A notice to my recent and long-time Readers: I finally got around to creating a Discord account.

At first it was just for some one-on-one chats with some friends and acquaintances, but I decided to experiment with a Server of my own to open up for story-related discussions for my Teen Titans, RWBY, Young Justice, Legend of Korra, and My Hero Academia fanfics. REVIEWS on this site of course are still encouraged, but the Discord account is simply to offer a wider ground for discussion amongst my readerbase.

If you wanna Friend me on Discord, here's my profile name.

NewMystery356#9039

I'm curious to see if I'll have any takers, so until then, onto the Fanmail section.

*GIVING THANKS*

Flygar: Thats twisted. Mind altering anything and everything is terrifying.

Re: Don't worry, this won't cause an "Identity Crisis"; she'll get that memory back later. She'll be pissed, for certain, but it's only short-term because she too has a secret she'd want to be able to make people forget, and being upset over someone else taking affirmative action on that front would be hypocritical of her.

superpierce: great chapter shouldn't be surprised that snake learned to create mental barriers I just thought his nanomachines let him switch from one half of his brain like in Null-fox.

Re: Well, he was in FOXHOUND alongside Psycho Mantis, an Esper powerful-enough that he possesses [Multi-Dimensional Awareness], with enough finesse to pull microbial parasites from a person's body without killing them.
As for "switch from one half of his brain", that practice caused Frank Jaeger to experience an almost fatalistic and nihilistic view of the world, and wouldn't have been fitting for a clone of Big Boss to have since, similar to what Cerberus did with Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 2, they wanted a copy as-close-to-the-original as possible, but were on a bit of a time crunch so they dedicated his medical nanotech to accelerated agin.

justinq719: 1. Dude, that Xenomorph jumpscare was funny.
2. What's Jade doing there?!

Re: Funny story, I was actually inspired by Sokka's similar jump scare in Avatar: The Last Airbender. I've just always wanted to write something like that into my works. Originally I was going to go with a Courage the Cowardly Dog-style tribal mask like the old man uses, but I figured a Xenomorph would better fit the theme.
As for the latter, it's exactly as she said. She wanted to see her mom, and just-so-happened to track her down like prey.

Blaze1992: Well thankfully that ended peacefully both the mind-alter and the dramatic sister return.
At this rate I think Virgil needs a man-cave STAT!

Re: That might have to wait 'til he gets his own place~
At least he has a nice safe bunker to hide out in if things get really "nucular".

Fallendemon248: Can we just take a moment and appreciate just how quickly virgil will walk away from a situation that is too troublesome unless he has no other option, I love it completely ah man its great I cant wait for the end of this arc

Re: What can I say? Virgil's good at sidestepping trouble. If he weren't, he wouldn't have gotten out of the Red Zone alive.

Raidentensho: very nice. hmm, Virgil is like Murphy's Law here. whenever he tempts Fate, it will happen. though i'm sure it was the side effect of using his own magic. though i do wonder if Virgil will run into the Punisher at some point. also wonder if Artemis will get improvements to her own Hero suit to increase her running speed so she can take the mantle of Atalanta. looking forward to more. until then, later!

Re: You know… I was originally just going to leave that as a running joke where Artemis never really gets around to changing her hero name to something that ISN'T her real name… but having her change it up to "Atalanta" is actually quite BRILLIANT and I had never thought of it~

Child of the Greek Chaos: Have nothing really to say I can piece together a bit of what's coming but not much. Only question I have is there going to be any timeskips soon cause while i love super long stories the fact that you have only done 4ish months of progress in 7 years i feel like by the time this story finishes without any major timeskips I'll be 50. Other wise keep up the good work

Re: EXCELLENT QUESTION!
To answer it, there's a certain "deadline" in-universe (Earth-16) I have to contend with; July 4th, 2010, Episode 1 "Independence Day". While it's true the Nanosuit gives him a competitive edge compared to the members of the Young Justice cast in his own age bracket, right now the Nanosuit is more of a "crutch" than a "tool". Basically he's being worn by the suit instead of wearing it himself. Before, he's managed to persevere through stealth tactics, ambushes, and playing dirty, but in the wider world of the DC Universe where anything and everything can-and-will go wrong, right now he isn't up to the task. Hence! I need to set a strong foundation before the start of the Young Justice Canon.
Once that foundation is in place however, I'll have a lot more leeway to bounce around the calendar, and I have big plans for "Year 1" as it were.

Countorlok777: ... 9 times out of ten jade tends to be very flirty in the ... 15 to 30 other fanfics I read. also is she currently working with the light and/or league of shadows? then again she was working when she was flirty. think she will be having fun with virgil at Artemis's expense? definitely enjoying this.

Re: Cheshire is working with/for The Light thanks to the transitive property of working with/for someone; she works with/for Ra's al Ghul, Ra's al Ghul works with/for The Light, therefore, Cheshire works with/for The Light. As for her having fun at Virgil and Artemis' expense; only if he's foolish enough to climb out of whatever fox hole he threw himself into off-screen last-chapter~

Athrix (Guest): I don't know if this was asked before, but is there any chance of Revengeance occurring? If my memory is correct, you said that the events of the Metal Gear universe occurred 5 years early (or was it just MGS:V?), which would put Revengeance occurring around 2013, during the timeskip. Not asking if Vergil would get
Accidentally clicked post. Anyway-
Not asking if Virgil would get involved in Revengeance, just if that whole fiasco would happen.

Re: Revengeance will occur eventually, in the ballpark of one of the Timeskips. I bought Snake some extra time with the Crysis crossover, but he WILL pass on because his nanomachine-infested accelerated-aged body, is simply too beat-up to "normalize" completely.

*GIVING THANKS*

Moxxi's Red Light
November 29, 10:47 EST

"Wait, so I have two half-sisters here?!" Athena asked incredulously one Virgil bunkered down in his nearby "fox hole". "No, wait… Artemis and I share the same dad but not the same mom, so maybe Jade's my… half-cousin?"

"Geez, it's like one of those cheesy Mexican soap operas," Gaige blinked. "Next thing we know, Artemis' evil twin will come out of the woodwork and she's carrying Virgil's baby!"

"SPRRRT!" Athena spit-took.

"In her arms~" the ginger grinned.

"Right, because that's the direction you were taking it…!" Athena growled.

"No offense, but your family tree's fucking weird…" Virgil hummed idly.

"Tell me about it…" Athena groaned.

"So, you going to go meet her?" Gaige asked.

"Oh not on your life," the blond returned plainly.

"Also fair…" Virgil hummed once more. Being a foster child had been a point of contention at family reunions more than once, so Virgil had a pretty good feel of when it was time to move to a "minimum safe distance" from any family drama; like the feeling old people get in their joimts when a hot and a cold front are about to collide. "So you're just… going to stay down her until she's gone, or…?"

"Oh hell yeah."

"Juuust checking. I bow to your wisdom."

"As you should~"

"Hey, I'm wise too, you know!"

"No, Gaige. You're smart and horny."

" . . . Okay you got me there."

*GIVING THANKS*

Meanwhile, as Virgil hid out in a completely manly fashion…!

"So you leave me alone with dad for all these years, and now you decide to show up?!" Artemis asked angrily.

"I think what's important here, is that I came back at all~" Jade purred. "So, you must be mom's old lover," she said turning Moxxi's way.

"Please don't say 'lover'…" Paula groaned like a mature woman reminded of her rebellious phase and all the weird crap and/or people she used to do/"do".

"Well, what would you rather I call her? Your 'fuck buddy'? Your 'pussy of the day'? Your-"

"Lover' is fine…" Paula conceded before her daughter could say any more.

"How'd you find us anyway?" Artemis grumbled.

"I tracked your cell phone~" Jade purred with a wave of her own. "Hey, Mad Moxxi, you got any leftovers?"

"You're being awfully casual about this," Artemis hummed. "Brick would've ripped your head off if you'd tried anything."

"Look, what's important is, the family's back together~"

*GIVING THANKS*

"Hey, Athena… Did I just feel the floor rumble?" Virgil asked, his hand going to the floor as a familiar sensation crept up his ankles.

In the Red Zone, a rumbling floor was usually a bad sign.

A, REEEEALLY, bad sign…

On the upside, he now had a legit 'Sixth Sense' when it came to approaching "Kaiju".

Then again, that shit was kiiiinda hard to miss unless you were high as a kite in a massage chair. Or something.

"Uhhh…" Athena hummed, her eyes darting around nervously.

"Do I need to get Sunny out of here orrr…?"

That question was answered for him however when a throw rug off to the side was suddenly thrown up by a rectangular hatch with a glass viewing pane leading down to a basement level. Climbing out of the alleged basement level was a familiar figure Virgil only met once.

That in of itself would've been fine… if the familiar figure of "Grunkle" Rick weren't nearly naked!

"What the hell?!"

"Yeah, *urp*, sorry, I'm a Rick from another reality, I-I got uploaded to your clone vat," the Rick-like figure replied as he messily wiped some kind of fluid out of his hair with a shop rag.

"Where did you get the lab coat?" Gaige asked confusedly.

"That's what you fixate on?!" Virgil asked incredulously. Sure, he'd seen some weird shit, but weird shit was still weird shit.

"Certain planets don't have a problem with nudity as long as you-Waitaminute waitaminute, why am I explaining myself to you?! Who the fuck are you assholes!" the 'not-Rick' demanded as he looked around.

"Shit, I thought Grunkle Rick was just on one of his drunken rants when he talked about you guys…" Athena murmured.

"'Grunkle'? Ahhhh, shit! This is one of those realities, isn't it?" 'not-Rick' asked as he kept looking around, groping at the walls for God-knows-what.

"And what the hell is that supposed to mean?!"

"Could you please just… tie your coat, or something?" Virgil asked plugging Sunny's ears, the little teenager turned away from the nearly naked man.

"Sooo… You kids don't know who I am then?" 'not-Rick' asked.

"Not really, no."

"Oh… Then that means I can't let you go either," he said extending his left arm at them. Flesh-like plastic splitting at the seams, 'not-Rick's' arm suddenly transformed into some kind of cannon and a scope folded out of his hairline over his eye. The gun barrel glowing, Virgil threw himself in front of his friends, arms spread expecting the worst before-

*Hooooonk~*

-he got… covered with confetti…?

"What the-" Virgil and the homicidal naked man muttered together.

After blinking once the two sprung into action again. While Virgil grabbed a large red pipe wrench, 'not-Rick' snapped out his other arm which projected a large blade. Virgil, flooded with adrenaline, hurled his wrench at the naked man's left side, 'not-Rick' sweeping his blade across his body to hastily cut it. While he was doing that, Virgil tackled the man around the waist with a muttered- "Pils!"

By the look on 'not-Rick's face, he wasn't expecting the traction of the concrete shop floor to suddenly drop to zero. By the look that flitted across his face as his skull collided with the wall behind him, he'd been a second away from blacking out. 'not-Rick' quickly digging into his coat while Virgil unleashed body blows, the next moment there was a low hum from something in his pocket, and to the horror of the girls in attendance, both Virgil and the naked intruder were consumed by a purple-pink glowing mist.

"VIRGIL!" Athena cried as the mist cleared, the two vanished without a trace.

*GIVING THANKS*

At the same instant several meters down, Virgil and 'not-Rick' reappeared inside a sci-fi laboratory, walls covered in sci-fi tools and alien-looking computers, the two landing in a puddle of disgusting organic fluid next to what appeared to be a cloning vat. At least if the like cylinders with exact duplicates of Athena's "grunkle" in them were anything to go by. The cloning vat he'd landed next to was cracked open with blue "burnt electronics" smoke from the surrounding machinery.

"You mother-"

Virgil letting instinct take over as the crazed naked man went back on the offensive, slipped into a CQC stance and did all he could; and 'all he could' wasn't all that much since one of the man's arms was split open like a multi-tool. Muttering- "Pirg!" -as he grabbed the man's slime-covered body, his hands found purchase, almost as if by magic, and with all his adrenaline-fueled strength he defenestrated the man through the vacant cloning pod, glass shattering.

"-fucker!" the man swore as he got up, seemingly ignorant of the glass shards sticking out of him. "You think some OC Hero boy can stop Survivor-Rick!?" he demanded as he grabbed something from the nearby wall; a gun that looked eerily similar to the Noisy Cricket from MIB. What Virgil noticed after that however, was that the man's skin was starting to turn green and erupting into little bumps. "I'll kill you, your girl, your-OH SHIT!"

Too late did the man notice his transformation before his body suddenly imploded with the sound of crackling bones, the singularity of rippling flesh collapsing in on itself before of all things, a pickle landed amidst the broken glass and embryonic fluid of the broken vat.

*Twitch*

*Twitch*

*Twitch*Twitch*Twitch!*

BS Limit: 132%

Warning: Bullshit Levels Exceeded

Critical Mass Imminent

All Personnel Evacuate to Minimal Safe Distance

"Ididnotjustseethat, Ididnotjustseethat, Ididnotjustseethat," Virgil muttered to himself as he walked away from the cloning vats into an adjacent room, whose door opened up before him. "Dammit, not a way out…"

Yet despite his every instinct telling him not to do so, Virgil found himself perusing the room's contents. It looked like a trophy room, as sci-fi-y as the previous, yet there were yellow sticky notes scatted about lazily.

On one pedestal was a glass bottle with some sort of… anti-gravity properties inside, a number of colored gemstones floating within, a sticky note sloppily labeled- Microverse #6 Infinity Stones. Stored in a large vat like you'd find "cryptids" in was a humanoid skeleton with six claws made of chromed metal, the sticky note on the side sloppily labeled- Time travel stuff. Hanging on a wall was a circular metal disc like a shield, labeled- Proto-Adamantium – Dr. Myron MacLain. In a pair of neighboring glass cases were what looked like a desiccated spider with red and blue markings, and some sort of mechanical-looking arthropod molting colored blue. Off in another corner was a cardboard box filled with games labeled- Video Games of Irony.

What was most-unsettling of all was a small, extremely detailed blue-green stone statue of a humanoid dragon with an octopus for a head, and a weird whispering noise trickled down the back of his-

"NOOOOPE!"

BS Limit: 158%

Warning: Bullshit Levels Exceeding Physical Tolerances

Engaging Countermeasures

"Ididnotseeanything, Ididnotseeanything, Ididnotseeanything," he chanted to himself like a mantra as he turned his ass around and IMMEDIATELY began repressing.

*VWOOOP!*

"Oh what fresh hell is this?!" Virgil groaned as a nebulous hole like radioactive snot in space with imparted torque suddenly appeared off to the side, a figure almost completely identical to 'not-Rick', at least before he turned into a pickle, appeared with some kind of raygun in hand.

"Hey, asshole!" a familiar voice suddenly said, Virgil whirling around to see that the pickle which had turned over onto its side had a face on it! "What kind of lazy shit is this!?" 'not-Rick' demanded gesturing to a piece of confetti on his head with his eyes that had, somehow, stayed in place despite his transformation.

"What? *urp* You mean the confetti?" 'maybe-Rick' asked as he eyed the surroundings before holstering his weapon. "What, you think I'm dumb-enough to give my clones live ammo?"

'CONFETTI!? What about him turning into a fucking PICKLE?!' Virgil screamed in his head as he entered the first stage of a complete and total-

BS Limit: 197%

Meltdown Imminent

Have A Nice Day~

'maybe-Rick', seemingly ignorant of Virgil's complete and total meltdown, pressed a button on a nearby wall causing all the fluid on the floor to dry up, the same happening to the-pickle-formerly-known-to-Virgil-as 'not-Rick', a myriad of cleaning robots skittering out across the floor and reassembling the broken cloning vat like one would a vase.

Oh, and his clothes had dried off too, but he wasn't lucid enough to notice.

"Kid, come with me, I've got juuuuust the fix for that brain aneurysm," 'maybe-Rick' said grabbing Virgil by the elbow and walking back through the portal.

*GIVING THANKS*

*VWOOOP!*

"Virgil! Ohmygod, you're okay!" Athena gasped the moment he found himself back in her lab, the girl wrapping her arms around him, as did Gaige and Sunny, while 'maybe-Rick' closed the portal behind him with what looked like a bar code scanner powered by a vacuum tube filled with radioactive snot-like fluid.

"Puh… Pic… Pickle…?!"

"Hooo boy, kid's got it rough," Rick said knowingly as he peeled back the boy's eyelids and watched his trembling eyeball.

"Grunkle Rick, who the hell was that?! What the hell's going on here!? What's happening to Virgil?!" Athena demanded while Gaige and Sunny fretted over him worrisomely.

"Athena, sweetie, don't you worry, Grunkle Rick's going to make this aaaaall better. Worst case, it'll be like a baaaaaad dream," the man Virgil half-lucidly realized was the real 'Rick' said patting the girl's shoulder. "Lab! Men in Black 2 Protocol!" he suddenly said to the ceiling, black lenses folding over his eyes from his hairline.

"Compliance."

-replied a feminine voice from all around, a number of chrome cylinders with red lights sliding out of the walls like the thing from Jabba the Hutt's doorbell before everyone was overwhelmed with flashing lights.

*GIVING THANKS*

"Hey, Athena… Did I just…"

" . . . Did you just what…?"

" . . . Nothing. Must've been déjà vu," Virgil said shaking his head as he moved his hand from the floor, shrugging off a fit of Temporal Epilepsy. " . . . When the hell did he get here?" he asked pointing at Grunkle Rick sawing logs on the sofa. "You keep pickles in here?" he asked pointing a nearly-empty jar in the man's hand, blissfully unaware of the screaming gherkin held within.

Never underestimate the sound-suppressing properties of pickle brine.

*GIVING THANKS*

" . . . I haven't heard anything too crazy from up there in a while. Think the dust has settled?" Gaige asked looking away from the monitor.

"Does she know I'm her half-cousin?"

"It hasn't come up."

" . . . Maybe. Make that a soft maybe."

"What about Zee and Megan. How're they doing?" Virgil asked.

"They're vegging out on the sofa, safely outside of the splash zone," Gaige returned.

"Hm… You girls hungry? I can make a trip up for some snacks."

"That'd be appreciated. Thank you," Athena nodded.

"Sunny, what about you? Anything in particular?" he asked, only for the little genius to shake her head. "Alright, I'll be back in a bit."

*Snort* "Pickle Rick…" the 'grunkle' muttered in his sleep.

'Pickle Rick'… Sounds like a sex thing,' Virgil hummed as he left the workshop. Hazarding the perils of the boarding house, Virgil saw that Artemis and her sister were amazingly being cordial with one another, even though Artemis looked like she wanted to melt Jade's face off with Heat Vision when she first came into the room.

If he played his cards right, maybe they wouldn't notice him.

"Oh? And who's this handsome stud?" the older sister cooed rounding on him.

'Crap!'

"Keep your hands to yourself. He's taken."

"Hoh? Haven't you heard the saying, 'sisters share'?" she said with lidded eyes.

"He isn't mine, he's someone else's," the blond huffed brusquely.

Virgil didn't know what to think of being objectified. Sure, by merit of being a fashion model he was being objectified professionally, but this was the first time it'd happened non-professionally…

'I'm just gonna make some sandwiches…' Virgil thought as he tuned Athena's half-sister and half-cousin out.

'Pssst! Virgil!' a familiar bubbly voice prodded carefully.

'What?'

'Where've you been all morning?'

'Hiding.'

'Oh… Neat…' Megan hummed. 'What you making?'

'Sandwiches for the girls. Want one?'

'Yes please.'

*GIVING THANKS*

"Sooooo… You're Artemis' sister, I take it?" Virgil asked the pretty half-Vietnamese girl.

"Virgil, no, don't engage her."

"Hey now, I don't bite. Unless you're into that sort of thing~"

"Please don't ogle me. I'm a taken man."

"So am I~"

" . . . "

" . . ."

" . . . Wait, no, that came out wrong."

"HA! Hahahahahahaha!" Artemis cackled wildly. "Oooooh man, I am never, letting you live that down~"

"So how'd you two meet anyway?" Jade asked trying to regain some measure of dignity.

"I delivered a booty call to your mother via 'Moxxigram'."

"Oh? And how'd you come to live with my mom's ex-lover?"

"Ugh, all sorts of bullshit. You want a sandwich or not?"

"Yes please," Jade replied, Virgil tossing a Thanksgiving food-filled goodie at her before making the rounds. "He's cute," she told her sister. "You could totally steal him away~"

"JAAADE!"

'Just gonna ignore thaaat' Virgil mused.

*GIVING THANKS*

Moxxxi's Red Light
November 29, 12:51 EST

"You and Lawrence made some beautiful girls," Moxxi hummed after lunch, she and Paula watching as all the youngsters sat in the living room playing Mario Kart together.

"You too," Paula mused, looking at Athena. "Sooo… Did you somehow find out Artemis' name and name your daughter 'Athena' to play off of it, orrrrr…?"

"Hm, I just had a gut feeling she'd be a smart cookie when she grew up, so I went with it."

"Well, it's a freaky coincidence if you ask me," Paula mused. "So…" she said drumming her fingers on her armrest. "Does he know?"

"Nope. Never saw him again."

"Yeah… That tracks…"

" . . . I'm glad I got too meet you again."

"Me too."

"God, just kiss already~" Jade cooed from the living room, resulting in retching noises from the two womens' other daughters.

'I'm just playing Mario Kart. I didn't hear anything…' Virgil thought to himself as he continued repressing.

*GIVING THANKS*

A few hours and several Mario Kart tournaments later, and Virgil received a text he hadn't been expecting to so soon.

"Huh…"

"What is it?" Zatanna asked looking over his shoulder.

"My car's almost done in the shop. My guy's just putting the finishing touches on it."

"You have 'a guy' to work on your car for you?" Artemis asked. " . . . You have a car?!"

"Yuuuup," Virgil hummed getting to his feet. "It's still pretty bright out, and everyone's probably sleeping off the turkey and/or booze from yesterday, so I think I'll walk last night's dinner off."

"Can we go with you?" Megan asked eagerly.

"I mean… If you really want to…"

"Slammin'!" Megan whooped getting to her feet.

"Oh-kay, this I gotta see," Artemis said getting to her feet as well, Zatanna and Sunny following after.

" . . . That boy's gonna be a real heartbreaker when he's older," Paula mused.

"He's a heartbreaker right now~" Moxxi grinned.

"Haha. Ohhhhh, those girls will eat him alive~"

*GIVING THANKS*

Cell Motors
November 29, 17:22 EST

Aforementioned "walk" to Cell Motors became more of a jog instead, and whatever weird star Virgil had been born under must've decided to cut him some slack, because he and his posse didn't encounter any gangsters, drug fiends, or sex perverts on the way to the edge of town. Virgil once again encountered Amdersmith at the gate, miraculously saving the girls from meeting the overly-patriotic "Sarge". After checking in at the front desk, Virgil was directed to one of the garages at the rear side of the building.

"Hoooh… leeeeee… crap," Artemis gawped as she beheld the sight of Virgil's 1949 Mercury Coupe.

"It's gorgeous!" Zatanna awed.

"Very curvy," Megan hummed, akinning the many bulges and curves of the chassis to the luxury craft from her homeworld.

"Nice," Sunny chirped with a small smile.

"Yo! Lopez!" Virgil called out.

"Oh, it's Mr. Moneybags," Lopez hummed in hardcore Spanish as he cleaned one last imperfection from the right wing mirror. "How was your genocide-celebrating feast-holiday?"

"Oh, you know… Repressing."

"Yeah, that happens around this time of year."

"Hey, I've got to ask, how'd you get done so quickly?"

"I don't need sleep," Lopez shrugged lazily. "Anyway, here's a draft of the new User's Manual," he said holding up a heavy three-ring binder and pushing it into Virgil's hands before opening it to the first page. "Past the Table of Contents is the list of upgrades I made. First thing I installed was-"

"What're they saying?" Zatanna whispered as Virgil and his 'guy' spoke hardcore Spanish to one another at a rapid pace.

"What makes you think I know?" Artemis blinked.

"You're a high school girl, aren't you? Don't you learn Spanish in high school?"

"Sure, but I only have one year of it, and it's from a really shitty school. Right now all I'm getting is every other word, and even then I don't think I'm translating it right."

"Did you know he could speak Spanish so well?" Megan questioned.

"No, this is new to me too," Artemis replied.

"Oh, and don't tell anyone, but I spent a big chunk of my Flex Account on your car too. You're welcome," Lopez stage whispered.

"Lopez, you just said that out loud in front of a security camera."

"Do you know anyone else around here that speaks fluent Spanish?"

" . . . Fair point," Virgil conceded in English.

"Anyway, I need to recharge now, so if you have any questions, check the Frequently Asked Questions column in the back," Lopez said putting a set of car keys into his hand, a complimentary Cell Motors keychain attached. "Your biometrics have already been coded into the security system, so you'll have no problem taking this baby home."

"Thank you, I appreciate it," Virgil nodded, Lopez lazily waving over his shoulder as he walked off. "Well," he hummed looking down at his keys, and then to his tagalongs. "Who wants to sit shotgun?"

*GIVING THANKS*

Moxxxi's Red Light
November 29, 17:37 EST

Meanwhile, as Virgil and co. were getting the prior's car back…

*CRASH!*

"Aaalriiiight…!" Moxxi growled as the sound of the rear door's lock being kicked in sounded up the stairwell. "Who's got the fucking balls?" she asked, drawing her near-legendary sidearm from betwixt her bosom.

The 'who' of which would soon be answered as brash, confident footfalls made their way toward them.

"You…!" Paula growled. "What are you doing here?"

"What, can't a loving husband come to see his girl during the holidays?"

The man was tall, strongly-built and cutting an intimidating figure in his tight-fitting sleeveless muscle shirt and black cargo pants. His blond hair was cut short, his eyes brown, face handsome with a strong, squared jaw, and it became immediately-evident where Artemis got her looks from. Though the man was within his 50s, that he looked as-young as he did was testament to his physical condition. Some would even call him the 'Second Coming of Steve Rogers'.

And yet, there was something… off… about him.

"Oh boy…" Jade sighed from her place in the living room.

"What?" Athena asked as the man started shamelessly soliciting her mom for sex.

"He's on a bad drug and booze mix…" she sighed.

"What, like this has happened before?"

"Yuuuup. Last time he called himself 'NFL SuperPro' and ran around in an 'indestructible' football uniform," she said making air quotes.

"You're joking, right?"

"I wish I was…"

Athena, seeing the man who sired her for the first time, or at least in this inebriated state, immediately reaffirmed she could've gone her whole life without knowing Lawrence Crock, aka, Sportsmaster.

"C'mon, love, I just wanna get away from work," the man said leaning on the counter next to Moxxi; though he stood over her, the woman didn't back down. "Is it wrong for a man to seek out a little comfort with one of 'is girls after all the bullshit I've had to put up with?"

"Like… what?" Moxxi asked dryly. She'd have shot him right here and now with her Rubi, but with the alcohol on Lawrence's breath, she was worried about the Fire Department who had said she'd reached her 'maximum number of calls for the year'.

"Urrgh, all sorts of crap! The lab rat's allergic to gorilla hair, the French brain in a jar wont' stop complaining about the lab rat being allergic to gorilla hair, the caveman keeps sending me on missions to fight god-damn yetis and bears, the devil brat makes me want to shove fireworks up his cat's butt, the fish prince won't stop talking about star fish!" he prattled off nonsensically. "Why don't my daughters appreciate me?! I DO MY JOB!"

"Oi! Gringo!" Mordecai groaned as he hobbled down the stairs holding his head. "Some of us're tryin' to sleep off a hangover here! Keep it down!"

"Oh? And what're you going to do about it, little man?" Lawrence asked condescendingly.

"Me? Nothing. I have people to get mad for me."

Off to the side, Jade shuddered as the hulking form of the man she now knew to be 'Brick' strode up to her father's exposed back, the back of Lawrence's skull justled forward by the man's enormous protruding pectorals, wider across than Sportsmaster was shoulder-to-shoulder.

"Alright, who's got the… balls?" he squeaked as a hulking shadow loomed over him. One who could've put men like Ubu or Bane to shame.

*GIVING THANKS*

"Hey, Moxxi, why was there a bodybuilder in the dumpster with a hockey stick shoved up his ass?" Virgil asked coming up into the loft.

"You don't wanna know."

"Got it," Virgil said washing his hands of it. "So…" he said turning over his shoulder. "When do you all head out?"

"In a little while," Zatanna answered.

"Soon," Megan answered.

"The same," Sunny tacked on.

"We're probably heading out now," Artemis hummed, walking up to him and giving him a hug with a firm pat on the back like a guy would give to 'one of the guys'. "Thanks for putting up with us. Thanksgiving was… weird, but I wouldn't have it any other way," she said with a smile. "Don't you be a stranger now."

"Don't worry, I won't," Virgil replied, reciprocating the gesture and patting her own muscular back.

Moxxi, taking Paula and Artemis down the stairs with Jade no longer in sight, left the living room filled with teenagers. Just as Virgil was about to veg out on the sofa for the rest of the day, he felt a tugging on his sleeve elbow. Looking to the side, he saw Megan looking up at him with an adorable, bashful look on her face, a hand tugging at her ear.

'Yeah?'

'Virgil, can I… Can I speak to you in private?'

'Sure. But there's no need for secrecy… Okay, forget I said that,' he said about to comment on her use of telepathy, before realizing short of another telepath being around to eavesdrop, telepathic communication was one of the most hack-proof around. 'Come on. We'll talk in my room.'

The two of them slipping out of the living room away from prying eyes, Virgil guided Megan to his room and closed the door behind him, he and Megan taking a seat on his bed, shoulders barely touching as the alien girl twitted her thumbs.

"Virgil…" Megan muttered, looking down at her thumbs before the softness of her voice pressed against the back of his mind. 'You… Have you wondered… why I've trusted you so easily, despite only knowing you for such a short while?'

'The thought has crossed my mind, yes,' Virgil nodded telepathically.

And it had. He and M'gann had barely known one another for a day before she let him take her clothes shopping, and she'd even changed up her look because of some laid-back advice he hadn't put a ton of forethought into giving out; all he'd really done is blurt out what was on his mind with what he saw wrong with her Human disguise in the long-term. All things considered, it was an awful lot of trust for him to be given, especially by the niece of one of the most-powerful extraterrestrial lifeforms currently living on Earth.

'Well…' she hummed. 'It's… um… You'll… You'll probably think it's stupid.'

'M'gann,' he said feeling her unease press against him, the teen turning up his palm to her, which the alien girl gratefully wrapped with her own, gently squeezing with her fingers. 'It's okay. Take your time.'

' . . . Okay,' she nodded, ruminating with her thoughts for a couple minutes, minutely adjusting her grip on his hand until it offered the most comfort she could find in it. 'It… It'd probably be better if I showed you. . . . Can I?'

' . . . Sure.'

'Thank you,' Megan nodded gratefully, her free hand coming up to his opposite cheek and turning his head to face hers until she palmed the back of his head, bringing their foreheads in to touch. The warm feel of her skin against his, Megan's eyes from the pupil to the sclera suddenly glowed a fluorescent green, and in an instant, he was somewhere else.

Red stone walls all around.

A littler M'gann.

A slightly taller, more-masculine version of her.

A hideous monster, all teeth and razor-sharp appendages.

An explosion of heat from countless eyes.

And then there was blood.

So much blood.

So much-

'AH! I'm sorry!' Megan cried as she felt him recoil at the memory, immediately pulling her memories away from his own.

'That… That was…. That was Mars?' Virgil blinked, shaking his head as memories of the red planet flashed behind closed eyelids like they were his own.

'Yes. That was back home. Ma'alaca'andra, the "Red Planet" your people know as Mars,' she answered, taking her trembling hands in her own and waiting until he'd calmed down. 'There… There was a boy I knew. You could probably say I was "sweet on him",' she thought with a minute blush on her Caucasian face. 'We… We were walking together one day… out by the reservoir when…'

'M'gann, if this is difficult, you don't have to-'

'But I want to,' she said tightening her grip on his, looking him in the eye. 'You're… You're one of the first friends I made on this planet, you opened your mind up to me, helped prepare me for life on your planet even when I offered nothing in return. I… I don't want there to be any secrets between us, but since you aren't naturally telepathic, I have to open myself up to you, little by little, or I might overwhelm you.'

' . . . What happened?' he asked after digesting all that, flattered by all the trust she was placing in him.

'We… We were attacked, by a B'Ool Sporath; the closest translation in your language would be "Bloodworm",' she answered. 'They're the perennial enemies of the Ma'alaca'andrans, apex predators who could tunnel through solid rock at superhuman speeds, spewing acid that dissolved virtually anything in their path, and razor-sharp teeth and claws that could rip apart just about anything else.'

'Let me guess… Ma'alaca'andrans were their favorite food, and they evolved around your power set,' Virgil guessed, assuming all Malacandrans, like Martian Manhunter, possessed a similar power set, provided they trained hard enough.

It was honestly why he preferred Martian Manhunter over Superman. Not only was he unobtrusively more "alien" and unashamed of it, he'd actually had to work for his power; not be magically given them by sunlight.

'Yes…' M'gann answered mournfully, pressing her hip to his and leaning into his shoulder.

Even though he had a girlfriend he didn't pull away. Through their telepathic link he could feel her sadness, and he couldn't bring himself to let her suffer it alone.

'We… We were relatively young Martians back then… Little more than ten-year-olds by your planet's standards. He… He gave his life for me'

'Okay, I get that, but… What does that have to do with me? I doubt I remind you of him,' Virgil returned, thinking there was "no way" he could ever resemble someone from a race of shapeshifters.

'But that's just the thing. You do! You remind me of him so much it hurts!' she said looking up at him with wide eyes before she retreated, gaze turned away from him. 'It isn't what you look like on the outside that reminds me of him; outside appearances don't mean anything to Ma'alaca'andrans. It's who you are as a person that does…' she said in a subdued tone. 'He… He was always so kind to me even though…' she trailed off, shaking her head and dispelling the thoughts before any of them leaked through their telepathic link. 'When we first met, a part of me thought that maybe, Da'ahn'tay's essence had reincarnated on our sister planet. That he was here waiting for me. But… He's him, and you're you. I don't want you to think… that I'm using you as a sort of replacement for him…'

"It must've taken a lot for you to open up to me like that," Virgil said aloud putting an arm around her shoulder and drawing her in close. "I can't promise you I'll tell you everything, Humans are secretive by nature, but I think that someday… I might be able to share the uglier parts of my past with you. Because even though you're a foreigner, I feel like we could truly understand one another."

"Thank you…" Megan spoke aloud, tears trickling down her cheeks. "Thank you for being my friend!"

The alien girl's arms wrapping fiercely around him, Virgil could only return the gesture, holding her close and stroking her back as she quietly sobbed against him.

It wasn't a romantic sort of love, but he'd come to deeply care about this girl. Her coming from another planet didn't matter to him; what mattered to him, after all he'd been through, was that she lived and thought and felt like he did. That for all intents and purposes, she was just as "human" as he was.

And in a universe teeming with life… wasn't that what was really important?

*GIVING THANKS*

As the sun began to set, everyone who didn't live above the Red Light began to go home. Moxxi had already taken Paula and Artemis back to Gotham, Jade vanished without a trace, and Hal came by to pick up Sunny. John Jones came by in a van Virgil was paranoid-enough to assume was really a Ma'alaca'andran Bioship in disguise, and assumed the reason it could take the form of a normal-sized car without leaving indentations in the road, was due to some [Density Shifting] ability Martian Manhunter himself possessed.

The last to leave was slated to be Zatanna with her father, but before they could leave, Virgil pulled him around to the garage where his car was waiting, hidden away from any prying eyes looking to hazard the legendarily-insane denizens of the Red Light for a lucrative mark.

"Where… Where did you get this…?" Giovanni gawped incredulously as he beheld the 1949 Mercury Coupe before him.

"I conned Stark out of this fair and square," Virgil defended. "Now can you enchant this or not?"

"I mean… I can, but… it'll take time."

"Time's not an issue. I don't want this thing getting stolen the first time I park it out on the street, so time and money are an investment I'm willing to make," Virgil stated. "You can weave 'anti-theft' Charms or whatever onto this, right?"

"Oh most-definitely," Giovanni hummed. "Still though, I don't want to cause any… mechanical failings. Magic doesn't mess with technology as-badly as its portrayed in fiction, but too-much can cause…" he trailed off looking for the right word.

"Don't worry, I got this thing EMP shielded for that exact reason, so you shouldn't have too much to worry about," Virgil said handing the manual over. "Just make sure you record your biometrics so you don't get a face full of nerve gas. That or set off the flamethrowers."

"You're joking, right?" Giovanni questioned.

"You wanna find out, you'll have to read the manual," Virgil answered.

" . . . It's kinda scary that I can't tell if you're joking or not…" Zatanna hummed.

"The important thing is, now I have a car that can tank a broadside RPG and keep my 'precious cargo' safe," Virgil said ruffling the girl's hair, Zatanna preening cutely with reddened cheeks.

"Sooooo… Anything else you have in mind?" Giovanni asked, taking his time to admire the beautiful car before him.

"Well, it'd be nice if I didn't have to worry about someone slipping this thing into a 'Bag of Holding' or something equally ridiculous like 'Narnia'ing it into another dimension," Virgil admitted off the top of his head. "Beyond that… Go nuts. All I ask is you not take a cue from Harry Potter. I don't need my car to fly. That's what the Bioship is for. If you can make this thing a magical bunker on wheels, all the better," he said reaching into his pocket before drawing out a large amount of non-sequential $100 bills. "Here's some money for reagents or catalysts or whatever's the politically-correct term for them. Anything leftover, you can funnel into Zatanna's college fund."

"Where… did you get this?" Giovanni asked warily as he eyed the money. It certainly looked real, and a quick muttering of- "Esiarppa." -confirmed they were in fact legit C-notes.

"Signing bonus for my modelling gig," Virgil nodded. "So, think you're up to it?"

"After all you've done for us, and all you might do for us in the future, most definitely," Giovanni nodded as he tucked the manual under one arm and extended his hand, Virgil giving it a firm shake before Giovanni grabbed his daughter's hand and placed it on one of the door's handles, he himself laying the manual down on the roof and palming it down while drawing his wand in his free hand. "Ekat su lla ylefas emoh!" the man invoked, a thick black smoke swirling around his and his daughter's feet before enveloping the car from bumper to bumper. Moments later and the smoke dissipated, no trace of Giovanni, his daughter, or the luxury car remaining.

"Alright… Time to get back to work," Virgil said with a nod before heading back upstairs, steeling himself for whatever his bosses might have in store for him come the following morning.

*GIVING THANKS*

AN:
Whoo! Finally!

Honestly, I didn't think the first real Thanksgiving Arc was going to take so long, but it was filled with so-much interpersonal content, I couldn't confine it to a 4-part arc.

Of course, that isn't to say that the timeline will move at such a snail's pace for all of the Hunterverse's storyline. Right now I'm on a bit of a time crunch to give Virgil as much "training" as I can before 2010's July 4th event, "Independence Day". Once I have a good foundation laid down for how Virgil and those around him comport themselves, I can be a bit more liberious with the timeskips between missions or slice-of-life episodes.

As for the Rick & Morty-centric content in this chapter, before the Season 5 finale and the Central Finite Curve, that content was actually more "spectator"-based than "participant"-based, but my Beta, Spaceman, is a brilliant Beta and Soundboard and I have to admit, I love this version of events a whole lot better.

The Season 5 finale certainly gave me more to work with what with the massive Canon dump, but part of the reason this Rick is arguably so-powerful despite being not part of the Citadel of Ricks, is because with how-big the DC Comics universe is compared to others, it would've taken longer for the "Hunterverse" to be added to the Central Finite Curve, so this Rick slipped under the radar long enough for "Evil" Morty to break the back of the Citadel of Ricks.

OH! And before I go-

*Cue Post-Credit-Scene Excitement~*

Moxxxi's Red Light
November 29, 23:59 EST

It was the middle of the night, and those that didn't live at the Red Light had all gone home to return to their daily lives.

At least until circumstance forced everyone back together in time for Christmas and more wacky shenanigans.

Unbeknownst to the residents of the boarding house above the Red Light, an epic showdown of cosmic, nay, interdimensional proportions, was about to occur. One of many such clashes occurring across the multiverse thanks to events of near-infinite scope.

"A Pickle!? Really?!" the homicidal 'not-Rick' demanded as he laid impotently behind the bar counter. "The only Ricks that do the 'Pickle Rick' bit are the ones that live with counterparts of our dead daughter and aren't man enough to refuse talking to a dumb shrink!"

"I also *urp* find it useful for containing self-obsessed, hedonistic, megalomaniacs *belch* like you ass holes."

"Fuck you! You're not even a main character. You're the 'Side Character Rick' that ends up in a Blender by a Morty with an eyepatch!"

"I'm not the Rick that spent who-knows-how-long hiding inside the Operation Phoenix Grid like a cowardly little bitch until the Central Finite Curve finally imploded."

"Coward?! I'm a survivor! I survived That Rick's rampage back before the Citadel! I survived the death of the second Citadel! I'm Survivor Riiiiick!"

"Yeah, well, that title's about to be *urp* retired," Rick said turning his eyes toward a high-tech blend between a smart phone and a pager with all sorts of 'sci-fi parts' sticking out of it. "You get all that?"

"Lemme get a look at him."

"The hell're you doing?!" not-Rick demanded as Rick NN-356 waved the future-phone over him and scanning his face and neural pathways.

"So, this the guy?" Rick NN-356 asked, ignoring the mouthy pickle.

"Nah. He was *urp* part of the same group, but he wasn't The Rick."

"Wait, is that… C-137!?" not-Rick cried in abject terror, frantically trying to roll off the cutting board. "Are you insane?! What the hell're you doing talking to him!?" *SPLURT* "AAAUUUUUGH!" he cried as an ice pick pinned him to the cutting board

"All Ricks are insane," NN-356 hummed.

"That's what makes us mad scientists," C-137 continued. "And this guy? He's pissed you threatened his grand-niece."

"So I'm gonna send you to 'The Rickest Rick' the hard way," he said grabbing the blender under the counter for cocktails and plugging it into the front his Portal Gun. A small *vwooop~* sounding from within the cylinder, not-Rick unleashed a tide of obscenities like if the N-word and the C-word had a baby and it was raised by all the bad words for Jews before he was dropped back into the brine, his obscenities dying out. The contents of the jar emptied into the portal/blender, when the button was pressed, only a tiny spray of brine shot up into NN-356's face before a sound like a flushing toilet could be heard.

"You got him?"

"Ohhhh yeah. I got him. He make it to your end?"

"Yeah, I got him right here."

"Do I even want to know what you'll do with him?"

"Probably put him on a sandwich, let Jerry turn him into a bigger pile of shit."

"Right… Well, good luck hunting 'That Rick'."

"Relax *urp* I've got both legs so I won't turn out like Ahab Rick."

"Too much information…" NN-356 hummed, shutting off the line before letting out a tired sigh. "Oof… What a day…"

Unbeknownst to Rick NN-356, Tiny Tina had woken up in the middle of the night for a late-night snack and/or pee break, and had been watching the whole exchange from the stairwell door.

"Hey moooom! Grunkle Rick's talking to pickles and kitchen appliances again!"

"Tina, go to bed, he's just drunk!"

"Okaaay! Goodniiiiight!"

"Oy vey…" Rick NN-356 groaned.