"My name is Joseph Joestar. The Speedwagon Foundation needs you, and I'm here to take you there. Whether you like it or not."
JJ gasped, he was frozen in place as the man approached him. Instead of attacking, like JJ expected, he clasped his hand firmly on his shoulder.
"Now are you going to come willingly, or not?"
The man still paid no attention to JJ's Kansas, frozen in place right behind him.
"Can he not see it? No, he has to be stand user, there's no other way he can do this." JJ thought.
"Hmmm? Well what'll it be? I can't stand here all day!" The man huffed.
"He's within my range, there's no way he'd get this close if he could see my stand. It might not make sense, but he can't possibly be a stand user then. Which means... I can catch him off guard!"
Kansas' arm swung hard around JJ with all its might, "ORAAA!" clocking the man square in the jaw, sending him backwards with a trail of blood and spit flying behind him. The man let out an intense cry of pain as he landed on his back. JJ felt the hold on his feet suddenly disappear, now was the time. He sprinted into the busy intersection, dodging cars.
"I don't know who you are, but you picked the wrong guy to chase! So long, Mister Joestar."
Above JJ suspended under the traffic light was a sign reading the name of a street, Kansas flew up and punched it with its fist, the letters and numbers glowed for a split second and partially floated up from the surface of the sign. They swung down and wound themselves around JJ's outstretched arms, and hoisted him up into the air onto the back of a large moving truck. The light turned green, and unaware of its new cargo the truck sped away down the street.
"Son of a bitch!" Cried Joseph as he lifted himself up and wiped his mouth on his sleeve, "The Ripple?!"
Joseph saw JJ speed away down the road, and gritted his teeth. He ran up to a young boy holding some balloons, "Give me those kid!"
The child was frightened, "Stay away! Mommy!"
Joseph grabbed the bundle of balloons from the boy's hands, "Don't make me spank you!"
He put the balloons on the ground beneath him and placed both hands on them. He took a long deep inhale, waves of energy flowed from his hands to the balloons, expanding them to double, then triple, then four times in size. The rubber was stretching beyond its means but held together by the power of his Ripple, and then with a thunderous pop they shattered sending Joseph up into the air and on the back of a passing ambulance.
"Hehehe," He chuckled, "Still got it!"
As the ambulance drove down the same road as JJ's van, it passed underneath the same sign, smacking Joseph in the head and nearly sending him tumbling off. He rubbed the big welp on his skull and grimaced, "Gah! I'm getting old!"
The ambulance continued but was being slowed by traffic, losing pace.
"Not fast enough! Here, have a little extra juice."
Joseph planted his hands on the roof of the ambulance and breathed, sending Ripple energy down through it into the engine. The sirens came on with a loud whoosh, and the ambulance doubled its speed.
Inside, the man in the passenger seat looked over to his partner who was fighting the steering wheel.
"I don't know, it's moving on its own!" He let his hands off and the steering wheel continued to spin, swerving the ambulance between cars trying to get out of the way as it accelerated past them.
"I'm out of here!" Yelled the passenger as him and the driver opened their doors and leaped into the street, rolling on the pavement as the vehicle sped away past them.
JJ breathed a sigh of relief, and sat down on top of the van as it pulled onto an onramp and got on the highway.
"Today sure has been crazy." His stand materialized in front of him and gazed at him with comforting eyes.
"Glad I had you back there buddy." He said to it.
It closed its eyes in a cheerful sort of expression, despite having no mouth. JJ leaned back and looked around for a good spot to hop off, when he noticed a screeching ambulance gaining speed behind them.
"What? No way!"
"JJ!" Screamed Joseph as the ambulance pulled next to the van and matched speed.
"This guy won't give up!" Thought JJ out loud.
JJ leaned over the side and smashed the driver's window with his stand. The driver, shocked and terrified, nearly swerved off the road as JJ leaned his head down.
"Don't you stop! No matter what, hear me?!"
The driver stammered in fear. JJ pulled out his knife and threatened him, "Do what I say! Got it?"
JJ climbed back on top and faced the Joestar across from him. Joseph smiled and yelled from across the gap.
"I didn't expect old Speedwagon's son to be a Ripple user! Can't say I'm surprised though, feels like fate." He chuckled.
"Ripple? I don't understand!"
"I can explain everything, if you'll come with me." Said Joseph solemnly.
There was a pause, as both men stared each other down, the wind flying past them at incredible speed.
"No, I don't think I will."
"So be it." Said Joseph reaching into his coat. "Good thing I always keep these on me, just in case."
He pulled out a short length of rope with two steel balls connected to the ends, with the letter "J" inscribed into them. He took a deep breath and began to twirl them in his hand, the two ends banging together in increasing speed making a loud "CLACK." JJ could see the same energy as before, radiating from Joseph into the clackers, making larger and larger sparks with each connection.
"I am the last in a long line of Ripple arts masters, trained by the famed Lisa Lisa." He swung the clackers around his back into his other hand, the rope going taught and making a loud snap.
"Thousands of years of technique, culminating in the prowess you see before you!"
JJ braced himself, summoning his stand in front to deflect the attack.
"Behold the power of the Ripple! Clacker Volley!"
With a mighty spin Joseph threw the twirling clackers, JJ was poised to defend but instead the clackers sailed past him.
Behind him was a large billboard, held up by a thick cylindrical base. One end of the clackers burrowed deep inside, while the other flew around, twirling the rope in a circle around the pole. The force of the second clacker caused the first to dislodge, as they flew back around straight at JJ.
"No, he meant to do that!"
JJ was straight in its path, unable to react in time. But his stand, Kansas, could. Moving on its own, it just managed to reach a leg out and kick one of the clackers sending them careening off into the distance. But in the moment his stand made contact, JJ felt a surge of agony in his foot. The energy they'd been filled with had erupted outward into his stand, harming both it and the user. JJ knelt down on one knee, clutching his stinging foot.
"I thought stands could only be harmed by other stands." He looked over at Joseph, sitting smug.
JJ's eyes grew wide, "Is this the Ripple he keeps talking about?"
"Ah! Good job deflecting my Clacker Boomerang!" He yelled. "I can't say I've ever seen a ripple technique like yours, I'm almost envious."
"I have to finish this, he's dangerous." Thought JJ. "These cars are only a few feet apart, he should be within my range."
Kansas rapidly closed the gap between the two, reeling up to punch. Joseph smirked, and closed his eyes.
"ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA!"
Joseph leaned to the left, to the right, and back, dodging. JJ's stand only struck air as every hit missed the man.
Joseph's open hand crackled with energy, "Ripple Beat!" He gave a hard chop straight to Kansas' neck, JJ fell over and yelled in pain as the effect was transferred over to him.
"W-what?" He cried.
Joseph opened his eyes and smiled, pointing his finger at JJ tauntingly, "Your next line will be, 'But how? I thought he couldn't see it!'"
JJ sputtered, "But how? I thought he couldn't see it!" He gasped, "W-what?"
Joseph laughed, "Your Ripple certainly is unique, but it's still Ripple. You may not know this, but Ripple is the energy of life, and all living beings possess it. Yours may take on the form of an invisible spirit, but when I block out my other senses I can still feel it."
He smiled and tapped his forehead, "You are talking to a master, you know."
JJ struggled to his feet, gasping for breath.
"I'm not done yet old man."
"Good grief," Joseph put his face in his palm, "As feisty as your old man."
He frowned and crouched, "I'll make this quick then."
"Huh?" JJ was astonished as Joseph leapt into the air several feet, higher than a man half his age should've been able to. He bridged the gap between the vehicles and descended on JJ. Kansas appeared between the two, its arms crossed to block.
Joseph drew back his arm and threw it out, "Zoom Punch!"
Energy rippled through Joseph's arm, his shoulder and elbow dislocated and his fist stretched outward at incredible speeds striking Kansas square in the face with enormous force. JJ flew backward, tumbling to the edge of the van. His vision grew dark, tiny specks of light floated around in front of him. He tried to get up, but it was no use. As his consciousness left him, he rolled over the edge of the van and into the highway. He felt a hard tug on his arm, a distant fading sensation of someone lifting him. It took all his energy to open his eyes again, he saw Joseph.
"Come on Speedwagon, let's go."
He looked the man in the face. In his blurred vision, for just a brief moment, he saw the man from the photograph once more. He closed his eyes, and everything went dark.
JJ opened his eyes, he was in a bed. He sat up and rubbed his head, there was a bandage wrapped around it.
"Finally awake huh? Sorry about that back there, I didn't mean to rough you up that bad."
JJ turned and saw Joseph, sitting in a chair and reading the newspaper while holding a steaming cup of coffee.
"Where am I?"
"Hmm?" Joseph looked up from the paper. "The hotel I've been staying at, we're still in downtown Dallas."
JJ rubbed his eyes, recalling the events of the past day.
"Why did you take me here?"
Joseph took a sip of coffee and yelped, "Shit! That's hot!" He set the cup down and put his hand on his mouth.
"I told you, the Speedwagon foundation needs your help."
"And I told you I want nothing to do with them."
Joseph glared at him, "I understand your apprehension, but this is a matter of grave importance."
"They can deal with it themselves!" Said JJ, getting out of bed and putting his clothes back on.
"It's about your father."
JJ gasped, "My father?"
Joseph eyed JJ, "Yes, Robert E.O. Speedwagon."
"Why didn't you tell me that before?" JJ stammered.
"You didn't give me a chance!"
"And so you beat me up?" Yelled JJ.
"You started it you hooligan!" Joseph yelled back. "I'll admit though, once I saw your Ripple I got a little carried away," He seemed embarrassed, "It's not every day I meet another Ripple user, and I wanted to see what you had to show."
"I don't know what this Ripple is you keep talking about!"
Joseph scratched his chin, "We can talk about that more later, there are more pressing issues at hand."
JJ sat back down and sighed, "What about my father?"
"As you know, your father died 20 years ago, correct?"
"Yes, that's what my mother told me."
"Up until quite recently, we all believed his cause of death was a heart attack. But now..." He paused, "We think there was foul play involved."
"What?" JJ yelled, "You mean he was murdered?"
"Settle down," Joseph ushered JJ with his hands, "We have no solid evidence yet. However, we do have his journal."
"What did it say?"
"Well, shortly before his death he had just returned from an archeological expedition in Egypt. He was quite fond of archeology. He had brought back with him several artifacts as well."
"You think someone killed him over those?"
"No, no. None of them were ever reported stolen and most were delivered to museums, save for a few he kept in his personal collection. But only one day after his return, he died of a sudden unexplained heart attack."
"And what does that have to do with his journal? Didn't you already know all that?"
"I'm getting to that!" Joseph suppressed a yell, "Speedwagon and I were good friends, he was almost like an uncle to me when I was a child. Consequently I was left with some of his personal possessions after his death, including his journal. I never read it, mostly out of respect for the man's privacy. But a few months ago I came across it again when going through some old mementos, and curiosity got the better of me."
Joseph's face grew dark and solemn.
"There was more to his expedition than he revealed. In his journal he described discovering something buried beneath an Egyptian ruin. Something so terrifying that he left the country immediately to come back here and tell me. But unfortunately, he never got the chance. And the information of exactly what he found, and where it was, died with him."
"So what, you think this had something to do with his death?"
"Without a doubt, I'm sure of it. Whatever it was he found there was the cause."
"Why come to me though?"
Joseph stood up, "As his son, I felt like you had a right to know the truth behind your father's death. And now that I've seen your spirit Ripple, I know you're more than capable of handling anything that comes your way."
"It's called a stand."
"My power, it's called a stand. I heard the name from another stand user I met. Until yesterday, I'd never heard of anyone else with it. Then as soon as I find out I'm not the only one, you show up with this crazy adventure for me. It seems... bizarre."
Joseph smiled and stretched out his hand, "Well then, JJ Speedwagon. Will you come on this bizarre adventure with me?"
JJ smiled back, taking Joseph's hand in his and shaking it, "I suppose I can't refuse now. Yes, yes I will, Mister Joestar."
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