Greek Tragedy III

From the Story Arc: Pictures at an Exhibition

Previous Story in the Arc: Greek Tragedy II by Strela (Monday, July 17, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Greek Tragedy IV by Strela (Monday, July 17, 2006)

(posted Monday, July 17, 2006)

(( AN: This one is super dark at the end. The implications are pretty horrifying ))

One of the byproducts of the Superhero wave was that the attention that in other dimensions was directed toward movie stars, supermodels, and sports heroes was instead directed toward the spandex wearers. This helped explain why a pair of Russian heroes was appearing on "Talking to the Capes" at 7 PM EST. As the TV commentator grilled Siberius about his relationship with Strela, the blushing blonde Soviet Superheroine next to him on the 'hot seat', the ratings soared.

For whatever reason, the viewing public thought the CCCP Heroes were 'in' and they had become a hot commodity on the lecture circuit. One viewer, however, would have crawled a mile over broken glass to watch them on the shows, for her obsession for revenge was fixated on them. A fist swathed in dark energy shattered the television in the dingy apartment as the program cut to a commercial for the new breakfast cereal Hami-Os.

"Soon, so very soon...Vengeance will be mine. Not death, oh no...Death is a release from pain, and you will beg for that release before long...'Heroes'..."

A Greek Tragedy Act III-"Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't"

Strela leaned back in the monitor room chair in CCCP headquarters and reflected on the past months. Siberius-no Mikhail-was acting strangely and wasn't talking to her about whatever was troubling him. Although a great fighter, a loyal comrade and definitely easy on the eyes to look at...DOWN GIRL (as her thoughts wandered toward the nude studies she had done in her private notebook, and to the small KGB issue camera she had installed in his bathroom ceiling), sometimes he drove her insane with that male stupidity. Comrades were supposed to help each other...DON'T GO THERE ANNA!...with problems.

Nichevo.

The ringing of the desk phone interrupted her thoughts. She picked it up and began to speak: "CCCP Headquarters, Strela speaking....Please hold for Director Hutchins of Orphan Savers?...Yes Ma'am, I am that Strela....You want me to participate in charity auction to raise money for orphanage?!?...Yes, I would be delighted to donate services toward assistance of those less fortunate, as Marx says, 'From Each according to his Talents.'...12 June at 4 PM in Talos Island Convention Center, yes I can attend then....I would be happy to bring along sketches and volunteer to draw subject of winning bid with proceeds donated to orphanage....Dasvedanya, Miss Hutchins."

< Stravinsky "Infernal Dance" Firebird Suite >

Clytemnestra closed the Hypertypes home page window with a shaking hand. She stared at the blank cream walls of the St. Raven's Academy computer lab without seeing the peeling paint. At least, she had the opening she needed to start her plan into motion. Strela was coming to a charity event in her home neighborhood...alone. The online 'zine had speculated about a possible rift between the heroes, but Cly knew BS when she read it. The looks the two had given each other showed how close they were, and Cly knew that was their weakness.

She gathered her notes and headed up to a vacant Arcane Studies classroom. She had researched the Needle of Jocasta using the formidable resources of the boarding school she had placed herself in. While the spirit inhabiting the bracers had given her many insights into the uses of the Needle, as a contemporary of the lady who had placed a blood curse upon it, still she needed one final piece. While she still talked like a street thug, she was in fact using that as a facade to learn what she needed to know for her revenge. Cly was uneducated, but far from stupid, and her problem had been a lack of motivation.

That lack had been corrected. It was amazing how supervillans could prove to be so lax in their security around Cly because they 'knew' that she was just a street punk. Certainly no one to worry about 'borrowing' computer passwords or copying your notes on advanced demon summoning. Cly carefully closed and locked the door. She then lit the candles around the permanent pentagram and began to chant in a language that was ancient when Rome ruled the known world. Finally the center of the star began to glow and two lemon yellow eyes opened in the midst of a shifting green cloud of vapor that formed. A voice echoed in her head "Mortal, why have you summoned me?"

"I have come to learn the Binding of Argus. Tell me the incantation that bound the hundred eyes of Argus and I shall release you."

" A powerful spell, what price shall be paid for that knowledge? Your soul perhaps?"

"If that is what is required, so shall it be done!"

"A tempting offer, Mortal, but I see now that your soul is bound in debt to Another. She is one I dare not cross. Grant me a future favor and I shall tell you what you seek"

Agreed." With that, Clytemnestra pricked her finger with the Needle. As the drop of blood hit the floor it began to smoke, as it did so runes of fire formed in Cly's brain. When she returned to herself, the pentagram was empty and the candles had gone out. Cly quickly cleaned up the remains of the ritual and then headed out of school. After all, she needed to return to Paragon City....

< Beethoven "Fur Elise" >

Strela carefully dressed in her formal uniform. She took a moment to admire the sleek black jacket with brass buttons carrying the hammer and sickle of her homeland, and brushed invisible lint from her epaulets. She then picked up her Spetznatz red beret and adjusted it upon her head. Finally satisfied with her appearance, she headed downstairs to catch her ride to the tram station. She thought one more time that Siberius should be here, but he had pleaded pressing business. Right, I bet that business involves vodka and a bar, she fumed as she reached the entrance to her apartment building.

Waiting for her at the door was her good friend Divinitie, small and elfin with a certain unearthly beauty. Dressed in a white ball gown and with her golden hair cascading down her back, Divinitie seemed the picture of an angel. Just the image made Strela's fingers itch for her pencil and notebook. Also waiting was a nun from the nearby Saint Jeanne D'Arc Orphanage. The nun was dressed in clerical black, but her flame red hair and freckles made a fine contrast to Divinitie's pale color.

As Strela and her friends hailed a taxi, another meeting was taking place. Five Warriors stood in a small room discussing the phone calls they had received to meet here. The reason for those calls appeared in the doorway. The leader gasped: "Clytemnestra, but you're..."

"Dead? No, I am still alive. Fled and in the Rogue Islands? As you can see I came back. Now you will help me with something I am doing tonight, or else."

"What, you gonna call up Heracles? He's gone, can't protect ya no longer, bitch. Never should have let girls in the Warriors."

As the leader said that, Clytemnestra seized him by the wrist. As he feebly tried to break her grasp, her other hand grabbed him by the neck. Cly's eyes glowed a dark black and the gems on her bracelets winked evilly as her victim began to age impossibly fast. Before the horrified eyes of the other Warriors, Ajax, one of the strongest of the Crushers, turned into a withered corpse before their eyes.

Clytemnestra smiled poisonously as she stepped over the body. "You can help me, or you can be like him...any further questions?"

"Good, then this is what you must do..."

Inside the convention center, the auction was breaking up. Strela looked over for Divinitie, and saw her speaking with the nun who had escorted them to the convention center. What was that name? Sister Jeanne, Sister Joan...something like that. Clearly, she should have drunk less at the reception after the auction. She headed over to the pair, only to find them deep in a discussion of theology. Divinitie broke off long enough to stage whisper: "Go on without me." As Strela headed outside, she paid no attention to the young man speaking on the cell phone in the lobby.

< Nine Inch Nails "Closer" >

As she headed down the steps to the street, the air was split by a piercing scream. Strela turned to see a trio of men dragging a struggling young girl into the darkness of an alley. Acting without thought, she headed to the scene of the crime.

As she entered the alley, she saw the Warriors turn to face her. As she stepped forward, they yelled "It's Strela!" and ran toward a door at the far end of the alley. As the door slammed shut behind them, Strela approached the trembling girl who was huddled behind a Dumpster that blocked the scene from casual sight.

"Miss, are you OK. Did Warrior hooligans injure you?" Strela spoke as she placed a hand upon the shaking shoulder of the young girl. She didn't notice the girl's other hand punch the button that activated a sonic dampener in the Dumpster next to her.

The Rescue victim spoke as she grabbed Strela's arm in a grip like a vise. Clytemnestra responded: "I'm pretty fuckin' FAR from OK" then broke Strela's wrist with a twist and jerk. Then the pain began.

Strela lay in the blood soaked alley. The only sign of life was bubbles of blood that slowly formed on her battered lips. The figure standing over her finally spoke: "You oughta thank me. This way Siberius will get an experienced woman instead of a virgin...if I leave enough of him to get it up for ya. Too bad ya won't see it, but an eye for an eye and all that..."

< Basil Poledouris "Wheel of Pain" Conan the Barbarian OST >

Postscript:

Excerpt from report of admittance to Emergency Room St. Elegius Hospital, Talos Island.

"Subject is Cauc female early 20s. She was brought in by Heroes named Divinitie and Sister Joanna who found her in alleyway near the Convention Center.

Subject is exhibiting numerous blunt force trauma injuries all over body...

Subject has had both eyes gouged out, wounds to ocular cavity are continuing to bleed and necrotize; all treatments and surgery are useless...

Left forearm broken in two places, x-rays show bone was snapped by extreme pressure...Right upper Humerus broken one place...Seven teeth snapped off at gumline left side...

Prognosis from awakening from coma, unknown at this time...