The Gathering Of The FourMature

A story born of the pulps of yesteryear set in a parallel world on the cusp of war...

When a mysterious green mist claims the lives of innocents across the globe, it falls to the adventurer Atlas Silver and the trusty Fabulous Four to help save the world from certain destruction - but with ancient forcers on their tail and mysterious assassins to contend with, can our heroes solve the mystery behind the Emerald Menace?

The moon shone high over the city. She walked smoothly down the alleyway, hips sashaying beneath the figure hugging red dress, hair curled just right. The onyx pendant around her neck glinted in the dim light, matching the cool shimmer in her eyes as she moved.
She did not notice the shadow behind her - the burly man in the overalls, looking for a quick fix of flesh and tears. He summoned his courage, and lunged in lust...

Thirty seconds later, she left the alleyway, her pristine appearance concealing her handiwork behind her. The man lay shuddering upon the cold pavement, his eyes wide open and mouth agape, revealing two rows of broken teeth.
The woman in question was Carmen Delacroix, a woman of many talents, known to the world for her infamous performance masterpiece "L'Histoire de Pierre Craindre" - one that had somewhat... orgiastic... effects on her audiences. She enjoyed her infamy, and her adoring public revelled in the chaos and enjoyment that she brought. 

But now - now there was something new.
A message through the pneumatic tubes with seemingly no origin marker on the capsule, reading simply: COME TO PARIS. EIFFEL TOWER. TUESDAY, 6:30 SHARP.
An adventure lay in wait, and Delacroix had no intention of passing it up.

****

Doctors Eliza Tames and Cassandra Fleet had cracked it after months of slaving over the microscopes. Success after success flowed to them, and this was but one of the achievements they had made within such a short time.
They were virtuosos in many areas, with Tames working in her free time as a budding fictioneer and Fleet taking her gift for music - a talent developed from an early age that blossomed to become no less than remarkable - to the masses at the music halls she graced.
Both were geniuses, in the minds of all that knew of them.

And yet neither of these great brains could fathom much from the strange glass canister that swooped through the pneumatic tubes that night, reading the same cryptic message Delacroix had seen before. 
Two train tickets were booked by sundown, and the two packed that night wondering what laid in wait...

****

"The Bastard" Bobby Flint, they called him - when he walked into that ring, the man opposite knew he wouldn't last a second. 
They were usually right.
Swift hooks, left and right; jabs for the jaw and garrotted arteries; and the odd blow below the belt usually did the trick. He was a boxer without equal, and he knew it.

But that one night changed everything.
The night the card came through the door, past the guards and with the same message. 
Paris? What's in Paris? he said to himself incredulously. But already, the prize fighter of the decade was packing his things and having a ticket ordered.
What was out there, he had no idea. But he was a fighter, and so long as he could use his god-given talent, then so help him Lord he'd use it. He hopped in the cab waiting outside to take him to the station, his fingers running silently over the rosary in his pocket as he prepared himself.

****

The night was cold for Maria.
The smog was thick, the cobbles painful on her skin - she was out of money and out of luck.
She was sick of the game - sick of the money and the lies and the cruelty which had led her to this fate.
The bastards who conned her out of what little cash she had left... how she hated them.

And then, everything went funny.

The smog began to shift - to change colour before her eyes as she collapsed completely, hands smacking against the cobbles as the blood rose to her mouth and onto the paving. Her body convulsing wildly, her eyes wide open as the green fog began to take its toll.
There she lay until the morning - the officials considered its case of death by natural causes. An "act of God", if you will.

And two gleaming dark eyes far above looked down on them with steely determination.

The End

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