With Great Power

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by monstrosity, May 1, 2012.

  1. The television screen went through picture upon picture of a very familiar gent, the local news was yet again giving tribute to everyone's one and only superhero. For three years he had kept their city safe, and the reports went on about how he made them feel safe at night and rest easy knowing he was always there on the job. Helena Murphy stared at the screen, she barely noticed she had been clenching her teeth when someone nearby spoke up, asking for a coffee refill.

    For three years she had been undercover, using the name her agency gave to her, and here she was, a super, made into a common waitress at a local diner. Of course they made her take an occupation that wouldn't involve animals, that would make it all too obvious. No, they put her in a spot she detested, working non-stop with humans. And to think three years ago she wasn't just helping them by filling their glasses and bringing their food, she was out there saving lives not known at Helena but as the Prowler. Oh, how she longed for the battlefield, the sweet taste that victory left on her tongue. Now the only thing she ever tasted or smelled were coffee grinds.

    Finally her shift was over and her replacement had actually arrived on time for once. She made her way into the back room and gathered her hoodie and purse, and let her black hair down from it's pony tail. Helena tugged on her jacket before exiting the diner, finding that it was still a little chilly but not as freezing cold as this morning. As usual the streets were never empty, and she blended in well with the crowd as she made her way back toward her tiny apartment which was not bad but not great either. Normal people would be pondering about what left overs they had left in the fridge of when they would hear from that girl they gave their number to last night. Instead Helena thought about previous battles, and how lovely the wind feels beneath her wings as a bird.

    As she approached her home she dug out the keys from her purse and climbed the stairs to her apartment number seventy seven, unlocked the door and gave it a good shove to open it. It was just as she had left it, rather clean with a very lived-in feeling as old bills still lay scattered across the dining room table and the recycling needed to be taken out. The woman approached her telephone to see that there was a message on her answering machine. Helena hit the play button as she removed her jacket and began unbuttoning the top half of her uniform. "Hey, P. Just calling to let you know there's a meeting tonight. Ten sharp." The voice of a friend came from the small answering machine speaker. "Great." Helena murmured at the thought of having to make the trip out, but she hadn't seen the others in a while, and it had to be something important.

    Helena removed her work clothes and dressed into a t-shirt and jeans, which she found much more comfortable, and went about acting like there was nothing special about her. She heated herself a bowl of pasta she made the previous night and flopped down on her couch to enjoy some television.
  2. Some days, he trouble trying to remember what his name had been before. No one said it anymore -- he was no roman emperor with someone to whisper in his ear "You're only a man." He had to remember for himself; and so he struggled many days just to relive the memories of what had come before. He remembered computers, and games, and the crush he had had on a cheerleader in high school. He remembered what she had said. "Taylor, could you help me with..." "Taylor, I don't understand this problem here..." "Taylor, I need your help..." "Taylor..." Every time she had said his name, he couldn't stop himself from dropping what he was doing to go to her.

    Now they called him "Hero." For three years, he had protected the city. For three years, he had stood against the darkness. For three years, women had cried not "Help me, Taylor" but "Help, Hero!" and for three years men had congratulated him on a job well done. Before leaving him to stand alone, his fellow superheroes had said him taking the name conceited. They had called him a showoff for rushing in, saving the day when they had things well in hand. Couldn't they see that the name had been forced on him? Couldn't they see that it wasn't about the glory, it wasn't about the fighting, it was about ending the evil? They were the only ones that had called him Taylor, but not in the affectionate way of his crush, it was a stand of defiance against the name he had been forced into using. Then they left him alone to stand watch.

    For three years.

    Hero shivered in the dark, unable to shake the cold. His power didn't protect him from the cold, unfortunately. The alley was lit only by the reflection of a fading streetlamp on the puddles underfoot. The bricks of the buildings on both sides were slick with the rain that had briefly passed through the city.

    It was cold, it was wet, and Taylor was miserable. He'd have been home if it weren't for his work.

    A dark-faced man wearing a hood strode into the alley, casting glances over his shoulder as he did. He saw Hero standing in the middle of the alley, and hunched his shoulders down. He was secretive by nature, and the danger of meeting the only active superhero in the city only heightened his paranoia. So much could go wrong.

    "You are very brave," Hero said. The man nodded in agreement. "You have something to tell me, right?"

    "Yeah. Yeah. I got somethin' to tell you bro." The man cast another look over his shoulder.

    "Out with it then -- its cold and wet, and if we hang around too long the men you're watching out for might just appear," Hero growled, brown-haired head tilting back and green eyes flicking quickly to the rooftops. They liked to come from there, sometimes. Hero had learned to watch out for that, early on into his career.

    "So, uh, yeah. Dr. Omega is gatherin' up some of the gangs. He's also talkin' wit' some of the other Super Bosses. If someone doesn't submit, he caps 'em between the eyes, or some other shit. Freaky shit. You know what I'm sayin' dawg?" The man asked, shuddering.

    "I've seen some of the bodies," Hero said, wincing. There had been a man - a bear of a man - taller than Taylor by a head that had been found with his skin peeled off in the river.

    "Yeah. So. Uh. I figured he was trying to get somethin' together. He said something about forming alliances an' shit. I don't know," The man turned and began walking away. That was all he had to offer for the night.

    Taylor watched him go, mind racing. Omega, at the head of an alliance of other Villains and the gangs? Individually, he could defeat each in turn -- they didn't really understand Hero quite yet: he tried his best to remain unpredictable. He didn't even have a uniform to identify him, just a blurry mask he made with his power -- but together? Too many conflicts happening at once would overwhelm him. For three years, he had been enough to stop the big pushes by the Villains, and with some maneuvering he had even kept the gangs from fighting one another, but he hadn't been able to stop everything. The fact that he hadn't heard about Omega's forming alliance until now was worrying enough.

    Taylor needed help. He needed someone who hadn't been seen in a while -- someone who could penetrate the alliance. Someone who was also powerful enough to hold their own when the fighting started.

    Once his informant was out of sight, Hero began running to his apartment, trying to remember his agent's number.

    The Next Evening

    In the light over Apartment Seventy-Seven's door, Taylor could be seen better: average height, green, inquisitive eyes, and the weary, forced smile of someone used to cameras. He wore glasses as well, he found them more comfortable than the contacts he wore while working. His hair was a mess as well, and his leather biker's jacket was frayed obviously beginning to fall apart at the seams. He wasn't incognito, really -- this was how he appeared when he wasn't working. He hadn't shown his face to another superhero before, and he hoped it would earn him a little trust.

    He knocked on the door, trying to broaden his smile. Her name was... Helena, right? Taylor hoped he didn't butcher Prowler's name.
  3. The pasta disappeared quickly from the bowl as Helena absentmindedly flipped through the channels. She landed on the news yet again, Hero's face slathering the screen. The woman stared at the screen as they played captured footage of him taking out a mugger and she let out a sigh. For three years this poor sod had to single handedly protect all these people, and honestly she couldn't fathom the kind of pressure he was under. Helena watched for a few minutes longer, then clicked the tv off and moved to place her dish in the sink. There was still a lot of time before she had to go to that meeting, so she figured she would take a shower in the meantime.

    The hot water rushed over her and relaxed her muscles while her mind raced. Her powers all started when she was eighteen, and in the beginning all the animals would speak to her and it would just be gibberish, mumblings of some kind. It began with the animals, and then the transformations. They were painful, excruciating, and she had absolutely no control over them. But as time went on Helena could control it better, and it didn't hurt quite as made to morph. When she was twenty she met an older gentleman named Owain, a superhero. He became her mentor and taught her how to fight, and introduced her to the others.

    At that point she was still just a kid. No matter how talented and skilled at fighting she was, Helena was still under the training of Owain. She was respected within the group, because what took them years to be able to do she was able to do in mere months. Even when Hero arrived, Helena didn't complain. It wasn't about the fame and glory, it was about the thrill of the battle and the safety of the citizens. The others did not take to Hero so kindly, and when they all pulled away, Helena was forced to retreat as well when she had just turned twenty one.

    That was three years ago, and living on her own for this long changed her view of things. Owain was no longer her mentor, and she could have rejoined the battle, but something held her back. Perhaps the fear that Hero would just tell her to find her own city to protect, or perhaps the fear that the other underground supers would lose all respect for her. Helena resisted the urge to just blindly charge forth and fight, which had always been her nature three years ago.

    The young woman stepped out of the shower and dried herself, changing back into the t-shirt but trading the jeans for shorts while she cooled off. She wrapped her thick, black hair in the towel and sat back down at her couch, flipping the television back on. She settled on CSI and watched for about ten minutes before there was a knock on her door. Who would be over at this hour? The meeting was later, no one would come seek her when they could see her later. Maybe it was Judy, the lady across the street, trying to get her to take a kitten. Helena sighed and removed the towel from her head, letting her slightly damp hair fall over her right shoulder and headed for the door.

    She opened the door to find a taller man. Her sharp, blue eyes scanning him, taking in his glasses that covered his green eyes, his unkempt mop of brown locks, and his biker jacket which was in complete disrepair. Who the hell was this? His smile seemed familiar somehow... "Can I help you?" Helena asked, though it came out sounding rather cold and raised her eyebrows at him, waiting for him to state his business.
  4. "You're Helena, right? My name is Taylor -- Taylor McCormick? You might know me better as Hero," Taylor said, beginning to tense up. Would she take a swing at him? One of the heroes he had tried to convince to come back to work had done that, three years ago. "I need your help. You were called Prowler once, a long time ago. I remember that you did a very good job of fighting Dr. Omega? I remember you worked with Owain, at least, and I was hoping you could use some of the skills he taught you to help the city. Can I come in?"


    "You're sure?" Wyre needed the man to be sure. If he screwed up and shot the wrong person, the jig'd be up. Hero would be on the lookout for him then, and there would be nothing to stop the Super from cutting off his head.

    "Yeah, I'm sure. My man said he was visiting another Super tonight -- she's retired, but go ahead an cap her too if you get the chance," His employer growled. "Look, the Doctor wants him dead. I said you'd be the man for the job, and I don't like to be wrong Wyre."

    Wyre sighed. A cold wind blew through the window he had opened across the street from Apartment Seventy-Seven. Downstairs, the renters had been tied up, gagged, and stuffed into a locked closet. Lucky for them, it had been Wyre that had broken in and not one of the barbarians he worked with. Or one of the Doctor's pets. The thought of the creatures made him shiver a little.

    "Alright," He said, scratching at his infantile beard. He wanted to grow it out, for once.

    His employer ended the call, allowing Wyre to stuff the cellphone away. He kneeled down, beginning to set up his Barret .50 Caliber Sniper Rifle. Rumor had it that it was the only gun with a big enough bullet to punch through Hero's little shields of air. In near total darkness -- he had turned the lights out in the room -- he placed the bipod on the windowsill, and rested the barrel of his gun. He began playing with dials on the scope, setting up his shot. He was far enough away not to be seen, something he praised city for. It was close enough, however, that if he missed he'd be screwed: Hero could get to the Apartment faster than he could get out of it.

    Satisfied with his calibrations he flipped open the scope cap, and double checking that he was aiming at the right apartment doorway, he began counting under his breath as he lined up the shot.
  5. Helena looked surprised when the gentleman knew her name, she wasn't exactly the talk of the town. He introduced himself as Taylor McCormick, then right ahead and stated out loud that he was better known as Hero. The girl's mouth opened to say something, but at the moment nothing came out and he continued talking. He went on about how he knew she was once the Prowler and how she fought Dr. Omega and worked with Owain. What the hell was he doing? Was he really going to stand at her door and tell her about her past like none of this information was all that important. Lastly he asked if he could come in.

    "Yeah, you definitely need help, bud."
    Helena glared at him, but moved to open her door to let him in. She closed it behind him and crossed her arms, looking at his rather disgruntled. "You realize I'm undercover here? And you just show up at my door and start telling my whole life story for everyone to hear?" The girl let out a sigh, and raised a hand to her face to pinch the bridge of her nose, trying to gather everything that just happened. It had been such a normal day, and then he showed up and out right asked her for help. What he was offering was her old life back, back when things made more sense and she wasn't fighting herself.

    All those instincts, killer instincts that she had been ignoring would finally be put to good use, but she would be rejoining the battle during the biggest shit storm of the century. "I'll help you," Helena grumbled. "But not for you. I don't want to see this city go up in flames." The girl looked at him with those piercing blue eyes of hers and wondered if she was the first he'd asked recently. Had to be, because if it had been anyone else they would have slammed the door in his face and raised the alarm to everyone else. He had lucky. Perhaps dumb luck.

    At that moment there was a commotion outside her window. "Gun!" "Gun? Where?" "Gun, you saw a gun?" "A gun! A gun!" A group of pigeons sitting in a nearby tree were all now yelling out. Helena reacted, lunging herself at Taylor and throwing both of them on the ground before a bullet pierced through her window and buried itself in the wall where he had been standing. "Friend of yours?" The woman stood up and ran for the window, taking the shape of a hummingbird, a quick, small creature that was nearly impossible to aim at. She flew toward the house across the way, there were no other places someone could take a shot like that. In an instant she made it to the windowsill where the sniper was perched and flew straight at him, and once through the window she shifted again, this time into a tiger that continued the forward momentum and knocked the sniper on his back. Two giant paws landed on his forearms as she pinned him to the ground, baring her teeth and growling.

    (( I know I godmodded quite a bit. I apologize for that. ))
  6. "Shit!" Wyre shouted when he missed. There would be no running.

    He fired again.

    The bullet went wide as, inexplicably a tiger appeared out of thin air and tackled him, knocking his aim off. His arms were pinned, he couldn't draw his knife or his pistol, but his boot knife... He kicked the floor with the heel of his right boot, activating a trigger. A small blade popped out of the tip as the boot rebounded up. Wyre bent his leg at the knee and twisted it around to jam the blade in the space where the tiger's leg met its torso. It would be useless, he knew. But no one could ever accuse Wyre of not trying.


    Hero scrambled to his feet, confused. He saw the tiger leap through the window and allowed himself a satisfied smile. Summoning his will, he pushed himself higher as he made a short hop. The hop carried him to the window, where he landed. "Don't know the guy."

    ((just try not to do it again, XD. I hadn't intended for him to fire so soon, but it's all good. I can still work with this.))
  7. The woman stood before him, taking the shape of a tiger as she pinned him down with her heavy paws. Helena was no longer - no, she would now take the name that was rightfully hers, The Prowler. The change pushed her senses into over drive as she adjusted into this form, after being human for such a long time. Her spirit could not be contained to simply one form, she needed this.

    Adrenaline pumped through her as she took in her surroundings, all sorts of different smells wafting throughout the home. The smell of her neighbor's perfume was the most prominent, but for now there was a new scent, coming from the man she had pinned to the floor. He had worn cologne a day or so ago and hadn't had time to shower it off. Her sharp eyes retained their blue color and caught sight of his, the look of utter fear in his expression. Prowler knew there was no going back after this.

    There was a quiet thud that took place behind her, her now very sensitive ears picking up what sounded like a blade being unsheathed. Her prey shifted, moving his right leg. Prowler glanced down to see what he was up to, finding that he was in position to strike her with a hidden blade. The tiger lifted a heavy back leg and moved her paw to his upper thigh where she stomped down, sending his leg down to the floor. In doing so the blade tip took a nice, clean swipe of her right leg, a decent cut but it was something that could easily be ignored. Prowler, now angered about his little stunt opened her jowl and released a roar, and exposed her retracted claws, piercing into the skin of his forearms.

    It was then that Hero appeared at the window, stating that he didn't actually know whoever this was trying to kill him. Not surprising considering anybody who was anyone in the villain world had oodles of minions to do their bidding. A sigh escaped her as she morphed back to human form, and although this form wasn't quite as intimidating, her previous form was still lending her powers of strength and heightened senses. It was a sort of side effect that wouldn't last very long. "Well, he certainly knows you." She said, looking over her shoulder at Hero before returning her attention to her prey. "Don't try anything funny or next time I'll be a rhino." Prowler growled at him and applied extra pressure to his limbs for a moment for emphasis. "Now what did you do with the couple who are living here?"

    (( That would have made a lot more sense. *kicks self* I won't let it happen again. ))
  8. "Locked in the closet downstairs," Wyre said quickly. "I only kill people I'm paid to kill if I can help it."


    Something was... wrong. Such a light measure to kill Hero was uncharacteristic of Omega. Sure, if the sniper had struck home he would have died, but only one sniper? No traps or backup? Something was wrong. Was it just to get his attention? It certainly had. It still didn't fit though, and if they had known Prowler was going to be around as well, the sniper had been doomed from the start.

    "Boy, when I come for you, you'll know it. You'll think it's something simple. You'll turn your eyes away from your back, because you'll think it's over for the moment. Then the claws will dig into your back." That was what Omega had told Hero once, when Hero believed that Omega had been responsible for the gang violence two years ago. Dr. Omega had been laughing while he had said it, too.

    I should have captured him then, Hero thought, gritting his teeth.

    "There's something wrong, Prowler. Watch out for some sort of attack," he said.
  9. Promptly, the sniper gave her the information she asked, confessing that he only killed people he was paid to kill. The Prowler clicked her tongue and shook her head a bit. "Well, aren't you just a model citizen?" The woman sneered. But at least he was speaking the truth and the couple she knew were probably rather uncomfortable, but not in any immediate danger. Perhaps it was this chap's lucky day, because if he had went on describing how he murdered them the instinct to kill probably would have caused her to crush his skull in. That instinct was always hard to ignore, especially after pushing against it for so long and then shifting into a very well known predator. It was like itching for a cigarette and finally giving in and smoking a whole pack.

    Hero spoke up, gathering her attention, calling her by the name she loved, and mentioned there might be something more than just this sniper. Prowler huffed and turned to her captured prey, her eyes cold and demanding. "Oh? Did you bring friends?" She growled and returned to the shape of a tiger, baring down on the sniper and showing off her teeth, inviting him to spill some more information.

    The Prowler prepared herself, the mention of company not being taken lightly. She lowered herself just slightly, being in position to pounce if need be. Her breath went silent and her ears pricked up and swirled, listening closely. Deep breaths were taken in order to sniff out any scents that would seem out of the ordinary and now waited. Either for information from her prey or for the next move from the opponent.
  10. Something foul assaulted Prowler's senses almost immediately; it hung in the air chokingly -- and it did. Prowler's throat began to tighten painfully, and saliva began collecting as her stomach rebelled at the stench. The man beneath her began gagging, and renewed his struggles beneath her tiger-weight.

    Hero felt his throat tighten as well, though he knew he wasn't about to die from a bad smell, and especially not from one he knew so well. A squid-beast of Dr. Omega's was here.

    Hero summoned his will, gathering it into a ball inside his mind. The air appeared to shimmer around him for a moment, and with a waving motion he focused his energy into stirring the air like a fan. He also set down a shield, hardening the air around him. If he could smell it, it was about to strike, and he needed to be ready to cut into it when it pounced. Hero never got the chance; there was a crack like thunder from outside. If Prowler had been looking, she'd have seen -- just for an instant -- a large bullet pause at an invisible barrier. A second crack, this time louder, and the bullet broke through the hardened air and tumbled through into Hero's shoulder, spinning him around and dropping him to the floor.

    A dark shape simultaneously burst through the door with a screech, flailing tentacles catching wood that stuck to its skin like glue. It lashed out, tentacles seeming to stretch impossibly long, searching for Prowler. Instead, it got the sniper with the tip of one on his forehead. Its sucker lodged in, shooting out barbs. The sniper screamed as the shape began dragging him out from under Prowler.
  11. The stench hit her immediately, her being in a form with much more sensitive nose, the smell was almost overwhelming and it took a lot of effort to keep from gagging. The sniper she had pinned reacted to the smell, his gag reflex taking over and he began struggling under her weight to no avail, her heavy paws too much for him to wiggle out of. Her attention was away from him as she listened to something moving up the stairs behind the door, creating an interesting almost slimy sound as it climbed the staircase.

    At that moment other gunners opened fire and her ears swung around to the sound of gunfire. Prowler looked around and watched as the bullet she heard firing pierced through Hero's invisible barrier and tumble off of his shoulder onto the floor like it had been tossed at him. It was then that the door slammed open, her attention moving yet again, this time to see a creature that took up much of the door frame, dark and slimy with stretchy tentacles. She watched as one of the long arms reached out, searching for her, but instead found the sniper she had pinned. What she thought was merely a sucker turned into a spike, driving its way into the skull of the sniper. The man beneath her screamed as the large squid-like beast began dragging the sniper from under her, and she quickly hopped backward off him, her mind reeling for something she could do.

    The Prowler picked a creature she hadn't taken the form of for what felt like decades. She took a deep breath, even though it filled her nose with that terrible odor, and pictured the form. Without any other effort she transformed, feeling her weight and skin changing as she took for of the long extinct ankylosaurus, her skin heavy with thick armor and her tail heavy with a club. The sniper was being dragged toward the creature, distracting it momentarily while she changed, and now the Prowler lowered her head with a huff and charged at the monster, the whole floor shaking as she did so.