Super Century [Open]

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Thundermachine
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Super Century [Open]

Post by Thundermachine » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:48 am

12:45 PM, New York City - Late April, 2018

"Massive fire on West 59th street. NYCFD are on scene. We're not sure if they're going to get everyone out, Carter."

"Roger that, Ground Control. I see it. Going in."

Far over the glass canyons of Manhattan, the man the public knew best as Thundermachine engaged the boosters in the boots of his red-trimmed battlesuit, plummeting in a controlled dive towards a black plume of smoke currently ballooning out of a building right next to Central Park. Readouts in his helmet plotted the course for him, minute adjustments in his posture radically altering his descent. Firetrucks at the base of the skyscraper were pumping streams of water up through the windows, the gathered crowd gasping as a streak of gold and red broke through one of the upper walls.

The smoke and heat meant nothing to Carter, lenses narrowing as they sought human figures in the debris. Two people left on the top floor, a man and a woman; there was wreckage blocking any potential escape routes. Stomping over to an adjacent wall, he pushed himself through the drywall, dust and stone crumbling down over his back as he scooped the two into his suit's enormous metal arms.

Lumbering through the choking black clouds and intense heat, he barged down the stairs, flight untenable in this position - the whiplash from takeoff might cause his passengers additional injury. Squinting through his HUD readout, he rounded corner after corner, booming footsteps announcing his arrival as he burst through the glass doors to cheers and applause outside.

It was only after that he realized he'd been holding his breath the whole time.
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Image

Immediately after making sure the civilians were safely at an ambulance, Thundermachine turned to the crowd of onlookers, his concerned facial expression hidden behind the gold faceplate. All this celebrity - didn't they care about the people who'd just nearly burned to death? All the cameras were on him, as always. Couldn't they just show some -

They're just relieved. Calm down, Jove.

Stripping away the helmet, he unclipped the oxygen mask from his face, letting it fall back behind his neck. Applause in his ears and microphones in his face, he did his best to keep a confident, caring expression, his natural charisma working its magic almost on instinct. Adrenaline pulled his lips back in a smile, but already he was back on-script.

"Please, please. The New York City Fire Department evacuated 99% of the civilians in danger and prevented the building from collapsing entirely. They deserve your thanks, not me," he said clearly into the cameras, nodding in the direction of the firefighters. "They're entirely responsible for preventing a major tragedy. I just lent a hand at the last minute. We can all...all bring something to the plate, even if it's not quite as flashy as strapping booster rockets to your feet. If you want to help out in an emergency, consider donating blood. In your workplace, make sure your smoke detectors all have fresh batteries," he exhaled, chest rising and falling as he calmed down. "Teach your kids proper fire safety. You can be a hero too."

The fresh air (or as fresh as it could get in New York City in the aftermath of a major fire) felt good on his skin. Showing his face in the suit was more uncommon, but it wasn't anything new - his identity was fully public. A bit of sweat and coolant ran down his face from his hair, which he wiped away gently with one of his massive metal-coated palms.

Then came the part he hated.

"Mister Jove, Mister Jove - how much did this flight cost your company? What metric do you use to determine when and where you'll intervene?"

"Thundermachine, how can you justify private ownership of your armor when - if you'd sold the design to institutions - the, the, the NYCFD could have handled this on their own -"

"Carter Jove, has the time come for you to accede to popular demand and finally market your armors -?"

He raised his palms in a calming gesture, keeping a smile on his face even as he closed his eyes.

"One question at a time, guys," he laughed, looking from lens to lens, microphones shoved in his face. He continued.

"First and foremost, it's not about the cost to me or any of my team at Ground Control. I was just performing a routine test flight, fully sanctioned and approved, and I saw an opportunity to help. Saving lives is much more important than conserving fuel."

He paused, considering his next words carefully. He was about to give the same answer he had for the last two years, but he had to be careful with the wording. A slip-up could mean plummeting stocks.

"The last two questions I'll hit at the same time. The Thundermachine armor is very temperamental, for starters. I'm the only man coordinated enough to walk around in it without falling flat on my face, let alone use it to handle emergency situations. Secondly, the amount of paperwork I had to go through to soar around would astonish you. The armor will not be any more commercially available to the general public than would an F-35. Finally, as today proved, our fine American institutions can thrive without spending exorbitant amounts of money on X-Tech. The NYCFD demonstrated courage and effectiveness in the face of -"

"What do you think of calls for the government to seize the Thundermachine copyright, as they did with genetic augmentation research in the early 2000s? Are you prepared to lend your tech to what some analysts are calling a meta-human arms race?"

Carter had been cut off. Unusual - and highly political questions, too. He'd have to be careful.

"I trust the government not to co-opt my company, unlike what we've seen in Russia. The matter has already been settled in court. I'll always fulfill my personal obligations as an American citizen. I'd like...I want to focus more on the firemen and the great job they did today. Let's give them a hand."

More clapping to put an end to the questioning. Gotta love New Yorkers, he thought. They sure know how to help a man out.

"One last question, Mister Jove. What is your response to the masked metahuman calling himself Odin? His direct attacks on your business model, your character, and American society as a whole are all extremely controversial. The American people want to see you engage -"

Here we go.

"Listen up. I respect Mister Odin's opinions even if I disagree profoundly with them. I would defend to the death the freedom he has to make such statements and I trust he'd ultimately do the same for any of us. You have nothing to fear from him, even if he comes off a little radical, because the law is on our side. I'll do my part to uphold that justice."

He clipped the flight-mask back to his face and slammed the helmet back onto the suit, where it attached with a hiss.

"That's a Thundermachine guarantee."

Image
Last edited by Thundermachine on Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Super Century [Open]

Post by Orph » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:24 pm

Six Weeks Ago.

The video feed was streamed live on YouTube, though before even thirty seconds of it had gone by, almost every news channel was showing it, too. No one wanted to miss the latest of Odin's protests.

The stream showed a man dressed all in white, with gold accents. He wore a helmet that obscured most of his face, but you could see his mouth clearly. He was grinning. Floating around him were eyes, of all different colors. They didn't look organic, but one might have mistaken them for such at a distance. A faint blue energy field crackled around the Odin, projected from his mechanical eyes.

"Good morning, America. You all know me. I'm Odin, and I've made it my duty to make the world better. There are others, like Virtue of the Freedom Brigade, who claim to stand for the same thing as me, but they don't stand for freedom, or justice. They stand for perpetuating the status quo, and enforcing the corrupt rule of law in this great country of ours. We are supposed to be a shining city on a hill, a beacon of a brighter future. Not... well, I digress."

The camera zoomed out, and rotated sixty degrees, as did Odin himself. He pointed behind himself, at an indistinct shape in the sky, that seemed to be getting closer. When he spoke again, his voice was raised.

"This is a drone. Ever since the technology has existed, we've used it to drop bombs on innocents in other countries, destroying vital infrastructure, and taking lives, supposedly to fight the 'War on Terror.'" He grinned. "No more."

There was silence for a moment, as the drone approached. Odin's eyes shifted around him, with most on either side of his body. The camera panned up, as the bomber soared overhead. A red beam shot out of one of the eyes, and cut through the unmanned drone. As it detonated the explosives inside, a massive explosion blossomed out from it, and the camera view was temporarily obscured. It shifted in the confusion, and when the scene was visible again, Odin was hovering over the wreckage of the drone, as it crashed down to earth.
Image

Once the ex-drone had landed, Odin turned back to the camera, which zoomed in on his face.

"That drone cost the United States government four-point-three million dollars. Four million dollars they made the conscious decision not to spend on infrastructure, or education, or feeding the homeless. And that's a tiny fraction of what it's spending on the military as a whole. This is insanity. It has to end. Or I'll end it for you."

The stream cut out.

O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O

"That's right, Vicky, our Action News team spotted the super-hero known as Odin entering the Nebraska Avenue Complex in Washington D.C. the headquarters of the Department of Homeland security, earlier today." Image
"Odin has been the subject of much controversy of late, as he's made a number of divisive statements regarding the US government, and their military actions, especially in the Middle East and Russia. There's also been some question of him having a 'team-up' with the hero Thundermachine, who's also had some interactions with the government, but of a decidedly less hostile nature. He--"


Odin changed the channel with a thought. He had no interest in hearing yet another news story about Thndermachine, of all people. He'd let the news crew film him entering the DHS building intentionally, so there was verifiable video proof he'd gone in. Honestly, David had been expecting a trap, when he agreed to a meeting with the director. Instead, they'd had a relatively civil conversation. The man agreed with David that the President was a twit, 'off the record, of course.' He'd made an offer, David had changed the terms somewhat, and things were settled. David agreed to halt his broadcasts for a few weeks, in exchange for the bombing of the Middle East being halted, and certain other, less major stipulations. There was no guarantee the President would go for it, but if he did, it would be the first time Odin and the US Government had ever agreed on anything. Not that anyone would ever hear about this, unless something went horribly wrong.

The white-clad hero was currently hovering over the Washington Monument, serene-looking and still. His 'eyes' rotated around him, the crackling energy field they generated keeping him aloft. Using the screen built into his helmet's visor, he flipped through the major news channels, which were reporting on either his meeting, or Thundermachine's latest PR stunt. David sighed, and switched to the feeds from the drone pilot sites he'd hijacked. None of the Predators were currently in the air. Good.

The eyes weren't just for show. They had a number of other uses beyond weaponry. Indeed, at that very moment, they were scanning the city for any trace of crime, both with their own considerable surveillance power, and hacked CCTV feeds. David never invaded anyone's privacy unless he absolutely had to, but he had no moral qualms with using the surveillance systems that the government had already put in place. Today, it seemed, no one was committing any crime at all. The rates in D.C. were always down when Odin made himself visible like this, and after his more ostentatious public protests. He didn't do that much to actually stop petty crime, muggers and burglars putting the 'petty' in 'petty theft.' He didn't ignore it when he saw it, but he was rarely looking.

Below, people were taking photos of Odin, some even trying to angle their phones to catch a selfie with the elusive Stranger. He paid them no mind.

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Re: Super Century [Open]

Post by Virtue » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:11 pm

Image
"They just don't get it babe...they don't get what we're tryna do."
Darryl Davis sat on the old swing set swaying back and forth accompanied by the squeaks of old joints moving. A woman slowly sat down next to him and let her legs dangle above the ground ever so slightly.

"Why does it matter what they think honey, they don't need to get it for it to be right. All that matters is what you believe in and as long as you believe in that symbol you strap on your chest than what does it matter?"

He slightly angled his head in her direction, it was funny. The more he looked at her the more beautiful she became, the woman he'd loved since his high school days. The woman who stuck with him through the best and the worst moments of his life. He smiled a bit, "Maybe you're right but, what happens when that symbol changes meaning? That's what scares me the most, that the people out there who want to change it don't get what it stands for."
She looked at him with a mix of compassion and fear at what he just said. Darryl was a man who never questioned his role in the world or the people he worked for so hearing him do that brought about some kind of uneasiness in her that was present in her words.

"Than do what you do best and right whats wrong."

Freedom Brigade Helicarrier 0800 Hours

Image"Washington handed down their verdict Davis, we can't go after Odin for his little stunt in the Middle East..."

The American Symbol of Hope let his fingers curl into anger fueled fists at his sides. Despite his mask his anger at the situation was visible, muscles scrunched up to convey exactly what he was feeling. "With all do respect sir you have to be shitting me here. He cost us millions of tax payer dollars and we can't get him for it. He broke the law, hell we could hit 'em with treason and put an end to all this radical bullshit."

"You know if I had things my way you'd be putting cuffs on the madman as we speak but, Washington has the authority here, I can't authorize any excessive action."

Darryl gave the officer a look, a look that said everything he wanted to say. This wasn't the first time Odin had done something to piss off the hired hero, in fact it was more and more frequently that he found himself the target of the radicals verbal berating. This time though Odin destroyed government property which meant that this was one of the few chances they had to finally bust this guy. Six weeks later and instead of cuffing him he was heading into government buildings to chit-chat. It made them look weak, how long until others start doing the same.

"Look, I'm really sorry about this. I know how badly you wanna get this guy but, the public is watching him and if you haven't noticed we aren't really doing to well in the public opinion department. They don't think we can risk this so, we gotta let it slide. Don't worry he'll slip up again, they always do."

The officer slowly walked away leaving Virtue alone in the command center. He tossed a glance up at the clock, his break was almost over. He walked over to a series of vertical tubes and slipped inside of one. His hand hit a green button and after a few seconds he was falling through the New York sky with wings extended. He had an idea but, it was one that wold require a bit of sneaking."Virtue to base, Virtue to base. Send Thunder Machine a message, we need to talk. Let him pick the place."
Image

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Re: Super Century [Open]

Post by illirica » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:28 pm

Military Adjunct Base, Freedom Brigade. Washington, 1300 hours

Teja Docesznic stood at ease in the small conference room, which was scattered with the remnants of an earlier meeting that had taken place before she'd been summoned. By the notes on the paper and the pause-frame display on the wall, the subject matter of the previous meeting had been the loss of the military drone six weeks ago, and more importantly, the public response to that media stunt. Teja knew it was reported that Odin had met with personnel in the DHS complex in Nebraska that morning, although she hadn't been privy to the contents of that discussion.

She'd been briefed, in all the sentiments of that word, on the situation by the only man remaining from the previous meeting, her direct commander. He was still seated amidst the papers, beside half a cup of cold coffee and an uncapped inkpen.

"Have a talk with the media, will you?"

"Me, sir?" Teja knew well why they wanted her to do it, of course, but sometimes innocence could get her out of a distasteful task. "I'm sure that Virtue would be more qualified."

"Virtue wants to murder the radical bastard." Teja raised an eyebrow, and maintained judgmental silence. "Virtue is likely to say he wants to murder the radical bastard," the commander corrected. "The media likes you."

"I strive to cultivate that image, sir."

"Good, then get out there and put it to use."

Teja knew better than to sigh in resignation. She saluted instead, as it was an excellent way to avoid saying something she would later regret. "Yes, sir."


Press Conference, 1500 hours

Teja stood calmly at the podium, immaculate in her uniform, distinctly nonstandard green hair cascading down her back as her equally green eyes swept the room, accepting questions from various media sources. Her gaze landed on a particularly young-looking reporter, and she gave him a silent go-ahead nod.

"Miss... Um.... D-... uh-"

"Captain," she stressed the correction. Teja had earned that rank, and she didn't need to be addressed as 'miss.' The rebuke was gently done, though, and she gentled her tone further to assist in his current dilemma: "D'-chez-nik." She'd heard rumors that some stations actually made their junior reporters practice pronouncing her name correctly before they were allowed on the field - not so with this one, it seemed. Teja didn't mind so much, though - she was willing to be lenient with Docesznic as long as no one tried to put a j-sound in Teja. That matter settled, she offered another little nod, inviting him to continue.

"Um, Captain Capacitor. Earlier, the man known as Odin cut down one of the military's specialized drones. Thus far there has been no military response, but how are the armed forces taking that matter?"

Teja smiled, this time with a slight edge. "Research and Development kindly thanks Mr. Odin for his assistance in assessing the weaknesses of military drone capacity. We look forward to the opportunity to engineer better replacement devices for future use." It was pure bullshit, of course, but the point was that the viewers would know it was bullshit, and wouldn't care, since it was done with snark and style. She let the reaction spin out for a second or two, then nodded to another reporter.

"Is the reason you refuse to condemn Odin because the rumors of a secret relationship between you are true?"

Teja leveled a very cold stare. "No. They are not." I'd much rather murder the radical bastard. HQ had been right, Teja was far too good at keeping her mouth shut.

"Well, what about you and Thundermachine, have you ever-?"


That arrogant prick? He's too busy being stunned by his own self-image. "I do not think this press conference was called to discuss my relationship status. Let's stay on topic so we don't have to cut things short. Next question, please."



Military Adjunct Base, Freedom Brigade. Washington, 1700 hours

"I swear, Virtue never has to deal with this sexist bullshit."
Last edited by illirica on Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
He loved the people just as much as he feared and detested persons. - Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here

The Sword and the Siren | Karana Shiori | Tyria Kuiper | Captain Capacitor

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Re: Super Century [Open]

Post by IronCurtain » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:04 pm

ԠФSҪФЩ

1841, according to the clock.

Dmitri heaved himself through the door, cracking the foundation with the massive amount of muscular mass he had accumulated over the years. A representative of the government sat across from him, standing as the massive former colonel of the Red Army made his intimidating presence known. He had a salute prepared, one that the Iron Curtain merely looked at questioningly.

"You look like no soldier I have ever seen," he muttered bluntly.

"I used to work for the Air Force, honored commander," the man replied.

"Were you a pilot?"

"No, radar and recon,"

"Pft,"

The stifled laugh was all that Dmitri could offer.

"I am here on behalf of the Administration of Defense, honored commander. The man known as Odin has taken it into his own power to strike down a Predator drone belonging to the United States government,"

The enormous warrior from another age raised a brow.

"Has he finally seen it in his power to smash them apart?"

"It seems he is merely 'teaching a lesson' about military spending. Four-million American dollars went into the drone, and its unceremonious destruction caused unsuspected whiplash,"

"Tensions rising in the West, what else is new? Perhaps he will finally convince them to dismantle their nuclear warheads and we can wipe them out for good,"

The government official would have continued immediately if not for Dmitri's sudden smile. Something about it seemed genuine behind the gritted teeth and stretched lips.

"Um... of course. That is within the realm of... possibility," he murmured. "I have been sent here on behalf of the Administra-"

"You have said that already; get on with it,"

"We would like to propose the merging, once more, of the Red Army's Finest and modern technology... in the hopes of building an answer to not only Odin, but the likes of Thundermachine, Virtue, along with the many other American superheroes that do no share the dreams of the Motherland's people,"

Dmitri took a hard glare at the man, finally rising to his feet after a moment. He crossed his arms behind his back. Pacing, it took a few minutes for him to stop.

"What do you know about the dreams of the people?"

"I, uh,"

Iron Curtain held up his hand, commanding him to stop. The former Air Force member inclined.

"Even if you could tell me, what makes you and all of your 'administration' friends think I will join your cause?" he asked, widening his eyes in, sarcastically projecting the vague idea of interest.

"Killing American heroes stopped in the 1990s. The nuclear potential of the Cold War had everyone shivering in their boots, but a living kinetic missile traveling from low orbit at eight-times the speed of a bullet? You're asking for entire metroplexes to be obliterated. It seemed to be a fear that most ignored, but I remember. The people suffered greatly in those times, with Armageddon lingering over their heads at every turn. So, I started killing any American hero that set foot on the soil of the Eastern world. Unsanctioned. Your Administration condemned my actions then, why is it so different now? Because the Americans are hurting themselves, I should go and pick up the scraps? I am a soldier, and I will die defending my country - not invading another for sport!"

The man in front of him was now visibly shaking, the giant mass of the only living super-soldier from the era of Stalin dwarfing him by order of magnitude.

Yet, that brutal smile crawled its way back to his face.

"Now, if the potential for invasion outweighed the necessity to stay neutral, that would be a different story,"

"W-Well, we do have information that Odin is seemingly 'policing' Washington D.C. as of this moment, hovering over the Washington Memorial with perhaps the intent to lash out at crime where he sees fit."

"Then let him dig his own grave," Dmitri shrugged. "Because when the American people are broken and driven to fear by their own heroes, it is then that... order will be restored again. Order for all."

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Re: Super Century [Open]

Post by Thundermachine » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:42 pm

X-Tech - Executive Laboratory, 5:00 AM

The dream tank had been invented three years ago by one of Hermes' associates for use in meditation. It was a large sphere which could accomodate a single user at once, the hollow interior gently filling with haptic fluid to suspend the sleeper within. In this state of tranquility, lucid dreaming was all but inevitable. For immersive self-exploration, there was no better option.

Mister Jove had found it made a much better flight simulator. Its invention had been absolutely integral to making Thundermachine a possibility, allowing Carter to practice his physical coordination within the suit in the safety of his own imagination. He was able to remember what it was like wearing one so perfectly that it was sometimes impossible to tell if he had left the real world or not.

Presently, he executed a series of perfect aileron rolls, evading three cutting red laser-beams coming from the glowing orbs that surrounded his imaginary target. There wasn't much to work off of when it came to Odin's durability or other offensive measures, so Jove focused only on dodging his attacks based on the footage they'd seen of him incinerating the drone. It was all they had to go on.

Minutes stretched into hours. He no longer had to focus on controlling his movements or managing the suit's systems, as it was all instinctive by this point. Taking a deep breath, he let Odin fade away, deciding to let his mind wander. The plates of the Thundermachine armor disconnected from each other, breaking up in the outer atmosphere; he fell nude through the blue sky, the world kaleidoscoping back into his private suite at X-Tech. He felt a hand touch his shoulder, a flash of long blonde hair - no, now it was brunette - or red - no, now it was nothing. Faded into shadow.

Even in his dreams...

"Jesus, Carter, how long have you been in there?"

His eyes flipped back open.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

"I know you don't believe me, but I sleep better in the haptic, Hermes," he insisted with a chuckle, using a towel to wipe the sweet-smelling green fluid out of his hair. "The floating, the perfect dreams..."

Hermes' dark brow creased in concern. "You have seven times as many hours logged in the tank as the next most active user. This is the fourth time this month you've spent all night in there. This was a - good God...fourteen hours in a dream?" he stated incredulously, adjusting his black-rimmed glasses. "You're going to get addicted to sleep, Carter. It's no way to live. You can't keep this up."

"Just practicing my piloting, and getting rest while I'm at it. There's a reason why I'm the only one who can fly our suit," he said with a yawn and a grin. "Tell me, what's on the agenda for today? Any big news?"
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

"And nobody told me about the way she looked at him after that last question?" he laughed, re-watching the last part of Capacitor's press briefing from nearly a month ago along with four other members of Ground Control. It was part of the full information dossier that had been provided for him the moment word had come in that Virtue was calling a meeting on the behalf of the U.S. Government.

Capacitor was an interesting case. East European, dyed hair, and the cold scorn matched with drive to succeed that seemed to define contemporary feminism. Definitely single, by the way she responded. It was a shame the government had her working press. Her codename suggested that her power was to act as some sort of human battery. Whether that meant she could discharge shocks directly or was able to power gear via touch, it made her of great interest to X-Tech. Carter, of course, was interested for additional reasons.

Virtue, on the other hand, was a lot of fun to mess around with, but he could be volatile. Textbook no-nonsense military guy, but with a much stronger personality than you'd usually see coming out of the government, most likely because of his superhumanity. Then there was the nature of his powers; his glider pack made him much more agile, and he seemed to use some sort of telekinesis to control his trajectory. They said he could ricochet that discus he carried off of anything - most likely because of whatever gene-aug he was packing.

I bet whatever deal Odin made with Homeland is tearing him apart. But why does he want to talk to me? Carter thought, stroking the hair on his chin. It tended to grow out when he spent most of his time in the dream tank.

"So I guess we can put $20,000 towards meeting up with him. Not good to keep the government waiting. New York City in...let's say...an hour?" he suggested, receiving nods of assent from his technicians. Better to just get it over with.

"Alright, let's suit up, team."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Image

To ensure pilot safety and efficiency in donning the Thundermachine device, a team of four technicians aided in assembling it around the user. This process took approximately three minutes, various plates clipping to Carter's harness with a satisfying hiss each time. Heavy-metal bolts screwed in, latching the various layers together; when all was said and done, it was like standing inside your own personal space-ship. He reached up, clipping the inner O2 mask to his face, then put the helmet on.

"Comms check."

"Check."

"HUD check." Simulated images flashed up before Carter's eyes, confirming structural integrity.

"Check."

"Digit check." He squeezed his hands open and closed, the perfect amount of resistance behind his grip.

"Check."

"Clear platform for launch. Good luck out there, Thundermachine."

"Roger that, Ground Control. Launching in 5...4...3...2...1."

The booster tubes in the bottom of Carter's armored feet flared to life, ejecting him from the launch platform at incredible speed. G-forces pulled back on him as he roared out of the X-Tech facility, approaching the designated meet-up point in New York City to speak with the man called Virtue.
Last edited by Thundermachine on Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Super Century [Open]

Post by Virtue » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:05 am

"Virtue to base, I repeat Virtue to base. Second fly by complete, location seems clear, going in."

The Winged Warrior angled his body towards the rooftop of a tall office building that scraped the New York City skyline with its A/C units. He let out a low pitched whistle that brought him slowly in towards the roof. Keeping the whistle going he spiraled slowly down before gently touching down on the concrete. His wings retraced into his pack with a loud SCHWINK and his arms fell to his sides completing his almost perfect posture. He could see Thundermachine in the distance and gave HQ a quick heads up before angling his head towards the freelance hero. E4GLE-EYE optics taking in the surroundings to make sure Thundermachine came alone. Darryl didn't expect him to rig some kind of ambush but, protocol was protocol.

"Good work with that fire today Carter, figured I'd throw you a bone since I know my superiors won't. Was hoping maybe you could do the same?" Virtue was never one for sneaking around and using other people to get around the chain of command but, every once in awhile it had to get done. In a world like this there were alot of things that had to get done under the noses of those in charge. Even if Darryl didn't like it he couldn't deny that it was necessary to run a country. "We both know that your company and my bosses keep an eye on people like Odin. The only difference is that you might be able to give him a message where as I don't have that kind of accessibility to the meta underworld. So I need you to do me a little favor and send him a message..."
Image
"We need to meet....Montauk Point Lighthouse tonight at Twenty Hundred Hours...you're more than welcome to come to. Just add it to my tab"

It was almost immediate, the interruption over his comms, a superior officer shouting his ear off. He raised a single finger towards Thundermachine as a way of telling him to hold on while he handled this. "Listen, Washington said no excessive action but, right now he needs to understand that he took things to far. I have no intention of laying a single finger on the bastard but, wounding his complex is a different story. When it comes to matters of national well-being us heroes are allowed to make in the moment decisions so consider this my one for the week." He turned back towards Thundermachine. "Anything you'd like to add?"

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Re: Super Century [Open]

Post by illirica » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:48 pm

Freedom Brigade Military Adjunct Base, Washington: Research and Development Testing Laboratory 23.

Capacitor stared down the sealed court, adjusting her position and raising her left hand. The gauntlet that encircled her arm whined to life, and she flexed a few muscles in her hand, sending a blast of superheated plasma down the corridor, where it impacted on the blast wall on the far end, dead center on a scorch mark from previous experimentation.

"So, rumor says Virtue is gonna go rogue." Amanda Miar was seated in an industrial plastic chair, taking copious notes on a tablet while staring at a computer screen full of readings.

Teja flexed her arm a few times, walking back and forth a few paces. "Virtue? He doesn't know the meaning of the word."

"Come on, you must have heard something."

"Contrary to popular belief, prominent members of the Freedom Brigade don't actually spend all day texting each other. He certainly doesn't discuss his plans with me." She walked back to the mark on the ground signalling 15 meters and raised her hand again. "I've always had the greatest respect for him, and I am sure he will think critically about the results of his decisions." Another mechanical whine, and another burst of plasma down the corridor, dead on impact.

"I still can't get over the fact that you actually talk like that when you're not on camera."

Teja gave the engineer a professionally blank look. "I still don't like the replay here," she said, flexing her arm again. "The catchment gets more sluggish every time I use it. I'm pushing plenty of charge, it just doesn't pick up well."

"Hm. We were hoping you'd be able to take that one public pretty soon. It was designed specifically for you, you know."

"If I'm on a battlefield, I want something I can fire when I need to, not have to wait for it to pick up enough power to shoot again. It's just not practical."

"We could make sure it's a low-key, high-publicity situation, just for display purposes."

In Captain Doscesznik's experience, there was really no way to ensure a low-key situation. She processed the information, pacing. "How big is the damn grant?"

Dr. Miar had the grace to wince. "Pretty significant," she admitted.

Capacitor nodded, walked back to the mark, and raised her hand again. Half a whine, then a pathetic click. "Fifty-four seconds and counting," she stated, bluntly. She lowered her hand, then shook her head. "Tell your people if they can get me ten shots with a maximum charge rate of fifteen seconds between each, I'll take it on the field. Build in a kill switch if it helps, I don't think I could push more than twenty or twenty five shots anyway, and that'll drop if I'm powering other equipment."

"A kill switch?! That's a thirty-eight million dollar piece of equipment."

"It's a zero-dollar piece of equipment if it doesn't work." She walked back to the table, unfastening the straps that held the gauntlet in place and slipping it off her arm, setting it down next to the computer. "Fifteen seconds, Dr. Miar."


Freedom Brigade Military Adjunct Base, Washington: Briefing Room 8C

"I realize it's not a lot of prep time, but Virtue didn't give us much to work with."

"I understand that, sir." Teja propped an elbow on the conference table, flipping through the papers in front of her. There were a lot less than she liked to see for a meeting, that was for certain. "I'll make it work."

"Good. We'll get you in position by 1930, and from there on you're just to use your best judgment. Montuak Point Lighthouse isn't the most defensible position, but I don't know if that will be in your favor or against it. Remember, primary objective is not to interfere with the meeting. You're just there as our safeguard against betrayal. A full strike force would be too prominent."

"I understand, sir." She let the paper fall back into its stack, musing thoughtfully. "I want the E-shield. It should stop most of what Odin's able to toss at me, it's the best call against those lasers he deployed against the unmanned drones." There had been a long-standing call in military applications for a personal energy shield of one sort or another. It turned out that with modern technology, one wasn't actually that hard to design and build. The issue with the device, of course, was that it required an immense amount of power to activate and keep active, and since the average soldier couldn't walk around with a nuclear power plant in their pocket, it didn't work for most people. Capacitor, though, was not most people. She'd proved her ability to activate the shield and keep it up in critical situations, and while she couldn't power the shield for hours, she could make it last a few minutes here and there. It had been one of the first technologies she'd used to prove herself, some... seven years ago, now. Since then she'd been working on tactical refinement, which was mostly a task of precise mathematical guesswork, deciding when it was worthwhile to keep it active - using a continuous but lower level of energy - versus deactivating it and needing to reinvest the higher activation cost again at a later time. Mostly, Teja preferred not to use it at all until it became spectacularly necessary, and then it was a couple minutes of safety that she hoped was enough to change the situation she was in.

"Burst mobility suit on top of that," she added, "I'll need speed and agility." The mobility gear didn't actually add much speed, most of what it gave her was a better sense of balance, which allowed her to do the things she would ordinarily have to slow down for at top speed. It gave the illusion of speed more than anything else, but sometimes the illusion was all that was required. "And... I want the EMP burst."

"You hate that thing." Blunt words, not incorrect. Teja had been extremely vocal about how much she hated the EMP generator. She'd only used it in test situations, but the damn thing made her feel sick every single time, and it had taken a significant amount of very unpleasant practice for her to be able to use it without passing out entirely.

She shook her head. "I know, but it's my best idea for taking out Thundermachine."

"Do you think you'll need to? It's not certain he'll be there."

"He'll be there." Teja felt it was a surety, even if it wasn't official. A meeting between Virtue and Odin was too high-stakes, Thundermachine couldn't afford not to know what was going on. "He might not be there publicly, but he will be. And I don't know if I'll need to fight him, but I'd rather be prepared."

"It'll kill all your own gear, though. Can you afford that? What's your extraction plan in that case?

"Virtue will get me out if it comes to that."

The pause in the room was... palpable. The various staff members were looking at each other, and decidedly not at Capacitor. Eventually, by some unspoken ritual, a spokesman was designated. "Capacitor. Your trust is... noted. But it's possible that he might be one of the problems you're there to safeguard against."

"Which is why I'm sure you're planning to have a strike force ready to take his wife into custody, should that need arise." She lifted the paper again, refusing to let the moment become awkward. "E-Shield, burst mobility, and EMP. Will that be all?"

There was a sigh, but the moment passed, and returned to discussion. "Why not use the time to take something new onto the field? It wouldn't hurt to have-"

She didn't let that sentence finish, knowing exactly where it was headed. "Dr. Miar's been on you about that damn gauntlet, hasn't she? It's not practical. It was designed by someone who's never been in real combat and has no sense of battlefield tactics."

"Maybe, but you're not expecting to use it. Besides, you could always accidentally fry it with the EMP burst."

Teja hid a smile at that. "Can I get that in writing?"
He loved the people just as much as he feared and detested persons. - Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here

The Sword and the Siren | Karana Shiori | Tyria Kuiper | Captain Capacitor

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Re: Super Century [Open]

Post by Quirbles » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:59 pm

Atlanta, GA
4:35 AM
18 hours prior
Crescent Parks Apartment Complex


In the wake of Jiménez's disappearance and apparent death, the FBI had been closely monitoring his wife, Grace, as well as his son. Intercepted mail and tapped conversations over telephone revealed no telling information of the doctor's whereabouts. Following a detailed autopsy of the disinterred remains in Médira, forensics concluded that the body did not match the doctor's; rather, the identity matched a man by the name of Carlos Ramirez whose remains had suspiciously disappeared from a cemetery only three miles from the torched bunker. This discovery led the US to believe that the doctor was on the run.

Seeing as the killings [which the US government heavily suspected Jiménez's involvement in] had ended in El Paso, an FBI SSG team had been assigned to keep track of Grace and the pieces of property the Jiménez family owned. Seeing as a surveillance team wasn't necessarily well-equipped to deal with armed threats, a group of 4 agents were permanently stationed nearby in the event of any new information being discovered.

Tonight was their lucky night. Unlucky, more like.

2 SSG agents were stationed in a red truck with a tinted covering over the bed of the vehicle; the back seats had been scrapped, making room for pieces of surveillance equipment. Another 2 agents were in an SUV opposite the truck in the street, parked next to the curb and with the engine completely deadened. The final group of four trained agents were inside the physical apartment complex, having rented apartments under aliases and were currently participating in recreational activities in the lounge of the building.

One of the agents, out of the corner of their eye, picked up movement on the west side of the building.

"Holy shit, do you see that?" The man said aloud, sitting up stiff in his chair and slapping his partner awake. With the dragging hours on this job, excitement was few and far between; they had every reason to sleep. Except now.

"Wh— don't hit me awake like that, Jesus. What are you..." The second SSG agent replied, trailing off in his speech after locking onto what his partner jad gestured to. In the reflection of the lit-up Atlanta skyline, one could see a glistening red... thing scaling the side of the building. The second agent patched into his comms device, eyes still trained on the humanoid shape.

"Yeah, uh, we got something. Looks like a man scaling the western side of the Crescent Parks apartment complex. Jiménez— wasn't superhuman, was he?"

Silence, as the people on the end of the line replied to the agent.

"Alright. We'll give the signal." He said quickly, tuning to a different dial on the dashboard-mounted communications device.

"We have movement. Might be the doctor... we're going to need a team sent up to the—"

A small pause, as the man's eyes flickered over the different levels of windows on the side of the building. He stopped once they reached the humanoid, who had since stopped and was on the apartment's balcony.

"—sixth floor. Looks like this thing's breaking and entering."

"That matches Jiménez's room. Get the four in the lounge and let's go."

The agent in the driver's seat turned his keys in the ignition just far enough to start his car's battery, then flicked his high beams on two times. He then removed the keys and exited the car, starting towards the building.

— — —

A light scraping noise echoed through the relatively noiseless apartment, save for the distant rumble of traffic in the distance. The large glass door to the balcony was slightly ajar. When Grace had exited her bedroom for a small glass of water, the first thing she felt was the cold breeze blowing in from the outside; the second, a hand covering her mouth. She gave a continuous muffled scream, shushes gradually repeating over her plea for help before a voice made her stop entirely.

"Grace! Grace. It's me. Stop!"

The voice was raspy, changed in a way that almost made its owner sound sick. Despite the differences, she would have recognized it anywhere; it was the voice she fell in love with, the one she had longed to hear ever since it had left nearly half a year ago. Scoffing in joyous surprise, she whirled around in the embrace to face Hector— and was greeted with the eyes of a monster staring down at her. Her widened eyes had taken on an entirely different emotion: fear, rather than joy, and she stepped backwards only to stumble and bump up against the counter behind her. She let out a frightened yelp, grabbing a knife from its holder upon the marble counter and pointing it out towards the creature. It was heavily dressed in street clothes, with only its face and hands by its side visible; it wore a baggy sweatshirt, the hood pulled up and over to hide what was beneath it. Pants and boots covered its legs and feet. It was... human? She wasn't sure what to call it. The decrepit smile upon its toothed maw wavered slightly, turning to a frown. Was it... saddened?

"What the hell are you? Stay the hell away from me." Grace yelled at it, backing up along the length of the counter. Had she been hearing things? The thing had sounded just like her husband— unless—

"It's me, Grace. Please. Hector, your husband."

She paused, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion and fear.

"Bull... bullshit. My husband isn't a God-damn—"

"Monster? I know it does not look like me, Grace, but it is."

The creature took a step forward, simultaneously causing the distraught woman before it to take a step back. Its left hand rose up, and even through the darkness of the apartment the lights of the city caught something on one of its finger. A ring. It glinted in the dark interior of the apartment. Slowly, the man removed it and placed it upon the counter. Even from a distance, she recognized the verdant emerald set in the metal.

Grace covered her mouth, stifling a small cry. She couldn't believe it. She didn't want to believe it. Slowly, her armed hand placed the knife upon the counter and picked up the ring. She held it up to what little light streamed into the room, reading the interior inscription upon the band.

Siempre tuyo. The same words she wore upon her own ring.

Grace closed her eyes, hanging her head low. A single sob escaped from beneath her hand as she set the ring back onto the table, forcing herself to look back up at the man she'd once loved. Tears began to stream down her eyes.

"What... happened to you, Hector?" She said, shaking her head in horror. The doctor let out a pained sigh, and if he were able to, he'd have begun to cry as well. He stepped forward to take the ring, his wife remaining still this time around. She reached forward and tugged at his hood, letting it fall behind to his shoulders. Grace furrowed her eyebrows again, not out of disgust but of immense pity. Pity for what used to be her husband.

"I tried to make myself better, Grace." Héctor replied, his distant tone evident as he stared off past his wife onto the refrigerator. On the fridge were various drawings, quite clearly made by a child; Cristián's drawings. A crudely drawn family portrait was the centerpiece of all the works, with a small boy next to a woman.

"It's been 6 months, Hector. I don't— I thought you were dead." Grace said to him, barely comprehending what had been happening over the past few minutes. It was like a bad dream; part of her even expected to wake up to her alarm, having dreamt this horrible nightmare up. She wiped the tears from her eyes as her husband pulled one of the drawings from underneath the magnet and examined it with a clawed hand, taking care not to poke through the paper.

"I spent months hiding. In Méjico. I don't even know who I am anymore, Grace. I'm— I'm here to try and make things right."

Héctor's wife approached him slowly, extending a hand to softly lay upon his shoulder. The doctor quickly put the drawing back under the magnet, shaking his head.

"We— we can make things right. I'm just glad you're alive," Grace replied, breaking down into a sob for a moment before regaining her composure. For a moment, she even chuckled.

"I just didn't... expect you to be so... red, hon." She continued, smiling through the tears. Héctor even smiled slightly at the remark, turning to face her.

"I can reverse this, I hope... the copies of the research I gave to you. Did you do as I said?" He said softly, craning his head for a moment and angling it towards the door. Footsteps, rapidly approaching. He'd have to make this fast.

"Yes, I gave them to Michael as you said. Met in private, just like you told me to. I remembered."

"And the money I had sent?"

"In the account, just like you had wanted. I also got the car, though I don't—"

A harsh banging at the apartment's door interrupted the conversation, causing Héctor to flinch slightly at the volume of the sound and involuntarily begin to lessen the exposure to his ears. He moved past his wife.

"The keys. Where are the keys—"

"FBI. OPEN THE DOOR OR WE WILL ENTER FORCEFULLY."

"By the door!" Grace yelled out, Héctor quickly moving past her again and snatching the pair of keys on the holder next to the coat rack. He moved away, back towards the kitchen area and his wife before the door flew open, an agent pushing through into the apartment. At the sight of the heavily clothed suspect that had been scaling the building, he went to tackle the doctor; a tendril pierced his chest and sent him flying past Héctor and his wife, slamming into a window and breaking through into the open air. A scream sounded, growing more and more distant before abruptly stopping entirely. Both Jiménez and his wife turned back to the remaining 3 agents, staring at them for a second before each man quickly unholstered their gun and fired upon the doctor.

Instinctually, Jiménez lurched forward and grabbed his wife to shield her, facing her away from the gunfire and taking multiple bullets to his backside and limbs. They had no exit wound, as his body was too dense for the bullets to complete their trajectory through him; as such, Grace was unscathed. When the gunfire stopped and the smoke began to clear, Jiménez fought through the pain and threw himself out the window that the agent had unfortunately fallen out of. The agents rushed forward to pursue him, stopping once they reached the now gaping hole in the apartment's side.

"We have 1 casualty. Suspect has fled the area... be advised, the doctor is exhibiting superhuman strength and endurance. Sustained multiple gunshot wounds."

— — —

Jiménez hit the ground below, his high impact sending a resonating thud into the darkness. Next to him was the dead agent, blood already seeping from the man's body; where from, the doctor didn't know nor care to. Héctor brought himself to his feet and sprinted into the alleyway leading to the street in front of the building, lurching from wall to wall in an attempt to conserve momentum. He broke through onto blacktop, quickly raising the keys in his hand into the air and clicking a red button upon the remote once. Down the street, a small convertible began blaring its alarm. From the small area in front of the apartment complex, the SSG non-combat agents looked on in confusion and partly disbelief. They quickly began to make their way towards the suspect, yelling out "STOP" and a variety of other phrases; seeing as the doctor had already made his way to the car and started it, the words had no effect. The tail and headlights flickered to life and the convertible sped off towards the nearest on-ramp to the I-85.

"Suspect fled on... what looks to be a white Audi coupe. Convertible." One of the agents muttered.

"Fuck!"
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Re: Super Century [Open]

Post by Thundermachine » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:56 pm

"Evening, Darryl," the machine-clad man responded, raising an eyebrow behind the helmet at Virtue's use of his first name. He'd returned the gesture without thinking about it, slowly hovering down to the rooftop where his contact stood. He dropped onto the stone floor with a hard clunk, his suit standing about a head over the government-sanctioned superhero.

The man's offer struck him as odd. As per usual, Ground Control didn't involve itself in his conversations, letting him be the sole voice behind Thundermachine. That was always part of the deal. He knit his brow, though from the outside, such a change in facial expression would be hidden behind his golden faceplate.

"You want me to blow twenty grand on flying down to Washington just to deliver a message to Odin? Odds are I'd just get my metal ass zapped out of the sky," he said with a small laugh. Were they trying to co-opt him as muscle, spark a fire they could use to blame him and Odin alike for future superhuman catastrophe?

Then again, the people would appreciate seeing me meet with Odin. This might just be the excuse I need to make sure folks aren't too worried. I could really show that I have the situation under control...

"You know, I can appreciate a good PR stunt when I see one, V. But I'll need some incentive to be your errand boy. How about this..."

He jabbed a metal thumb upwards towards his chestplate as he spoke.

"You get me a date with Capacitor, and I'll talk to Odin for you. Restaurant of her choosing - I'll pay."

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