirk and him were already past the event horizon, and it would be up to others to stop the planet from being drawn in. Or there was a finite limit to how much it could consume, in which case the best chance was to overload it.

Mark still had his tazer, and some stun grenades he’d nicked from the Brotherhood, they’d have to do. He wrapped the grenades webbing round the tazer and set it to overload. Just seconds before it detonated, he let it go and watched the forces pull it towards the black hole.

Then it detonated.


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65 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Mon 16 Jan 2012, 11:53 pm

Maeglin

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It was surprisingly easy to knock Kirk back and slam him into the ground. Even if he could apparently absorb demons, he seemed vulnerable to concussive force. Kirk's eyes--which were black--then lost focus, lost control, and swam around in a sea of blue until they settled back to looking like Dirk's eyes.

The black hole stopped, then, froze everything in mid-air for a split-second before it all clattered to the ground.

With a strength Dirk did not expect, his clone struck him hard in the face, causing him to reel backward, from which point he noticed, now, that something was lodged in Kirk's chest. It didn't look like he had been impaled, but simply as if the black hole closed on whatever it had been in the process of devouring.

Just as Dirk realized what it was that Kirk's chest had closed around--Mark's taser and a few grenades, it looked like--the tech moltov went off. Kirk's face was stuck in a tableau of horror, betrayal, and rage.

Dirk barely had time to fling up a wall of red to protect himself, widening it and hardening it as the blast continued to crackle and spark and shake the foundations. Dirk looked wildly around for Mark. He saw bodies, ruined equipment, a crumbling building, but no Mark. Unless--yes! There he was! Dirk backpedaled over to him, reinforcing the pillar Mark stood behind with the red wall of energy.

"We've got to get out of here!" he shouted. "Where did the demon-lady go?"

"I don't know! Where did your little friend go?"

"Hopefully up in smoke, come on, let's get out of here!"

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66 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Tue 17 Jan 2012, 11:49 pm

“Dirk, do you remember that force field generator I gave you?” Dirk pulled the small palm sized device out from his pocket.

“This thing? How does it help us?”

“Because you’re looking drained and I’m going to get us out. Your job is to stop us from being squished. Oh, one handed.” Mark grabbed Dirk’s arm as he activated the forcefield with his other hand.

“Hold on Kid.” The grappling hook retracted and then shot out again, retracting again, this time dragging both Mark and Dirk with it. Mark continued using the hook to pull them through the rubble, as Dirk defect the bits of building falling around them with the shield. Eventually they made it out, both collapsing in the parking lot and the warehouse collapsed in on itself.

“You still in one piece kid?” asked Mark concerned. As soon as Dirk gasped his reply, Mark’s expression changed to one of anger. He strode over to the van from earlier, the Brotherhood he’d stored in it was gone.

“Get in the van,” he barked at Dirk.


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67 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Wed 18 Jan 2012, 4:17 am

Maeglin

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Dirk nodded and did as he was told. He climbed into the van and buckled his seat belt as Mark drove. His body was sore and he felt weird. He was ashamed of himself. He felt dirty.

He was definitely not going to cry.

"Mark--"

"Don't say another word, Kid," Mark growled, a warning.

"No, Mark, I have to explain--"

"Not now." Mark was gripping the steering wheel so tight his knuckles were white.

"Mark, I--" Dirk was going to get this out if it killed him. If Mark killed him.

"Dirk, don't make me pull over."

"She asked me what I wanted, more than anything, made me wish--no, she didn't make me, I was stupid--"

Mark pulled the van over to the side of the road and turned in his seat to fix him with a glare of rage and impending violence that Dirk had literally never seen on the man. He was suddenly terrified to tell him what he had to say. "Dirk. Just don't talk right now." The 'or else' threat was heavily implied, though unspoken.

"You're already mad, and I get that. I-I'm sorry, and--" Oh, no! Not the tears! "and I made about a million bad choices, and if you don't want to train me anymore I wouldn't blame you, but this isn't about me, Mark! I don't know if it's all just lies or what that woman, that demon could do, but--"

"Dirk..."

Dirk suddenly realized how massively he was in trouble. Mark wasn't calling him 'Kid.'

"I wished for Jennifer to come back!" Dirk blurted out, and then braced for impact.

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68 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Wed 18 Jan 2012, 8:21 pm

Mark had desperately hoped Dirk would remain quiet. He was mad at Dirk true, but mostly because Dirk had gotten into so much trouble. It was worrying about Dirk that was making him mad.

How the hell could Dirk have acted like that? Dirk, the kind of person who generally saw only black and white. Didn’t he know that it doesn’t matter what the ‘bad guy’ (ok, attractive bad woman in this case) promises. You never, ever believe them. Especially if it involves cults. Of course he did, so why had he gone along with it. Whatever the reason though, Mark didn’t want to hear it now.

On the other hand, until today Mark hadn’t really believed in magic, not like that. There were supers who claimed to do magic, but that was limited stuff, or more likely, more flexible super powers. But what he’d seen today, couple with what seriously appeared to demons…

What was that quote about ‘more things on Earth and in the Heavens’?

Dirk rabbited on, Mark was only just holding back from actually hitting him then duct taping his mouth when that slipped out.

"I wished for Jennifer to come back!" Mark froze, stunned at what Dirk had said. So that was it, that was what had caused Dirk to lose all his common sense. Had Dirk really felt so strongly towards her? Mark could understand himself doing such a thing, but he was her father. Dirk probably guessed he might not survive… Ah, that was it. He wasn’t doing it for himself, he was trying to be noble and do it for Mark and Jenny. Well, that was like Dirk, trying to do the right thing for as many people as possible. Even if it meant getting hurt himself. There was probably more to it.

“Jesus Kid,” was all Mark could mutter in reply. He started the engine again and drove off.


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69 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Thu 19 Jan 2012, 8:00 pm

Maeglin

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Dirk managed silence until they were back at the house, mainly because he was spending most of his energy trying not to bawl openly. Mark wouldn't even look at him--Dirk couldn't imagine how badly he had hurt the older man, and after everything Mark had done for him!

Dirk wasn't a very good Superhero.

When they arrived, Dirk practically leapt out of the car, enough to startle Mark into looking at him, confused.

"I don't need to come inside," Dirk said. He was pretty sure the tears were under control. "You can keep my comic book collection, or sell them or whatever. Everything else I have is yours, anyway."

"Kid, what the hell are you even--"

"I know what I did is unforgivable, and I have to go set it right."

Mark had a strange look in his eyes, a wild look, and he took a step toward him, but Dirk took a wary step back.

"That...thing. The black hole thing that came out of me. I have to be certain it's destroyed...and...and Jennifer." He plowed on before Mark could speak: "I have to at least try and find her. Jezebel may have been lying when she said Jennifer was already back, but I have make sure. I won't rest until I find her, sir, I swear, and I'll bring her back. I'll make sure not to use my powers in public and I promise I'll be safe with them. All I ask is that you don't come after me."

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70 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Thu 19 Jan 2012, 10:48 pm

Could this bloody day get any worse? Brotherhood, demons, raising the dead, and now Dirk looked like he was seconds from going on some idiotic one-man crusade. Whatever had happened, if Dirk did that now he’d be in far, far worse trouble.

With a sudden explosive movement, Mark leapt towards Dirk and grabbed him by the front of his shirt, pinning him against the van. The Kid looked terrified, probably misinterpreting Mark’s actions.

“You did something stupid today Kid, yes. Don’t make it worse by doing another damn fool thing like going into exile. You want to atone for what you did, fine. But for God’s sake don’t do it alone.” Dirk looked forlorn, as if this was the last thing he wanted to hear.

“But I have to. I did this along, I should fix it alone.”

“Why, is this some sort of silly ‘heroic ritual’ thing like in your comics?” Dirk’s eyes dropped. Yep that was it. “First, life isn’t like comics, and following actions from them is likely to get you killed. Second, atoning for what you’ve done is all well and good, but the best way is to bloody well learn from what you did here. I will try not to get angry when you make a mistake. I will get angry if you repeat that mistake. Understand?” Dirk nodded slowly.

“Now, what you said about this black hole copy and… and Jenny, yes, those are things we need to do. The latter we can start now. As for the former… Quite frankly I don’t think you could stand up from an attack from an enthusiastic kitten by the look of you, so we’re going to get a good rest then check tomorrow. And I’m going to alarm the doors so no sneaking off, ok.”


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71 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 5:32 pm

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Slowly, somehow, from the torrent of guilt and agony, the world came back into focus.

Dirk realized that his hands were half-raised against the van, in a kind of surrender. He knew Mark would never hurt him--even if that was what he wanted, what he deserved--but he also knew not to push Mark just the same. He didn't move.

"I'm sorry," Dirk said. The weight of everything was in the apology.

Now Mark looked as though he regretted what he'd done: he took a deep breath, looking sad, and let Dirk go. He stepped back a half step, angled himself so that the only direction that wasn't blocked was to the door inside. Giving him a chance to reclaim some of his dignity and walk in there under his own power instead of being dragged in.

As if he deserved such a chance.

Dirk stayed against the van, not only because his legs threatened to buckle under him, but also assessing the situation. "I-it's not about the comic books," he said shakily, "it's not about being a hero. It's putting right what you've done wrong. That's expected of everyone, not just heroes. And I'm not..." Dirk stopped, choked with emotion. Hot, ashamed, tears ran down his nose. Dirk was looking at the ground. His tell that meant what was left unsaid was truth.

"You're right," Mark said, startling him. Dirk looked up, face wide with hope and defeat at once. For a split-second Dirk was certain it was coming: Mark had given up on him. He had just set his jaw, determined to take it like a man, when--

"But not alone."

Mark practically growled it at him, with all the intensity and ferocity that might have accompanied what Dirk had expected to hear: Get out of my house, or You're such a disappointment.

But instead Mark forgave him!

Dirk's next movement was so fast Mark didn't have time to react. He darted forward and threw himself into Mark, wrapping his arms around the other man's middle and burying his face in his chest. Mark tensed, seeming to half-prepare for a fight, not expecting a...hug. Dirk wasn't even sure he had expected it. He certainly hadn't expected the arms to slowly, awkwardly, tentatively close around him.

"Thanks," Dirk sniffed.



Last edited by Maeglin on Wed 25 Jul 2012, 11:53 pm; edited 1 time in total

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72 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Sat 09 Jun 2012, 10:30 pm

“No problem Kid. Better get inside, we’ve a big day tomorrow.”

‘As if today hasn’t been big enough already,’ Mark’s thoughts muttered to him.

The two of them went inside, Dirk heading off to his bedroom, though had Mark not been glaring it was doubtful he would have. Mark however stayed in the kitchen, sitting alone with his thoughts as the hours ticked by. Eventually he stirred.

Checking that Dirk was still asleep Mark left the house, stepping out into the pre-dawn light. Despite his destination being half-way across town, he left the van behind and just walked. Eventually he reached the gothic arch and passed through, the locked gates barely slowed him down. Mark weaved his way through the headstones, his feet making slight sloping noises on the grass in the early morning drizzle. On front of one headstones, still decorated with fresh flowers, he stopped.

‘Jennifer Wilson. Taken from us too soon. 2003 – 2016’

“I would have moved Heaven and Earth to save you Jenny, but someone else may have done so first.” From his coat pocket Mark withdrew a small box shaped device.

“Forgive me lassie.”

Kneeling Mark placed the box on the ground just on front of the headstone. It gave a few beeps, which sounding muted as if in respect to those buried here. The screen showed flicking ghost-like shapes, but Mark seemed to have no difficulty discerning their meaning.

“Still lost in the sleep of the dead. I guess there are something’s you can never change.” He pocketed the small device and rested his head against the headstone. His tears were lost in the rain.

Mark suddenly snapped out of his reverie, realising there was movement behind him. Despite his regrets a small smile still flicked on his mouth.

“I didn’t realise you were such a light sleeper Dirk.”


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73 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 11:12 pm

Maeglin

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Dirk tried to duck back behind another headstone, but of course Mark spotted him. He held his arm against him with his other hand as he emerged, head down.

'Sorry, Mark,' was on the tip of his tongue, but he felt like he had said that enough today. "I couldn't sleep, either," he said quietly. "And...and I hoped she'd be here," he frowned at the earth, disappointed at it for not rendering up his best friend to him, and stepped forward. "You sure she's not?"

"Yeah," Mark said, not looking at him. It was cold in the rain, but it helped mask the fact that both of them were definitely shedding tears but did not want to admit it. "I made sure. That demon was lying to you, Dirk."

Dirk set his jaw angrily, and nodded. He knew exactly how he had been so foolish, but it was still maddening. He knew exactly what his own weakness was, but he was not prepared to say he would never fall for a similar ploy again.

"I know," was all he said. 'I'm sorry, Jenny,' was what he said in his heart, because she deserved his apology more than anyone.

They stood for a while longer in silence.

Then Mark took in a large breath, and spoke. "Well, it's almost morning," he said, checking his watch. "Let's go get some breakfast, huh?"

Dirk nodded. "Yeah." Food didn't exactly sound good right now, but maybe that was just because he was still shaking and weak and food would actually help.

"And after breakfast--"

Suddenly, something small flew at his head. Dirk caught it and peered at it in the moonlight. Keys.

"Then you can go get the pickup back. I want it looking like new."

Ah.

Dirk nodded, staring down at the keys in his hand. Punishment. But also trust. He could make this right, albeit starting small.

"Okay," Dirk said, following after Mark, as he had already moved off. "Where is it?"

"Where we left it," Mark said, smiling and turning his head around to look at him.

Dirk paused, wide-eyed, a bit aghast, until Mark also stopped, and laughed. "Come here, kid," he said, and when Dirk caught up, Mark slung an arm around his shoulders as they headed into the rising sun toward their favorite diner.

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74 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Sat 25 Aug 2012, 3:07 pm

ONE YEAR LATER

The news was grim. However you looked at it, it was grim. Yes, the Brotherhood had failed to take control, something that many were celebrating with street parties. But in every other objective, they had succeed. Including turning the common man against post-humans.

That by itself was reason to worry, but nothing a few victories and a good PR campaign couldn’t fix. As much as Mark hated PR, he knew its use. But then there was PHMA, the Post-Human Monitoring Agency. Now that was a sinister development. Just another name for oppression. And they had the means to do it. Regardless of how you looked at it, the fact that PHMA and Inhibitors both just happened to come into existence as soon as the Brotherhood fell… Even if you believed in coincidences, this was pushing it.

On the push side, Mark knew that Dirk and him should be under the radar. They hadn’t really been acting on the global stage; there was enough trouble in the city to keep them busy, and the lack of bright costumes helped keep things low key. In theory, all they had to do was keep their heads down until it blew over.

Yeah, like that was ever going to happen.

Before he could even think of the next move, a klaxon began blaring out across the base. Mark leapt out of his chair and sprinted to one of the screens, taking in the information. Five figures, flying in formation. Their destination was obvious by the way their flight was beginning to slow. And with that energy output…

Dirk appeared, looking a bit bleary eyed after being woken by the alarm. Mark didn’t even give him the time to ask.

“We need to go. NOW!”


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75 Re: Bonus Issue: Daedalus and Icarus on Sat 25 Aug 2012, 11:34 pm

Maeglin

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Dirk probably should have expected this. He probably should have been sleeping in his clothes every night, waiting for them to find him. He probably should have left Mark a long time ago, or else, as now, risk his life, too.

But now there was nothing for it, and his mentor, half-dressed himself, was pushing him out the door, shoeless and wearing nothing but thin lounge pants.

And Dirk didn't argue. He trusted Mark more than anyone, owed him everything, really.

"Where are we heading?" Dirk asked as they pounded up the stairs out of the compound, just as an explosion rocked above them as the PHMA Enforcers strafed the surface.

"Away from here, now MOVE!" Mark snapped, sounding annoyed. The side-exit was a little better hidden, but depending on what had been destroyed above them, it was still going to be a narrow thing. "You take the side-exit, I'm going to draw their--"

Dirk didn't even let him finish. "NO," he said, grabbing Mark's arm. "There is no way I am letting you get yourself killed for me. Either we both get out of here, or neither of us do."

"Dirk," Mark began, but--

"Mark," Dirk growled. "We don't have time to argue," he said, and stepped aside in the corridor, driving home his point that he would either follow Mark out or not at all. He meant it less as insubordination than as coming into his own, but he would sooner deal with Mark's wrath than with Mark's death.

It was early morning when they surfaced, and still dark. Their former base looked like a nuclear wasteland, and everything even resembling a building had been leveled, including the garage with the cars.

Dirk shook his head: How are we the bad guys, here? he wondered.

They made it only a few feet before a roaming spotlight hit them, and as one, both men broke into a sprint. Heedless of the danger--they were guilty for running, anyway--Dirk threw a large shield of Red up to cover them. Whatever weapons they were using struck his energy field hard, but it held, and they kept moving. Dirk kept his head down and followed Mark.

"STOP! POST-HUMAN MONITORING AGENCY! GIVE YOURSELVES UP AND--"

Dirk rearranged the shield so that it was in front of them as he and Mark skidded to a halt to avoid the Enforcers that had touched down in front of them, and with all his strength he shoved it forward, striking the two suited officers squarely.

It did very little to push them back, however, and now a hail of laser fire was raining down on them. Dirk readjusted the shield to cover them behind and above as he and Mark turned to meet the two Enforcers.

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