spin_kick_snap: (Eating: Chips)
The Pickle Hut was quietly popular; it had a normal crowd and a decent-sized rush around lunch and dinner, but there were definitely parts of the day that diners could head in and have the restaurant to themselves. Nick, having grown up not far away, could practically set his watch by those times. They were his preferred times to eat there, since he was getting to be a well-known agent for a very known firm. And in LA, where an agent went, the paparazzi had learned that stars often followed after. So days when Nick wanted to lunch in relative peace, he headed down to The Pickle Hut during one of those empty time slots and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

Those dead times also came in handy when you were a superhero meeting up with other superheroes to discuss a zombie invasion over delicious burgers and brined foods. It was pretty inevitable that they'd all find themselves here; Nick had introduced Kathy to it a year ago and sometimes their schedules overlapped enough that they'd end up catching a meal together. So when Max had started complaining about needing to eat, they'd both suggested The Pickle Hut in unison. It was close, cheap, and filling; Mona was content to leave them alone to talk with only the occasional interruption for refills; and they had the chance to eat truly addictive pickles and talk about hordes of the undead without being overheard.

The Mighty Dragon (who just as often went by George) and Stealth (who remained Stealth and had yet to be seen unmasked), had elected to stay and talk strategy. Zzzap had flown back to Boston or wherever, and the rest of the heroes were still at their day jobs. That left Kathy, Max, Nick, and Josh to head to the diner and continue to go over the information they'd gathered during the last few days--while enjoying amazing burgers, giant milkshakes, and random pickled sides--including authentic kimchi which delighted Kathy to no end.

[For the two aggravated ones, please! Link to Dante at the club]
spin_kick_snap: (Contortionist: White 02)
Banzai had patrolled for two days without seeing a single zombie. By day, she hung out on rooftops, peering down into dim alleys in the worst sections of town, looking for any of the signs that Stealth and Barry--Zzzap--had mentioned: pale skin, a lack of coordination and language skills, high resistance to damage, a degree of aggression, the scent smell of rotted meat. By night, she patrolled Koreatown, where, again, she spotted no zombies, but there were plenty of douchebag Seventeens to make up for it. Banzai was sporting a few new scraped, cuts, and bruises, and there were a handful of gang members now cooling their heels in prison, but as satisfying as that was (and even the flare of pain every time she smiled from her cut lip was satisfying), whaling on Sevens wasn't why she'd agreed to stay out here.

She didn't want to be out here. She wanted to be back on the island with her friends, going to classes, gossiping about prom, writing her essay for valedictorian, keeping an eye on Jewels while patrolling Baltimore...Her life was on the other side of the country and she'd only get to live it for a few more months. Every day out there was precious--and every day here felt wasted, discouraging. If she hadn't had vague memories of that weird weekend where she and Gorgon had been survivors, she might have already booked a portal home, leaving instructions to contact her when the zombies started showing themselves.

But she did have those vague memories, though most of them were unhelpful. They were mostly of the weekend itself, rather than the head full of information and memories her older self had had. There had been a long talk in the diner, with a lot of alcohol and crying, there had been a patrol in Baltimore with Gorgon that had ended with--ahem, they'd been married, enough said there. The Monday after, Banzai remembered better, but it was mostly a fight with Nick about whether they should tell Dragon (apparently a moot point now) and returning a truly ridiculous amount of meat to Eliot's freezer...for some reason. In her downtime here, she'd written down as much as she could remember saying about the zombies, but it was a truly pathetic amount. Which didn't stop everyone from harassing her for more. Stealth, Dragon, and Gorgon all wanted to know more, with Gorgon curious about everything since it seemed he didn't remember the weekend at all. Genny was also weirdly interested, though she was chalking that up to medical curiosity and a kind of big brother concern. Max Hale also wanted to know everything, supposedly because magic was involved, but she was betting that he just liked nosing into her personal life. His attempts to find out more usually centered around the relationship she and Gorgon had shared.

Creeper. She was really starting to regret giving him her number at the end of the meeting, even though she'd specified it was purely for hero business. Turns out he had a looser definition of 'hero business' than she did.

Superheroes + Alleyways = OTP )

An hour later, Kathy was tucking into a burger the size of her head at The Pickle Hut. Stealth had shown up about fifteen minutes after the call, carrying two bodybags. She'd said she could handle things from there and that she appreciated Banzai's forethought in leaving them intact for study. Not 'alive', intact. Kathy was sure that her terminology was correct and that she'd be making the same distinction soon, but until then, she preferred to cling to hope. Hope that they could be healed. Hope that this could be stopped. Hope she could go home soon.

But with two probable-zombies currently en route to Genny's location, it was looking less and less likely that 'soon' was going to be on the agenda. Out came her phone again and she scrolled to find Raven's number. Her roomie needed to know that she was going to be gone longer than she'd assumed. So did Anders. And Dante. And maybe Eliot would have a few ideas for fighting the likely-undead. Two weeks. That would be enough time to stop this thing in its tracks, right? Two weeks, with her coming home for prom? That sounded good.

Then Kathy thought of the bitten girl and shivered, despite the heat of the day. The girl and her boyfriend had been gone by the time she'd had a chance to look for them, either via taxi or hunkered down in a building somewhere. Fervently, Kathy hoped that the next time she saw that girl, she wouldn't be looking back at Kathy with empty eyes and chattering teeth.

[For those named, please! NFB for off-island shenanigans]
spin_kick_snap: (Banzai (Psylocke))
When Barry Burke received a call on his cell phone in his Amherst apartment, the last thing he expected to hear was a woman's cold, clipped tones on the other end calling him by name. Not Barry, no, the woman on the other end called him Zzzap. His superhero name; the name only one other person knew that Barry could claim. As a black, wheelchair-bound scientist, he wasn't anyone's top choice for the superhero that flew around the country at Mach 5 as a blinding wraith made of pure energy. Barry might garner a second look or two because of his race and disability; no one could look at Zzzap for more than a second or two. Looking at his alter-ego was like looking at the heart of a star through a man-shaped cutout in space.

There was no way to connect Barry to Zzzap and yet this woman had. She knew he was home, had his cell number, and asked him to meet with her on the roof of the Capitol Records building. In Los Angeles. She said there was some kind of contagion in the city and she needed his speed. She'd added his immunity to all disease almost as an afterthought. She knew so much about him and over the course of the conversation, all he managed to get was her name: Stealth.

He was in LA half an hour later, as much concerned by the idea of a contagion in one of the most populous cities in America as he was by how Stealth had discovered him. Stealth was inclined to discuss exactly one of those topics. )

Moving low to the ground through a strange city, the best speed Zzzap could manage was around 400 miles per hour. Much more than that caused serious weather problems, not to mention sonic booms (which could shatter windows, windshields, neon signs, and lots of other expensive things). He started circling the buildings, checking every person he passed for the signs of infection. Anywhere people could be. Alleys. Roads. Parking structures. Subways. Zzzap peered in windows where he could, through walls where he couldn't. On his first pass, he'd have said he saw three-fifths of the city's population. No sign of the mystery disease, although he did stop two muggings and halted a high speed street race by melting the tires of both cars. He figured he could make at least one more pass before it was time to meet up with Stealth again, and hopefully he could catch a good chunk of the remaining population.

Street. Boulevard. Avenue. Drive. He was an hour into his second run when Zzzap saw him.

He was an old guy. His clothes were dark and a bit ragged. Probably homeless, staggering down an alley. His skin was the color of ash and his face was blank. Not emotionless, it just looked like he'd forgotten how to make any sort of expression. A quick check at either end of the street told Zzzap they were just north of Beverly between La Brea and Detroit.

Zipping back to hover over him, a full minute passed before he twisted his head up to look at the glowing wraith above his head. It usually didn't take people long to notice the white-hot man-shape sizzling like a sparkler. His eyes were cloudy--Zzzap wondered if perhaps the old man might be blind. He was staring right at the hero and not blinking. Something looked very wrong about him, and Zzzap couldn't figure out what.

Good evening, citizen, he said, careful to enunciate each word. Are you okay?

Still wide-eyed. Still no blink. Had he blinked once yet?

Sir? Are you feeling okay? Do you need any help?

The man's mouth opened, showing off an impressive collection of half-rotted teeth, and then he clacked them together again and again and again. To Zzzap, it sounded like those little wooden things Mexican dancers wear on their hands.

A fun little trick the magazines and television shows never figured out: Zzzap could see all the electromagnetic energy in the air, including radio waves, television broadcasts, and satellite transmissions. He knew there were seventeen GPS devices within three blocks of where he was floating, and he could list off the codes for each one. And if he had to, with a little concentration, he could have duplicated them or overridden them with a thought. Which was why it had been second nature to see the cell phone built into Stealth’s cowl and memorize the number. He focused on that and could feel the signal a phone would translate into an audible ring.

This was all fine. )

[Adapted and tweaked from "Power to the People," Chapter 7 in Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. NFI, NFB, OOC is enjoyed]
spin_kick_snap: (Texting)
Coming back from Cyseal, the last thing Kathy expected was to get ready to turn around and go again. But she was sorting her laundry to run a load or two when her phone rang again. That wasn't entirely unexpected, but the name that showed up on her caller ID certainly was.

Gorgon.

She'd barely talked to Nikolai since he'd moved back to LA, though they occasionally bumped into one another in LA when she patrolled. Certainly not enough for him to call her on a random Sunday evening.

"Hello?" she asked, putting her phone up to her ear. "Gorgon? Is everything okay?"

The Phone Call )

[Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] furnaceface for letting me borrow NPC!Gorgon. Open for visitors before she leaves. Link to Anders'.]

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