spin_kick_snap: (Contortionist: Spangles 02)
The drumbeat of the dead echoed across the lot like a relentless overseer on an ancient slave ship. Gorgon's confident smirk faded and even Stealth seemed shaken.

Below them, the exes parted to let the trucks drive up. Over a dozen of them, all spray-painted with different shades of green. Seventeens rode on the roof and hung out the windows. At the head of the parade, Rodney Cesares rode in the back of a National Guard truck decorated with skulls and a large neon-green 17 on the hood. They whooped and hollered and fired their guns into the sky.

And it continues... )

[NFI, NFB, OOC welcome. Preplayed by the masterful crew represented here, [livejournal.com profile] whoisalicewhite, [livejournal.com profile] tigerundercover/[livejournal.com profile] vdistinctive, [livejournal.com profile] rebelseekspizza, [livejournal.com profile] not_every_mage, and [livejournal.com profile] soniaroadsqueen. Bits of text adapted from Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. Last of the posts for the day, though check out the comments for the last bit. Warning for NPC death]
spin_kick_snap: (Contortionist: Flips)
Stealth crouched on the arch about the Melrose gate with Gorgon, St. George, and the visitors. The other heroes had been dispatched to the other gates she'd marked as vulnerable on her map, but Zzzap was flying recon and they were backed up by almost fifty more of the Mount's guards. They were the most vulnerable gate, to be sure, with Gorgon standing up front as bait for Cesares, but she had estimated the capabilities of the assembled people would be more than capable of repelling an attack, even if Zzzap was not able to return to aid them.

The exes had always been thick here, but now they grew denser by the moment. They packed the space in front of the gate and pushed back into the streets. Hordes of them staggered down Melrose and up Windsor. The guards walked the walls and stared down at the hungry mob. Some of them manned scaffolding towers. The dead pounded and clawed at the stucco. Another fourteen gate guards rammed pikes and spears between the bars of the gate. The dead stiffened at their skulls cracked and their brains were shredded. Then the humans pulled their weapons free, stepped back, and then lunged at the gate again even as more exes staggered forward.

"When do you want us to start sweeping?" one of the men asked, his rifle tucked against his shoulder.

"This is not the attack," shouted Stealth. "Just a massing of forces. Conserve your ammunition for now. Pikes only!"

Another wave of crushed skulls echoed up to her.

Everything about this is fine. )

***


Zzzap flew through the air, lighting up the dark sky, and came to a hover above the arch where they were watching the crowd of exes grow. Something big and scaly at Van Ness. Thought you'd want to know, he said in his crackling, electronic voice.

"Damn it," St. George said, scanning the street. "How'd he get by us?" He looked at Stealth. "You all good here?"

"Go," she said. "And take Dante with you. Cairax Murrain cannot be allowed to breach the gate."

The big hero nodded and took off, with Dante close behind. "Demon's at Van Ness," said Gorgon as he watched them leave. "Not the best way for us to start, with you being wrong right at the top."

"Thank you for pointing that out," she said. Her cloak draped across her shoulders and down over the edge of the archway. "Can you see any further than four blocks under these conditions?"

Gorgon looked around. "Not really." Hid hand went to his mic. "All gates, let's get some flares up." Across the Mount, small comets shot into the sky and burst into stars. They could see for blocks now as red and yellow light bathed the surrounding neighborhood. Melrose was visible for a quarter mile past either end of the walls.

The walking dead kept coming. More and more, until the pavement vanished under a carpet of death. Thirty thousand dead eyes stared at them, and thirty thousand brittle hands clawed at the air. The exes pounded the walls, pushed at the steel fences, and rammed their arms between the gate's curling decorations. In the distance, they could hear engines roaring and horns blasting. The Seventeens were near.

Gorgon rolled his head in a circle until his neck popped. "Still feeling confident?"

"We are prepared," said Stealth. "We know their capabilities. It will be a challenge, but we are ready for whatever they have fight to fight us with."

And then the lights went out.

Again, everything is just great! )
spin_kick_snap: (Zombie 02 (Forlorn))
After Gorgon had hauled Josh away, Stealth had given the Fandom contingent very strict orders to stay put. The Mount was already a powder keg, the last thing it needed was an errant match in the form of a stranger that no one had seen enter and certainly didn't look like they'd spent the past nine months eking out a bare survival. Especially if any one of those strangers decided to mention the little bombshell Josh had dropped on them earlier.

Less than an hour had passed before Gorgon came to collect them, bringing them upstairs to Stealth's office. A meeting was still in progress, with a blueprint of the map hung up on the wall and the other superheroes clustered around it, Zzzap remaining a slight distance away to avoid charring paper or blistering flesh. "--walls are still secure, the fences are all reinforced, so the most likely attack points will be the Melrose Gate, Bronson, and North Gower."

"What about Van Ness or Marathon?" St. George asked.

"Too far east and north for a major assault," she said. "We can leave regular guard units there. If the Seventeens have done any reconnaissance of their own, they will know Marathon is sealed." She glanced up at Gorgon and nodded sharply to the chairs surrounding the large table. He gestured for their guests to sit.

"Bronson's sealed, too," Cerberus, the large mecha suit, pointed out.

"Sealed to regular exes. If they are being guided by Cesares, we must assume they will be smarter and more resourceful. It is the next closest gate after Melrose, the fence is low, and it is a very tempting target."

"I'd still like to see extra people at Van Ness," Gorgon said, slouching against a wall now that his tour guide duty was done.

"We're starting to run low on capable and trained people," Stealth said, her mask not facing him or any other hero, but the group at the table. "But it's possible that we have the means to make up the difference."

Jumping the gun a bit, eh Stealth? )

[NFI, NFB, OOC is love. Preplayed by [livejournal.com profile] whoisalicewhite, [livejournal.com profile] tigerundercover/[livejournal.com profile] vdistinctive, [livejournal.com profile] rebelseekspizza, [livejournal.com profile] not_every_mage, and [livejournal.com profile] soniaroadsqueen, all of whom I owe drinks to at this point. Bits of text adapted from Chapter Twenty-Four of Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines, ]
spin_kick_snap: (Zombie 02 (Forlorn))
Josh Garcetti checked on his latest patient, an appendicitis case. She'd come in on her own, he'd pulled out the offending organ, and now she was asleep. Her stitches were clean and tight, no seepage at all. He tried not to dwell on the fact that at one time, he could have repaired her without a single incision. Of course, lots of things had been different back then. The world had been alive, for one. So had Midknight and Cairax and Blockbuster and Banzai.

So had Meredith.

He made a few quick marks on her chart, then stepped out into the nurses' station and made another set of notes on the night log. Then he turned to the cabinets and found himself inches from Stealth. He stumbled back and the move yanked his withered hand out of its pocket. "Jesus," he snapped. "Do you have to pop out of nowhere like that?"

The cloaked woman said nothing.

Footsteps made him turn and St. George stepped in from the hallway. He was bare-chested and covered in bruises. "George," Josh said with a nod. "What happened to you? What the hell's going on?"

But George wasn't alone. Zzzap was with him, and Cerberus, and Gorgon, too, which was weird because Gorgon never came to see him. He suffered Josh's company only on Stealth's most stringent orders. And there were others as well, strangers. Or so he thought at first glance. But the two younger guys seemed familiar in a way that nagged at his memory and in the center of the group-- "Mystique?" he asked. "I thought you'd left to go find help after Banzai died."

"After you let her die," Gorgon spat. "While you were napping because you put her at the end of the fucking line and made her wait for hours."

Now he recognized the young men. They'd come to fetch Banzai home, back in the early days. She had refused and they'd fought and he'd left early, unable to take Nick's blatant jealousy and Max's smug amusement and his own guilt. "What are you all--" but Stealth interrupted him.

"When we were discussing the progression of the disease," she said, "you said you have had the virus hanging over you for almost a year. You were bitten eight months and six days ago."

He blinked twice, then a third time. "That all? Feels a hell of a lot longer. Sorry I don't have a computer-like mind like you." He shrugged and re-pocketed his dead hand. "Is that everything? Mr. Willis would love to get a few Vicodin so he can sleep."

Her feet shifted and she was between Josh and the cabinet. He sighed and pointed at a row of bottles. "Do you mind?"

"The first definite sighting of an ex-human," she continued, "was ten months ago. On March 9th, an unidentified woman assaulted a group of Seventeens in a parking lot. The attack which infected Rodney Cesares."

Josh shrugged again, but his eyes flitted between the two heroes and then back towards the tiny group of strangers. St. George realized his hands rolled themselves into fists.

Stealth still hadn't moved. She was tense but fluid. She was confident. "Your wife died almost a year ago, didn't she, Regenerator? Eleven months ago yesterday."

The doctor's glare shot past her, past Gorgon's stricken face and Zzzap's staticky buzz of shock. It landed on the three familiar faces in the crowd and he whispered. "I'm so sorry."

A little late for apologies )

[Content warning for mentions of previous, off-camera suicide attempts and attempted execution of an NPC. NFI, NFB, OOC welcome. Preplayed by the masterful crew represented here, [livejournal.com profile] whoisalicewhite, [livejournal.com profile] tigerundercover/[livejournal.com profile] vdistinctive, [livejournal.com profile] rebelseekspizza, [livejournal.com profile] not_every_mage, and [livejournal.com profile] soniaroadsqueen. Bits of text adapted from Chapter Twenty-Four of Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines]
spin_kick_snap: (Zombie 01 (Hungry))
Cerberus pounded down the street, chasing after Big Red. Trucks containing hooting Seventeens roared after them, guns firing. Danielle kept a frantic eye on her power levels as the pavement flew beneath the battlesuit's heavy feet, cracking the blacktop with each heavy footfall. In tandem, the titan and the truck lurched onto Western, weaving between dead cars. They had just finished the last of the repairs when the Seventeens had shown up and started chasing them--away from the Mount, Cerberus noted with dismay.

Big Red squealed, tires smoking as Luke stomped on the brakes hard. Shouts came from the back as the guards were thrown forward. Cerberus tried to dodge and smashed her shoulder into the driver's side corner of the truck. Big Red lurched, the fiberglass sides crumpled, and the battlesuit spun away, stumbling over a low sports car and crashing down on the sidewalk on top of a crawling ex. Her screens went gray for a second as the computers tried to keep up with the whirling images. Inside Cerberus, Danielle tried to clear her head. Even with the armor, it had been a hard hit. She blinked a few times and the suit tried to interpret the subtle commands, racing through a half-dozen views and status reports as it tried to get the cameras back online. The flashing screens didn't help her throbbing skull.

"Chains!" shouted Luke. "They've got the whole road trapped!"

A garbage truck shrieked to a halt on Western and a full more bullets pinged off her armor. On its grill, a dead thing twisted and pulled, its eyes locked on Cerberus. She tried not to look at it as the titan pushed itself back up on its feet, the cameras steadying. Another hail of shots rang out. Ty's neck flashed red and he fell back with a thud. Jarvis flung himself to the left just as a second shot sprayed part of his shoulder onto the back of the truck. Lady Bee and the rest dropped behind Big Red's steel lift gate. Cerberus could hear them cocking rifles.

A hooded man crawled from the back of the garbage truck onto the cab. His hoodie was green, with a green bandanna tied over one bicep. His AK was held out, away from his body. Around his feet, the other Seventeens kept their weapons aimed at Cerberus and the once-again crippled truck. "Hey big girl!" he shouted with a grin. He gave her a lazy salute with his free hand. "If you all done running, mind if we talk a minute?"

Just a pleasant chat )

[Text adapted from Chapters Twelve and Fourteen of Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines.]
spin_kick_snap: (Zombie 01 (Hungry))
"What the fuck is that?" Always an auspicious way to begin! )

It was a question that would linger with Cerberus all afternoon, right up until the trap sprang.


[Take taken and adapted from Peter Clines' Ex-Heroes, Chapter Four. Prepare for a lot of these in the coming days. NFI, NFB]
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]

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