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Empire - City of Lost Cause (Black_Out and meomeo)


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018

Henry Shattenkirk couldn't help but watch the seconds skip by on the simple black and white round clock hanging on the far wall of his lonesomely quiet little office. It was late on a Saturday night and again he glanced away from the ticking of the clock to look back at the computer screen before him. Feeling his bottom lip tug up in dismay as he looked over the available agents that the Garrison Agency held in reserve. A soft sigh of reservation escaped his mouth as he studied the image and file of the last available hero that was at their disposal. With one elbow flush against the top of his black desk and tired fingers that stroked over a well manicured beard that covered his chin, he read over her file for only about the tenth time in the past half hour. He pulled his black rimmed glasses off of his face and dangled them out before himself as he buried his head into his other hand.

She was almost thirty, hadn't ever seen a spit of action and worked as a physical trainer. Hell she didn't even have a special name to protect her real identity. His head shook back and forth slowly as he regarded the file concerning Vallie Olsen. She had potential, that's what the file said, so long as she had that mystical hammer of hers in hand. It also stated that she was naive, gullible, had zero experience, and was considered a potential liability to any team she might be thrust into. She was kept around though, and trained at the facility on the weekends and on some evenings. Times were tough though, and she was the absolute last available option left. It's not like they could turn and look to one of the vigilante's running around dispensing justice, because that would sort of completely defeat the point of what their agency was trying to accomplish.

The Garrison Agency had thought they could offer up a new solution to the growing number of mutants and other worldly powered beings that were making themselves known across the face of the planet. They reached out with their sales pitch, offering a decent pay check, a nice 401k, good insurance, and some government funding, all in the hopes that those individuals might come and work for them. To a degree they were successful. Despite being in only their fifth year of existence the Garrison had collected a small team of heroes under their banner. Seven in total, a modest triumph given how reluctant most of the super's seemed to be when it came to striking a deal with the government.

The first few recruits had handled some tough situations in their infancy, which had helped pull in others that were hesitant. Modest victories began to pile up. The training facility that started out as an old gym in an abandoned elementary school was being considered for a full upgrade. It wasn't easy, they didn't have the best of the best, but if they continued to show progress then maybe things would open up for them. Then one of the executives on the board, Simon Chance, who really had no clue how things worked or what the team was capable of decided to intervene.

Let's send our two stalwarts into Empire City. It's going to be a great way to gain some publicity. We go in there, help clean it up, and I'm sure the Pentagon will take notice. It's a sure fire way to really move us in the direction we need to go. The massive metropolis was a known hot bed of criminal activity, it hosted by far the largest population of violent and self centered supers in the entire world. Things had gotten so bad there that the government had all but pulled most of their funding to the city. Still though, Empire thrived, people just seemed drawn to the mystique of the place and the thrill that came with living there provided. The government wanted a cut of that, but it was considered so volatile that they just weren't willing to invest in a losing cause. The Garrison Agency would go in, make an impact, and Simon Choice would look like a brilliant man and the sky would be the limit. At least that was the plan.

The nimble and swift Midnight Angel along with the human tank called the Crimson Marauder were the first duo sent to Empire City. The curvaceous acrobatic vixen and the bulky cumbersome brute were the Garrison's top pair. A perfect yin and yang to compliment one another, despite how vocal they were at times over the personal dislike they had for their partners methods. Two weeks later, Midnight Angel was laid to rest and the Crimson Marauder was assumed to be at least missing in action when he failed to respond to any attempts to contact him. His disappearance didn't sit well with the board that directed the Garrison Agency, especially Simon. They weren't going to allow that failure to stain their credentials. If they tucked tail now, they'd be the laughing stock of Washington. So the next four were gathered up and sent in to find out what had happened to the Crimson Marauder.

That team was comprised of the beastly and strong Savage Animal, a rough red neck from the fetid swamps of Florida. While nowhere near the strength of the Crimson Marauder, he was considered a bright up and comer. Next up was the roguish and acrobatic Curb Appeal, a talented thief that signed on instead of doing time. Then came a speedster known as Highway, who had been clocked at over a hundred miles an hour at a full sprint. Lastly was Dice, whose powers could sway fortune, and it didn't take long for him to be pulled in after certain factions in Vegas were growing suspicious of his presence. Better to work for the government then end up six feet under.

So they were sent in as a single unit to track down the whereabouts of their missing comrade. They didn't even last a full week before the call came into his office just a short time ago tonight. He was in supervisor mode, the team was tracking a lead down at the Sea Court when one by one in quick succession their signals all disappeared. He scrambled about, trying to figure out what went wrong, if it was a glitch on his end. By the time he realized it wasn't and had finally gotten in touch with the cops it was probably already too late.

In short order the reports came back after the police finally responded to the last known location of the team. Only three were found littering the streets. The Savage Animal was in a coma from a beating that he had taken that was beyond severe and had been whisked off to the hospital. Highway had suffered a broken spine and had to be stabilized, the doctors weren't sure if he would ever walk again after their initial diagnosis. Then there was Dice who had been struck so hard in his head that he was believed to have been left with permanent damage to his brain and was probably going to end up living institutionalized for the rest of his life. Curb Appeal, well she was nowhere to be found, gone without a trace and none of the others in the team were in any condition to answer any questions, or provide any information about what happened.

Henry lifted his hand up over his face and tried to palm away the distress and headache surging through his skull. Finally they slid away from his weary face and went to reach for the black plastic office phone. There was a short quick stab by his index finger as he lifted the phone up and pressed it against the side of his head. He listened briefly to the response when the other end answered before speaking up.

"Yeah, hello Cindy, it's Henry out here in Empire. I got bad news, again." His voice wavered off into a sigh. "Team B just got shut down, three are in the hospital, and Curb Appeal's missing in action." There was a significant pause as he nodded subtly along to the response from Cindy. "Mhm, look, I don't like it any more then you do. I sure don't like it any more then the boss will, but she signed up for a reason. It's time for Vallie to get her ass off the pine and get to work." Another pause followed as the muted babbling of Cindy rang in Henry's ear. "I don't care if she isn't ready, if she can't do the job then we might as well just shut the whole fucking program down, I'm sure Simon will be fine with that." He nodded once to Cindy's short reply. "Yeah, well you tell her to meet me at my office first thing Monday morning, eight o'clock sharp. I'll go over the situation with her then."

Henry hung up the phone then with a clang as the plastic handle slammed down into it's place and his gaze worked back over the screen on his computer monitor as he looked at the file of Vallie Olsen for the eleventh time that night. "God help us all."


good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
The unexpected call found Vallie pigging out on Chinese takeaway, merlot, and a rerun of 2 Broke Girls. A bit pathetic - but Vallie had made peace with the fact that with her thirties on her horizon, there’s nothing shameful about staying in on Saturday evenings. Though when her phone rang she half-hoped it would be her girlfriends inviting her to a spontaneous night of clubbing – just like the old times.

At first Vallie thought this ‘Cindy’ woman got the wrong number. It took her a while to jolt her memory and connect the name ‘Garrison Agency’ with those meager monthly deposits made to her bank account. Meager – because their remuneration package was heavily performance-based.

She wasn’t thrilled to hear from Cindy, nor the message she delivered.

It wasn’t until late Sunday afternoon when it occurred to Vallie that she should have her ‘heirloom’ (as she called it) ready, just in case. That took much longer than expected. She first spent quite a bit of time scouring her downtown studio apartment, to no avail. Then she finally remembered she had it packed off to a storage unit a few years ago. Vallie got inside her Prius and drove 20 miles to her storage unit. She got a bit worried because nightfall had came by the time, the storage facility was located in the middle of nowhere next to the Interstate, and movies and TV shows had taught her things get seedy at these type of storage facilities after dusk. She half-expected to come across a drug deal and regretted not bringing a friend along. Fortunately those fears didn’t come to be. Among other sundries and memorabilia, Vallie found the suitcase and lugged it into the trunk. It was heavier than she remembered.

An hour later Vallie Olsen stood in front of her hallway mirror, looking comical and silly as hell (at least that’s what she thought). Like those young women who got paid to dress up as video game characters in conventions, so adolescent boys could have some spank material. The chest armor – smelted to fit a much more endowed woman than herself – ironically left her entire midriff unprotected. On the other hand, the cod piece which sat low on her hips was far too snug, so Vallie had to repeatedly pick the fabric out of her butt. The crimson cape badly needed washing.

The main attraction was the remaining artifact in the suitcase. Vallie’s hand hovered over the Hammer – scarred by wear and tear from countless battles - closed her eyes, gripped the handle, and instantly an invigorating shot of energy coursed through her body. Her mind flashed back to her 18th birthday, and that unbelievable story her late mother unfurled…


You’re no ordinary girl, my dear Vallie. You, and I, are special. In your veins run the blood of a Norse goddess, ferocious Viking shield maidens, and a line of Scandinavian queens. Through the centuries this Hammer has been passed down one generation to the next, from mother to daughter. Now I bestow it on you. Only an Olsen girl can harness its powers. Come here, touch it, do you feel it?

Vallie felt it back then just as she did now. It was awesome. She can fly! She punches hard! She can shoot mini bolts of lightning!

But Vallie had not forgotten her mother’s warning. Our foremothers were invincible. Imagine our abilities in 700 A.D. People back then deify and worship us. But you, dear, were born in the year 1989. There are automatic riles and all sorts of gadgetry out there, and those ‘mutants’ and ‘extra-terrestrials’ make me shudder. A terrible fate awaits us if we would ever be captured alive. So, protect your loved ones, don’t forget your heritage, but don’t EVER stick your neck out.

Just like last time, holding her heirloom made Vallie wonder how her illustrious ancestors – those goddesses and royal queens – would think of their descendent: the fact that their figurative torch has been passed down to a 29 year-old college dropout who makes a living teaching out-of-shape housewives how to do a proper squat; whose closest tie to her ancestral land they fought to defend is the Ikea bed she sleeps on.

Another reminder why I have this hidden away in the storage unit. Brings up nothing but sad vibes. Vallie sighed and began to strip out of her armor. As she lifted one of her legs the inseam of the black tights ripped. Last time she wore this getup was five years ago when she demonstrated her abilities in front of some Garrison suits. Five years of not skipping leg day... as her curvy derriere would attest.

Eh, I'd wear one of my Lululemons instead... if I ever need to wear this getup again, that is.

Vallie came to the appointment in her street clothes. That suitcase remain locked inside the trunk of her Prius.

She arrived 10 minutes early and was told by the receptionist to wait. If she had to guess, she is being laid off. Which didn't exactly worry Vallie. Her standard of living didn't depend on what Garrison pays her. If they do, they better do her a favor and wrap this up quick. She has an 11 o'clock appointment with Mrs Carter, a slightly out-of-shape housewife who wishes to have her own derriere look like Vallie's.


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
Henry Shattenkirk strolled into the office just a few minutes after Vallie had made herself comfortable in the lobby on one of two uncomfortable metal framed chairs with meager hard plastic back support. His worn black leather briefcase swung about faintly in the grasp of his left hand while his right hand balanced a cardboard cup of coffee with a thin plastic cap. "Morning Sue." He greeted the receptionist with a modest smile as the glass entry door swung shut behind him. "Is my eight o'clock..." He didn't bother finishing the question as his eyes caught sight of Vallie sitting off to the side. "Oh, good morning, Miss Olsen, right this way." He gave her a brief nod as he looked her over before he turned and stepped towards the wooden paneled door of his office and set his briefcase down on the floor in front of the door.

With a turn of the aluminum knob he swung the door open to his tiny little cozy office space and stooped down to gather back up his briefcase. "Have a seat in front of my desk Miss Olsen." His head did a quick dip towards the open doorway, and after she had entered he followed her in and closed the door behind them.

"Thanks for being able to make it on such short notice." He gave her brief smile as he walked past her on the way to his work station. It was kept nice and tidy, free of any unnecessary clutter. A small stack of papers sat on one corner with a neon pink rock with a broad smile painted on it that served as a paper weight. Pens and pencils jutted out from a simple plastic cup that had smaller open compartments where thumbtacks and paper clips sat in their separate bins waiting to be used. The copper frame of a family portrait was nestled next to it, showing off a picture of him, his redheaded wife and their young freckle faced ginger haired daughter. Most prominent of all though was the computer monitor which was turned away from Vallie's line of sight.

Shortly after the coffee cup had been settled down on the desk, Henry followed and lowered himself into his grey swiveling office chair. The wheels of it rolled slightly as he scooted over just a tad to look past the decent sized obstruction of the monitor as he quietly regarded Vallie for a moment. Oh fuck, this is not good, she doesn't even look like she has the slightest clue why she's here. He pushed the passing thought aside as he let his fingertips curl around the warm edges of the cardboard vessel containing his coffee.

"There's been an incident, or rather a slew of them." He watched her closely as his fingers rotated the cup about in a slow circle. "We need you in Empire City, immediately." He thought about pausing to let her reply, but quickly thought better of it. "Two of the members of our team have gone missing, the Crimson Marauder, and Curb Appeal. As for the rest, well they are in the hospital under intensive care. Your the only one we have left, Vallie, so we need you to go there and investigate, per our contractual agreement. Arrangements for your travel have been made, you'll be on the next train out of DC. I'll send a file along with you with all the pertinent information we have and my personal cell phone number. We booked you a room at one of the Super Eight's in the Market District and opened up an expense account for you to make use of" Alright, let her digest. He found himself thinking as he pulled the cup of coffee up from the desk and took a short sip.

Thin brows shifted as the warm caffeinated beverage was placed back down upon the smooth top of his desk. "If you have any questions, now is the time for them. I know, it's all rather sudden, so take your time, your train doesn't leave until ten am." He glanced away from her as he reached down and plopped the briefcase on top of the desk and snapped it open. "You do have your things, with you, right, like your hammer?" His eyes were busy looking into the opened leather case as he drew out a tan folder stuffed with papers. "If not, no big deal, we can ship them to your room via next day air, or something." Finally his gaze worked back over to her as his hand pushed the folder across the table towards her. "Everything you need is in there, your ticket, reservation, your debit card and all the notes on what we know so far."

Henry Shattenkirk exhaled a deep breath as he leaned his weight back into his chair and placed his hands behind his head. He did his best to try to look casual about all of this, to not let that wrinkle of worry crossing above his brows startle the woman as he waited to hear what she had to say.
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good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
Mark Gingham works middle management in advertising, his job requiring him to split time between the company’s DC and Empire offices. His expense account only allowed him to fly coach, so his preferred mode of transport is by first-class train cabins. Which suited Mark all right. The middle-aged father of two was never a big fan of altitudes, and besides traveling by train was far more leisurely.

The 10:00 non-stop to Empire was just pushing off the platform. The salt-and-pepper-haired ad exec unfolded the morning paper, skimming the sensational front-page headline on the wave of kidnappings in Empire. His attention was broken by a clear woman’s voice coming down the aisle. “Sorry… excuse me… ouch sorry about that…” Mark let his curiosity get the better of him and lowered his paper. A blonde in a faded blue top and cut off jeans, dragging an oversized chrome suitcase behind her, ambled down the aisle. Her suitcase was almost as wide as the aisle, which she failed at keeping it out of elbows' ways.

A moment later a shadow fell over Mark, and he heard the same voice ask “’Scuse me are these seats taken?” Mark lifted his head and instantly felt a lump in his throat. Up close the woman is a 10/10 if he ever saw one. It was difficult to stop gawking: at her luxuriant golden mane, temptress blue eyes, perfect skin, neckline low enough to show a hint of cleavage, legs that go on for miles past her shorts, tight curves that suggested lots of time spent in the gym. He uttered a negative answer to her query and shook his head.

Her attempt to hoist her clumsy luggage into the overhead storage turned into a struggle (punctuated by some labored grunts). Her top came loose from her shorts, and a titillating tract of flat tummy came inches from Mark’s nose. A pleasantly effervescent lavender scent wafted into his nostrils. He wished this moment would never end. But his gentleman’s manners won out – and he sprung up to help her with the heavy case. At that moment the train car lurched forward, picking up speed. The blonde woman lost her footing and fell into Mark, while Mark reached out to stop her fall. In one fleeting moment he held her up by her armpit, his left hand grazed against…

… Let’s just say Mark hasn’t held anything as soft and supple in that hand in years.

Thanks. You’re a real lifesaver!” She beamed at Mark, settling into the seat diagonally opposite him, suitcase now safely secured overhead. Mark politely averted his gaze from her legs – crossed at the knees – and stared emptily at the corner of a tan folder peeking out from her purse. He was thinking of his wife and two young boys, about how this creature in front of him is way out of his league. But Mark also knew he’d kick himself for weeks if he didn’t at least give it an old college try. This time his good senses lost out. Perhaps a light conversation to kick things off…

“So, you heading to Empire for business or pleasure?”

A playful smirk came across her lips, and there was a glint of mischief in her blue eyes. All made her look that much more alluring. “Pleasure.” She answered with a grin, as if amused by an inside joke.


Earlier that morning…

Vallie’s eyes widened as the Garrison suit delivered news of the 'incidents' – as he called them. Although her surprise was more to not being fired than concern for her fallen colleagues. Midnight Angel, Savage Animal… just names and faces to be honest. Vallie was never fond of them. Whenever she came to the Garrison training facility they would look down their noses at her, their haughty faces say it all - Vallie didn’t deserve the superheroine label, didn't deserve to be in their exclusive little club. Safe to say they never hung out for after work drinks or bowling. Well, except that Crimson Marauder hunk. He was nice to her, if only desperate to get inside her tights... which he managed for a while some years ago. Vallie had just broken up, and she always harbored a soft spot for muscular hunks. He was gentle and meticulous despite his size, and could last forever. Vallie was glad to hear he was only missing and not severely hurt.

"If you have any questions, now is the time for them. I know, it's all rather sudden, so take your time, your train doesn't leave until ten am."
"It is very sudden!" Vallie laughed nervously to mask her displeasure. She had absolutely no interest in donning her costume and risk her hide in Empire City, least of all to avenge some 'heroes' who thought very lowly of her (and an ex-booty call). Yet she saw no way to wiggle out of this... until a light bulb popped off inside her head. She thought her idea was quite clever.

Sure, she would head down there and do some 'investigation' (wink wink). But she is only a backup, a rookie! She would report back in a couple days or a week... "I'm sorry! But if you guys find the real culprits make sure to give me a call! Good luck!"

"Well, I'll do my best. But I can't promise anything!"

Think of it as a little Garrison Agency sponsored vacation. Empire City may not be the Bahamas, but she'd take it.


This middle-aged guy is adorable: his clumsy attempts at flirtation, how his hand shot backwards when he accidentally groped my boobs, as if they were made of hot coals. I mean, it's either a mundane 90-minute ride to Empire City, or I could indulge in some harmless fun, Vallie thought mischievously.

She had always enjoyed having men wrapped around her little finger.

Vallie crossed and uncrossed her legs. Pretended to reach for the Sports page so she could lean over, letting Mark see down her top... that tan briefing file currently at the very back of her mind.


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
Mark had been back and forth on this commute countless times over the past few years. Normally he was prone to tossing his head back, reclining and burying his face under a paper. Stuffing his ears with headphones while some mellow music drowned out the churning of the train. It was a nice way to catch up on some much needed sleep until the attendant would come by and give his shoulder a firm shake and let him know they had arrived at the Empire Central Depot.

That didn't seem quite so likely to happen to today. Obviously the blonde blue eyed beauty was way out of his league. It didn't take much to realize that, but he could swear that she was actually flirting with him. He couldn't help but almost immediately notice the lack of a wedding band on her ring finger. Then there was the way she had said the word "pleasure" when he had asked what was bringing her to Empire City. He had practically stared at her lush lips when they parted and let that word roll out. The echo of it in his mind sent a shiver down his spine and made the faint hairs on his arms stand at attention.

"Oh, well, yeah, I'm in town for a three day business trip." He managed to squeak the sentence out as he curled his index finger under the collar of his shirt and wrestled to loosen the knot of his navy blue tie. His eyes wandered down to the folder sticking out of her purse and then back up to her blue eyes that swallowed his attention. "Sorry. I..I'm Mark, Mark Gingham." His shoulders turned as his right arm reached across himself and he extended his hand for a formal greeting.

He smiled and nodded, shaking briefly if accepted, and then quickly drawing his hand back to his lap. Jesus, I'm married. I got two friggin kids. He chastised himself, but the devil on his shoulder kicked the angel off his opposite shoulder and told him to go for it. "You know, if your looking for any company, uhm, here's my card." He peaked down at his brown dress pants and stuffed a hand into the pocket and tugged his black leather wallet out, flipping it open and producing a simple business card which he offered to her.

"I'm staying at the Royal Riveria, what about you?" His lips curled into a pleasant yet nervous smile. She probably thinks your some kind of creep and is just being sweet, you idiot. The angel had returned from it's banishment and Mark cringed, folding himself back into his chair carefully. Just don't look so overly fucking eager you retard. The devil scolded him again. She's obviously interested, she didn't even make a peep when you touched her boob, duh.

Mark took a deep breath to calm himself and when the cabin's waitress came by he offered to buy Vallie a drink and got himself a can of soda and some pretzels and salted nuts to munch on. For the next hour he made pleasant conversation. Told her about his gig at work. Which sports teams he followed. He was a passionate hockey fan and was ecstatic that the Capitols had finally hoisted the Stanley Cup. All in all, Mark was beginning to find himself less and less nervous about talking to the young woman who abruptly had plopped down next to him. He seemed genuinely interested in what she had to say, and the tidbits about her own life that she would share.

He even found himself laughing at some of her comments, and much to his surprise the travel on the sleek chrome train went by much quicker then he typically recalled. As the spires of Empire City rose through the view port window he even felt a sense of regret that they were almost at their destination. His gaze didn't linger on the city like it sometimes would though, he had far better things to concern his eyes with then the trash strewn slums the train was whizzing through.

An abrupt murmur began to rise. A few heads leaned forward after an attendant came scurrying down the aisle from the adjacent coach car. She had a wild eyed look of fright in her brown eyes and her face was pale. Her long strides were carrying her past the rows of curious first class passengers and just as she was passing Vallie and Mark, the reason for her panic driven flight came into view in the wake of her hasty retreat.

It was a man, tall and lanky, dressed in a tuxedo that looked like it had been plucked out of the garbage that very day. Stains decorated his attire, a long tall black top hat with a dent in the side sat askew atop his head. A frenzy of long black greasy hair shifted with his every movement and an immense flowing red scarf was wrapped around his face, leaving only his beady little mischievous green eyes to be seen. His mode of motion was an odd and frightfully unsettling thing as metal tipped dance shoes tapped and kicked at the floor, creating a showman like rhythm to his swaying fluid movements. With one dextrous snap of his wrist he grasped one end of the thick red scarf that fluttered down around his body and sent it flying through the air. It stretched impossibly so, elongating to lengths that it just shouldn't reach as it cracked with the sound of a steel bar against the back of the attendants head and sent her tumbling down to the floor with a short lived grunt.

She was still breathing, just a few rows past Mark and Vallie as the assailant stopped in his tracks and swept his hat up off his head and offered up a quick flourishing bow. Nimble fingers twisted it about then as he held it out, upside down to the passengers in the first row of the car while black polished tap dancing shoe of his right foot perched on the outer arm rest of a plump business man who didn't seem to thrilled. "Spare some change for the homeless?" His long thin lips slid into a smirk as he jammed the hat in that shocked mans direction as he looked further down the car. "Let's go, wallets and jewels people, the Vagabond's not here to entertain for long."

Mark felt a gulp in his throat as his hand clenched against the wrist of Vallie. "Just, just do what he says." He whispered as he started to dig his wallet back out.
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good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
The best laid plans, as they say...

Vallie’s little vacation was taking shape - she has Mark under her thumb. Her guess is that he would ask her out for drinks after work, with a few drinks in him he would forget all about that wedding band on his finger and suggest dinner at a fancy place, then if Mark continues to be as nice as he has been... Vallie would get an upgrade from Super 8 to the Royal Riviera for the next three days. Now she has neve laid eyes on either establishment, but judging from their names she would bet the latter is much nicer.

That is until her train got held up. Like a scene from the 1800s. Hell, the robber dressed like he belonged to that age. That scarf of his sure isn’t though.

Now Vallie was faced with a life-changing decision. She had half a mind to do nothing... she didn’t exactly have a lot of valuables on her body anyways. But as she saw the tap dancing robber advance toward where she and Mark sat, the others passengers meekly submitting, Vallie felt her tempers surge indignantly. Why should I give over my hard earned money just because of a display of circus tricks? I’m better than the rest of these people!

A plan formed in her head. As Vagabond passed them by, Vallie tossed her purse (the tan classified file from Henry included) and phone into the black top hat without a single peep. But from the corner of her eyes she measured him surreptitiously, keeping an eye out for any other powers he may have...

Vagabond continued down the train car, his back now turned to them. As her fortune would have it, another passenger tried to be a hero and a brief scuffle ensued. Vallie used the distraction to stand up and took her suitcase down (“Sit down! Hey! What are you doing?!” Hissed Mark.) The clasps were snapped loose in a flash. With a familiarity that surprised even herself, Vallie pushed her hand inside, past the chest piece and gauntlets (no time for them!), and gripped her hammer.

She stepped into the aisle and faced Vagabond, still with his back turned. Her feet spaced shoulders wide. Her stance tall and confident. Just an unassuming 5’5” blonde woman in a blue cotton top and tattered jeans shorts. Except what she held in her right hand. A stout hammer with a short hilt. Crackling like a faulty junction box. Little bursts of electricity snapping from its metallic surface.

Hey mister!” She called out with a firm voice despite the nervous excitement bubbling inside her. “Hold up. I think you have something that belongs to me.

And without another word, she raised her hammer and shot a live burst of electricity, aiming between his shoulder blades.

Hey, no one said she has to play fair.


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
Vagabond had his black rubber glove clad index and middle fingers buried up to the knuckles in the nostrils of some young man who thought his child hood karate classes had more then prepared him to stand up to the villainous figure. He found out quite quickly how wrong this assumption was as the strength of the Vagabond became quite apparent as he forced him onto the tips of his toes by the simple leverage acquired over his nose. With an audible pop the lanky Vagabond's fingertips pulled loose from the wide eyed college fella's nostrils as he was tossed back down into his chair.

"You wouldn't survive a day on the streets, boy." The champion of the homeless sneered at the stunned target of his venomous words.

He had a mind to just crack the young punk right upside his temple with the metal tip of his boot, until some blue eyed, blonde haired morsel several rows back called him out. He remembered when their eyes first locked together when she dumped her purse and phone into the depths of his hat. At the moment he didn't think much of the rage he saw buried in them, but maybe this little punks brief moment of courage had rubbed off on her.

By the time his shoulders had begun to turn to face his newest malcontent victim and his lips had started to part to form his rebuttal it was to late for words. Except for one. "Shit."

Untamed bushy brows angled upwards as his deep green eyes settled on the crackling weapon that was pointed directly towards him. His free hand, tips of fingers gleaming with snot, snapped down and grasped his scarf and flicked it forward only a heart beat after Vallie's mystical hammer had launched it's attack. The red garment flew towards her like a whip at the direction of the derelict, intending to trade blow for blow. It's heavy weighted end cracked against the floor of the aisle, denting the surface while her blast streaked by above and slammed into his back.

"Holy shit." Mark found himself murmuring under his breath as he stared up at Vallie in disbelief as the blast from her weapon was unleashed and it's impact sent the Vagabond spinning down to the floor. The jarring shock loosened his grasp from his top hat which went flying up into the air as the spoils collected within were flung all about the sprawling villain as he tumbled down the aisle. None of that caused the lashing blur of the scarf to detour from it's path as it ribbon like gestures took aim at Vallie's firm and flat gut as she stood defiantly in the center of the cabin.

Most everyone in the train car watched the events unfolding before them in much the same way that Mark was. Wide eyes, gasping mouths, and in total shock as if they were dreaming. Except for a young teen, who had his camera phone out the whole time and was all to excited to capture the action and share it with the world.
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good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
Attention passengers. We will arrive at Empire Central shortly. Please remember to bring all your belongings as you alight. Thank you for traveling with…

The pleasant automated female voice barely rose above the din ringing in Vallie’s ear. White hot, splitting pain tore through her midsection. Son of a bitch that fucking hurts!! That scarf thing had knocked the blonde onto her back. She painfully clutched her ailing tummy, failing to stop groans and whimpers escaping her lips. And she has lost her grip on the hammer.

My hammer!

Panic seized Vallie. She searched every direction frantically… and there it is! A few rows back under a seat laid the ancient weapon lifelessly. A symbiotic relationship bound hammer and wielder - each powerless without the other. Doubled over - pretty much crawling on palms and knees - Vallie clambered over and with the greatest relief wrapped her fingers around the worn leathery hilt.

At once, the hammer crackled and burst to life menacingly. At the same instant Vallie felt a surge from deep within which began to blot out and smother the pain. Sighing from the respite, Vallie tottered to her feet and turned to face Vagabond. Only there was no one to face. She found his inert body crumpled at the far side of the train car, a whiff not unlike burnt cooking drifted to her. Meanwhile, the searing pain in her midriff a moment before was reduced to nothing but a numb soreness. She gingerly touched her stomach and found her ribs in all their rightful places.

Seems she has emerged from her first super villain fight victorious, and in one piece. So far.

Vallie knew better than to let her guard down. She had no idea the shape Vagabond was in, or whether he would get back up. From one of the windows she spotted a couple of station security or policemen rushing over to their car, no doubt boarding the train once it comes to a complete stop. Vallie muttered a curse under her breath. She has no intention of tangling with the Vagabond further, much less the authorities who would demand a full report and get the press involved. Now that would be a real headache.

Holding the hammer seemed to grant Vallie added decisiveness. It was an exhilarating feeling… she seemed to know exactly what to do before thoughts cross her mind. The blonde strode down the aisle, hair whipping behind her like a galloping horse’s mane, past the awe-struck Mark, lifted her suitcase (it now weighed like nothing - which she nonchalantly slung over her shoulder), and continued down the car. Shame about Mark and his room at the Royal Riviera – it was fun and might have amounted to something if not for the Vagabond's untimely intervention.

Vallie reached the mess of watches, phones, and wallets scattered about and swiftly bent down to scoop up her own. No one stood in her way and she is by the door in no time. It hissed open. Time to make myself scarce, she thought, I hope I haven’t forgotten how to fly, it’s been a while.

The hammer, however, did not give Vallie omnipotence. In her haste, she neither noticed the man in a snapback baseball cap recording the proceedings from his phone; nor that file from Garrison, which had slid out of her purse in the chaos and laid discarded among the other valuables on the floor...


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
Abrupt cheers and applause began to rise up from the stunned and shell shocked passenger's as they watched with wonderment as Vallie regained her mystical hammer. All eyes were on the casual street dressed beauty that had thrust herself into the role of their savior so suddenly. More cell phones were hurriedly lifted up, attempting to catch flickering images of the mystery woman before she could depart. All Mark could do was stare after her while he wondered exactly which Super Eight it was that Vallie was staying at. No one paid any attention to the body of the Vagabond that was crumpled up against the steel door that led towards yet another car.

The air brakes squealed, groaning as the speedily moving train began to rapidly slow it's pace of travel along the rails as it entered the Empire City Depot. The red flashing lights from a pair of cop cars splayed a red hue across the rounded windows of the sleek aluminum cabin. From his place at the end of the car's long aisle, the Vagabond stirred as the screeching sound of the trains arrival at it's destination jolted him back to his senses. At the far opposite end of the first class coach he spotted her, that jean short clad ass meeting his villainous stare.

A rage boiled over from inside of his hateful heart as his eyes shone with a lacing of blood shot fury. She wasn't just going to embarrass him and get to fly off into the city. Oh, no. While a proper showdown and a chance for him to exact retribution might have to wait, he certainly wasn't going to let her think she got the better of him. He had surprises galore, and it was time to introduce her to one that those flashing camera's would be sure to appreciate.

With jitters of electric after shock still coursing through his body the criminal miscreant wrapped one black gloved hand around his scarf and snapped his weapon out to strike at her again. The fanciful red scarf shot forward and weaved it's way down the lane between the seats of the cabin, flashing a blur of streaking red towards it's target.

Mark could barely get the words out of his mouth as he saw the ever stretching garment leap down the aisle towards the unsuspecting backside of Vallie. "Look out!" Those words of shouted warning fell from his lips just as the end of the scarf struck and twined like a spool of mummifying cloth around the shapely fit muscles of her calves.

As it struck at her, the Vagabond was already getting himself back up to his feet and staring daggers towards his new found nemesis. "You don't get to leave so soon, Hammer Time!" He hissed out with a hint of amusement at his improvised name, as his weapon constricted around her lower legs pulling them awkwardly in together. He gave a fierce and firm tug on the length of his elastic red scarf that was spooled about his right hand, yanking Vallie abruptly back into the passenger car.

"Not without a parting gift!" He snapped at her as his left hand slipped out of his long tattered jacket and released a small metallic sphere that bounce and rolled down the lane towards her. With a flick of his wrist the entangling scarf uncoiled from her legs and quickly fell away back towards the villain as he turned and swung the door open.

He glanced back, snatching his crumpled black top hat off the floor as the bouncing sphere burst into a cloud of green swirling gas around the vicinity of Vallie. Out the door he went, plunging into a rolling tumble across the tracks as the green misty gas fell over a chunk of the car. It blossomed across the ceiling and began to fall downward. It's effects were almost immediately noticeable as soon as it settled across the cloth fabric covering the seats which began to dissolve instantly upon contact.

A middle age somewhat portly bald man watched in horror as his business suit began to fray and fall apart, disintegrating layer after layer of his clothing. Other nearby passengers screamed and shrieked as they watched their precious garments wilting away from their bodies, leaving them rather uncomfortably naked. Watches, leather, plastic, metal, and anything not of a fibrous nature seemed to be spared by the vanishing effects of the gas that smelled of sulfur. Even a few crumpled up bills that had been strewn about when the Vagabond lost his top hat began to dissolve into thin air.

The handful of camera's that were being held aloft caught it all.


good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
The train doors slid open. Vallie's sense of smell was assaulted by a taste of Empire's infamous quality of air - thick, tepid and smoggy. She tried to ignore the unpleasantness and focused her mind on soaring above it. Relax your body, she repeated in her head, recalling flying lessons from her mother, imagine you're floating in water...

The next second Valllie felt a tightness in her calves, and she flew... just not how she preferred.

It was like having the rug pulled out from under her in the literal sense. Vallie went briefly airborne before face-planting HARD into the train's carpeted floor. The impact would have broken her nose, except she was protected by the hammer's aura. Vallie hardly felt a thing, her perky little nose escaping completely unscathed. But at the same time her right elbow slammed against the floor, and although it didn't pain her, the sudden jolt did enough to loosen her grip. Vallie got her bearings back only to witness the hammer flying out of her fingers and bounce across the train floor. Once, twice. Clank... clank... And then, as if in slow motion, it disappeared into the void between train and platform.

Vallie heard one last, lonely metallic 'CLANK'. In reply she yelled out a bad word, very loudly.

By the time she heard the gassy hiss it was too late to react. Green mist descended upon and enveloped her. Instinctively, Vallie's hands flew to cover her nose and mouth while she scampered away. It was futile. She felt an uncomfortable coolness on her skin. Her eyes widened in shock when she looked down and saw she had nothing on except her dark grey bra and briefs set. Soon every last thread of her underwear too began to peel and dissolve into nothingness. Vallie scrambled to cover her privates as all traces of clothing vanished from her body. Nothing but her small hands and the greenish smoke protected her modesty now.

The naked girl shakily got to her feet... just in time too, as the portly bald man was about to trample her. That section of the train car descended into wild chaos. Passengers in various stages of nakedness madly tried to cover up, using whatever they can find. Fire extinguishes, Kindles, food trays. People screamed and yelled. Vallie spotted, from beyond the smoke, the half dozen or so phones raised in the air. Red hot anger consumed her. "WHAT THE FUCK PUT THOSE AWAY AND TRY TO HELP YOU PERVS!!!" That managed to make one or two guys sheepishly lower their devices. But the remaining continued to record, in high def, the lewd, salacious, green-tinted scene unfolding inside the train car...


Most of it wasn't pretty. Plenty of fat, ruddiness and wrinkles on display. The phones focused on the most photogenic of them: the fit blonde woman with nary a hint of fat, ruddiness, or wrinkles on her athletic body. Other than her teardrop-shaped breasts - barely hidden behind a forearm - which jiggled seductively as she stamped her feet, cussing at them to drop their phones.

They recorded her eyes darting to the far side of the cabin, where Vagabond is stealing away; to the nearest door, where her hammer had fallen under the platform. Her gaze finally rested on her suitcase. Some of them caught her arm drooping just enough to reveal a bumpy, reddish areola...

She turned about, bending slightly at the waist while her fingers worked the suitcase's clasps. The more depraved voyeurs zoomed in for the money shot. Shakily taking in everything: that perfect bubble backside (with a hammer lookalike birthmark near her right hip). That triangular gap between her toned thighs. And her very exposed fleshy folds peeking out. This particular pornographic clip would go viral within minutes.

From the suitcase the girl threw out a few pieces of clothing, many of which promptly dissolved inside the mist, leaving behind a metallic helmet, chestpiece, gauntlets, and belt. She hurriedly put them on... while onlookers and authorities gathered outside the stricken train car with a chorus of 'ooohs' and 'aaahs', treating the first-class cabin like an aquarium.


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
The chaotic mess in the first class cabin spilled to the outside the moment that the Vagabond made his escape from the car. There were a handful of cops on the scene. None of which were in a great position to cut off the villains line of flight as his long wiry legs carried him across the tracks and away from the boarding platform they were stationed upon.

They yelled for him to freeze, called out for him to stop, but of course he didn't listen one bit. The crack of gun fire erupted from one over zealous rookie. It wasn't nearly as easy as taking aim at some stationary target at the training range. Each shot from his rapidly unloading pistol bit into the ground around the darting and twisting movements of the Vagabond. One of the officers nearly tackled his trigger happy companion, bringing the short barrage of gunfire to an abrupt end as the passenger's began to flow out the door behind the fleeing criminal.

Mark was among the back end of the first handful of people to clamber out of the front exit of the coach as he hand't bothered to collect any of his things. His casual business attire remained intact as he was just far enough up in the car to not be caught in the cloth decaying green mists that were beginning to finally dissipate. Just as he hit the exit Mark stole a brief glance back towards Vallie, catching her in the midst of adorning herself in her some strange metallic getup. Unlike the others that turned right and immediately exited onto the boarding platform, Mark turned left and followed after the fleeing crook.

Mark found himself full of adrenaline and his heart pumping with courage. Sitting for so long next to Vallie, feeling like he might of actually hit it off with a woman well out of his league. He wasn't exactly thinking with his mind at that moment.

He didn't really know what he was doing as he hopped down from the train and landed on the gravel laden tracks. But he found himself giving chase after the Vagabond who was skipping nimbly across the tracks. Suddenly he found himself scooping up a golf ball sized chunk of gravel and pivoting his feet. With one heave that called back to the glory days of his youth spent playing baseball he threw it on a straight line right towards the back of the villain just as he was about to duck out of sight behind an out of commission car on the far end of the rails.

It was a darn near perfect throw. The small gray rock zipped through the air and cracked into the right shoulder of the Vagabond just as he was about to turn and vanish behind the derelict car. Sadly for Mark the light weight kevlar armor beneath the villains ragged garments made it's impact far less impressive then he momentarily thought it might of been. He realized quite quickly it's ineffectiveness.

Steel tipped tap dancing shoes skidded to a halt as the Vagabond stopped by the edge of the dilapidated train car. It was a turn that for Mark happened in slow motion as the deep crimson scarf encased visage of the super villain turned to peer at him. His narrowed insidious eyes stared back from under the shadows of the bent and crooked brim of his black top hat. In that moment all the courage and adrenaline burning through Mark's body fizzled out and he found himself looking back towards the train, hoping that Vallie was about to show up. Praying, really.

Back in the cluster fuck of the train car Vallie was finding it increasingly difficult to get her attire on quickly. More then once she was jostled about by several passengers forcefully trying to make their way out of the car. The fat man that was nearest Vallie when the bomb went off barreled past her, holding his carry on luggage in front of his junk. Other's created jam ups as they feverishly tried to get their stolen belongings back, or simply sought to get their items from the overhead compartments. It was an absolute zoo. Of course a few camera phones remained out, still catching it all.

They were spilling out, pushing and shoving each other, with about zero concern for one another as they fought to get up on the platform. The congested wave of people fleeing from the train car gathered the full attention of the trio of officers. Yelling and screaming the evacuees poured up onto the boarding stage of the Empire Central Depot, overwhelming the meager group of police men as they sought to try to get control of the situation.

No one could see Mark through the buzzing crowd as the Vagabond turned and faced him. Both of his black leather gloved hands had taken up opposite ends of his diabolical deep crimson scarf and began to twirl them around in some sort of homage to an old kung fu flick. The sinister laughter cut at Mark as the raggedly dressed villain quipped at him while the scarf blurred about. "What do we have here, Hammer Time's sidekick?" The ends of the stretchy scarf cracked out and snapped at the ground at Marks feet like whips and sent up showers of gravel as they blasted against the bed of small stones littering the ground.

Mark was frozen in complete terror as the showman like villain spun his surreal elongating red scarf about himself with nimble and practiced ease. "You didn't really think this one through, did you, fella."


good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
The rookie was lucky his poor aim did not claim any innocent lives, but stray bullets violently shattered a few of the train's windows - one of which happened to be right above Vallie's head.

The heroine had sought refuge under that window pane moments ago - the alcove offering a safe haven from the cursed green mist and the aisle (through which the hysterical and trampling crowd dashed for the doors). It gave her some time to don her 'costume'. It didn't take long - now that most of it had gone up in the mist, Vallie was left with a silver breastplate and a girdle-lookalike/belt that stopped short at her hips. Luckily, she found lying on a seat a crimson woman's scarf one of the passengers left behind in her escape. She nimbly tied two ends to the front and back of the girdle, re-purposing the silk scarf into a temporary loincloth fitting snugly between her legs. She sure was glad to be clothed again... albeit very flimsily.

That alcove did not remain a safe haven for long. Vallie screamed and cowered at the ear-splitting gunshots, and a hail of broken glass rained on her. A slicing pain at the back of her right hand elicited a wince. She glanced down and grimaced at a short trickle of blood oozing from a cut. Immediately that scarf/loincloth also served as gauze for her fresh wound.

Vallie had to scramble once more. Ducking low to avoid any further gunfire, she made for the exits. By this time the other passengers have evacuated. She only had to avoid the overturned luggage and broken glass strewn about, arriving at the train doors on all fours. To her left was the door to the platform, where cops in their cobalt blue uniform tried to rein in the panicking crowd. To her right Vallie spotted, some forty yards away, Vagabond twirling that scarf of his menacingly above his head, threatening to smash Mark into a bloody pulp.

In hindsight, it might have been smarter to go left. Join up with the authorities and get her hands on her hammer lying on the tracks. That was probably her best bet of apprehending Vagabond. But her judgment was clouded by pumping adrenaline, and a burning desire for vengeance gripped Vallie. The villain who humiliated and embarrassed her with that damned smoke bomb was about to get away scot-free. Vallie was determined not to let that happen.

When assessing what she did next... one really should bear in mind Garrison Agency had - after a thorough assessment of her abilities and mental acuity in combat situations - sidelined her for five years. Vallie was never the sharpest tool in the shed, and was prone to rash actions and poor judgment - which are exceptionally bad qualities for anyone, let alone a superhero.

Oh but Vallie was real proud of her idea. I'll call a bluff, she thought rather smugly to herself. I know I am powerless without the hammer. Garrison knows. But no one else does. There's no way Vagabond knows. He's gotta be smarting from that bolt I shot into his back, probably still hella scared of me. I can use that to my advantage.

She swung right and leapt down onto the tracks. The cut of rough gravel against her naked soles were dulled by adrenaline and feverish eagerness. She clambered onto the next platform, and from her elevated position shouted to Vagabond, "Hey you! You got some neat gadgets, I'll give you that, but they aren't gonna save you now! This time I'm really gonna fry you. I will give you three seconds to surrender! One... two..." To complete the bluff, she made a point to puff out her (steel-clad) chest and put her hands at her hips. At the same time she trained her eyes on the coils of his scarf, ready to duck out of the way in case he doesn't fall for her trick...

A couple of straggling passengers gazed at the blonde woman with their mouths agape. Empire City had seen their fair share of vigilante heroes, but few look like an Instagram fitness model, and even fewer chose to do their business half-naked with a sheer silk scarf hanging between their legs. From a safe distance, camera phones raised in anticipation...


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
Feeling an onslaught of fright, Mark started to back pedal while he stared at the menacing villain and the whirling helicopter like blur of his vicious red scarf. The heel of his work shoe caught on a track and sent Mark sprawling onto his khaki covered ass just as Vallie had announced her presence to the Vagabond. The meager businessman winced as his palms were scratched by their impact upon the rough gravel field that he landed abruptly upon as he turned his head back with a snap and let out a sigh of relief as he saw the heroine standing proud and defiant.

"Oh, thank god." He muttered as he tried to crab walk backwards to further distance himself from the top hat clad cretin whose attentions had shifted fully towards Vallie as her taunts called out across the tracks.

"Oh, feeling cocky are we, not stooping to sneak attacks, poor choice girly." The slender and tall darkly clad villain wrinkled his thin and narrow pock marked nose towards Vallie as his black leather glove clad hands spun his weaponry out in front of himself. "It's a little different, when my backs not turned, Hammer Time." His crackled lips sneered in a cruel twisted smile as the flowing ends of his red scarf swirled outwards and spun about like a planes propeller, forming a hazy red shield a solid ten feet before himself. "Speaking of which, where is your hammer?"

From the trains platform the crowded mass of civilians still were largely unaware of the pending showdown between good and evil as they were far more concerned with getting themselves out of harms way. Still though several camera phones remained focused on the tense face off while the police were just beginning to manage to gain some semblance of control over the frantic scattering scenario. As fate would have it, one of those cameras belonged to none other then Allison Weaver, a political correspondent for Empire City's premier news channel, Action Eight News.

"Are you getting this?" She exclaimed as she had remained in the train and was looking out of the bullet shattered window towards the pending battle while the high def camera of her phone captured the imagery unfolding. "I've never seen her, but I think she called herself Hammer Time?" She spoke into the speaker phone while she gazed at the framed view she was recording and transmitting back to the station.

Her eyes lit up as the production assistant responded. "Tom wants to know if we can cut to you live?"

"Oh fuck yeah, this is a mess and a heck of a lot more exciting then that gig in D.C. he sent me to cover." Her heart nearly jumped with joy as her words sang out of her mouth with enthusiasm. Then her professional side snapped into place as she composed herself with one big gulp and fill of her lungs that caused her chest to puff out. It was all happening so fast that Allison forgot to even mention that there were at least a half dozen naked people that fortunately weren't on camera at the moment.

As Vallies countdown was issued the lanky Vagabond felt his body tense. His toes tapped against the ground and his hips sank as she called out one. His shoulders swayed as the word two left her lips and his knees prepped themselves to bound away from any oncoming blast that might pierce his blurry scarf formed shield.

When the word three was spoken he instinctively lunged a single sweeping step towards his right, but quickly he realized that it wasn't Vallie that had called out the number.

"And we're live, in three, two, one.." The voice of the production assistant called out as Allison was more or less leaning out of the window now, broadcasting live to the Action Eight News at Noon.

"This is Allison Weaver coming to you live from the Empire City Train Depot where the heroine calling herself Hammer Time is trying to bring the fugitive Vagabond to justice!"

"Let's dance." The Vagabond's stubble covered cheeks puffed up as his gaunt lips turned into a wide smile as he realized that it was all an apparent bluff on Vallies part. With a flick of his wrist the spinning shield unraveled as the twin ends of the deadly red weapon cracked like ever stretching whips towards the would be heroine.


good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
"... three!"

"Speaking of which, where is your hammer? Let's dance."

The bluff failed spectacularly. Before Vallie had time to get in another word, the ends of the red scarf sliced through the space between her and Vagabond with a whirring siren, moving so fast they blurred into a reddish mass. Terror seized Vallie, rooting her feet to the platform, and for a split second she was certain her reaction would come too late. Primal survival instinct took over at the last possible moment. With a feline litheness that came from years of training in athletics and bodybuilding, the blonde sprang sideways, evading the first whip aimed for her. She did a half barrel roll in the air and landed on one knee. Her graceful maneuver brought out a few cheers from the onlooking crowd... although on Vallie's part there was no reason to celebrate. That was literally a close shave: the slipstream of the weapon's flight singed her skin. She could only imagine how much it would hurt to be hit...

It turned out there was no need to imagine. She had only dodged the first whip, but not its twin. By the time she saw the other red mass right in front of her face, she was beyond saving. It slammed into her chest, and Vallie experienced impossible, excruciating pain - as if an explosion was set off inside the chest. Her body was thrown into the air like a ragdoll, flipped over twice as it travelled in an arc before landing on the train tracks. The side of her head smashed into one of the rails, producing a sickening crunch.

The cheers turned abruptly into gasps.

Pain wrecked Vallie's brain, while a terrifyingly numb chill spread inwards from her fingers and feet to her limbs. Now that Vallie laid on the tracks she found her Hammer: under the train near one of its stationary wheels, no more than five feet from where her body lay defeated. What a cruel twist of fate! Mustering all her remaining strength, she stretched her left arm towards it. But before she managed... her eyesight became blurry, then faded into pitch darkness.


A chorus of screams and gasps erupted around Allison Weaver. People backed away from the train windows, scrambling to get as far away as possible from the victorious Vagabond. The limp, unconscious body of heroine, called Hammer Time, laid just below the window where Allison filmed from. Allison's fingers trembled, almost losing their grip on the phone. The thick crimson blood gushing out of Hammer Time's head wound was a sickening sight.

Now Allison wasn't your stereotypical intrepid and headstrong young reporter ready to risk life and limb for a story. After all, she was just a political correspondent - ninety percent of her job was shoving a mircrophone into a politician's face in search for a soundbite - for which (her editor hoped) her pretty face and youthful smile comes in handy. She had never covered any hero-villain fights or police chases - or anything of this kind for that matter. She had half a mind to turn tail and run like the rest of them. But seeing Hammer Time half-dead and vulnerable, left to Vagabond's mercy... Allison couldn't live with herself if she did nothing.

Before she could change her mind, Allison hurdled over the broken window and dropped down onto the train tracks below (her heels landing on the uneven gravel almost caused her ankle to sprain). She lifted the heavy Hammer and dragged it across until it nested in the heroine's open palm. At once the passed out woman began to stir, and the bloodflow from her wound seemed to slow.

Allison checked Hammer Time's prone body for any other wounds, glad that her search came up empty. Although (with a blush) she saw the heroine's lower body was lewdly exposed - for some reason she had haphazardly used a scarf as a makeshift loincloth which had came loose during the struggle. Allison quickly took off her navy-colored blazer and laid it over the heroine's nakedness. She heard the crunch of gravel and at once was afraid Vagabond was closing in for the finishing blow. But it turned out a middle-aged businessman who had been on the tracks was now ambling over to the pair of woman.

"Mark...? Whaddya doin'... What happened?" came the disoriented, mumbled voice of Hammer Time as she struggled to sit up, one half of her face clotted with bloodstains.


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
"Jesus, Vallie, are you alright?" Mark asked as he carefully helped to bring her back up to a sitting position. His gaze danced back and forth between the eyes of Vallie, Allison, and the distant figure of the Vagabond at the far end of the tracks.

"You got hit, and hard. Knocked you out cold, until I dragged this hammer over to you." Allison stated with a nervous pitch to her voice. Her fingers twitched blindly about as she finished covering up Vallie with her blazer. She was rather preoccupied with staring towards the source of their problem, the tall wiry figure on the other side of the rails. "What the fuck am I doing." She gasped out in a state of growing panic as she looked in the menacing villains direction.

"Oh fuck, he's coming this way." Mark bemoaned under his breath as he let Vallie lean against his shoulder. "We gotta go!"

Thin lips of the lanky tall villainous Vagabond curled upwards in a perverse display of the amusement that rolled through his wiry form and caused him to chuckle under his breath. From across the tracks his beady dark eyes followed the completely unknown heroine that he had dubbed Hammer Time as she tried to recover from the pulverizing blast of the deadly red scarf that left her face smeared with blood. Both ends of his dangerous elastic scarf were already curling through the air back towards where he stood.

Sleek black gloved hands greeted the returning lengths of the rippling cloth and gracefully spun it back around the lower half of his face with practiced precision. In mere moments the garment was back in place, dangling down his soiled tuxedo jacket, past his scratched up black dress pants until it fell upon the asphalt rocks beneath his metal tipped dance shoe clad feet. He tossed one flowing long strand of the scarf back over his left shoulder before he began to casually skip across the tracks towards the fallen heroine.

His heels clicked together with every step taken, causing his slow waltzing approach to have an audible sharp pop. An accompanying snapping click joined in from the villains black leather fingers that he tossed lazily out to his sides. He would of kept coming but the pop of gun fire from the platform followed immediately by a small explosion of stone a few feet before him caused him to pause.

"Freeze! Dirt bag!" The overly eager young police officer yelled out from the edge of the platform where he stood in a wide stance, both hands wrapped around the handle of his gun that he had steadily leveled in the direction of the criminal. "That was a warning, the next one won't be!" The officer shouted down as he moved his arms to steady his aim on his target.

"Now get down on your knees and hands behind your head!" Another of the boys in blue yelled out as he came into view from the other side of the train.

That wide smile hidden beneath the draping of his scarf vanished completely as a sneer formed in it's place. Long thin creases painted what little of his face wasn't hidden, making the Vagabond's irate turn in mood quite obvious. His eyes shot back and forth between the two guns so decidedly pointed in his direction. Slender black coated fingers wormed beneath his flowing ragged black tuxedo jacket as his chirpy melodious voice called out despite being muffled as it was by his scarf.

"Time to exit stage left!" He gleefully mused as his black glove appeared from beneath his jacket and with one smooth gesture towards the ground a cloud of thick black curling smoke shrouded him as the dainty pellet he had tossed covered his retreat.


good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
There was no bright white glow at the end of a tunnel; no feathery floating sensation. Vallie's near-death experience was not as advertised. The only things she remembered were the cold darkness and excruciating pain. One thing is for sure: it's good to be back among the living. With what's left of her strength Vallie made damn sure her digits are curled tight around the Hammer's hilt. Her survival depended on it. Vallie sensed the ancient power reviving her - very slowly, but steadily. Take all the time you need, she thought, you're literally bringing me back from the dead.

Gunshots were followed by a loud poof. Hazily, Vallie registered a cloud of black smoke lingering where Vagabond last stood. No way she is going after him: aside from being physically incapable, she has no desire of getting her ass whooped again. I am not made out for crimefighting. I found that out the hard way. Once is enough.

Two faces took up Vallie's line of sight. Mark's worried, twitchy face she recognize. The other was a pretty girl - who Vallie deduced had given her the Hammer, and had covered her nakedness up with that dark navy blazer. Vallie would express her gratitude... if she could get a word in. The brunette was blabbering excitedly, while shoving her phone into Vallie's face. What is she doing that for?

Paramedics appeared all of a sudden, shooing the onlookers away. A wool blanket was pulled over Vallie. Hands strapped her on a stretcher and lifted her up on a gurney. She felt a prick in the nook of her elbow, and the drowsy sensation that followed told her a strong anesthetic was administered. The crowd's voices melted together into a jumbled din. Her eyelids drooped heavily. The side effects of the drug urging her to just... drift... off...


As much as her pencil skirt and heels allowed, Allison trotted alongside the gurney towards the doors of the waiting ambulance. She has lucked into an exclusive leading story, and has every intention to milk it before the other news channels arrive at the scene and get a piece of the pie. This pie is going to make her career and is all hers.

"Hammer Time. How does it feel to DEFEAT the fugitive Vagabond and SAVE a whole station of innocent citizens from his evil designs? You ALMOST captured him. Early reports indicate there isn't a single casualty!" Her excitement expressed in quick, breathless sentences. Didn't Allison just witness Hammer Time get absolutely mauled by Vagabond? Sure. Is the half-dead, drugged blonde woman in any state to give an interview? Probably not. But footages can be edited. Journalistic liberties taken. This makes for a far better story. What Empire City needs is a feel-good story. Not another defeated hero in a coma.

"Errrr.....grr...reat?" Vallie slurred. Allison knew Hammer Time was about to slip into a drug-induced sleep. She had time to maybe get in one more question Two if she is lucky.

"The city needs a hero now more than ever. Gangs and villains prowling the streets. Crime bosses ruling over whole districts. Did you come to the city to be our savior, Hammer Time?"

"Shuuuure, whateverr... can'tchu... leave me alone..."


On a count of three the gurney was lifted onto the ambulance.

"No reporters on the ambulance. Find your own transport." Came the gruff voice of one of the paramedics.

"Please! Just a few more questions. I won't get in your way!"

Allison saw a wicked smirk slowly cross his lips. Narrowed eyes traveled from her face, to her loose-fitting blouse, down to her thigh-length pencil skirt. He stretched out his arm. "Just this once, missy. And don't you tell no one about this."

They hadn't lowered the ramp and the floor of the ambulance was well over two feet off the ground. Allison knew the sleazy paramedic took a long look up her skirt as she lifted one leg after the other. Apparently not content, he pressed right up against her when she sidled past. As a pretty white girl who grew up in Empire City, Allison had experienced worse... but she still wanted nothing more than to drive the tips of her heels into his crotch. Instead, she settled down in a corner, as the engine purred and siren wailed.

I wasn't exaggerating. This godforsaken city does badly need a hero, Allison mused, as she looked at the unconscious, bloodied Hammer Time.
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Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
The forsaken and forgotten Rheinhouse Theater welcomed the return of the Vagabond with it's filtered shadows and typical silence. It had been decades since the play house was basking in glorious activity. The ghosts of those times still haunted the Vagabond's mind. Through the peeled and fading paint, the criminal could feel the brilliance of the past still residing within the dilapidated structure's walls. That familiar sensation soothed his frustration towards the days events as he lowered himself upon his elastic scarf down through a gaping wide tear in the ceiling.

The flickering glow of an old tubular television set illuminated a tiny gathering of vagrants lazing about within a small clearing in the mangled mess of chairs that littered the place. "Hey boss man, ya done went an made tha news!" The familiar voice of Jolly John called out in greeting from the cluster fuck of worn and ruined chairs that littered the once prestigious audience floor. He was a gap toothed and stubborn homeless drunkard that had fallen under the Vagabond's care after the electronics store he worked for went belly up, leaving the price of society to swallow him up in debt.

With a flourish of his receding red scarf the self styled criminal champion of the homeless offered a deep and graceful bow towards his underlings. The crooked and battered top hat dropped from its perch atop his head and rolled down his long outstretched arm where the nimble fingers of the villain caught upon it's bent brim. "You don't say? Just what pleasantries are they showering me with now? Surely they were telling terrorized tales of me, the wolf that I am, disrupting the mindless routines of the sheep that come and go from this city of tragedy?" With a spin between his dexterous fingers the long black spoiled top hat came to rest upon his matted nest of hair once more as the lanky villain waltzed his spindly legs towards the cluster around the fuzzy light of the television.

John felt his jaw twitch as he looked towards his boss and caretaker and instinctively he flinched as he spoke up. "Uh, well, that there, well tha's not e'xactly whut they said." His eyes swept over the four other refuges looking for support from the faces belonging to those currently loitering in the shelter of the Vagabond's hideout. Jolly John didn't quite feel so jolly as he looked back towards the now looming dark figure of their leader as he stood at the edge of their circle.

"Uh, tha, tha said ya gots beat." He gulped down his growing worry that his boss was about to fall into one of his infamous rages. "Uhm, ya gat beat up by, by some new hero un town." He could feel the sweat beading into existence upon his forehead as he looked towards those narrowed eyes hidden under the shadowy curtain of that crooked black top hat. "Thay called her, Hammer, Hammer Time." He tentatively spat out.

Beneath the coiling folds of his royal red scarf the villains teeth scraped together as his jaw set tight. Eyes burned with intensity as the Vagabond looked between the loyal faces of his troops. His muffled voice replied with renewed hatred as black leather clad hands tightened into fists as his fury worked its way down into them. "Beat! They said she beat! Me!?" The steel tip of his dancing shoe lashed out against a nearby chair and sent it hurtling across the auditorium.

"It, it wus just, just a few minushes ago boss. Jush a real brief bit." Another of the unkempt bums hesitantly blurted out.

"I bloody ruined her!" He stomped his foot back down against the debris riddled floor. "She got ONE!" His black leather index finger shot up into the air. "ONE lucky shot in when my back was turned!" His head craned back and he let out a howl of disgust. "When will these fucking news people give me the credit I so rightfully deserve!"

John nodded affirmatively once. "Uh, huh, shum purty little thang gonna do an intraview laters with Hammer Time. She, she's at tha hospital, recovaring."

His head snapped to look towards Jolly John, one wispy slender brow angling upwards as a glint of mischief shone in his eyes. "Ya don't say, an, interview, tonight, at the hospital?"


Tucked away in a small corner booth of some sparsely populated vintage street car diner, Andrew Esh stared down at the invigorating black cup of coffee nestled between his sturdy hands. The remnants of his polished off late morning breakfast lingered on the cheap white plate as he took a sip of that steamy hot coffee. As his stubby fingers swept up the loitering scraps of food from his plate with a slice of toast his eyes absently watched the television nestled in the corner out of habit.

He nearly spat his coffee out as the breaking news flashed across the screen, displaying a montage of bits and pieces of Allison's spontaneous interview with the cities newest heroine, Hammer Time. "Vallie, oh for fucks sake, they sent Vallie Olsen here?" The fugitive from the Garrison Agency, that called himself the Crimson Marauder muttered under his breath.

The coffee was quickly emptied down his throat as he placed a handful of crumpled up bills under the edge of his plate. The hulking figure pushed the table back then so he could squeeze out from the booth as he grabbed his leather jacket and forced his way into it. "Idiots." He breathed out to no one in particular as he took one last look at the brief tease advertising this evenings interview with Hammer Time.

They must be desperate, sending my old booty call to Empire City. Andrews thoughts drifted back to those late night rendezvous as he made his way out of the diner and into the hustle and bustle of the midday.

I mean really, Vallie, fucking, Olsen? Sure she was one hot piece of ass, but damn if she wasn't a liability to the team. She's gonna get herself killed or worse, messing around with someone like the Vagabond.

His lips twitched as he settled on his bike, the suspension groaning under the weight and mass of the Crimson Marauder as he kicked the stand back up and let the engine rev before screaming out into the narrowest of openings in the flowing traffic that zipped along. I'm gonna have to pay her a visit, I just don't know how to go about it, yet.


good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
Vallie awoke groggily, as if from a long deep slumber. For a moment she has no sense of space or time. For all she knew - judging from the warm mattress and clean linens - she could be snug in the comforts of her own bed. She could have been fooled to believe she was waking up to a normal morning, back in her unremarkable life as a young gym trainer...

But the moment went by in a flash. The color of the ceiling and lights weren't quite as she remembered. And instead of her usual alarm, there was a slow, rhythmic beeping close by. This wasn't her room, far from it. Of course, after what happened this morning...

Vallie sat up and took in her surroundings. She sat in a hospital bed, alone in a large, tidy, sparsely furnished room. The blinds were pulled up allowing city lights to illuminate the room with a dreamy glow. The sky was dark outside, the hands of wall-mounted clock told her it was ten minutes past seven. Was I out the whole afternoon? She looked down and found herself wearing a powder blue hospital gown. A tube fed an IV drip to the nook of her elbow; wires connected her fingertips to a bedside device - the thing emitting those beeps. In one move Vallie ripped those wires off her arm and swung her feet off the bed. No pain, she felt fine - in fact, Vallie felt more than fine.

Just to be sure, Vallie walked over to a floor length mirror on the far wall and pulled up her gown. She gawked at her naked reflection. Somehow, there wasn't a single cut or bruise, no trace remained of the morning's battle. She gingerly touched her sternum, bringing up a painful flashback to Vagabond's scarf hitting her right between her breasts, almost killing her. But that pain was purely inside her head. Her fingers touched soft unblemished skin, not feeling even a hint of a scar. In fact, the only difference her eyes could see was her body looking even firmer and toned. She could be imagining things but was she also... bustier? Does touching the hammer after all these years do... that?

"You're finally awake! Ooooh my god sorry I didn't realize you were... naked... well nevermind nothing I haven't seen before. So good to see you back on your feet... and looking great. Just on time too. Listen..."

Vallie yelped and quickly pull her gown back down. She was so deep inside her reverie she hadn't heard the door open. She turned her head and found the thin, attractive brunette, recognizing it as the same face she saw just before she passed out.

"Oh right you don't know who I am. Allison Weaver. Big fan."


It took less than ten minutes for Allison's news crew to makeover the hospital room. Whatever empty space there was now stood cameras, boom mics, and get well soon cards and flowers. The men bustled about, uncurling wires and tuning the lighting. No one seemed to be paying attention to the 'star' and her needs.

"Listen... I need to find my hammer." Vallie was speaking to Allison, who had her eyes closed as a make-up woman worked on her face. "And, thank you for saving my life this morning, but I'm not going on TV. I'm getting my hammer and going home. You were there and saw what happened. I was no hero. If anything I only threw my body in the way until the police scared the guy off. I barely got out alive..."

"Your Hammer... is it not here? We should get that in the shot! Let me think... you were holding it on the ambulance I am pretty sure, then you were wheeled into ER, they didn't let me go inside. But yeah you I saw you with it before you went in ER. But you didn't need to stay long because you were, well, superpowers and stuff. SANDY CAN YOU RUN DOWNSTAIRS AND LOOK FOR THE HAMMER? WHAT D'YA MEAN WHAT HAMMER... HER HAMMER! And you're being too modest. You DID thwart Vagabond, didn't you? You are blowing up on social media! OH NOT TOO MUCH BLUSH, MY CHEEKS ARE NATURALLY ROSY. Don't worry about the interview. Just a couple soft questions. Where are you from. Who's your favorite hero growing up. Who do you see playing yourself in the movie adaptation. That sort of stuff. A little... demonstration... maybe. Only if you are up for it of course. Wait where's your costume? SANDY YOU STILL THERE?"

Vallie grew more irritated by the second. This woman clearly was so used to attention, and people (probably most of them guys) hanging on her every word, she hadn't learned to stop talking. Add to the fact that her lips work much faster than her brain - and that screechy teenage girl's voice - Allison Weaver sound downright insufferable. Can't she see... all she's doing is paint a giant bullseye on my back?


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
Allison Weaver tapped her fingers on the end of her chair as the make up artists worked on little fixes to the dark curls of her hair. Her phone occupied her other hand as her razor pitched voice constantly blabbered into the phone. "You listen here Sandy. YOU GET THAT DAMN HAMMER UP HERE NOW AND HER COSTUME. I don't CARE if the emergency ward is full of bums! PUSH EM OUT OF THE WAY!" There was a brief pause as some inaudible response chattered out of the phone while Allison looked over to Vallie. "I'm so sorry, do you need a drink, do you want some make up?" She snapped her gaze to the one attending to her hair. "FIX HER UP. My hair is fine, really it's fine." She swatted the assistant's working hands away.

"You found them? Well get them up here. I don't care if it's heavy as hell. I carried it! GET THAT HAMMER AND THAT COSTUME UP HERE PRONTO. WE'RE WAITING ON YOU! SANDY! Yes, your holding up the taping!" She smirked over to Vallie as the beautician descended on her and began to apply powders that highlighted her face. "Jee, I guess that's what it feels like to have a side kick, huh. Do you have a side kick, a, what do they call it in the superhero world, an apprentice? You must, someone like you, and well if you don't then certainly I bet you'll be getting one soon after our piece airs." The never ending stream of thought poured out from Allison Weavers lips, barely giving Vallie a chance to get a word in edgewise.

Standing alone in the dim moonlight a single lanky figure watched from the roof of the towering concrete slabs that formed the hospitals parking garage situated across the street. The crimson scarf fluttered out to his side, billowing upon the night's unobstructed breeze from this heightened vantage point. Criminal eyes watched through a pair of hand me down binoculars, taking in the chaos forming at the main entrance of Empire Hospital as his legion of homeless surged into the establishment. That should more or less keep their security staff busy, prying their eyes away from the monitors at their desks long enough for him to take care of business.

Those spying binoculars pulled away from the glowing lights off the hospitals grand entry way, turning to the vertical walls where windows offered gazes into room after room of patients. Thin lips twitched beneath the cover of the red scarf while gloved fingertips twisted the knob, refocusing his view through the magnifying lens. "Now.." His mumbled muffled words were barely audible as he looked from room to room. "..where are you at, Hammer Time. Come out, come out, wherever you are. It's time to pay the piper."

His brows drew together, the Vagabond was always prone to more spontaneous acts, but this particular nights escapade required some consideration. Still though irritation gnawed at the very fiber of his being. It should of never even had to come to this, he should of taken care of her at the damn train yard. Now he had his reputation sullied by her interference and that just needed to be fixed in spades. Patience, look for the lights, the news crew will have that room glowing.


The lobby was buzzing with activity. The filth of the city's down trodden cluttered the plastic rows of the chair lined waiting wing. The stench that swept in with them nearly made Sandy want to bend over and wretch. She held her phone to her ear while she clutched a plastic wheeled cart she had to temporarily borrow in order to transport all of Vallies junk and that damnable heavy mallet of hers back upstairs. "Excuse me! Pardon me! Hey let me through!" She called out into the jumble of bums polluting the aisles. "I just need to get to the elevator alright!"

Her head snapped back, bouncing short strands of brown flipping about as she gasped. "Hey don't touch my ass! Somebody help me! I just need to get to the elevators!" Just as she thought it was a hopeless endeavor that she had gotten tangled up in a pair of hospital security guards arrived. A gap opened as they tried futility to get some order restored in the room, but the buzzing crowd of street dwellers were mostly far to drunk or high to be easily swayed. Sandy didn't hesitate though, as she pushed the cart with all of the strength her petite body had while her legs drove her forward.

"Gods! Finally!" She pounded her fingertip repeatedly against the button as she waited for any one of the elevator doors to open. Things were getting hairy down there, and Sandy prayed internally that a door would open before the madness of the room swallowed her back into its grasp. "Come on, hurry up, come on! Please!"


Outside in the glowing cone of soft light that was offered up by one of many such street lamps a chrome chopper sat. The engine rumbled quietly while a large bulky figure sat squarely a top its long curving leather seat. He had been lingering here for hours, coming and going around the streets of the hospital. Being that the Crimson Marauder was somewhat of a fugitive, entering the hospital would be a poor choice. So he had optioned to loiter in the area as inconspicuously as possible.

Then the homeless started pouring in, maybe a hundred or more of those cast out from society. He was aware of the rumored army of bums that the Vagabond had sway over. Drug addicts and derelicts every last one of them. Desperate souls that would do most anything to get whatever fix they craved. Obviously to some extent, their criminal commander in chief had connections to acquire such fare.

Andrew bit his bottom lip, working the edges of his upper teeth back and forth against it. This was definitely not a good turn of events. If things went sour, which he thought they most certainly would, cops would be here eventually in rather large numbers. That could be very bad for him. "Fuck." He muttered under the churning rumble of the bikes polished chrome engine.
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good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
The crew did a final spot check of the various recording equipment, while the makeup woman performed the final touchups on Vallie's cheeks and brows. This was a rare look behind the scenes of TV production, and under any other circumstances Vallie would be squealing like an excited teenager. Look at the cameras and spotlights covering every angle of the interview! Prettied up by a personal makeup girl! Being on TV as a hero! Imagine the business and social media clout this would bring her. This could open so many doors. What's next... talk shows? And did just Allison just mention movies?

But alas, all that comes with a heavy price tag. She is about to be outed as a superhero. Tomorrow morning everyone in the city will know her face. And everyone means everyone... from two-bit pickpockets to the crime lynchpins who probably wields more power than the police. The grisly pictures Garrison showed her flashed inside her head. She had no doubt what fate awaited once the cameras began to roll.

She needs to get out. Go back home. Hopefully back into anonymity.

And then the perfect opportunity presented itself. Allison got distracted over the phone. Sounds like she was clearing her questions with the news station. The makeup lady had her back turned as she rifled through her box of tools. Vallie stood up and slipped towards the door. No one took notice... until the sound technician lifted his head and eyed her questioningly.

"Need the bathroom. Be right back." She lied, and quickened her pace.

By the time it dawned on him Vallie could have used the bathroom inside the private ward, the hero was nowhere to be found.


Vallie's bare feet patted softly on the cold tiles. The signs to the lifts took her two rights and a left. Once there she rammed on the call button. Ten seconds of wait felt like minutes. Vallie half-expected to hear the click of Allison's heels, or see the reporter's silky brown hair whip around the corner. So when the doors finally opened Vallie hurried inside. She did not release the "CLOSE DOOR" button until the lift car jolted and began taking her downstairs.

5... 4... 3... Overhead the red number flashed far too slowly for Vallie's liking. Just so she wouldn't pop a vein, she diverted her eyes to a floor-to-ceiling mirror inside the lift. Her reflection stared back at her. The makeup woman did a better job on her face than Vallie herself ever had. Smoky eyeliner accentuated the shape of her eyes. The blush applied a post-coital glow over her cheeks. Long blonde mane brushed to one side and styled in a windswept, out-of-bed look. It all went so oddly with what she wore: a flimsy plastic blue hospital gown. She turned slightly and saw the gown was tied at the back, with just four snap tapes.

Vallie reminded herself not to make any sudden moves, unless she wants to flash her ass.

Okay. I need some new clothes. But first things first... the hammer.

Vallie did not have to look far. Her weapon was right there as the lift doors slid apart.

A tiny-built woman - Vallie recognized her as Allison's assistant - brandished the hammer in a half-crouch. The hammer head quivered unsteadily. It was impossible to tell if it was due to the weight on the girl's slim wrists... or fear. She was backed against a wall as three raggedly-dressed men close in on her. Man they stunk. Of evil intentions, and literally. Their clothes reminded Vallie of Vagabond... and she has a hunch the villain is behind all this. She saw the glint of a switchblade extend from the sleeve of a tattered trench coat. Another hand raised a broken wine bottle threateningly.

'Why don't ya drop that thing before you hurt yourself, little girl...' 'Come along quietly now. Last thing we want is to scratch up that pretty face of yours...'

The lift doors opening took them by surprise... just for a bit. Vallie knew it was her best chance. She sprang forward and wrangled the hammer from Sandy's hand. The next instant, three coils of lightning shot forth from the hammer, hitting each men right in their chests. One flew backwards into a garbage can. Another into a glass window pane, shattering it. The third bolt pushed the last man into the lift with such force his body dented the wall, before slumping limply. His switchblade dropped from his slack hand and clattered to the floor.

That took everyone's attention. Rioters and hospital staff alike stopped whatever struggle they were in and turned their heads towards the lifts. For a half second, all of them stood in stunned silence. At the smoke, the smell of burnt flesh, and the three prone bodies.

'Ay! That's Hammer Time! Grab 'er!' Yelled one of the rioters. And back to all hell being broke loose.


Sandy ducked just in time. A beer bottle whistled past her ear and smashed against the wall behind her. The girl curled up and cowered. This was it, there was no way out. The mob charged in from both sides amidst a loud battlecry. This was only Sandy's second day interning at Action Eight News. A dream placement - with a vague promise of a desk job upon college graduation - had turned into coffee runs, photocopying, and being yelled at by junior reporters like Allison. Three homeless men had just threatened to gang rape her and now she is about to be trampled by the whole lot of them. Some dream.

She felt an arm curl around her waist... and the next moment she flew. So fast it was like riding on a rollercoaster. Sandy shut her eyes in terror until her Converses hit hard concrete. She opened her eyes and looked. Somehow, in a blink of an eye, she had travelled from inside the hospital to the pavement across the street.

"You okay there?" Hammer Time pulled Sandy to her feet, with a grin and a wink of eye. "Thanks for bringing me this."

Sandy wobbled to her feet. She was just about to thank her hero when, from the corner of her eyes, she saw a large motorcycle, and a massive shape loom up from behind Hammer Time. Her ocean blue eyes widened, and she could manage to blurt out, "WATCH OUT! BEHIND YOU!"


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
"Gotcha." The Vagabond's scarf muffled voice pleasantly cooed out as his binocular focused eyes settled on the warm glow emanating from within one of the upper levels of the hospitals patient rooms. It was full of lights, bustling with people moving about, and he could even see the obnoxious reporter Allison waving one hand frantically while she yelled at some of the crew. "Showtime" He mused merrily as he let the binoculars fall away from his beady evil eyes and drape across his chest.


"Where the hell did she go!" Allison was having a fit of rage that looked like it could turn to tears at any moment. The biggest opportunity of her relatively young career had just vanished into thin air. That story with Hammer Time could of been her gateway to some serious longevity in the cutthroat world of television news. Her good looks wouldn't last forever after all. She stamped her black dress shoe repeatedly on the floor. "She was right here! Dammit! Someone find her! You! How did you not think to follow her!" She pointed an accusing finger angrily towards the crews lighting technician. "I need this story!"

"Maybe her nerves got to her, you know, camera fright?" Belle, the lady who was handling the makeup chimed in meekly. "Sandy's downstairs still, right, maybe she can find her?" She tried to offer helpfully even as she slunk up against the wall and tried to stay out of Allison's way as she stormed about the room.

"Yeah, Sandy..." Allison's stomping feet came to a halt as she spun and turned her glowering stare towards Belle. Her index finger drew away from the tech and pointed towards the doorway. "..I'll call her, but don't you just sit there and pipe out advice. Get off your ass and go look for her too!" Allison wailed out. "All of you! There's no show without her!"


With a running start the Vagabond launched himself over the edge of the parking garage's highest level. His body twirled in a flamboyant spin as his nimble hands grasped his mystical red scarf and threw it up over his head. The garment stretched as it caught on the air passing below it, bulging upwards as it took on the shape of a narrow parachute. Gracefully the villain glided through the air, crossing the chasm between the two buildings as he descended swiftly towards the waiting large window pane. It shattered with one well aimed and precise kick from the tip of his steel dance shoe and sent a shower of glass falling into the room and down to the street far below. With a fluid tuck and roll the criminal miscreant rolled into the room, coming to a kneeling stop as his ragged garments stretched out as he spread his arms and spoke with showman's glee. "Here's Johnny!"

He was nearly ready to leave, but fate as it were altered everything as Vallie zipped through the air as she sped out of the hospitals clustered main entrance. His eyes widened as she seemed headed right his way, her hammer pointed before her, clutching a young woman to her side who was wildly waving her arms. "Well I'll be.." He muttered under his breath as he watched her land beneath the glow of a nearby street lamp. Yep, that's definitely Vallie He could tell as he admired the shape of her toned ass as the wind that drew across the street caused her flimsy hospital gown to toss about.

Swiftly he pulled himself up and over the seat of his monstrous motorcycle while Vallie had her back towards him. Andrews bulky massive body moved forward out of the shadows just after Sandy's warning was sounded. Get rid of the hammer first That much was obvious to the Crimson Marauder. Sure, back in the day Vallie and him had some heated passionate private rendezvous but things never got serious. She wasn't here for a booty call, no, he was sure of that. The Garrison Agency just wouldn't go away and it was obvious they were running out of options if Vallie was the best they could muster up to send.

Fortunately this was an opponent he knew rather well from the dozens of training exercises they had been through together. Despite the resiliency that her heirloom granted her, he always remembered Vallie as having an unreliable grasp upon her magic hammer. His thick brutish fingers snapped out towards the would be heroines wrist and caught it. With a painful wrench and pressure from the blunt end of his thumb he yanked Vallie's arm behind her back and forced her to spin towards him, hoping the sudden shock of pain would do the trick and cause her to loose her grasp upon the hammer.

"Beat it." He snarled towards Sandy as he chucked one large mound of leg forward and greeted her belly with the blunt end of his boot. Sandy was flung backwards, her head snapping back against the door of a parked car. Her wide and fearful eyes fell shut after that impact and her body slumped until it rested up against the dented car door.

"Your coming with me, Vallie, either the hard way, or the easy way. Your choice." He stated through clenched teeth as his muscular mass pulled her up against his looming rock hard body.
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good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010

Sandy's panicky voice caused Vallie to spin around. But once she saw the ruggedly handsome face, her concerned expression faded, replaced by a relieved smile. Ever since she set foot in this cesspool of a city, nothing but misfortune had befallen her - she was beaten, had her clothes striped, hospitalized, and almost strong-armed into going on live TV... his familiar face was a sight for sore eyes.

And of course, it wasn't just any familiar face. Out of anybody in the world, Crimson Marauder might be the person Vallie needed the most right now. After all her 'mission' was to search for his whereabouts. He could give her answers, and an ally against the many onslaughts this crime-ridden city is determined to throw at her. That... and the small matter of their past fling. Yes, the consensus was no strings attached. But after so many intimate trysts, he was well past just a quick hookup in her heart. Despite the danger she is still in, her heart leapt with excitement. And she was suddenly very self-conscious in her flimsy hospital gown.

"It's 'kay. I know him." But soon as the word 'him' left her lips, Vallie thought she saw a strange glint flick across his eyes. A look. Which all of a sudden brought Vallie's mind to a particular memory...


The men's changing room at Garrison. Dark, silent and deserted. Except for two individuals. And labored grunting.

The ceramic tiles were icy against her shoulder blades. His rod was searing hot, like a red chunk of coal between her legs. She wrapped her tired legs around his muscular hips for support as he nailed her, repeatedly and hard, into the wall. Knowing her hammer was close at hand, he ravaged her tender folds, almost pulverizing those narrow hips...

They had not done it within Garrison's walls before. But today's training was especially intense. The endorphins had made Vallie euphoric and very horny... and eager. She surprised him, stark naked, at his shower. He obliged her.

Vallie usually wasn't the talkative type in the throes of passion. But she must have been exceptionally turned on that evening. And feeling like a very dirty girl. Slutty, indecent words and phrases flowed out of the blonde's mouth, in between his powerful thrusts, and her own ragged breathing. She wasn't even thinking about what she said. "Oh fuck me you bad boy... 'magine catching me... 'lil goody-two-shoes hero... fuckin' her raw... corruptin' her... makin' her your own viking whore. Ooooh... you big bad villain..."

All of a sudden, he paused and pulled out from her sopping wet tunnel. Before continuing, rougher than he had ever been, she glimpsed that glint in his eyes. That look.

Vallie got real hollowed out in that changing room. She wasn't able to walk proper for the next two days.


That look made his features very scary. Vallie couldn't suppress a growing unease in the bottom of her stomach. He went missing... did not respond to attempts to contact him... while his team was wiped out...

Someone doesn't feel right. Her sixth sense told her something horrible is about to happen...

And then it all happened within a second. In terms of combat, Andrew was always way too fast for her. Her hammer hit the pavement with a dull thud. The poor news station girl flew through the air like a ragdoll and went limp against the parked vehicle. Her shoulders burnt as he twisted her arms behind her body. He could feel his ripped muscle through her threadbare garment. He easily lifted her off her feet... just like he did so many times before.

Shocked realization dawned on Vallie. "IT'S YOU! YOU TURNED ON THE AGENCY!" the neutered heroine squealed as her captor carried her off, her legs kicking futilely in the cold evening air.


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
With Vallie's back pressed up against his bulky heavyweight chest, Andrew backpedaled out of the soft glow of the street light and drew her back into the shadows towards his stout chrome chopper which was letting out a soft rumble from the running engine. One meaty palm mashed down over Vallie's screaming mouth, and forcefully began to stuff a wadded up rag into her mouth, silencing any further defiant cries. Not that her initial yelp had drawn any attention, with all the activity taking place at the entrance of the hospital, her screams just seemed like background noise that no one thought to pay attention too. In the dim shadows bordering the light, a silver mystical hammer sat on its side, unattended.

His heavy black working boots stutter stepped backwards while his anaconda like arms squeezed down around Vallie's body. Oh, The Crimson Marauder could snap Hammer Time like a twig if he wanted too, but that was hardly his intentions at the moment. Just seeing her, his old fuck buddy, well it caused a rock hard growth to sprout between his legs. Finally Andrew carried her, kicking legs and all back away from all the lights, tucked in a dark corner against the exterior walls of the massive concrete parking garage.

He spun around, pressing Vallie face first up against the wall as he unraveled his arms from around her waist and reclaimed possession of her wrists. With a sharp tug and twist he forced her wrists to rest against the upper slope of her firm ass while he pressed his considerable weight forward, effectively pinning her against the wall. That girth hardness hidden beneath his worn and scuffed up jeans became fairly evident in that moment as the shape of it squeezed against Vallie's rear.

"Your damn right I did." He hissed into her ear. "You'd of done the same damn thing too if you knew what I knew." The tension in his beefy body relaxed slightly, his grasp against her wrists loosened just faintly. "If you want to know, you'll meet me tonight at midnight at O'sheary's Pub." His herculean figure pressed in again, letting her know he was in control and that his offer wasn't negotiable.

There was barely an audible groan that sounded from Sandy's lips as she laid crumpled up and unconscious along the dented up door of the parked car. Across the street, from the well lit glowing entry way of the hospital things were beginning to grow rather riotous.

"I suggest you strip that news lady down and wear her clothes, you both look about the same size." He glanced back over his shoulder. "Make it quick too, before the Vagabond's goons come looking for ya." His hands slowly released their grasp over her wrists, but his body remained like a barricade that didn't allow Vallie to move away from the wall just yet. "You don't move a muscle until I'm gone, got it?" His stubble buffed chin rubbed up against the side of her slender neck as he started to back away.

"O'sheary's Pub, midnight, I'll be in the back room." He stepped back slowly, leaving Vallie against the wall as he turned and bent over, scooping up her hammer with a grunt. "You want this, you'll be there." He lugged the solid shiny hammer over his shoulder as he moved over to his waiting bike and saddled up. "It's good to see you Vallie, but don't cross me. You don't make a peep about me to the Agency. Midnight, be there. I'll tell ya everything I know." There was a stern look given her way as he fired up the chopper and roared off down the street. In the distance, as the roar of the Crimson Marauder's departure sank away, the wail of police sirens could be heard approaching.


good girl, fit for duty
May 13, 2010
Vallie rest the side of her head against the bus window. The city’s nightscape flitted pass through rain-streaked glass. The streets were mostly empty – citizens deterred from staying out by the sudden drizzle – or perhaps (and more likely) the sky-high crime rate. Bags of trash strewn uncollected on the sidewalks in front of shuttered storefronts; graffiti everywhere the eye can see; in the many narrow alleyways, hooded figures huddle ominously around burn barrels.

It was a dreary, foreboding slideshow. A true inner city hellhole.

It made Vallie feel extra dreadful about Sandy. She had left the intern in exactly one of those seedy alleyways. Vallie closed her eyes but couldn’t shake the image from her mind…


The unconscious short-haired brunette propped against the wall, her head lulled to one side, naked except for her underwear. Her bony body looked tiny – almost like a child’s. The hospital gown draped over her torso did little to cover her modesty.

What Vallie did was awful and inhumane. Hands down the worst thing she had ever done. Carrying the girl’s prone body into the alleyway. Stripping her clothes from the still warm body. Putting them on herself. It filled Vallie with shame and she had to resist the urge to retch every step through the deed.

The girl was still alive, Vallie had checked her breathing. But no doubt badly hurt –the lump at the back of her head the size of an egg– and it was all down to her. And as if Sandy hadn’t suffered enough, Vallie was about to make off with her clothes. Sure, Vallie didn’t have a choice – she couldn’t exactly traipse around the city with her butt hanging out a hospital gown – but it didn’t make her feel any better.

She took from Sandy’s wallet two twenties and a bus pass, making sure to leave everything else exactly where they were. The screen of Sandy’s phone read “6 x Missed calls – Allison W. (Action 8)”. Vallie dialed back. Her call was picked up after two rings. In her haste, Vallie didn’t wait for whoever was on the other line to speak. She practically barked out the words. “Alley opposite the hospital entrance. Send help right away. It’s life and death!

Without waiting for an answer, Vallie placed the phone in Sandy’s still palms, and vanished from the alleyway.


It was the least she could do. She prayed for Sandy to pull through.

Her bus had stopped. Two men came on, scruffy and reeking of tobacco and sweat, making the number of total of passengers on this night service three. Construction workers was Vallie’s best guess. Both sets of eyes lingered on Vallie for far longer than necessary, before they took seats a couple rows in front of her.

Vallie tried to recall the bus map from memory. She must be some 5 or 6 stops away from O’Sheary’s. She wished the driver would step on the gas. At the same time, almost sub-consciously, she pulled Sandy’s denim pilot jacket tight around her body.

Vallie came away from the alley with three items of clothing. A little black dress. The cute jacket. And bright red Converses. They were significant upgrades from a sheer hospital gown, but still not ideal. The jacket was undersized, hugged her arms, and made it difficult to move freely. The fitted LBD had looked real flattering for Sandy… on Vallie (who was bustier by some margin) the fabric hitched up, leaving its flowy hem high on her thighs. To put it In practical terms, it meant Vallie had to sit on the edge of her seat, so her girly parts wouldn’t be directly touching the undoubtedly filthy bus seat. Oh, and she had no underwear on. She couldn’t stomach stripping them from Sandy (not to mention basic hygiene concerns). That left her constantly reminding herself to close her legs. And her nipples rubbing against the tight dress proved to be rather distracting…

It brought her mind to Andrew. She wondered why he hadn’t dealt with her like the rest of the team members. About his plans for her at a seedy Irish pub, in the small hours. About his streamy breath on her exposed neck. About how he pushed right up against her… as if to remind her…

Hey sweetheart. Where you heading all dolled up like that huh?

Tell us ya name, blondie. Bet you got a real pretty name, don'cha?

Vallie’s head jerked forward. Her two fellow passengers had turned around and greeted her with yellow-teethed grins. One of them dangled a toothpick between his lips.

It’s none of your business.” Vallie snapped, keeping her voice even through her nerves. She pulled the cord to call for the next stop, stood up abruptly, and headed towards the front of the bus. She figured closer she is to the driver, the less bold they would be. And she was close enough to O'Sheary's to walk the rest of the way.

She was marching past the men when she felt a vice-like grip on her wrist – the same wrist that Andrew had bruised! – and she was jerked backwards, landing right onto Toothpick’s lap.

Hey now hey now. That’s not very polite. My friend here asked you a question, why don’t you answer him like a good girl huh?” He kept hold of her wrist, while his other callous hand claimed her exposed thigh, and began brushing upwards...

Vallie felt nauseous with disgust. If only I had my hammer! I would fry these perverts into crispy pieces!

Wait a sec… I think I’ve seen her face before. She was the one on TV! The train station woman!
The fuck you saying Andre…
"She… she almost took down Vagabond.

The grip on her wrist loosened just as the bus braked. Vallie flung the man away and practically ran to the exit. She was never so glad to hear the hiss of a bus door closing. She wheeled around as the bus accelerated, just in time to see Toothpick flashing a rude gesture at her through the window.

Fuck! Fucking fuck!” Vallie spat out in frustration. Under the light drizzle, her skin crawled and she felt filthy. A furious anger rose in her chest towards Crimson Marauder. Why couldn’t he take her to the bar himself?? He knew full well how dangerous this town could be, at night, for an attractive single woman. Just wait til I get to that backroom… I'd would wail him with punches, knee him in the groin, and rip his clothes to pieces…

Focus! Vallie looked up and spotted the O’Sheary’s sign in neon colors far off. She must be a couple blocks away. Nothing could happen to her over a few city blocks, right?

She smoothed over her skirt and began her trek towards the sign. There was one silver lining… at least those red Converses fit her feet to a tee.


Purveyor of Dark Delights
Jul 9, 2018
The Vagabond dusted off his ragged tattered garments, sending a sprinkling of tiny glass fragments to fall upon the floor around him as he came up out of his showman like crouch. Immediately his dark beady eyes could tell that something was off as they peered out from beneath the crooked wide brim of his dented dull black top hat. His prey was nowhere to be seen. In fact the room was nearly empty, save for the snobbish reporter and a young fresh out of college man with dusky brown hair that was frozen in place by one of the lighting tripods. There was a look of shock that quickly morphed into a display of terror at the villains abrupt arrival.

Beneath the curling bands of the vibrant red scarf that wrapped about his face his lips curled in a manner of disgust and disappointment. "Where is she? Where is Hammer Time?" He stalked directly towards Allison Weaver, the clack of the lethal metal tips of his tap dancing shoes adding further menace to the villains approach.

Out of the corner of his evil eyes he sized up the lighting technician. He was trying to discreetly move towards one of the lighting tripods. Probably to use it as a weapon, the cretin figured as his left hand slipped under the torn up tuxedo's jacket and flicked back out towards the stunned man as a slim red dart stuck into his gut. He sank to the floor with a grunted exhale as the anesthetic coated dart caused the man to quickly loose control of his motor functions. He fell onto his side, a puddle of drool already beginning to appear upon the floor from the corner of his slumbering lips as the Vagabond hopped on top of the vacated bed in front of Allison.

She was utterly paralyzed as the vile criminal crouched before her upon the partially reclined stark white hospital bed. It felt like her heart caught in her throat when the chaotic moment of his arrival passed and her mind was able to finally process what was happening. By now it was sadly far to late she realized as the dark black leather glove of the Vagabond reached out and snapped around the tender flesh of her throat. Her hands loosened around the phone she had been diligently working in vain to contact Sandy with, letting it slide free and fall into the canopy of the skirt stretched taut between her legs.

Her normal unreserved demeanor was all but evaporated in the presence of the terrifying villain. For a change, Allison Weaver was at a loss for words. She felt like the entire room was starting to spin slowly around her as a state of panic began to manifest.

"Let me ask again." The Vagabond cleared his voice, smoothing away the irritation in his tone as he leaned forward and glared with discontent into the wide eyes of the nosy reporter. His fingers relaxed around her throat mere moments before a backhanded slap rang across her cheek that snapped her out of her dazed state but left her momentarily stunned. "Where, oh where, is Hammer Time? I have a score to settle with her!" The rage snapped back for a brief instant as he screamed in her face before adding quietly. "And you."

She could feel a swelling starting up under her right eye where the back of his hand had cracked across her face. Allison gulped as she felt the grasp on her airway loosen and with trembling lips she spat out. "I, I don't know. She was. She was just here maybe a half hour ago. She, she just up and vanished. We thought she was going to use the restroom, but she ran." She babbled out, the very act of talking seemed to help Allison Weaver find her bearings. "Everyone is looking for her, but we don't know where she is?" She was nearly on the verge of tears as she confessed. "Jesus, don't kill me."

Just then the phone rang, vibrating upon the thin white concave blanket of Allison's stretched out skirt. Both sets of eyes were drawn towards the device and the name Sandy that was brightly displayed on the screen. "It's, it's, my. My assistant." Allison meagerly murmured, though she didn't dare make a move for the phone.

The Vagabond though did. By the time the second ring had gone off the slim phone was up against his ear. It didn't take long for him to recognize the voice of Hammer Time coming from the other end. Before he could even get a thought together to respond, she had hung up. His head snapped around as he looked towards the shattered opening of the window as he let out a low muffled growl. "Oh, it's a lot more then just life or death, Miss Hammer Time."

Before Allison even knew what was happening she felt a sudden prick against the skin of her right thigh. Her eyes shot downward, drawn to the source of the sensation as she recognized the thin red dart impaling her soft flesh. She let out a hoarse almost soundless gasp as she felt her entire body waver in the chair and go limp. The image of the Vagabond looking back towards her began to blur as the villain stroked her bruised cheek with a tender pass of his gloved hand. "Shhh, you'll get your show, just not the script you were expecting. Now, time for bed bed."


Just a few city blocks. A few city blocks that looked like they were straight out of a suburban girl's nightmares. The streets were the definition of desolation. The distant sound of sirens sounding from the direction of the city hospital cut through the relatively quiet ambient noise surrounding her. Was she being watched? Every movement, each shift of shadow seemed pronounced. Despite seeing no one in her immediate dreary surrounds, it was nearly impossible to not conceive a threat looming, hidden in the dark, waiting. That's all that stood between Vallie and the front door of the Irish pub she sought.

A sharp buzz hummed out, splitting through the backdrop of noise. It rang out again, screeching from the filtered darkness beyond the empty fronts of the vacant looking buildings nestled closely together in the slums. The startling sound of a hacking cough and the slosh of booze in a bottle being brought to over inebriated lips drew her attention to the shadows at the entrance to another wise pitch black alley way.

There was a small cluster of homeless vagrants, huddled under blankets, using the narrow crevice between the nearby buildings to keep the slow drizzling rain from soaking them into a shiver. The ringing sound bellowed out a third time before it was silenced by a scruffy looking drunkards face that came into view as the soft blue light of the phone glowed across her worn and beleaguered features. With an abrupt belch, dainty uncoordinated fingers fumbled with the phone, seemingly having trouble with the task of unlocking the screen.

Then a loud bark echoed out across the streets as a slumbering stocky grey pit bull popped up and alerted the others to Vallies presence. The bottle settled back from the lips of the ragged fella as his bleary eyes were drawn to the faded light beneath which Vallie walked. "Hey, hey babe." He slurred out. "Ya looking, your looking for some fun, some fun, huh?" Some of the attentions of his comrades shifted, drawn over to the pretty thing passing through the streets while the mutt let out a rumbling growl.

"Hot little honey, a hot little honey like you, uh huh, yeah." The words bumbled out of his mouth as he tried to get to his feet. "What's, what's a girl like you, doing, doing alone, in a place, place like this?" Another chirped out as his companions footing faltered causing him to slide back onto his rump.

The dog barked again, drawing the slurred shout to "Shut up!" From the woman's lips as she seemed to give up with trying to figure out how to type in the way to complex at the moment four digit pass code that would unlock the phone.
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