spin_kick_snap: (Zombie 02 (Forlorn))
That was Kathy.

Gorgon hunched a little further in his duster, adjusting the collar once more so that it covered his ears from the wind. December in Los Angeles had nothing on December in Baltimore for miserable weather, but this morning had dawned cold and drizzly and the tall, empty buildings were acting like the world's most ex-infested wind tunnels. He paused for a second and then revised that thought. Undoubtedly, there were actual wind tunnels filled with exes at this point. Unless the wind knocked 'em all down and out of the tunnel entirely? He imagined the exes getting scattered like bowling pins and nearly smiled--

I wonder if she's cold. Because that was Kathy.

Have some canon )

After being on edge and uncertain for a few months, some people couldn't deal with the idea of being safe or being told what to do. Sometimes they freaked out. A few of the freakouts were small, but most were like this guy--loud and convinced they could do something about it. What they often forgot was that the Mount had superheroes. And even if Gorgon didn't have the build of, say, George or Josh, he didn't need to rely on fists to take someone down. With a few leaping strides, he got ahead of the guy. Immediately, the guy raised his fists, ready to swing--and then Gorgon opened his goggles wide. The guy stood there a moment. Then his legs wobbled and he sagged. He dropped to his knees in front of Gorgon, still trapped by the hero's gaze. Strength poured out of the guy and into Gorgon, buoying him up tier after tier. His eyes watered and he started to shake and it wasn't until Cerberus said, "I think you got him," that Gorgon let the goggles snap shut. The gy toppled over. He'd be waking up with a miserable headache, if the energy thrumming through Gorgon's body was any indication.

The guards rushed over, dragging the guy towards the quarantine tent. Being unconscious didn't get you out of an exam, it just made the exam a lot more thorough. And this guy had just gotten bumped to the head of the line. "Stupid," Gorgon said, more to himself than Cerberus. "They should have been expecting something like that."

She answered anyway. "Probably. But what do you want? Most of these guys aren't military or police." The big helmet head moved side to side. "Hell, we're lucky when we can find a mall security guard."

"Well, they better find someone to put in charge," Gorgon said, shifting into his gunslinger pose while the rest of the group followed meekly after the unconscious guy. "Things are going to get ugly in here fast if it keeps going like this." They were almost at four thousand people inside the Mount now. It was impossible to have that many people living together in peace. "Stealth had better assign someone to keep the peace if she doesn't want this place descending into anarchy."

"Maybe you should mention that to her," Cerberus said.

"Maybe I will," Gorgon replied. "Do me a favor and keep an eye on Sleeping Beauty there, will you? After waking up in his underwear sitting funny, he'll probably keep his head down, but just in case..."

"Where are you going?"

Gorgon jerked his thumb towards the main gate. "Out," he said, loosening his shoulders. "I'm at Tier Four right now. No sense wasting it when I can sweep for more survivors."

And maybe investigate an ex in white while he was at it.

[Much of the text taken (and folded and spindled) from "Point of View", Chapter Twelve of Peter Clines' Ex-Isle. No warnings except for length and navel-gazing. Have some day-to-day on the Mount. NFB, NFI, OOC is love]
spin_kick_snap: (Zombie 01 (Hungry))
June

It had been almost six weeks since Banzai had died. She was the first of the heroes to have fallen, but she was not the last. Not after Regenerator got bit and fell into a coma. Once their healer was gone, the heroes started dropping like flies.

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story. )

But that hadn't been enough. Gorgon using survivors as batteries to keep his strength up while he protected their base at Hollywood and Cahuenga wasn't enough. Zzzap abandoning the final three cities to the exes to focus on LA wasn't enough. Not to save the thousands of people who were still hiding in their bolt holes around the city.

But Stealth had a plan )

[NFI, NFB, OOC is always appreciated! Adapted and edited from Chapter 27 "Saint George Kills The Mighty Dragon", from Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines.]
spin_kick_snap: (Zombie 02 (Forlorn))
Los Angeles burned while The Mighty Dragon flew overhead. He could still see pockets of fighting, holdouts where armed civilians or members of the National Guard tried to fight off the exes with whatever came to hand. Some, he saw, had viable exit strategies and were making a fighting retreat to find somewhere safer to hole up. Most did not. Several times, he weighed the benefits of setting Banzai down and helping the civilians instead, but he always kept flying. He'd made a promise, after all, and the heartbroken look in Mystique's eyes at the end always convinced him to keep his promise.

At least he could contact Zzzap on his phone and have him relay information to Stealth. The overloaded phone lines weren't a problem for a man who could read the entire energy spectrum and through that, Stealth in a command center and doing a better job coordinating troops and movements than any general on the ground.

The Mighty Dragon continued to fly, carrying a dead girl in his arms and leaving the living behind, and tried to tell himself this was enough.

He arrived at Griffith Park. Ignoring the dark cloud of smoke above, the park remained beautiful. Spring had arrived in full-bloom, with flowers growing up out of the lush grass, trees putting forth buds and baby leaves, and even a pair of chipmunks running across his path, chittering as they climbed up a tree. For a moment, the Mighty Dragon let himself forget there was a war on, with the first casualty he personally cared about now gnawing on his bicep.

The illusion was broken several seconds later as the ex that had been pursuing the chipmunks lumbered into view. Dragon didn't even think, just slammed his fist into the side of the ex's head with the force of a truck. The ex dropped, Dragon wiped his hand on the leg of his costume, and kept going.

The Observatory wasn't far and he could see immediately why the girl Banzai had been--why Kathy--had loved it. It was a beautiful building, even with the signs of fighting and hasty abandonment. He let them in through the front doors no longer latched properly and made his way to the theater. The huge screen above them was dark, but with a bit of fiddling (and a hasty call to Zzzap for a bit of technical assistance), the Mighty Dragon soon had one of the movies running on loop. Banzai, who'd been like an annoying kitten all through the setup, constantly underfoot and trying to bite, got distracted by the sound and movement as soon as the screen lit up. Dragon gently pushed her into one of the seats and left her staring up at the screen in rapt attention.

In the dimness of the theater, he could almost pretend it was Kathy sitting there, absorbed by the stars and comets. He'd never been as close to her as Gorgon and Regenerator, but he'd liked what he'd gotten to know of the girl she'd been. And respected the hell out of the hero she was.

"Thanks for your service, Banzai," he said softly. "You'll always be remembered."

And then he turned and left the auditorium, leaving a dead girl behind to enjoy the wonder of the stars.

[Establishy, NFI and NFB, That's the last from me today, though [livejournal.com profile] tigerundercover has two more heartbreaking posts to finish up! Thank you to everyone for reading and pinging!]
spin_kick_snap: (Headboard)
Hours had passed and there was still no sign of Regenerator. One of the National Guardswomen said that she thought she'd heard that he's been transported somewhere else, another said that there had been an outbreak on one of the upper floors and that the hero was dealing with that. Hearing that bit of rumor, Kathy'd tried to get out of bed and go help out, but her legs had crumpled under her and she'd ended up sprawled on the floor. Raven had helped her back into bed and one of the volunteer nurses had shooed the Guards away. They could speculate somewhere else, where a hero with more heart than sense couldn't overhear. So long as they got Regenerator here immediately whenever he showed back up, they could go be useless anywhere else.

The convulsions were getting worse. Of everything, that was the most frightening thing to watch. Her fever was spiking; sometimes burning so hot that they could feel the heat radiating off her skin. They gave her drugs to bring her fever down, drugs to help with the pain, but she kept blazing through them. They'd given her seven doses in a matter of hours and it barely seemed to dent. She was sleeping now, fitful and restless, often moaning in pain.

Most of the recent bite victims made it to about twelve to fourteen hours before they succumbed to the virus and turned. Kathy didn't look like she was going to make it to eight.

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story... )

[WARNING FOR CHARACTER DEATH. NFB, NFI, OOC is just going to involve me ugly sobbing, so there's that. Preplayed with the magnificent [livejournal.com profile] tigerundercover, who along with [livejournal.com profile] rebelseekspizza and [livejournal.com profile] not_every_mage have been my goddamn ROCK, both ICly and OOCly. Thank you so much for being with me through this, I couldn't have done it without you and certainly not as stylishly.]
spin_kick_snap: (V-Sign 01)
After various attempts to get through, a video message made its way to the island and, from there, elsewhere in the multiverse. It had been sent to many people; students, teachers, townies, and alumni--pretty much anyone Kathy considered a friend.

Say you'll remember me standing in a nice dress, staring at the sunset )

[Preplayed with the AMAZING [livejournal.com profile] tigerundercover. If you think you got this, you absolutely did. NFB, though interaction between recipients is encouraged! The video is, however, one-way and any attempts to call will result in this message. Trigger warning for fatal illness.]
spin_kick_snap: (Bouncing)
It was a little creepy when their necks snapped. Stealth said they don't feel any pain, that it was like breaking a toy more than killing something. Gorgon agreed with her. Hell, Rav--Mystique agreed with her. But it was still such a creepy noise.

Kick. Back flip. Crouch. Sweep. Lunge. Springboard. Snap.

For the most part, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Banzai was three times faster than a normal person. Considering these things moved at maybe quarter-speed, it was almost impossible for them to touch her. There had been a scary minute a few days ago when she'd gotten surrounded by them, but once she calmed down she'd gotten out of it. Eliot was right--he was always right. You can get out of anything with your brain first, your fists second.

Spin. Kick. Snap. )

[Heavily adapted from Chapter Thirteen "Luckiest Girl in the World" from Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. Written with the amazing [livejournal.com profile] tigerundercover. NFI, NFB, OOC is lovely.]
spin_kick_snap: (Default)
At some point in the day, various Portalocity customers would receive the following politely-worded message from Portalocity's automated system. True to form, it had been designed to look like an individualized message, stressing how much Portalocity cared about you, paying customer, but at some point, someone fell down on the job.

Probably the damn gnome.

Dear VALUED CUSTOMER,

We see that you have recently TRAVELED/CONTACTED/EXPRESSED INTEREST in or to EARTH DESIGNATION 13F21O65L568D. We regret to inform you that portals to this planetary designation are currently nonfunctional due to PLANETARY QUARANTINE. This affects INGOING AND OUTGOING portals. We hope this issue will be resolved as quickly as possible. Our estimated timeframe for this issue is UNKNOWN. The estimated date for resumption of service is NON-EXISTENT AT THIS TIME (dates subject to change without notice). For further information regarding portal closures and policy, please contact your nearest Portalocity branch office, TBD, or contact us directly 1-800-383-5633.

Thank you for using Portalocity! We hope to serve your travel needs again in the future!

Regards,
SIGNATURE


[And with that, portals to Kathy's world are closed. If you want to have gotten this message, you did! It's not like Portalocity's great at organization. Or caring. Available for on-island reactions and threads if anyone would like!]
spin_kick_snap: (Banzai (Eyes))
SWAT Sergeant Hall considered telling her to leave, or perhaps something more emphatic. Stealth could see it in his eyes. Even though she had saved his life on two separate occasions, he was still dismissing her knowledge on this subject. "You cannot reason with them," she told Hall again. "They cannot be intimidated by displays of force or numbers. Your men must begin aggressive measures if you hope to hold them back."

Just another day in ex-LA )

In one of the earlier Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Arthur Conan Doyle (not yet a Sir) had made an observation on logical deduction: when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

There was, however, a specific flaw in that maxim. It assumed people could recognize the difference between what was impossible and what they believed was impossible.

The ex-humans had been appearing for weeks now; almost a month since the first known sighting. They had been captured, studied, and killed. Since the attack on the Chinese Theater, there had been warning posters, public service announcements, and news reports. Yet people still clung to the impossibility of the living dead even as it loomed over them, attacked their homes, and devoured their neighbors. Soldiers, police, and private citizens forced themselves to believe the exes were just infected with some curable disease, despite all the evidence, and would not take the necessary steps. They would not accept the truth. They would not act on it.

The outbreak would not be contained. It was too late. The world as they'd known it was over.

[Taken and adapted from Chapter Ten "Subtle Beauty" from Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. NFB, though OOC is love]
spin_kick_snap: (Hurt/Upset)
After discovering that Anders could heal the infected, the heroes of LA had been buoyed up by the knowledge that they could stop the spread of the zombie virus. Regenerator couldn't change anyone who had become of full-fledged zombie, but he was able to heal those they got to in time. It helped that the victims tended to have as much as a whole day between when they were bitten and when they turned. Stealth got word out to the populations that were most vulnerable, promising 'free and discreet care' to anyone who needed it, for whatever reason, and soon people were coming to them, either to be healed by 'Genny or two get heroes to help transport the infected back. 'Genny set up a walk-in clinic in a warehouse Stealth had procured and rather than patrolling, Banzai had started helping him there. She was fast, she was agile, she was good at calming people down--she made an excellent assistant and a new rapport sprang up between them.

They were saving lives. They were making a difference. It even made having to move back in with her family (under the guise of visiting for 'spring break') more palatable.

This rush of good feeling lasted for three days. Just three days. They knew they weren't stopping new zombies from turning, but between the people they were healing and the zombies the rest were killing, they really thought they were making a difference.

They were wrong. They were so wrong.

It was Sarah who woke Kathy up from her nap, eyes wide and a little scared. The fear alone had the bottom dropping out of Kathy's stomach; Sarah didn't do scared. She'd gone to school everyday through Seventeen territory and hadn't even flinched. "Sarah," she said, holding out a hand. "What is it?"

"Something's happening," Sarah said, going to sit on Kathy's bed and curling up against her big sister. "Something big. There was some kind of terrorist attack today--like a biological thing. People were screaming and rioting and attacking one another on Hollywood and Highland. Just out in the street in the middle of the day! Like--people ripped one another's throats out and stuff. It's all over the net--people were taking videos and running and screaming--they attacked little kids! And the way they looked--!" Sarah shuddered, hiding her face. "It was awful. Like a horror movie but for real. I watched people die. It looked like some were getting eaten."

"You shouldn't be watching this kind of stuff," Kathy said absently, stroking her sister's hair while her mind whirled. "It's just going to freak you out. Don't worry, the superheroes will fix it."

"I hope so," Sarah said, cuddling close. "Cause the videos I saw? It looked like the end of the world."

[NFB, but Kathy's going to be calling people. If you want her to call you (or want to call her), ping in and she did!]
spin_kick_snap: (Banzai (Psylocke))
"Stealth said that this place is a kind of refuge for homeless people who didn't want to shelter up on the surface," Banzai said, leading the way through the subway tunnels. "They're really good at policing their own; making it safe for women and families to stay down here. No drugs, no violence, that kind of thing. Isn't perfect, but pretty damn good for people with nothing. But nobody's heard anything from anyone down here in awhile and she wants someone to check in with them. There was no indication that they've had contact with anyone infected, but the silence is weird. She's hoping they're just hunkered down and waiting for this to blow over."

Flickering lights overhead didn't do much to dispel the gloom, illuminating only the area around them and leaving the rest shrouded in darkness. There were sections where the lights were out entirely and that meant that they would have to travel for several yards in true darkness, at least until they reached the next, intact light. "We should be coming up on sentries soon. They might have weapons, so please let's try being nice first?"

[For those guys with her! And NFB]
spin_kick_snap: (Banzai (Psylocke))
Banzai looked around, eyebrows practically up to her hairline. Gorgon hadn't been kidding when he'd said that Stealth had called in every hero in LA for this meeting. Most, she recognized, by reputation if not by sight. Midknight was the man in the replica armor who could bring a crushing darkness no light could penetrate and a cold that could give frostbite. Blockbuster, who could knock down entire buildings with enough momentum. The Mighty Dragon, of course. Gorgon. Regenerator, looking drawn and exhausted. About nine or ten others she was able to put names to. There were others she didn't know, like the black guy in the wheelchair and the scrawny guy wearing a giant necklace. At first, Banzai had thought that he was wearing a clock on his chest, like some oily, white Flava-Flav, but closer inspection proved it to be--some kind of medallion? Either way, it was hard to look at properly, like staring into the sun.

And then their host, the woman who could only be Stealth. She was sitting at the head of the water-stained conference table, conferring with the guy in the chair. The guy looked very grave; Stealth's mask gave no clue what she was feeling. Kathy's hope that this was going to be some kind of committee meeting where they decided to create the Super Justice Pals of LA withered and died at the guy's expression. No one looked like that without a damn good reason.

At precisely 11, Stealth broke off her conversation and stood up. "Thank you for attending," she said in a crisp, no-nonsense voice. "I can imagine it was difficult for some of you to take leave for superhero business during regular civilian hours. I assure you, I would never make such a request lightly. The situation is urgent. If not responded to quickly, it will be dire. It is possible that I miscalculated by waiting the additional week to contact you. Please be seated and we can begin the briefing."

Stealth remained standing, the guy she'd been talking to wheeling close to the table on her left and the Mighty Dragon taking a seat to her right. Everyone else made their way to the table, some (including Banzai), carrying plates of refreshments that Stealth had provided. The chairs were mismatched and most were not of a height to have been intended to be used with this table, but Stealth had procured exactly enough for all of them. Banzai sat, sandwiched between Gorgon and the guy with the bling, across the table from Regenerator. When the last hero had taken his seat (Blockbuster, moving with a great deal of care), Stealth spoke up again. Unlike the Mighty Dragon, she had no problems speaking through a full facemask without her voice being muffles.

"Heroes of Los Angeles, I'm here to discuss with you our zombie problem )

[NFB, NFI, OOC is loved.]
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: (Banzai (Psylocke))
Gorgon's bike shot down the street, slipping through intersections and around corners. He tried to cover as much ground as possible each night; the trick was to be seen as many places as possible, but never be moving so fast people thought he wouldn’t stop for something. There was a reason police cars seemed to move at "hanging out" speed a lot.

He'd also learned moving targets are harder to hit. There was a chip in his helmet where someone tried to blow his head off with a rifle. Knocked him off the bike, and that was the night he'd learned his power could drain someone from a block and a half away. Getting shot once was enough, and he didn't have Regenerator on speed-dial the way Banzai did. Hell, he didn't even have Banzai running around to stitch him up again.

Just another night in LA. )

[Adapted from Chapter 4, "Seeing the Big Picture" of Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. NFI, NFB, OOC is enjoyed.]

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