Avenging

Act IV

The Hate Monger and the Peacemaker

Chapter 3

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[.]

[Writer's note: Don't worry about the whole mutant-Alice thing as the characters related to that fall under the 'single chapter' category. The main character in this one you'll want to remember is the one responsible for everything]

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Ranma entered the Tendou family room, spying Nabiki. She sat next to the table, casually watching television. After looking around for a while, he finally decided to ask, "Where is everyone?"

Nabiki's eyes remained glued to the set as she answered, "Kasumi's at her new job, your dad and mine got hauled off by the little letch, and Akane is there." She pointed at the television where a large auditorium jam-packed with people was being shown. "It's the Reo Mouri concert. She got comped by a couple of friends."

"Oh." That could be... bad. Left alone with him, Nabiki might not be able to keep her hands off him. Like all the Tendou girls, she had expressed more than a casual interest in him. Well, they kept it to themselves pretty well, but he could sense it. Best to go out on patrol, just to play it safe in case she tried to jump his bones. "I'm going to get changed and head out."

Nabiki shrugged nonchalantly and continued watching. She was probably pining for him. At least he thought she might be. In any case, it was time to put on the old union suit underneath his clothing and go.

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Akane found herself being jostled in a sea of humanity, and the concert hadn't even started. She was amazed Yuka and Sayuri had gotten tickets to the Mouri concert, and had been kind enough to give them to her for free, despite the fact she had volunteered to pay for them. They really were the best of friends. Of course, at the moment they were helping play pinball, with Akane as the ball being bounced from bumper to bumper. Oh well, at least she had her cane for support. And the concert should be starting soon.

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Reo Mouri admired himself in the mirror one more time. Perfect. Not that his looks mattered all that much. Well, they did for people that just stared at his posters and images, and he was bishonen gorgeous. But as for the people that actually listened to his live performances, well, they couldn't help but love his singing, thanks to his abilities.

There was a firm knock on the door. He told whoever it was to come in. Much to his astonishment, it was two people he was quite familiar with: Narumi Anjou and Alison Blaire. "Well, well, if it isn't two of my comrades from the Alice Academy. So nice to see you. I would have given you backstage passes if I had known you were coming. Well, I guess someone with a mutant pheromone wouldn't need one." He stared knowingly at Narumi.

"We prefer the term Alice," Blaire said.

Reo rolled his eyes. "Oh yes. 'By using the term 'Alice' it implies a sense of extraordinary wonder, rather than fear and loathing that the term 'mutant' does.' Really, is that ridiculous ad campaign Dixon came up with actually working?"

"Yes, it does," Alison said, a bit miffed at the sarcasm. "You'd be surprised at the number of connections we've established among the elite and powers that be with careful selection of Alice abilities working in concert with their goals. And the term Alice is being used with increasing frequency. True integration has begun."

Reo suddenly gained a shifty gleam to his eyes. "You know, you have quite the singing voice. Perhaps we should form a duet."

Alison found herself starting to nod just as a Narumi said, "Enough. Don't think of using your voice manipulation Alice on us, or you'll be sorry." The warning shook Alison out of her stupor. Now she glared evilly at Reo.

Reo's response was to become playful. "You spoil all my fun."

Narumi wasn't having any of it. "You need to stop using your Alice during the concerts. Once people find out you're employing it, they'll accuse you of manipulating their minds. And honestly, it's beneath you. You have a great singing voice-"

"-That will sell millions while my Alice will net me tens of millions," Reo completed. "It's part of my natural abilities, I'll be damned if I don't use them as so many of our fellow mutants do," he emphasized the words.

"You'll give the Alice community a bad name," Narumi warned.

"They'll never discover it. It doesn't leave traces of any kind, even psionic ones," Reo assured them. "Now if you don't mind, I have a concert to perform. Shoo, shoo." He waved them off. Reluctantly, they did so, leaving the room.

Reo wasn't surprised by his former comrades' attitude. Xavier was a real conservative when it came to using powers for personal gain rather than for the good of the community. Like Reo gave a damn about others, except in an abstract way. While he probably did have more of a Magneto-like outlook on life, he wasn't interested in furthering anyone's cause other than his own.

There was a booming knock on the door this time. "What do you want now?" he snapped in an irritated tone.

The door flew open. Standing in the doorway was a large man. He wore a purple conical mask and matching tabard with an 'H' on it. Thick arms and legs jutted out from the tabard, encased in chain mail, while bulky leather boots and gloves completed the outfit. The only part of his body that was visible were crimson eyes through slits in the mask.

That boded ill. Reo used his Alice. "Why don't you calm down, friend?"

The figure jerked for a moment, as though stung by something. Then his crimson eyes narrowed. "I see. You influence emotions through vocal control. Unfortunately for you, the only emotion I feel is hate. Allow me to demonstrate."

The air was suddenly filled with an overpowering emotion.

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"Here he comes!"

Akane looked past Yuka's shoulder as Reo walked on to the stage, head down, almost slouching. That was odd. He was usually more energetic during his performances.

Reo grabbed the microphone, lacking any style or grace. Some in the audience began to wonder what was going on.

Reo held the microphone to his lips and chanted in a dirge. "Murder."

Everyone in the audience jerked simultaneously. Akane felt something ring, not through her skull, but rather directly through her brain.

Reo followed with an intoned, "Death."

More sharply this time, another thought, and she felt something slither up from the reptile portion of her brain. Something a part of her welcomed, despite her subconscious having kept it suppressed for so long.

Reo added, "Kill."

Now Akane's teeth ground together, her heart raced, her fists clenched. She trembled. Something was overcoming her.

Again Reo repeated the words, more loudly this time, and with each intonation, her fury grew. Dimly, Akane was aware of Yuka, Sayuri, and the rest of the crowd reacting much the same way.

And then she realized Reo was right. She brought her cane up in the air...

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Uniform on under his regular street clothes. 'Lucky Hubcap' tucked under his arm, Ranma darted past the living room. "I'm out of here, Nabiki."

She leapt at him, rage etched on her face, shouting, "Murder!"

Ranma was so shocked at the unprovoked attack that he was taken off-guard. Nabiki struck him hard in the face with a fist, causing him to drop his shield.

She shouted, "Death!" and slammed a palm strike into his jaw, snapping it back.

"Kill!" A reverse kick struck him in the gut, sending him across the floor and out of the house.

"Murder!" Nabiki shouted again, leaping up in the air, targeting Ranma for a savage double stomp that would cave in his chest.

Ranma rolled out of the way, barely evading the feet as they plunged into the wooden boards of the flooring. He rolled into a standing position then, only to have Nabiki grab his shirt and flip him over her head, shouting, "Death!"

Ranma shifted his weight in mid-air, his shirt tearing as he pulled free from her grasp. Again, she attacked him, forcing him on the defensive, as she continued her mantra of three words, repeating them in the same order again and again as she attacked.

Finally, he tagged her with a powerful left to the jaw. She rolled with it and struck with a backfist of near bone-shattering proportions. Ranma hadn't realized just how good the girl was, and it was obvious she was in a murderous frenzy. While he had a number of crazed people attack him, this was worse than usual, especially because the behavior didn't make sense.

But his defensive posture finally paid off as he started to recover, though her attacks, despite being blocked, still took their toll on the youth. He counterattacked with a series of hard fists. Much to his surprise, she didn't do anything to defend herself, but continued with a savage frenzy which made him back off once again.

At last, he came up with a strategy. He started backpedaling, allowing Nabiki to continue going all out. While unrelenting attacks was a technique that could serve one well, it had its flaws. One he was about to exploit.

The battle went outside. He allowed Nabiki to press him backward until they came to the boulder in the yard. On one hard fist toward him, Ranma ducked. Nabiki's fist smashed full tilt into the boulder. Since she was so blinded by rage, she held nothing back, and even in her maddened state, felt intense agony from the blow and held her hand in pain.

Ranma unleashed a full out strike to the back of her neck. While it didn't knock her out, it stunned her. He then knocked her feet out from under her so she landed on her stomach. Landing on top of her, he pinned her arms behind her, rendering them unusable due to his leverage and far superior strength. She tried using her legs to rise up, but Ranma kicked them out from under her. Still, she struggled like a hellion, shouting her urge to murder, death, and kill him.

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Akane raised her stick high overhead, trying to cave in the skull of Sayuri. However, another audience member, in an equally homicidal frenzy, slammed into Akane from behind, making her lose her balance. As she fell, she tried to right herself with her cane, which struck the ground.

A bolt of lightning pierced the heavens, crashing into Akane and triggering her transformation into the Goddess of Thunder.

"What wonderment is this?" Thor said, freed of the psychotic fury that had been inhabiting her mortal form. With a more sane eye, she looked around and saw the entire crowd had turned into a pack of rabid animals in human form. All around her was chaos as the masses sought to kill one another. Already, some were falling to others' attacks.

And then once again the venomous spewings of Reo assaulted Thor's senses with another urge to murder. Anger began to build in the goddess' form.

"I say thee nay!" She tapped her hammer twice into the ground. Instantly, the heavens poured forth a torrential downpour that was testament that even the gods wept. People were hammered to the ground by the deluge of so much water instantly upon them. Thunder drowned out the urgings of Reo on stage. Thor stood back for a moment, reveling in the fury of the tempest.

Reo continued trying to urge the crowd on, but then a coil wrapped itself around his throat, preventing him from speaking. He was jerked to the ground, much like a runaway calf wrangled by a cowboy.

Narumi kept a tight hold on his one time friend, silence reigning thanks to his companion's Alice ability which had cocooned them from Reo's power of suggestion. He signaled to Alison with a nod of his head.

And Alison Blair began absorbing all the sound in the arena. Tens of thousand of people screaming in rage, the roar of thousands of gallons of water, the thunder from the heavens as lightning struck all around. And she glowed bright as a newborn sun, her ability converting the sound into light. The glare caught the attention of all who bore witness to it. And when she reached her peak, she released her 'Dazzler' effect.

The strobe light flash stimulated the visual centers of the brain, causing all who witnessed it to enter a trance-like state which calmed them, making them stare like zombies at the stage.

As Thor's anger waned, so did the tempest, the rain lessening until it was a light drizzle. With the crowed entranced, Alison reduced her light effect to nothing.

"We're getting out of here," Narumi said, hauling the now unconscious Reo off stage with him. They needed to get him to Xavier and find out what was wrong with him. Reo was unpleasant, but this was something else entirely. Also, Narumi had a horrible feeling that Alices were about to have a whole lot of crap dumped on their heads with the incident. Someone was going to suspect mental manipulation of some kind, and it might not take much for someone to put two and two together.

He looked around. There were numerous injuries in the stadium, some of them appearing quite bad. And the concert had been televised, which would had tens of thousands more. While those near a television would be affected by Alison's 'Dazzler', others would have drifted away from them in a lethal frenzy. And Reo's effects would last a good 15 to 30 minutes depending on the person affected. It was going to be a bloodbath.

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Out at the edge of the stadium, the Hate Monger looked on. Blast, those meddling heroes. Had Reo's concert gone on unimpeded, the death toll would have been staggering. As it was, there would only be massive injuries a paltry number of deaths.

He turned away. Oh well. In any case, this had been but one move in the campaign, not an end gambit. Oh no, he had much better, more effective ideas in mind toward that end. Many more indeed.

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Ranma felt Nabiki's struggles start to lessen. His first assumption was that she had grown tired, but then he heard her say in groggy tones, "What's going on?"

Hmm. It sounded suspiciously like mind control. Actually, he had suspected it for a while. Mind-controlling villains were a lot more common than people thought. Although he figured there was one test to try. "How do you feel about murder, death, and killing?"

"Like I'm going to do all three to you if you don't let me up off the ground, you !#$%!"

Ah, the dulcet sounds of rational hate instead of irrational. It sounded like Nabiki was back to normal. Still, Ranma was on guard as he let her on her feet, ready for an attack.

Nabiki was in a normal rage as she said, "Where do you get off pinning me to..." she trailed off, staring as his chest.

It was then he looked down and saw the familiar red sun on his chest through the tear in his shirt. He looked at her, panicked, "I can explain-"

"You're Captain Japan!"

Well, that wasn't the explanation he was about to go for, but it did make sense, since it was the truth.

He was in for it now.

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[End chapter]

There you go. Something happened with the regulars, and you got to meet one of the main villains of the Act. Enjoy.