KOF 2016 - NBH Issue 1: Enter Mania Skull

Description: Thrill as Himeko Kashiwagi and her friends from the Jounalism Club as they break some rules to create their own Skull Signal. But will Skullomania answer the call? Will he join the ambitious teens King of Fighters team! Find out in this exciting issue of No-Brand Heroes!

The night? Friday.
The time? Around 10pm.
The Plan? Operation Summon Skeleton.

"Operation Summon Skeleton is GO!" an all too excited Hurricane Hime proudly declares, which is of course Himeko Kashiwagi adorn in a pink, skirted costume that's stylized to look like a school uniform, with wrinkled boots styled to look like loose socks- not to mention her headband serving as a similarly pink mask for her eyes. She isn't alone, accompanied by several members of the Journalist club all which stand around a specific item:
A searchlight.
It took a lot of work to sneak the thing out into the courtyard and it took a good number of power cord extenders to keep it connected to electricity. "Geez, Himeko," one of the male students grumbles. "Are you sure we're allowed to do this?"

"Ah ha ha, don't worry about it, I'm the Prom Queen!" Hime proudly replies with her hands on her hips and a big, cheesy grin. "The important thing about having a lot of power is being responsible with it. Now time's awasting, fire when ready!"

The students look to one another with understandable uncertainty but eventually *KA-CHA* The powerful searchlight shines into the cloudy evening sky- it proudly shines a hastily made replica of Skullomania's mask. As the young heroine slash mascot stares into the sky, she feels her eyes water. It's... It's beautiful. "And now... We wait."

That night, in Southtown, there is a back alley melody playing to the stray cats and bastard mutts of the city. Skullomania smashes his fist into a thug's face while holding him by his hair, asking, "WHERE ARE THE DRUGS?!" The thug sobs, knowing that he's dead if he rats, but unable to stand the pain. Another fist crash, and a whimper, "Pier 14, pier 14, please, please, no..." Skullomania drops the man to the ground, and turns to a nearby man in a brown trenchcoat, with a Southtown PD badge hanging around his neck. "There you are, detective Shin." Detective Shin nods, lighting up a cigarette, before looking over Skullomania's shoulder and upwards, towards the Skullomania symbol in the sky. "It appears you have an admirer, Skull." Skullomania's head whips to look at the signal, eyes widening. "Who?!" Detective Shin exhales a cloud of smoke. "Himeko. The Prom Queen."

"Himeko? Can we trust her?"

Detective Shin looks off in the distance, and when he looks back, Skullomania is gone.

As Himeko and her journalist club friends gab, a silhouette appears. It is a lean Japanese martial artist clad in a skintight costume, with a scarf flapping in the wind. The upright posture and clenched fists indicate a ready posture, as a car passes nearby and shines its headlights across the Skull Knight, revealing the red scarf and skeleton bones. He slowly walks forward, unclenching his fists as he slowly and surely approaches, right for Himeko, already knowing what she looks like. A worthy ally to clean up this city.

".. How long are we supposed to wait, exactly?"
"In fact, how do you know if this will even work? I've never once seen a 'Skullo Symbol'!" complains another student. Ah, yes, all the questions that come out after the deed is already done. Perhaps Himeko really does have a super power- The power of persuasion without thinking!
"You have to have faith in times like these!" Hime insists, hand clenched to a fist as she nods her head. Of course what it really takes is research- Out of all the comic books she speed read, this certainly seemed the most effective. Once he arrives, the collective find themselves a bit stunned,


But all for different reasons: Some of bewilderment, others of disappointment, and one very, *very* excited. Her eyes light up and her hands slap over her cheeks as she breaths in the most overdramatic gasp she can muster. "Oh. My. GEEZ! It's him. It's *you*!!" She eventually cries as she hops from one foot to the other. "Eeeeeeeee! I'm such a fan of your work!"

"'Hurricane' Himeko, is it?" Skullomania asks, his voice gruff, replacing the polite, submissive used car salesman's tone that he uses when he's unmasked. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm also a fan of your work. You really got to the bottom of a lot of things at Taiyo High when you were working your way up to assistant investigative reporter."

He performs a low bow of deep respect, before he looks at those gathered here. "Are these your friends?" He narrows his eyes, looking at their arms and jaws and legs, misunderstanding this group. "You will all take some training, but you will do. When we go up against the forces of evil, they will have many weapons. Helicopters, assault rifles, knives, clown masks, even the treacherous Chevrolet Camaro. But I will lead you to victory over the evil that festers in this city."

He nods once, in certainty, putting his hands over his hips.

Himeko blinks slowly several times as her jaw drops. "No. WAY! Y- You know? You know! That's amazing!!" And she actually ends up feeling so humbled that her cheeks burn bright red. Sure she often talks the talk, but it's mostly due to habits formed through Saikyo training. She desperately wants to be both recognized and considered cool, but she had no idea that anyone outside of Taiyo would be aware of her achievements. "Um.. Y- Yeah, they helped me get the searchlight outside, but-"

There's an awkward pause following the list of potential hazzards. Oh dear. Oh. *dear*. "Woah, ok, I didn't sign up for this. I'm out!" one of the male students declares and very quickly turns to make a run for it. Once making a left turn, "See y'all Monday!"
"Um, w- wait! No, it isn't like that!" Himeko eventually sputters as she waves her hands in front of her. "The Tryouts! Remember the try-outs match from last week??"

Skullomania pauses, looking to the right, thinking. As gears slowly turn in his mind, he then nods. "Oh, yes, that's right. The team. So we can be King of Fighters." He looks at Himeko. "May this tournament be a bond of bravery between us, then, Hurricane. But remember this." He raises a finger.

"The position of Prom Queen is not to be taken lightly. You have a responsibility to stand for justice at Taiyo High, and in Southtown. A lot of people look up to the Prom Queen. That is why they voted you in. I believe in Himeko Kashiwagi." He lowers his finger, hand returning to his hip.

"Exactly!" Himeko cheerfully pipes, leaving the answer of whether she'd actually join him in crime-fighting up in the air. Though.. She would be extremely interested in seeing a Camaro...

Himeko can hold herself rather well in a fight, she thinks, but Skullomania's big right hands in the form of inspiring words (and particularly the word 'bond') slams the student right in the feels. So hard that she finds herself feeling light headed as she wobbles back and forth. He.. He believes in *her*. They're going to form a bond of *bravery*. "This.. This is incredible, I- I can't... I can't.." and her eyes roll back as she finally tilts backward.
Thankfully one of her spectacled friends is there to catch her before she goes crashing to the ground. "... She says 'Thank you' and will do her best not to let you down Mister Skull Man.. Guy."

Skullomania starts with both hands up as Himeko quasi-faints, but backs off after she's caught. "Very good, son," Skullomania says to the friend that caught her. "Just know this." He suddenly looks left, eyes gliding about as he lifts his hands, fingers extended. "I suspect something about this King of Fighters tournament." He nods slowly and conspiratorily. "Ever notice how all the big tournaments are run by someone evil?" He nods again, more certain, tapping his right finger to his head. "Not all is as it appears. I'm a detective as well as a fighter." And, of course, he's been in auto sales for almost twenty years, so he knows a dirty publicity drive for a bum product when he sees it. He's sold his fair share of lemons - not as Skullomania, of course, that would damage the Skullomania brand. No, he lets Carpman sell those cars.

Collective silence, aside from Himeko's far-too-pleased groaning. That's certainly one hell of a conspiracy all right, and the other students look to one another as if uncertain how to respond. Sure, shady things happen all the time but what exactly is this guy talking about? "Um.. Sure." one of the female students reply with a weak smile. Evil seems like a pretty strong word, but hey, the club has intentions to cover the King of Fighters anyway so..!

"Okay, we'll.. Uh.. Ok, sure." another replies. "So, hey, is there a way Himeko can reach you that *doesn't* include the risk of getting suspended?"

Skullomania hands Himeko a small, disposable cellphone, locked to call a single number, another disposable cellphone. "There you are," he says. "This will call me at any time. I may be busy, however, fighting crime, so I cannot always respond, simply leave a message and I'll get back to you in ten minutes." He nods sternly. "If that's all, I need to get back to crime fighting." He looks off into the distance. "This city always needs a hero." He squints behind his mask, ears tearing up.

"B'uh?" When the cell touches her hand, she regains her senses and is suddenly back to her feet. "I'm here!" It doesn't take long for her at all to put two and two together, and even a couple of her hater friends have to admit that it's pretty neat that Skullomania has something like that to even provide. Maybe... Just maybe there's a method to his madness after all? Hime takes a moment to give the phone a stunned look, then she bows deeply to the costumed man. "Thank you very much!!" she yells at the top of her lungs, then stands only to bow even deeper. "Not just for coming, but for *everything*. Please continue to fight! For everlasting peace!"

Skullomania nods brusquely. "Peace." He looks far away, sad. "The undiscovered country." He backflips away and springs to the side, before he goes running off down the street. He leaps into the air with a mighty bound and swings his hand atop a lamp post, before pulling around it and flying into an alley. There's the distant clutter of a dumpster being landed on, before a spring off it and then a dog barking, before silence in the night once more.

Log created on 16:16:45 05/22/2016 by Himeko, and last modified on 17:18:53 05/27/2016.