Dupree was breaking some balls on pool table at a local hole in the wall bar he liked to frequent. It was pretty quiet and all the patrons knew and respected him, so he knew his current mood wasn't likely to get him thrown in a jail cell tonight, like it might in a more crowded bar or one where he was less known. He kicked back a mug of beer after breaking. Another man walked casually up and grabbed a pool stick.
"You playing on your own, or you looking for a game, Sabertooth?" the man asked.
Dupree knew the man before ever looking at him. "I go by Dupree now." he replied. "My Sabertooth days are behind me. What do you want, Hanzo, or Nemesis, or whatever it is you go by these days? I know you didn't come here to play pool."
"I'm rather fond of pool, actually." Hanzo replied. "I have a pool table in my study, even. I used to hustle college kids out of their money with pool before one of them foolishly turned me on to poker. Now I hustle them out of their money in both."
Dupree snickered as Hanzo took aim for a shot. There was no clear path to anything that equated to a ball sinking as far as Dupree could tell. Where was he aiming? There were two balls in the way before he could even get to his. But Hanzo's cue kissed the cue ball from roughly a 45 degree angle, squeezing it between the tip of the stick and the felt covered slate of the table. The cue ball leaped from off the table and cleared the two other balls before connecting with the bumper and rolling back across the table to knock in a ball previously hidden but tucked neatly in a corner pocket.
"I had no idea what you were even aiming for." Dupree said to Hanzo.
"Few people ever do, my friend." he answered back. "Few people ever do."
"What are you here for, Hanzo?" Dupree asked again. "Cut the small talk. You ain't gotta butter me up or try to wow me. Just cut to the chase."
Hanzo cracked a slight smile and answered. "You got dropped last minute from LWs."
"Yeah. That's true." he replied. "I appreciate you guys in Villains Inc. taking me in last minute."
"Well, it didn't just happen to you." Hanzo continued. "Your old league HOI folded as well. They were all scrambling last minute too. I saw many others sitting out for LWs as well that I found surprising."
"Ok." Dupree replied. "And what's that got to do with me?"
"I've always had your back." Hanzo started off. "I'm about to call in some favors and make some plays. I could use you backing me."
"Alright." Dupree answered. "You've always done right by me. I got your back."
"Cool. I appreciate that." Hanzo replied as he knocked the final ball off the table.
Later that night, Hanzo met with a shadowed figure in a dark alley.
"Things are moving ahead smoothly." he said to the other. "How are things working out on your end?"
"We're golden." the other replied. "This is working more easily than we could have hoped."
"Nice!" Hanzo replied. "Here's the coordinates and a map. You have everything you need to get in. I have to get to the docks and meet up with Rogue. We have one last thing to do before we get the ball rolling."
The two parted ways and Hanzo made his way to the docks. Walking along an empty pier, he looked around to see that no one was around. He tapped a comlink in his ear and said, "Rogue, this is Nemesis. I'm ready for extract."
A ship suddenly shimmered into being in front of him, shedding its invisibility cloak. A door dropped down and a set of steps descended to greet him. At the top was Harlequin Rogue.
"Captain." she greeted him as he climbed aboard.
"Rogue." he acknowledged back. "Good looking ship."
"It's not the Time Bandit," she replied, "but it works in a pinch. She needs some repairs and some upgrades, but I think me and the new crew can get her battle ready."
"What's her name?" Hanzo asked.
"I thought we'd wait on you, Captain," she replied, "before deciding on that one."
"No need for that." Hanzo answered. "She's your ship now. You name her."
"Then, I think I'll call her The Arcadia." answered Rogue. "So, captain, where are we going from here?"
Hanzo looked around at his new crew. Some of them he didn't know. Others he did though. He had fought against them often on opposing sides. But now,..... Now they sailed together.......
Looking out into the vast expanse of space, Hanzo answered.
"Where to from here?" he said. "We sail to Pirates Cove."
Just sit right back
And you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from the Pirate's Cove,
Aboard this Steampunk ship.
The mate was had never sailed before,
The Leader new and green,
Five league mates joined as crew that day,
And sailed into destiny,
Sailed into destiny.
The weather started getting rough,
The rickety ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Menace would be lost.
The Menace would be lost...
And Wulfrik too.
And his wife,
A GhoooOOOoost Cat,
The Gunslinger and Aisy-Ling,
Here on MacGregor's Isle.
"The Shade Blade"
"And his wife"?
REALLY? That's all the tagline I get? "His Wife"?
I AM A PERSON! I HAVE A NAME!
I AM CHAOS INCARNATE!
and his wife... I swear....
Moonlit Dancer. Chaos Incarnate. Lover of the Night.
In reply to this post by Fuma Hanzo
Two ships sat docked at New Amsterdam Harbor. One billowed smoke out of a chimney choking the air. The other sat still and quiet, sailors nearby laughing at the odd sails that would never catch proper wind on the seas.
Both were ridiculous.
Loki stood near the ship that had the odd angled sails. He watched the porters load cargo onto the ship, his brother Layak checking each item as it came aboard. He sauntered over to Layak, giving his little brother a clap on the back.
"How goes the inventory, Layak?"
"Good, bro", he replied. "We have food, bunks, various supplies I don't even understand... Are you sure we are qualified to run a ship?" Layak checked off another crate filled with various odds and ends.
"Nope", he grinned. "Are we qualified to be super heroes?"
"I am!", Layak retorted. Of all of the transplants from Lothlorien, Layak took the quickest to life as a super hero. He loved it. "But hey.. being a Pirate Super hero is even cooler."
Layak's grin was infectious and Loki couldn't help but smile along. He clapped his brother on the shoulder again and walked up the gangplank. The crew of Lothlorien's Lament were busy putting things away, tying down ropes, and keeping the ship clean despite the constant foot traffic. Loki saw GhostCat leaning against a rail watching the proceedings.
"Nothing to do, Ghost? Time enough to lean, time enough to clean!", he said and smiled to let her know he was joking.
"I will scratch your eyes out and feed them to the seagulls if you ever say that to me again, Kid", she replied. Her fingers splayed apart allowing her claws to stretch slowly from their sheaths. Loki just smiled at her.
"Oh please... My mom is part cat. Same with Aunt Isfet and Uncle Jeetaur. Cats threatening me is par for the course around here", he replied. "Why aren't you over on MacGregor's Malice? This isn't even your ship."
"Ugh, it's the stank from that smokestack", she said as she bumped herself away from the rail with her hip. "How can I be on a ship that churns out that stink?"
"Oh, that won't be there for long", he said. "The smoke is just for show while we are in port. Shade Blade says it turns off with a switch"
"That's... just dumb"
"Yeah", Loki laughed out loud. "He says it throws them off or something. I dunno. It wont be like that once we launch", he shrugged.
"OK, weird, but fine. But I gotta ask...", she paused for effect, letting the question hang awkwardly. When he raised his eyebrows at her, she finally continued, "Why are we using 18th century pirate boats? We live in an age of spaceships and orbiting space stations... Why are we using these artifacts?"
Loki smiled a sly look, he turned and started walking away, "The crews are more familiar with this set up. We are... from another time and place."
"Curioser and curioser", she replied.
"Curiosity killed the cat", he laughed as he walked on to check the rest of the ship.
Loki approached "Pops", who stood behind the wheel of the ship, hands moving lovingly across the spoked handles. He had an affinity for all things technological, regardless of what time it came from.
"Well, Old Man", he said as he walked up, "how do you like the 'Lament' so far?"
"Watch the 'Old Man' remarks, whipper snapper." Pops retorted. He might be the oldest of all the ones brought over, but he hated being reminded of it. He could still swing a halberd with surprising accuracy. Loki grinned and held his hands up in mock defense.
"Would you prefer I called you Cid?"
"Smart ass. I get that reference"
"Really?" Loki was genuinely surprised. Who knew an old man from another realm had played Final Fantasy?
"And to answer your question youngin, I love this ship." Pops added. "It has soul. It has life. I can feel every breath she takes".
Loki watched him with a bemused expression. He wasn't sure how sane the old man was nowadays, but crazy or not, the man had a tactical mind and his council was invaluable in maters of war and life.
"Let's get this show on the road" Loki finally commented.
"Roads? Where we're going... " Pops started.
"STOP!" Loki interjected quickly. "Don't even finish that sentence." Honestly, his culture references were astounding. "Start the ship. The Malice is ready, and we are loaded."
Loki saw the MacGregor's Malice next to them had signaled their readiness. He caught sight of GhostCat with a rag over her face to stave off the offending smoke from the Malice's stacks. She might hate the smoke, but she really did want to see what was going to happen.
A slight hum was the only hint that 'Lothlorien's Lament' had changed at first. Slowly, her sails switched and altered their positioning by themselves - a blue glow began to emanate from a crystal behind Pops who stood at the wheel, hands ready to guide her from port.
Next to them, the Malice began to chug slowly away from the dock, large wheels churning the water below as it moved away, Captain Shade Blade at the helm himself. Loki preferred to let Pops handle this stuff, although his own affinity for technology would have allowed him to handle it just fine.
Both ships moved away from the port. The Laments sails strayed far off to the port and starboard rather than straight up on a center mast. The sails slowly moved up and down rhythmically, completely opposite what they should be doing to catch wind and sail properly.
Onlookers stared from the dock as the two ships headed out of the bay of New Amsterdam. Loki smiled thinking of all the dock pirates he and his league had to battle there, wondering how many of the onlookers were thieves pick-pocketing the other lookie-loos.
When they had reached the end of the bay and open sea stared at them, Shade Blade again signaled and the smoke stacks suddenly stopped pouring black smoke into the sky (that Loki knew was nothing more than glamour anyway) and white steam began chugging happily from the stacks instead.
Next to him, he heard Pops mutter something about a pope being elected and Loki had no idea what he was talking about this time. The white steam was the signal to begin the final departure, so he dismissed the coots crazy ramblings. Pops was already pushing buttons - crystals - on the spokes of each of the wheel in particular order.
The change in the Lament was immediate as the sails lifted high and then thrust downward, nearly touching the water. The front of the ship rose and everyone grabbed on to rails, ropes, or each other as the Lament rose steadily up out of the water, her wings drawing her farther up and higher. The glow of their crystal brightened as she rose.
Loki smiled as he heard his brother Layak whoop happily from the crows nest, wanting the best view as they ascended. Loki then turned and saw the Malice was ascending alongside them. GhostCat stared at them and then down at the water, then back at the Lament. Maybe he should have warned her. Nah, that was her Captain's job, not his. At least her cloth was no longer covering her mouth as the clean white steam no longer offended.
Shade Blade and Pops both laid in a course and turned towards the horizon.
"Course laid in, Captain." Pops stated and Loki nodded.
"Take us to the Pirate's Cove, Pops."
Captain of "Lothlorien's Lament"
Leader of Lothlorien
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