So since it used to be a thing- still is I guess- to put up a load of half-worked stuff in a little folder, I thought I'd do the same when I found all these yesterday. I don't intend to work on them, but if anyone thinks they have potential take the idea and good luck.
This one is Worm/DC, specifically Injustice or Injustice 2
"Of all people to be caught in this shit with, why did it have to be him?" Slade lamented, reloading his pistol. Bane chuckled deeply, the massive supervillain standing just a fraction in front of the mercenary.
"I suppose it is our bad fortune. Besides, there are worse people to be stuck with. Him we can defeat."
"Who could be worse?" Slade demanded, glaring one-eyed at the shadows around him.
"Darkseid. Brainiac. Doomsday."
"Well…shit, alright. But whatever this is, wherever we are, we have to keep him under control. Crane! You have any idea what's going on?"
The man in the labcoat and cloth mask looked up.
"Hmm. Well, all things considered, I think we've ended up somewhere very odd. Perhaps…some sort of multidimensional mishap? That sounds correct. And unless I'm mistaken, we might not be alive any more. Some kind of psychic shadow, I suppose you could call us."
"That…that means nothing to me, Crane. Speak English." Slade snapped. Scarecrow sighed, in a gentle manner that made Slade want to put a bullet in him.
"I think we've been turned into some kind of psychic ghosts and dumped in the mind of some human somewhere. It's just a theory, but I think it's correct. At least, that's what came to mind. Clearly I got some kind of knowledge during the transfer."
Normally, Slade would have called bullshit and walked away, but in this case he was worried that Scarecrow might be right. And even if he wasn't, there was no harm in sticking with Bane and Scarecrow for the moment.
"Incidentally, I think our host is having some kind of breakdown. If Joker gets to her mental representation first, he might be able to take total control."
Slade vaulted Bane and got moving at a sprint, hearing the booming footsteps of the massive man begin behind him. He hoped Scarecrow was following as well, but honestly it didn't matter. If he and Bane couldn't handle Joker Scarecrow wouldn't be able to. Joker would turn Crane inside out and wear him like a hat.
"Hmm," Slade heard from just ahead, "I wonder what happens if I-"
Slade threw himself into a flying kick as soon as he was close enough. His boot caught Joker in his ghastly pale face, and hurled the clown away from the thin figure that was curled into a shivering ball at the clown's feet. An instant later Bane rushed past, and a massive fist hammered Joker into- and through- one of the pale grey brick walls that seemed to compose the labyrinth of this place. Slade grinned behind his mask as the dust cleared and showed the Joker crumpled in the smashed wall. And then a gloved hand adjusted the suit, and a soft giggle left the sprawled clown.
"Bullshit." Slade said flatly, as the Joker stood.
"Why, thank you Bane. I've been needing the crick in my back worked out for hours." The Joker said, before breaking into giggles. Slade shot him, putting bullets into the torso until his gun ran empty and the Joker collapsed again. And then…and then, the clown stood back up.
"What." Bane said, voicing the exact thought that Slade had. The Joker gave that hideous grin of his, and produced a knife from his sleeve.
"Naughty naughty," he sing-songed, and Slade drew his sword.
"I'm going to cut his arms off." He informed Bane calmly. Joker started to laugh, and Slade sensed something behind him. Something big, and he moved on instinct snapping to one side to stand in front of the collapsed girl while keeping an eye on both Joker and the new presence. Not easy with only one eye, but he persevered.
"Why, Deathstroke. Anyone would think you were afraid." Rasped the monster from behind him. Slade gritted his teeth, glaring at the thing that called itself Scarebeast. He still wasn't sure how Crane did it, but he was fairly certain that if he cut it open it would bleed. Scarebeast chuckled, slowly swinging the chain and hook it- he- held.
"I thought you were going to take Joker apart, Deathstroke? What are you waiting for?"
"You to shut up." Slade responded, before dashing across the open space and rushing Joker. The clown was faster than most people expected, and tougher: he regularly faced down Batman, after all. But a bowie knife was not a match for the sword Slade used, and Joker's skills were not equal to Slade's. Slade drove the clown back, slicing across an arm to make Joker drop his knife before shoving the clown into a wall and pinning him there with the sword. Slade didn't end there, drawing a pistol with his off hand and jamming it under Joker's chin before pulling the trigger until the gun clicked empty.
"There." Slade snapped, turning back to Bane and Scarebeast. "Are you happy now?"
Bane silently pointed, and Slade turned around as the Joker looked up, his shattered skull slowly growing back.
"Oh." Slade noted. He stepped out of stabbing range and rubbed at his forehead tiredly.
"Crane. What's happening." He asked, too annoyed to put any inflection in his tone. Scarebeast wandered closer.
"Well…I'd say that we can't really hurt each other. Because we're ghosts, if you like, we'll just keep regenerating."
"Oh. Wonderful. Stuck with the clown for eternity." Slade grumbled. Happily, most of the Joker's jaw was still missing from the gunfire, so the clown couldn't talk.
"Maybe not. The mind is a complex thing, and I've never experienced something like this before. Maybe we can seal him away somewhere, in with this girl's darkest memories." Scarebeast said, with indecent relish. Bane glanced at Scarebeast, then looked at Joker.
"He'll probably enjoy it." The massive man rumbled. Slade shrugged.
"If it gets him away from us I'm happy with it." He said, turning as his heightened senses picked up a soft groan. A girlish groan. Their host- assuming that Crane was correct about where they were- must be waking up. Slade was, admittedly, a bit of a bastard, but he wasn't entirely a bad person, so he walked across to check that the girl was ok. Slade walked across, reaching down a gloved hand to take the girl's arm and pull her up. His fingers reached down, and as soon as he touched her a sharp pain flashed through his mind and he staggered back.
The girl lurched to her feet, in a clumsy rendition of something he might have done, and Slade cursed again. The hell was that?
"Oh. Fascinating. It appears that physical contact has transferred some of your skills to her, Deathstroke." Scarebeast noted, walking across. Slade closed his eye and resisted the urge to murder Crane. Now that the madman had pointed it out, Slade could see it. His skills, ruined by different body shape and fitness levels. Well, better him than Crane or Joker he supposed.
"What…what…oh my God." The girl started, blinking and swaying. Slade stepped forward and caught her arm, keeping he standing out of reflex. It wasn't as though anything else could happen.
"What do you remember? What is happening? Who are you?" Scarebeast stressed, closing in. Slade snapped out an arm, blocking the big creature. Bane was still eyeing Joker, who had gone eerily quiet.
"I'm…I'm Taylor. Taylor. I think. Not…not any of you."
"Do you know me?" Scarecrow asked, intently. The girl blinked.
"Deathstroke. Scarecrow. Bane. Joker. You're villains."
Slade cleared his throat.
"And a mercenary. But…but not from my world. I've never heard of you. How…how do I know this?"
"Hmm…some sort of memory transfer, maybe? How curious." Scarecrow mused. If Slade were to be honest, he found it more disturbing than normal Scarecrow, the hulking abomination that Crane had become still talking in the gentle tone the doctor preferred. The girl didn't seem all that phased.
"Where is here? I was…I was thrown into my locker. It was filled with…stuff. Horrible stuff. I think I passed out, and then I woke up here." Taylor said. Scarecrow rubbed his chin- he was starting to shrink slightly, Slade noticed, the chemicals that turned him into this larger form beginning to recede.
"Some sort of mental construct, I believe. Maybe so that you can meet us…"
Scarecrow suddenly moved, swinging an arm at the girl. She moved, apparently on instinct, blocking with ease. Slade let her go, ramming an elbow into Scarecrow's ribs and kicking him several metres away.
"What the hell are you doing, Crane?" he demanded. Scarecrow chuckled.
"Oh, just testing. Testing, Deathstroke. Assuming that we are the same here as we would be in reality…that girl isn't normal. She's almost as strong as you are. How does your super serum work, incidentally?"
Slade paused. His super serum. The serum that made him legitimately superhuman, even if it wasn't all that extreme. The girl apparently had it as well. Which meant…which meant that his abilities that had transferred to her included the serum. That was bullshit. It was ridiculous. It was actually pretty useful. If the girl was going to be his successor- as she would be if he had any say in it- then the serum would be invaluable to her.
"I…I've got the abilities of a group of villains and one amoral mercenary. I've got said villains living in my head. This can't be good." Taylor said. Over in the corner Bane finished gagging the Joker with a chunk of the clowns own purple suit and looked across.
"At least there is no Batman here to prevent your rise to power." He offered. The girl looked at him blankly and then shrugged.
"Y'know, I always thought I'd be a hero." She admitted. Slade chuckled.
"You can still help people if you want, kid. But being a villain is a lot more fun."
"I…yeah. I guess. So, how do I wake up?" she asked. Slade and Bane looked at Scarecrow, who shrugged.
"Want it, maybe? Who knows."
When Taylor opened her eyes again she was greeted with the awful darkness of the locker. It was dark and slimy and smelled awful, but somehow she couldn't bring herself to care about it. The memories she had from her new head-guests were fuzzy and vague, but they were enough to prevent her from panicking. Her personality seemed to have changed as well. That was interesting. Something for later, after she had escaped this little personal hell. Taylor twisted, bracing herself and using the enhanced strength she got from Deathstroke to pop the locker door open. She stepped out, already feeling better, and glad that she had been in there long enough that the school was empty. Breaking down the door and punching Emma's spleen out might send the wrong message. She heard snickering in the back of her mind, but decided to ignore it for the moment. Deathstroke, Scarecrow and Bane would be fine, and if the Joker had gotten loose…well, if she had the sudden urge to commit mass murder she'd know that the Joker was having an influence.
"It's good that you're so aware." Scarecrow said, and she twitched a little.
"Still there then." She noted.
"Still here, kid. Shouldn't you be getting home?" Deathstroke- Slade- added. It was kind of hilarious that he was the closest thing to moral of the voices in her head, when he was a paid killer. Ah well. Being a hero was probably overrated. Strangely enough, Slade was also the 'ghost' that she was getting the most out of, since he was the only member of the four who was actually superhuman. Scarecrow and Bane both used chemicals, and Joker was…Joker was just insane. Taylor remained lost in thought as she made her way through the dark streets of the city, annoyed at the thought of having to walk all the way home. It was inconvenient. And dangerous, especially for-
"Anyone who runs into you?"
'Yes.' She mentally agreed, striding along. She was still covered in filth, but it didn't really seem important anymore. The enhanced healing that Slade's powers included had already dealt with her cuts and bruises, and she was adjusting to the increased strength, speed and reflexes as she moved along. She tried to stay to the roads, away from the alleys, there was no point in taking risks, but it would be much faster to…well, life was for living and so long as she didn't run into a villain gang cape she'd be fine.
"Murphy's Law, kid."
And then, almost as though Deathstroke had timed it, a ragged man stepped out of the shadows to block her path.
"'Ello, darling." The man said, leering at Taylor with a mouth full of rotten teeth. Taylor schooled her expression to polite, vacant surprise even as her mind listed ways to cause massive injury to the man. Thank you, supervillain knowledge. Admittedly most of Bane's methods would require her to be half a foot taller and considerably more muscular, but Slade's would work. The man in front was still smiling, and there was someone behind her. One more to her right. Three on one. Bad odds for them. The man ahead of her opened his mouth again, and she hit him in the throat. A straight punch that left him gagging, and then she snapped her arm back to elbow the man behind her. Half a turn and her foot cracked into a knee. The man behind her collapsed, and she dropped to one knee to avoid a swinging fist from the man she had punched in the throat. A savage elbow to the groin would probably have taken him out of the fight, but she smacked his head into a wall for good measure. The last man rushed her with a switchblade. He was thin, emaciated, and she would probably have been stronger than him even without Slade's strength. Taylor caught his wrist, punched him just below the ribs, whipped the knife from his hand. She adjusted her grip to his shoulder and methodically drove the slender blade into his torso. One, two, three, four and the body collapsed.
"Hmm. Shouldn't I be more disturbed by this?" Taylor mused, as she walked towards the one man still conscious. He was trying to run, but his shattered knee was clearly hobbling him and she caught him before he managed three steps. Taylor slammed him into the wall, idly flipping the knife in her hand so that she was holding it in a reverse grip.
"You'll get blood everywhere." Slade said quietly. Taylor paused.
"Hmm. That's true…I don't want to ruin my clothes." She murmured. The man- a member of the Merchant gang, she thought- looked terrified, so she stunned him with a rap of the knife butt and spun him around. A smooth thrust of the knife into the base of his skull, and another body made a boneless slide to the ground. The last man was still unconscious, so repeating the method of killing was easy enough. Taylor went through their pockets, collected anything that might be useful to her and walked away, whistling softly to herself.
It was a long walk, but she had no more trouble on the way. To be truthful, she was glad of both things. It gave her time to think, to consider what she had just done. Murder. Triple murder, in fact. When did it become mass murder?
"Above three in one go, I think." Slade offered.
'Oh. Not a mass murderer yet then. Why don't I feel anything?' Taylor thought back. There was a long pause, and eventually Scarecrow spoke.
"Considering that you've taken on significant parts of our personalities…"
'I've become a psychopath. Wonderful.' She thought, cutting off Scarecrow before he could start talking again. At least this would make being a villain easier…assuming she could keep herself under control. Killing those Merchants…the first one had been enjoyable. She'd liked it. That wasn't normal.
"Don't worry about it. So long as you're in control it doesn't matter." Came the distinctive accent of Bane, and Taylor nodded her head absently. He was right. So long as she could control herself it would be fine. And even then…so long as she channelled it right, well, who was going to miss some anonymous gang members?
"That's the spirit." Slade encouraged as she sped up, walking briskly along. There was, after all, no rest for the wicked.
It was nice to be clean again, Taylor mused. She had gotten home without incident, creeping in and washing. She had told her father that she had been locked in her locker, but that it was just a prank and she had been able to escape. He had been worried and angry, but she had managed to placate him. He wouldn't be able to do anything anyway. She could break her tormentors on her own.
'So,' she thought, directing her mind to her new residents, 'Now that I have powers what do I do with them?'
"What do you want to do with them?" Bane questioned.
'I want…I don't know what I want. I wanted to be a hero. But now, now I don't know anymore. I want to help people, but I want to be…I want to be rich, I want to stop having to be afraid, I want to stop struggling for the little things, I want to have power. I think I might have taken quite a lot from your personalities.' Taylor admitted. There were small noises of agreement from the visitors in her mind, and then Slade spoke.
"Kid…this world, it's a pretty nasty place. I mean, I thought Gotham was bad, but this is close to it. Thing is, being a hero is a great idea, but you don't need to be a hero to help people."
"You aren't making a lot of sense, Deathstroke." Bane noted. A quiet laugh came from Deathstroke.
"Aren't I? The gangs in this city- I know there are gangs, I can tell that much- how much do you think they'll pay to have rivals killed? How much money will they have squirrelled away? And how much can you help by eliminating the worst and the most competent of them?"
'Oh my. That is an idea.' Taylor thought, darkly amused. She might not be able to take on the bigger fish with her skills- at least, not until she had Bane's Venom and Scarecrow's fear toxin available- but the Merchants? The Empire Eighty-Eight capes? Fair play. Fair prey. And besides, killing Nazis was practically a public service. Getting paid for it would be a delicious bonus.
"Get in shape first, and get equipped." Slade advised. "Then we can go out and have some fun."
Slade hadn't been wrong. This was pretty fun.
Taylor swerved to one side, avoiding a swinging crowbar, and laid out the Merchant holding it with a single punch. The man went flat, and Taylor looked at his friends with a predatory grin that was, unfortunately, hidden by her scarf and mask. There were only two of them still standing: one was brandishing a baseball bat and the other had a set of brass knuckles. It was kind of cute, actually, especially considering that a good seven other Merchants were laid out in various states of injury.
"You know," she said conversationally, consciously altering her accent to sound almost Australian, "Nobody would judge you if you ran away."
"Well, I wouldn't judge you. But I'm just here for your stuff."
The Merchants moved forward. Taylor got the tip of her boot under the dropped crowbar, flicking it into the air and snatching it in a gloved hand. She converted the motion into a swing that hammered into the jaw of the man with brass knuckles and knocked him sprawling. A duck carried her out of the way of the baseball bat, a casual backswing of the crowbar smacking into a knee and dropping the Merchant so that his head was bowed. Almost like an execution, she mused as she struck again, leaving another man unconscious. Or dead, maybe. She didn't really want him dead, but she wouldn't shed any tears if he was. Taylor frowned, dropping the crowbar. Her fighting style was far too similar to Joker, in her opinion, but it was needed. She didn't have the bulk for a lot of Bane's moves, and she didn't have a sword or gun- or staff- for Deathstroke's style. The Joker was good with a crowbar and knives, for all of his insanity. It didn't matter. Once she got hold of a gun she would move away from anything linking her to the clown. Whatever. There was stuff to loot. Hopefully this little Merchant drug den would have stuff worth taking, and not just a load of crap.
"Not bad." Taylor admitted to herself as she loaded a bag with money. There was only one gun in the building- the Merchants were apparently such a shit gang that barely any of them had anything other than a melee weapon- and it was in poor condition, but it was there. And there was money, and a load of drugs that she didn't intend to take. Maybe she could fire the house on her way out, although that would burn to death the unconscious Merchants and so was not the nicest thing. Decisions were hard.
"Is basic gun maintenance not a thing here?" she mumbled, looking at the handgun before deciding to drop it in the bag with the money. Shooting it would almost certainly be a terrible idea, before it was cleaned and checked anyway. Something for later. And then there was a roar, and the building shook, and Taylor dived out the window. A second story window, she realised an instant later, and made a hasty grab at a fire escape on the next building over. That was convenient, she admitted as she scrambled up to the building roof to see just what the hell was going on.
"Huh. Big scary monsters." She observed, looking down at the chaos. The big silver thing that looked like a cross between a dragon and a man was in the centre: she guessed that that was Lung, the Parahuman leader of the ABB gang. Since his power could be summed up as 'Rage Dragon' she felt safe in that assumption. The monsters charging at him looked more like…like disgusting skinless lizard-tigers. That was an awful description, but the best she could give at the moment. Oh, and there were some people running around. A few ABB by the look of it, but a couple in costumes of varying garishness. So parahumans. Fighting Lung. Well, suicide was apparently still popular in Brockton Bay. Taylor shrugged.
"Not my fight I gue-"
There was a tiny noise from behind her, and she dived away on principle. It was a good choice, because some bastard in a demon mask had just tried to backstab her.
"That isn't very nice." She chided, letting her bag drop to the ground and sizing her opponent up. He had a bandoleer of grenades. It was a nice bandoleer, and she could do with some explosives. The guy in the mask- demon guy- said nothing, which was a bit disappointing. What was the point of cape fighting if there was no banter? And then the demon dickhead crumbled into ash and she had to move because there was another one behind her and he crumbled into ash and there was another one and she was really getting sick of it.
"Bugger off!" she snapped, aggravated. Teleporters were bullshit. Fortunately, this one didn't seem all that smart, and she was able to catch him with a sharp elbow the next time he appeared behind her. And he immediately crumbled into ash. For fucks sake. And now there were three of him. Great.
"Are you sure you want to do this? We've only just met." Taylor said, ducking and dodging and utilising most of her enhanced speed and reflexes to avoid the clones that were swarming her. The demon mask guy wasn't bad with a knife, actually, and Taylor was forced to pull a blade of her own to hold him off. He was still cloning himself, she reckoned, using attrition to wear her down. It wasn't a bad plan, but she just needed to work out which one was actually…there! A snap of her off hand and a slender knife hit something that wasn't a clone. He staggered, and Taylor crossed the space between them faster than he could blink, jamming a knife into his side and slamming a fist into his jaw. The man…Oni Lee, that was his name. Oni Lee went down in a heap. Taylor grinned behind her mask.
"Got cocky, eh? Look where that gets you." She taunted, idly dodging one last clone and punching it into dust. Taylor retrieved her knives, stole the grenade bandoleer and looked towards the fight that was still raging. On one hand, it wasn't really her business. On the other hand, Oni Lee worked for Lung. Taylor looked at the grenade belt in her hand and shrugged.
"In for a penny." She concluded, taking out a grenade and popping the pin before throwing it. The grenade bounced once, twice, and then exploded, right next to Lung's ankle. Turned out that he wasn't big enough yet, and a sizeable chunk of his leg exploded in a gory shower. The lizard things might have caught some shrapnel as well, but Taylor didn't care all that much. She dragged Oni Lee across to the roof edge, hitting him again as he stirred slightly.
"Lung!" she shouted, drawing attention. With one hand she hoisted Lee up, showing him off.
"Next time, keep your pet on a leash." She called, before shoving Lee off the roof with a boot and locking eyes with Lung as he fell. Ooh. He looked even angrier than before.
"KILL YOU!" he roared- or at least that was what Taylor thought he roared. Hard to tell. Whatever, she got moving, making a jump to another fire escape and sliding down to the ground. There were ABB thugs scattered about the ground, and she snatched a gun from one of them, turning and putting bullets into Lung until the gun was empty. From the gouts of blood and the enraged howling it worked, but he just regenerated.
"No kidding." She murmured, before bolting across the open space that Lung was rampaging around. Sticking to alleys was her best bet, Lung was still growing and would soon be too big to fit. Then all she'd have to do is play keep-away until the Protectorate got here and she could escape. Let the paid heroes deal with the rage dragon. Easier said than done, especially now that he had…he had burst into flames. Well, that was a thing. It might be better to let the lizard things deal with that, while the big guy in black ran around in his cloud and dealt with the ABB thugs remaining. She was going to hide in one of these conveniently empty buildings. It really was the best idea. And then Lung saw her and charged and there was a blonde girl in purple right in front of her, so Taylor grabbed the girl and dragged her along until she dived through a window and into a building. Taylor managed to roll so that she cushioned the fall of the girl in purple, and grinned from the adrenaline. Lung had been distracted by the huge lizard things again, so she had a minute or so.
"Hey there, planner." Taylor said cheerfully. The girl looked at her, looking distinctly frazzled.
"You are, aren't you? You're the only one not fighting. So, any ideas?"
The girl grinned at her.
"Just a few."
The girl in purple peeked out the window, then grimaced.
"Lung's getting too pumped up. Bullets aren't even going to hurt him pretty soon. Not normal bullets, anyway."
"Oh good. Well, that's me out." Taylor commented, a moment before Lung picked up one of the lizard things and threw it at the building they were in. More specifically, at the window the blonde girl was looking out of. Taylor dived at her, grabbing her and pulling them both out of the way. They landed in a tangled heap as the lizard thing crashed through the window and wall, ending itself in a slowly stirring heap.
"You're making quite a habit of saving me." The blonde girl mumbled dazedly.
"Don't read too much into it. I'm just too nice." Taylor whispered in her ear before disentangling herself and standing.
'Slade. Lung's too strong, any ideas?'
"Hmm…well, he's regenerating a lot. Does that regeneration include chemicals?"
'Good question. Let's find out.'
"Planner! Lung's regeneration, how would it work on drugs?"
The blonde girl took a long look at Lung and then shrugged.
"It still works pretty fast. But nothing like it does physically. Wait. Drugs. You have some sedatives? No. Not sedatives…drugs? Actual drugs?"
"Not on me, but-"
"In the drug den you were raiding. Right. Let's go there, quickly."
'That's disconcerting.' Taylor mentally noted.
"Yeah, no kidding. At least she's baseline human physically by the look of it."
Taylor quickly led the way back to the drug den, and looked around the room of still unconscious Merchants.
"Oh. Wow, you aren't bad at this. Oh, I'm Tattletale, by the way."
Taylor paused long enough to briefly shake the girl's hand.
"I'm…uh, haven't got a name yet, but you can call be Amalgam."
"Amalgam, huh? Very non-descriptive." Tattletale smiled, and Taylor shrugged.
"Works for me. So, how much and what drug?"
"What drug…some kind of…heroin, maybe. If we jam a load of heroin into him, that should at least slow him down."
"Right. Sounds good. Only..."
"He's on fire and massive. Yeah."
"I don't suppose any of your friends out there are fireproof and tough enough to not die?" Taylor tried hopefully. Tattletale gave her a bright smile. Taylor sighed.
"Yeah, I figured that. I wish I had a crossbow or something. Like a rocket launcher. That might work, right?" she continued as they hastily collected what they needed. Taylor was going to have to inject almost a dozen syringes into Lung. This idea was looking worse and worse by the minute.
"At this point? A rocket launcher is a maybe." Tattletale said, sounding slightly amused. Taylor frowned behind her mask. It was ok for her, she wasn't going to have to try and rodeo a rage dragon. Actually, now that she put it that way it sounded kinda fun.
"Right," she said, taking the bundle of syringes carefully. "I'm going to have to hit Lung with as many grenades as possible, hopefully that'll expose flesh enough for me to inject him. You need to get your friends out of the way before the explosions. Thing you can do that?"
Tattletale had stopped smiling, and looked a little grim.
"Yeah. I think so. Good luck."
Taylor glanced at the other girl.
"I won't need it." She said automatically, before ducking back out of the drug den and adjusting the grenade bandoleer on her shoulder. This was such a stupid, crazy, awesome thing to do. Taylor moved quickly as the lizard things retreated into a billowing cloud of black, pulling the pins on grenades and throwing them as fast as possible. One, two, three four grenades, and she cupped her hands around her mouth.
The silvery, blazing monster turned to look at her, and she gestured to his feet a moment before the grenades went off. Bone and blood and scraps of dark red flesh and silvery scales flew, and Lung howled and roared as he fell. Taylor moved, sprinting forward, knowing that she would have to be quick, before the corona of fire could catch onto her clothes and ignite. Her healing factor wasn't that good. Lung roared incoherently and swiped a massive arm at her, and she jumped, bouncing off the arm and vaulting the gang leader. She landed behind him, plunging the bundle of syringes into his back and pushing the plungers in. Lung roared again, twisting and threshing, and Taylor jumped into his swing, meeting it with her boots and using the force to launch her away from him, back flipping in mid-air and landing in a crouch.
"Damn." She murmured, impressed with herself.
"Pretty good, kid." Slade complimented. Lung was roaring and snarling, but his regeneration seemed to have slowed and he seemed to be shrinking.
"Must be the drugs and the lack of fighting. His regen is focusing on the drugs maybe?"
"Research said that he amps up in battle as well. Nobody's fighting him now, maybe he ramps down really quickly?"
Lung seemed disoriented, staggering and swaying, and Taylor was able to quickly skirt the area and find Tattletale again. On the way she swiped a submachine gun from a collapsed thug. Tattletale wasn't alone anymore: her three friends or teammates or whatever were in the house with her.
"Nice work." Tattletale said, grinning at Taylor. Taylor shrugged, brushing some char off her jacket sleeve.
"Do I get extra points for style?"
Tattletale laughed, and Taylor glanced back to check that Lung wasn't in fighting condition. It didn't seem like it, given that he was still staggering around and considerably smaller than before. Still huge compared to a regular human, but smaller.
"So, we going to hang around or are we going to leave?" Taylor asked. The big guy of Tattletale's group- the guy who projected darkness, dressed in motorcycle leathers- nodded. He must be the leader.
"Yeah. Yeah, we probably should. Thanks for the help, uh-"
"Amalgam, right. I'm Grue. Like I said, thanks for your help."
"No problem." Taylor replied, tilting her head slightly as she heard the wailing of sirens. Tattletale had changed her expression as well.
"PRT are coming. More than one hero. We should get going, Grue." Tattletale said. She turned slightly and favoured Taylor with a smile- an actual smile, not a grin.
"You should leave too, Amalgam. I guess I'll see you around?"
Taylor shook her head even as she moved across to the doorway.
"Why ask questions you already know the answers to?" she asked rhetorically as she slipped out into the night.
'That was a hell of a first night.'
"Yeah, no kidding. Still, at least we got away with the money." Deathstroke offered. Taylor rolled her shoulders, working out the little kinks that had built up.
'There is that. And I managed to make contact with Tattletale and her group. I think they're a fairly new group, I'll have to look them up.'
"Sounds sensible. And they should know more about ways to earn money."
'That was my thought. How're things up there, still quiet?'
"The clown is still suppressed, if that's what you're asking. Don't you have school soon?"
'Yeah. I should probably get some sleep. Don't want to do anything rash because of sleep deprivation.'
Winslow Academy. School. Hell.
'If I blew this place up during the night, do you think anyone would care?' Taylor wondered. The voices in her mind didn't answer. She supposed that the question didn't really need to be answered. Nobody would care. Not so long as the place was empty.
"I don't understand why you keep coming here. You really don't need it." Bane rumbled. Taylor knew that, in theory, he was right. She shared a lot with her mental residents, and intelligence was apparently one of those things: Taylor had always been smart. Bane was a genius, and while she wasn't quite that level she was good enough. Still…
'I can't get a job without qualifications, Bane.'
"Don't you have a job as a supervillain now?"
'I…yeah. But I might need something as cover.'
"This argument seems familiar…" Deathstroke interrupted. Bane laughed.
"Because we've had it every day for the past three weeks. At least we know that our host is stubborn."
'I'll take that as a compliment.' Taylor mentally commented as she walked into the school. The way that Bane laughed made her think that it wasn't. At least Scarecrow had stopped trying to psychoanalyse everything. He might be qualified, but he was also a bloody nuisance. Although his assessment of Sophia had been mildly interesting.
Taylor moved rapidly through the students, automatically cataloguing the people she saw. Gang member. Gang member. Normal student. Gang member. Former best friend Emma. Gang member. Moving quickly made her less obvious. Less easy to pin down, and she didn't use her locker anymore. She just carried everything she needed in her bag. Even so, it wasn't all that easy to avoid them constantly, and Bane's suggestion of violent action followed by leaving forever was growing more and more appealing. Which was, really, something that she should be concerned about.
Computer class was first. Taylor was, all things considered, fairly good at it, and it was a skill that was actually useful. The class itself was finished quickly, and Taylor spent the rest of her time researching the group that she had met last night. The Undersiders, they were called, a fairly small and new villain group. Composed of small time criminal Grue, relative unknowns Tattletale and Regent and the known murderer Bitch- or Hellhound, if you were being PG. They hadn't seemed too bad and hell, Taylor was a murderer at this point. She just hadn't been caught. That done, Taylor turned to looking up Lung, and what happened last night. She soon found a few pieces of information, telling her that Lung had been subdued and taken into custody by Protectorate heroes, with the hero Armsmaster getting most of the credit. Well, he deserved it, if it was true that he'd managed to create a sedative good enough to put Lung down, especially considering that she'd put enough heroin into Lung to kill a man several times over and he'd just been a bit woozy. Idly, Taylor looked for the name she'd given herself, and found it in a message. Taylor looked at it thoughtfully.
Owe you one. Would like to repay the favour. Meet?
Send a message,
"Now that is interesting. Looks like you made quite the impression." Deathstroke offered. Taylor smiled a little.
'Looks like we've got an in.'
Now all she needed was a time and place, but that could wait for later. For now, she had Parahuman Studies to attend, something which was possibly the most wasteful class in the curriculum. She wouldn't object to it as part of other classes, but talking about Parahumans constantly was a waste. Taylor got to the class a little early, walking in just as Madison, one of Emma's little helpers in the campaign against Taylor, bent over to pour orange juice into the seat Taylor preferred. Something white-hot twisted in her chest, and Taylor made a deliberate decision to stumble. She toppled forward, grabbing Madison and subtly driving an elbow into the much smaller girls side. They both fell over, Madison covering herself in juice, and Taylor felt an ugly, glorious satisfaction spread through her chest. Just to add to it, Taylor hastily rolled to her feet and plastered a look of horror on her face.
"Oh no, Madison!" she said, as insincerely as possible. "I'm so sorry, I tripped and you were in the way and I couldn't stop!"
God this was satisfying. Tears were starting to streak down Madison's face: she had hit the chair quite hard, probably bruised her ribs. And, even better, the teacher had just walked in. Mr Gladly was an incompetent and far too eager to be liked, but he had seen the 'accident' and it couldn't be blamed on Taylor. Apart from clumsiness, but that was an insult that was thrown at her regularly. Three cheers for an alibi provided by your enemies.
"Madison! Taylor! Are you alright?" Mr Gladly asked. Sourly, Taylor wondered if he would have been as concerned if it was just her. Madison looked up at the teacher, biting her lip, and Taylor wondered if it was to hold back from showing any pain. Sophia wouldn't like that. Wouldn't like that one bit, considering the obsession over being 'strong' that Sophia had.
"I'm alright, Mr Gladly. But I think Madison might have hurt her ribs, she fell on the chair." Taylor said honestly. Mr Gladly looked worriedly at Madison. Of course he did, she was one of the popular girls.
"Right. Madison, you had better go and see the nurse." He said. Madison nodded slowly and stood, and Taylor wondered if any of the other girls in Madison's clique would offer to go with her. Emma and Sophia stayed silent, but one raised her hand.
"Sir, would you like me to go with Madison, to make sure that she's ok?"
Huh. Looked like there was some honour amongst them after all. Taylor had expected them to completely abandon Madison, but they'd exceeded her expectations. She shrugged minutely and sat, taking a seat near to a window. Usually she took a door seat and tried to leave as soon as possible, but she just wasn't feeling like that today.
The lesson was as boring as she had expected.
Taylor wondered if Sophia and Emma would be waiting for her when she left the classroom. Madison probably wouldn't be. Even if she wasn't that badly hurt it would take her time to clear herself up, especially given that she'd been drenched in orange juice. Still, Madison was the least imposing of the three, and there would still be plenty of flunkies around. The bell rang, and Taylor grimaced.
'Time to bite the bullet.'
"Alright. Let me explain this to you, sweetheart. We- The Undersiders- aren't violent criminals. Not that violent, anyway. There are, say twenty hostages in here. If we were a violent bunch, like, say, the Slaughterhouse, the Protectorate would burst in. Because we'd kill you all for giggles, and saving even one person would be a success. But we don't want to kill anybody. They come fireballing in, we react, people die, well, it doesn't look good. Not on them, not on us, on nobody."
Taylor paused, looking around the subdued hostages and focusing on Panacea.
"Now, you may be thinking that it isn't that bad. That you can save people, because we don't exactly have a lot of firepower. And you'd be right. This gun that I'm waving around? Rubber bullets. Not that dangerous. But this gun-"
Taylor cocked her hip slightly to make it more obvious, and patted the pistol there,
"This gun is loaded with live rounds. And I'm a pretty good shot. So tell me, sweetheart, if I see the Protectorate charging and start shooting, how many people do you think will die, especially if I shoot you first?"
"A lot. But you'll be one of them too." Panacea said defiantly. Taylor laughed, amused and pleased by the defiance shown.
"Maybe. Maybe. But if they stay out there and we leave nice and peaceful, how many people are hurt? Nobody. Bank's insured. We get our money. A bit of therapy will sort the hostages, all good clean fun and over."
"Is that what this is to you? Fun?" Panacea asked, derisively. Taylor cocked her head, thinking.
"Well, yes indeed. Not just fun, darling, it's a job as well. But you know what they say: get a job that you love."
Not great, and it was fairly quickly superseded by Empress Ascendant. The general plot was for Taylor to move on to a double life as a Parahuman mercenary willing to work for almost anyone while taking over the Merchants behind the scenes and rebuilding them into a much more competent group, with her eventual aim being to take over the Brockton Bay underworld and, eventually, expand across America and possibly the world.
This also shows part of the way I write: I tend to sometimes write bits of story that are far ahead of the main plot and will either be added in or discarded when I reach them, hence the little snippet at the Bank that is far ahead of the rest of the story.