Family Matters

Anyone who didn't know him would be suspicious of the claim that Blok could move his 4500 kg body stealthily, but his teammates were quite familiar with him entering or leaving rooms unnoticed. The din of battle proved quite conducive to his plans, and he maneuvered behind his former comrade, Neutrax, unseen. Seizing him by the back of the head, he held his 'brothers' head gripped securely facing away from himself, so that his deadly energy-neutralizing powers were of no use, and used his flight rings to pull them away from the field of battle. He reached down and activated the comm-gear that the members of the League of Super-Assassins wore, sending out a message to his other former brothers and sisters.

"This is Blok, I have Neutrax. Come to me."

He can see the battle, and figures peel away, heading in his direction.

"You'll never beat all of us Blok. You're a dead man for betraying us!" Neutrax says, his voice tight as he is forced to watch his teammates come to rescue him.

Speaking still over the comm-link, Blok's reply is infuriatingly calm. "I don't plan on fighting you, my brothers and sisters. I have a gift for you." He sets a holopad down in Neutrax's lap and releases his grip on the man's head. Neutrax quickly turns around and his visor glows with energies that would sap the strength from Blok in seconds, leaving him vulnerable to the attacks of his teammates.

"Watch the data first." Blok says calmly, as Titania, the Silver Slasher, Lazon and Mist Master all move into position behind Neutrax.

"To hell with the data." Titania says angrily, reaching to break the holopad and take the decision out of their hands, but Lazon's hand is faster and he snatches it away and activates it.

A gritty image appears, of a set of medical tubes in a darkened laboratory. Children grow within those tubes, while cables connected to their skulls feed them information, giving them memories of growing up on a verdant world, as friends. The images that the children are being fed can be seen clearly on viewscreens, and a figure stands reviewing the images. On one screen, a lanky red-haired girl wrestles with a child-sized figure of stone, both of them exhibiting great strength. Beyond them, a blond boy in leg-braces and another child confined to a service chair watch their siblings physical display with wistful gazes. Despite this memories, being fed into their minds, the children's bodies themselves are whole and healthy, with no sign of infirmity, and Silver Slasher gasps as she sees a small brown-haired girl running through a field, chasing brightly colored insects. She looks down at the harsh metal blades that have replaced that laughing child's chubby fingers and her features grow colder, if that is possible.

"We know all of this, Blok." Neutrax says patiently. "The Legion didn't destroy our homeworld. There's nothing here that is going to shock us into changing our wicked ways and becoming superheroes…"

"Did you know *this* part, brother?" Blok says softly, as the figure in the holo-file turns around, and is revealed to be Tharok, still recognizable, despite the lack of cybernetics on the fully human form he had taken as the 'Dark Man.' "Did you know that today you fight side by side with the man who raised us in tubes, programmed us to hate his enemies, and when you proved to be too strong-willed, rewired your nervous system to take away the use of your legs and put you in that chair so that you would be more easily controlled, more easily duped into hating the people he had told you were responsible for your crippled life?"

Lazon has already turned to look at the battle, remembering too how his own legs were crippled, his own injuries designed to make him hate, all-too successfully. His hate was finding a new target…

"This means nothing Blok!" Titania persisted, moving right into his face. "You left us! I… We were family, all that we had was each other, and you turned against us! How could you do that to me… to us!"

Blok stood unmoving in the face of her fury, and when his hand raised it wasn't to restrain her hand, but to touch the side of her face. "I remember it, too. I remember that we were supposed to be in love. Tharok filled us with those memories, to make us loyal to each other. And I *am* loyal to you, my family. That's why I've shown you this, to free you from the madman who did this to us. The madman who stole our lives, altered our bodies and re-programmed our minds to make us into his weapons."

Looking up from her gleaming talons, Silver Slasher's voice is filled with anguish, "We *are* weapons, Blok. Nothing can change that now. We've gone too far down this road to turn back now. You can't save us, big brother…"

Blok looks down to the shining figure, streaked with soot from battle. "Then be weapons, but do not be *tools.* Choose your own targets, not those that people like Tharok assign you. You owe him nothing but pain, the same pain he has given to us."

Neutrax has been watching the holo play silently, and finally looks up. "We do this together, or not at all."

Lazon is trembling, and his decision is obvious from his body language. He burns to strike against the monster that stole from him the ability to walk unassisted. Silver Slasher is once again looking at the weapons that her child's hands have been twisted into. 'So much blood,' she whispers. "I never wanted to be a monster…" Titania is still glaring at Blok, finally finding the words. "I loved you. And it was all a lie. I've been blaming you for that for years, Blok, but you were never the boy in those memories, were you?" Blok shakes his head slowly. "I wish I was, sister. You deserve to know love. But we both know the truth."

Mist Master's decision surprises them all as he turns into a corrosive reddish fog that surges over Blok's form, accompanied by a sharp smell and a cracking sound as the powerful acid begins dissolving the stone of Blok's body. "NO! You can't *talk* us to death, Blok, and you can't hurt me, but I can KILL you!"

The others back away, and Neutrax raises a hand to his visor, but it is unclear which of the combatants he is going to strike with his enervating energy. The decision is taken out of his hands as a thunderous clap resounds through the air, pushing everyone back. Blok stands, hands clasped together, the force generated by this simple action having dispersed Mist Master seemingly into nothingness. Moments later, Mist Master's body slumps to the ground, having re-coalesced, unconscious, many meters away.

Lazon leans down and verifies that he's alive, and then looks up, first to Neutrax, then to Blok. "How are we doing this?"


The battle is going fairly well. There are an unreasonable amount of Legionnaires present, but they seem to be lacking some of their most powerful members, and they are not coordinating effectively. It helps that the team that Prime has assembled has several members who could prove a significant threat to the entire team, on their own.

Tharok has noted the absence of the former League of Super-Villains in his calculations, but has been occupied trying to coordinate the actions of his own Fatal Five companions, in an attempt to secure some advantages for himself out of this meaningless melee. Securing at least one of the Coluans, along with a selection of Flight Rings, is at the top of his agenda for the day. He's been playing 'spoiler,' a favorite role. Whenever it seems that a Legionnaire or Legionnaires have almost locked down one of his allies, he quickly launches some explosive blaster-drones in that direction to ruin their chances of success. He's already stopped Saturn Girl from turning Ol-Vir against Prime, and when Phantom Girl phased the Persuader's Atomic Axe out of his grasp, it was one of his strobe-sonic pulses that disrupted her concentration enough that his ally was able to retrieve his weapon.

Damage alerts flash as his weapon arm is shorn from his body, and his cybernetic eye can make out the form of Lazon, who has ripped through the mechanical limb like the laser that he has become. He attempts to relay an update to his allies, but his comm systems are malfunctioning and the data-stream from his internal computers is faltering. He turns clumsily to see that wheelchair-bound cripple, Neutrax, shining his sickly yellow gaze upon him, neutralizing the power within all of his cybernetic components.

Validus turns with a growl, recognizing that Tharok is under attack, but is slammed to the ground as a fiery figure plummets into his back. The impact of Validus' body with the ground is enough to leave a crater, and Blok, still red-hot from the heat of re-entry, is flung into a nearby building as the enormous creature regains its feet.

The Empress has finally managed to ensnare Timber Wolf in her Emerald Eye's grasp, and knows that he may have been fast enough to elude her grasp for long minutes, but that he'll never be strong enough to break free, or tough enough to survive, as she allows the pressure to build slowly, savoring the involuntary cry of pain that is torn from him as one of his ribs snaps under the crushing emerald force. Suddenly, she feels lost for a second, as if something is missing, and Timber Wolf slumps to the ground. She turns to see that red-haired giant of a woman, Titania, and recognizes that the Emerald Eye has been thrown into orbit and is already returning. A meaty fist comes forward, and Sarya sees nothing else…

Mano has *almost* gotten a grip on Chameleon Boy a half-dozen times by now, and has actually brushed against him and injured the shapeshifting freak, blasting a portion of its spongy mass away into nothingness. The Durlan is slowed now by the injury, and Mano knows that it's only a matter of moments before he becomes the third member of the Fatal Five to kill a Legionnaire, and looks forward to reminding Chun Ti of that fact at every opportunity. A world of pain opens up in his lower back, and he spins around flailing with his deadly hands. The Silver Slasher dodges quickly, avoiding his deadly touch, and dances around, her blood-soaked claws waving tauntingly as she laughs at his clumsy attack. "Tag. You're it." she says mockingly, and dives over his head, kicking him in the back of his helmet as she does, again, seemingly effortlessly avoiding his deadly touch.

Nyeung Chun Ti has failed to hit Shrinking Violet, nearly lost his axe to Phantom Girl, and watched it fail to even *reach* the White Witch, who did some magical thing that allowed her to vanish before it touched her, reappearing several meters away. He's beyond pissed, and fact that Lazon has apparently forgotten which side he is on and blasted him in the chest isn't helping. Sure, he could cut the little energy-creep just as easily as anything else, but it's hard to swing the Axe fast enough to hit someone moving at the speed of light… Fortunately, his armor seems to have held up, but when the mist rises around him, smelling of bitter almonds and scoring fine lines into his armor as it sears through it, he realizes that his day has gotten more complicated.

Tharok can't activate any of his systems. With his biological eye, he can see The Persuader choking to death in a cloud of corrosive fog, Sarya unconscious, with the Emerald Eye hovering protectively over her body, Mano, bleeding from multiple wounds, lumbering around like an oaf while his silver-clawed tormentor has not a scratch on her. Blok and Titania have teamed up to try and keep Validus off-balance, while Lazon repeatedly blasts him in the head, to no great effect, but keeping him blinded and confused, raging impotently at the frustrating assaults.

He thinks the command phrase for recall, and can feel his ships teleportation systems coming on line, his body enveloped in the warmth of the transport field, and then feels everything go wrong as Neutrax shifts his focus to attempting to disrupt the teleportation energy-field!

In orbit, the body of a half-man / half-machine appears aboard a cloaked vessel, smoldering and twisted into an unnatural shape. A cold mechanical voice announces, 'Teleportation, interrupted. Activate auxiliary.' Moments later, a second figure, identical to the first, lurches forward from a cavity in the wall, leans down and downloads the remaining memories from the latest clone to fall in battle. Tharok lives again.

24 hours later.

"Where the hell have you been, Blok? That was the fight of our lives!" Sun Boy asks, surprised to see the silent figure passing through the recreation room.

Blok's face is emotionless as he turns to reply, "Family matters."