RP Punk Isn't Dead



Crystals, Issue 1: First Movement

Ethan had no idea what he was doing. After all, there wasn’t really a precedent for this sort of thing. Superhero teams weren’t a thing. Not with how much people seemed to hate metas. Most wanted to just stay under the radar and be left alone. He understood this. Ever since he and his brothers had broken out of Brightheart, it had been their goal just to live their lives without incident. And they had gotten far. They were in their early twenties, it had been almost a decade, and they were thriving.

Until Zeheb had tried to kill him.

That had changed everything. That had left him floating in some strange nebulous state of despair that he had no idea how to pull himself out of. So his brothers had asked him if maybe it was time. Maybe it was time to find their families. After all, they were fairly sure that their families had no idea what had happened to them, despite the scientist’s insistence that they were freely given up.

Ethan had agreed, and that had gone so much worse than expected. At least Jasper’s family had the honor of being dead. Franklin’s were a bunch of rich assholes who tried to pay him to disappear. They had accepted the money– it was a lot of money– and the three of them disappeared again. They disappeared to Philly, and from there, Ethan hesitantly went searching for the Walshes.

And he would regret what had happened for the rest of his life. He would never forgive himself for killing his kid sister and her partner. He had broken his own heart in his anger, and he thought he wasn’t going to recover. Even now, as he covered himself in shadows, he didn’t know if he’d ever be the same.

But that had given him the idea. The idea for the Crystals, for the first superhero team in the states. After all, his sister was going to be a superhero. She wanted to help people and she wanted to do the right thing in the world. Maybe if he took up that mantle as Azurite, then he could repay the world for what he took from it. Maybe he could repent enough that he would see her after he died and be allowed to apologize.

He looked to Malachite– Jasper– and he nodded his head. His bulkier brother was wearing a metallic half-mask in the shape of a skull, and his skin was already shifted to concrete. He turned his head in the other direction and caught Yellow Calcite’s– Franklin’s– eyes behind the long beak of his gas mask, his eyes steady and even. And then his eyes flicked down, taking in Lapis– Sherry– with her almost full blue and gold mask. All three were wearing leathers of different colors, and they wielded their individual weapons. Azurite himself had his gun tucked into the back of his waistband.

He swallowed hard and looked ahead of him at the bank the group stood in front of. The silent alarm had triggered for all of half a second when the power had gone down- on the entire block. That was why they were here. To handle what was looking more and more like a robbery. The wall outside was crumbled completely, blasted to pieces. And inside they could hear a murmur of panic.

This was it. This was their debut. The Crystals had to succeed.
Some anarcho-punks believe that violence or property damage is an acceptable way of achieving social change. Many anarchists dispute the applicability of the term "violence" to describe destruction of property, since they argue that destruction of property is done not to control an individual or institution but to take its control away.

This was Anarcho-Punk’s first gig with the Resonants, and in his opinion, it was almost going too smoothly. In theory, making a splash, sounding some alarms, and scaring some civilians was supposed to attract attention. It was supposed to bring out the dogs of war, and there’d be a fight. He’d looked into their reputation once he joined. He knew what to expect. And something under his skin that was mixed with ice cold and clawing hunger itched for a real fight.

“Wallets in the bag, people.”

Instead, they were in a bank full of helpless humans. Wealthy, helpless humans – the kind of people who had the insurance to cover the robbery and then some. But not a single one of them so much as twitched in the wrong direction. They knew their place already. Hyperpop’s demonstration had done its job, but he glimpsed into the corner and saw her standing there, arms folded, looking almost as bored as he was.

There were four of them in the front here. Techno had gone to the back with one of the tellers to fill a bag with cash. Symphony sat on the counter, legs crossed, eyes roving between the customers. Min leaned on her oversized bo staff near him. Her face had a calm seriousness that Punk thought might actually be her real emotion. She had this control to her that he was sure he wasn’t ever going to understand or replicate.

And that was okay. That was Min’s job on the team – steady backbone, metahuman shield. And the spine comparison only got better with her connection to Symphony. Whatever they had going on, they could communicate at a glance, at a touch. He knew it was just from them working together for so long. But he couldn’t help but feel like an outsider when that happened, when it came up. Even with his chosen muzzle, he felt like he might’ve just been brought on as teeth. That he wasn’t going to have a place with them.

For many Japanese, min’yō evokes, or is said to evoke, a nostalgia for real or imagined home towns and family.​

The new kid was tense. Min could feel it from here, barely-contained energy that flashed in his eyes every time he looked at one of the hostages. People cringed in front of that energy. In front of that smile, visible behind the muzzle that didn’t do anything to hide his features. That wasn’t the point of their masks, of course, but when he picked it, it felt like a little more than necessary.

That was the summary of her impression of Lyle: a little more than necessary. A little too much violence. A little too much anger. A little too much monster.

It’d been Symphony who’d convinced her to take him on at all. Little Pop had impressed on him like a lost kitten looking for a mother as feral as she was, but on the other hand, he seemed to have won touch-shy Psychedelia as well. Techno liked his spunk. But they were all for the violence. Symph had seen something in that kid, though, and when Symph said he saw something others couldn’t, Min listened. Even if she had trouble seeing it herself while they waited for someone to come crash the party.

An elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements.​

Philadelphia was supposed to have one superhero duo, known as the Angels – Archangel, who created energy shields, and Seraphim, who had minor matter manipulation. They weren’t based out of this side of town, but based on reports, they should be easy to draw out if the Resonants hit enough places in a small enough time window. It’d give them the cash grab they needed to head further into the Midwest, maybe up to Chicago for a bit to cause a real stir. And it’d also give Min the time to send her message.

For the time being, Symphony was also watching the newest recruit, just with less obvious pressure than Min. The kid wouldn’t care about pressure, but he didn’t need to stare. There was an easiness to the edges of his manner that told Symph he’d do well under pressure. Better than any of them. The casual confidence, the conviction that he and he alone was at the top of the food chain, was enough to make even the most belligerent hostage swallow their words and hand over their personal belongings.

This would be a good exercise in patience, which was what the kid needed more than anything. Without pressure to keep him cool, Punk was clearly getting restless. They’d had to deal with that when they took Hyperpop on, too, but she’d chilled out once they had their first real fight. Punk was likely to do the same.

He checked his watch. Two minutes on the clock before Techno should be done with the safe. Psychedelia should be around the corner with the van at that point, and then the getaway would be clean. An easy enough hit for their Philadelphia debut.

Their entrance wasn’t as dramatic as any of the Crystals had hoped it might be. Calcite knew that the others had been hoping for some kind of drama, some kind of stereotypical superhero entrance. Instead, it was just the four of them, moving swiftly through the street and into the shattered remains of the bank’s entrance. He looked down the line at the other three as he pulled out his batons. He twirled them idly in his hands, adjusting to their weight as he took in the situation.

Four visible, all “masked”, if you could call a muzzle a mask. Red bandana, muzzle, oni, and butterfly skull. Red bandana was an average-height man with rather average features that were visible. Muzzle was wearing a duster covered in patches, had an almost afro of curly hair, and had short antlers. Oni mask was a small woman with a tall staff and all-white clothing. Butterfly skull was a young girl with a blonde pixie cut and gymnastics clothing. He knew from research who three of the people in the room were.

The Resonants were a big group for their first appearance, but the Crystals could take them on. He knew Min’yo, Symphony, and Hyperpop. But he had no idea who the other kid was. He was a wild card, a rogue, and Calcite didn’t know who he was or what he did. However, he had briefed the others before all of this had started on who the Resonants were, and what their suspected powers were. One unknown factor could wipe them all out. That was why he passed a glance toward Azurite and nodded his head in the kid’s direction.

Azurite caught Calcite’s nod and fell into place closest to him, putting himself between Lapis and the kid. He was the one who would deal with unknown factors. He was faster than most people out there, and while he wasn’t strong, he healed quickly. It made him a good choice. Between that and his drain, almost no one had a chance of actually beating him. And it was while the others moved around him, falling into respective places, that he leveled his gaze directly on the kid through his shadows.

Lapis would take Symphony. Calcite would take Min’yo. And Malachite would take Hyperpop. It was the smartest match-up for everyone, based on what they knew of their abilities. And if people started to struggle, they would play musical chairs until they got it right. They would tag in and out and figure out the right combination. It was only after making sure everyone else was in place that Azurite really looked at the antlered kid.

And he immediately froze. A quick chill went down his spine as their eyes met through the shadows and he identified what the kid was.


He wanted to pull his gun and immediately shoot the kid in the head before he could touch any of his people. He wanted to shepherd everyone out and away. And he wasn’t fully sure he knew why. He just knew that he didn’t want this kid, who hadn’t even moved or done anything particularly threatening, anywhere near the others. Instead, he braced himself to move. He rocked on his heels, ready to surge forward.

It was Malachite who spoke up. He took up an easy stance and crossed his arms in front of his cement chest. He looked over the four in the bank and called out, “That’s a lot of property damage. I don’t suppose you plan on fixing it, do you?”

He rocked on his heels, bouncing with energy. His voice was smooth and upbeat, almost cheerful, and his honey eyes reflected it. He was the only team member who was relaxed enough to speak in such a calm and pleasant manner. He could see Lapis’s tense body with her fingerless gloves, her body ready to move. She was faster than almost everyone in this room bar Azurite. Azurite, who was tenser than he had seen the man in a long time. And Calcite, while his posture was relaxed enough for someone who didn’t know him, was tightly wound up and ready to move.

But not Malachite. Malachite was genuinely relaxed, in his element. He was born to fight, he had learned early on. After their escape from Brightheart, Malachite had made them extra cash in underground fighting rings. And he always won. He had yet to meet someone who could take him down, and he was unlikely to ever. It was hard to beat a man made out of steel, after all.​
For many Japanese, min’yō evokes, or is said to evoke, a nostalgia for real or imagined home towns and family.​

It wasn’t the Angels at the door. Min’yo looked at the four figures there, her face neutral. Four unknowns, factors they couldn’t prepare for. There was a good chance they had heard of most of the Resonants, and could be prepared for them instead. They were starting on the back foot here.

She moved her free hand slightly, a signal that Symphony would see in his periphery. A question. He signaled back the answer in turn: they stayed. They couldn’t just go. Techno would come back, and then at least they’d have the numbers advantage. For right now, they had –

“Eh, you all look pretty strong. I’m sure you can manage without us.”

Min let her eyes leave the group of intruders to rest on their new recruit, their wild card. Their monster. While even Symphony had tensed just slightly at the change of situation, Anarcho-Punk had relaxed. Was looking, almost lazily, at the lineup of heroes, and didn’t even set his bag down. He only looked down to cast a sharp, hungry glance at someone who’d started to get up as if prepared to use the heroic entrance to run. They stayed.

She remembered what Symphony had told her about him. Fearless, sharp, and efficient. Efficient hadn’t felt right until this exact moment. When he glanced back up and met her eyes, she could see the smile in his baby blues, before they turned back on the man in the shadows. As clear a communication as any signal between the two team leads.

That one’s mine.

Some anarcho-punks believe that violence or property damage is an acceptable way of achieving social change. Many anarchists dispute the applicability of the term "violence" to describe destruction of property, since they argue that destruction of property is done not to control an individual or institution but to take its control away.

Because Punk had seen something when the other man looked at him. It had made his skin crawl in the best way, had resonated deep in his chest where most people stored their souls. He addressed metal half-mask, of course. He seemed to be the only one who understood how to play meta-cops and robbers, and Punk seemed to be the only one willing to reciprocate for now. This didn’t seem like part of the routine.

In fact, Min and Symph seemed… worried. They might not be showing it in their faces, but the nose never lied. Had they seen what he’d seen, under the shadows?

Had they seen the other predator?

He had. He let his eyes fall on it again, tall and dark and, in the barely-visible yellow eyes, hungry. Hungry in a way that reflected Punk’s own soul. Hungry in a way that inspired him to smile, with teeth, at the gathered ensemble. That let him relax, let him rest, because in those eyes was something he’d been looking for in this team, had just been worried he’d never see. Someone who would understand, even if they didn’t. Someone who’d play the way he played.

“I dunno,” someone said beside him, and his smile sharpened as Pop picked up where he’d left off. “The guy with good taste in masks seems like it. The others? Not so much.”

“Maybe they can consider it a training exercise. Superheroes have those all the time, right?”

“You sure they’re supers? I haven’t even heard a team name.”

An elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements.​

Symph watched Min’s hand twitch again, without taking his eyes off of the unknown superhero team. They hadn’t announced themselves, and he hadn’t heard of anyone by their descriptions. They were new. He’d remember them, going forward, but they weren’t what Min was asking about, this time.

She had noticed Punk’s change of behavior. Almost counter-productively, all the fight seemed to have gone out of his muscles, the overeager tension all evaporated. And Hyperpop was reflecting the body language as she stood beside the older boy with her arms folded. By proximity, he knew he wanted to relax as well, despite the situation. Min wouldn’t, but Techno sometimes had this effect in a fight. The confidence, the fearlessness.

Min wanted to know if they should let them be. Symphony gave her the affirmative as he looked back at the group. If they knew about the Resonants, then they would send their physically weakest after Symphony, and their physically strongest after Hyperpop. It was an even matchup, more or less. The man masked in shadows was looking at Punk. That gaze was what had triggered the change in Punk’s attitude. A connection was made in his mind.

Punk would take care of Shadows, then. He’d be getting Blue, and Pop would be getting the talkative one. That left Plague Doctor for Min. Overall, almost perfectly matched up, without accounting for powers. He made a small signal to her to warn her who’d be targeting her. The air in the dark bank was picking up, and Symphony slid his thumb over the safety of his gun with his free hand. Just to be sure, before the storm broke.

Lapis was uncertain. She was staring down the guy wearing the bandana from behind her almost full mask, her black and blue threaded hair brushing her shoulders. She felt like she should have tried to braid it back, to keep it out of the way. Maybe. Who knew if that would have helped? Maybe it would have done nothing. She was worrying about nothing.

She was worrying about nothing.

She was worrying about nothing, and that wasn’t going to help. What she needed to do was worry about the fight that was about to happen. She took a few quick breaths. But then Calcite reached out and gently brushed his fingers against her hand. That was enough to calm her down, and she took in a deep breath. She could do this. She could absolutely do this. She had been taught how to use her powers, and she could dance circles around everyone in this room, except for Azurite.

There was no need to worry about nothing.

She uncurled her fingers, letting her hands rest open, her fingers stretching. She had speed at her advantage, and she could overwhelm Symphony with emotions and sensations until he collapsed. She could stay too close for a good shot with that gun. She took another centering breath, and waited.​

Mal was riled up. He smiled brightly as the wild card and Hyperpop bantered with him. He gestured with one of his concrete hands to the mess and chuckled. “The Crystals. I know, really cheesy name, but it works for us. Seems to me like you’re on your way to getting plenty of money to fix the damage! Doesn’t seem fair to have us fix it for you. Maybe we could convince you.”

Next to him, Calcite stopped twirling his batons. The man reached a hand out to touch Lapis, but he didn’t pay it any attention. Paying too much attention to it would give the other team something to latch onto. They’d peg Lapis as the easiest team member to take care of. So instead he casually walked forward, making himself a visual target to distract from the movement between his two team members.

“After all, you are the Resonants. With the amount of banks you’ve robbed, I’d be surprised if you couldn’t fix the damage.” Malachite was nothing if not good at bantering. It was why they had decided that he would be the one to handle communicating with the other team. Why he was the one who would be the face of their team.

There was energy buzzing in his veins as he looked around them. He did it casually, but in truth, he was looking for their fifth team member. Techno was going to be a problem when she showed up if he didn’t have Hyperpop down by then. She must have been in the back collecting the money, however, because she wasn’t anywhere to be seen.​

Calcite was calm. At least one of them had to be calm. He was appraising the small motions between Symphony and Min’yo, watching the subtle interactions. They understood each other in a way the three brothers understood each other. There was an understanding between them, one where they didn’t need words. It wasn’t a good sign for them. That kind of understanding only came when you knew each other well, came as a sign of how well the team was going to work together.

He resumed twirling his batons, almost casually. As though he wasn’t standing there, about to engage in a fight between the two groups. As if they weren’t being watched, being seen, by what would be the whole city. Sure, it wouldn’t be recorded because Techno had knocked the power out, but it would be enough for word to travel by mouth.

The Crystals’ debut would be known by everyone. His eyes flashed toward Azurite, and he knew the man was keeping his eyes locked on the wild card. The kid in the muzzle, with the big curls. Calcite wasn’t sure what had spooked Azurite, but he knew that tenseness. It was the tenseness that came when things went wrong. It was the same tenseness that had been in his body when Zeheb had happened. It was the same tenseness that was there before he’d gone on that binge right after his death and nearly died. This couldn’t go the same way.

Clacite felt Azurite’s eyes on him then, more than saw them. He would know the weight of his brother’s gaze anywhere. And he held it, looking into the shadows. The tension seemed to drain from his shoulders, and he gave him a small nod before Azurite’s gaze was gone again. He knew as well, that this had to go right.​

Azurite was anxious. He took in a deep breath, a slow breath, as he looked at the kid. He could feel his heartbeat rising. He could feel something in his blood rising, something in his soul rising, something in the very core of his being rising. He could feel it thrumming at the edges of his being.

It was another predator. Another monster. Another thing like him. He could tell in the way the kid moved, in his smile with what seemed like too many teeth, in the antlers that curled back from his curls. He could tell from the look in the kid’s eyes, the eyes that were watching him unwaveringly. He felt it resonate deep within him, and against his own will, the shadows around his eyes cleared just enough for the gold of them to become visible. It quickly clouded back over and he looked away for a moment.

He needed to get this under control. He needed to be in control. He couldn’t let the monster under his skin, the monster he’d been trying to tame, out. He couldn’t let the kid have the thing that lived inside him and hungered for the lives of others. He had spent too long working with Malachite, working on controlling the “hunger”, for anyone to have it.

He looked back up at the kid, holding it this time. But now, there was something sad in the posture he held. Something that said he didn’t want to do what he was about to do. He didn’t want to have to fight the kid. He didn’t want to have to use his ability to fight him, to control him, to bring him to his knees. There was nothing he wanted less. But still, he steeled himself. It was what needed to happen.

And Azurite would protect his own.