Closed RP Nerves of Steel

This RP is currently closed.


Staff member



MESSAGE DATE: 11/29/2023

TITLE: Special Request: "Nerves of Steel"

The prestige your company holds is not to be underestimated, though I suppose such a fact is not lost on you. You do not fail; or, if you do, then you do not allow it to be known. Commendable. Teamwork is one of your strong suits, but it comes with a flaw; the profits must be split two ways. Hence, I have sent this request through a private channel to you, and only you. I believe you are capable of filling my request for me- though, do not take this as any sort of external pressure. I mean it genuinely. I have observed your skills, even without your colleague, and you have impressed me enough to trust you with a task of as much interest as grave importance.

The target goes by "WOLF": a metahuman vigilante, who, though anonymous, I have reason to believe comes from a particularly noteworthy background- though, let it be known, this is not a request borne solely from envy. I have received some information about him which, though I am unable to share, has lead me to the conclusion that he must be eliminated as soon as possible, lest the scale of his violence increase any further than it already has.

He has become more aggressive, as of late. I need you to eliminate him.

There was a robbery, recently, in which Wolf and an accomplice were implicated. It was a violent crime, and the target was a man I know quite well. He was lucky to escape with his life- though, only barely. If you need, I can send the CCTV footage of the incident, though I trust you'll take my word for it. Rest assured, I have not contacted the police, and I will not be contacting them about you, either. I want this to be sorted out as quickly and as quietly as possible, as I fear this may be the first link in a chain of violence, or the start of a pattern which will eventually swallow the entirety of Pittsburgh.

Wolf is a metahuman, as previously stated. His powers appear to involve metal- the ability to shape, control, and weaponise any he comes in contact with. His physicality appears to be abnormal. I recommend engaging in combat directly, rather than attempting stealth, but there's no need to make yourself obvious, regardless. A rigid, stab-proof suit, made of an alternative material, as well as non-metal weapons would be my recommendations- but you're the expert here. Bring what you think will let you stay alive.

Completion of the job will earn you 573~P, which will be sent anonymously through your requested channels- however, there will be an extra condition that needs to be fulfilled. I will be sending a shatter-resistant bodycam to an anonymous location, and I expect you to wear it every second you spend with Wolf, so I can monitor your progress.

No funds will be given until the camera is active- but, once it is, I will stick to my word.

Silhouetted against the night sky, crouched atop a building a few floors taller than the one he watched, Nat imagined how he looked from below and smiled beneath his mask at the thought of some passerby noting the sudden addition of some anthropomorphic gargoyle to the Pittsburgh skyline. It was unlikely anyone one would see him, the natural tendency for one to keep their eyes ahead of them as much camouflage for the vigilante as the depths of the night. Still, though, he considered how he would appear and shifted his position slightly, kneeling with an elbow upon his knee to mimic a common position for the statues he would hoped to be assumed as.

He had spent weeks visiting this rooftop; weeks studying the movements of the men in the building across the alleyway. It was a familiar place, the opening to the side of the building the very one Two-Shot Ace had attempted his escape through. Of course Nat was only there because of its familiarity; his first attempt to take the arms dealer off of the streets had gone awry that night. Adrian had been released due to technicalities, most prominent of which revolved around the very nature of Nat’s vigilante work.

Initially it had seemed all would be well; Ace had been knocked cold when his car slammed into the light pole across the way, and of course when the police arrived to the scene of the accident they had found the weapons in the trunk of that car. Adrian himself had made a mess of his initial explanation and been carted off to holding while his car and everything inside was collected. Nat had hoped that would be the end of it and Adrian would be sentenced for his crimes. Instead the man had returned home less than a week later, and had been back on the streets with his wares almost as soon.

It was going to take a different approach, though Nat had difficulty in figuring out exactly what that approach might be. The man’s guns were as dangerous as any meta, and Nat had little intention of letting them litter the city he called home while he struggled to figure out a plan. That was how it began; these nightly vigilances. He had watched hundreds of guns change hands in that time, and without a plan to remove the source Nat found himself instead playing catch-up. Each face was noted, followed, and relieved of their new purchase before the sun would rise. Some nights that only meant a few people had to be threatened, or in the worst case fought. Other nights it could be a lot worse.

This had been a quiet night, though. Usually by sundown Two-Shot had seen at least a few different customers, but it was already well into the night and the only traffic to the alley had been a few stray cats and one very drunk old man in such desperate need of relief that he had chosen a dumpster directly beneath Nat for the job. Adrian could be heard occasionally from the other building, a testament to the man’s lung power if nothing else as he berated what men had returned to his side after the fiasco of masks that had nearly seen him imprisoned.

It seemed they had not been drumming up enough business for his tastes, though Nat personally found the slackened pace a wonderful rest. Two-Shot was barely half the threat many of the others on Nat’s list posed, but somehow he had been the cause of the majority of Nat’s headaches since his release. That would end tonight, however. Nat had finally figured out a foolproof plan to have Adrian caught in the act by proper police, and have him removed the streets, and Nat’s concerns, as permanently as possible. At least this time he didn’t have to worry about Phoenix, and hopefully any other masks, interrupting his work.

Mari was no stranger to fielding contracts. Nine Tails, Inc. received all sorts of strange communications, both serious and illegible, various offers for various services. Her first headache was always sorting the legitimate from the fake, finding the real customers amongst the crowd of cheats, liars, and law enforcement phishermen. At the start, Follower seemed like just another herring, setting her up with flattery in order to lower her guard. Mari hadn’t lowered her guard in over a decade, and it would take more than some flattery to get her to drop it now. Spork had already tried.

However, when he followed through with the CCTV footage of said incident, Mari became more interested. A handful of metas fighting what appeared to be bank robbers. Perhaps they were interested in robbing the bank themself, or maybe they were actually vigilantes. Then again, maybe not. She thought as she watched one of them appear behind one of the robbers and end his life with a single shot. Mari pretended she didn’t mouth the words ‘Nothing personnel, kiddo’, as she knew Spork would have said.

She had an inkling about who this “Follower” was, but unfortunately her preliminary research into Lament hadn’t found much, just a lot of people discussing his music on various audiophile sites, people theorizing how he got the morbid sound effects, speculating about who he could have been at the Mythomane concert. It seemed that Kitsune and Shiba were among the few to actually meet the man himself.

Turning off from that point, Kitsune instead turned to researching this Wolf character. Ferrokinesis was an interesting power, one that unfortunately put her at a bit of a disadvantage. Her blades were definitely metal, and her guns had metal parts and components. Despite what Follower said, she believed her best approach would be stealth, keeping herself at a distance and not allowing him to get close enough to meddle with her.

Next was recon, and that was the simplest part. Simply search for all reported sightings of Wolf, plot them on a map of Pittsburgh, and she’d have a decent idea of his movements. Whether it was his patrol route or home base, it didn’t really matter. She could work with little. If she had enough time she would have substituted all her weaponry with plastic-based ones, but she didn’t have the time for proper testing to ensure their integrity.

Eventually, she found what she was looking for. Wolf had been active for a decent amount of time, but recently sightings had been clustered around a specific area, and if that wasn’t a pattern she could exploit, Kitsune wouldn’t have the reputation she did. She suited up simply enough, her usual outfit and knives, but she brought a back up weapon, a tucked away pistol. The other would be primarily modified for a rifle once she was in position.

So Kitsune lay perched on a rooftop, camera attached and activated, positioned so Follower could no doubt see that she was not following his suggestion. She was the professional, she would decide how to engage. She also had manipulated the feed so it was streaming to one of her servers, allowing her to maintain a copy of the footage. She would analyze it later. Her view shifted between buildings until she found a figure perched upon one. It could have been her target, but since you couldn’t step outside without tripping over a vigilante these days, Kitsune waited until he shifted, the moonlight glinting off a metal mask covering his face.


Kitsune squeezed the trigger, sending a beam of orange light directly at the target. She sat back up, blinking away the flash as her muscle memory kicked in, removing a part of the rifle and ejecting the spent cell. She tucked it into a pocket as she pulled out a fresh one, replacing it and slamming the cover back into place. She reset, looking back through the scope, prepared to take another shot. This was where things could get dangerous. He could run, he could charge her, she didn’t fully know his powers. Beneath the mask, Mariko Ito smiled to herself.

This was going to be fun.
He couldn’t say it was instinct that saved him. Vigilant though he was his focus was solely focused on Ace’s building. Perhaps retrospectively there might have been the flash of artificial light against a sniper’s scope, or some internal awareness of a set of eyes with the intent of death upon him. It really wasn’t as tangible as all of that, though. He had been focused on the movement within the building, anticipating the exit of one of Ace’s dealers and leaning forward when suddenly there was a flash of light.

He started, practically jumped in that instant, flailed arm catching a bolt of light that would have otherwise pierced his chest. The steel around his arm fell away red hot even as he fell from the ledge in distorted time. It was nowhere near enough time to react, and yet it was plenty as the steel at his waist coiled and shot toward the rapidly receding ledge. Steel punctured brick and spread even as Nat’s fall was slowed and the cable pulled tight from his momentum. Once the momentum was absorbed the cables rapidly retracted, much faster than mechanically possible, and launched Nat back toward the top of the building.

The speed of his ascent more than cleared the building, the cables snapped back seamlessly into his suit as he sailed above the buildings before gravity took hold of him again. He knew about where the shot had come from, and scanned the rooftops for his would-be assassin. Ace was a sniper, according to his military records Nat had gotten his hands on. Had the man realized he was being hunted by The Wolf and set a trap for him? It seemed wrong, felt off somehow. He had seen a lot of Ace’s guns, and none of them shot freaking lasers. This was above military spec, too advanced for Two-Shot to have gotten his hands on.

Plus, he realized at the flash of white and spark of orange, Two-Shot Ace didn’t wear a mask. Whoever they were, Nat had every intention of asking them personally as cables again coiled and sprang from his suit, latching onto the rooftops to catapult him toward the shooter like a slingshot.

Kitsune’s shot had hit, and her target had fallen. Something was off, though. She adjusted her scope, focusing on the object that had separated from the Wolf as her shot had made contact. A red-hot plate of steel sat, sizzling in the still of the night. It curved into a semicircle, like part of a pipe or an arm guard.


Kitsune thumbed the scope, pulling the focus out in time to see a figure launch up over the rooftops, thin wires slithering back into his suit. The moonlight glinted off the mask once more, but it also shone in several other places. The bastard was wearing full metal armor. It was gonna take more for her to take him out.

Luckily, Kitsune enjoyed a challenge.

The wires lashed out again, slamming into the buildings and propelling the Wolf towards her. Realizing her options were limited, Kitsune sprang into action. She moved fluidly, no effort wasted, as she slid the scope off its rails and pulled back the bipod, rising to her feet. She aimed down the sights of the rifle, lining up with the rapidly approaching figure before letting off another shot. She didn’t bother ejecting the shell before dumping the contents in the open briefcase by her feet, kicking it shut and pushing it off to a corner of the roof with her foot.

From what Kitsune had seen, the Wolf wasn’t exactly a novice, but he was a pushover. One who had morals and followed some form of a “do no harm” code. She drew her secondary weapon, checking its charge before reholstering it, keeping it within easy reach. There was a strong chance that he would try to talk her down first. A close-range cheap shot would make quick work of this contract.

Nat had intended for the shooter to see him coming, had practically counted on it as he drove toward them. It was an intimidation that worked quite well on Adrian’s hired guns, on petty street criminals who would nearly soil themselves at the sight of so much metal moving with so much speed toward them. He had expected much the same from the unknown assailant, a cry of surprise perhaps, or a scramble to get away.

Instead he got another shot, perhaps hastily taken but deadly nonetheless. Again it was instinct that saved him from the arc of light, a shift in his weight while he fell down to the rooftop that turned his body and just narrowly avoided the deadly laser. Behind his mask Nat’s eyes went wide, the heat from the shot so close to his body that he could smell the faint scent of burning hair. This person was surely out to kill him, and had the skills to do so.

There wasn’t much else he could do at that point, except hit the rooftop in a roll and spring up into a sprint. Perhaps the distance had given the shooter more confidence, had somehow lessened the factor that usually sent criminals running. His footfalls were heavy, dust sent billowing around his feet as he pushed himself and the metal he surrounded himself to their top speed. He was better at close range, and the sniper would hopefully have a handicap as he drew closer.

Nat couldn’t count on that, though, and hurled his steel ahead of him in the form of razor thin wire. He didn’t aim for the sniper, though. The steel whizzed past them, toward a corner of the building before arching toward another, and another; effectively surrounding them in nearly invisible blades. His hands kept throwing as the distance shortened, ten feet, six feet, and five; his suit of steel thinning as he sacrificed his defense to trap the sniper on the rooftop with him.

Sliding to a stop, Nat held his hand up one last time, though he didn’t hurl any more metal around them with the motion, instead he held his hand like a gun, finger extended and pointing directly at the sniper’s mask. The two could practically reach out to touch each other at this point, a catch twenty-two in which either of them might be able to take the other out. Eyes narrowed behind his mask, Nat unknowingly met the sniper’s expectation then and spoke.

”What the hell are you doing?” Despite the slight breathlessness of his voice there was an edge, a veiled threat. With nowhere to run they would either answer him, or they would try to kill him again. He hoped for the former, but pooled a shimmering puddle of steel at his fingertip to indicate he was prepared for the latter.

The Wolf avoided her shot, the beam barely missing his twisting body before flying off to god knows where. Kitsune narrowed her eyes behind her mask. Either that was very calculated or very lucky, and whichever it was would determine how difficult this would be.

Her target landed on the roof and ran towards her, his armor unraveling as something whizzed past her. The sound of steel cable flexing and twisting filled the space, and soon enough there was a glittering matrix surrounding them both, effectively trapping them in a steel cage. Kitsune couldn’t fly, so she had to hope the metal would dissolve upon the Wolf’s death.

He finally came to a stop, pointing his finger at her like his own gun, a bubble of liquid steel pooled around the tip. The threat was clear: her was armed and dangerous. Unfortunately for him, Kitsune’s whole job revolved around those who were armed and dangerous.

“You are a hard man to get information on, Mr. Wolf.” Kitsune said, shifting her weight to one foot, hand resting casually on her holster. Him speaking not only confirmed her earlier suspicions about wanting to talk her down, but he sounded young. She could work with that, maybe get him aggravated into making a mistake.

“Maybe it just needs an update, but I couldn’t find anything that said you were an idiot.” Her voice came out as a growl, as steel scraping against bone, as a shadow that moved when you least expected it.

“I’m trying to kill you, kid.” Kitsune drew her pistol for emphasis, finger off the trigger, preparing herself in case he had an overreaction. “Someone wants you dead. Dunno why, that’s just the terms. Don’t suppose you’ll go gentle into that good night, will you?”
The trap he had set in wire around them was originally intended for a different kind of prey, and though Nat had set it with the intent of intimidation he wasn’t certain how long he could hold the steel in position. As the masked gunman spoke a hidden, toothy grin crossed his face beneath his masks. He stepped forward at their response, indicating his refusal to back down with the wires waving from the motion.

”That’s not news, Foxy. A lot of people have wanted me dead.” It wasn’t a lie, but Nat had a suspicion of who might have set the attack into motion. He wondered if Adrian was watching now to see his assassin at work. Nat did enjoy disappointing the man.

So you’re a hired gun, then?” They spoke as if they had studied him, which gave them an advantage of knowledge. If he could keep them talking he could learn more about what they knew, and if anyone else was in danger he would act accordingly. ”What happens if you fail?”

“I guarantee, you don’t know the person who hired me.” Kitsune had her own ideas, but she was fairly certain the Wolf had no clue. He stepped forward, wires twisting and twanging in the air. He wasn’t gonna back down, which was fine for her. If all he’d wanted was intimidation, Follower would’ve asked for Shiba.

“‘Hired gun’ is a bit reductive, don’t you think? I prefer to think of myself as a professional contractor who does unsavory things at a reasonable rate.” Something between a cough and a laugh slithered out of the helmet, Kitsune’s business-facing personality choking on Spork’s insistence on puns and jokes.

“As for if I fail? Well that’s easy.” Kitsune leveled her gun at him properly, finger sliding on the trigger. Playtime was almost over. “If I fail, the reputation gets a little scuffed and I don’t get paid, however that’s a big if you gotta deal with.” A sharp-toothed grin flashed under the helmet.

“You’re gonna have to do a lot to keep me from chasing you, so enlighten me. What do you think it's gonna take to stop me?” Kitsune's gaze shifted around the rooftop, her mask maintaining the cold gaze with Wolf's own. She could delay him and that would weaken him. The metal manipulation was like tensing a muscle, and sooner or later it had to relax. Then she'd take him out.
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