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[center][SIZE=1][B][SIZE=2][U][SIZE=3]Justice City

[SIZE=1]Volume One: ReGenesis[/SIZE]
[SIZE=1]Chapter One: Jailbreak[/SIZE][/SIZE][/B]

Kaleb McAdam had the most boring job in the city. Working as a security guard in a prison where the technology hidden in the walls, floors and ceilings did everything that was required of a guard left him feeling inadequate and unneccessary, and he had attempted to fill that hole with all kinds of activities. He would wander the halls and see if he could figure out what each inmate had done to get locked away; he sat and threw a battered old baseball at the wall, trying but failing to look as cool as when Steve McQueen did it. He did anything he could to while away the time.

Right now he was on the computer that sat at his desk, caked in a layer of dust from years of underuse, searching to find the filthiest, most depraved images and videos he could on the internet.

He finally stumbled upon a site which offered him anything he could ever have wanted to watch people do to themselves and each other, when the screen flickered suddenly, sending the image rolling up and down the screen.

[B]"What the hell?"[/B] he asked nobody but himself, slapping the side of the computer in the way that never does anything productive, but makes the user feel a little better. Eventually the image corrected itself, and he returned to his own little pit of filth.

He really should have paid more attention.

A few moments later, the screen began to flicker once more, this time more violently, and as Kaleb began to smack the side of the computer again, every light in the building went out.

Kaleb fumbled at his belt for his torch, scrambling to his feet as he flicked the light on. The shaft of light comforted him, but not much. He began to shake, and the light began to waver across the corridors. His breathing became laboured, and he clutched at his chest, trying to undo the top buttons of his shirt, but he couldn't, falling first to his knees and then to the floor entirely. A sharp pain throbbed through his chest and abdomen, as if something was trying to escape from inside his chest cavity.

Suddenly he realised: that's exactly what was happening.

Kaleb had gained a lot of weight since starting this job, what with the constant sitting and snacking, and it had taken it's toll on him. Six months ago, he had been into hospital and had a pacemaker fitted to try and calm his heart problems, and now that pacemaker was trying to tear itself out of his chest.

He struggled to his knees once more, and felt a sudden pressure on the inside of his chest, which faded as quickly and as suddenly as it had begun. He looked down, and saw his shirt covered in sticky red fluid, with shards of white just peeking out of the crimson mess. He had a moment and looked up, only to see a silhouette of a man, holding a dripping mess of plastic and wires in his hand.

He had never suspected it, but Kaleb's last word on God's green earth was simply:



The buzzing and a tiny flashing red light snapped Mayor Gregory Johnson out of his daydream, and he immediately picked up the phone, running a hand through his short brown hair.

[B]"Yes?"[/B] he snapped, perhaps a little too harshly.

[B]"Mr Mayor,"[/B] came the voice of Susie, his secretary, [B]"We have the Chief Commissioner here to see you."

"Of course, Susie,"[/B] Johnson said, his tone softening, [B]"Send him right in, and can we get a couple of cups of coffee too?"

"Certainly, sir."

"Thanks, Susie," [/B]he said, the tiniest of smiles crossing his face as he placed the phone back on the hook. The doors of his office creaked open, and a slim, aging man walked through them, his dark hair greying at the temples, with a weather-beaten face.
"Chief Commissioner,"[/B] said Johnson, standing up and gesturing to a seat in front of the desk, [B]"How are you?"

"Stressed, Mr Mayor,"[/B] he replied, his accent lilting with a slight Mediterranean twang, [B]"We've got some bad news."[/B] He took a seat, his stress showing in the lines around his eyes.

[B]"What is it? What has happened?"[/B] asked Johnson nervously, taking his seat once more. He was nervous because Justice City had one of the lowest crime rates in the country, and when the Chief Commissioner of the Justice City Police Department was stressed by something, it meant something ominous.

[B]"We've had a jailbreak at one of our secure facilities,"[/B] the Chief Commissioner replied, [B]"All the inamtes have escaped. They disabled the security system somehow, and blacked the whole place out. Every wing, the security guards are all dead."

"Which facility?"[/B] asked Johnson, his worry increasing with every word that the Chief Commissioner said.

[B]"Larkhill Detention Centre."[/B]

Johnson's jaw literally dropped, and his face went as white as a sheet, his eyes becoming more intense, and his brow furrowed.

[B]"That's...that's our most secure facility...how did the inmates escape?"

"With all due respect, sir, it might be our most secure facility, but it's also the one with the most dangerous and unpredictable inmates. A breakout was bound to happen if we didn't keep updating the system, but the funding didn't allow for that. We've brought this on ourselves."

"How are we supposed to deal with this?"[/B] questioned Johnson, his voice frantic, [B]"There must be fifty or sixty of them out there on the way to the city right now...this is unprecedented. How can we combat that many of them?"

"Do you really want my advice, sir?"

"I'll take any I can get right now."

"In my opinion, the best way to combat this threat is to reinstate some of our old security measures - the ones that were most effective in preventing this sort of thing last time."

"Which measures?"

"I think we need to reassemble the Invincibles."

"The Invincibles? The Invincibles were loose cannons, they were unpredictable, and what's more, they haven't worked together in years. Who knows if they could be as effective this time round?"

"That's as maybe, sir, but unless we can find a new team willing to go up against this kind of threat then I think the Invincibles are our best option."

"You may be right, Chief Commissioner, but that doesn't detract from the distinct possibility that they could go awry."

"The choice is up to you, Mr Mayor,"[/B] said the Chief Commissioner, getting up from his seat, [B]"I just thought you should know my position on the subject. I'll let myself out."[/B] He walked over to the door, opened it and stepped out of Gregory Johnson's office.

Johnson sat at his desk, trying to process all the information that had been passed to him. Larkhill was down, and every dangerous prisoner within had been let loose on society. He had two choices: reassemble a commando team made up of loose cannons, who could very easily turn out to be as dangerous as the threat they should be combatting, or leave the city to the mercy of the criminals and move to another state.

He picked up the phone and dialled out. It rang several times, until an electronic directory line buzzed in and asked him where his call should be directed.

[B]"Put me through to Adam Sutcliffe."


[/B]This is my latest story - I'm not going to reveal too much about the plot at this stage, although if you recognise the title then you've probably made a good guess as to what it's about.

Comments, questions? All are welcome, and a little more will be revealed as time goes on.
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[FONT="Tahoma"]What a fun story this looks like it will be. I do have one suggestion for you, and it's really more of a format issue or rather style of writing issue and that pertains to this section here:[quote name='Blayze'][center][SIZE=1][b]"Do you really want my advice, sir?"

"I'll take any I can get right now."

"In my opinion, the best way to combat this threat is to reinstate some of our old security measures - the ones that were most effective in preventing this sort of thing last time."

"Which measures?"

"I think we need to reassemble the Invincibles."

"The Invincibles? The Invincibles were loose cannons, they were unpredictable, and what's more, they haven't worked together in years. Who knows if they could be as effective this time round?"

"That's as maybe, sir, but unless we can find a new team willing to go up against this kind of threat then I think the Invincibles are our best option."

"You may be right, Chief Commissioner, but that doesn't detract from the distinct possibility that they could go awry."[/b][/SIZE][/center][/QUOTE]I'd recommend avoiding long blocks of conversation without any form of speech tags to help break it up a little. The standard he said, she said... that sort of thing. ^_^ They help the reader to stay focused and they're great for dramatic pauses where you want the reader to pause.

Other than that, I have no suggestions other than for you to post more of it. :catgirl:[/FONT]
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[center][B][SIZE=1]Chapter Two: Fight the Good Fight

[SIZE=1]Cartilage crunched as the man's already-ugly face slammed down onto the concrete of the alley, and blood splattered up in a bizarre kind of fountain. His nose broke and the shock and pain of it knocked him unconscious.

The second man swung a baseball bat, but it made no difference as he was hurled through the air and into the metal fire escape hanging down from the building above. He fell the nine feet or so to the ground and lay there, unmoving. A small sack dropped from his hands, and a bundle of money flopped out onto the ground.

[B]"God damn it," [/B]sighed the man who had dispatched the two thugs as quickly as they had appeared, twisting his neck, which produced a sickening popping noise, [B]"This is just low." [/B]He walked over to the second man, knelt down and picked up the bag, shovelling the money back into it. His jeans crunpled a little at the knees, his heavy black boots bending at the ankles. He tucked the bag into an inside pokcet of his leather jacket, and ran a hand through his flowing golden-brown locks.

As he stood to leave, a chirruping sound came from one of the pockets of his jeans, and he pulled out a small phone, flicking it open and holding it to his ear.

[B]"Hello?" [/B]he said, a little breathlessly.

[B]"Mr Sutcliffe, we have the Mayor on the line for you," [/B]came a woman's voice, exasperated as if she had the worst job in the world.

[B]"Put him through," [/B]replied Sutcliffe hesitantly. After a brief pause, the line clicked over.

[B]"Mr Sutcliffe," [/B]came the thick voice of Mayor Johnson, [B]"Thank you for taking my call."

"It's not like I have much else to do, is it?" [/B]Sutcliffe said, sarcasm dripping from his every word.

[B]"Indeed," [/B]replied the Mayor humourlessly, [B]"Mr Sutcliffe, I have no doubt that by now you've heard the news. We have had a break-out from Larkhill, and all of the most dangerous inmates have escaped. There is no doubt that they will be heading back to Justice City even as we speak, and you and I both know this means trouble."

"So what do you want me to do about it? You cut off all ties with me five years ago, when you didn't think you needed my services any more," [/B]the bitterness seeping into his words was barely concealed at this stage.

[B]"We now believe that this was a mistake. The Invincibles, however many issues we had with them, were the most effective crime-preventing measure we have ever employed here in Justice City," [/B]the Mayor said, an unexpected amount of humility in his voice, [B]"We never perceived that a threat like this could resurface. Very simply, Mr Sutcliffe, we need your help."

"So you want me to reform the Invincibles?" [/B]Sutcliffe laughed, [B]"I haven't spoken to most of them in three years. I wouldn't even know where to begin trying to find them - well, all with the exception of Jane."

"Of course."

"But they had to find work after you disbanded us. Most of them are working minimum-wage jobs, struggling to survive. Working for you was all most of them had. I'm not sure a half-hearted attempt by you to get them back together is going to work, Mr Mayor."

"I know, this is true. I did them a terrible disservice by disbanding the team, Adam," [/B]sighed the Mayor, [B]"Which is why I want you to reform them. They followed you for years, they'll listen to you."

"And what makes you think I want to start doing this again?" [/B]spat Sutcliffe, [B]"Because of you, I have to get the bus everywhere. Can you imagine how humiliating that is for a guy with my ability?"

"I know you will do this, Adam," [/B]replied the Mayor, [B]"Because you're still doing it, even after all these years. We've been watching you for months now, Adam - you work as an IT processor in the day, but we've seen you out there at night, fighting the good fight. Taking down petty criminals just for that same thrill you used to get."

"You...you've been [I]watching [/I]me?" [/B]said Adam, his voice trembling in anger.

[B]"Remember the days when you were battling men who could move the earth with their minds? Powerful men and women, your equals. And now you're beating thieves up for petty cash robberies. What have you become, Adam?"

[/B]Adam stopped in his tracks, and sat down on a nearby bench. He took a moment for everything to sink in - he was furious that the government had been watching him, but the Mayor was right. He needed something bigger than this, he needed to fight bigger threats. It was perogative - he lived to fight crime, and fighting this sort of insignificant crime was destroying him, bit by bit. The Mayor's offer was tempting.

[B]"I can't do this for nothing, Mr Mayor," [/B]he said quietly, [B]"I need something, some guarantee before I can even consider saying yes. I need to make sure that it's worth it this time."

"How does a seven-figure sum each, transferred directly into your bank accounts, non tax-deductable sound?"

"Well, that does sweeten the deal. I'll do what I can, and get back to you. Do you have a secure line?" [/B]The mayor gave him a number, thanked him, and he hung up.

He was a little apprehensive about this, but excited at the same time. He was getting the Invincibles back together, and this time it wouldn't end so bitterly. The only problem now was getting the team to talk to each other again.

He needed to see the Oracle.


Kane Garrison slammed his rubber stamp down onto yet another document, marking yet another superhuman's identiy as "null and void." He then pulled out a second set of documents, and a second rubber stamp, stamping this one "authorised." He yawned as he did this boring, tedious job, his head slumped on his hand.

At first he had believed that being the head of the Superhuman Relocation Program would be a fulfilling, satisfying job, and in his first few weeks it had - helping other people in the same boat as him, finding them places to live with very few superhumans, keeping the world safe for another day. But after three years of filling in the same forms, using the same rubber stamps, and wearing the same dull grey suit and tie, he was beginning to lose the will to live.

He had once fought with evil geniuses, superhuman bank-robbers, even the occasional alien, and now he had a desk job. It was the ultimate humiliation for a superhero.

A knock on his office door woke him from his almost-comatose state. He snapped to attention, and looked up at the glass door to see a man whom he recognised from a long time ago standing there, waving and smiling at him. He almost fell in his excitement to get up and open the door, and greeted the man with open arms.

[B]"Adam!" [/B]he shouted, wrapping his arms around his friend, [B]"It's been years!"

"Three," [/B]said Adam, returning the hug with a smile, [B]"And you're stuck at a desk job."

"So are you," [/B]replied Kane, letting go of Adam, [B]"And mine's a damn sight more interesting than IT processor."

"Don't tell me you've been watching me as well," [/B]sighed Adam, flopping down into a seat in front of the desk as his former team-mate setlled into his own well-worn leather swivel chair, [B]"I've had enough of people doing that for one day."

"Who else has been watching you?"

"The government," [/B]replied Adam, exasperated, [B]"They've been keeping tabs on me ever since I started...going out at night."

"See, I knew you'd never give up like the rest of us did. You always were stubborn," [/B]laughed Kane, [B]"So what brings you to my neck of the woods?"

"Well, I've just got off the phone with our good friend Mr Johnson," [/B]said Adam, [B]"And he seems to be awfully interested in getting the old band back together."

"Really? I thought Johnson was the one who forced us apart in the first place?"

"He was. There's been a jailbreak at Larkhill. They're all out and heading towards Justice City. Guess that kind of thing can make you have a change of heart."

"Jesus...all of them?" [/B]asked Kane, his face showing disbelief.

[B]"Every single one," [/B]said Adam with a nod, [B]"And I'm afraid that if we don't find and stop them all, then the city's done for."

"I could stand to see the rest of the guys again," [/B]said Kane with a smile, [B]"And you want me to track them down, right?"

"Absolutely. You think you can?"

"Is every odd-numbered Star Trek movie crap?" [/B]asked Kane with a smile, then, seeing Adam's blank face, he added, [B]"Yes."

[/B]Two down, four to go...
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[FONT="Tahoma"][quote name='Blayze'][SIZE=1][b]"Is every odd-numbered Star Trek movie crap?" [/B]asked Kane with a smile, then, seeing Adam's blank face, he added, [B]"Yes."[/b][/SIZE][/QUOTE]For some reason, that line just made me laugh. :catgirl: Anyway, I'm curious to see what the rest of the team turns out to be so like so I'll be looking for the next chapter. [/FONT]
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[CENTER][B][SIZE=1]Chapter Three: Retirement Plan

[/SIZE][/B][SIZE=1]Adam and Kane, now dressed in a knee-length black coat, black trousers and white trainers, his jet-black hair tousled from the wind, stood in front of a dismal-looking apartment block on the East Side of the city. It was a neighbourhood that had definitely seen better days - there was graffiti on almost every available wall, buildings were made into squats or drug dens, and the police were scared enough not to come round this area.

[B]"Nice place he's got here," [/B]said Kane with a smirk, [B]"What's he up to, you reckon?"

"Could be anything knowing him," [/B]replied Adam, [B]"Come on, no use standing out here talking. Let's go find him."[/B] The pair went inside the building, and began to scale the flights of stairs.

The inside of the building was no more welcoming than the exterior. The yellowed paint was peeling off the walls in huge chunks, there was damp running down the walls, and mould growing on every available surface, and a definite stench of urine wafting through the halls.

[B]"Come to think of it, this is exactly the sort of place I thought he'd end up," [/B]Kane coughed through the choking stench.

[B]"I know you two didn't get on in the past, Kane, but please don't make this any more difficult than it is already. I've come here first because I think he's going to be the most difficult to persuade."

"What about Jane? I can foresee some difficulty there."

"Well, we can cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now we've got to find Thomas and talk to him," [/B]said Adam, [B]"Can you work out what floor he's on?"

"Hold on a second," [/B]replied Kane, stopping and closing his eyes. He stood perfectly still, almost meditating, for just a few seconds, then opened his eyes. They were glazed over, totally - the whites had engulfed the rest of his eyes, and now Adam was staring into two blank white spheres in his head.

[B]"He's on the fifth floor," [/B]said Kane, closing his eyes and shaking his head. When he opened them, his eyes had returned to their regular hazel-brown colour.

[B]"It still freaks me out when you do that," [/B]said Adam, heading up to the fifth floor.

[B]"Well if you've got a weak stomach then we're going to meet the wrong guy."

"Good point." [/B]They reached the fifth floor and looked down the hallway. There was only one door that could have been Thomas', as all the others had been smashed apart. Some looked as though they had been kicked down, others had the ragged-edged look of having been broken down by a fire-ax, while more had apparently been smashed open by a police battering ram.

[B]"Jesus, he keeps good company," [/B]whispered Kane as Adam headed towards the only unbroken door, and rapped smartly on it three times.

[B]"Who is it?" [/B]came a gruff, miserable-sounding voice from behind the door, [B]"And what the fuck do you want?"

"It's an old friend," [/B]said Adam, smiling slyly at Kane, [B]"We want to talk to you." [/B]As Adam finished this sentence, the final door in the hallway was smashed down, as a bare-chested man with a shock of bright red hair, and mismatched black body hair smashed through the door, tackling Adam from his feet down to the floor. Kane took a step back in shock, and the bare-chested man raised his fist to land a punch, before slowly dawning on the realisation of who it was.

[B]"Jesus, Adam," [/B]he snarled, [B]"You could have just said it was you. I've got some nasty people out looking for me, and you can't be too careful." [/B]He got to his feet, and allowed Adam to do the same.

[B]"Um...Thomas?" [/B]said Kane, his voice hesitant.

[B]"What is it?" [/B]snapped Thomas aggressively.

[B]"You've got a big ol' chunk of wood in your back," [/B]Kane said, pointing to Thomas' right shoulderblade. There was an enormous shard of wood from the door lodged in it, perhaps six or seven inches of it embedded in his flesh. Blood was dribbling steadily from the wound, creating a scarlet torrent down his back.

[B]"Oh, damn," [/B]said Thomas, reaching back and grabbing the piece of wood. With a concerted effort, he yanked it out of his back, a spray of blood from the wound splattering onto the wall behind him. The wood was jagged around the edges, and they ripped the wound wider as it was pulled out. But none of the men seemed worried.

[B]"You want a drink?" [/B]Thomas asked, walking back inside as the wound stitched itself back up from the inside, leaving no trace of injury. Adam and Kane followed him, pushing what was left of the door closed behind them.

The apartment itself was tiny - there was only room for a small TV and a single easy chair, a kitchenette made up entirely of a fridge and a sink, and a door that Adam presumed lead to the bathroom. There were empty beer bottles littered across the floor, as well as empty bottles of other stronger substances. Thomas was bent down with his head stuck in the fridge, rummaging around for another bottle.

[B]"Nice place, Thomas," [/B]said Kane, never hiding the sarcasm in his voice, [B]"What, healing factors don't pay so well nowadays?"

[/B]Thomas stood up, draining most of a bottle in one, and strode over to Kane, grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and hauling him up against the wall.

[B]"You think this is funny?" [/B]he snarled, [B]"All I knew how to do was fight supervillains - once I was made unemployed there was no room for a former crime-fighter in any kind of job. This was all I could afford."

"It was a fucking joke, Thomas!" [/B]shouted Kane, [B]"Put me down, you psychopath!" [/B]Thomas dropped him and turned away.

[B]"Thomas, that's why we're here," [/B]said Adam, [B]"The Invincibles are reforming. We need you, Tom."

"Why are they reforming?"

"The mayor is paying us each a seven-figure sum with no tax to pay. Larkhill Detention Centre has been broken open, and everyone is heading this way. The city needs us."

"Fuck the city," [/B]growled Thomas, [B]"They turned their backs on us years ago. I don't see why we should do anything for them."

"Does the seven-figure sum not do anything for you?" [/B]asked Kane, rubbing his neck, [B]"All we have to do is do a bit of the old crime-busting, should take a few weeks max, and then we can settle back into retirement with more money than we know what to do with. There's no downside." [/B]Thomas hesitated for a moment, and then looked up and said:

[B]"Alright. But I'm doing this for the money and only for the money. I don't owe this city anything - for all I care the bad guys can have it."[/B]
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[FONT="Tahoma"]What a [I]not[/I] delightful place to live. XP And I love the title for this chapter for some reason. Because you just [I]know[/I] things aren't going to go smoothly. Anyway, as before, I'll be waiting for the next chapter from you. :catgirl:[/FONT]
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[center][B][SIZE=1]Chapter Four: Charity Begins At Home

[/SIZE][/B][center][SIZE=1]Thomas was staying at his apartment until Kane and Adam had managed to assemble the rest of the team. He said he "had things to do." So Kane and Adam were alone as they headed towards the Church of Saint Christopher, close to where Thomas lived.

[B]"You sure she's gonna be here?" [/B]asked Adam, looking slightly bewildered at the idea of the next team-mate taking up residence in a church.

[B]"I'm totally sure. As a matter of fact, there's someone else here as well," [/B]replied Kane, looking a little smug.

[B]"They're both here?" [/B]asked Adam, a little surprised, [B]"That's a stroke of luck."

[/B]The pair of them headed through the huge wooden doors of the church, and were surprised to see so many people in the building at one time. They were sitting on pews, kneeling in front of them, or at the altar, and a few people were busy weaving in and out of all of the rest.

[B]"What's going on here?" [/B]Kane whispered to Adam.

[B]"I think it's a homeless refuge," [/B]replied Adam, his voice similarly hushed, [B]"That explains why they're here - they must be volunteers."

[/B]Kane nodded, and scanned the crowd for the two familiar faces, and quickly spotted the first.

[B]"There she is, Adam!" [/B]he said excitedly, and began pushing through the crowd, Adam following close behind. They approached a young, dark-haired woman with the most incredible dark green eyes, a leather jacket pulled up around her to protect her from the biting cold, blue jeans and black boots on her legs and feet. As they got nearer, she spoke to them.

[B]"I don't want to see you two right now," [/B]her voice was smooth and confident, but with a hint of sadness buried deep beneath, [B]"I've got more important things on my mind."

"You always did, Lexi," [/B]said Adam with a smile, one which was not returned. Lexi Brannigan was a psychic, and not the cheap kind you find in carnival sideshows, but a real psychic. She was one of the most potent telepaths on the planet, and her skill and precision with her telekinesis were unmatched in Justice City. And she was beautiful to boot.

[B]"Don't try the sweet-talk with me, Adam," [/B]she half-snarled, [B]"You know it never worked on me."

"Lexi, are you alright?" [/B]asked Kane, moving over to her and placing his hand comfortingly on her shoulder. She grabbed it and pushed it away, turning her back on Kane.

[B]"Lexi, please just hear us out," [/B]pleaded Adam, [B]"We just need five minutes."

"No you don't," [/B]replied Lexi, [B]"Mayor Johnson is trying to reform the Invincibles because there's been a massive jailbreak from Larkhill. You've already got Thomas on board, and now you're looking for me and Rodrigo. Well, I can't speak for Rodrigo, but you can count me out."

"It always freaks me out when you read my mind, Lexi," [/B]said Adam, [B]"We need you on the team. You're the most formidable member of the Invincibles - people were scared of you. Without you, the villains will make a laughing stock of us!"

"Well, maybe I got a little tired of scaring people. I'm sorry, Adam, but the answer's no. Rodrigo's somewhere over by the soup table if you want to talk to him." [/B]With that, Lexi turned her back and began talking to a young homeless woman.

[B]"Come on, Kane," [/B]whispered Adam, [B]"She's not going to change her mind, no matter how hard we try. Let's go talk to Rodrigo."

[/B]The pair pushed their way through the crowd to the soup table, where a young Latino man, his olive skin and dark hair dead giveaways to his nationality, was serving soup. He was dressed in dark jeans and a denim jacket of the same shade, with a beige scarf wrapped around his neck, and startlingly white trainers on his feet.

[B]"Hey, Rodrigo," [/B]said Adam, moving around to the serving side of the table so he didn't get in the way, [B]"How's it going?"

"Not bad," [/B]he replied, [B]"How's things in the IT Processing industry?"

"Boring as ever. How's pathology these days?"

"Interesting," [/B]he replied, turning to face Adam, then snapping:[B] "What do you want, Adam? I know you didn't come here to talk shop."

"We need your help. The Invincibles are reforming, requests of Mayor Johnson. We just need to know if you're in or out."

"Mayor Johnson? That asshole's got you jumping through hoops now, Adam? Never thought I'd see the day."

"The seven-figure salary pushed me towards my decision." [/B]Rodrigo stopped, dropped the ladle back in the soup pot, and face Adam full-on, flicking a lock of jet-black hair out of his eyes.

[B]"Seven figures? You've got to be fucking with me?"

"No fucking, Rodrigo," [/B]said Adam, [B]"That sweetens the deal a little, huh?"

"I don't know, Adam. I've been working as a pathologist to make up for what I did when I was in the Invincibles. Call it...penance. I've made it up to myself, but I don't know if I can go through that again, man."

"We just need to do a clear-up job," [/B]said Kane, chiming in for the first time, [B]"A few super-villains put away, the city restored to it's former glory, and two weeks and seven figures later, you can go back to your path lab."

"It is tempting," [/B]said Rodrigo, [B]"What did Lexi say?"

"She's not doing it. It's understandable enough, I suppose - she put herself through an awful lot last time."

"Alright, I'm in. Who do we have left to get?"

"We just got Thomas," [/B]replied Adam, checking them off on his fingers, [B]"Lexi's out, you're in. Just leaves Jane."

"Whoah, that's not gonna be easy."

"That's why I was saving her 'til last. We're gonna go find her - you can finish up here and I'll call you if we get in touch with Jane."

"No need, man," [/B]replied Rodrigo, slipping his apron off, [B]"I'm done here already. I'll come with you - you can do with all the support you can get, right?"

[/B]The three of them left the church, Adam turning back to look at Lexi before they exited. She looked up, and for a moment their eyes connected. Adam could see pain and sorrow in those eyes, and confusion the depths of which he couldn't begin to explain. And then Lexi looked away, breaking off the eye contact, and Adam sighed.

A lot had changed.
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[FONT="Tahoma"]I like how the personalities of the characters are starting to slowly come out. Like Lexi, even if she's not joining them now, it makes me curious to find out more about her. I imagine she has a very interesting tale to be told. Anyway, I look forward to more. ^_^[/FONT]
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