Proper Penance

Summary:
January 22, 2015: Columbia heals people that the Spirit of Vengeance seeks.

Hell's Gate, Metropolis

Hell's Gate is where the original residents of Metropolis have remained. They
have seen much turmoil, be it external or internal, for the city, but they
have stood their ground. The residents here are a stern type with a tough
reputation, living on their island and keeping the historal aspect revived
and alive - some families having lived here since the 1800's. This is home to
the city's growing immigrant population as well as providing plenty of work
for them with the factories that are present there just off of the docks.

Where Suicide Slum's factories collapsed and are in ruin the ones here in
Hell's Gate have thrived as a first source of work for newly arrived
Metropolis residents and remain as such, even after a hurricane once ripped
the land clean, it is all rebuilt and kept thriving, showing the sturdy
steadfastness of the residents.


Characters

NPCs

  • <Name of NPC or "None">

Unidentified group of youth


Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


Hell's Gate is a tough neighborhood, but there's a certain level of pride in the residents here, and a definite sense of 'That doesn't happen here' in relation to major violence. Sure, there's brawls, sometimes even rolling fights, but… this is the place some people escape from the Suicide Slums. It's still a bit dirty, still a bit tense, but largely this is the place where the hard - working folks live.

That sense of peace and tranquililty was shattered an hour ago, when a carload of teens from somewhere in the Slums roared past a few families who were out grilling the last of their perishables — the power outage still is impacting significant portions of the Big Apricot, and there may or may not be bias in what is getting power first but that will be sorted later.

Bullets know no master save physics, and it was no different as children, adults, and even an off-duty law enforcement officer or two were laid out by the spray of automatic weapons fire.

The shooters had managed to get a few miles away before crashing into a lamp post at a high rate of speed.

Unaware of the back - story, the orange-haired Cameron Tenoaks — a paramedic with Metropolis Fire and Rescue — has thrown herself into the task of tending to the injuries from the crash…

***

Dan Ketch had been visiting Metropolis to see some cousins, update them on things with his Mom and Barb. Plus, Metropolis, thanks to Superman and just not being the Rotten Apple or Gotham, just had a lower crime rate. He was less likely to find himself getting up to trouble.

And then the shooting happened, a half mile away from him, but he felt it, his whole body quaking as innocent blood spilled across lawns and pavement. Senseless, violent, evil. In need of vengeance.

The Rider can sense them easily, the burned remnants of Dan Ketch left in its wake as it streaks across the city. A line of fire lies where it rides, flickering for long moments before finally fading away, the hellfire as much a ghost as its master. The crash seems to have stopped them, though, and the Rider comes around the corner and charges in towards the wreck, pulling up short. There's a clink as it unwraps the chain from its massive body, the weapon writhing sinuously, like a serpent of iron.

The Ghost Rider's voice has an obviously inhuman quality, the echoes of damned souls a harmony beneath its speech, "Woman. Move. Vengeance calls and these men must answer."

***

The two youths that are conscious but still in shock from the crash stare with wide eyes at the approaching fiery manifestation. The one that Cameron is tending to stirs slightly — he had been at death's door and without her intervention, well, the Spirit of Vengeance might not have been necessary.

She stands up and cracks her neck slightly.

"Columbia. Met Fire Rescue. My patients."

She adopts a basic defensive stance as she watches the apparent meta with a ghost motif approach, though her words are terse, very much an economic speech.

"Leave."

Her green-grey eyes stare into the fiery apparition with resolve and determination.

***

Ghost Rider starts to stalk forward, the flames about its skull flicking and licking all around. The sockets seem empty, except for singular pinpricks of crimson, the promise of pain contained within that ethereal crimson.

"Your patients reek of murder." it says, and then pauses.

"Heal their bodies if you wish. Then their souls are mine," it says, only five feet or so away now. It isn't particularly reluctant to hurt the woman, but she has no blood-price upon her, although there are strange lights within the aura of her soul.

***

The tall woman blinks a few times at the approach of the Flaming Skull-man. She was about to offer some witty response, but… that's not really her strength. Not at all, really.

"Whose authority?"

Her face hardens a bit as she turns her back on the Spirit to rush and work on the remaining patient in the car — Nope. Too late. That's one that won't be held accountable in this forum. On the plus side, it's one less bit of work for Ghost Rider.

The fist may be unexpected — it isn't what Cameron would normally do — but getting distracted by this arrival and it costing someone their life?

"Could have saved that one!"

If there's a plus side to all of this banter back and forth?

The youth that remain are transfixed by the spectacle — Columbia's known as 'one of the good heroes' — and she's standing up for them? And the fiery head guy? Scary as all hell, but… Columbia will bail them out, right?

The orange-haired woman shakes her head. And… is that a tear?

Mother would be so disappointed in her.

***

Ghost Rider just stands. Relentless. Implacable. It owes no explanation and offers none. Vengeance needs none. The blood of the innocent calls to him. Even now, he can see it on them, a blinking patina of blood-spill.

The punch carries quite a bit of force but, instead of knocking him back, it punches through his leathers and into his body. A man would have been killed by it. AS it is, the light in its eyes flares with the pain of it. "Your compassion is misplaced. They are unworthy. And they will burn." it says, as the hand withdraws, the rotted, burned meat of it starting to sew itself together in the wake of the punch.

The chain bursts into flame, hellfire running around the length of it, dancing and writhing. "They are already mine. You only delay their suffering."

***

The body parting under the blow brings the orange - haired woman to a full stop. She *knows* what parts her fist would be going through, and she's done her level best to learn how NOT to do that kind of thing. The hand pulls back as she attempts to place both hands on the injury. Fiery demon of vengeance or not, she's responsible for the —

Then almost as fast as her own healing for critical injuries the damage just starts to recover.

The hands pull back.

"What did they DO?"

One of the kids wets himself. The other two give hard stares, eyeing each other out of the corner of their eyes while contemplating sacrifice and survival. Okay, not that fancy… they're trying to figure out how to throw each other under the bus so they can get away from this mess.

Cameron will watch the chain warily, and then the kids… if it looks like they are in critical need of assistance, she'll heal them, but… Something had to happen to get this kind of reaction, right?

***

Ghost Rider cocks its skull and raises an arm, straight as an arrow, the leather clad bulk of it ending in spiked wrists and that accusatory glove, "Murder, five times murder. Rape."

The arm flicks to the the second, "Murder, eight times murder. Rape. Perversion." it says.

It simply switches arms to point to the other past Cameron's blocking, "Murder, three times murder. Rape. Matricide."

Its crimson gaze returns. "Innocent blood, staining them to the bone. The rot of their souls will fester. But go. Heal them. Make them whole."

"And then I will break them."

***

While this has been discussed, the one whose resolve has shattered throws himself down in front of Columbia, almost pleading with wet eyes, then turns slightly to the Ghost Rider. It won't take much to break that one, though sometimes confession is good for the soul, right?

The other two, despite needing more care get up and sprint off.

Given a horrific choice and well aware that she can't just leave, she glances to the one who is almost gibbering already before launching skywards, aiming her flight path to intercept the fleeing one guilty of both rape and perversion. Hopefully the Rider can see that, and go after the other who is fleeing.

***

Ghost Rider does see that, in fact, and he leaves him to her. If the woman fails, he can always pursue. As he does the other - or rather, as his bike does. The motorcycle roars to un - life and streaks past the Rider, the fiery front wheel blazing in the night until it flies past him and cuts him off. It will try herding first. If not…

The beggar finds his throat gripped, his body hefted easily until he's dangling. The squeeze cuts off both air and protest, the man being lifted until he's face to face with the Rider.

"Vengeance." it says and then the Penance Stare engulfs the punk, every pain he's ever inflicted, emotional, physical, the toll of his sins, all bearing down on him at once. He starts to shake and quiver, his scream silenced by the crushing grip of that hand. He quivers as though he's having a seizure, eyes rolling back in his head, starting to foam at the lips as he's finally released and collapses in a heap at the Rider's feet.

"One."

***

Hardened youths typically do not anticipate the intervention of flaming motorcycles, nor expect to see them animated or in their path. So it is that the one being cut off by the Rider's mount is easily herded back to the Spirit of Vengeance…

The remaining criminal turns a corner to see Columbia standing there.

"You'll help me, right, protect me from whatever that is?"

He's a bit shaken to see the heroine there, but thinks he has a chance — that is until the left hand reaches out and grabs all of his upper clothing in a gathering grip.

"Who did you hurt?"

He screams in utter terror as suddenly he gets the impression that she wants him dead. Well, no one has really seen Columbia get truly angry before, and it's a logical assumption, at least?

In a matter of moments he is deposited next to the one that has already had a 'therapy session' with Ghost Rider, even as Cameron moves to the already afflicted one to attempt to heal their injuries. The mind she probably can't help, but she can make the body whole if it isn't dead yet…

***

The chain, ablaze and glowing red-hot with hellfire, wraps around the herded punk, lashing around his legs and sweeping around like a python cradling prey. The hellfire burns soul more than flesh, searing deep into him - hellfire doesn't consume, for it is meant to burn eternally. This one will have plenty of chance to taste it more later, but, for now, the Rider will let him live. It rarely kills, in fact - the Devil's Army is large enough.

When Cameron brings the other back to it, it gazes at her for a moment. Humans are such capricious, impossible things. Still, this one had answered the call of vengeance. The returned and final thug is seized and kneeled down into, the Rider's forehead pressing to his.

"Your sins stain the worst. I offer that which is earned. I offer you PAIN!" it cries and penance consumes the man, his mouth open as a howling, violent scream erupts from him, a howl which will strain the integrity of his vocal cords, ruining his voice forever - not that the Rider cares.

"Vengeance is served."

The paramedic places her hand on the back of the man screaming his penance, some injuries that could be healed mending in an instant, the remainder that are blocked by spiritual intervention to remain for the remainder of the person's existence. All three are given treatment, and belatedly Cameron picks up her phone and turns it on… to get bombarded with the information about the shootings further away, and a rough description of the suspects which matches the ones in front of her amazingly well.

She gives the Rider a nod as she listens to the depiction of the scene, and that guy who used to get doughnuts for the crew at the start of the shift…

Yeah.

Vengeance is Served.

She's not going to be sleeping for a while.


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