EPIC: Brothers in Crime

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Posting Speed
  1. Speed of Light
EPISODE ONE: Brothers in Crime



Dutch sat in the briefing room in his trenchcoat, feet up on the table, sunglasses on, cigarette in one hand, sheets of paper in the other.

He looked cool.

At the head of the table, a man who was his exact opposite stood and glared at him. He was Roger Harcroft, the Facility Chief of Operations, a thin man with slicked back hair and an immaculate black suit.

"Well, what do you think?"

Dutch didn't move, and kept the papers held in front of his face.

"Dutch? What do you think about the team?"

A low, rumbling noise sounded from Dutch's nose.


The soldier twitched slightly, then carried on smoking. Harcroft narrowed his eyes. "You were asleep, weren't you?"

"I don't sleep."

Dutch continued staring at the personnel records he had been given whilst refusing to read them or absorb any information. Despite his best efforts to not care, he had picked up two of the names. Janet Drake and Steven Cho. They sounded like people who would get shot early on.

Dutch knew about these things.

Roger Harcroft began pacing the briefing room, checking his rolex watch every 10 seconds. "They have no reason to be late! There's no traffic in the Nevada Desert, and even less on restricted military roads. You know what it is, Dutch...?"

Dutch was too cool to respond. And in any case, he already knew what the Chief was going to say.

"It's the speed limit," Harcroft declared. "They're obeying the speed limit. I can't stand people who do that. You can't trust them. Because the fact is, most people speed, and if you don't speed then you're not most people! You're someone who is either deluded into thinking you're going at a decent speed, or someone so untrusting of their own reflexes that you're terrified of speeding. A maniac or a neurotic, neither of whom should be allowed to drive a car! You can't trust people who obey the law - you just can't!"

Dutch had made an origami swan out of Freefall's personnel file.


"I'll swing by the copier."

He put his cigarette out on Cho's photograph.



Steven Cho hated the desert, but then again, he didn't know anyone who didn't. It was hot, it was dry, and the air was not nearly as full of sounds as the classic song would have you believe. Why did he leave his job in teaching to join this wacky organization? The pay was good, yes, but that was not worth the amount of physical discomfort that he had to endure. At least he had air conditioning. Then again, nobody really asked him to show up in a suit. It was just what he figured to be the proper attire for something this important.

His directions had told him just to keep driving straight on this road, and eventually he would see the facility, and sure enough, there it stood. Stopping at the checkpoint to be ID'd, he took a look at his watch and discovered that he was about five minutes late. Not that it mattered much to him. He'd been specially picked for this task force, so they could stand to be patient for him to arrive. It wasn't like they would leave without his essential skills backing them up.

The Operations Building looked fairly ordinary, really. Seeing as it was the place where all the military higher-ups had their offices, it didn't have any of the bells and whistles that the building with the test chambers had. Steven had never really gotten to know any military people, but he expected that they were the type to live in a bunker with a bed and a toilet and 50,000 tons of beef jerky. They didn't need any prettiness.

"Hello, sorry I'm late." Steven said upon entering the briefing room. Taking a seat, he sat quietly and waited for everyone else to show up. He figured that they'd wait for everyone else to get here first before telling anyone anything, and he wasn't in the mood to get to know anybody.


Hopeful Monster
From somewhere above them, the three men could hear the distorted jumble of pop music. A bubblegum wrapper bounced off of Cho's head and onto the table.

Harcroft sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Agent FreeFall . . ."

The stereophonic diarrhea persisted.

"Agent FreeFall, please pay attention." His eyebrow twitched. Dutch was a bad influence on the younger agents.

The teenage girl luxuriated, upside down, on the ceiling, her nose buried in a comic book. The bulky headphones almost swallowing her head.

"Agent FreeFall!"

The girl jolted, then peered over her shoujo and down at the three men. "Wha~?" She shouted over the blaring noise in her ears.

"If you please."

"Oh," she lowered her headphones, letting them rest on her neck. "Sorry," she giggled, snorting a little, as she slowly floated down to her seat at the table, across from Cho and Dutch.

"Hey! A paper crane!"
More giggles as the crane floated from the table and into her hands. She seemed to forget the three again as she made the paper creature perform slow, lazy figure eights just above her head. She had forgotten to turn her MP3 player off.

Harcroft could feel a migraine coming on.



Out of breath running into the room, Janet looked around breathlessly saying. "Sorry I'm late Chief." She was always late for things like this. Upon taking her seat she looked around at the many people that were on the new team.

"So, what do you think?"

The voice was heard from the head of the table. Was it something like they were being handpicked for some kind of task? She wasn't sure. She wasn't even sure why she was here.

"I think we're just fine!"

She perked up saying. Feeling like a complete idiot, she slouched down in her chair and lowered her head. It was normal for her to speak up in unannounced things such as this. For the rest of the meeting, staying quite was probably a better thing to do.

Letting out a small breath she looked up again over at Dutch waiting to see what he would say. Though it was plain obvious that he wasn't paying much attention either. Quietly she looked over at Steven and smiled a bit. The girl was obviously trying to get people to like her, but she just really wanted to stay by herself. The long curly brown hair that was matted and dirty looking hung past her shoulders. Again, she slouched further into her chair almost trying to hide away from the rest of the group.


Original poster
Posting Speed
  1. Speed of Light
Harcroft stared blankly at Janet for about thirty seconds, then snatched the origami swan from above Freefall's head. "Stop that!" Then he grabbed the headphones, trying to pull them from her neck whilst simultaneously trying to switch off her MP3 player. The two ended up entangled. "Just... stop.. okay... no, yes... stop..get.. off! OFF!"

Dutch continued smoking.

Paper and headphones went flying across the table and Harcroft finally got back to his chair, fixing his tie. "Right... are we all here? Aren't there meant to be five of you?"

Dutch looked down at the fifth personnel file, which was covered in coffee-stains and cake-crumbs. "I'll fill her in."

"Righto." Harcroft smiled to everyone, picked up a device, turned to the viewscreen and pressed a button.

The lights went off.


There were noises, curses, clicking, a brief spark of red as Dutch lit another cigarette. Then everyone's chairs swivelled around automatically.


The lights came back on, revealing Harcroft on the internal phone. "Yes, IT Department. Hi... yes... the viewscreen in Briefing Room 1. Yes... yes, I clicked it! What.... yes, my left hand.... What? No, that's the nerve gas. Hmm? Really... you sure? Okay..."

He put down the phone, clicked another button, and the viewscreen activated. A series of charts were shown, along with 3D maps and quantum formulas. Harcroft cleared his throat. "Good morning, Agents. Sorry for the short notice, but we have an emergency! Gemini has picked up a Cascade String - a series of unauthorised jumps through our Delta worlds. It seems we have a renegade on our hands. DUTCH, ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?!"

Dutch was staring at the wall through his sunglasses. "Mhmm."

"Anyway, the mission is simple. Gemini has captured the cascade data for the last 4 worlds and extrapolated a jump-cycle. We're going to send you in to find the Renegade's trail and learn what he's up to!"

* * * * *


"Don't get an erection. Don't get an erection. Don't get an erection."

The others glanced at Harcroft as he recited the mantra to himself in the corner of the elevator. They were all squashed into the lift and heading down into the heart of the Facility. And to save on space, Freefall had flattened herself to the ceiling. It was, of course, rather inappropriate for Harcroft to be saying such things, but as the Chief of Operations he had certain luxuries. With his eyes screwed shut, he continued saying it as the team descended through 13 floors of laboratories.

And luckily he didn't get an erection.

Finally the elevator stopped and as the doors opened the cloud of smoke from Dutch's cigarette poured out into the Jump Chamber. After the coughing and wafting died down, the large room was revealed. Scientists were running about and lights were flashing as countdowns sounded. None of this was really necessary, but the scientists liked to look important.

One of them even wore running shoes.

And at the far end of the chamber, lit by spotlights, the Quantum Entangler awaited.


"We don't have much data on the first jump point," Harcroft said as he took a clipboard from a scientist who was running past. "The spectral readings suggest a Class Seven pre-industrial arable Earth with Beta Level geo-psychic outlay and..."

"Fantasy," Dutch interrupted.

Harcroft. "No. A Class Seven pre-industrial arable Ear..."

"Fantasy," Dutch repeated.

"It's not that simple! You can't just reduce every alternate reality in an infinite multiverse to five blanket genres!"

"Fantasy." Dutch flicked his cigarette away and stepped into the accelerator, standing at the far end as the countdown began.

Harcroft glared then threw his clipboard away. Turning to the others, he dodged a trio of sprinting scientists and then shouted to them above the noise of the klaxons. "OKAY! ARE THE REST OF YOU READY?"



Janet's face turned red as soon as Harcroft stared blankly. She never felt more like an idiot than she did just at that very moment. Looking over she saw Dutch smoking away. What was that, like his 3rd cigarette or something? Shaking her head, she went and sat down seeing as Harcroft and Agent FreeFall, were getting into it again, giggling a bit, she watched as the two of them toppled over on each other.

Perking her head up, she looked again over at Dutch as he mentioned that he'd fill someone in. Biting her lip nervously, she spoke up. "Fill who in?" Clueless she was. Which was normally the case. Though, when put to work she wasn't so much clueless. Janet knew what she had to get done, and so without a doubt; she got it done whether or not it was the right way.

Glancing over at Harcroft seeing the smile cross his face was usual. It was like he was planning something but she wasn't entirely sure what it was. The flickering of the lights startled her for a moment then breathed easily seeing the redness of Dutch's cigarette again. 'God, how much does the guy smoke in a day?' She thought to herself.

As the screen came up, she watched the maps being flipped through. This was their mission. She listened carefully to the words. "Gemini has captured the cascade data for the last 4 worlds and extrapolated a jump-cycle. We're going to send you in to find the Renegade's trail and learn what he's up to!"

Janet listened closely to Harcroft and Dutch arguing back and forth. What was it that she found so interesting about the two of them. I mean, it was like they already knew each other. Even if she wasn't ready for this, she didn't have much of a choice. She was here now, and she had to fulfill her mission. Or, to help the mission. "Okay are the rest of you ready?!" Ready or not, this was it. This was the moment.

"Ready sir!"

The words blurted out like a babbling idiot.


Hopeful Monster
FreeFall's fidgeting ceased after the lights dimmed down, surrounding her in comforting darkness. At first, she paid close attention to the film, determined to do her part and learn everything she needed about the mission so she wouldn't be a drag on the team. A few minutes passed with FreeFall alternately chewing and sucking on an ink black strand of her hair, something she did when she was trying very hard to concentrate. Her eyes drifted away from the screen and to the others around the table. Their bodies glowed in the film's ghostly light. Reversed images of blurry locations, unreadable equations, galaxies, cities projected across their faces, making them all appear alike. As if looking everywhere but at each other.

FreeFall let the slick strands slip away from her lips, tucking them behind her ear, before returning her attention to the film. She blew a fat pink bubble from between her lips, expanding it until it burst.

"Agent FreeFall! Gum."

FreeFall swallowed loudly.


This wasn't like the Super Squadron--

FreeFall pressed her back against the elevator's ceiling, her legs spread in the splits to keep herself supported against the square frame. One hand, protected by a leather fingerless glove, grasped the chrome edges of the single light. Her other hand was cupped over her mouth and nose, an attempt to spare her lungs from Dutch's nicotine hotboxing. (She pegged him for the kind of guy who would fart in the car and then turn up the heat.)

--For one thing, she was friends with all of her teammates in the Squadron. The teen superheroes knew everything about each other. How they worked. These people seemed intent not to talk to each other... Was this how the missions were supposed to go? What was she not picking up on?

She wasn't working for mommy and the Super Squadron, anymore. This was the 'outside world' the older members always warned her about. The place where she was supposed to watch out for female reporters and guys in smoking jackets and never ever let your sidekick guard anything...
This was her chance to break off from her mother and the Squadron. To start her career solo, maybe even come up with a more grown up persona. A more feminine costume. That's what was expected of her.

"Don't get an erection. Don't get an erection. Don't get an erection."

FreeFall rolled her eyes. She was starting to question her choice in summer internships.


FreeFall walked quickly and she had a distinct bounce in her steps. This was because she walked toe-heel, with the latter barely touching the ground before launching into the next step. This gave her the appearance of not so much walking as propelling herself forward. The toes within her red jika-tabi splayed against the floor, arching, spreading, searching for a grip to keep herself anchored to the earth.

"We don't have much data on the first jump point," Harcroft said as he took a clipboard from a scientist who was running past. "The spectral readings suggest a Class Seven pre-industrial arable Earth with Beta Level geo-psychic outlay and..."

FreeFall blinked, a cold panic slowly sinking in her stomach. She didn't even know what half of those words meant.

"Fantasy." Dutch flicked his cigarette away.

FreeFall giggled, earning a withering stare from Harcroft.

"Cool! This'll be like LARPING." FreeFall bounced towards the accelerator. Through the white cotton material of her tank top, a series of coin-sized silver domes bloomed from her skin. Starting at her neck and ending at the base of her spine. The blue lights atop each dome blazed whenever she used her powers. "I hope I get to be an elf!"

Harcroft coughed a little as she bounded past him, making her pause to look at him.

“Good luck,” he began, FreeFall smiled. A pause, his brow knit slightly, “Agent FreeFall.”

Her smile quickly faded into a neutral line. "Thanks, Chief." She turned from him, her airy expression returning as she joined Janet and Dutch in the accelerator. They spied Cho, still standing where they had been 'briefed'. There was an odd look on his face. Was he hesitant? Was he having a 'super-genius moment'?

FreeFall cupped her hands around her mouth and called out to him.

"Hey, Mr. Cho! Aren't you coming?"


Steven wasn't entirely sure that he was going to enjoy this part. He'd talked with some of the lab technicians and, while the science seemed plausible, there was always this nagging feeling that they were working with something completely theoretical. Mr. Cho hated to be unsure of things, and right now he felt more unsure than he had ever felt in his entire existence. Not helping matters was that Dutch kept on interrupting the fascinating lecture on the device's operation. What if they needed this information to get back home somehow?

So wrapped up was he in his thoughts that he only noticed that the group was moving onwards when one of his fellow agents (FreeFall, was it?) shouted at him to hurry up. Regaining his composure, he stepped off after the rest of the group, mumbling an uninspired, "Yes yes, I'm ready. Wait a second."

Honestly, of all the sorts to be sent through time and space, Cho was perhaps the most ordinary. How could he keep up with these extraordinary members in an unfamiliar land? Would he choke under pressure? How was he even sure that he wouldn't die out there, with his mind trapped in another man's body? This was going to be torture, he just knew it, but he couldn't back down either. This was the chance of a lifetime, and whether he lived or not, he was sure that he would never have another experience like it.


Original poster
Posting Speed
  1. Speed of Light
The door of the Quantum Entangler rumbled shut, sealing them in to the 5 by 10 foot chamber. It was stark white, humming with power, and their eyes and teeth glowed luminescent in the sterile light. On a little screen near the far end, Harcroft's face appeared, giving a smile and a wave as scientists rushed around him.

"The HB field has identified several cascade points in the vicinity of the target area. Usual drill, chaps: we're not sure exactly where you'll land, but the entanglement should be relatively painless. Expect all the usual disorientation. Gemini has predicted a 90% stability, so the next jump will happen in 4 hours time. You'll know when it's about to occur, because you're particles will start untangling!"

He grinned and gave the thumbs up, as behind him the lab was bathed in red light and an unnecessarily loud alarm started blaring.

"Entanglement Acceleration in T-minus five seconds," declared the digital voice of a female who had clearly never experienced the terror of being de-molecularized and shot in a cannon across an infinite multiverse.

Dutch took a last drag on his cigarette, dropped it and crushed it beneath his heel.


Freefall spat out her second piece of gum.


Janet scratched her head.


Cho frowned, "Well that's not ri--"


It was still the early days of Quantum Entanglement technology, and books had not yet been written on it. But one day it would be said that Entanglement was 'rather like having your spine turned into a blender whisk'. It was a sense of your innermost core suddenly spinning and throwing your bones and flesh in all directions. Others likened it to finding your stomach was a shrapnel-loaded grenade all along.

Whatever the metaphor, these were the only occasions when Dutch indulged himself in a good old-fashioned girly scream. Not that anyone could hear. He was now in a trillion pieces and being launched by Higgs Boson ray across a million galaxies. He didn't even have the luxury of seeing stars flash past or a tunnel of light. It was just painful darkness and painful awakening, like being punched uncosciousness and slapped awake a moment afterwards.

When he next opened his eyes, he saw only darkness and felt the cold press of metal against his face. He couldn't breathe and his body was heavy... heavier than it should've been, even with the after-effects of the jump. He gasped for breath and staggered backwards, suddenly aware of his feet and of the absence of any floor behind him.

"Oh boy!"

With an almighty crash, the guard stationed on the eleventh floor of the Royal Library went tumbling down the spiral staircase, bits of his plate armoured flying off as he landed in a heap in the corridor below.



It was difficult for Cho to truly put words to the feeling of being thrust across dimensions, but were he able to speak, he probably would be saying something like, "BLUH!!!" followed by a lengthy exhibition of his last meal. It wasn't as if being chopped up into an infinite number of pieces then reassembled violently was going to be fun in any circumstance, but this being his first jump, it was the worst thing that he had ever felt, or would probably feel again. He entertained thoughts of backing out, but then his logical mind politely informed him that the time for backing out had passed around the time that his body had ceased to be a singular entity.

When he regained his senses, he suddenly gave a start, because everything was still dark and damp. Though not claustrophobic, his main reason for panic was that he was in a very tight space, such that he could only just move his arms. When he shifted his weight, he heard the sounds of creaking wood, and he suddenly caught the whiff of something...like wine. He'd had it only occasionally, and the last time was almost three months ago, but it was assuredly wine. Where was he? And why was he so restricted?

"Uh...hello? Is anyone-"

"SSH!" a nearby voice harshly whispered, "keep with the plan."

"What plan?" Cho replied anyway. "Who are you?"

"Very funny, Vern," the voice growled, "just wait for the signal."

Had Cho the ability to discern his surroundings, he would have known that he was in the wine cellar in the employees lounge of the 1st floor of the Royal Library, along with five of his fellow freedom fighters. The plan was simple: from the barrels, they would ambush some of the library's staff and dress up as them, opening a side passage for the main group to sweep in. Thanks to the contributions of a new recruit, they'd gotten a floor plan of the place and the location of the tome that they were seeking. All they needed now was to ascend to the 17th floor of the library, bypass what would doubtless be a heavy amount of security, seize the book, and get it back to the base without being followed or ambushed along the way. Simple, really.

Cho, naturally, didn't know any of that information. All he knew was that he was in a very tight space, and he wanted to get out. "HELP! Somebody!" he cried out, only to suddenly tip over and land on his side. At that moment, he realized that he was rolling back and forth, and it hit him. "What in the world am I doing in a-"


"Sorry," he replied meekly, and continued to roll back and forth, trying to get his bearings.


Hopeful Monster

One time, Dr. Impossible had trapped her in a Supersonic Accelerator Cylinder , in order to utilize her powers to charge his death ray. It took them ten minutes to rescue her. In that time she had been spinning in what was effectively a giant washing machine. The force should have pulled the blood through her skin.

Quantum Entanglement made that seem like a carnival ride.


One clear gray eye cracked open, quickly followed by its twin. Long fingers tucked dark strands of hair behind elfin ears. One by one, he allowed his fingers to loosen their hold on the empty bottle in his other hand. It slid to the stone floor with a thunderous clatter that startled him fully awake.

A fire had been lit to bring some warmth into the sparse bedroom. But he still found his skin prickling from the chill. He rubbed his hands against the tops of his arms, before suddenly stopping. He traced his fingers slowly along his arms, his shoulders, noting the long, lean muscles, the broader shapes.

The exhalation from his gasp was so strong it sprang him to his feet. The naked elf threw his hands up in a defensive position, before he began to gesticulate wildly and generally flip the fuck out.

“I’m a--Oh my God! I have a--”
His eyes bulged as he stared downward, so transfixed that he didn’t notice the equally naked woman stirring from the bed. The human girl regarded him with sleepy, drunken eyes. “Is something the matter, m--”

FreeFall shrieked and snatched an ornamental tapestry from the nightstand, bunching it against his crotch, while his other arm flew up across his chest, shielding his nipples.

“S-Sorry!” There was the familiar prickly sensation across her skin, followed by the weightless feeling--He was using his power.

The pitcher of water on the dresser behind them burst, sending a shard-riddled spray in all directions.

FreeFall’s eyes narrowed, flashed for a moment, before he turned to look over his shoulder.

It was as if something had closed around the shards, deflected them, reversed their projection. The shards collided, enclosed within the invisible sphere. Then, a smooth porcelain marble fell to the floor with a deafening 'clunk'.

FreeFall caught a glance of his bare back in the mirror. The color drained from his narrow face. His inhibitor had not transferred with him. The scientists had assured it would, ‘genetic signature’ and blah blah blah. It was probably still floating around somewhere in tiny particles.

A Class 5 Gravity Manipulator without an inhibitor. He was going to have to constantly focus to keep his powers under control. Too bad his therapist had added possible ADHD to her notes.

...Hey, this isn’t a tapestry. It’s a cloak!

FreeFall fiddled with the fine material, admiring the clever dying process.

The human girl shifted uncomfortably, pulling the sheets closer to her chin. “Do... Did I displease you, m’lord?”

Her words brought him back from his reverie. His sylphin features wide in astonishment. He had forgotten she was there. He laughed, a high-pitched nervous sound.

“Omigod, no! I’m sure you’re very--wait, m’lord?”



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"Hey! Hey you! Wake up!"

Dutch was woken by the sharp and repeated prodding of wood into his throat. Looking up through the dented visor of his helmet, he saw an old wizard squinting at him. "You disturbed my owl! What's with the racket?!"

Bits of plate armour fell from him as he stumbled to his feet, swaying about and blinking at the old man. After a moment of gripping and groaning, he wrenched off his dented helmet to reveal himself as a youth with clean shaven head and scarred, pitbull-like face. He had a moment to take in his surroundings before getting clonked on the side of the head by the wizard's staff. "I'll be having words with the Sergeant! How do you expect us to brew potions with you guards clattering about all the time? Why are you falling down stairs? What's wrong with you? What's your name?"

Dutch stared at the wizard.

The wizard stared back.

"Waaaaah!" yelled the old man as a right hook sent him tumbling down the next flight of stairs.

Dutch reached for his cigarettes, realised he didn't have any, then realised he didn't want any. This body, free of nicotine addiction, felt somehow empty and unfulfilled. He checked his watch. He realised he didn't have one. Then he straightened his sunglasses... which he also didn't have.

He was wasting a lot of time with needless gestures.

As was his usual routine, Dutch kicked open the nearest door and went inside, the last bits of plate mail falling from him till he was just in his cotton shirt and pants. He entered a world of bubbling vials and smoking cauldrons, where lizards and bats skittered between the shadows. There was a sulphurous smell and a disgruntled-looking owl. Dutch ignored everything as he moved to the arched window and looked out.

A great city stretched to the horizon, joining the sky in a hundred pillars of chimney smoke. Thatched rooves, battlements, cloisters and towers, all hemmed in by a city wall that glittered with patrolling guardsmen.

"Fantasy," Dutch muttered.

Then he saw another spiral stairway leading to the room below.