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Main : ! 3D Art ! : Original Characters :  Total:1791

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The Black Mask Society

The Black Mask SocietyPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/21 20:27
Hits341  Comments2    
Flash Forward...of things to come soon. From left to right. Obsidian Infinite...Obsidian Amber, Lady Obsidian Spyder, Obsidian Drow (rear), Obsidian Classic, Lord Obsidian the Psi-Mage, Obsidian Blood Mask, Obsidian Cyborg, Lady Onyx, Obsidian Gen 2, Obsidian God of Intrigue.   Otherwise known as the Black Mask Society...also known as A bunch of guys you DO  NOT want to mess with.

Seriously though...I can't wait to introduce them in turn...and in force...suffice it to say this is one adventure Obsidian can't handle alone.

E Plurbis Unum

E Plurbis Unum Popular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/21 15:17
Hits320  Comments2    
The alarms go off and Bill, Tony and I rush to the bridge, as the lift doors open I see a vortex across the bridge and a single figure stands before us we split and make activate our silent mode on our helmets.

"Tony, aim low, Bill aim high...I got the middle."

Right!" They shout in unison as we rush this unknown threat. We have our armor and our our blades, this guy has no idea what he's gotten himself into.  or maybe we don't don't know what we've gotten ourselves into. In a flash Tony's head flies from his shoulders and his lifeless body flops to the ground.  Bill is run completely through and and I hear the gurgling sound of blood in my headset.  From out of nowhere I'm hurled across the room and I don't know how but I feel all of it. My scanners pick up a faint trace of some unidentified vapor in the room.  I start to give this guy a final piece of my mind but I realize to my horror that I can't move.  MY spine snapped from the impact and I am at his complete mercy...I wish now I had chosen to flash my weapons because I could sure use the power of my blade right now.  As the faceless figure stands over me poised for the kill my only thought is for my beloved Sarah and how much I'm going to miss her and the kids.


I wake in a cold sweat from what has to be the most surreal, vivid, nightmare I ever remember having.  A wave of panic washes over me and I am left in a cold sweat panting heavily in the darkness of my room.  Ai Lies silently beside me and I can hear the familiar sound of Aini cooking in the kitchen.  I don't take nightmares lightly unless they're about the war, and this one was strange to say the least.  I was wearing our Gen 1 armor aboard the Runt, which was destroyed almost a decade ago, and everyone aboard was slaughtered. Ray has been dead for some time now and I was calling him Tony, and Harley was Bill for some reason.  After my experiences with Dominion and more recently with the Black mantis I have no intention of ignoring this "Dream".  Let's just say if you have a terrifying nightmare and you can clearly remember all of it...there's probably more to it. I summon my sword to my hand and scan for magic but there's nothing out of place.Hopping out of bed I flash the rest of my gear on and scan a bit deeper but still nothing out of the ordinary. Then I get a call from the bridge.

"Shadawar to Obsidian, sir you're needed on the bridge."  

"It's not a good time. Is it important?"

"You need to see for yourself captain."

"On my way."

I forgo breakfast and head straight to the bridge As the doors open I try to read the room, but everyone looks at me like they have bad news.  The kind of news where someone is dead.  My heart jumps as I remember the nighmare still fresh in my mind and for a second I think someone is going to tell me Harley's been killed.  Instead I get much worse news.

"Obsidian, we picked up a derelict ship on our scanners."

"Okay so why tell me?"

"It's the ship's transponder signature."

"Somehting wrong with it, is it Sathari or Heigaran? What?"

"No, it registers as the SS Runt."

"Saywhatnow?  Put it on screen."

Sure enough I'm staring at my old ship now floating seemingly lifeless through space.  MY nightmare is looking worse by the second.

"Is there life support? Did you try signalling the ship?"

"Minimal life support, the ship is in standby  mode and there's no life signs. It's not answering our signal."

"That's NOT the Runt...I  saw it destroyed with my own two eyes. Lock a tractor beam and bring it close I'll check it out for myself."

"Aye sir."

I transport over and as I walk systems begin activating. I am standing on the bridge and the sight before me is horrific to say the least. My nightmare was no dream. Whatever happened here I saw it, but not as it happened.  The corpse's are old and withered, only skeletal remains inside the husks of armor. I collapse into the captain's chair at the sight of my own lifeless body slumped against the veiwscreen wall and instantly the ship springs back to life.

"Error, dual presence detected...scanning...secondary presence identified...Secondary presence from Temporal Coordinates 75634 Identity...Obsidian Mask...Establishing command protocols...Welcome aboard Captain."

This ship like my old one is capable of determining temporal variances and signatures...Helpful, and by the sounds of it, I believe it just turned command over to me.

"Computer, what in the blue hell happened here?"

As the logs play on the main monitor I'm absolutely mortified.  The whole scene is identical to my dream.  The part that worries me is that my systems have identified the armor these men are wearing as Absorbium 30.  Not 80 like I wore at the time I used the suits like these. More disturbing is how the attacker simply bypassed the armor's defenses and completely snapped this guy's spine. His sword lays strewn across the floor.  Why didn't they take it?  For that matter why didn't they take anything?  I pick up the blade and sure enough it 's mine, and it responds like it belongs to me. Had the faceless alien picked it up, he would've been killed instantly but this blade is missing some seriously important modifications. It's not flashed, and it has no symbiosis, I doubt it can dance either.  I order a skeleton crew aboard and have them do a body count. Back aboard the Nomad, I attempt to use my blade to resurrect my fallen doppelgangers.  Only it doesn't work. There's only a couple of reasons it wouldn't and after I cast a "speak with the dead" spell I' absolutely certain of which reason it is.  Their very life essence has been stripped away and destroyed. This doesn't bode well. My next move is to secure the other ship and bring us in to port.  I'm going to call in some pals, namely Panterra and Harley. Whoever these aliens are they may return again and since they have a means of getting past Absorbium, or at least nullifying it, I want to be well prepared.  I'll be damned if they'll catch me with my pants down.

Buttering up the hubby

Buttering up the hubbyPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/20 9:00
Hits319  Comments1    
Obsidian's life does have some perks.

My Beloved Dragon

My Beloved DragonPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/20 8:58
Hits303  Comments1    
A vision of things to come...

Conlcusion

ConlcusionPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/15 15:41
Hits391  Comments2    
It's all over but the shouting, and I'm awed by how with the proverbial snap of the fingers all of the damage is simply gone. The Black Scorpion and I are the only ones standing. He walks over to the pedestal still glowing brightly waves his hand over it and it stops glowing.

"What is that?"  

"This is called the elder crystal, it's how I prevented Mantis from using his eternity crystal.  In it's presence all of the eternity crystals feed it's power.  I'm really not sure how to use it I just know that it stops eternity crystals from functioning."

"That explains why he wasn't using his cosmic powers.  You simply turned them off."

"Yes.  I imagine you have a lot of questions.  I'll try to answer them as best I can."

"Yeah, A few" I say a bit reluctantly.

"To start with: Who are you?"

"Hahahaaa   I guess that would be the most pertinent one.  As the black Mantis was known by his Elven name Squirrell Longarrow I decided to take a name of my own and let him keep that one.  As a joke I took the name Karr.  I felt it appropriate since I was going to kill a Squirrell. '

I try to choke back the urge to laugh hysterically but it's no use , that's too damned funny.  He killed a...a squirrel with a car ahhh that's rich.

As soon as I catch my breath I ask

"You said you weren't a clone or an alternate version from some other reality like me apparently.  So how did you come to be then?"

"Much of the technology you use comes from us right?"

"Yes?"

"Including your EMT transporters?"

"Yes until recently. I had them replaced from something a bit more  efficient."


"Well the EMT relies on a beam of energy, and during an expedition to another dimension the beam we were using was somehow split. Recon had reported that the dimension nullified magic and our eternity crystals only work in parallel dimensions. So our only choice was to EMT in. I haven't had time to figure out how the beam was split but it resulted in creating two of me and Reaper."

"And only one came back with the others."

"Exactly, it took hundreds of years to get to a position where we could return but eventually when we did escape I found my empire in the sad state that it was.  I had become some power hungry tyrant who didn't care about life, not even the lives of those closest to him."

"So you set to depose yourself."

"The hardest part was getting past his advanced knowledge of the future."

"You mentioned he had a "...Deal with Death..." what the hell was that bout?"

We head to the imperial throne room and he explains as we go.

"Death as you know it is not just a state of being.  Like all things cosmic there is an overseer who we simply call Death.  There are legends that say if you can beat Death in a game of chance then you cannot ever die. In my youth I had decided to test that theory, but I never could beat Death...Lots of Draws...but no victories. Since Death could not defeat me nor I Death, I was granted a special privilege born of respect.  I would be allowed to know when my death was coming and given and opportunity to avoid it.  I would even know how I was going to die. Quite the advantage yes?"

"I'll say.  One hell of an advantage."

"Because of the circumstances bot versions of me had this power.  I approached Death with a final game, and using our combined power and our eternity crystals Reaper and I defeated Death with Reaver assuming his mantle. As death Reaver absorbed his doppelganger and the two became one."

"Why didn't you try to do that with Mantis?"

"The two Reapers had no conflict and agreed mutually to merge. BUt by this time Mantis had well established how he dealt with his duplicates...by slaughtering them."


"So...there was only one choice left."

"In truth I didn't want what he was as part of who I am.  I wouldn't have want to have merged with what he was no more than he."

"So you had this master plan then, why steal Parata's head...that's the part I don't get."

"Parata was one of the few enemies that almost destroyed us.  I knew if Mantis thought he would be facing him he would be on his guard for Parata's tactics and be preparing to fight Parata."

"It was a distraction?"

"Then he hired you.  I didn't understand who or what you were until you started poking your nose around and at first I thought you were some poor misguided mortal.  I revealed my presence to Raven and explained everything to her, and she agreed to help, the first thing she did was fill me in about you.  I must say for a mortal being with low grade immortality, I'm impressed."

"Low Grade Immortality?"

"Hahaha Yeah I suppose that came out  wrong.  YOu are mortal despite your longevity and can be killed by mortal means, you cannot become sick except by magic but otherwise your life can be taken.  We cannot. ergo Low Grade."

"So what do we do now?"


"I don't know Storm God, what do we do?"

I look at Karr a bit confused, and then it hits me.  Mantis was a god, the God of Storms and Chaos actually, and killing him bestowed his power upon me. However, I don't want his power anymore than I wanted Moonshaddow's and there's only one choice for what to do with it.

'Yeah speaking of that...I really don't want the job...would you be willing to..."

"I assumed that would be your choice.  We really aren't very much like him are we?"

"No I guess not."

I bestow my divinity upon a being far more capable of handling it than I. I bid my farewells and head back to the Sable. Once aboard I go and see the wonderful women who I am certain were waiting on pins and needles for the final outcome.  I am not dissapointed and the five ladies tackle me, smothering me with affection. It's good to be home.

"Shadawar, lay in a course for the Solar system...I think we all need some time off."
 
"Aye sir!  Helm plot course and engage.  As soon as we have clearance."

I turn to the helmsman and ask

"What's the holdup?"

"I have a message coming in that says the imperial council wishes to board."

"Okay."

"They say they want to meet you in the shuttlebay sir."

Arriving in the shuttlebay I am greeted by the entire council save for Norjaguar.  Kar  gestures to the rest of the council and says.

"In all of the confusion we almost forgot.  We have yet to pay you for your services to our empire.  You may ask your want..nothing is forbidden."

Raven still without her mask walks up placing her hand upon my arm and I'm render incapable of making words form. I hear laughing and I vaguely notice a pinkish hue in Raven's cheeks.

"I think I know what he wants Raven the massive Beast says with a chuckle."

Then Raven smiles and it's back to the wonderful world of unable to think coherently.  I start to wonder of she's doing this on purpose but I'm telling you if she asked me to do anything right now I wouldn't be able to stop myself. I just know I need to be with her and have her.  There's length I wouldn't go to for her...just for her to notice me. I realize I am not alone...and then suddenly, I can think again. She's wearind her mask and my mind is my own again.

"Sorry, I forget I do that to mortals."

You are very cute Obsidian, in another life ...yeah.  But I don't think you'd truly want me among your harem...nor even my avatar."

"No I think my harem is quite large enough thanks and honestly I'm kind of a one woman guy anyhow.'  The truth is what I could use is good crew, My bridge crew is awesome and I wouldn't change them for the world but the ship crew is Sathari and they need to go back to that empire."

"Done new crew, and honestly...this ship doesn't suit you...We can give you back the lillun or rather her sister ship."

"Seriously?  I really miss that ship."

"Then it is done. Your ship will need a new name, and as soon as you speak it it will take it as it's own.  As  bonus Obsidian, you are welcome wherever our flags fly as one our people. Thank you for all you have done. We cannot repay you enough."

Karr walks up to me and whispers,

"May we never need to call on you again...I think you've saved the universe enough times."


"If you need me, YOU can call and I'll be there."

"I'll send Raven hahaha."

In a blink we're in the Solar system and they're gone. It's gonna take a month to process all of this. I'm in one piece, and there's way fewer dead bodies that I had feared. I guess I'm good with this and if I don't see another god for a million years it'll be too soon. I drop spydra off and than her for everything, she turn to leave, and then turns back she runs back over to me a kisses my cheek then she drops a bomb on me.

"To be honest Obsidian...that fight your wife and I had...she wasn't exactly wrong."
And just like that I'm standing at the airlock with my jaw on the floor as she simply walks away.


CATNIGHT

CATNIGHTPopular
Submitterhalcon89More Photos from halcon89   Last Update2017/1/14 14:30
Hits351  Comments1    

Revelations

RevelationsPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/14 0:02
Hits370  Comments2    
At this point I have as much clearance in the Mantis' empire as any council member and nobody bats an eyelash when my fighter comes screaming through the main starport on a bee line trajectory for the palace. As I look down I see the place is surrounded but that the troops are holding their advancement. I leap from the cockpit and land just at the command station outside. Troops move aside as I make my way tot the palace entrance.  The sounds of battle ring from inside and and the earth beneath my feet rumbles.  As I reach for the massive palace doors I take note of dozens of dead bodies strewn about like debris in a storm. They never stood a chance against whatever is inside and I may not either but I have to try.  I make a mad dash to the wards  the explosions and gunfire and the closer I get the sicker I get bodies are strewn everywhere.  Every defense in the place is torn to shreds.  At the very moment my fingers touch the throne room door there's an explosion and my suit registers massive overloads in energy. My armor takes it bur it's not good enough. I feel the impact of the explosions  even through this updated armor and I'm sent hurtling backwards.  I'm stunned even if only for a few seconds but it's enough. I hear the muffled monologue of the Black Mantis.

"Yeah you got the skills , but I have done this dance before. Being who you are you know you're not the first to try this stunt. Though I will say you're definitely the most devious."

As I focus my visions I see the shape of another man dressed in the Imperial Black and Gold and when he speaks I cannot believe my ears.  His voice is that of the Black Mantis himself.

"You know all too well what I am capable of and I have over a millennia to prepare for you, and believe me I have prepared well. Today you die and I WILL take back my throne!"

What? As I rise unsteadily, and my vision clears the scene is ghastly. The council members, each nearly as powerful as the Black Mantis himself have been tossed around like rag dolls.  They all lay unconscious, but alive. Had this man killed them they would've simply moved their essences to a new body and been right back to battle completely refreshed. This way however, he has taken them out of the fight.  In the center of the room on a pedestal is a large glowing blue gem roughly the size of a man's head which appears to be the source of whatever is keeping them down.  It doesn't take much to figure out this is the guy who attack the Black Mantis the first time.  However, now he's has everyone down. As the two combatants circle each other I can little else but watch. I look around for Spydra and find her not far from where I landed after the explosion.

"Kid, wake up.  WE have to move back."

A quick scan of her injuries reveals a severed spinal cord and a several broken bones. Her wounds are serious but not life threatening, she'll be fine in a couple of days if we survive this. I start to lift her up and that's when I realize that the servos in my armor are about shot. She's not exactly heavy though so I manage. Returning to the room I am witness to one of the most epic fights any man has ever had the privilege of seeing. The form an grace of the Black Mantis and his foe move are something I will never forget. A thousand times I have wanted to knock that smug attitude from his face and only do I realize how insanely ridiculous that thought has been. As the two gods do battle the whole building shudders as does everything for miles. The palace itself must be very specially made otherwise the foundations would've gave under the first attack and we'd all be standing in a crater.  My armor begins repairing itself and I start to feel a tad safer but I'm still hiding behind what remains of the massive pillars of the palace hall. Fire, Lightning, and magics more ancient than the Elven races themselves flies furiously, along with sword blows and martial arts skills I can't begin to describe. The two men are so evenly matched it's no wonder I thought The Black Mantis was behind everything. Then the monologue starts and I realize..he kinda was.

"You are a shabby imitation of the real thing pretender."

Yells Mantis smugly

"...and you're not the first to try this, I have put down clones, and shapeshifters, Magical mirrors and even versions of me from other realities you'll be no different?"

"Because I am none of those things. What separates us is not a dimension, or an inferior genetic code, or even an entire reality...what separates us is that YOU made it out of that worm hole and I didn't.  Not for a thousand years, both Reaper and I both were trapped there and left to rot. But now MY Reaver, stands before you, master of death."

I'm not sure of the significance of Reaper, or Reaver or whatever name he's going by but what the new guy said has Mantis taken aback a little.  Then the Black Mantis himself make the significance all too clear.

"What? Impossible. No one can defeat Death, I know I've tried. It's how I got where I ma today."

"You mean your Deal, where you know when the time of your death is coming? That's little arrangement was the first thing I took care of.  It's why Reaver stands there silent and waiting.  He's waiting for one of us to die!  I took away your, MY greatest advantage and it was well worth it."

My greatest advantage? Clones alternate versions...By the gods...Is he?  The Black Mantis? Some twisted version of himself?  It all makes sense sure but how?

"Black Mantis you will die here today.  There will be no more Black Mantis only the Black Scorpion will remain and I will be rid of you once and for all.  I watched you for centuries, running this empire like a spoiled child...I couldn't believe that was me I was staring at...so at the very least I want to thank you for opening my eyes.  I never realized how precarious my sanity was until I watched you lose yours."

"YOu think me insane pretender? I have made this empire strong, quadrillions upon quintillions of ships hundreds of whole realities are under my command.  The powers I can bring to bear on any single reality..."

"Are ridiculous!  Who needs that much power?  Why? You're a power hungry madman and you play with lives lives as a child playing with toys.  How many have killed for the sake of your power?  How many lives were simply thrown aside so you could be the greatest?" billions, trillions?  You stand on a blood stain that stretches across infinity. I ma here to end that."

Beneath my helmet my jaw is agape. I had never truly contemplated the level of Mantis's brutality.  I never knew his lust for power.  Sure I knew he had ungodly amount of resources and raw power but I never contemplated the lengths which he must have gone through to get it all.  Surely he had to have killed people even billions which I was vaguely aware of, but trillions?"

"Hah!  I have wiped out entire realities! You are hardly a match for me."

Magic flies from their fingers and erupts from every direction as they battle, my sensors are very nearly overwhelmed by it all and I realize I'm in a very bad place to be. It takes almost no time for my systems to reboot and I start making my way to the council members while these two try intently to kill one another.  As I begin dragging the others to safety it occurs to me that they haven't unleashed any of their legendary cosmic powers.  Power I know fort a fact they possess.
The battle continues to rage above and around me and while I'm sure it's not the case they seem oblivious to my presence.  Either they don't care, or they don't think me significant enough to bother with...probably the latter.

I get the last of the council out and start to go back in then I feel a hand on my shoulder.  Raven has come to.

"Obsidian, the Black Mantis.  He's the one who attacked us."

"Saywhatnow?"

I am of course totally stunned by her words.

"He's completely lost his mind.  Karr knew this and confided in us."

"Whadafug?"

"The Black Mantis has been dangerously unstable for countless eons.  But recently, he's just lost it.  It all started with you."

"Um...what?"


"You were like a prize...he wanted to see if he could get  you to be like me and Karr."

"Who the hell is Karr?  That guy in there going toe to toe with the self-proclaimed "Multiverse's Greatest Assassin? Is that who you mean?  Why the hell does the Black Mantis even care about me? I have never understood that."  

Raven removes her mask revealing a beauty I forgot she possessed, at once I forget where I am and can only see her eyes. She reaches up and removes my helmet. Her gentle hands are warm as she touches my cheek, and the pain from ten thousand years memories that comes next is so intense. I feel my head will shatter.  Raven shows me the entire history of the Black Mantis and herself and the entire empire. I barely feel the tears roll down my face and I watch the atrocities he's committed in the name of POWER. I see time and again, the black Mantis fighting versions of himself that were often much weaker than he. He even somehow unlinked himself from time and killed his parents to assure no one could ever go back in time and destroy him, he has killed every alternate reality version of himself that he has ever encountered...save two.  The woman who now holds my face in her hands...and....me?  As violently as this vision began so too does it end as I  recoil in horror at the revelation that he and I are the same person.   With tear filled eyes I stare back at yet another version of..me?  Raven, Black Mantis, Karr, and myself...all the same person?  NO wonder, all these years, he was just using me as a game? That bastard, that complete wretched bastard!  Save the universe? Of course he thought I could do it...over and over, and over....because with a little help I could be just like him.  Or worse yet, was he just trying to see if I could become a threat to him?  Was he weighing my fate...my very life in his hand?

"NO...no no no no no  NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

I grab my hemet and put it back on...I may not be the one to kill him but I can watch ...him...die!.

As I walk back into the palace with renewed purpose the two men look exhausted...and are breathing heavily. It's a stalemate. Black Manits looks back at me and laughs.

"Well, Black Scorpion it seems there's one last card for me to play.  Obsidian, do me the honor of finishing off this upstart."

"What?"

How the hell does he think it's even remotely possible?

"You have always been able to hide from anyone, and I have given you the power to destroy gods.  use it and destroy this fake, pretender."

Mantis is right...as I walk towards the two nearly exhausted assassins...assassins...like me. In a blink I'm invisible, no one can detect me, by any means, I am the master of shadows with this armor, you can't see me, or hear me, no one can sense me, no danger sense works against me, no psionics, not even magic will give me away. Even mighty cosmic beings cannot detect my presence...Absorbium is wonderful.  And as I plunge my sword through the Black Mantis's demonic, unforgiving, manipulative, wretched, evil, psychotic heart. I am pleased to say I'm the man who killed the Multiverse's greatest assassin.  

"It's not murder when you kill yourself I say...it suicide."

Blood spews from beneath his mask, and he and I both know what comes next but I ca't let him die without knowing why. As I feel his divine power flow into me I lean close and through clenched teeth born of decades of him manipulations, and the loss I have suffered as a result of his whims I simply say

"Whatever made you think I would not turn my blade on you?  I heard your exchange with this man...I know what you've done to get where you were..Raven was kind enough to show me everything you sonofabitch..Rot in hell.  Just as the last of his divinity enters my body he lets out a chuckle.

"I always get the last laugh." He says as his body begins to fade away.

""NO!" Karr screams as he tosses me aside,
"I won't let you do it!"

But as he grabs hold of the Black Mantis's  costume it's too late and he simply kneels there holding the empty suit in his hands.

"He's gone."

"Good riddance."

"NO mortal, he's not dead, he's done the one thing I was certain he wouldn't."

"What is that exactly."

"He ascended his consciousness and became one with the universe."

"That's a bad thing?"

"It means some day he may return, though no one ever has."

Well at least it's over...for now.







 



The Autopsy

The AutopsyPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/10 21:22
Hits406  Comments3    
Returning to the colony where we first began our little mystery I make my way to the local coroner. They've kept the murder victims on ice since their wounds were like nothing they'd ever seem before and technically the case is still open. I meet with the local authorities and I'm surprised at how connect Black Mantis really is when they  hand be a passcard to investigate as I see fit. Next thing you know Mantis will have me hooked up with Sentinel status...that'd be nice heh, "Above the law" status. But I digress, the coroners office is a massive white building with few windows and heavy security.  As I approach the guards wave us in and I assume they were told to expect us. I am greeted by a local woman, her name is Zerie, chief Medical Examiner and she is quite the professional. Her mannerisms are controlled and precise suggesting she takes her work and her life way to seriously. She's pleasant enough and seems genuinely curious as to my investigation.

"This is most unusual mister..."

"Obsidian, just call me Obsidian."

"As you wish.  As I was saying, it is very unusual to have anyone who is not with law enforcement examining any corpse in our facility. I only ask that you follow our procedures and use proper protocols when examining the bodies you came here to see."

"I am well acquainted with standard forensic procedures, but it's your show. I just need to see the corpses, and take some measurements, nothing too invasive."

"Very well then, right this way."

Spydra has never seen a postmortem to my knowledge and yet she doesn't seem nervous in the slightest. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised considering how many corpses she's put on slabs during her career. Still, these ones are going to be something unusual from the standard disemboweling, and severed heads, she's familiar with.  Having one of my very own, I have seen first hand what a mono-molecular blade can do to living tissue. the cuts are so clean and the blade doesn't stop just because some bone got in the way. It's ugly and bloody.

We enter the exam room and the 4 bodies are laid out on 4 different tables...or should I say, what remains of 4 bodies. I know several martial arts forms but there's one that teaches a very special technique they call "Lightning Fist" and it allows the Martial artist to unleash a massive flurry of attacks on his opponent and when combined with a weapon...let's just say it isn't pretty. These guys are victims of this type of attack with a mono-molecular weapon. For the most part meat cubes are all that's left of what was formerly a torso.  Their heads are severed but intact, the waist and everything below it are as well. Even the arms are relatively untouched except for some defensive wounds. Whoever did this was brutal but effective, no wasted effort.

"Computer, scan each of the bodies and their remains and reconstruct. Leave a diagram of the cuts themselves. As a the holographic projector on my wrist displays the four men, I am stunned to see just how thoroughly they were cut up.

"Computer, based on the number of incisions, how many strikes were made on average?"

The computer's answer is appalling.

""Approximately 60 strikes per victim."

The coroner looks ill, and honestly even Spydra seems a bit uneasy.

"Computer, what kind of weapon was used? Assuming the the attacker was using a single edged weapon such as a sword?"

Then the computer confirms a suspicion

'Wounds are inconsistent with a single weapon."

"Computer can you determine what kind of weapons were used?"

"A single edged weapon approximately 36 inches in length is responsible for 33% of all wounds. A second weapon approximately 12 inches in length with two blades is responsible for the remaining injuries."

The ME looks horrified. I think she was hoping it was some kind of machine.The thought of one living being doing something like to another by hand...not something that sits well with her.  What has my interest is the computer stating that there were only two 12 inch blades.

"Computer, based on the angle of the wounds how tall would the attacker have to be to make them?"

Again I'm left with more questions from my computer's response.

'The attacker would be approximately 5'3" and 5'6" to have made these injuries.

"The Black Mantis is barely 4 feet tall, he would not have been able to inflict these wounds." Spydra says puzzled.

"I know and he has 3 claws not 2, everything else is consistent with his skills, and M.O. the angle of the cuts, the sheer ferocity, and the absolute precision.  Notice how none of the cuts are even slightly wavy? The speed and sheer power to cut this well...I was sure it was him. I mean everything fits...I need to get back.  I ahve a horrible feeling."

"We can be back in an hour...why? What's do your think happened?"

"I'm wrong, as often as I'm right and honestly I pray I'm wrong as hell right now. Doctor, thank you for your time we appreciate it."

We have to get back to the council before it's too late.

ARIA 2017

ARIA 2017Popular
Submitterhalcon89More Photos from halcon89   Last Update2017/1/10 9:15
Hits387  Comments2    

The Prime Suspect

The Prime SuspectPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/9 23:11
Hits409  Comments3    
After discovering, that the guard was innocent and apparently did have a conversation with apparently the black mantis, I am worried about just one thing. If it was an impostor, how did it compel the guard to obey the order to allow the thief inside. The fake would have had to have current authorization codes and, (this is the real kicker) been able to wipe the records of said transmission clean.  The more I dig, the more it looks like the Black Mantis is behind everything.  He's the only one capable of this.  I have to meet with the council, and explain my theories to them. But there's something in the back of my mind that keeps trying to tell me something, I just can't hear it.  I'm missing something but what? As I wrack my brains thinking about it I feel a gentle pair of very delicate fingers on my temples.  The circling motion easing the tension that has been building since this whole thing started.  The touch is sublime and I feel calm like I used to when I was with-   MOONSHADOW!

I leap from where I'm sitting and spin on a dime, and sure enough there she stands in all her splendid loveliness.  God I miss her, but...

"Hello lover."  She says with a seductive purr.

"Yeah, hey there.  What are you doing here?"

"Oh as soon as you started looking into this whole mystery I have been near.  It is after all in my domain."

"Right Goddess of intrigue.  This situation would certainly fit the bill.  So are you here to seduce me or lend a hand?"

"To lend a hand lover  I would require and act of worship."

"I'm afraid my wives would most likely not approve."

"You're married now?  To mortals again I presume?"

"No actually they're not mortal kin, they're Sylvanari Elves."

"Are you sure about that?"

"Do you know something I don't?"

"Darling..." she says moving closer until my back is against a wall and her lips are tantalizingly close to mine. "Of course I do?"

I can feel her breath on my skin, and I remember so much of our time together, but she's playing with me.

"What, um do you know?"

"Ah  ah ahh lover, I am a goddess and I expect my due."

"Exactly what is your due?"

As her clothes vanish in a mist I want only to indulge her, but I just can't."

'No." I say calmly.

"No? Are you so loyal to your WIVES that you won't have me? I know about the little concubine demoness you keep.  That is permissible but this isn't? Talk about hypocrisy."

"Aini, has my wives' approval.  If you get theirs then I will happily indulge your every whim, but know this: They have the final say.  It is that simple...and believe me I wish I could just give in."

"Now I know why my father has pursued you for so long. You can't be bought or bribed, you are honorable to a fault.  It's a very rare quality, and he's an admirer of it."

"Honorable? No offense but your father doesn't strike me as honorable."

"But he is. He has kept every bargain he has ever made with you has he not? Keeping his word and obeying his rather twisted code is the very definition of honor."

"Okay, fine he IS honorable.  Now if it's not too much trouble would you mind letting me get back to my dilemma?"

"Sure. In the meantime, maybe I'll have a talk with your harem."

"What?"

Instantly she's gone and I'm left with an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The next morning I ask the council members to assemble in closed chambers.

With Spydra at my side, I am understandably intimidated by the level of cosmic power in the room.  I clear my throat and addressed the six assembles council members.

"I have nearly completed my investigation."

"Do you have any suspects?" Norjaguar asks.

"Only one."

They each look at one another and then Raven asks the inevitable.

"Who?"

"I can divulge that information right now but if my suspicions are correct you may all be in much greater danger than any of us first realized."

"How so?"

"I can't divulge that at this time, I can only say that you all need to remain together, no avatars, no simulacrums, no clones. No traveling of any kind and you must remain together at all times until this investigation is complete."

They all nod in agreement. I leave with a glimmer of hope and pray I'm wrong about what I am almost certain I am not. I have to return to the colony where this whole investigation started.



Inside Job

Inside JobPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/8 23:50
Hits332  Comments4    
On a hunch I ask the Black Mantis to let me take a look at the vault where Parata's head was kept. I am given the passcodes and various other necessities required to enter without getting killed. I am also given free access to the security tapes. However, there's a stipulation...the imperial grand inquisitor known as "Shadowblade" has been assigned to accompany myself and Spydra during our investigation. He's a hot head but scary....reminds me of a movie sub-villain...he doesn't say much to anyone as we enter the vault but they're visibly intimidated by his presence.

"I am not sure what you hope to find that my investigators could not. I assure you we were very thorough."

His tone is derisive, and it's clear he's offended by our presence but he won't disobey the emperor, not if he wants to live very long anyway.

There's no prints, no trace of  bypass equipment none of the standard tricks of the trade that professional thieves use.  What amazes me the most is the sheer quantity of magical wards in place, with an equal number of passwords to get through them.  There's no way anyone could get the passwords necessary to get through here without inside knowledge.

"Who was the guard on duty?"

"That would be Tarar, he is awaiting summary execution until YOUR investigation is completed."

"I'd like to question him please."

"I'll arrange it."

As soon as the inquisitor is out of earshot I grab hold of Spydra's arm and pull her close to me. In a hushed tone I tell her what my worst fear of this investigation is, and the only conclusion I can come to based on the evidence.

"Spydra, as much as I hate to say this,  I think this is an inside job."

"The empirical evidence, or lack thereof,  would seem to support your conclusion but who do you think could possibly be a prime suspect?"

"Hell I have no idea, but if I'm right, and they catch on to what we know the situation could prove very....dangerous."

"Then we keep our suspicions to ourselves?"

"Yes, and I know this goes against your faith, but I need you to keep your mistress in the dark as well.  No one can know what we suspect."

Some time later, we're brought into an interrogation room with Tarar. We leave our weapons at the door as Tarar is something of a well trained killer as is the norm with all of the citizens of Mantis's empire.  Tarar is not what I would call stupid or corrupt.  His dossier is so clean it squeaks.  he has no money issues or any family problems, in fact his life here could not be more ideal.

The Inquisitor brings me a small box which contains a shiny gold ring.

"What's this for?"

"This ring will vibrate whenever anyone within 50 feet speaks falsely."

"It detects lies?"

"Yes."

"What's the fallibility level on this thing?"

"Zero."

"Really? What if he believes what he's saying is true even if it isn't?"

""Well, yes I suppose that could be a problem."

"So 99 percent then?"

With that he storms out.  Sometimes I'm a jerk just to bring down some smug ass a peg or two. I ask the standard questions and even have the Tarar lie a couple of times on purpose just test the ring, which works fantastically by the way.  But it's not until my sword teleports to my hand that he starts to look nervous. he knows who I am and that my blade is much like the emperor's in every way...and he keeps his hands very still. He won't dare touch the thing for fear of death, but I have no intention of killing him.  No I focus the magic of the sword on a little known spell that compels a subject to  answer 5 questions truthfully regardless of whether or not they want to. The  subject is immediately aware of the presence of the spell. Which should have this guy quaking in his boots but he doesn't seem nervous at all.

"Question one: How is your family life?"

"No things are fine at home."

Question two: Any financial problems at home?

"No sir, the empire provides for all that we could ever want and I make an excellent wage here, enough to live rather luxuriously actually."

Question three:  Anyone have blackmailing you?

"No."

Question four: Were you otherwise  coerced into allowing an unknown person into the vault?

"No sir, the lady knew all the passcodes and had all the right credentials.  She seemd shady so I called for authorization and she was cleared.  I told the Inquisitor the same thing."

Question five: Who authorized the suspect to enter into the vault?"

"The order came from the emperor himself, I spoke with him on the comm."

"An inspection of the comm records shows there was not communication at the time you say you spoke to the emperor."

With each question the ring remains still, not so much as a twitch.  If he's lying he's got some kind of powerful magic backing him up.  I thank him and send him back to his cell. After some time I return to the vault to check the communication records myself.  I'm looking for traces of unrecorded communications.  The communications system on a vessel (I use the term loosely)it's tough to completely erase those kinds of records completely.  A voice from nowhere just about scares the holy crap out of me.

'How can I assist you Obsidian?"

It's the damned computer.  The realization brings my heart rate back down as I realize it's a simple AI interface.

"Computer, can you show me all communication records for the day of the theft, for the entire ship?"

"There were approximately 1,234,946,647,342 transmissions at that time."

The numbers are astronomical, but then I have a stroke of genius.

"Compute can send me a copy of the guard's fingerprints?"

"What do you need those for?" Spydra asks.

"I'm hoping that I'm right but I'm playing a hunch.  Computer which consoles are used to check in."

The computer indicates a console near the door.

"Excellent, and which console is used to get authorization should a visitor be suspicious?"

As the panel lights up I smile wide and proud. They're not the same console. The one lit by the computer isn't the same as the one used for daily security logs. This means if he did in fact have a conversation then he'd have to have left behind his fingerprint on the screen...and sure enough...

"Bingo!"

"Did you find what you were looking for?"

"Indeed I did, food old fashioned detective work wins again."

A thorough check of the security logs reveals that while there was no transmission that day, there hasn't been one in over a century. So why would the guard's fingerprints be on the screen, Video records up until the day of the  theft show he has never stepped foot over at that section since being assigned this post.  Somebody with top level access altered the records, and deleted the transmission. Only six people have the access level required to do this and It's up to me to find out where each and every one of them was at the time and possibly beforehand.  Looks like everyone is gonna be stuck here for a while.  I'm not looking forward to telling them the news.

Dragon, Lava

Dragon, LavaPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/5 23:37
Hits324  Comments3    
The Mining colony of Tenaera 7 was the first to record the presence of a type of dragon that dwells within molten lava. It was thought that only great red dragons could withstand such temperatures of a volcano, but even they do not dwell within the lava itself. Lava Dragons however, can and do make their nests within the molten stone and are unharmed by the intense heat which is enough to destroy anything that isn't an earth elemental. For this reason it is believed that the Lava Dragon mat be an elemental of some sort. They are massive creatures and even a hatchling is no mere thing at roughly 14 ft in length, but the adults have been recorded at up to 185 feet in length. Sadly the mining colony did not survive their encounter as the dragons are highly aggressive towards lesser creatures. The planet has thus been quarantined, and other molten worlds are being scrutinized for the presence of Lava Dragons. Should they prove to be as prolific as their other cousins mining companies may have to find new worlds to excavate.

ZATANNA

ZATANNAPopular
Submitterhalcon89More Photos from halcon89   Last Update2017/1/3 12:15
Hits398  Comments1    

Synthetic Pets

Synthetic PetsPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2017/1/2 0:24
Hits379  Comments2    
In a rare moment of serenity, we see Obsidian mask having a simple exchange with his newest pet. Truthfully he's more of a dog person but he's worried of offending his first mate Shadawar so the synthetic Wyvern will have to suffice. Wyverns are notoriously hostile towards other creatures and rarely, if ever, tamed. This synthetic pet however, is another matter entirely. Synthetic pets are typically smaller than 5 feet in length and rarely grow beyond that. They are Synthezoids, a type of organic android capable of doing nearly everything their living counterparts can do.  They are however, 100 percent reliable and generally safe to be around unless programmed otherwise.  They can grow like many living creatures or be purchased as full adults and are completely legal to own in nearly any system. In the case of this Wyvern however, many laws have been broken, it is lethal, poisonous, and breathes fire, it has an on board computational capacity of a small supercomputer capable of 75,000 computations per nanosecond. it is incapable of speech but can patch into Obsidian's transmission frequencies to send text messages in an emergency. It is essentially immortal (Highly illegal) and possesses a full surveillance package exceeding many modern handheld models. It also possesses one superpower (also highly illegal) the ability to transform into organic steel, making the creature nearly impervious to nearly any conventional weaponry. Like any dragon it possesses natural optical camouflage complete with texture adaption. This Wyvern is a gift from the Black Mantis and has been specially engineered by The Black Mantis personally.  Needless to say this little winged lizard is far  more than it's outward appearance would suggest..When asked Obsidian simply tells curious people that the dragon is a hatchling that simply bonded with him when it's mother was killed (presumably by  him)...this is of course a baldfaced lie.    

RAYO VERDE

RAYO VERDEPopular
Submitterhalcon89More Photos from halcon89   Last Update2016/12/27 13:01
Hits359  Comments3    

AVISPA

AVISPAPopular
Submitterhalcon89More Photos from halcon89   Last Update2016/12/27 11:20
Hits389  Comments2    

BATYYGIRL

BATYYGIRLPopular
Submitterhalcon89More Photos from halcon89   Last Update2016/12/27 9:33
Hits348  Comments3    

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!Popular
SubmitterDark WandererMore Photos from Dark Wanderer   Last Update2016/12/25 5:23
Hits388  Comments2    

Night Terrors

Night TerrorsPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2016/12/24 6:13
Hits366  Comments3    
Always wanted to do this but until I found a client who wanted something similar I just never found the right incentive...now My client's idea and mine, while similar, are still different in many ways...and honestly....neither is that original. So without further adue...

The giant black bats of Debras 4 also known as "Night Terrors" are unique for a singular reason...they're the most massive ever recorded. With a wingspan of nearly 45 feet they are as large as some aircraft. They possess all of the normal abilities of their diminutive cousins such as excellent night vision and a remarkable sense of smell, but unlike other fruit bats they also possess echolocation which scientists believe help them navigate the colossal caverns where they dwell. What truly sets them apart is how docile they are. These bats are a variety of fruit bats although due to the nature of their diet they have similar facial characteristics (including fangs and incisors)of vampire bats. They subsist almost entirely on the giant Loardra fruits which grow on massive towering trees that reach nearly a thousand feet in height, the fruit of which must be coaxed out much as vampire bats cause blood to flow. They have also been knwon to feed upon the various giant, half meter long, insects that frequent those very trees. With literally no competitors to speak of and virtually no natural predators save fort Dragons who find them particularly delicious, this natural order prevents their numbers from skyrocketing out of control. It is possible to tame them for use as a mount but the care and feeding of these great beasts make that an expensive endeavor. In combat they are not particularly fierce having no real natural weapons of significance, but like all animals they can bite and have nasty claws but for the most part prefer to flee from combat. As mounts they can be trained to tolerate weaponry and combat conditions but are best suited for less dangerous roles such as reconnaissance especially since they can fly without making hardly a sound. They are otherwise identical to their non-marsupial cousins in every other way.

HEROINES IN PERIL: ANTHOLOGIES

HEROINES IN PERIL: ANTHOLOGIESPopular
SubmitterlordcoyoteMore Photos from lordcoyote   Last Update2016/12/21 5:04
Hits437  Comments2    
Heroines.
We love them.
Badass damsels who arent holding out for a hero but can undistress themselves and kick @$$ while looking good in spandex. Whether shes a tomb raiding adventuress, fantasy warrior or a super powered crime fighter we all love a good heroine.
We also seem to love seeing them in perilous situations. Join now these lovely ladies as they face life or death danger with a high chance of a gruesome end. (or worse) Will they get out with their skin and dignity intact? Find out in this short story collection.

Available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N5HL8WC



Excerpt from SIDEKICKED

You want me to do. what? asked Ravyne, her masked face twisted incredulously. Im not quite sure I heard you right.
We both know you heard me, Ravyne. Replied Major Flagg, Los Angeles premier superhero who floated in the air before her in an apparent attempt to convey authority. Id like you to mentor my sidekick Patriotique.
Ravyne merely shook her head in disbelief. She then glanced over to the side at the young teenaged girl hovering at a distance. She was dressed in a flag themed outfit similar to the majors blue and white unitard, blue gloves and boots and red cape. Only the girls costume differed in that it consisted of what looked like a one-piece flag-print swimsuit, dark tights, waist length red cape and red domino mask that couldnt conceal the look of irritation on her face. And her long blonde hair was pulled up into a pair of pigtails.
You cant be serious. Ravyne retorted.
Yes, Im serious. Major Flag replied. After putting my sidekick through training to control her powers Ive come to the decision that shes now at a stage where she might benefit from a, um, he then gave an awkward cough. A womans touch.
Chauvinist! Ravyne crossed her arms under her large breasts and glared tersely at the veteran hero. So basically youre saying you want to palm your daughter off on me.
She watched the big hero grit his teeth. Uh, when did I say she was my
Oh, give me some credit will you, Major. Ravyne retorted, placing her hands on her wide hips. Shes a teenager, has the same powers as you. Come on, it doesnt exactly take a degree in astrophysics to figure that one out.
Shes gotcha there, Pop. Patriotique called out.
Major Flagg gave another awkward cough. Yes, well, he then straightened his shoulders to gather his composure. Id like you to show her the ropes. To help her refine her skills.
Ravyne let out a huff. Why me?
Out of all L.As superheroines youre the most level headed. He praised. And on top of that you have similar abilities as ours. Youre simply the best suited to teach her. And besides, you owe me.
What? Ravynes eyebrows raised in surprise. Owe you? How, exactly do I owe you?
You kicked me in the chest, remember?
You shouldnt have gotten in the middle of a catfight, Pop. Patriotique called. Especially one between superheroines. Major Flagg turned to give his daughter a terse look.
Ravyne grimaced at being reminded of the time she and Sparrowhawke had their little misunderstanding. It wasnt exactly what she would call the high point of her superhero career. Hey, Sparrowhawke kicked you too. Cant you get her to do this?
Major Flagg gave a grunt of displeasure. As if Id want that hothead mentoring my daughter.
Hey, shes getting better at controlling her temper, shes taking anger management.
Be that as it may, Flagg retorted. Id still prefer it to be you. The big hero then crossed his arms and gave her a knowing smile. And what do have to lose by agreeing?
My sanity. Ravyne muttered under her breath.
We have super hearing. Patriotique called causing Ravyne to grit her teeth.
With hand still on her hips Ravyne looked about while letting out frustrated breaths and tapping one toe. Finally she threw her hands up in surrender knowing full well that by the end of the day shed regret it. Alright, alright, Ill do it!
Major Flagg smiled wolfishly. I thought youd see reason. The big hero then turned and slowly started flying away. Ill check back with you two at the end of the day. Then he picked up speed and streaked away leaving his daughter with her reluctant mentor.
Still supremely annoyed at the turn of events Ravyne knelt down and took a seat on the edge of the building she routinely used as a lookout perch. (something the locals were happy about as her mere presence had caused a sizable drop in the crime rate)
While Ravyne awkwardly looked out over the city Patriotique hovered in and took a seat next to her. Working her pursed lips from side to side the teen let out an exasperated breath. Ravyne could tell from a glance that she was just as annoyed at the situation as her.
Soooo. Patriotique started. How do we do this?
Ravyne turned and looked tersely at the girl. You do as I say, thats how we do this.

IRAVYNE

IRAVYNEPopular
SubmitterlordcoyoteMore Photos from lordcoyote   Last Update2016/12/16 15:32
Hits469  Comments4    
My first reasonably successful attempt at rendering in Iray.



It took two days.



TWO DAYS!




I really need a better system.

HEROINES IN PERIL PROMO

HEROINES IN PERIL PROMOPopular
SubmitterlordcoyoteMore Photos from lordcoyote   Last Update2016/12/15 9:38
Hits472  Comments2    
A cover preview for my upcoming literary work.


Heroines in peril: Anthologies!

Heroines.
We love them.
Badass damsels who arent holding out for a hero but can undistress themselves and kick @$$ while looking good in spandex. Whether shes a tomb raiding adventuress, fantasy warrior or a super powered crime fighter we all love a good heroine.
We also seem to love seeing them in perilous situations. Join now these lovely ladies as they face life or death danger with a high chance of a gruesome end. (or worse) Will they get out with their skin and dignity intact? Find out in this short story collection.


COMING SOON!

And be sure to check out my other works:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GSFO1LU


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VS806BQ


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019176VUU


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G86QJFU


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FNXR6Q0

Wonder Woman Has Been Captured

Wonder Woman Has Been CapturedPopular
SubmitterDrawolf25More Photos from Drawolf25   Last Update2016/12/13 5:20
Hits403  Comments1    
SO who has been pulling the strings?

Like it or not

Like it or notPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2016/12/12 1:53
Hits450  Comments3    
The thief was a bust so now I need to get hold of the Black Mantis and give him the bad news.  Worse yet there's an assassin with mono-molecular weaponry taking out all competitors and leads.  The Sable is at full burn to the Solar system when there's shudder and every alarm in the place goes off.  

I hit the intercom on the nearest hallway panel and contact the bridge.

"Bridge report! What the hell is going on?"

Shadawar responds immediately.

"We're  caught in a tractor beam."

"At full warp?"

Just then Sabrina cuts in

"Yessir we're completely locked up and the engines are beginning to overload. We're gonna have to shut down!"

"Fine! Sabrina shut down engines and transfer all power to defensive systems."

The reply from the bridge has me aggravated to say the least

"All defensive systems are off line! We're sitting ducks."

Just then it hits me, and I ask a question I already know the answer to.

"Bridge, in what direction are we being puleed?"

"Um straight up 0  mark 0 degrees...straight upward."

I'm no longer feeling defensive...no , now I'm just pissed off.

"Bridge this is the Captain, stand down from alert status."

"Aye sir."

I flash on my armor and head to the bridge. Just as I step in the entire bridge crew simply vanishes. I look around quickly, in dismay and suddenly I'm face to face with...

"Black Mantis...."

"Hey there...Grab a seat."

He says cheerfully, gesturing to a comfortable looking chair. I ignore the invitation then ask curtly.

"Where's my crew?"

He sighs, and then walks to a nearby window.  Looking out on a vast city he says.

"They're here on board.  They're being attended to and are being treated as honored guests."

"Whether they like it or not?"

"Indeed."

"And my ship?"

"Docking bay 2."

"Are you serious?"

There are millions of docking bays aboard the massive mothership of the Black Mantis, and the first few are nearest to the Imperial palace and those few have the best technicians in the empire.

"What gives? You know you nearly tore my ship apart right?"

"A necessary risk, besides your ship wasn't in danger you're no idiot and neither is your chief engineer."

"That's beside the point."

"Ugh you act like one of those...mortals.  Fine...I'm sorry, and next time I promise to use more courtesy."

"Yeaaah....ummm....who are you and what have you done with the real Black Mantis?"

"Hah, yeah I can see why you'd ask that..  I have been a complete ass to you over the years haven't I?"

"That's a loaded question."

"No I'll admit it, but now things are different, and I ....we... need your help.  I know of your failure and the fact that not only has Parata been freed but he is presumably back to his full strength."

"Crap."

"Exactly and precisely."

The voice comes from behind as the doors open, it's Norjaguar and his mood is quite dour.

"The council has already convened and since you are our best chance at defeating this maniac, you're being held here for your protection."

"Fine.  Not going to be too many places  safer than this."  

"Right now, " Mantis adds, 'That's debatable."

Suddenly I don't feel so safe.

"The Black Mantis was attacked, and severely injured a few days ago.  Our island was also destroyed. To that end we are remaining at warp indefinitely until we have this matter resolved."

"I'm sorry, I thought I went crazy for a minute and heard you say someone hurt him?"  Pointing at Mantis I am more than a little taken aback.

"I knew Parata was a badass but he did what now?"  My question goes unanswered as we exit the elegant quarters and into the hall.

"We are going to reoutfit your ship with the usually powerhouse options and then we're going to equip some new tech as well."  Norjaguar says calmly.

"I like my ship the way it is thanks, I designed it myself."

Mantis scoffs and in no uncertain circumstance adds

'Your ship is woefully under-powered for your current contract, and less will NOT be more in this situation. "

I stop mid stride and in a moment of complete indignant defiance, I let these bastards know exactly where we stand.

"YOU WILL NOT TOUCH MY SHIP!!!                     Because if you do I walk and and you can find someone else to take on Parata for you  but I'm betting he knows everyone else you'd go to and is plenty prepared for them. So don't screw with the Sable!"

The two of them say nothing in response to my out burst instead the simply nod and say....

"Done."


"However, " Mantis replies..."You'll need something better for this."

"You mean like the Drake?"

My words sting a little bit and it was completely intentional.  The last time that bastard "Gave" me a ship he was trying to recruit me via his daughter.  he doesn't reply to the jab at all instead he very calmly says.

"No, you need something powerful and sleek, something closer to the Wraith.  Consider it part of your payment...along with whatever else you need."

"Okay fine, how fast can you have a new design ready?'

They both laugh like I just asked the dumbest question ever.  Knowing them I probably have.

"You design it." Norjaguar says..."We'll have it ready in a day."

"Really?"

They both look at me and without missing a beat simultaneously answer back.

"Really."

"I can upgrade your loaners from Harley if you like, as well as um...what's the word....Update...your harem?"

"What my what?"

'Oh let's face it they're primitives and lack skills and abilities despite all they've done with your technology at their disposal."

"No.  What the hell is wrong with you?   I'm not gonna let you do ANYTHING to my wives!!!"

"I simply meant education."

"Are you sure? None of that mutation chamber or anything freaky like that?"

The speed and power of Norjaguar is unearthly as he pins me by the throat to a nearby wall.  I struggle as hard as I can but the servos in my armor are no match for that kind of raw physical power.  So....in a panic...I run him through.  Quickly, as he grasps  at his wound, I cast spells to increase my strength, speed, and agility to what I hope are levels powerful enough to at least get me close. Then, in a place  where I could be hilariously out numbered  and outgunned I stand my ground.  He chuckle for a sec and quickly winces in pain.

"Agh...You're right about one thing Mantis, he is definitely the right guy for the job.  Did you really cast a Ant-regen spell?"

I'm not sure what to make of this...I just ran this guy through with what is possibly the one weapon in the universe capable of killing him and he thinks it funny?  Oh man what have I gotten myself into?

"Um...I figured it was appropriate considering who you guys are."

Norjaguar removes a spray canister seemingly from nowhere, and sprays the wound which immediately begins to heal. He looks back to me and asks..

"How do you know about the mutation chamber?"

"I've been working for you guys quite literally for centuries, I have more information about you guys than just about anyone."


"That is why we hired you now.  Jag, don't sweat how he knows about the chamber.  I told him, and I've told him a bunch of other stuff nobody knows about too.  IN the meantime...the  ladies?"


"if their okay with it fine if not don't."

"Good now we have a special gist for you...something special..."

LOVE POTION NO.93245739805

LOVE POTION NO.93245739805Popular
SubmitterlordcoyoteMore Photos from lordcoyote   Last Update2016/12/10 11:33
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He was expecting some hot heroine on heroine action.



But all he got were BFF's....

Emergency Council.

Emergency Council.Popular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2016/12/9 2:47
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The Black Mantis has assembled his Empire's high council and all are in attendance.  The mood is grim because it is believed their old adversary Parata has been freed from the prison in which they placed him.  The Black Mantis touched a button on a nearby panel and in the center of the table around which they have gathered, a small hologram of their enemy appears.

"If you're wondering why we are assembled just focus your gaze to the center of the table.  As we all know I was attacked by someone who could only be  Parata, My indestructible ship is sitting in our docking bay in a mangled mess.  I've never seen anything that can do that to Infinitium, and there are no known weapons that should be able to.  I have summoned you all here to our remote island base because it is the safest place I can think of. We have taken the extra precaution of landing this mobile base on the surface of a sun.  Hopefully this will conceal our presence until such time as we can formulate a plan to stop Parata once and for all."

Beast, a massive lion faced man of nearly 9 feet in height looks a round the room at the assembled pantheon. He lets out a deep sigh and says.

"We beat him once before and honestly, I don't see the problem.  Surely he knows we have to power to destroy him."

Reaver peers  up through  hid golden mask and adds

"He MANGLED Mantis's ship, and very nearly killed him." to which Raven adds

"He somehow stopped us from using our Eternity Crystals...There's no power in the universe that should be able to do that, we've destroyed whole galaxies with them, uninhabited but galaxies nonetheless."

Norjaguar Slamming his fist in the table yells

"How do we stand up to that?  He mangles Infinitium, and can stop Eternity crystals!  He knows our every tactic. I mean he knew where Mantis would be and was waiting for him.  So how do we combat that."

They each look to one another, but to no avail then the Black Mantis speaks, slowly and calmly.  

"I have taken steps to see to his defeat.  I have an unknown element that we can use.  Someone who has the element of surprise, but he's gonna want to get paid, and paid dearly.  I am confident he can do the job, so the only question is...where do we draw the line? What are we willing to offer?"

As they stare at one another, their lives on the line for the first time since they donned the mantle of divinity they quickly reach a consensus.  Without so much as a word they all agree that no request will be off the table up to and including their fabled crystals...Obsidian Mask need ask his want of them and he shall have it.  As they adjourn their meeting Raven stops Black Mantis.

"Is there something I can do for you Raven?"

Removing his cowl he smiles softly and there's s light twinkle in his eye.  Raven has seen him do this before and smiles knowingly under her own cowl. She can'e help but think to herself "He doesn't think that smooth grin is going to work does he?   However, Raven is no swooning mortal and while the Black Mantis is pretty to look at he will certainly have to try harder.


"How do you know Obsidian can do this?  Spydra informs me that he has a hard enough time keeping his house in order."

"He defeated Dominion, a  man who was a hair away from possessing the power of Infinity Man, He's intelligent , resourceful, and highly skilled. More importantly, he has one of our blades, and his stealth gear is unparalleled.   If he put his mind to it no one could detect him."

"I hope you're right because we're placing a lot on one elf."

"Hey, I'm an elf."

"So you are."

With that Raven saunters out of the room her backside deliberately swaying seductively. The Black Mantis takes note and very quietly says to himself "So...game on then."

Suddenly the entire island is shaken violently.  An attack?  The Black Mantis thinks to himself in disbelief.  There's no way anyone found us. Activating a nearby viewscreen his worst fears are realized.  A massive ship measuring miles in breadth and width, one identified as belonging to Parata's empire.  In seconds the whole pantheon is asembled in the Command Center.  The face of their long time enemy is displayed on the master veiwer:

"Greeting, Long time no see."

"Parata, something I can do for you?" The Black Mantis asks smugly.

"Yes Mantis, you can die!"

"The last time you tried that your head ended up in a box.  Care to repeat the performance?"

"You were very fortunate last time we battled, that good fortune is at an end."

With that the island shakes yet again and it is clear that the island is in great peril

"I leave you all with this:  Today I take your island, soon it will be all you hold dear, until you are begging me for death."

With that the massive warship turns and jumps to warp. The island however is in complete meltdown.

"Eject the core !"  Mantis shouts in a panic.

Reaver shouts back "The hull's been warped, We can't eject!"

"What?"

"He  only damaged the power core hatch! That son of a...it had to be on purpose.  We have to abandon the island!"

"Damn it! Send the signal, all hands abandon ship!"

In mere moments the island that gave them refuge explodes with enough fury to cause the sun it was on to go super nova.  Using the power of their Eternity Crystals they bind the life pods together and await for rescue, a rescue that will take the form a a vast armada of ships whose number cannot easily be counted.

Critical Conditions

Critical ConditionsPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2016/12/6 15:29
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Raven and Norjaguar make a mad dash to the medical facilities where they see their resident healer frantically working on their ally who is for all practical purposes, the most powerful of their pantheon.  Viewing the monitors they can see the extent of his injuries.  Injuries that should have healed in the span of a heartbeat.  The healer has used every magic in known including the fabled eternity crystals and even their power is no match for whatever is happening.  Raven, now a bit more emotional due to her recent transformation, is visibly upset, a fact that does not escape the attention of The sky god Thunderbird.

"Raven, are you alright  man?"

"I'm fine, it's just who could've done this?  I mean who could have done this to him??!!  I mean it's the Black Mantis for crying out loud!"

Norjaguar notices the frantic Healer and opens the intercom

"Doctor, what seems to be the problem? Is everything okay?"

"No, no it isn't no amount of magic is working and he's not regenerating. At this rate he won't last much longer. It's like something is topping him from healing."

Suddenly Raven understands, pushing Norjaguar to the side she yells into the intercom.

"Doc, it's a spell.  I know of at least three that can stop a creature from healing, but they only work against supernatural healing...Use nanites!"

"Of course, they're technology not magic and wouldn't fall under the parameters of such a spell."

The doctor reaches into a nearby cabinet and removes a single spray canister.  Spraying the wound generously with surgical nanobots and a formula of stem cells and protein she is relieved to see the damage being rapidly repaired.

"It's working!  His vitals are stabilizing and the wound is closing."

The friends gathered breath a sigh of relief but that is quickly replaced with the dread of pondering who could've accomplished a monumental feat such as this.  Raven is visibly shaking, and tears begin to stream down her face, and now both of her companions have taken notice.

"Ray, what's wrong with you?  You're crying?"

"I don't know Jag it's just ...I don't know.  I was thinking about what this all means.  How if someone could hurt him like this, what could they do to the rest of us?"

"She has a point Jag." Thunderbird's words are met with only silence until.   There's a blinding flash of light from the surgical table and the glass that separated the three friends from that room shatters and explodes as if made by mortals.  A  single voice booms in a deafening roar with the words...

"SOMEBODY DIES!!!"

The Black Mantis is revived and is angered and he wants answers.

"Calm down Mantis, you're safe with friends." Ravens voice is soothing and gentle and there is not a man in the room who doesn't stop everything they're doing when they hear it.  The words and the tone completely foreign coming from their source.  The Goddess of war blushes at the sudden attention.

"Did I say something wrong?"

The men assembled stand stunned at her very appearance, her posture her mannerisms all have changed, and while it would seem that such a thing is unimportant, the reaction of the Black Mantis would say otherwise.  Leaping across the room with his infinitium claws at full extension the immortal assassin pounces on his one time friend with savagery.  As the claws sink into her shoulder Raven cannot help but scream in pain.  Instantly her own metal talons are unsheathed and find their mark in similar fashion.  As the Black Mantis takes note of the injury, unable to feel pain as the others do he hurls Raven bodily through the nearest wall. IN an instant he is straddled atop her with his claws once again extended one on either side of her face he reminds her.

"You know there's three, now start talking. Who are  you?"

"It's me you psychopath!  Did your injuries rattle your senses?"

"Raven you unfortunate pretender is a man transformed into a woman, without a single spark of femininity in his body...Next time you impersonate one of my allies do your homework. Now once again...WHO ARE YOU!!! Keep in mind I can wring the answers from your corpse as well as your living body."

"First of all, since when was I EVER a man? Secondly, you need to get the hell off of me before we have a real problem."

"Wow you really have no clue do you? Fine your corpse it is then!"

As his hand draws back the Black Mantis catches a glint of something in Ravens eyes...conviction, determination...no her eyes are different..they're the eyes of...A  dragon.   Retracting the deadly blades in his hand The black Mantis, takes  a deep breath and helping Raven to her feet he says

"My apologies oh Mistress of Battle, my injuries left me somewhat shaken.  I was not myself, please forgive my outburst."

Both Norjaguar and Thunderbird stand mouths agape with disbelief at what has just transpired before them.  Their silence further enforced by the change in the Black Mantis's tone towards their female companion.  He's being almost...charming...NO he wouldn't...he couldn't With a single glance towards one another the two gods realize ...he would and he most certainly could...by all that is he probably will.  It is at that moment that Thunderbird interjects even as raven turn and walks away.

"Mantis, you wouldn't"

"What? Oh her? I most certainly would."  

Tilting his head to the side the eyes of the Black Mantis are transfixed upon the posterior of the Goddess of war taking in every curve and every move. Again Thunderbird interjects.

"Have you taken leave of your every sense?  That is a Man."

"No my friend, that USED TO BE a man, and when he was such I left him alone, but do you see that?" Mantis asks gesturing to Raven's very exquisite posterior.  "That is not a man's ass.  However, there  are more important things to deal with right now.  We need to know who attacked me and how the managed to stop the power of the Eternity crystals from healing me. Assemble the others it appears that Obsidian has failed to prevent Parata from being released from his prison.  Things will only get worse from here."

The Pantheon

The PantheonPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2016/12/5 10:29
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Before you are the 6 deadliest and most overpowered characters I have ever created. Mostly they operate quietly from behind the scenes, manipulating events to suit their needs and making others do their bidding. Every so often one or two of them will step out from behind the shadows to reveal their existence, most notably the Black Mantis. A being who cares little for the lives and day to day activities of mortals and seeks only his own ends. depicted here are the remaining members of his pantheon.  From left to right

Raven aka Spydraxis: Goddess of War, Mistress of Honor, the Spider Goddess.

Reaver: God of Death the Undead, lord of the underworld

The Black Mantis: God of Storms and Chaos and Multiverse's Greatest assassin.

Lord Beast: God of Beasts, God of the Hunt, The blood god.

Norjaguar: Lord of Shadows and Cat God of Stealth Knower of secrets and all things hidden.

Thunderbird: God of the sun and skies and all things that dwell in the sky.

They have faced foes that would make mortals tremble in fear and until recently lived in peace, but an adversary has arrived and will not be taken lightly.  

The Curse

The CursePopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2016/12/5 10:15
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There was a time when The being known as Raven Silverspear was mortal, yes mortal, but moreover Raven was...a man.  Dragons are dangerous creatures, even in death their magics can be devastating.  Raven has fought one long ago and it left a curse alright, a form of lycanthropy.  Not controlled by the phases of the moon like some common werewolf, no this would be far more insidious.  Passion was the trigger be it rage or love, even lust, and yes fear. In those moments Raven would lose control and transform into a massive dragon-man of incredible power.  However, after a time one can learn to control such power and Raven had done just that...with a single side effect.  The dragon spirit that possessed him was female and had a mind of it's own.  She tried to take over as often as possible constantly pressing to be set free.  But Raven was a man and a manly man at that and the few times the dragon won the transformation spread to his human form making him a very beautiful woman, albeit a very manly woman.  Time and again he would best this curse and the dragon spirit would find new ways to assert itself. Today however is the last of those battles, the dragon has won.  Raven's memories would be the final victim as the dragon within replaced those precious moments and transform them so that every memory would seem to be from the perspective of a female. One by one minute by minute the struggle would be futile until all that remained was of the man Named Raven was the tear he shed at the loss of who he was. With the transformation complete Raven and the dragon would be merged forevermore into one mind, and her true power would be realized. Now a god can defeat a simple dragon curse but when one is born mortal all aspects of the mortal coil become enhanced to godly levels, and had Raven been aware of that she certainly would have been rid of this curse a long time ago.  Unfortunately what is done is done.

As she gazes at her reflection in the water a loud chirp of a communication badge startles her from her quiet contemplation.

"Raven, I said can you hear me? Is everything okay? You've missed your watch."

The voice belonged to Norjaguar, her long time friend and confidant she remembered she was supposed to relieve him at the watchtower and heavens, she was very late indeed.

"I-I am sorry I don't know what came over me I'll be right there."

"Is everything okay? I was getting a bit worried for a second."

""No I'm find I'll be right there."

With less effort than it takes a mortal to breath Raven is instantly teleported hundreds of miles to the Watchtower, Norjaguar's massive 7 foot felinesque frame is hunched over looking at monitors, diligently scanning for anything that might wish them harm...and woe to any such being for the would surely rue the day they were born for any such foolishness....there are things in this universe far worse than death, and they knew all of them well. Security had been tightened following the theft of a very important relic and now the once complacent beings found themselves on edge awaiting the return of an enemy that nearly destroyed them all.  Clearing her throat the lithe form of the now sultry goddess walked into the room, were his eyes not glued to the monitors Norjaguar would surely have noticed the change in body language and motion. However, something had his full attention, something distressing.

"What're you looking cat?"

"I'm not sure.  Sentry give me a magnified view of sector 13971.9 mark 881.2 and place it on the main viewer."

"Aye sir."

"What is that Jag?" Raven was truly puzzled by the image before her and couldn't make heads or tails of the twisted and deformed object before her but something about it seemed....familiar..

"Enhance the image!"

"Aye sir."

As the blurred image cleared it became frighteningly obvious what it was and a wave of terror raven had not felt in centuries washed over her.

"Is that-Is that the Black Mantis's ship?"

"It can't be, his ship is constructed of pure infinitium.  It's indestructible. What could do THAT to infinitium?"

The twisted and mangled form of the tiny fighter floated lifelessly through the emptiness of space it's lone passenger barely clinging to life.  There is no mortal weapon that could possibly harm the indestructible metal that the ship is composed of which means only one thing...There old enemy has returned.

"Thunderbird, are you there?"

Thunderbird is the lord of the skies and all the things that fly pay homage to him and pray for safe travels, but today...today he will be fulff

"Yeah I'm here. Wassup?"

"Rescue, now, urgent."

"Give me the coordinates, I'm at the airlock now."

"Transmitting."

In the blink of an eye the lord of the skies screams through the vaccuum of space to the wreckage that was once one of the most fiersome craft in the galaxy, now however, it is a twisted coffin holding his friend fast.  removing him would be child's play however, the twisted metal is mangled together in such away that it cannot simply be opened and worse yet it is still very much indestructible. despite being strong enough to move mountains none  of these powerful beings are strong enough to bend Infinitium leaving only one choice.

"I'm going to break the windshield!"

"You're in space, doesn't he still needs to breathe?"

"NO he has more than enough magic to sustain him for now.  Here goes."

The canopy caves under the full might of the eternity crystals Thunderbird uses to enhance his power and he carefully removes the severely injured body of the most powerful of their number.  A large gash in the Black Mantis's side is deep enough to expose several ribs and he is losing blood rapidly.  

"He's not healing at all guys, and he should be healing faster than a troll on steroids."


"T-Bird get him back here as fast as you can."

"No I'll teleport him to the Doctor, she'll be able to do something."

IN an instant the tiny figure of the Multiverse's greatest assassin is aboard their massive starship, and the pantheon of gods remember true fear and doubt for the first time in centuries.

More Questions than Answers

More Questions than AnswersPopular
SubmitterObsidianMore Photos from Obsidian   Last Update2016/12/1 17:01
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"Ahhh the spoils of a job well done" Shanara thinks to herself as the  pulsing music of the live band playing at the very exclusive "Emerald Cup" pulses through her ears and the alcohol courses through her body gently numbing her cares away.  The job had been worth every ounce of terror and trouble. Perched on chair she stares intently into the pleasure drone's blue eyes and it dances a swirls around the simple pole on the stage, it twists and writhes to the exotic rhythms. The mul;ti-colored lights play off the mirror almost hypnotically. Pleasure drones are expensive but she had more than enough to buy one of the really good ones...besides relationships are hard and there's nobody she trusts..."Yeah, I'll get one of those...a really hot one too. Yeah"

2 hours earlier....

I have been hunting this thief for days now and I have had informants try to kill me, Cops harass me, and even one guy who tried to run me over.  Someone has been doing there damnedest to see to it I don't track this thief whoever she may be, At this moment however I'm running full steam after a Gobelian named "Neezle" who is apparently a marathon runner, and when I catch him I'm gonna break his thrice-damned legs.  Down alleys we slip and slide a fresh rain making the wet streets slick with freshly loosened oils, I fall as I turn a corner I'm not hurt but I am pissed.  "I don't want to hurt you Neezle, stop running!!" My words fall on deaf ears as he tears off again but I'm done with this cat and mouse crap.

"You ready for some help, Mister "I got this."? Spydra's tone is rife with sarcasm and I'm not letting this guy go for the sake of pride.

"Okay fine you're a go."

"I'm sorry what?"

"I said you're a go."

"You can do better. What's the magic word?"

"Please."

"Good boy, there's a cookie with your name on it waiting for you at home."

"Ha ha very funny just catch the little.."My words fall short as I clear a fence and round the corner to find the Gobelian in a cocoon with only his face poking out and Spydra perched upon the Street light the little bastard is suspended from.  With my hands on my knees I gasp as I try to catch my breath, I'm covered in street gunk and oil and whatever the hell else was in the various puddles I fell into.  As I catch my breath I remove my right glove and...Punch that bastard dead in the face, as hard as I can under my own power...the suit's servos would've killed him and we don't want that do we?

"I though you said you weren't gonna hurt me?  The Gobelian complains as blood runs from his nose.

"You didn't stop did you?"

"Good point."

"Now all I want from here on, is the answer to a simple question."

"Depends on the question."

Spydra hoists him up so that they're eye to eye, to eye, to eye, to...she has a lot of eyes...it's creepy actually. Her voice is grating and the mandibles on her mask flex as she says.

"Don't be coy, you can either profit from your cooperation, or your refusal to cooperate can be the last stupid thing you ever do."

Acid drips from her mandilbes only a hair's distance from his face, and it's clear he's intimidated. Spydra knows her business boy, I usually have to shoot them in the leg...or tentacle...or whatever, before they talk.  Not her though, she's got a fearsome presence and a creepy shtick.  Spiders are normally creepy anyway and most folks are scared to death of them anyway. This one is man-sized and stands upright...nevermind the fact that it's a costume.  

"Alright,"His voice cracks as he speaks, "What do you want to know?"

"A thief came here a few days ago."

"We get a lot of those, you'll have to be more specific."

I project a hologram of our culprit and the green little troll turns ghost white. Jackpot, he knows everything.

"Spill it."

"O-okay b-but you didn't hear this from me."

"Hear what?"

"This chick calls herself "Raptor" she flew in a couple days back with a big gold colored orb, there was a lot of bets about what was in it or that the case was worth a ton of cash by itself."

"More." Spydra adds tightening her grip.

"There was a bunch of professionals who let it get out that they wanted a piece of the action."

"...and..."

"And they all ended up dead, not just dead but cut into tiny little pieces."

"...and?..."

"The cut's were cleaner than a laser, even their weapons were cut clean through...No one has ever seen anything like it."

I have.  My sword is very capable of making mono-molecular cuts, but it's very special.  Could the Black Mantis have an traitor in his in midst? I hope not, the mere thought of that is horrifying.

"The thief, where is she?"

"Word is she took her payday and is living it up, in the rich side of the colony. She spends her nights hanging out at the "Emerald Cup".  That's all I know, now can you let me down?"

I give Spydra the nod and she drops the little worm. I pull out my sword and with a precision slice I cut Neezle loose.  He looks at the mono-molecular cut and to my amusement, loses control of his bladder. In an instant he's off like a shot having jumped to the wrong conclusion. Ah that's some good funny right there.

In moments we arrive at the "Emerald Cup".  The bouncer steps up to stop us and I flash my bounty hunter license at him.  He dismisses it with the words

"That ain't gonna get you in buddy."

It's the last coherent thing he says for the rest of the night as I toss a Neuralizer pack at him and he begins projectile vomiting.

As Spydra and I step through the doors all eyes are on us. Quickly and silently folks start shuffling out, leaving their food and drink where they they sit.  These folks are hip to trouble, except for a couple of brave souls who want to see some action. The thief is in the members only area perched in a chair intently watching the sexy little lady droid shaking it's ass.  I draw my pistol and level it to the base of her head. Just then the manager comes up to object and Spydra wrenches his arm in a "Chicken Wing' and he lets out a yelp. The thief never takes her eyes off the dancer, who is now frozen in mid movement as if frozen.
"I knew it was to damned easy.  Everything was just going way too smooth."

"I have some questions and you can answer them here or..."

"Or what you'll kill me?  I don't think so.  I'm no good to you dead."

"That's where you're wrong, I can have you resurrected repeatedly. That means I can kill you over and over in all new exciting ways each time."

A bead of sweat trickles down the side of her face as she contemplates the darkness of that last statement.

"You want to know who hired me?"

"That's as good a place to start as any."

"Too bad, I never saw his face, and he didn't give his name."

"Where's the case?"

"I gave it to the man in black."

"And?"

"he'll kill me if I tell you."

"I thought we already established what I'd do if you didn't?"

"You don't scare me as much as he does." Without warning I grab the her by the hair and slam her face onto the stage with enough force to do some real damage.  She just looks at me smugly and spits out several of her teeth.

"You'll have to do better than-"

Her sentence ends abruptly as her body slumps to the floor, her hair, still held firmly between my fingers, now pulls taut under the weight of her severed head. The droid looks terrified but remains motionless. Without a word Spydra flings the club manger to one side and we both begin looking for the assailant but to no avail. I draw my blade and attempt to resurrect her but nothing happens...nothing happens?  The magic contained in my sword has no mortal equal in the galaxy, even the best mages would be hard pressed to come close to it's power, yet I get nothing.  There's only one spell that can destroy a soul and it isn't known in this universe.  Every clue keeps leading me to the same conclusion: This has been an inside job.  I need to tell the Black Mantis, worse I need to report our failure to retrieve Parata's head. We'll take the body to our ship and see what clues we can glean from it.

Photo No. 181-210 (out of 1791 photos hit)
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