Posts Tagged ‘robb richardson’

“That won’t be necessary.”  Lyssa announced as she was coming to.

“Excuse me?”  Carl was confused.  He wasn’t sure whether to listen to me or the woman who was apparently our hostage.

“Well, let’s think about this.  You’ve figured me out.  I’m a leech.  What possible difference is rope going to make?”

I didn’t like whatever authority I might’ve had being challenged.  I’m also not a fan of people making me look stupid.  This woman was making me feel worthless and doing all this with simply her looks.  “Carl, the rope.”

“You’re not the brightest are you?  I only seek information; I’m not exactly what you’d label a ‘fighter’.”  She gestured at her tight-fitting blue dress that cut off at the knees.  The six-inch heel on her shoes didn’t exactly scream ‘badass’ but this lady was good.  “Feeling inadequate, Artie?  Scrambling for answers as to what you should do now?  I know it all seems a bit confusing but it will all make sense very soon.”  That wry smile caught my attention.  She was starting to piss me off.

“Carl, how long does it take to get some rope?”  I looked back to see that Carl hadn’t moved.  The extraterrestrial just stood there looking at Lyssa and then back at me.

“I agree with her, Arthur.  What good will tying her up do?”

“For fuck’s sake, now you’re questioning me?”  I turned to Elijah, where hopefully, I’d get some assistance with the situation.

“I don’t know Art, she doesn’t exactly require subduing.  Unless, of course, you take her to the bedroom.”  Elijah couldn’t help but chuckle at his own joke.

“Fuck, boys…”  My frustration was taking over.  I didn’t know why, I never wanted to be a leader or in charge of anything.  I’m a nobody, but maybe with the deaths of two of the most beloved superheroes I was hoping to pick up the slack.

“Listen, Shatterproof, is it?  How long have you been a Lesser?  All your life?  Am I correct?  You’ve always wanted to be more, you’ve always wanted what Excalibur and Dextratos had.  Now, let me ask you.  How would you like to take their place?  Become the hero you’ve always dreamed of being.  You, Eli, and your little shiny friend over there can take the reins.”  The woman was persuasive.  Or was it just her captivating hazel eyes that made me think she was persuasive.  Was I even listening?

“No, I…I don’t want this.”

“Arthur, ever since I met you, we’ve talked about being something more.  Pub-hopping and brawls with other Lessers isn’t exactly the “high-life” I came here hoping for.  You are a great human being Arthur Moore, but this is our chance to move up.”  Carl had never been so upfront.  Or so eloquent.  He was right.  We always discussed moving up; we just never knew how to do it.  But taking advantage of death to become heroes wasn’t the path I wanted to take.  Not just deaths, murders.  Have we all forgotten that these men were murdered?

“Wait.  This is wrong.  Carl, we’re not just ‘moving up the ladder’, these men were murdered and no one seems to care.  I want to be a hero, but this isn’t how I want to get there.”  My head fell, confused as to what was going on.  Lyssa was giving me the chance of a lifetime and I was letting it slide.

Lyssa shook her head in vague disappointment.  “That’s too bad, Mr. Moore.”

The warehouse we utilized as a home began to tremble.  It used to store lumber and beams for construction.  When it went under, no one noticed that we’d turned it into our domicile.  The concrete walls were shaking violently; my head was on a swivel looking for an answer to the rumblings going on.  And then it stopped.  Once my bearings were in place I looked to Lyssa on the couch.  She hadn’t moved or changed her expression.  She wore that shit-eating grin proudly.

“Is this your doing?”

I had no time to think.  What I figured for a nuclear bomb dropped through the roof and put me twenty feet into the ground.  While the dust was clearing I saw the massive shadow of the man standing over me.

“I was willing to let you live as a team member, to join our ranks.  Just as well, we needed a patsy.”  Dressed in all-black with a matching cape flowing behind him, the gold eight-sided star wasn’t anything I remembered.

“Oh, hey Landon.  Was that necessary?”  I may not break that easily, but God dammit that hurt.

He grabbed me by the collar on my jacket and pulled me close.  “You should’ve joined me.”

“Joined you?  You’re a bloody pedophile.  And a queer one at that.”  Zenith slammed my face into the wall behind us repeatedly.  Finally, blood began to trickle from nose.  Blood?  I can’t remember the last time I bled.  Kneeling and patting my face for any other issue, I was grabbed again and tossed across the warehouse.  Carl started after Zenith.

“I don’t think so, freak.”  Zenith caught Carl with a golden ray that emitted from his right arm.  Elijah just stood next to Lyssa, who remained undaunted by the situation.  So much for any assistance.  Landon was walking toward me, ferocity in his eyes.  This was a side of Zenith I was unfamiliar with.  “See, here’s the problem.  I fucked up.  I know I fucked up and I tried to fix it.  But no.  Excalibur and Dextratos stood on their pedestals and wouldn’t absolve me of any past indiscretions.  Do you understand now?  It’s my turn at the top.  It was very simple really.  There were just too many heroes.”

Go back to the beginning by clicking that rodent-thingy on this here blue thingy (is it not blue? ah, christ, this is embarrassing)

“So, Ms. Snow, are you going to be a doll and help us or do I have to have my associates disembowel you and your friends?”  George just stood there puffing away on his stogie as if this situation were no big deal.  With the MRC’s elite surrounding him, he had no need to worry.

“My patience is wearing thin, Abbie.”

The gun remained aimed at Mr. Smith while Abbie assessed the situation.  Still unaware of Slice’s whereabouts, she had taken Smith’s advice and focused her attention to the men before her.  Few options presented themselves but Abbie was willing to stall.

“Alright, Mr. Smith.  I’ll give you whatever you want, but leave me and my friends alone.  They have nothing to do with this.”

The portly man tried to hold back a laugh only to lose his composure.  “That’s funny, they have nothing to do with this, but they cower in that very van.  The van that you were holed up in attempting to track our tracker.  So, tell me Miss Snow, do random people always happen to just jump in vehicles where you are working?  But, sure, you don’t want your friends to get hurt.  That makes sense.  Sadly, I don’t care.”

Smith looked to his right and nodded at his henchman.  The man stepped up and fired four shots into Volition’s cowering body.  Her body slumped over leaving Marionette and Savage a bloody, frightened mess.  Abbie feel to her knees as if to plea with Smith but no words could come out of her mouth.

“Now, I have enough bullets to turn your little gang into a one-man, or should I say one-woman-band.”  The man wasn’t overly obese.  He simply enjoyed the good life and wore it for the world to see.  The all-black suit reeked of wealth, but left a sense of cool with the white undershirt showing through the open jacket.  His jet-black beard and what was left of his hair was well-groomed and taken care of.  The only jewelry to his name was an heirloom that hung from his massive neck.

The few steps it took to reach Abbie were seemingly never-ending.  At this point, Abbie couldn’t decide whether she cared to live at all.  Friends around her were dying, and for what?  None of this made sense to her.  From behind his back, George brandished a golden-inlaid Desert Eagle.  With his right hand he calmly grabbed at Abbie’s shoulder-length blonde hair and pulled it back so she would look into his eyes.  His left hand put the gun to Abbie’s temple.

“Last chance.”

It all happened so fast.  I closed my eyes expecting to see the light, instead I saw blood.  Within seconds, Smith’s henchmen fell quickly and Smith turned to witness the commotion.  As he turned, he saw the blur that could only be his “hired-help” and began to fire aimlessly in his direction.

“Abbie, GO!” echoed through the alley and she jumped into the van.  Savage got a grip of herself and took to the driver’s seat as fast as her body would allow her.  Outside, Smith was still firing on the phantom before him.  As he attempted to reload his right hand was greeted with the steel from Slice’s katana.  As the van began to take off Slice stammered back and shook his head as if reeling from a blow to the face.  The phase had been finished and Marionette made it back to the van.

“You shot at me you fuck!”  Slice’s words reverberated in the alley for a second before he regained his poise and darted for the van.  All of Smith’s energy was focused on stopping the geyser of blood gushing from the stump that used to be his right hand.


“Savage, head for my office.”

“What does he want Abbie?”

Marionette was still trying to catch her breath as the rear door was torn off.  Slice was good at his job and refused to let these women get the best of him.  Not a chauvinist, but rather a perfectionist.  Marionette was about to phase when Slice fired at her only to clip her left shoulder.

“Not this time, bitch.”  Abbie scrambled back to take on Slice before he could make his assault.  She laid a boot into his firing arm with enough force that he dropped the gun.  It only took a second before that was replaced with a large and rather demonic knife.  Slashes were exchanged but only managed to hit with minor wounds to Abbie’s upper leg and stomach.

Without any warning Savage stood on the break hoping to end the battle in the back.  Both Slice and Hellhunter dashed to the front only to collide with the windshield.  Slice took the brunt of the damage leaving only his legs in the van.

“Are you alright, Abbie?”  Savage inquired.  “What is it with this guy?”

“Just some scratches, I’ve had worse.”  She put pressure to her belly with one hand holding her forehead.  “Fuck, this is ridiculous.  We have to get to my office before Smith rallies.”

Marionette asked again.  “Abbie, for fuck’s sake, what do they want?”

“They want Henry Jones.”

“So, what’s the deal, do you have a clue as to where he is or not?”  Derringer had no problem getting to the point.

“Shut up you fool, let her do her thing and we’ll be on with it.”  Volition didn’t take kindly to almost anything that Derringer did.  Treating him more like a baby brother than a lover.  Like a child sent to his room he mumbled under his breath.

“I get claustrophobic…and I’m hungry.”  His sheer size was terrifying.  The man had to sit in the middle of the van just to keep it balanced.  “Can’t we just walk or something, this is so boring.”

“Here child, play with this.”  Volition tossed him a fifty thousand volt Taser and a bottle of water.  “Go nuts.”

My powers were fading in and out.  One minute I had a lead on Slice and then something glitches.  Like he was blocking me from catching onto his scent.  It’s been a while since I focused this hard to track down anybody.  Nobody has really put up much of challenge.  Slice was proving more than difficult.

“How’s it coming Abbie?”  Marionette inquired as the bickering between the lovebirds had ceased.

“I don’t know.  One minute I sense him a few blocks away, and the next he’s on top of us.  Wait a minute.”  The glow from my eyes made everyone uneasy.  They must’ve thought me possessed.  I only know my eyes glow because people tell me; it’s kind of hard to see my own eyes.  Just as I was locking in Slice’s location, the glow rescinded along with my power.  I dropped my head and gave in to the frustration this whole situation was causing me.

Like a clap of thunder, something landed on top of the van.  The noise caused a stir but none of us dared make a sound.  Everyone except Derringer sank while assessing the situation.  The oaf looked at Marionette as if to ask what to do.  She slowly nodded as if to direct him out of the vehicle to check out the disturbance.  As gently as the ox could he opened the back doors and slowly lowered himself to the pavement.

Derringer looked around but saw nothing.  The wind was picking up and the alley was quiet, save for the smash of a bottle breaking.  He looked at us from outside the van and gave a shrug.  Marionette pointed up and Derringer stepped back onto the rear bumper and peaked over the top of the van.  With the faintest of sounds Derringer’s head was separated from his body.  His head had already hit the ground before his body could register what had happened.  Again we shrank to the center of the van.   Volition was in a state of shock.

We all felt as if someone was watching us from the space that was once filled with Derringer’s massive body.

“You look frightened ladies.  Have you done something wrong?”  The crackling, sarcasm in his voice made my blood boil.  I began to run for the doors.  I didn’t get very far before Savage and Marionette had pulled me back.  “Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Do you know who I am?”  The cloaking device had been turned off and there stood the target.  “Now, let’s think about this.  My job is to kill-persuade you to register with the MRC.  I would hate for anything bad to happen to any of you.  Well ‘cept you Abbie.”  Again I leapt towards Slice with nothing but rage in my eyes.  As I went for him, Slice slide-stepped and smashed me in the back of the head with the flat of his blade.  “Did you not just hear me?  Or see that man’s head on the ground?  Now be a good little bitch and come quietly.”

My heart was racing as I tried to keep cool.  Nothing about this situation was allowing me to do that.  Our big man was dead, and the rest were locked in a group huddle inside the van.  He was faster than me, stronger than me, and had an arsenal on his person.  I had two options, to stand down and hope for mercy or to attempt to throw down with this mercenary.  The latter seemed like a much better idea.  I took note of his blade hand and darted straight at it.  As he evaded my tackle I was able to snag a Glock out of the harness on his thigh.  I rolled into a crouch, spun and pointed in his direction.  He had gone stealth again.

In the darkness all I could hear over my panting was that sinister, mechanical chuckle.  I wanted this man’s head over my mantle.  “Congratulations, you now have a weapon.  It’s a good thing I carry several.  At least now when I strangle you with your own intestines I can say I gave you the chance to surrender.“

Keeping my head on a swivel I tried to point out the voice.  My rage didn’t allow for my powers to function, or maybe I was just unable to grasp what was happening.  Bright lights shined on the van and my back as I turned to see what it was.  Of course, a large black SUV was barreling right for us.  I thought to jump out of the way but I didn’t care at the moment.  It’s a good thing it stopped well before any damage was done.

Two men stepped out of the driver and passenger side of the vehicle.  The driver opened the door behind him to allow for another man to dismount.  It was a short, stout man with a fair amount of black hair flowing into a ponytail.  He stopped and stared at me before removing a cigar from his jacket and lighting it up.

“Hello, Miss Snow.”  He paused and stared at me as he took an exhaustive drag from the cigar.  “Don’t mind Slice, it’s me you should worry about.  You don’t remember me do you Miss Snow?  George Smith, Shining Sun Collection Agency.  You have something that belongs to me.  Maybe you should listen to your messages.”

GAUNTLET – Part One: The Beginning <– Click here to catch up on the Gauntlet.  (Tarentino-ing it)

Too Many Heroes

Chapter Four:

Showing all the Cards

by Arch


The chatter in the Null & Void was insufferable.  As with any place where drinking and music are meshed together, it was infuriating.

“Who the hell was that buffoon?”

“Hah, that was the ‘Sparkling Butterfly’ or ‘Razzle-something’.  You want me to kill him?”

Landon Trellix was an aspiring hero.  He very capably carried the physique and the stature of any of the “A-listers”.  Sadly, his reputation as a boy-chaser kept him from the top of the heap, so he was stuck with me as my accomplice, (or minion, take your pick).  I’d met him on the computer venting about his inability to step out of the shadow of the Excalibur’s of the world.  His exploits were indeed heroic, but one grotesque image of him with a minor downgraded his rank to “B-villain” lackey status.  The long, flowing blonde hair past his broad shoulders made him look like a modern day Prince Valiant.  The black shirt that clung to his massive chest and biceps gave the impression that he worked out every minute of every day.  Everyone knew he’d never stepped foot in a gym, let alone pick up a weight.  It was his powers that made men shudder in fear.  It wasn’t hard to decipher why he had been dubbed, “Zenith”.  The man was the pinnacle of physical perfection but clearly came with a flawed mentality.

“It’s of no consequence.  If you want to take a stab at it, what do I care?”  I intoned with slight frustration.

“He was with your pal Artie when “Flashy-pants” went down.” Landon’s stare was trying to tell me something.

“You don’t say?  Well then, I guess we’ll just have to take care of him too.  I didn’t realize our boy Artie could get out of his own way and actually acquire friends.”

“I don’t think that…thing…really knows it has a choice.  It just kind of follows him around like a puppy.”  Mr. Trellix was incapable of saying anything without that little smirk, but I learned to move past it.

Another round of drinks was dropped in front of the four of us.  Dinosaur face and Fire Eel jumped right in, wasting no time in an effort to get inebriated.  As I downed my glass of vodka tonic I noticed the checkered paint on my face smudged and misplaced.  My dirty, black hair disheveled and unruly in front of my eyes.  I couldn’t help but smile as I looked at the man that was, and saw the man I was about to become.

“Are the Cleaners ready?”  I asked Landon while staring at my reflection.

“They’re on the roof.”  They all stared at me as to what I was going to do next.

I put down the glass and leveled my face to the table, looked at the four of my allies with the greatest of pleasure.

“Then we are ready to leave the lower-ranks and ascend to the next-level.  Our days of mixing it up with rank-and-file cops and drunken heroes-in-training are over.  Jason Wylde is dead.  It’s time we introduced the world to Wyldecard.”


Carl and I finally stumbled outside a little after two to find a dark and vacant parking lot in front of us.  Apparently aliens have the scientific capacity to create temporal scanners and interplanetary communicators, but have no tolerance for the drink.  Not three steps outside before Carl showed me his insides.

“That oughta help, mate.  The ol’ puke and rally.  You should be ready for a few more rounds, eh?”  I put his scrawny, misshapen arm over my shoulder and attempted to drag him toward the bus stop, but we didn’t make it very far before we heard the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.  Carl, half-blitzed, looked at me as if he had no comprehension of what was going on.  We turned around to see the roof of the Null and Void packed with the arachnid-esque features of the Cleaners.

“Well this is fuckin lovely.”  I blurted in anticipation of an attack from above, but they didn’t budge.  They just stood on the top of the roof as if staring a hole through our hearts.

“What should we do?”  Carl attempted to sober up and stand on his own but was immediately back in my arms as he stumbled for solid footing.

“Um, do they talk?  Should I say something?”  Elijah was trying to put on a brave face, but the steam was rising under those thick-rimmed glasses.

“Fuck if I know.  Jesus, ok, let’s…um.”  I put Carl’s weight solely on Elijah and started toward the bar once more.

“Um, ok, um…Hello?”  My question went unanswered as the black figures stood motionless and unwavering.

“Um, do you need to speak with us?  We have nothing to hide.”

The door swung open with Rex and Fire Eel leading out Landon and Wylde.  They stopped about twenty feet in front of us.

Wylde paused, looked up and behind him to the roof.  A slight smile began across his face as he turned back to face us.

“Are we interrupting?  It looks as though you were in the middle of an interrogation.”

“We don’t know anything, we didn’t kill Excalibur.”

The smile on Wylde’s face grew wider.  Again he looked back up to the roof.

From behind the Cleaners came a large dark figure.  Clad in his trademark gold and charcoal vest, white undershirt and black cargo pants.  His ebony skin, bald head and glowing eyes left no room for confusion.

Wylde was giddy with pleasure as he announced, “Boys, I believe you’ve heard of Dextratos.”



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Too Many Heroes – Chapter One: Didn’t See That One Coming…: