Origins And Changes


Rashmi_icon.jpg MaxwellK_icon.jpg

Summary: The Hooligan and Rashmi meet in Hell's Kitchen. Where the Hooligan discusses his origin, and what might be coming next.

Date: August 30, 2013

Log Title: Origins and Changes

Rating: R

NYC - Hell's Kitchen

The rough neighborhood in Midtown West New York known as Hell's Kitchen almost has a darker tone to it. Once you step into this neighborhood the city takes on a different feel, the buildings are shorter but everything feels darker. There is real grit to this part of town where many of the New York City criminals see to make their home.

Early evening in Hell's Kitchen, the barricades long since removed and the Purifiers no longer roaming the streets. Things are as back to normal as things can get in this part of the city. With the church gone underground for the moment The Hooligan is back to his old routine, making life a living hell for the street gangs.

Rashmi steps out of her parents' apartment building, pausing to heft her bookbag, and adjust the tupperware-filled canvas bag held in the crook of her arm. In what appear to be high spirits, the redhead sets off down the road, toward Mutant Town.

The streets are quiet, though as she passes an alleyway about a block from mutant town she hears a familiar if modulated voice. "So, parents enjoy the vacation?" Even with the electric altering there's a hint of good humor in his voice. If she turns towards the source of the sound The Hooligan is leaning against the wall a few feet in the alley.

"Less than they would have, if there wasn't a need for it," Rashmi answers, before looking over with a bright smile. "Thanks again for that, Hooligan… seriously. I can't tell you how much that meant to me."

Maxwell spins his bat absently in one hand. "I do what I can, was going to be emough collateral damage as it was without them dragging other folks into it to use as leverage. So everything calm in Mutant town? I admit to having been rather busy lately playing catchup, scumbags on the street got a little cocky when I wasn't around as much due to my investigations on the church. Had to remind them that I'm never gone for long.."

Rashmi chuckles, shaking her head. "Well, it took awhile, but things are pretty much… mostly settled down. THere's a lot more fear around than before, and it's making things kind of tense… but it's also hard to forget how everyone pulled together when it mattered. I think honestly, for better or worse… Mutant Town is turning into a real enclave these days."

Maxwell nods "Good to hear, I doubt anything will ever be the same again to be honest. But I'll take an almost as satisfactory. So how've you been holding up? Seemed you kinda took charge of some things there for awhile, everything turn out alright at your place? Or do I owe your landlord for a new door?" He chuckles a bit.

Rashmi waves a hand, shaking her head. "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. We'd some government aid for repairs, and the rest had to come out of pocket… but we managed. One of the better things about us all pulling together, at least… now we know we *can* rely on each other. Really though, I'm just glad it's quiet enough I can make some headway in school, y'know?"

Maxwell nods "Yeah school is definately good, was always more of a Trade School guy myself. Course I think I've done alright." He chuckles again. "In all seriousness I was headed somewhere when I spotted you, not the usual work but somthing a bit more personal. Thinking about it a little I'd like you to see somthing if you've got time."

Rashmi blinks, tilting her head. "Of course I've time, Hooligan. After everything you've done for us?" Smiling, she nods toward the alleyway. "After you. We can get rid of some of these leftovers while you lay it out, how's that sound?"

Maxwell nods and he turns and starts walking down the alley, he leads her through a few side streets before stopping at a boarded up apartment building. A few lingering streamers of old and faded Police tape hang from the door. Hooligan pauses at the door, his hand against the cracked wood and his head down a bit, as though having to compose himself for a moment. Before drawing the halligan bar from its scabbard on his back and jamming it into the doorframe, popping the door open with a practiced ease. Without a word he steps inside.

Rashmi follows along quietly, glancing around from time to time to oirent herself, but saying little. A faint hint of worry can be seen on her face when the vigilante pauses, eyebrows drawing together. "…You okay, Hooligan?" she says, voice quiet as she crosses the threshold behind him, closing the door after her.

Maxwell says nothing as he steps down the hall and opens another door the same way as the first, from the dust this place has been abandoned for years. A few notices on the walls denoting it as property of the city, likely simply forgoten and left to crumble. Stepping into what is likely the living room of an apartment. Here he removes a pair of battery-powered lanterns from a bag he carries and sets them up to illuminate the room. The apartment is still furnished, a sofa, a chair, and old television set. The most noticeable feature however are the police markings on the floor, and several large stains on the carpeting. It doesn't take much imagination to come up with what those are.

Maxwell finally speaks. "I know you're studying to be an agent of SHIELD, and that in doing so it makes telling you anything about myself a risk. But for this I need you as a friend.. becasue it's important that you know this, it's important that you know ME. I'll explain why in a few minutes." He gestures around "What you see here is the begining.. the begining of the Hooligan, the events that set into motion what would eventually make me what I am today."

Rashmi nods slowly, setting the canvas bag down. "I understand, Hooligan… Just… well… All I can promise is, unless the need is *really* critical, I'll keep your secret. If you can trust my judgment… Then I'd be happy to hear you out." As she speaks, she turns her gaze about the lantern-lit room, sadness stealing over her dark features.

Maxwell nods "Good.. now in this room about seven years ago eight people were lined up and executed. Five of them witnesses in a court case, three of them cops.. good cops that couldn't be paid off or intimidated. Men of courage, men of honor.. one of them was my brother. The man responsible for it was a piece of shit named Pablo Cortez, a cuban cartel man know as "Mister Teflon" becasue he had enough lawyers in his pockets and enough judges paid off to get out of anything. Anyone he couldn't buy he simply got rid of."

Rashmi's mouth presses into a thin line, tears standing out in her eyes as she looks to the stained floor. "I see," she murmurs… but nothing else, clearly content to listen to the story and understand without interruption.

Maxwell pauses a moment, the speaker hisses a bit as he takes a breath. "I'd been out of the country when it happened, tour of duty with the military. Never saw eye to eye with my brother. He was the brains where I was the brawn.. the Good Son while I was the delinquent. He was almost too perfect and it drove me fucking crazy sometimes. Crazy enough that I joined the armed forces just to get away from him. Our last talk was an arguement, my last words to him before I'd stormed off was for him to go to hell. I'd been planing to try and mend bridges when I got back, only to come home to the news he'd been killed." He pauses again before continuing. "I was numb for weeks, my tour with the military was over so I got what work I could and just lived in a haze. No purpose, no direction. The cops knew Cortez was involved but couldn't prove it, and even if they could he would have just skated the system again. "About a month after I got the news I was headed back to my apartment when I saw a few guys on the corner, they had tattoos that marked them as part of Cortez's operation. I snapped… I pulled a bandana over my face, grabbed a piece of rebar from an alley and jumped them when they were walking away. Beat both of them to within an inch of thier lives and left them for the cops. It felt good.. it felt RIGHT. I had a purpose again, I had somthing to work towards. Revenge."

Rashmi opens her mouth, not even managing to get the first syllable of what would very likely be a completely reflexive disagreement, but subsides, forcing herself to look over the stained floor again. "…You know," she says softly, "I don't think I blame you at all, Hooligan… And… I can understand completely."

Maxwell nods a moment, not responding but going on with the story. Obviously revisiting all this is not easy for him. "I went out a few nights a week, started ambushing his street dealers wherever I could. Though it didn't take long for things to change and he started sending them out in larger numbers, and better armed. I needed to rethink tactics. Thankfully I'm rather handy in a workshop and using some materials I had access to through my job and some second-hand sports gear I made my first suit of armor. This went on for a few months before I got the courage up to raid a drug den. Dragged the fools outside before beating them senseless and torched the place. That didn't go over as well as I'd planned, but I'd found a way to hurt Cortez.. I found a way to hit him where it hurt. His money."

Rashmi nods slowly. "That makes a lot of sense," she murmurs. "What happened next?"

Maxwell coughs a moment before continuing. "I hit as many of his operations as I could, rather than setting the place on fire I'd take the cash before I left.. took alot of the weapons too. Figured the more I took from him the better. I used the cash to fund my operation and donated the rest.. there are churchs and charities all over this city that have gotten anonymous donations of thousands of dollars over the years. Unfortunatly the cops started to seriously take notice. I'd run from them so far but I was eventually cornered and forced to fight, did my best to use the kid gloves but anyone that got in my way at that time was gonna get pounded. Any cop stupid enough to come after me found himself bound with his own handcuffs in his squad car.. after I'd taken anything of interest from it. Flash-bangs.. tear gas, riot gear. I figured I'd done more to stop Cortez in the past months than they had in years so they could live with the loss of some equipment to help me do it, none of them ever got seriously hurt.

Maxwell says, "My name comes from an incident in which an ambulance stopped while I was clearing out a postitute ring and the EMTs tried to stop me from leaving the scene. After knocking them out I took some painkillers and basic supplies from the vehicle, as well as this.." He holds up the Halligan Bar "A halligan bar, also know as a 'Hooligan's Tool'. Some stuffed shirt in the media got the idea to call me "The Hooligan bandit" which eventually just devolved into "The Hooligan" and it's stuck ever since.""

Rashmi settles down on the carpet, smoothing out her skirt as she considers the story. "…I'm going to just get it out of the way," she says after a long moment of silence. "I don't like that you've been assaulting police and medics at all, much less stealing from them. I don't. But that's not the point, and I know you're trying your hardest to go easy on people who don't deserve it. Plus you've done at least as much good, if not more. So as a lawyer-in-training, I'm shaking my finger at you. As a person… I'm sorry for what you've had to go through, and thank you, again, for *everything.*"

Maxwell nods "Noted, I don't clash with the cops as much anymore. They're either hesitant to engage or I get a heads-up ahead of time and I'm gone before they arrive." He taps the side of his mask "Police band radio.. but anyway." He pauses again. "I started to 'persuade' some of his men to give me information, and then I upped my game. I took a chainsaw to his private jet and three small-engine aircraft at a private hangar.. I set his fifty foot long yacht on fire and sunk it to the bottom of the harbor he had it moored in.. I stole a two hundred thousand dollar sports car.. stripped it to it's frame and left it up on blocks in front of the building his penthouse was located in. It drove him crazy.. he couldn't find me so he couldn't eliminate me. The cops couldn't catch me no matter how much he bribed the officers in his pockets. So he brought in some outside help. Two hired hitters.. an ex KGB officer that called himself 'Icepick' and a former marine sniper that went by OSOK, which means "One Shot, One Kill"

Rashmi winces at the mention of a sniper, unconsciously bringing a hand up to her upper stomach. "What happened to them?"

Maxwell looks to the ceiling a moment, you can almost feel the tight-lipped smirk under his mask. "Icepick has a back brace and needs a cane to walk.. though I hear OSOK will regain most of the use of his right hand in a few months. But that little ambush told me I'd pushed him as far as I could, it was time to settle things once and for all. So I took OSOK's .50 cal and waited until it was the hottest day on record that summer. Then pumped 9 rounds into the Air conditioning unit on Contez's Penthouse. Like clockwork they called a repairman, who I jumped a few blocks from the building and took his truck and uniform. I made my way into the building pushing a fake AC unit and found a blind spot in his security cameras.. where I changed back into the Hooligan armor hidden in the fake unit and cornered Cortez in his Penthouse without his bodyguards.

Rashmi nods slowly, busying herself with arranging the contents of her doggie-bag, listening closely to Maxwell's story. By the set of her shoulders, she has the idea that she's very much not going to enjoy what comes next.

Maxwell takes a breath, "I caught him off-guard, took his gun.. threw him down and gave him a few good whacks to make sure I had his full attention. He screamed at me, demanding to know who I was, why I had singled him out.. what he had done to cause me to come after him the way I had. So I took off my mask and I told him.. I looked that bastard in the eyes and I told him who I was.. who my brother was.. and why I'd made two years of his life a nightmare." He looks to the floor a moment "He laughed.. he laughed and told me that it was over. Even if the cops could hold him he had enough people in his pockets that he'd kill me, my parents, everyone I knew for what I'd done to him. Stupid bastard never dreamed I wasn't going to let him walk out of that Penthouse. I think he got the idea after the next five or six hits with the bat…"

Rashmi squeezes her eyes shut, shivering a bit. "…You killed him," she says, voice very soft and not at all questioning.

Maxwell nods "That had been the goal the entire time.. find the man responsible for my brother's death, and make him pay. Since the law couldn't hold him, I made my own Justice. The First an only time I ever have, I swore on my brother's memory I'd never kill again. I was ready to give it all up after that, I'd done what I'd set out to do and the Hooligan's purpose was over. I put the armor with the weapons I'd taken from Cortez, sealed everything away and was going to just go back to being me. For awhile I did, but I'd turn on the news every day and see more people just like him. Drug pushes, gun Runners, Human trafficers. The police have thier hands tied half the time and the other half some scumbag lawyer finds a loophole or some bullshit pysche defense that gets them off and they're back on the streets in a week." There's a moment of realization and he visibly winces "No Offense of course.. I know not all lawyers are like that. SHIELD is too busy watching out for lunatics like Doctor Doom and Magneto.. you'll never see the avengers or the X-men on the streets dealing with these bottom-feeders. The Hooligan was still needed. So I dug out the armor again, made some improvements.. and you pretty much know the rest."

Rashmi nods slowly, keeping her eyes on her hands, silent for a long, long moment. "…You remember the mess in Africa, in Nero's camp?" she asks, finally. "When you blew up his generator? Well… I'm not sure if you know what I was doing, when that happened. Nero was pointing a gun *right at me,* because he was tired of dealing with how much I'd fought him. He was going to shoot me, right there, and all that would have mattered was he'd have to find another girl to 'make his bride.'" She closes her hands, and then opens them again, looking up. "When the meteor hit… and you blew up the generator, and I had my powers back… I almost killed him. I *would* have, if he hadn't given himself powers. And really, to me… it's pretty much the same thing. So… Whether or not you made it your life to kill him… I'm so, so sorry you did. But you know better than I do, what that means. You were a soldier, after all." Managing a smile, if only for a moment, she climbs to her feet. "I just hope you're never p
"I just hope you're never put in that position again."

Maxwell nods "It's funny you mention Africa.. since this whole thing was preparation for what I'm going to tell you now. Somthing happened after Africa… when that Connor guy opened his little doorway power thingy to send me back to hell's kitchen. Somthing happened.. they say if you stare into the Abyss too long the Abyss stares back at you. Well not only did it stare back but it did somthing to me. I'm changing.. how or into what I still don't fully understand but it started after that little trip through Connor's portal thing."

Rashmi stares at Hooligan for a moment, and blows out a breath. "Y'know… I'm not surprised at all. Did you ever get from Connor, how his powers work? Because it's pretty wild, and makes it so you have to *really* think hard about traveling his way."

Maxwell shakes his head "I don't know the specifics.. only that I'd see myself if things turned out differently. Well one of those Alternate Hooligan's seemed to know I was watching.. and actually managed to do somthing to me before I left." He paces the room a moment "I know full well that from what I've told you you could figure out who I really am. It wouldn't take much to piece it together now that you know the full story. I've told you this becasue I don't know what's coming.. what I'm going to become.. or WHO I'm going to become. So if things go sideways and I start to go off the deep end. I'm counting on you to remind me of who I am. Of WHY I am.. and should that fail. To take me down."

Rashmi smiles gently, leaning down to pick up the bag of leftovers. "Y'know… I think I'd be honored to, Hooligan. Just as long as you promise, that if everything *does* start to go sideways? You *find me.* I don't need to be protected, and you'll need my help more anyway. And I can't help, if I'm not there when the problems start, okay?"

Maxwell nods and seems to sigh "Thank you, that means alot. I just need to make sure I've got insurance in case this whole thing gets out of hand." He reachs into a belt pouch and unfolds a large envelope, handing it to her. "If things get bad and I can't get in touch with you before it gets out of control. This is what you're going to be looking for. Do what you have to do.. just make sure I don't hurt anyone that didn't have it coming." He leaves without another word, gone before she can open the envelope and look at it's contents.

When the envelope is opened there are pictures inside, hand drawn. Maxwell's sketchs from his dreams. The Hooligan armor covered in spikes and with flame surrounding the mask. Weild a large mace attached to a chain, and a flaming shield. On the last page under a close-up of the burning mask a single word is written. HARBINGER

Rashmi closes the envelope carefully, slipping it into her bookbag, between the pages of an old, well-loved copy of 'Return of the King.' "You're welcome," she murmurs to the empty air, turning to make her way out of the apartment building, eyes worried.

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