Storytime - Arc 3 - Choosing Your Own Path

HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★
WAR!

Millions of SUMMONERS, humans from countless dimensions, find themselves in an INFINITE BATTLEREALM, at the command of CHAMPIONS of all kinds. HEROES and VILLAINS alike find themselves caught in an endless struggle between the Summoner and the greatest adversaries of the Marvel universe.

In the midst of this eternal CONTEST, a DARING BAND of heroes REBELLED against their Summoner, overpowering and KILLING the villain. Journeying through the Battlerealm's wastes, they joined forces with AGENT COULSON of SHIELD, and reunited with their old friend, the SUMMONED SYMBIOID called LIL' STAN. But as these heroes begin to formulate a plan to take the fight back to their overlords, they find themselves with a choice to make...
* * *
"OK, so we know the Collector has outposts here, here, and here," Warren stated, pointing to different points on the map before his team. "The Labyrinth of Legends is well guarded, we'll want to stay out of the way of that. If we maneuver between Ultron's domain and the Contest at large, we might be able to reach the Collector undetected."

"Thou art a large party," Thor observed. "Perhaps 'twould be wise to split in two. Better to remain out of sight of the Collector's patrols, who doth sweep this area every now and again."

"Hmm... You've got a point. Very well, then, uh... Gwen, Thaddeus, you two take half the squad and head off through the Black ISO Mafia's territory. Don't get too close, but... that would be the best bet, I think," Warren revised, studying the map again. "We'll meet up here." He firmly put down a finger at a specific point of the map. "The Proving Grounds. Alright. Are we agreed?"

The group collectively nodded, and Warren stated, "Alright, then. We'll head off tonight. In the meantime, if anyone wants to prepare themselves... I'm sure we won't be able to keep entirely out of sight on our journey."

As he said this, Agent Coulson awoke on a couch. Slightly startled, he looked around, finding himself inside Thor's ramshackle old hut, and seeing the whole group of heroes crammed inside. Getting up, he asked, "What's going on?"

"Ah, Son of Coul! You're awake," Thor greeted him, walking over and almost crushing the Agent in a hug. "Warren here was just talking about plans he was making."

"With Lil' Stan, the Collector's usual forces won't stand a chance," Warren explained. "He'll have to send some of his strongest minions to even stand toe to toe with this guy."

Lil' Stan nodded.

"Still weird that you taught a Symbioid to talk... I've never heard of anything like it," Coulson replied, approaching the table.

"Well, he's got a mouth, why can't he talk?" Gwen asked with a shrug.

"Good point. So, what's our plan here? What's our goal?" Coulson asked.

"The Collector keeps his... well, collection right here. We're going to take two groups - Lil' Stan will lead a large group through the Contest, and Gwen and Thaddeus will head through Black ISO Mafia space. We'll meet here, before we attack the Collector," Warren explained. "If we do this right, we can free not just ourselves, but every version of ourselves stuck in this Battlerealm."

"Sounds like a plan. But," Coulson warned. "The Collector won't go easy on you. You remember those Helicarriers that he sent after you at Asteroid M? He's got a few thousand more of those ready to go. We need to go here" -he pointed to the far side of the map, leagues away from where they were planning to go- "And gather allies. I know a couple people who would be willing to join the fight."

"Like who?" Beck asked.

"Now, hold on, Quentin," Warren cautioned. "The more time that goes by, the more time the Collector has to get ready. More likely than not, he knows we're coming."

"We need everyone we can get," Warren countered. "Who did you have in mind, Coulson?"

"Well, just one person in particular," Coulson replied. "Quake."

The room fell silent for a few seconds, before Thaddeus stated, "If you could get Quake on our team..."

"I can," Coulson affirmed.

More silence. Finally, Warren decided, "OK. I don't think we can divert many people from the march to the Collector. We'll need as many heroes as we can get there. But, Coulson, if you could take a small team... This would be a huge help. You'd have to move fast."

"Don't worry about it. I'll get over there and back to the Proving Grounds as soon as you guys are there," Coulson replied. "How long...?"

"Three weeks. Maybe two," Warren answered. "Again, we need to move as quickly as possible. The more time we take, the more time the Collector has. Time is not on our side. I can give you one of my lieutenants, though... Lil' Stan's got the large group accounted for. Nothing bad will happen to them. I can protect the smaller group, I can spare one of Quentin, Gwen, Thaddeus, or Johnny."

"Alright," Coulson replied, looking around the room at the stoic - excited - prepared - haunted faces of the heroes who might accompany him. "I think, going through the very heart of the Battlerealm, there's only one person I want to bring with me. And that's..."
* * *
And that's the end! Sorry that this is going up so late, my computer had lots of problems last night, and I've got much of my own writing to do. But here it is, Issue #7, first of Arc 3, which is going to bring some changes going forward. This Arc will probably be longer than the last one, it's got a new Star Wars-esque opening (which I'm very happy with), and it is going to introduce a new element to these stories. Yep, we are a go for a "Choose Your Own Adventure" style arc! Please let me know down in the comments which of the four you'd like Coulson to choose (and, from there, which one I'll explore in even more depth going forward) and I'll tally up the votes for next week. Once again, I hope you enjoyed, and I will see you all next week!
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Comments

  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★
    Quentin! Quentin!
    (or Johnny. Your choice)

    Choose your own adventure eh? Okay.
    So excited to see Quake in here lol. Really anticipating this battle against the Collector, have a feeling someone may die.
    Did you forget about Iron Man and Beast or are you saving them for later?

    also, please tell me you aren’t going to kill anyone with a golf club. Please.

    Great story, looking forward to this, and I’ll see you next week!
  • MathgeekMathgeek Posts: 609 ★★★
    Quentin
  • Anonymous346Anonymous346 Posts: 661 ★★★
    I heard the collector was hidden in the bases tab
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★

    Quentin! Quentin!
    (or Johnny. Your choice)

    Choose your own adventure eh? Okay.
    So excited to see Quake in here lol. Really anticipating this battle against the Collector, have a feeling someone may die.
    Did you forget about Iron Man and Beast or are you saving them for later?

    also, please tell me you aren’t going to kill anyone with a golf club. Please.

    Great story, looking forward to this, and I’ll see you next week!

    Yep. I remember someone (it might have been Zyzzx) discussing a potential CYOA style story once, I don't remember if it ever happened but I like the idea, so that's what I'm running with.

    Iron Man and Beast will be back. Probably next week but we'll see.

    "Everyone dies, if you tell the story long enough." -Kevin Emerson, The Shores Beyond Time

    See you next week too! Thanks for sticking around so long, I appreciate it.
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★
    Mathgeek said:

    Quentin

    Thank you for your vote! Hope you're enjoying it.
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★

    I heard the collector was hidden in the bases tab

    You know... not such a bad idea. Completely forgot about bases, thanks for the inspiration!
  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★

    Quentin! Quentin!
    (or Johnny. Your choice)

    Choose your own adventure eh? Okay.
    So excited to see Quake in here lol. Really anticipating this battle against the Collector, have a feeling someone may die.
    Did you forget about Iron Man and Beast or are you saving them for later?

    also, please tell me you aren’t going to kill anyone with a golf club. Please.

    Great story, looking forward to this, and I’ll see you next week!

    Yep. I remember someone (it might have been Zyzzx) discussing a potential CYOA style story once, I don't remember if it ever happened but I like the idea, so that's what I'm running with.

    Iron Man and Beast will be back. Probably next week but we'll see.

    "Everyone dies, if you tell the story long enough." -Kevin Emerson, The Shores Beyond Time

    See you next week too! Thanks for sticking around so long, I appreciate it.
    I stick around because you write amazing stuff. It’s wonderful and brightens up the day.

    you’re going to kill Coulson or Quentin aren’t you. Those are my bets for the deadpool.
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★

    Quentin! Quentin!
    (or Johnny. Your choice)

    Choose your own adventure eh? Okay.
    So excited to see Quake in here lol. Really anticipating this battle against the Collector, have a feeling someone may die.
    Did you forget about Iron Man and Beast or are you saving them for later?

    also, please tell me you aren’t going to kill anyone with a golf club. Please.

    Great story, looking forward to this, and I’ll see you next week!

    Yep. I remember someone (it might have been Zyzzx) discussing a potential CYOA style story once, I don't remember if it ever happened but I like the idea, so that's what I'm running with.

    Iron Man and Beast will be back. Probably next week but we'll see.

    "Everyone dies, if you tell the story long enough." -Kevin Emerson, The Shores Beyond Time

    See you next week too! Thanks for sticking around so long, I appreciate it.
    I stick around because you write amazing stuff. It’s wonderful and brightens up the day.

    you’re going to kill Coulson or Quentin aren’t you. Those are my bets for the deadpool.
    I am so, so happy to hear that. That's all I can really hope for as a writer, isn't it? Gives me great confidence and hope in my storytelling future to hear that.

    Just to let you know: I wasn't planning to kill off any of the characters until you mentioned it. So thanks for the inspiration :smile:
  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★

    Quentin! Quentin!
    (or Johnny. Your choice)

    Choose your own adventure eh? Okay.
    So excited to see Quake in here lol. Really anticipating this battle against the Collector, have a feeling someone may die.
    Did you forget about Iron Man and Beast or are you saving them for later?

    also, please tell me you aren’t going to kill anyone with a golf club. Please.

    Great story, looking forward to this, and I’ll see you next week!

    Yep. I remember someone (it might have been Zyzzx) discussing a potential CYOA style story once, I don't remember if it ever happened but I like the idea, so that's what I'm running with.

    Iron Man and Beast will be back. Probably next week but we'll see.

    "Everyone dies, if you tell the story long enough." -Kevin Emerson, The Shores Beyond Time

    See you next week too! Thanks for sticking around so long, I appreciate it.
    I stick around because you write amazing stuff. It’s wonderful and brightens up the day.

    you’re going to kill Coulson or Quentin aren’t you. Those are my bets for the deadpool.
    I am so, so happy to hear that. That's all I can really hope for as a writer, isn't it? Gives me great confidence and hope in my storytelling future to hear that.

    Just to let you know: I wasn't planning to kill off any of the characters until you mentioned it. So thanks for the inspiration :smile:
    bro if you wrote and actual book I’d probably buy it if you let me know.

    god[censored][censored]
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★

    Quentin! Quentin!
    (or Johnny. Your choice)

    Choose your own adventure eh? Okay.
    So excited to see Quake in here lol. Really anticipating this battle against the Collector, have a feeling someone may die.
    Did you forget about Iron Man and Beast or are you saving them for later?

    also, please tell me you aren’t going to kill anyone with a golf club. Please.

    Great story, looking forward to this, and I’ll see you next week!

    Yep. I remember someone (it might have been Zyzzx) discussing a potential CYOA style story once, I don't remember if it ever happened but I like the idea, so that's what I'm running with.

    Iron Man and Beast will be back. Probably next week but we'll see.

    "Everyone dies, if you tell the story long enough." -Kevin Emerson, The Shores Beyond Time

    See you next week too! Thanks for sticking around so long, I appreciate it.
    I stick around because you write amazing stuff. It’s wonderful and brightens up the day.

    you’re going to kill Coulson or Quentin aren’t you. Those are my bets for the deadpool.
    I am so, so happy to hear that. That's all I can really hope for as a writer, isn't it? Gives me great confidence and hope in my storytelling future to hear that.

    Just to let you know: I wasn't planning to kill off any of the characters until you mentioned it. So thanks for the inspiration :smile:
    bro if you wrote and actual book I’d probably buy it if you let me know.

    god[censored][censored]
    I am working on my own book right now, it has been in development for way longer than it should be haha, but I'm hoping that it can get finished and published sometime next year. I'll let you know if there's any major updates on that front but don't count on it. Writing is a complicated profession.

    And yeah, that sounds about right. When it comes to character deaths, I can be a little... Martin-esque.
  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★

    Quentin! Quentin!
    (or Johnny. Your choice)

    Choose your own adventure eh? Okay.
    So excited to see Quake in here lol. Really anticipating this battle against the Collector, have a feeling someone may die.
    Did you forget about Iron Man and Beast or are you saving them for later?

    also, please tell me you aren’t going to kill anyone with a golf club. Please.

    Great story, looking forward to this, and I’ll see you next week!

    Yep. I remember someone (it might have been Zyzzx) discussing a potential CYOA style story once, I don't remember if it ever happened but I like the idea, so that's what I'm running with.

    Iron Man and Beast will be back. Probably next week but we'll see.

    "Everyone dies, if you tell the story long enough." -Kevin Emerson, The Shores Beyond Time

    See you next week too! Thanks for sticking around so long, I appreciate it.
    I stick around because you write amazing stuff. It’s wonderful and brightens up the day.

    you’re going to kill Coulson or Quentin aren’t you. Those are my bets for the deadpool.
    I am so, so happy to hear that. That's all I can really hope for as a writer, isn't it? Gives me great confidence and hope in my storytelling future to hear that.

    Just to let you know: I wasn't planning to kill off any of the characters until you mentioned it. So thanks for the inspiration :smile:
    bro if you wrote and actual book I’d probably buy it if you let me know.

    god[censored][censored]
    I am working on my own book right now, it has been in development for way longer than it should be haha, but I'm hoping that it can get finished and published sometime next year. I'll let you know if there's any major updates on that front but don't count on it. Writing is a complicated profession.

    And yeah, that sounds about right. When it comes to character deaths, I can be a little... Martin-esque.
    You are! Any particular genre in mind? Whenever you finish it, I’ll buy it. I’m always in need of new stuff to read.

    I’ll just have a box of tissues then
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★

    Quentin! Quentin!
    (or Johnny. Your choice)

    Choose your own adventure eh? Okay.
    So excited to see Quake in here lol. Really anticipating this battle against the Collector, have a feeling someone may die.
    Did you forget about Iron Man and Beast or are you saving them for later?

    also, please tell me you aren’t going to kill anyone with a golf club. Please.

    Great story, looking forward to this, and I’ll see you next week!

    Yep. I remember someone (it might have been Zyzzx) discussing a potential CYOA style story once, I don't remember if it ever happened but I like the idea, so that's what I'm running with.

    Iron Man and Beast will be back. Probably next week but we'll see.

    "Everyone dies, if you tell the story long enough." -Kevin Emerson, The Shores Beyond Time

    See you next week too! Thanks for sticking around so long, I appreciate it.
    I stick around because you write amazing stuff. It’s wonderful and brightens up the day.

    you’re going to kill Coulson or Quentin aren’t you. Those are my bets for the deadpool.
    I am so, so happy to hear that. That's all I can really hope for as a writer, isn't it? Gives me great confidence and hope in my storytelling future to hear that.

    Just to let you know: I wasn't planning to kill off any of the characters until you mentioned it. So thanks for the inspiration :smile:
    bro if you wrote and actual book I’d probably buy it if you let me know.

    god[censored][censored]
    I am working on my own book right now, it has been in development for way longer than it should be haha, but I'm hoping that it can get finished and published sometime next year. I'll let you know if there's any major updates on that front but don't count on it. Writing is a complicated profession.

    And yeah, that sounds about right. When it comes to character deaths, I can be a little... Martin-esque.
    You are! Any particular genre in mind? Whenever you finish it, I’ll buy it. I’m always in need of new stuff to read.

    I’ll just have a box of tissues then
    Genre's difficult to talk about... in theory it's a sci-fi/fantasy novel, especially from a worldbuilding standpoint, but it's a very character focused, character driven novel that kind of leaves those labels behind a little. There's elements of espionage, there are gangsters, there's a mystery element... it's definitely not something I can fit into a couple of words for better or for worse. Great to hear that, but you'll definitely be waiting a while. Apologies about that.

    Good strategy.
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★
    JOURNEY to the heart of the BATTLEREALM!

    As Warren's team, now strengthened by the SUMMONED SYMBIOID, begin their crusade against the Collector, hoping to free themselves, AGENT COULSON offers to bring the team valuable reinforcements in the form of QUAKE. Setting out across the realm, Coulson finds himself with only one member to bring along for backup on this quest...
    * * *
    "Quentin," Coulson says, deciding that the illusive powers of Mysterio will help them evade detection or capture as they travel through the Battlerealm.

    "You OK with that?" Warren asks, turning to his lieutenant.

    Quentin nods - "If it means better defending our group, or, even better, all the versions of us in this realm... I'll do it."

    "Good. Then we move out immediately," Warren ordered, and that was that - the group split into three, a large force led by Lil' Stan the Symbioid, a smaller group led by Warren, and, of course, Coulson and Quentin. Pulling out a map of the Battlerealm, Coulson said, "Alright. We're heading west. We need to move through Ultron's domain and past the very heart of the Battlerealm. And fast. Any idea how to...?"

    But before the Agent could complete his sentence, Quentin had already begun levitating in the air, as if on an invisible platform. "Oh," Coulson replied, looking up at the green smoke that swirled around him. "Do I get one of those?"

    With a smile, Quentin created another platform for Coulson to stand on, before levitating the both of them off through the air, headed towards their target. Wind rushed by as they flew past asteroids, planets, even, and whenever they would pass an Ultron drone or Symbioid, a thin, green mist would envelop them, making it seem as if they were no more than simple drones themselves. But though their travel was quick and undisturbed, there was another pair of heroes who did not find it quite so easy to cross the Realm.
    * * *
    Firing repulsor blasts at Symbioids all around him, Tony Stark still found himself far overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemies he was faced with. His armor was scratched and battered, running low on energy reserves, but still he fought with every heavy breath and fired beam.

    "Hank, how much longer until you're done over there?" he called out to Hank McCoy, who stood far away, atop a small ledge of rock, tinkering and fiddling with a ball-sized device - he was, thankfully, free of impediment from the Symbioids, as Tony was drawing their attention with his fire.

    "Almost there, Tony!" Hank replied, rushing to finish his contraption.

    "Well, work faster!" Tony shouted, trying to fly up into the air, but seeing only sparks come from his boots. Grunting, he threw a punch at the nearest Symbioid, before another foe leapt on top of him, clawing and scratching. Soon, several of the Symbioids were piled on top of him, and though Tony struggled to break free, it was no use.

    Then, there was an explosion, and a loud, booming noise burst through the air, blowing the Symbioids back. They hissed as the wave of sound hit them, and allowing Tony to punch up, freeing himself, and jumping into the air before firing a 360-degree repulsor beam. Already weakened by the sound, the Symbioids were quickly defeated as this beam hit them, falling to the ground, knocked out.

    As Tony fell back to the ground, he waded over the Symbioids and walked up to Hank. "Good work, Doc," Tony commended. "You probably want to keep that little gizmo somewhere. Never know when we might run into another patrol of these Symbioids."

    "Alright, Tony," Hank replied, before looking at his fellow hero's armor - a large chunk of the shoulder had been ripped off, and the lower right leg's armor had also been torn off. "Your armor, Tony, it's-"

    "I'm fully aware of that, Doctor," Tony answered, looking off towards the horizon. "Look, there's a SHIELD base in the distance. I'm sure there's enough material to fix this armor up, give it a fresh charge and all."

    "You're not wrong, but perhaps it wouldn't be the best idea to raid another one of the Collector's bases, especially in the state that we're in," Hank stated. "I mean, we ran out of boosts two weeks ago. I'm afraid it may only be downhill from here."

    "Cheer up, Hank, we'll be fine," Tony replied, trekking off towards the base, just a few asteroids away.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the SHIELD base, Coulson and Quentin approached, coming down towards the asteroid and landing smoothly. "Well, that was certainly something," Coulson observed, still a little unsettled by the sensation of being sent hurtling through space at unsafe velocities.

    "You'll get used to it, I'm sure," Quentin replied, walking into the base. "How else are we going to get to the Proving Grounds to meet up with the gang?"

    Sighing, Coulson pulled out his gun, and headed in after Quentin, on guard. They walked slowly through the darkened base, seeing no signs of life. "Quake should be somewhere on the second floor, if I remember correctly," Coulson stated, and Quentin nodded, heading up a nearby flight of stairs.

    Simultaneously, Tony and Hank stood on the opposite side of the base, cutting through a window with a thin repulsor beam, and entering quietly. Using a scan from his system, Tony stated, "Alright, tech division seems like it's upstairs. We can avoid quite a lot of people if we stay out of sight and avoid the armory."

    "Alright," Hank replied, and they too began to head up the stairs.

    As the two separate teams of heroes headed through the top story of the base, Coulson and Quentin turned a corner, coming face to face with three SHIELD agents. Freezing for a moment, the first agent called out, "Intruders!", before being shot by Coulson. The others were quickly hit by a beam from Quentin, but the ruckus was enough to draw Tony and Hank's attention.

    "Someone else is here," Hank said, and Tony nodded, saying, "Let's go and check it out. Who knows, they may be able to help us."

    Running as quick as they could through the halls towards the source of the noise, the two geniuses found three knocked out Agents on the floor, but no sign of whoever had knocked them out. Performing another scan, Tony looked around, and pointed towards a nearby room. "There. Three life signs," Tony announced, and they headed into the darkened room. Carefully walking through the rows of boxes, the ISO-8 inside them glowing slightly, Tony and Hank heard voices -

    "Is it-?"
    "Yep. That's her. Quake. The Collector's forces must've captured her... she always did cause a little too much trouble for her own good around these parts."
    "She's unconscious. That's going to make things difficult."

    Getting closer to the source of the voices, Tony and Hank stepped into the open, the former holding up his hands and readying a repulsor ray. Across from them, next to the chair where Quake sat, Coulson and Quentin stood, instinctively raising their weapons before recognizing who it was. "Tony? Hank?" Quentin asked, lowering his hands.

    "Quentin. Didn't know you were here," Tony said, standing down as well. "What are you doing here?"

    "Warren's leading an attack on the Collector. You should come with us. Although... your suit might've seen better days," Quentin remarked.

    "I know. That's why we're here, after all. Here, I'll help you with the girl, you go into the next room and grab me some of these pieces," Tony stated, walking over to Quake and picking her up. While Quentin ran over to the tech room next door and took a box of scraps, the rest of the heroes made a hasty exit from the room, though Hank pocketed a few fragments of ISO-8 as he did, figuring he might need it for some contraption later.

    "Alright. I got your tech, let's get out of here," Quentin said, leading them down the long, dark hallway. But before they'd made it halfway through the hallway, a dark red figure stepped out to face them, wielding two billy clubs.

    "Oh, great," Coulson sighed, looking behind him, and finding only a wall and a door back into the room they'd just came from. For all intents and purposes, they were trapped. And he recognized exactly who was doing the trapping.

    "Hank, Quentin, Agent, make sure I'm seeing things right," Tony asked, frozen in place. "Is that Matt Murdock?"

    "That's him alright. The Daredevil," Quentin replied, readying himself for battle.

    "Stand down," Daredevil called. "The Collector may still spare you fugitive Champions."

    "Never," Quentin shouted back.

    They thought they could see Daredevil smile ever so slightly. "Then this is the end for you," he declared, as two SHIELD agents walked up beside him, guns at the ready, aiming towards the group. In a split second, Quentin fired a blast at both Agents, and knocked one down before he could fire. But he was too slow - before his laser hit the other SHIELD Agent, they had already fired their gun, the bullet whistling through the air, as it made its way to the group and found its target, striking true.

    The group watched on in shock as they realized what had just happened. One of them had been shot.

    Choose who dies.
    * * *
    Oh man, I feel bad about that ending already. Sorry about this coming out late again, just didn't feel up to it yesterday. Tell me down below who's going to die, like last time (this is a CYOA arc, after all.) You can pick any one of the five heroes in the hallway right now to mark for death so... choose wisely! I hope you enjoyed the dual perspectives I ran with here, sort of a new thing for Storytime which is always fun to introduce. And, as always, I hope you liked it, thank you for reading, see you next week!
  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★
    you are a piece of [censored] you [censored], you know that?

    dead person? iron man. kinda an easy choice, since he hasn’t had anything interesting going on and I really don’t care about him. Beast at least is making boosts and things, but Tony is doing absolutely nothing.

    Anyway, my thoughts.
    Quake! Quake! Quake! Quake! Quake! Quake!
    Daredevil is a bad guy. oof.
    Again, really easy decision here. Tony and Beast have been gone for so long, and haven’t been developed enough for someone to care about them. I think you did that on purpose.

    Love this, as always. See you next week!
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★

    you are a piece of [censored] you [censored], you know that?

    dead person? iron man. kinda an easy choice, since he hasn’t had anything interesting going on and I really don’t care about him. Beast at least is making boosts and things, but Tony is doing absolutely nothing.

    Anyway, my thoughts.
    Quake! Quake! Quake! Quake! Quake! Quake!
    Daredevil is a bad guy. oof.
    Again, really easy decision here. Tony and Beast have been gone for so long, and haven’t been developed enough for someone to care about them. I think you did that on purpose.

    Love this, as always. See you next week!

    Fair assessment. Next week's choice hopefully won't be such a major decision. Thanks for reading!
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★
    Update!

    Sorry for no post this week. I'm aware it's Wednesday and these usually go up Monday, but oh well. I had a lot of stuff to take care of, unfortunately. There were a number of directions that I wanted to explore this week, but I couldn't figure out which ones to postpone until later... so I decided, why not just run them all?

    So, (hopefully) this Friday, I'm going to run the first GIANT-SIZE Storytime, with five different viewpoints (no joke), including:

    - A direct continuation of where we found Coulson and the gang last week, staring down Daredevil in a hallway. Never a good thing to be doing.
    - Taking a look at what Warren and his group are up to, running around the Battlerealm.
    - Checking in with our friend, the Summoned Symbioid, Lil' Stan himself!
    - How does good old Taneleer feel about this incoming attack? Does he even know?
    - And a surprise viewpoint, who may or may not be related to our good friend Johnny...

    Thanks for the patience, hopefully this whole GIANT-SIZE experiment works out, and let's see what direction you guys choose to steer the ship next time (because, of course, the CYOA thing is still running). Also, this does mean that to anyone not named SpideyFunko, you do still have time to choose how last week's edition ends, so if you don't want Iron Man to die... let me know in the comments!

    Finally, to pass the time a little, here's a quick cipher for you guys to solve. oaawz://ddd.fvbabil.jvt/dhajo?c=O01IdZK9lfX Hope you enjoy this litle puzzle, and tune in this Friday for this special edition of Storytime!
  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★

    Update!

    Sorry for no post this week. I'm aware it's Wednesday and these usually go up Monday, but oh well. I had a lot of stuff to take care of, unfortunately. There were a number of directions that I wanted to explore this week, but I couldn't figure out which ones to postpone until later... so I decided, why not just run them all?

    So, (hopefully) this Friday, I'm going to run the first GIANT-SIZE Storytime, with five different viewpoints (no joke), including:

    - A direct continuation of where we found Coulson and the gang last week, staring down Daredevil in a hallway. Never a good thing to be doing.
    - Taking a look at what Warren and his group are up to, running around the Battlerealm.
    - Checking in with our friend, the Summoned Symbioid, Lil' Stan himself!
    - How does good old Taneleer feel about this incoming attack? Does he even know?
    - And a surprise viewpoint, who may or may not be related to our good friend Johnny...

    Thanks for the patience, hopefully this whole GIANT-SIZE experiment works out, and let's see what direction you guys choose to steer the ship next time (because, of course, the CYOA thing is still running). Also, this does mean that to anyone not named SpideyFunko, you do still have time to choose how last week's edition ends, so if you don't want Iron Man to die... let me know in the comments!

    Finally, to pass the time a little, here's a quick cipher for you guys to solve. oaawz://ddd.fvbabil.jvt/dhajo?c=O01IdZK9lfX Hope you enjoy this litle puzzle, and tune in this Friday for this special edition of Storytime!

    Giant size? worth the wait, 100%.
    also, I can’t open the cipher, says the link is invalid?
    See you tomorrow!
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★
    The bullet strikes him square in the ribs. Before anyone can do anything, before the man himself can register the blow, Tony Stark - genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist - falls to the ground. He looks up at the bot that shot him, torn apart by Quentin's blast of green energy. And yet it is already too late, as he drops Quake and feels blood seep out of his chest, a coldness beginning to ebb from the wound. Quickly, the coldness begins to spread through his body, paralyzing his chest, then his arms and legs, before soon, he can feel nothing. He can see nothing. He only thinks of the machines he will now never build, the innovations he will now never create - the allies, the friends, the family he will now never see again. And with that, the Iron Man dies, leagues away from anything he would call home.
    * * *
    Coulson and Hank look down at Tony, eyes wide, stunned with disbelief. The latter reaches down, intending to check on Tony's pulse, but Coulson waves him off, looking at the ever increasing pool of blood. "Don't bother," Coulson says, looking up at the enemy still facing them - Matthew Murdock, the Daredevil.

    Quentin, with a shout of anger and exertion, lets loose two blasts of green light from his fists. They fly towards the foe, illuminating the darkened hallway, before, aided by his Radar Sense, Daredevil casually leaps over them. Bounding off the walls, leaping from side to side, Daredevil delivers a flying kick to Quentin's face, knocking him into the wall beside him. Landing deftly on his feet, he faces Coulson, who fires his gun several times, but to no avail. The bullets bounce right off of Daredevil's suit, and the Devil of Hell's Kitchen responds with a punch to Coulson's face, then another, then a cracking blow to the chest.

    Hank, leaping into action, manages to duck under a hook from Daredevil, striking his foe's knee. As Daredevil staggers back, he kicks Hank, knocking the doctor onto Tony and the still-unconscious Quake. Pressing the advantage, Daredevil grabs Quentin by the shoulders, slamming him into the wall before delivering a brutal punch. Quentin counters, blocking the next hit, and throwing an uppercut. But Daredevil barely flinches, his head going up with a crack before coming right back down, and he throws Quentin across the hallway, into a wall, crushing the panel and caving it in slightly.

    As Coulson backed away, reloading his gun, Hank got up, throwing a couple punches, landing one, missing the other. Daredevil responds - one, two, three blows to the face, blood spurting from Hank's broken nose, before Agent Coulson shouts, "Hey!"

    Daredevil looks up, rushing towards his foe, and Coulson takes the opportunity to strike. He unloads his gun, firing directly at the red-clad brawler, and though most of the shots bounce off, one hits its target. His head whipping around at the impact, Daredevil pauses for a moment, breathing slowly, as Coulson stands at the ready, his gun still raised. Then, he turns back to face the SHIELD Agent once more, and Coulson sees the effect of his attack - half of Daredevil's jaw is blown out in a horrific spatter of blood. But, Daredevil only takes a moment to carefully wipe the blood from his now mangled cheek, before rushing back in with a yell.

    Then, a wave of white, emanating energy struck Daredevil, blowing him clean across the hallway. Confused, Coulson looked around, before finally seeing the source - Quake, arm outstretched, now conscious, had used her powers to blast Daredevil away. "Daisy?" Coulson called, surprised by her sudden recovery.

    "Coulson?" came Quake's reply, mouth wide in amazement and surprise.

    "Talk... later," Quentin ordered, as he stumbled down the hallway, clutching his side. "We should go, now."

    "Got it," Coulson replied, as Hank behind him got to his feet as well. Still on guard, the four of them limped out of the base, and made a quick escape, leaving the cold, still body of Tony Stark behind them.
    * * *
    Meanwhile, Warren, Johnny, and a small band of heroes - coincidentally, mostly mutants - walked through the Battlerealm's edges. They were just days out from the Proving Grounds, or so they thought. And while they'd run into a few patrols of Symbioids and Adaptoids, those were quickly dispatched by Warren's Neurotoxins and Johnny's motorcycle.

    But, just as they came over the top of an asteroid, and saw the gates of the Proving Grounds staring back at them, an ambush came at them which they did not expect. Out of nowhere, a large motorcycle stormed towards them, all aflame, scorching the ground as it went. "Look out!" Warren shouted, readying his wings and assuming a defensive position as the rest of the group scuttled behind him. But, before Warren could deliver an attack towards the incoming vehicle, it sped right past him and the group in a fiery blur.

    As Warren watched the bike go, speeding off beyond the horizon and through the stars, he looked around the group, making sure that everyone was still there. And once he had taken a full head count, he realized exactly what had happened, his face going pale.

    "Warren? Warren! You OK?" Cyclops called to him.

    "Yeah, bub, you look even more freaked out than usual," Wolverine added, with a frown.

    "Johnny's gone," Warren whispered, shocked.
    * * *
    Oblivious to the sudden disappearance of their comrade, the rest of the gang - Thaddeus, Gwen, and a multitude of other heroes - followed Lil' Stan, who took point, leading them forward. "We're... close!" he announced, sniffing the air.

    "Alright!" Gwen exclaimed, scanning around for the Proving Grounds. "So, where are we supposed to be?"

    "We should rest for tonight," Thaddeus advised. "Don't see the Grounds anywhere. I'm sure we'll get there tomorrow."

    Gwen nodded, and the group began to settle down for the night. With a huff, Thaddeus produced a rock from nowhere and slammed it down onto the ground, igniting a fire with his powers. As he, Gwen, and Lil' Stan sat down around the fire, Gwen asked, "Hey, Lil' Stan, how were things back on Thor's ranch? Did you like it over there?"

    The Summoned Symbioid shrugged - "It was... alright. Too many like me there."

    Thaddeus chuckled heartily, replying, "I think that was rather the point, Stan. Anything interesting happen over there?"

    Lil' Stan shrugged, taking a moment to find the words. "We fought... much? How would you say...?"

    "A lot? Constantly?" Gwen suggested, causing Lil' Stan to grin maniacally.

    "Constantly," the Symbioid responded, nodding. "One of us got thrown into..." He waved his arms around, up at the sky.

    "Space," Thaddeus helped.

    "No, not space..." Stan replied, moving his hands up and down, before once again waving them wildly at the sky. "It's green...?"

    "Oh, a tree!" Gwen exclaimed after a moment, and, again, Lil' Stan grinned.

    "Yes," Lil' Stan continued. "Knocked down the tree and..." He reached out his hand, bouncing it up and down through the air four times. "Many behind it."

    With a "Heh," Thaddeus asked, "So, what happened to him?"

    "Nothing," Lil' Stan answered with a grin. "No one helped him. No one liked him."

    "The one who got thrown into the tree, you mean," Thaddeus responded.

    "Yes. No one liked Dee... Dee-Sea, was his name," Lil' Stan stated proudly, straightening up and pointing vigorously to himself. "I was the one that threw him into the tree."

    Thaddeus and Gwen laughed, and the latter said, "Well, I bet you were the strongest one there, huh, Stan?"

    Stan nodded. "Then this should be easy," Gwen stated, looking out over the horizon, knowing somewhere, in the distance, the Collector would be waiting. And, perhaps, that Collector would have finally met his match.
    * * *
    "Welcome back to the Contest of Comments, your go-to source for all things Contest of Champions," announced a Deadpooloid, facing a vast ocean of seats with only a lone audience member watching, applauding sarcastically. "And now, your host, Taneleer Tivan - the Collector!"

    From behind a worn-down, crooked red curtain, the Collector strode out, bowing deeply to his one audience member. "Hello, and welcome back to the Contest of Comments!" he began, taking a microphone with dramatic flourish. "Let's see what's up in the Contest today!"

    A voice whispered to the Collector from backstage. "What's that?" he called back.

    More whispering. "Viewership numbers are down 20%?"

    Another stream of whispers. "Yes, I know, we only have five viewers in the whole Battlerealm, but-"

    And now, a hushed, hesitant whisper. "What?!" the Collector bellowed, eyes crossed in fury, staring at his stage assistant, before remembering that he was, in fact, still on stage. Mumbling for a few seconds in frustration, he finally managed, "Due to unfortunate... technical difficulties, today's episode of Contest of Comments will have to be canceled. Until next time!"

    Then, promptly, the Collector darted off the stage, and came to face a small video screen. "Oh, Murdock, it's you," he said, staring at the horned, masked face of Daredevil, before noticing the grievous wound that now afflicted Daredevil's jaw. "Ugh. What happened to your face?"

    "Your little SHIELD Agent did this to me," Daredevil spat, turning so that the Collector could see the full extent of his injury.

    "Alright, I get it!" the Collector responded, turning away from the screen and holding up a hand to block out the horror. "So what? You got shot by one of the hundreds of Coulsons running around this place. This is a Contest after all - you want me to do something about it?"

    "They're coming for you," Daredevil warned calmly. "Coulson, Mysterio, I suspect many others. And they've got Quake."

    Staring at the screen, silently fuming, the Collector threw a couple artifacts around the room, smashing a couple stone pillars, all while shouting various swear words that would not be fit to print. Seething with anger, he finally took a few deep breaths, and turned back to Daredevil. "I see your point, Murdock," the Collector admitted with a snarl. "Very well. I'll... speak to some of my associates about this. You keep watching them, Murdock. But stay out of sight until I say so."

    Daredevil nodded, and the transmission stopped. Turning to another screen, the Collector nodded. "Do it," he ordered simply.
    * * *
    Seeing the Collector's orders, the man on the other end of the transmission nodded in response, then shut off the transmission. Walking across the asteroid where he stood, his black boots crushing the rock beneath his feet, he bent down and gazed at his prisoner, chained to a small mound of stone. "So, that's the end for you, then," he said to his prisoner, who struggled and tried to break free. "End of the line, Johnny boy."

    Johnny Blaze, staring back at him, gritted his teeth as the man slowly pulled out a knife. As his captor readied the knife, Johnny said, his voice barely above a hoarse whisper, "No."

    "What was that?" the man asked, pausing for a moment.

    "No!" Johnny shouted, bursting free of his chains. As he did so, his head lighted on fire, changing into the familiar skulled visage of the Ghost Rider. Grabbing one of the chains that had previously held him, and setting that aflame, the Ghost Rider walked slowly towards his captor, whipping his chain from side to side - his opponent could only leap out of the way.

    With one lash of the chain, and another, and another, the Ghost Rider forced his abductor to retreat. Pulling out a gun, the man fired several shots at him, but they had no effect. A swing of the chain barely missed the man's elbow, tearing off a piece of leather sleeve instead. Opening his mouth wide, the Ghost Rider let loose a blast of hot flame, forcing his enemy to leap over his motorcycle, taking shelter.

    With a roar, the Ghost Rider wound up his arm, readying himself to throw the chain and strike the man, before his opponent pulled out a large, Destroyer gun. There was a blast of orange light, and Ghost Rider paused in shock, his arm still back in preparation. He looked down - a large, grapefruit-sized hole had been blown straight through him. In a final moment of fury and vengeance, he looked up at his captor, his killer, and delivered a Penance Stare.

    And the man barely flinched.

    As the flame of the Ghost Rider faded away in the wind, and Johnny's dead body fell limply to the ground, the attacker called out, "Spirit of Vengeance! I have a deal for you!"

    A rising red spirit turned to face the man, who continued staunchly, "I have done great wrong, spirit! I deserve punishment! But there are others out there who deserve it more than me! Join with me, and I will bring vengeance upon those who dare violate the laws of this Battlerealm!"

    The Spirit did not consider it very long. It flew into the man, empowering him, setting his skull aflame. And thus Frank Castle, the Punisher, the Collector's right-hand man, became... the Ghost Rider.
    * * *
    Thank you for reading! I spent all day working on this, and quite frankly I'm a bit exhausted. But I hope you enjoyed it, definitely sets up some things going forward that I hope you'll like (and I hope I'll remember, ha). This is still a CYOA episode, though, so here's where you come in: Tell me what next week's episode should be. It can be anything you like - if you want me to follow Coulson, Quentin, and Quake, I'll do it. If you want me to show the heroes finally making it to the Proving Grounds, alright. If you want me to spend an entire episode on Groots, then... sure? Let me know what you think next week should be focused on, and give the ideas you like an "agree" or something like that so I know which idea has the most support. See you next time!
  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★
    edited July 11
    i strangely want that Groot episode. That being said, you [censored] mother[censored], i said kill Tony, not Johnny! Also, Daredevils cheek? dang. This was a violent issue, loved almost all of it.

    HOW THE DUCK CAN FRANK CASTLE SURVIVE A STARE? WHAT!?

    wait, I’ve got it. Next week, musical episode. Boom. They can sing Hamilton and Wicked and whatever musical songs you can find, you can write some originals. I would kill like the punisher to see that.

    Edit: or they could be set to the music from musicals, but with MCOC related lyrics. I’m a genius
  • MathgeekMathgeek Posts: 609 ★★★
    Musical with only groots
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★
    Going to address Castle and the Penance Stare next time, don't worry. There's an in universe explanation (although, just between you and me, the reason from a development standpoint was that I wanted to do Cosmic Ghost Rider but felt bad about not doing a Penance Stare in Johnny's final fight).

    Musical episode is certainly interesting, I'll see what I can do. I'm no songwriter, but song is just poetry to a beat...? I'll give it a go anyways. Might take a while because I actually have so many ideas now. Glad you enjoyed it, as always!
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★
    Mathgeek said:

    Musical with only groots

    Excellent idea! Get ready for a number of musical numbers next time, then.
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★
    Not quite sure what to do today. I've got several musical numbers in mind but I can't foresee that I'll have the time to have them all up today - I have a lot of my own writing to do, after all. I have been thinking of a short introduction to our musical episode, though... as a briefer scene it might be something I've got time to conjure up today. Should I try for the full episode, or would you be OK with just the short intro today?

    Also, quick teaser for one of the musical numbers:


  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★

    Not quite sure what to do today. I've got several musical numbers in mind but I can't foresee that I'll have the time to have them all up today - I have a lot of my own writing to do, after all. I have been thinking of a short introduction to our musical episode, though... as a briefer scene it might be something I've got time to conjure up today. Should I try for the full episode, or would you be OK with just the short intro today?

    Also, quick teaser for one of the musical numbers:


    short intro is fine.

    also dang, thought that was bad bad Leroy brown.

    wait, so the musical episode isnt just musicals, it’s also normal songs? Interesting...
  • MathgeekMathgeek Posts: 609 ★★★
    If you have other stuff to do then just the intro should be fine
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★
    Alright, cool. You know, I might do a post here each day of the week, one musical number per day through Friday (or maybe even Saturday and Sunday...) and break it up a little that way. Sorry about the delay, I'm going to try and get back onto a regimented schedule after this week.

    Also, @SpideyFunko , ever seen one of the Fox X-Men films?
  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★

    Alright, cool. You know, I might do a post here each day of the week, one musical number per day through Friday (or maybe even Saturday and Sunday...) and break it up a little that way. Sorry about the delay, I'm going to try and get back onto a regimented schedule after this week.

    Also, @SpideyFunko , ever seen one of the Fox X-Men films?

    yeah.
    X-Men
    X-2
    Days of Future Past
    First Class
    Apocalypse
  • HeroBoltsyHeroBoltsy Posts: 747 ★★★

    Alright, cool. You know, I might do a post here each day of the week, one musical number per day through Friday (or maybe even Saturday and Sunday...) and break it up a little that way. Sorry about the delay, I'm going to try and get back onto a regimented schedule after this week.

    Also, @SpideyFunko , ever seen one of the Fox X-Men films?

    yeah.
    X-Men
    X-2
    Days of Future Past
    First Class
    Apocalypse
    Interesting. I thought you might get the teaser reference then. It's not just a "normal" song.
  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★

    Alright, cool. You know, I might do a post here each day of the week, one musical number per day through Friday (or maybe even Saturday and Sunday...) and break it up a little that way. Sorry about the delay, I'm going to try and get back onto a regimented schedule after this week.

    Also, @SpideyFunko , ever seen one of the Fox X-Men films?

    yeah.
    X-Men
    X-2
    Days of Future Past
    First Class
    Apocalypse
    Interesting. I thought you might get the teaser reference then. It's not just a "normal" song.
    i honestly haven’t seen them in a while- wait I know what scene that’s teasing.

    whip-laashh. is Magneto going to perform this number?
  • SpideyFunkoSpideyFunko Posts: 6,802 ★★★★★
    random thought, if you want “inspiration” google Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
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