Stark and Stormy
[Cool Krakoa, Approximately 500km off the coast of Gotham]
Quentin awoke before the dawn. His sleep cycle is usually sporadic, he rarely kept to any schedule save his own, and that was the schedule he would be following today. There was work to be done, and given where he needed to go, it was best done during the daylight hours. Preprogrammed telekinetic routines he’d placed in his own mind set his coffee to brew the moment his synapses started firing on conscious levels. He took the time to yawn and stretch his arms, subtle cues of his mind pulling his desired wardrobe from the closet to follow him as he plotted towards his bookcase. This swung open upon his approach, revealing a small elevator which he boarded as his clothes folded themselves over his arm, and a coffee cup reached his hand.
“I don’t know why you bother with the bookcase door,” Roxy said, glimmering into existence in the elevator as Quentin sipped his coffee. He dropped his pressed dress pants onto the floor and stepped into them as they seemingly pulled themselves up and fastened themselves in place. “Not like you usually have visitors or anything”
“Hidden doors are cool,” he said with a shrug, coffee mug hovering in the air as he pulled his shirt over his head, and slid his arms into his suit coat.
“And why are we stopping so far from the destination?”
“You saw the toxicity reports of the surrounding waters. I don’t want Krakoa or Jeff getting anywhere near the waters of that sh*t hole,” he said grabbing his coffee out the air and taking another sip “I’ve flown further in less time, and besides, I like flying. Good way to clear the head you know?”
The elevator dinged as they hit their destination. Quentin’s lab, buried deep beneath the surface of Krakoa. It was where he did all his serious work. Just like his personality, Quentin liked to keep the serious stuff out of site so people didn’t start thrusting expectations his way. He had his own agenda, his own goals, and this one had been a little while in the works.
“Well that at least makes sense, but I don’t get why you’d want to go to Gotham of all places. You always say it's just a, what do you call it? ‘A batsh*t town full of mentally deficient normies?’”
“Indeed I did, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing worth learning there” with that Quentin pressed a button on his watch and all the machinery started to flash into life. Reaching his work station, he picked up a small metal halo and placed it around his head. He’d never been able to work out a processor that moved as fast as his mind did, so he’d learned to cut out the problem entirely. The computers running off of his neural network solved two potential problems. The first being that the computers ran through the data stream as long as the vibranium neuro sockets held. The second being it was virtually impossible to hack seeing as someone would have to have telepathic capabilities near his own to even boot up the system.
He held his hands in the air, and a translucent, hot pink holographic screen appeared before his fingertips with a map of Gotham. At the top of it were three symbols, representing magic, psionic, and geothermal elements.
“See Gotham’s obviously a weird place right? You have magic nexuses, geothermal disturbances, and psychic mayhem all focused in on different, but nearby, parts of the downtown area.” As he spoke he moved the different icons to the areas of their highest known concentration points in the city. These formed a seemingly mathematically perfect triangle. The odds of which happening naturally were astronomically against. “And at the center of all that you have… here”
Dragging fingers in opposite directions across the screen, he enlarged the view to the center of the triangle. A tower marked simply as ‘Club Zeus’ on the screen. Once a club owned by Maxie Zeus, Quentin had purchased the property after he’d done what most Gothamites seemed to do, gotten a god complex and got tossed in jail. He’d done so under the guise of turning it into a nightclub of sorts. Construction had occurred, but never really been completed. Most had given it up to Quentin’s capricious mind, but everything had its place.
“Ooooh, I thought you bought that place because you and Ba-”
“Up buh buh, what I tell you about bringing up stuff that happened when Haller was in my head?”
“But I thought that was pre..”
“Listen, when you get a DID telepath with thousands of personalities stuck in your brain, I promise I won’t bring up anything you did, huh? Besides, I got a free retcon, so why not use it huh?”
“Okaaay, so why the fancy suit?”
“Well I have to meet someone in the sewers, so I figured I may as well look fancy for the occasion. Besides I kind of want to fly under the radar a little on this one. Weirdos with off colored hair and suits are a dime a dozen in Gotham.” He said swiping the screen from view and heading back towards the elevator. Roxy looked puzzled for a moment, part of her processing subroutines, before realization hit her face indicating she’d found what she was searching for.
“Q… are you sure that’s safe? Like even for you, safe?”
Quentin simply offered her a knowing smile as the elevator doors started to close “Of course it's safe, it’s a ‘stark and stormy Tuesday’”
[Part 2: Grim and Grisly]
[Somewhere over the open ocean, just outside of Gotham]
Hovering through the air on the invisible energies of his mind, he set the process to autopilot within his subconscious, locking down the destination to free his more active lobes for the task at hand. Data analysis, recent sightings, historical sightings, sewage tunnel layouts, potential current threats, potential past threats, all were taken into consideration. There were going to be enough unknowns to deal with in this scenario without letting a known factor slip by. His mind spiralling through each potential scenario in his mind over and over. Playing each out until he found a path to his goal. There was no other way when it came to such things. With his brain power, every detail could, and would, be accounted for.
“You’re about five minutes from drop point, dingleberry” came Roxy’s voice from his watch. He took a few milliseconds to roll his eyes before responding.
“Confirmed, here on out stay radio silent unless it's urgent,” he said pausing for a moment then adding ‘Jeff eating anything non-toxic is not urgent” another pause “Nor is any music or memes you come across in the meantime, bookmark for later”
“Aye, aye Cap’n Dork” was the confirmation he received on this occasion.
His feet touched down just outside the drainage pipe, dark liquid pouring steadily out from between the iron bars that covered the massive tube, wide enough to drive a semi into. It was as good a place as any to begin. He flicked his wrist towards the grating. There was a loud screeching noise as the grate tore off from its rusted welding and went careening into the sea with a loud splash. Barely looking up from his watch, and trying not to think of the smell, Quentin stepped inside.
It was only a few meters before he started to lose the daylight. Fingers moving against the touchscreen of his watch, two small drones flew from its casing, each illuminated a bright led light, and followed at either side of his head, illuminating the walkway before him with the soft hum of their nano fiber rotor blades. More button presses and a holographic projector from the device put an RPG style questing arrow on the cement before him, lighting the way to the most recent spotting of his quarry. He kept his senses sharp, his mind focused, easy to do in this environment. There was nothing so far other than the sound of the water steadily rushing past in a steady stream below him, and the horrible smell of the place. Neither were things he was particularly in the mood to think about at the time. If all went according to plan, it would be a straight shot from his quarry to the ultimate goal at the base of the former Maxie Zeus’ hideout he’d purchased with something like this in mind.
“So seriously, what are you trying to accomplish here?” came the sudden voice of Roxie over his watch. She was an AI he’d specifically designed with high levels of autonomy and personality. This made her annoyingly hard to predict at times. The end result in this case meant that the focused mutant actually jumped in surprise, nearly causing him to slip off the path and step into the unspeakable liquids below.
“F***ing hell, Rox, I told you radio silence!”
“Well doesn’t that watch have an earpiece for ‘communication with low brains that can’t handle telepathy?’”
“Well yeah, but that’s for team sh*t. You should just keep an eye on things back at home”
“I’m f***ing bored! I don’t need to sleep, I don’t need to eat, the f*** you want me to do? Talk to the living island with the mind of a 5th grader? Or the land shark that chews on driftwood for fun?”
Quentin grasped the bridge of his nose between his index finger and thumb. His glasses bobbed up and down slightly as he rubbed at it. Something he found himself doing often when he was either annoyed, or involved in an argument he couldn’t when. Both were applicable on this occasion. There was little point in arguing with Roxy when it got in this mindset. It would just keep going, and wasting time, until it got what it wanted. He chalked it up to the fact that it was only a toddler as far as social interactions went. A well spoken, foul mouthed toddler, with a genius intellect, but still.
“Gah, fine! Hold on,” he said slipping an earpiece out of his pocket, and sliding it into his left ear. He fiddled with it to get it into a comfortable spot before tapping the button on it with his middle finger as he continued to walk. “There”
“Yay! So what are you doing in a smelly poop pipe anyways?”
“Well are you familiar with the nursery rhyme about Solomon Grundy?”
“Why would I be familiar with a kids nursery rhyme?”
“Fair point,” he said, pausing to carefully hope from the left walkway to the right, following the light trails down the right tunnel as the passage way forked. “So it was written in the mid 1800’s. Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday, Christened on a stark and stormy Tuesday, Married on a grey and grisly Wednesday, took ill on a mild and mellow Thursday, Grew worse on a bright and breezy Friday, Died on a grey and glorious Saturday, Buried on a baking blistering Sunday. That was the end of Solomon Grundy.”
“Man, old timey kids’ rhymes were f***ing weird. I mean what was the point of that?”
“Dunno, but.. Hold on..” Quentin said seeing a pair of green glowing goggles on a figure lurking in the shadows. Weird looking guy with a gasmask, a staff of some kind and a bunch of rats around him. “Hey, Rat boy! F*** off. Yeah you, take your stupid stick, and your weird rat friends and get the f*** out of here, business being attended to! F*** right the hell off with your gross rodents!”
The man’s grip around his staff tightened, but he did as he was told, turning to leave. Quentin’s ‘friendly suggestions’ often had a tinge of telepathy about them, whether he intended them or not. So some random homeless guy hanging out in a sewer didn’t really have much of a choice otherwise. Still Quentin paused in his walking to make sure the man was clearly on his way before continuing onward.
“The hell was that guys deal?”
“No clue, I told you Gotham was full of weird normies”
“Well you weren’t lying, that was bizarre”
“Yep, affects of living in a nexus of crazy energies I guess, I mean f***ing rats man”
“Yeah f***ing rats, so anyways, what’s a kids poem got to do with you being in a city sewer?”
“Oh yeah,” he said remembering his place as he continued walking down the sewer line, bots buzzing near his head. “So there was this guy around near the time the poem was like, the freshest thing out there, Cyrus Gold. He was either into some shady stuff and got murdered for it, or he was an innocent guy that got killed. Either way, they toss the dead guy in the swamps of old timey Gotham. But the thing is, this place was full of ambient magics, weird toxins, and latent psychic phenomenon even then, hell maybe more so.”
Quentin paused again as he heard a rumbling coming from around the next turn. A double tap of his watch, and the light bots zipped back into their housings in the watch. Quentin peered around the corner and that’s where he saw it. The thing he’d come down here to track down. Part one of his ridiculous experiment.
“So the dude came back, again, and again, and again. Each time a little different, but always calling himself..