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"Me, I know where I stand. And I don't worry about it. Because when it's over. When they're all dead and the war is over... there'll still be one bullet left. To clear all accounts."

"Those are the heads of all of your lieutenants. That took me two hours. You wanna see what I get done in a whole evening?"

The multiverse is constantly shifting. Moving about in erratic patterns of irregular ways as if guided by the hand of some bored and careless deity, playing with us for their own amusement. Sometimes, the multiverse shifts in ways that cause collisions. Often, these collisions are minor at best. Someone or something might accidently fall from one universe into a parallel one. But once in a great while, two universes are set on a path determined for collision, and from this collision comes a joining. When two universes, both very different and yet unmistakably similar, come together, only one can remain. Who and what survives this fusion? Well, that's not in the hands of mere mortals to decide. For when two universe collide, only the Deadliest may survive...

Last battle, Marvel narrowly managed to take the lead in this war, but we step back from the traditional clash of the mighty titans and gods of the modern mythology for a battle a little more grounded in the real. The Punisher has found a new hive of scumbags on the loose, and he's teaching the DC Universe why the villains of New York fear the name Frank Castle, but at the same time The Red Hood has becomining a rising figure in the criminal underworld, taking control of numerous Marvel cartels in the process. These two men are destined for a collision course, the winner of which can only be chosen by you. Frank Castle- the man who lost everything, and swore to destroy everyone who stained their hands with the blood of the innocent, or Jason Todd- the former sidekick turned martyr turned fallen hero who vowed to make Batman outdated by using a more modern approach to crime- by ruling it. Only one of them can be...the DEADLIEST WARRIOR!

Weapons and Skills

The Punisher

Handgun M1911A1 Handguns
Melee M4X Punisher Knife
Close Range Mossberg 590 Compact Cruiser
Mid-Range Twin MP5K SMGs
Long Range M4A1 Rifle
Special Flamethrower
Explosive M-67 Hand Grenade
X-Factor Punisher's Van

The Punisher enters battle with a massive array of weaponry, explosives and gadgets of all types. While his arsenal is hard to pin down due to his use of secret arsenals hidden throughout the city that he uses to switch up his loadout constantly, for this battle he will be using some of his more iconic weapons. The M1911A1 Handguns are his pistols of choice- he carries two with some slight modifications, and is known to dual-wield them at times. When the fights get up-close, the Punisher has a brutal M4X Combat Knife that, combined with his skill in melee combat, make him more than a match for most of his foes. Close range encounters are met by his Mossberg 590 "Compact Cruiser" Shotgun, which he can conceal in his trench coat. He also packs twin MP5K SMGs that he can fire with surprising and lethal precision. His trusty M4A1 is a weapon he has been using most of his life- with a custom red-light laser sight and plenty of ammunition, the Punisher is ready to deal with foes at any range using it, and when he finds he needs a more specialized approach the Flamethrower and M-67 Hand Grenade serve as excellent killing tools. The Van is a unique tool- it's a mobile arsenal packed with the Punisher's extra equipment and filled to the brim with ammo. The Van is armored to ignore small arms fire.

The Punisher has had a long life, having fought in the Vietnam war on as many tours as possible, even creating fake identities so he could return to active service. Frank has also spent the majority of his life fighting- whether it be the Viet Cong, the criminals he encounters or the Super Villains running around New York. He wears a custom suit of Kevalr which is highly resistant to small arms fire except under repeated fire, and the bright white skull in the chest is designed to draw fire to the most armored part of the suit. Frank's been trained in almost every form of weaponry imaginable, has received special forces training and has mastered numerous forms of unarmed combat in his life. While he has no real super powers, it has been noted numerous times that he has an incredible endurance- able to take the kind of hits that would cripple or kill a normal man and just keep trucking through the pain. Frank also possess a surgical expertise on the human anatomy, allowing him to make more brutal and meaningful attacks.

Red Hood

Handgun Desert Eagles
Melee Kris
Close Range Remington 870 Shotgun
Mid-Range Dual Uzis
Long Range AK-47
Special Minigun
Explosive Rocket Launcher
X-Factor Red Hood Helmet

Jason Todd has beefed up his arsenal of weaponry considerably since his time as the second Robin. Close combat encounters are met with his twin Desert Eagle pistols that he is incredibly accurate with and his specialized Kris, a twisted knife designed to replicate a weapon of the cruel Ra's al Ghul. For shotguns, he carries the generic shotgun of the Gotham City criminal underworld- the Remington 870, and he also packs dual Uzis that he has no qualms about spraying down enemies with. His AK-47 is a weapon that he has used to strike fear into the criminals of Gotham City, and for good reason- his accuracy with it is pinpoint and the weapon has some serious firepower. Speaking of serious firepower, Todd isn't afraid to bust out his Mini Gun when the occasion calls for it- using it's overwhelming firepower to destroy his enemies and everything around them. Instead of traditional explosives he has access to his Rocket Launcher and his final factor is his Helmet- not only does the metal Red Hood protect him from headshots, it provides a tactical HUD, is sealed to prevent smoke and stuns and has built-in gadgets to keep Todd as aware of the battle as possible- and in the case of emergencies it has a built-in explosive that will allow him to use it like a grenade against a foe.

Jason Todd was just a kid when Batman recruited him to become the second Robin, and he was trained into his teens by the martial arts master. Jason was always a troubled child with a lot of rage- something that shows in his no-holds-barred brutal fighting style. After he was killed by the Joker and returned because of Superboy Prime's multiverse punching shenanigans, he continued to prove his skill in close quarters combat by being able to solo both Nightwing and the new Robin, and could keep up with Batman himself. Red Hood wears custom armor on his torso, but otherwise wears a standard jacket and pair of pants for a "costume", but without the bulk of heavy armor he's a much more agile threat, especially with his marksmanship. Red Hood is the master of numerous unarmed styles of combat, and training with Batman also made him an expert detective- he was able to track down the Joker and deduce how he returned to life in a world that was decades ahead of the time he had once known when he first returned to life.

X-Factors

Punisher - X-Factor - Red Hood

85 - STRENGTH- 78


While the Red Hood can do some serious damage in the close range, the Punisher is a bigger man with bigger muscles who is better trained- he's not as fast as the Red Hood, but each punch delivers much more power behind each strike, making each attack worth the slower speed.

70 - INTELLEGENCE - 89

The Punisher is certainly no idiot- he's a survival expert and tactical mastermind, but he's not exactly a scholar either. The Red Hood was not only physically trained by Batman, but taught mentally by him as well. Red Hood is a master detective, on par with many in the DC Universe, though he is not quite on the level as his one-time mentor or men like Lex Luthor- ranking more in the same territory as Deathstroke in this regard. He is also capable of laying incredibly complex plans, another concept from his mentor.

80 - TRAINING - 73

Red Hood and Punisher have had pretty intense training over their lives, but the Punisher has to take this in the end. While Red Hood had training at the hands of Batman, Frank Castle had training at the hands of Captain America, in addition to multiple tours through Boot Camp and special forces training. Jason Todd was trained by one man, and while Batman is one of the greatest fighters in the DCU, one man can not provide the training on par with the Punisher's, though it is by no means poor.

100 - EXPERIENCE - 75

Punisher takes this easily- he's a few decades older than Jason Todd is, and as a result has spent much more time fighting. Jason Todd was recruited as a child, but died as a teenager- meanwhile Frank Castle fought on numerous tours in Vietnam under various identities so he could keep figtining until the war was over, and then every single day of his life became a war against crime. For Todd, crimefighting was an adventure he could go on with his mentor. For Punisher, crimefighting was a way of life.

83 - CREATIVITY - 80

Jason and Frank are both pretty great at creating numerous deadly methods and improvised tactics and plans that easily overwhelm their enemies and outsmart their foes. Frank gets few extra points because Jason spends a lot of his time trying to ape his predecessors- Batman, Nightwing, Red Robin and even the Joker. Frank Castle is just Frank Castle.

60 - DEXTERITY/SPEED - 80

Red Hood's a fast fighter, and has some incredible feats of acrobatic skill. He is a master at numerous forms of mobility and free-running and can easily make his way through any environment and make incredible jumps and attacks from any angle. The Punisher is a much older man, and while he's in peak physical condition, he's still getting on in years and wearing heavier armor- slowing him down considerably.

100 - WEAPON SKILL - 100

Both of these men are uncanny marksmen and skilled in nearly every form of ranged and explosive warfare imaginable.

95 - BRUTALITY - 96

Both Frank and Jason have no problems killing hordes of men and slaughtering thousands of lives to get their objectives completed, but both are ultimately good people deep down inside. The Punisher is known for using rubber Mercy Bullets when he's dealing with or around other heroes in respect, and Jason Todd really just wants to be like Batman- but Todd's got more rage and for him this is still more personal. After decades of this killing, a lot of that raw anger has burnt out of the Punisher, and this is just life for him.

Notes

  • Yeah, I'm gun-retarded. Don't expect this battle to be glorified firearm pronz...at all.
  • The Battle is taking place in a massive warehouse, so the mounted Van weapons aren't going to be a major problem in the match.

The Battle

Punisher’s War Journal

September 22nd, 2012

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That’s what you always used to say, Maria, and those words seem truer now more than ever. If there’s one thing I learned from the Civil War, it’s that when the so-called ‘heroes’ spend all their time beating the shit out of each other, the real bad guys suddenly see the whole city as an all-you can eat buffet. Two universes come crashing together, and while men like Spider-Man and Iron Man are in the middle of some petty war with these other heroes, their respective villains are turning their homes into a wasteland. New York has joined with some hell-hole called Gotham City, and seeing the kind of crime that that place has…strange doesn’t even begin to cover half of these punks.

But that’s fine. I’ve seen strange. I’ve played cosmic servant to a deity that may or may not actually exist as some kind of angelic demon slayer. I’ve died and come back as a cheap movie monster. Hell, I even visited some disturbed little town called Riverdale once. I know strange, and while this Gotham City may seem to be populated by little more than murderous clowns and asylum convicts, it’s nothing that I can’t deal with. Maybe all this “Gotham” has ever really needed is some Punishment.

The whole city wails in pain, bursting at the seams with the stress of everything that’s happening. We’re inches away from a full-on gang war erupting in our streets, and I have reason to believe that someone is manipulating things to make this was as bloody and destructive as possible. I ‘persuaded’ some scumbags I caught trying to sneak explosives into one of The Joker’s forward bases. Thing was, they were dressed like The Hood’s men, but the way they paraded that affiliation wasn’t in line with Hood’s strategy at all. A few hours of blow-torches and piranha tanks later, and they told me everything about their boss in a bombed out shell of a city called Blüdhaven. I don’t know who this ‘Red Hood’ is, or what his goals are, but I know that if I cut off the head, the rest of this operation collapses- so it seems I’ve got a road trip to take… just hope there’s enough room in the van for all the ammo.”

Meanwhile, in Blüdhaven

Red Hood spun his Kris between his fingers with a rhythmic pace as he observed the maps laid out before him. The gangs in “New Gotham” were a powder keg, with a fuse that he had carefully seen to lighting. Best case scenario, he could leave the criminal operations in the city so weakened, that steamrolling over them and taking control would be simple. Worst case scenario, he just gets a chance to ruin Joker’s day, and maybe even put a bullet in the clown’s head personally- it was literally a win-win situation for him. Nonetheless, Todd felt a great deal of unease. For weeks, his attempts at increasing the anger between factions had been thwarted by someone- no hero by any definition, as every group of men he sent has ended up returning to him in body bags riddled with bullets. The few that have come back alive have been so traumatized that they can barely speak, save for ominous mentions of a white skull and an “avatar of death” or some other nonsense.

Jason wasn’t concerned about his own personal safety- the radiation from Chemo has mostly cleared out of Blüdhaven, but the city still looks like a wasteland from the outside, and near the only ones that clamber about its ruins these days are Todd’s men. Blüdhaven is a paradise for an operation like Hood’s these days, plus it gives Jason an opportunity to screw with Grayson. No, what concerned Jason was the resolve of his men. His whole criminal empire is built on control, and if the people under him are worried that Jason isn’t good enough to defend them against this vigilante…if they grow to fear him even more than they fear their boss… all of Todd’s plans would be for naught.

Todd heard the door to his “war room” slide open behind him- Roy Harper, former side-kick to Green Arrow and currently calling himself “Arsenal” walked in, throwing a stack of papers on Jason’s table.

“Figured you’d want to see this information on your own personal Red Hood, Jason.” Harper announced. “Jeez, man- do you even know what the internet is? Five minutes in Google was all it took to dig up who this guy was, he’s not exactly low profile.”

Jason flipped through the stack of papers, covered in images of a man in black with a bright white skull on his shirt, guns in hand. Police reports, SHIELD dossiers, witness testimonies, Fox News stories, Daily Bugle articles, the works.

“Guy’s name is Frank Castle, but he’s better known as The Punisher.” Harper continued as he walked about the room. “Served in ‘Nam, reports indicate he was one crazy son of a bitch. Served so many terms, he had to change his identity just to go back- his own squad was scared of him. SHIELD ‘s even investigated rumors in the past that he made some kind of deal with a demon in those jungles to become an ultimate killing machine just so the fighting would never have to end.”

“Where did you get access to classified SHIELD dossiers?” Todd asked, amused at the ease his ally discovered all this.

Harper shrugged. “BitTorrent. Number of times SHIELD has been brought down, picked clean and sold off to the highest bidder, I wouldn't be surprised if I could buy a Nick Fury LMD of my own off Ebay.” Roy chuckled to himself. “Anyway, so Castle gets back from the war, and then criminals kill his family. Instead of dressing up like an animal and taking to the night, he just decides to grab some guns and start murdering the shit out of all these criminals.”

“And he gets away with that?”

“Not only does he get away with it, but he’s actually friends with some of the other universe’s heroes, and Nick Fury himself seems to think the guy is some kind of paragon of awesomeness or something. Dude’s got connections.”

“Well, Roy- you’ve done the research…do you have any suggestions for how I put this Punisher down?” “I don’t think you’ll have to worry, Hood.” Roy said. “He’s got your scent, Roy- he’ll be coming for you. All you have to do is wait.”

Weeks later:

Another day, another patrol put down. Blüdhaven may be doing a great job of hiding the Red Hood from him, but the wasteland was the perfect place for Frank to show just what he could do to these pigs. Yesterday he transformed one of the cars still left on the abandoned streets into an explosive that he used to kill a whole group of men- the last one only lost his legs from the knees down, so Frank pinned him to the hood of the burned out car as a message to other patrols. Another time, he waited while hanging from a wall until the patrol was directly beneath him before dropping a Molotov on their heads. He even came across Hood’s archer side-kick. “Arsenal” wasn’t so glib with a bullet in his knee and Frank’s boot up his ass.

Castle decided that if Hood wasn’t going to face him like a man, then he would keep this up- hitting him where it hurts. Criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot- keep pushing them, and they crumble like paper. These gangbangers and hand-me down Mafia mooks don’t have the will to make it big in this business, and if Frank could break them…make their leader squirm in front of them, then he can take down the entire operation at the source. Of course, he didn’t really know if his plan was working or not until he came across a wall with a crude imitation of his skull logo painted in blood on its bombed out surface.

Red Hood sought to start a war, and now he’s got one. Frank opened up the back of his van, gathering a few of his favorite firearms- he knew the time to pinpoint Hood was here, and he decided to show this criminal exactly what happens when you go to war with Frank Castle…

Red Hood roared with rage, his fist impacting through one of the crates against the wall with a splintering crack. This Punisher was driving him to the brink. He had hoped that his men could deal with the problem- he was after all, just one man, and no Batman by any means- freeing him up to keep tabs on his operations in New Gotham and Metropolis. At this rate, however, he may not even have an operation left to direct. Castle has been butchering his patrols left and right. When Hood walks past, he hears the whispers of fear- stories of the white skull of war and the angel of death. The lieutenants and higher ups tried to put on airs around him, but Jason could see his control slipping away in front of him. He knew that he had to put down this Frank Castle, or everything would be undone, but to go to him out there would be a death sentence- all of Blüdhaven could be a booby trap by now for all Todd knew. No- Jason has to get the Punisher to come to him, on his own terms. He decided to start telling his patrols to give the location of his warehouse headquarters the moment the Punisher came for them, but so far Castle was on a “kill on sight” spree. Todd knew his hands were tied- he either had to wait it out until Castle came to him, or go out there, and he could wait- even with the talk of dissent, he hoped that publically putting down a few of the upper echelon would at least keep the men in line until the problem could be resolved…

It was less than a day before Frank decided to make his move. Of course, he knew it was going to be loaded with men waiting for him, he got the location of the warehouse far too quickly for anything less, but he was ready, and his van was ready to go. Sliding his custom Kevlar vest on top of his shirt and attaching his ammo belts, he felt like he was back in Valley Forge, on the beach with his fallen family, climbing up the Baxter Building, all these moments flooded before his eyes, and he felt the need to punish rise, burning in his skull with furious purpose. He slid his M1911 handguns into their holsters on his side and slowly loaded his Mossberg. Red Hood can see this coming from a mile away, but that doesn’t matter- Frank’ll just hit him all the harder for it. There is good in this world, and there is evil, and evil must be punished. His van lit up at his touch, her pitch black armored hide covered in the wounds of a thousand wars, always prepared to add more to her collection. He took off down the haunted streets- his target clear.

With a blast, the hanging silence of Red Hood’s warehouse was broken, as the Punisher’s iconic van rammed through the metal doors, tires screeching on the floor, ramming through crates and slamming into support beams and metal before coming to a dead halt. Red Hood’s men looked about confused and scared for a few moments before approaching, weapons held, but the driver’s seat was empty. With a loud bang, the back doors to the van flung open, and a burst of fire lurched out, scorching three of the nearest men. Punisher, flamethrower strapped to his back exited the vehicle with confidence born of experience. He shed the back mounted weapon as the flames began to spread to other gang members as the initial victims ran about in terror. Quickly pulling the Mossberg from its mounting on his Van's door, Frank unleashed a round of fire into the chest of one of the other thugs, creating an explosive burst of blood as he collapsed on the ground. Everything felt like slow motion as Castle could feel the euphoric adrenaline of combat overcome him again. Compact Crusier in hand he fired behind him, caving in the head of a thug behind him as he rammed his other hand into a man in front of him, knocking the wind out of him. Stunned, the thug fell to his knees before Castle lifted the shotgun and brought it down on his head, shattering his nose and spraying blood across the floor.

A gunshot echoed across the warehouse as a man in the catwalks armed with a hunting rifle fired on Frank, hitting him square in the chest. Benefits of painting a big skull on your chest- pins a target on the most armored part of your body. In one swift motion, Frank exchanged his Mossberg for an M1911 and put a round through the man’s head, sending the contents of his skull downwards like a flowing river. From across the Warehouse, Red Hood finally made his appearance, flanked by some of his Lieutenants while his men poured into the room.

“Well, well Frank. Here at last.” Hood called down to his foe. “26 patrols killed. Over 60 casualties. Good shipment suppression. New York operations quelled. And a marked increase in ominous graffiti. What do you call this little expedition to make yourself feel better about losing your pitiful family? Is it war?” Todd taunted. “Is it a crusade? Think you can buy yourself peace for failing to keep your brat safe by burning the world? Well? What is it!”

Frank observed the army standing before him, and the warehouse around him, spotting a tank of propane near the catwalk. “Work in progress.” He growled, raising his pistol. He knew if he didn’t move fast, he would be cut down in a hail of gunfire, but that didn’t matter- all that mattered was taking as many bastards with him in a blaze of glory, if that’s what it would come down to. He pulled the trigger, piercing the tank in the background, causing the small fire he started earlier to expand as an explosion caved in part of the catwalk, causing Hood to stumble and slam into the railings. One of his lieutenants completely lost his grip and fell face first into the blaze, his screams filling the air as Frank rolled forward to take cover behind a large metal crate.

“Open fire! First person to bring me this bastard’s head will earn triple salary!” Hood roared, firing his uzi into the air.

Frank grabbed the grenade off his belt and tossed it into the horde awaiting him, taking down numerous men as the shrapnel soared through the warehouse, embedding itself in their flesh. His MP5K sub machine guns allowed him to easily tear through most of the others- too panic stricken to even take cover. Behind him, he suddenly felt a strike to the back of his knee, buckling him. He rolled around on the ground to face his attacker, seeing the Red Hood there.

“Hey there, Gramps.” He taunted, firing his Desert Eagle and barely missing the Punisher stomach. “You look a little old for close quarters.”

Frank leapt forward with speed that Jason failed to anticipate, slamming his head into the Hood’s own. “Young enough to kill you.” His voice graveled as he charged, slamming his fist into the side of Jason’s head. The younger man grunted as his head slammed into a crate, but he had to turn the strike to his advantage, bracing himself against the wall to jump upwards, kneeing Castle in the chin, causing the older man to stumble backwards. Jason fired the Desert Eagle, this time directly striking the Punisher in the chest. Still Castle’s vest held true, and the veteran soldier was able to draw his Compact Cruiser again. Anticipating the move, Jason back-flipped behind the crate, dodging the shotgun’s blast.

Castle rolled out of his position behind cover, moving forward through the burning warehouse. Periodic explosions shot up around him as he walked, Mossberg in hands. Jason grabbed his AK-47 and fired back at the vigilante, aiming for the man’s legs, trying to cripple him so he could make the death nice and painful first. Punisher could feel it as he was hit in his thigh, another shot striking him below the chest, and another in his shoulder. He felt the impact, and the feeling of losing blood, but not the pain. Never the pain. He fired the last shot in his compact cruiser, refusing to stop his advance for all the bullet wounds in the world, striking the Hood in the chest, sending the man flying backwards, only protected by his chest armor.

Jason wasn’t liking this at all. Frank Castle moved like a man possessed…like an animal with no regard to pain or personal safety. This was truly a killing machine with nothing left to live for. He needed to distance himself, and he needed to do it now. The Warehouse was huge- he could fall back to an area where the smoke wasn’t fogging up his mask’s lenses, where he could slow the Punisher down with more waves of men and attacks from afar, before weakening him enough to take him down up close. ‘Wait!’ Jason thought to himself. ‘The helmet!’

With only seconds to move, Jason Todd tore off the Red Hood mask and activated the timer- it would explode in only a matter of seconds, but that was all he needed. Tossing it at Castle, he allowed the explosion to detonate right beneath the Punisher, sending the man flying backwards, crashing into crates as the inferno spread, quickly booking it for the door. Frank groaned as he rose up. Adrenaline fading, he could feel the effects of old age and the wounds beginning to effect him, beginning to drain his- ‘no. Not like this. Not here.’ he interrupted his own thoughts. ‘This is nothing, you’ve been through worse than this and lived to tell of it, and you still have work to do. Your wounds don’t matter. The pain doesn’t matter. You don’t matter. Now get up, soldier through it, and put these animals down.

Meanwhile, Jason tore into another room, climbing up a series of catwalks to a small office that contained a few of his less wieldable weapons. He lined the room with men, placing his Rocket Launcher next to him as he drew his Minigun.

Castle was walking with a slight limp now, but he refused to be stopped. His trusted M4A1 in hand, Frank entered the next room in the warehouse locked and loaded. Before Hood’s men could even open fire on him, he had already fired a round into one of them, causing the man’s head to explode. Red Hood answered back with a hail of Minigun fire. The heavy weapon was taking out a lot of the options Frank still had for taking cover in the room as it tore into the ground. He needed to do something about it, but as long as the sound of the weapon’s firing could be heard, it would suicide to try and sneak off a shot. He crouched beneath the steel door, rifle in hand, until he finally heard the firing halt. Convinced that Hood was stopping to reload, he spun out of cover, firing off three rounds from his rifle and downing three more of Hood’s men before he spotted the leader on the catwalk. ‘Oh, shit.’ He thought as he saw the loaded rocket launcher in Hood’s hands. He tried to leap out of the way, but the rocket was fired too quickly, blasting the ground near his feet with destructive results, sending Frank crashing to the ground.

Red Hood watched with satisfaction as his enemy squirmed, trying to get up from the blast despite the explosion ringing in his ears and making him dizzy in addition to the damage done. He reached for another rocket to reload, but as he carried the process out, he could see that Frank was recovering too quickly. He glared across the battlefield at the soldier, knowing that he needed to move faster to keep Castle down. Frank fired another round from the M4A1, this time striking Todd in the ankle. Hood hissed in pain and surprise, nearly dropping the rocket launcher, affording Castle another shot from the M4, putting a round directly into Todd’s chest. His armor held out, but it knocked Jason from the catwalks, causing him to slam into the ground below. Frank quickly switched to his MP5K, moving forward despite the crash from the explosion certainly breaking one of his arms. He quickly shot down another two men as he made his way across the room, gunning down a third as the man tried to run. Vermin like him don’t deserve Geneva Convention bullshit. By the time Castle made his way to Hood, the former Robin was already recovering, holding his Remington 870 Shotgun in-hand. Jason quickly fired the shotgun, not bothering to aim, striking the Punisher in the chest and shoulder, causing the man to grunt in pain. Jason managed to pull himself up, 870 still in his grip, and fired another round, this one striking the vigilante in the leg. As Castle stumbled backwards, Hood leveled his shotgun at the man’s head.

“You’re pretty good, Castle- I’ll give you that.” The physical exertion was clear in Todd’s voice. “But you still don’t have what it takes to bring me down. Any last words?”

“You should talk less.” Frank grunted as he fired the SMG into Todd’s stomach while simultaneously ripping the shotgun from Jason’s hands.

Jason spun around, half from the force of being shot and half from the need to gain a little distance to draw his twin uzis from their holsters. He knew his wounds were bad, but if he didn’t keep fighting this Punisher would be the death of him. He opened fire directly on the Punisher’s torso, finally beginning to shatter that damned skull on his chest, cracking through the armor that protected him for so long. Punisher grunted as the bullets finally began to hurt, despite all the adrenaline, training and borderline superhuman endurance. He roared and kicked forward as hard as he could with his good leg, knocking Jason to the ground. Castle pulled a grenade from his belt, but before he could pull the pin and drop it on the Red Hood, Jason fired off a desperate and lucky burst of Uzi fire, striking the grenade and creating a small blast.

Everything went black for Castle for a few moment as he could feel the pain rush over him, and the blood rush out of him. He was covered in wounds- his face and neck were burned, bullet wounds, shattered bones, weary body… ‘Fight through it.’ He told himself as he crawled upwards. He couldn’t even feel his left arm below the elbow at this point. ‘Fight through it.’ He looked around, unable to see the Red Hood anywhere. Drawing his M1911, he prepared to move forward, scout the warehouse further, but it hurt just to take a step. His vision began to blur, and haze, and in the pain born fog, he saw a cloudy vision of a beautiful blonde haired woman in the distance.

Frank.” It called out to him. “Frank.”

Frank tasted the blood in his mouth as he hoarsely croaked back his whispered reply. “Maria?”

I’m still dead, Frank.” She called to him, a mixture of anger and disapproval in her voice. “WE are still dead Frank.” She motioned around, allowing Castle to absorb it all- the men missing body parts, burnt corpses, brain splattered walls, rising smoke from the burning warehouse clogging the blood drenched gutter that the ground level had become in the fight.

“Maria!” Frank shouted, as he snapped back into full reality.

With a shout, Red Hood leapt at the wounded foe, Kris in hand, burying the knife deep into the Punisher’s side, taking advantage of his foe’s momentary lapse in consciousness.

“You know Frank- you and I? We aren’t so different when we get down to it.” Hood hissed as he pulled the Kris out and roughly drove it back into the back of Castle’s neck. “Only problem…you don’t think. All you can see is the little picture. You think you can win your war on crime? There’s always gonna be criminals, Castle. You can’t kill them all. That’s... why… I…” the former Robin punctuated each word with another stab. “…chose an alternative- control it instead.”

Red Hood began to simply punch the Punisher now, shattering Castle’s nose, hitting him so hard he opened a cut above the vigilante’s eye, obscuring his vision. Todd raised his fist yet again, but this time, Punisher wrapped his broken arm around the blow, stopping Jason’s assault. With his good hand, he drew his heavy M4X knife from his boot and buried it in Red Hood’s chest.

“You think you know what’s best, what’s just?” Castle finally replied. “You’re nothing but a whining punk, lashing out because a far better man than you could ever hope to be had a higher moral standard than yourself. You don’t know what real pain is like.” He pulled out his knife and quickly slashed across Jason’s exposed throat. “You’re nothing more than a petulant child. But above even that, you’re a criminal…and criminals get punished.”

Punisher rose, despite his injuries and began to limp away from the scene, stopping only to spit on the ground in disgust.

Jason saw his Warehouse fall around him- his people were dead or scattered, all his plans ruined, but as his life flashed before his eyes, the one thing that haunted him was the memory of his old mentor. All of Batman’s old wisdom flooded back to him in a torrent, and he felt the tears form in his eyes as he remembered everything. “Bruce-” he choked as he felt the lights around him dim. “I’m sorry Bruce. I’m so…”


Epilogue

The Hood sat in his personal head quarters, displeased by what he was seeing before him: Photographic evidence that Joker’s band of clown thugs had been expanding their territory into his turf, killing his men and generally doing everything short of declaring open war on him. Things had always been heated between the two, but they had always kept a certain balance and subtlety to most things, but the hostility here was beyond anything seen from the clowns before.

“I suppose this proves it” The Hood’s voice echoed across the room. “If the Joker wants a war on his hands, so be it.” He turned to one of the men at his side. “Vector, I want the U-Foes in Arkham Asylum by sunrise, I want the symbol of the clown’s territory in my pocket. Take as many people as you need to see it done. From there, we will begin to take out his supporters, and finally the Joker himself.”

“What if I could tell you that I could get the Joker to come to you.” The informant who brought The Hood the evidence asked.

“That would save me a lot of time and effort. How would you propose this be done?” Hood asked.

“Simple. I have an inside man, hit Joker’s turf hard enough, he can lead Joker on an escape route. An escape route with the destination already known to you.” The man placed a card on the table with a series of phone numbers and information on it.

“And who exactly is this contact?”

“Now, that would be telling.” The man smiled. “Tick, tock. Tick, tock.” He hinted as he walked away.

“We’ll keep in touch, mister…Harper, was it?” Hood called out to the informant as he walked away.

“Just call me Arsenal.” Roy replied back. “So long as you can make Joker dead, I can help you out. I owe it to an old friend, after all.”

END

WINNER- THE PUNISHER

Battle Notes

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