The prisoners at the Blackmoor Correctional Facility had a highly complex social hierarchy with one underlying rule: The more freakish you looked, the more respect you received.
All the gangs were lead by powers; none of the leaders cleared class 4, but being able to punch through solid stone or take a lead pipe to the head was more than enough to put them at the top of the prison's foodchain.
New inmates without powers quickly learned their place--they either joined a power-lead gang for protection or tried to make it on their own. And the ones who tried to make it on their own had proven to be prone to often fatal accidents.
Despite this, there was one old man in Blackmoor's cafeteria who ate by himself. He was not a power; at a glance, he wouldn't come off as dangerous at all. And yet he possessed a sort of defiant dignity despite his age and situation.
Initially, one of the top gangs had arranged for an encounter in the laundry room. Rather than one injured and humiliated old man, they ended up with several gang members in the infirmary. Shortly after this, one of the prisoners discovered who he actually was, which only made the situation all the more embarrassing.
They'd been upstaged by a goddamn cartoon.
This time, the gang's leader--a gray-skinned man who's rocky, angular flesh had earned him the name 'Blockhead'--confronted the old man in person. He was flanked on either side by two of his bruisers; they made their way to the table where the old man sat, eating alone. The chair groaned beneath Blockhead's weight as he made himself comfortable.
"Enjoying your mashed potatoes, grandpa?"
The old man shoveled another helping into his mouth, chewing steadily. "Mmmn."
"You understand what's gotta happen now, yeah? I was just gonna rough you up, first. To send a message--that you don't make it in here without paying respect. But now that you've sent my boys to the infirmary--now that we know who you are--it's gotta get ugly."
The old man ate steadily, savoring his bites. His eyes lifted only to scan the walls--the prison guards had silently withdrawn.
"It's nothing personal. But I can't have shit like that on record, you understand? If it was to get out that Blockhead got upstaged by you--by a normie--a goddamn circus freak--"
The old man's eyes narrowed.
Blockhead grinned. "So just be a good old fuck and take your beating like a man."
The old man put his fork down and pushed the tray away from him. He still held the spoon in his right hand; he pushed his thumb against its back-end, bending it down.
Blockhead snorted. "What? You're gonna start some shit? You know who the hell I am? I'm fucking Blockhead--my skin is jacketed in solid granite. The fuck can some unpowered norm like you do against that?"
The old man had bent the spoon into a boomerang. With a flick of his wrist, he threw it. It twirled through the air and soared over the heads of several prisoners before it began to arc back--just in time for Blockhead to turn his face straight into it.
When it hit, the metal hilt stabbed into Blockhead's left eye.
Blockhead screamed. One of the gang members leapt to his feet, shouting; Boomerang Kid had already reached for his tray and flipped it straight into the other gang member's face. He followed it up with his foot, slamming the heel of his shoe into the tray and kicking back into a flip. He landed on top of another table as prisoners scrambled to get out of his way.
With a grim smile, the old man reached down for more spoons.
Several hours later, Rick Bishop--otherwise known as the Boomerang Kid--was deposited in solitary confinement. Blockhead's gang had been thoroughly trounced; the cafeteria was littered with metal spoons bent in the shape of boomerangs. One of the guards had mentioned that Boomerang would be facing a whole new series of charges.
He didn't much care about that.
Alone in the dark, he was left to his own thoughts and memories--until the voice of the guard outside interrupted him.
"Visitor," he said, right before the door came open with a metal clank and hiss.
"Eh?" Boomerang winced and turned from the sudden light. Visitor? In solitary? Was that even permitted?
Boomerang's eyes fought to see through the brightness, but he didn't need to see the man's face--the voice was enough. He grunted. "The bloody hell? How'd you manage to get in here?"
Scourge grinned. "I've got friends in low places. How's it been?"
"Rough," Boomerang said. "Wankers keep disrespecting the theme."
"Yes, well. It is rare for the present to respect the traditions of the past."
"What you want, anyway? You come to spring me?"
"I've got a job for you, Ricky."
"Another one? Didn't the first one go belly-up?" Boomerang narrowed his eyes. "And hey, ain't you supposed to be dead?"
"Yeah, yeah, fair enough," Boomerang said, pulling himself up to his feet. As he did so, his eyes finally adjusted. He gave a start. "...blimey, Scourge. You look like--like, uh."
Scourge grinned. "I've undergone a change, yes. Both physical and mental. I've had an epiphany, Ricky."
"A what-sit now?"
"Playtime's over, old friend. I'm putting together a team. 'The Skeleton Crew'." Scourge's grin grew an inch too wide; his face seemed to be split in half by it. "The first thing we're going to do is take out Sue Daysdale's friends."