Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Come on an adventure in the Marvel Universe. Your character could be a superhero, regular person, or a wacky alien...Basically, anything else that exists in that 'verse.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

Cait entered the house through the front door, slipping in silently and shutting it behind her. It didn't surprise her that it was unlocked - Rhiannon was more of a security system than anything that could be installed mechanically on a house. Incidentally, it wasn't for her sister's benefit that she was being quiet, more of a force of habit. She had a lot to do to prepare for what she imagined was going to be an interesting night, but first Cait fully intended to get some shut-eye.

The floor shuddered under her feet, the cheap stock art rattled their frames against the walls. She sighed and turned toward the living room. Rhiannon had clearly been up all night. Dressed in one of those granny nighties, hair all over the place, Cait might have laughed out loud if not for the look on her sister's face.

"I can't believe you. In a new dimension - not even a week - and you're...fraternizing with the locals when you should have been here with your family." Rhiannon's voice rang shrill in her mind. Cait resisted the urge to make a face, but found her molars grinding on one another. She still wasn't used to the telepathy. Spending so much time apart - well, they hadn't had much practice. If she had her way, they wouldn't. Cait entered the living room against her better judgment, plopping down on the chair across from Rhiannon.

"Oh, sure, you're one to talk. You're the one who's been swooning over Mr. Suburbia..."

"What? I'm not...didn't...don't change the subject! It's you - you're the one who said we needed to stick together. And then you just ran off!"

"I meant not separate continents, sheesh. I think we can agree that living in each other's laps isn't a great idea."

"Oh, sorry my family is cramping your style..."

"Stop. Never say that..." Cait was on her feet now, fist wagging in her sister's face. Her twin looked pleased to have finally pushed her into losing her cool. "How dare you - when you know exactly why we stay apart." It was the right comeback, and Rhys looked a bit petulant, but still angry enough to keep pushing.

"That's no excuse. We've lived together for ten years now with no problems. And don't blame Fate - you haven't listened to him for centuries."

"Oh, right, because we always get on so well. We should have shared that apartment in Paris...oh wait, we couldn't because you were in a noble family and I grew up a street kid in Marrakesh."

"So this is about class now?"

"Isn't it always, your Highness?"

"I told you to stop calling me that." It was Rhiannon's turn to show a crack in her defences. "If you're so against living in the past, why do you keep insisting on keeping it alive?"

"Because we can't change who we are. No matter how many lives we live, how many places we call home, we never get to go back to the beginning. And that beginning does matter - because without it, we have no reason to go on like this. None."

"Oh, because saving the world through our existence isn't enough?"

"No." Cait was on the stairs now, barely taking the time to glance back at her sister before she climbed them out of sight. "No, it isn't."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"So, when are we going to tell them that we can hear them?" Ewan was sitting at his computer, headphones in, listening to code.

Charis lay on her back with her head hanging off the bed in her own room.

"When they stop saying interesting things."
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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Trace and Gloria looked relieved, the latter returning to the car for the cage and a little bag of food. Little Greg was over the moon.

"I knew you would like him! We brought you my old cage and some food and stuff so you are all ready to give him a home! But yeah, naming is haaaard. My mom says you got look at your hamster reaaaal close and then pick a name that suits him. Mine's named Mr. Puddles, so you can't name yours the same thing."

Greg put his hand on his hips briefly as though delivering an ultimatum. His sternness was brief. It was a mere second before he was dancing around, clapping his hands with delight.

"So - open the box! Open it!"
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

"Yes, there can only be one Mr. Puddles," Marshal confirmed with equal gravity.

When Greg encouraged him to open the box, though, Marshal's heart started beating faster. The hamster must be such a fragile little thing. What if he accidentally crushed it in a clumsy hand? What if he dropped it and it ran off, never to be seen again? But he didn't want to disappoint Greg, and from a practical standpoint, he couldn't leave his pet in an unopened cardboard box forever. Carefully, he opened the tabs and took the tiny ball of fluff into his hands.

The hamster was soft and warm and wiggly. Marshal held on firmly but gently. The hamster felt sturdier than he had imagined. He could feel its heart beating in his hands. Marshal felt... affection. Attachment. Delight that this tiny being was really his.

"Fievel," Marshal said. "Like in that movie. You know? An American Tail. The mouse in that movie was very brave and adventurous, and I think this little guy is too."
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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"That's a great name! Hi Fievel!" Greg bounced on the balls of his feet, delighted that his new best friend liked his gift.

Gloria lowered the cage to the floor of the porch and she and Trace collected the boy back to them. "We really can't thank you enough. We almost lost our Greg...I can't think of what we'd do if..." The woman's voice faltered, even as she caressed her son's hair more resolutely.

Trace took over, "We are in your debt. Forever, really. So, you know, if you need anything, give us a call. When we move back in, we'll have a barbecue and you're invited! Here." He passed Marshal a business card - Peterson and Guildman Law Office - apparently Marshal had just saved a lawyer's son.

"I'm sorry we can't stay - so much to do with insurance and what not - but we couldn't let another moment pass without thanking you." The man smiled and reached out to shake Marshal's hand. "I knew this was the right neighbourhood to move into."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

The thought of what could have happened to Greg brought a belated knot to Marshal's throat. Obviously he had been concerned about the kid at the time - you didn't just waltz into a burning building without a pretty strong motivation - but he hadn't known Greg as a person yet. During the fire, Greg had been just a generic child who needed to be saved because saving children was the right thing to do. Now that Marshal had actually met him, the thought of what could have happened...

No. He couldn't think that way. You'd drive yourself crazy enough with what ifs. No point second guessing a happy ending.

"You're welcome," Marshal said. "I'm really glad I could help. Really, really glad. You have a great kid here. Thanks for the hamster. That was so thoughtful. Really... really thoughtful."

Marshal couldn't think of anything he might need a lawyer for. He had very little concept of what a normal civilian life entailed. He'd gone straight from high school to boot camp, and then after a stint in the army he'd been captured by HYDRA, then fished out by SHIELD. He had never really lived on his own, without someone telling him what to do. He slept where they told him to sleep, ate where they told him to eat, and just made the best of it.

Still, he could tell that Trace and Gloria were being kind. The kindness meant a lot.

"Thanks!" he said, and tucked the business card in his pocket. "Take care. We'll do that barbeque soon."

Dr. Thornton wouldn't like it. She would lecture him on the dangers of getting involved with other people. But Marshal was making friends now, and it felt good.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

Tian and Agraylea

"She's back."

"Finally."

"You mean 'luckily'. That one was identified as a flight risk right from the start. Even SHIELD figured that out after a 45 minute interview."

"Little matter now, isn't it? It is time."

"In broad daylight - bold."

"On the contrary. The guardian angel has been up all night pacing the living room and the wild thing just got back from an all-nighter. They are the greatest risks in this little endeavour and right now, they are compromised."

"Good point. I'll get the van."

"And I'll begin the cast."

~~~~~~~~

A plumbing repair truck rumbled up the back lane, coming to a stop behind one of the cookie-cutter houses. A man in coveralls and a baseball cap slipped his clipboard under his arm as he let himself in the gate, walking with purpose toward the outside tap beside the patio. Kneeling to inspect it, he nodded to himself and walked up the patio steps to rap on the glass door. He waited a moment, then smiled and waved, stepping through the opening door as he did so.

A mist fell over the yard for a brief moment, then lifted just as quickly as it came.

No one would see the sudden activity at the back door. The bodies being dragged across the lawn and tossed into the back of the van. No one would hear or see anything unusual at all...

The truck started up and made its way back to the street. Off to the next job.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

Charis and Ewan Thomas

Her head hurt in the strangest way. She blinked - things faded in and out of focus, a halo around some objects and a dullness to others. There was a thud from the room next door. Ewan! Their minds automatically reached for each other, panicked by the loss of connection.

"Charis! Charis I can hardly feel you! Please..."

The girl scrambled across the floor, reaching for the doorknob from her knees and crawling to the next room. Ewan lying on the floor, glasses somewhere, his headphone broken. She took him by the hand before the two held each other close.

"What happened?"

"I don't know." Charis whispered back, then realized that whispering might not be what she should be doing. "Mum? Aunt Cait?" Her voice echoed off the walls. It was eerily silent. "Wait here." Charis was back to whispering.

Creeping out of the room, she looked around for...something. Someone. Lowering herself closer to the ground, she adopted a stance her aunt had taught her, stalking along the wall. Aunt Cait had gone to bed - the bedroom was her next stop...until she saw the blood on the step. Ewan was at her elbow in a second, gasping as he saw the evidence through her eyes.

"We need to go get help." he finally said.

Charis tightened her lips. She agreed, but whom should they contact? Those government people? But what if they were the ones who took their mum and aunt?

"We need to get Mister George...", she began.

"and Mister Marshal.", finished Ewan.

The twins bolted down the stairs as one and burst out the front door into the street. Charis forced Ewan to hold up, remembering herself.

'We need to play it cool. If SHIELD took them...we can't let them guess we're onto them.'

'Right. Mister Imiel first then?'

'Yes.'

The two set off arm in arm - completely oblivious to the fact that Ewan didn't have his glasses or his walking aid - and walked as quickly as they could to their friend's house. The way Charis pounded on his front door instead of ringing the doorbell, however, would be a further clue that something was terribly wrong.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

Pigeons flew about in the rafters as the van's engine noise echoed in the vast emptiness of the warehouse. The arrival generated more activity among the gathered people. Preparations were already underway. Two were drawing a massive circle on the floor in chalk, one was whispering over something while seated in a smaller chalk circle on the other end of the building, still one more began moving medical equipment into the centre of the large circle.

Rhiannon's head leaned against Tian's chest as he carried her into the circle and placed her gently on the ground. She hovered just above it, the hem of her nightdress fluttering in unseen waves. Frowning, the man took one of the offered masks with an unmarked canister attached to it. Placing it over her mouth and nose, he opened the valve, then hovered his hand over her head. A circle of light appeared in the gap between and Rhiannon moaned as her body slowly sank to the floor. The fog on the mask did not disguise the smile on her lips – their movement unmistakable – she was reaching for a kiss.

"I always knew you were good with your hands, Tian, but really…"

"Focus."

The girl's mouth snapped shut. She scowled down at the other one – the beast – and gave her another kick to the head for good measure. The mage on the other side of Cait began preparing several syringes from a multitude of small bottles. Agraylea bent to affix a mask over her charge's face and turned the canister on full before pulling out a knife and cutting away Cait's sleeves and gloves. She nicked the skin in several places, on purpose once she saw the beauty of flesh coming together to heal in visible, tangible time. Some people had all the luck. Caitriona began to stir. There was a concerned glance from the young woman, but the man preparing the needles simply plunged the first one he'd prepared into Cait's arm.

"You're sure that's going to be enough? I've heard stories."

"As have I, which is why I have prepared so many different drugs. Even as her body learns to fight one, I will inject her with something new. She can't fight them all."

Cait's hand twitched, her flesh changing to a strange greyish scale before it changed back to the familiar human tone. The man jerked the second needle out of her arm, blood spraying onto his hand that still held her forearm to the ground. He grimaced and readied a third.

"Any time now. She is quick."

Agraylea moved her knife to the centre of Cait's chest, slicing through the layers, this time careful to leave the skin intact. One of the circle makers stepped close and lowered a basin toward her. The mage carefully dipped her finger into the ichor and began drawing an incantation on Cait's skin in blood. The stench of it nearly made her gag. This was no ordinary blood.

Third needle.

Moving to the other twin, Agraylea simply popped the buttons off the nightgown and held the fabric back to complete the same drawing on Rhiannon's creamy skin. Once complete, the symbol burned into the perfect flesh. The victim writhed, popping up off the floor and pushing Agraylea's hand away simultaneously with a strange thickening energy leaping off her body. Tian's hand, however, remained steady and Rhiannon soon slid once more to the floor. His helper pulled off Rhiannon's glove as she stood to admire her handiwork.

Needle four. Cait's body was going into some sort of fit. The scars of the spell already barely visible.

"We are ready here, Master."

The man on the opposite end of the room did not seem to hear. His incantations, however, became louder. Drumming in their ears. The few windows remaining shook free of their glass panes at the sound. The man next to Cait injected the two remaining fluids into her arm in rapid succession, then gathered his tools and stepped outside of the circle. Agraylea was not far behind him, carrying the masks. Tian moved more slowly. He kept his hand up – the spell he was casting in Rhiannon's mind still shone brilliantly – and he backed out of the circle without removing his eyes from her. The remaining four mages took up positions around the circle and prepared themselves.

The chant ended. Tian flared his hand and flung it to the side. Rhiannon's hand followed suit.

Contact.

The sisters gasped as one. Their eyes snapped open, honey-yellow light spilling from them even as arcs of light began lifting from their chests. The arcs took forms. Shifting forms. But shifting on a theme.

Women. They were all forms of women. Young. Old. Matronly.

The mages applied ear coverings, then moved as one to activate the circle. A half-sphere of light grew from its borders, capturing the dimly glowing forms inside. The strange women immediately rushed the dome, howling when repulsed. There were more of them now. All of them assailing their confines and shrieking.

They fell silent when the chanting began anew. Several of them attempted to flee back into their hosts, crying out when their fingers touched the bodies and nothing happened. Howling with rage when they saw the marks on the twins' chests. They began beating on the magic dome with their fists, pressing their bodies against the far side of it when the light making up the dome began moving toward the other circle like it was being sucked away and into the perfect diamond the last mage held in front of him.

The forms grew frantic. They screamed. They tore at the barrier – at their former prisons – to no avail. They were drawn into the gem one by one. Their wild, empty eyes staring accusingly at the mages as they swept past them.

And then all was silent. The yellow glow in the diamond faded, leaving behind an ordinary yellow gemstone. The mage drew it close, caressing it gently before tucking it into the folds of his robe. The entourage turned as one and walked away through a rift in reality. The chalk circles had disappeared. All that was left inside the warehouse was two unconscious women and a grimy van. Outside, over a half-mile radius, bodies lay over the wheels of forklifts, strewn in storage yards, fallen from crashed lorries. Only the pigeons remained as witnesses to interdimensional crime.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Outside Imiel's door, Charis and Ewan had both spontaneously gasped before yellow light shone from their eyes. The grasped each other's hands, fumbling to remove their gloves. They both turned and walked down the sidewalk in a sort of trance before just as suddenly falling to the ground, unconscious.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Imiel

Imiel heard someone pounding on the door, and his own heart began pounding in tempo with it. The sound took him back to the war he had fled. Was it the Kree, searching door to door again for hidden Skrull refugees? He had to protect Annie and Mia...

But no, he realized a moment later. These were voices he recognized.

Annie was coloring in the living room. Mia was napping in her baby seat.

"I'll be right back," Imiel said. "Stay right there."

Annie nodded absently, intent on her picture.

He stepped outside - in the urgency, forgetting to disguise himself, his true face visible. If the kids were here alone, something must have happened to Rhys... oh no... and Cait too...

Imiel couldn't worry about Rhys just yet, though, because there was something wrong with the kids. They were now on the ground, unconscious.

"Charis! Ewan!" He knelt beside them, checking for vital signs.

Imiel knew he had to make sure they were safe before he tried to help their mother. It was what Rhys would want him to do. He knew that for sure, because it was what he would want Rhys to do for Annie and Mia if their positions were reversed.

"It's going to be okay," he said... as much to himself as to Charis and Ewan.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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Charis and Ewan

They roused easily, whatever had befallen them didn't seem to be anything chronic. Everything about them seemed perfectly normal. Well, except perhaps for Charis' face - her jaw had dropped open as she stared at their helper's face. Her muscles tensed, preparing her for flight.

"It's okay Charis - it's Mister Imiel."

Her brother's words had an instant effect. She leaned forward, studying Imiel's face, looking into his eyes. Finally, she herself was satisfied with the explanation and she smiled in relief. The twins were pretty used to people looking different - not just because of the existence of other metas, but because their own aunt was a shape-shifter.

"Oh. It is you. You didn't have to look any different for us, you know."

The brief sigh of relief fled as brother and sister remembered why exactly they'd been looking for Imiel to begin with.

"Mister Imiel someone came and took our Mom!"

"And Aunt Cait."

"And there was blood on the floor."

"And when we woke up we couldn't hear each other."

"We didn't know what happened so we came to find you."

"Aunt Cait doesn't trust the government."

It was a rapid-fire exchange between the two children. They managed not to speak over each other, precisely timing their sentences. The two were mirror images of worry.
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