NEW VINDICATORS (Books I - XIII)

This is the place to recount your superheroic deeds for all to gaze upon with astonishment and wonder.
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 63

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:04 am

Chapter LXIII: Be Yourself
“Move it, R-tard!” thundered Dan Williams. His arm was around his girlfriend of four months, Alicia Anderson. His foot was planted firmly against the backside of Jeffrey Smith—applying just enough force to topple the young man to the ground.

Most just continued on their way; classes had let out for the day—bringing an end to the first week of the new semester. A few stopped to see what the commotion was and laughed when they found the source of it. Almost as if she had appeared from nowhere, Alicia’s older sister Sarah had come to Jeff’s rescue. “Real mature, Danny,” she grumbled, kneeling down to help Jeff up. “Are you okay?” she asked him, not caring if her actions prompted another tirade of insults her way. It took more than the words of the ignorant to hurt her: all it did was make her angry.

“Be nice to Jeffy!” Alicia laughed from Dan’s side. “He might be my brother-in-law someda-ay.” Her eyes widened as her last word slurred ever so slightly. Her face twisted slightly in discomfort. For all the days of her life, she would never come to understand just what had happened. It was as if something had grabbed her tongue, pulling it just slightly—enough to disorient and annoy but not to hurt. Perhaps it was something to do with her new tongue piercing…

From the sidelines, Magnus Loder watched the situation with a satisfied grin. Anyone who noticed him may have mistaken it for Schadenfreude—the malicious enjoyment of another’s suffering. Still, he was not smirking at the misfortunate of Jeffrey Smith but at what small steps he had taken to avenge the young man. Like the other students of the New Vindicators Academy of America covertly attending classes at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, he had been instructed not to attract attention. Their goal was to make it to graduation without their status as Neo-Sapiens being discovered, that Colonel John Sidell of the Department of SPB Affairs could proudly display the results of their social experiment: humans and Neo-Sapiens COULD coexist peacefully without either tearing each other apart.

Humanity feared that the strain of the day-to-day would pressure Neo-Sapiens to use their powers immorally. Why work to support your family when you could turn your body into its insubstantial state and permeate your way through bank walls at night? Why wait in traffic when you could telepathically command the other motorists to pull over to the side of the road? If conflict arose in your life, you didn’t have to talk it over—not when you could emit white-hot jets of flame from your eyes; it was hard to argue with a disintegrated skull. Most Neo-Sapiens understood the fears mankind had- their own kind gave them cause for concern. Alcatraz Island was filled with Neo-Sapiens who had opted to use their abilities in just those ways. It was largely in part to their efforts that all of NS-kind had been blacklisted by humanity. Still, most refused to refute that there were those souls who did not misuse their genetic gifts; there were many Neo-Sapiens who so desperately dreamed of being accepted. They hid their uncanny talents from friends and family, lovers and co-workers alike out of fear of persecution.

Most Neo-Sapiens just wanted to live a normal, peaceful existence and some wanted to prove themselves the antithesis of the labels they had been branded with. That was the sort of Neo-Sapien Magnus Loder was; he determined to not only become a Vindicator but become the forerunner of the next generation of Vindicators. Still, despite the heroic ideals he supported himself on, he was not above using his abilities to make normal humans think twice before making hurtful comments.

Part of his smirk was from satisfaction at what he had accomplished… and the other half was a smirk; Magnus believed he had gotten away with the act without any taking notice. One being had witnessed the meager display of the Lodestone’s power: Cloud Goodman, the New Vindicator codenamed Fog for his ability to transform his body into a mass of living vapors. Moving fast, Cloud slipped, undetected, into the office of ERHS’ acting principal, Miss Reice.

Missus Thomas, Miss Reice’s secretary, was not in at the moment. For that, Cloud was truly thankful. It was always difficult to explain his casual coming and goings out of this office without a referral. His excuses were wearing thin and he knew she was growing suspicious. Still, sometimes it was an unavoidable risk… playing the part that he played.

Outside the office, the situation had been defused by Mister Gentry, the aging History teacher. Sarah had helped Jeff to the parking lot where an official from the United Nations was likely waiting to take him across the river to his father in Turtle Bay. The other students were beginning to slide away; the weekend had begun with the ringing of the last bell and any time they spent loitering the halls of the high school was time wasted. Magnus too had plans. It had been two days since he had broken things off with Chienne. He had a big, red, googily-eyed, stuffed octopus waiting with Maria Espada’s name on it. In some odd way he couldn’t begin to fathom there was something about the girl that made his spirits soar. Chienne had been his first girlfriend—the first relationship he had ever had was founded on a lie; things never would have lasted as long as they had if she had known he was a Neo-Sapien. With Maria though… with her he could be open and honest. He simply hoped he hadn’t done too much damage back in Japan.

“Mister Loder?”

Magnus looked up at the sound of his name. Gertrude Reice was a heavy-set woman of African-American heritage, well into her thirties. She had been involved in the music program at an arts institute in the Windy City before coming to the Big Apple. Magnus Loder knew little else about his principal… other than that Deimos might well consider her office a second home. “I was wondering if we could speak for a moment…”

Thinking nothing of it, Magnus accepted the invitation and entered her office. She led the way into the inner sanctum and past the seat Deimos routinely sat at, carving tallies in the ceiling tiles above him. Missus Thomas had failed to notice him using his hellfire to etch a memento of each visit into the building’s fixtures. “Please… sit.”

Magnus was a model student; he achieved impressive grades and was never in any sort of trouble. He knew he had nothing to fear from the powers that be—at least… nothing that most students feared. “I’d like to make you an offer,” she said. “One that may very well help you to… build your leadership skills.”

Magnus was intrigued.

“I have a small group that I would like you to… to coordinate for me.” The woman navigated the office to move around her desk and to sit at the high-backed chair resting behind it. “You would be compensated in ways you could only dream of…”

“I’m listening…” he said. “What’s it about?”

A grin flashed over Miss Reice’s face. “I suppose I should be frank with you. I want you to trust me… and for that to happen, I’m going to need to trust you. Magnus… I’m offering you the opportunity to join the Affiliation.”

Magnus had forgotten how to breathe.

“I’ve recruited a trio of young Neo-Sapiens—they’re just two years your senior—who lack leadership potential and… I think that you could come in handy in commanding their squadron.”

“You’re with the Affiliation!?”

She only nodded slightly. “My job was to monitor the Neo-Sapiens who came through this office. Obviously, anyone who’s referred to me is a bit of a delinquent. Those with potential were given our sales pitch. Black Widow, Lurker… even Mirth and Girth came out of this office.”

Magnus voiced his worst fears then. “Deimos!”

“Mister Carlson was never offered the chance to join, I’m afraid. On his first visit with me, he attempted to intimidate me with his Neo-Sapien abilities. Hellfire erupted through this window behind me and the intrepid youth threw himself out of it. Glided off on wings of shimmering black energy… I assumed that he would blow our cover. Mirth and Girth have been able to hide their genetic gifts, even from the New Vindicators. Deimos, I feared, would flaunt his talents and believe us to be a safety net who could drop into when things became too dangerous for him.”

“This… this isn’t possible…”

“I can give you the opportunity that the New Vindicators Academy so wrongfully denied you, Magnus…”

“No. I can’t.” Suddenly, he fell forward, clutching his head in pain. A sudden throbbing left him feeling as if his head were about to split into two. Magnus reeled back, feeling as though he were about to collapse from the pain. Was this Miss Reice’s doing or was it…?

“I’m in!” Magnus said passionately. Miss Reice was astonished at the sight. Magnus devoured that expression, running his hands back through his long, ocean-blue hair. In the chair beside him, the red-haired Magnus seemed just as shocked to discover the split. “So what do you want us to do first? Beat on Lex and Jacque for telling you all to suck off?”

“No!” Magnus thundered. “No! We—we can’t! These are the people who killed Addison and Lucas. They killed Kai and Quinton too!”

“Lucas was a psion,” the other Magnus grumbled. “God, I hate psions… They’re so cheap! It’s impossible to guard yourself from a mental attack. A punch or a kick you can see coming but… meh, I don’t like them. That pudgy piece of nothing got what he deserved.”

“Why?” Magnus asked. “I have to know… why did you kill him? Or any of them for that matter?”

Miss Reice shook her head. “I was sorry to have to do it… but… our leaders demanded my loyalty be tested. One of our members, Lawanda… she went behind our backs and told Addison of the Affiliation. She was happy to be accepted and she wanted her best-friend to be a part of this as well. Addison didn’t like what she heard and she told—she told the wrong person.”

“One of the teachers?” Magnus asked. “One of your members?”

Miss Reice nodded in response to both questions.

“Who?” demanded Magnus. “Who did she go to?”

The woman only shook her head. “We didn’t want Addison to tell anyone else-”

“Who did she tell!?”

“-and I was told to kill her. Lucas… well, Lucas wasn’t so fortunate. He was scanning the surface thoughts of the girls at this school when he picked up on Lawanda’s thoughts concerning Addison’s death.”

Magnus’ face twisted into a pained image. He knew what this meant. He had been waiting on the front steps of the New Vindicators Academy, waiting for his two roommates to return. At the sight of Adonis and Drew, he had happily told them about his date to homecoming. “Yeah, I was thinking we could all go together,” Magnus had told them both all those months ago. “Adonis has Cassandra and well, I’ve got Lucas Howell on finding a girl for you, Drew!”

“Huh?”

“Well, he’s going around scanning the thoughts of the girls at the school to see if he can find someone who maybe-kind-of-sort-of likes you.”

His fault—it was his fault that Lucas Howell had died. He was the one who had asked him to go and find someone who liked Drew. He was the one who had pulled the trigger. He was responsible for Lucas’ death. Suddenly, he wanted to throw up. He felt like he was. He could feel it slowly snaking up the back of his throat. He could all but taste it on his tongue and feel it burning in his nose. Still, nothing came out.

As Magnus began to cry, the other Magnus looked to Miss Reice excitedly. “So… what’s your power?” he asked. “I mean… you must be a Neo-Sapien, right? I figure you’ve gotta be…”

Miss Reice bowed her head and reluctantly told him part of the truth: “I can transform my body—morphing into anyone I’ve ever come into contact with.”

The other Magnus’ brow furrowed in confusion. “What? Like Chimera can?” Miss Reice’s density changed then and her bone structure melted down and began to reform itself. Her skin tone altered and her hair lightened. Crow’s feet appeared and finger prints were transfigured into the natural form of Richard Jorgenson. “You—you ARE Mister Jorgenson!” the other Magnus exclaimed, knocking over his chair as he rose and stepped back from the changeling before him.

“Not quite,” Chimera said sadly. “Try… Missus Jorgenson. My real name is Silvia Li… the Vindicator formerly known as Xianbei… and the woman who married the Chimera.”

“So… what?” asked the other Magnus, throwing back his head to whip the long, blue hair from his face. “You’re not really Chimera… you’re his old lady?”

“It’s complicated,” Chimera said. “My name is Silvia Li… my father was the grandson of Huang Li—the Vindicator known as Jaundice. He was one of the original Vindicators—the team of five that was dispatched to stop your great-grandfather’s father… Johann Meinstein, the Fuhrer. Though an Esper’s abilities are not hereditary, I am capable of a fraction of what he was: I can switch bodies with any living being. Still, the powers were unpredictable and activated seemingly at random. It was usually when my own body experienced extreme pain...

“When the Vindicators VII moved to fight Atlas, Richard and I found ourselves in the fight of our lives and… and I… well, I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice to say that as I was dying, I traded places with my husband. His consciousness died in my body and mine lived on in his.”

“That’s sick, lady!” the red Magnus snapped. “That’s real sick!”

The other Magnus Loder was just as exasperated by this revelation. “I—you—you let the one you love die!? You killed Addison and Lucas… just because they found out something they weren’t supposed to know? What about Kai and Quinton? He was your own son-”

“Quinton’s not my son!” snapped Chimera. “How stupid can you all be? Quinton is white; he’s one-hundred percent Caucasian and I was a native-born Chinese woman! Besides, Quinton’s powers don’t take after either of our genetic templates. I couldn’t… I couldn’t have children. Richard slept around on me. He slept around and he produced Quinton with another woman and… and I just accepted it. I believed him when he said he was done cheating. Quinton isn’t my son… but I loved him like he was. I did not kill my son!”

“But you did kill Kai!”

“No! That was—no. Nevermind.”

“Who? Who killed Kai if it wasn’t you?” Chimera shook its head. “Did Kelvin learn something too? Did he find out about the Affiliation? Did he find out about you?”

“He found out who the Leader is!” Chimera snarled. “He found out who’s commanding the people who are above even me! Kelvin found out who’s really at the top of the food chain… and he died trying to tell Deimos just who’s in charge!”

Magnus shuddered as he thought back on Deimos, relating to them what Kai’s last words were: “Don’t trust Mi-”

“Michuru,” snarled Magnus.

Chimera fumed. “As I said, even I do not know just who’s pulling the strings… but I don’t think it would be Michuru. I knew him. I fought beside him. I consider him a friend. He’s not the sort to do this…”

“And what is the Affiliation going to do?” asked the other Magnus, his interest still peeked.

Chimera fixed them both with a sad, somber look. “The Affiliation is going to warn humanity. We’re going to make an example out of the Church of Genetic Purity. We are going to teach all of mankind that they are right to fear us and right to hate us… they will not respect us after everything is done… they will tremble at our feet and see us as gods among men.”

The other Magnus grinned and the red-haired Magnus frowned. “And what then? What happens when… when the proud, noble Neo-Sapiens that rule over humanity give birth to a human child? It’s possible for two Neo-Sapiens to produce a normal son or daughter so… what then? Will they be cast down to the lowest stages of your caste? Or better yet, what happens when the oppression we repay with oppression breeds a new war? We’re talking about an endless cycle… Miss Reice—Mister Jorgenson—Miss Li—whatever your name is! You talk like this is a noble ambition but its just insanity.”

Magnus rose up and moved to leave the room. The other Magnus moved to bar his exit. “I want to do this!” he barked.

“Then do it!” Magnus snarled. “Just remember what happened the last time we differed: you know well and good what happens if we’re apart for too long! I’m willing to risk it… are you?”

The other Magnus said nothing. He merely folded his arms across his chest and lowered his eyes in a childish pout. Long tendrils of blue swept over his eyes, obscuring the glare he fixed at the floor. He attempted to rebel—to maintain some modicum of his reputation. Ultimately, he opted instead to remerge; the pair of Magnus Loders recombined and a white-haired Magnus barged out of the room.

As he thundered past a startled Missus Thomas, Miss Reice calmly followed him out. Angry as he was, he failed to notice the pair he almost hit throwing open the door. Stomping off and out of the school, Miss Reice slipped out quietly, shaking her head at his naiveté. “Should I-”

Miss Reice shook her head at Marcos Verón—the New Vindicator known as Coriolis. By his side stood Loess, also known by Maria Espada. “He’s not stupid,” Miss Reice intoned softly. “He knows my abilities would let me hide anywhere should I be exposed. He’ll keep my identity secret just to be able to keep tabs on me.”

“He doesn’t trust the teachers anyway,” Maria said. “None of them do. He doesn’t have anyone to tell.”

Miss Reice grinned at the young woman. “That’s where you come in though. He’ll need a confidant.”

Marcos seemed shocked at such a suggestion. “No!” he thundered. “She can’t-”

“I’ll do it,” Maria said, a vicious smile spreading like cancer across her face. “Just leave Magnus Loder to me.”
To Be Continued... wrote:The return of Suicide Dave
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by smashed247 » Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:45 am

OMG OMG OMG!!! :shock:

Totally wicked :D

Two questions: Has anyone seen the the roof of my head? What's this gray stuff trickling out my ears?

Michuru81
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Post by Michuru81 » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:29 pm

smashed247 wrote:OMG OMG OMG!!!

Totally wicked

Two questions: Has anyone seen the the roof of my head? What's this gray stuff trickling out my ears?
That's pretty much the reaction I was going for. Groovy.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 64

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:54 am

Chapter LXIV: Take it to the Limit [reprise]
Ben Altair leaned against the wall of the busy café, watching his watch nervously. Katie had told him to meet her there—saying she had huge news. She hadn’t told him what, merely that they were celebrating. She had been cryptic in the details, but when he asked if she was breaking up with him she admitted that she had taken great leaps to ensure their relationship. He grinned, thinking himself responsible for that. On the flight back from Tokyo she had finally called him back and Ben locked himself in the latrine to ensure privacy as the two talked for hours.

They talked about her past and about their future. She had promised him that she wanted something meaningful in a relationship. “I don’t even want to think about my past,” she told him. “I just… I guess I just want to keep looking forward.”

On some level, he supposed that thunderous applause that had awaited them upon returning to school helped too. He had been afraid at first; she was trying so hard to put who she used to be behind her and every time she turned around, guys like Chris Tribe or Danny Williams were making suggestive comments. Maybe she had finally realized that she couldn’t deny her past—only learn from it.

As Ben mused over the events of the last few days, a car blurred past and instantly he was snapped him out of his stupor. He blinked as the sound of police sirens reached his ears—a full fleet of cruisers barreling through Austoria to catch their speed freak. His eyes popped at the sight of the cherry red Le Baron convertible flying after them. That car belonged to one of his teachers—Breanne Jordan—the young woman more renown as Rift.

No eyes were on him; in an instant he used his Neo-Sapien abilities, coating himself in a layer of ice that provided some level of protection as well as obscuring his identity. Aiming his hand at his feet he lifted up into the air on a pillar of ice and generated a wave to follow. Still, Frostbite was far from being fast enough to keep up with a high speed chase. He climbed over the buildings, moving several streets over to intercept. By then, the Le Baron had navigated its way around the police—closing fast on the lead car.

Frostbite canceled his power and prayed to God this worked. He was astonished that he landed in the backseat of the car, rather than face-first on the pavement. “What’s going on?” he asked, surprised to find Fathom and Hourglass at the wheel.

“We were on a girl’s night out,” Alexa grumbled, “driving around, looking for a place to eat when this punk comes flying by. We figured us being superheroes and all, if we didn’t do something we’d get demoted or something.”

“Welcome aboard, Frosty!” exclaimed a panicked Hourglass. Both were still in their flesh forms, which made her all the more vulnerable to the blonde girl’s special brand of driving. Her nails were dug deep into the dashboard—all the better to keep her from pulling her hair out. “Here’s to hoping we survive…”

Fathom took a hand off of the wheel to touch at the collar of her uniform. The duo was wearing their uniforms under their clothes: Hourglass’s shirt was still on over the black and white suit, merely unbuttoned. He began to wonder why he hadn’t thought of that… “Lex? Jacque? Either of you two perfect prefects got a mic on?”

“Ah think y’all just got me, gal,” came Rumble’s voice over the communicator link. Hourglass sneered at the sound but quickly forgot her disposition towards Atlanta as Fathom took a turn at over one-hundred miles per hour.

“We’re after a speed freak. What have you got for us?”

“It’s all over the news; y’all got yourself a carjacking. Ben Udall was pulled from his 1979 Chevy Impala by a high school kid. His wife’s still in the car.”

“He’s got a hostage!?” Hourglass exclaimed.

“So much for just taking them out, huh?” Frostbite intoned.

Fathom shook her head. “We’re going to stall out his engine.”

“Huh?” came the collective response from both heroes.

“Water? Sand? Ice?”

“Heart,” offered Frostbite. “And our powers combine summon Captain Planet. What about it?”

“Frosty can use his powers from a distance,” Fathom said. “Ben… get your pasty butt up here. You’re driving.”

Frostbite blinked in confusion, but at Fathom’s urging the two moved to change places in the car. Hourglass’ foot slipped over to keep the pedal down. One hand reached over to take the wheel—she just barely managed to keep the car straight while the pair switched places. “God, you’re cold!” Fathom exclaimed as they pushed past each other. Frostbite could form no words as her spandex-covered chest brushed across his face. The two fell down into their new positions with a thud and Fathom shifted to sit behind Hourglass. “Just get us alongside the car and I’ll forget that you totally just copped a feel.”

“I did not!”

“You perv!” Hourglass exclaimed, mostly just insulted he hadn’t given her such attention first.

“I didn’t cop a feel!” Frostbite exclaimed.

“I am SO telling your girlfriend on you…” Fathom grumbled, winking back to their driver. “Just get us along his side!”

Frostbite floored it, mumbling under his breath as he swerved around pedestrians. He only continued muttering to himself as Fathom began to coordinate her method of attack with Hourglass. “Okay, Cassie… we need to get you into the gas tank-”

“What!?”

“What?”

“I am SO not going in there. It’s… it’s all… icky!”

Fathom could hardly believe what she was hearing. “People could die here, Cass.”

“Yeah… and they’re probably old people. I mean… they’re driving a ’79 Impala.”

“The people on the street?” Fathom asked. “It’s only by the grace of God that Benny-Boy hasn’t killed anyone yet!”

“Yet,” grumbled Frostbite, still agitated Fathom’s the suggestion that he would even consider such a lecherous act.

Fathom wasn’t going to waste any more time arguing. In her aquatic form, her body was malleable. Her liquid body elongated and made contact with the car; like a snake she slithered under the hood and began making her way through anything she possibly could. She remembered her first time using her powers as she moved through another substance; Alexa had been afraid to transform back for two days. Ultimately, she grew tired and hungry and was forced to find out what would happen—despite the oil now bonded with her alternate form. When she reverted back, foreign substances were expelled from her system instantly. It was the same with Hourglass; they would sweat, cry, vomit—whatever needed to be done to remove such alien matter from their internals. As she made her way through transmission fluid, she wondered just what undignified way she would banish the automotive juices from her body form this time.

Alexa Hawk knew next to nothing about cars beyond that they needed gas to go and how to drive them. The internal workings of a four cylinder engine escaped her. Where the brake line was she couldn’t have discerned. For her, slowing the car down was all guess work. She didn’t know what to attack or even what it looked like. Naturally, it came as a shock to her that she found herself dripping through the heating vents into the car’s interior.

A sudden spinning had her revert to her normal form. Attempting to maintain control of the car was David Dathe’s first priority—a young, spandex-clad, healthy blonde girl materializing in his backseat somehow escaped his prerogative. “Ben, you idiot!” Alexa screamed across the communicator. “What are you doing!?”

She could tell what he was doing. Losing his passengers, Frostbite had maneuvered the Le Baron to the other side of the Impala and was aiming his frigid powers at the street under them. He hadn’t factored in that hitting an ice slick at their speeds was disastrous to their cause.

Fathom’s sudden exclamation had altered Suicide Dave to her appearance. He seemed startled at first, recognizing her from his time spent amongst the student body of Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Sometimes it didn’t pay to be as pretty and popular as Cassandra and Alexandra were—outside their other forms, they stuck out to anyone who had so much as driven by the school. “How—how did you get here?” he barked.

“You have to stop this car!” thundered Alexa.

“No… it—it’s going to work this time!” Alexa cringed. It all fell into place for her now. Lex and Jacque had been on a nightly foray into Manhattan months ago when Lex stopped to fill up on gas. It was there that he saw David Dathe and it was there that the New Vindicators Academy of America began keeping a file on the young man labeled ‘Suicide Dave’.

David had been smoking, while dosing himself and the area around him in super-unleaded. The duo hadn’t even used their abilities to take him out before he could blow the station sky high.

He had been remanded to police custody and after making bail prior to his initial court date, he had mixed it up with Drew Jenkins when he attempted to hijack a bus and send it over the Queensborough Bridge.

David Dathe was a Neo-Sapien whose power rendered him immune to death, except, apparently, by natural causes. Every attempt to end his own life had been thwarted by his abilities, but he hadn’t given up hope. He had merely gotten more inventive in his quest to find a way to permanently end his torture… no matter who he was taking out with him.

“Okay, Benny-Boy… don’t go for ice but snow… gradually increase the thickness to slow down the car.”

“Snow!? I don’t make it snow!” came Frostbite’s reaction.

“I thought you manipulated the cold!”

“Ice!”

“What!? Alicia could do snow…”

“Yeah… but Alicia couldn’t do ice.”

“Yeah, well, I’m starting to wish you had gotten pregnant and went back home instead of her.”

Frostbite’s reaction was delayed as he reeled from what she had just said. “Do—do the things you say make sense in your head or… is this just universal confusion?” Such comments were lost on Fathom. Hourglass’ actions inside the car were beginning to stall the engine. Fathom had reverted to her other form and flung an aquatic tendril into the man’s mouth. She knew suffocating him wouldn’t kill him—he had drowned along with Drew, but his powers revived them both. David flailed, attempting to breath. It was ironic, given that a man bent on committing suicide resisted her attempts to suffocate him.

“Take the wheel!” Fathom commanded to the woman riding shotgun in the car. Cassandra had been right: she was elderly. The woman grabbed the wheel, narrowly avoiding them plowing into buildings and pedestrians as they lost momentum and finally came to a stop.

Fathom opened the door and dropped down the ground, kissing it in appreciation for her continued existence as sand spilled from around the door of the gas tank. “I hate you so much right now,” Hourglass grumbled as she began to pull herself together. She assumed her human form and instantly whatever gasoline her particulate body had assimilated began to spray from her mouth. She doubled over and continued to heave the fuel out of her system.

“Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about spontaneously peeing out engine coolant,” Fathom said, kneeling down to hold back her best-friend’s hair. “It’s incredible,” she said, oblivious to Frostbite’s excited approach, “you’re sexy even when you’re puking.”

Hourglass shot her a glare. Fathom had made advanced before and Hourglass told her that she didn’t think of her as anything more than a friend. That had hardly hindered Fathom.

“We did it!” Frostbite exclaimed. “We took down a bad guy!”

“Yeah,” Fathom said, rolling her eyes. “We took down an emo kid who can’t figure out that it’s down the road, not across the street. Someone call a press conference.”

Still incased in his arctic armor Frostbite looked up to the sight of a crowd gathering nearer, now that they were sure the threat had passed. “You guys might want to change forms,” he said. “We’re about to get an audience.”

“My public awaits,” Hourglass said as she wiped her mouth on the back of her hand. As she stood up she shifted into her sand form; Fathom mimicked her by adopting her aquatic state. “Time for everyone we just saved to tell us how much they hate us.”

“Don’t you just love being us?” asked Fathom, watching as Frostbite advanced forward, arms spread to greet the swarm of cautious citizens.

“Totally.”
To Be Continued... wrote:000
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by smashed247 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:50 am

Woohoo! A car chase. What superhero story would be complete without a car chase :?: :D

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New Vindicators, Chapter 65

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:22 pm

Chapter LXV: A View to a Kill
Like most people, Elmer Tyler watched the news with a scowl. It wasn’t for the same reasons, however. Elmer had tuned in, hoping to catch a glimpse of his own exploits. Instead he found that Channel 6 had devoted most of their time to the live coverage of David Dathe’s apprehension at the hands of the New Vindicators.

“Fathom!” a female reporter called out as the three heroes stood with the elderly couple who had been victimized in Suicide Dave’s latest attempt to do himself in. “Who’s your new teammate?”

“This is Hourglass,” Fathom said, presenting the young woman. Like Fathom, she remained in her alternate form to obscure her identity. Still, it wasn’t much of an effort for the two to shape their forms to match their natural appearances—they were merely composed of a different element. “She’s not new… she’s actually been at our school longer than Frosty and I have.”

“How did you first discover your Neo-Sapien abilities?” a man asked. “Did you inherit them from your mother or father?” Cassandra’s form hid the frown that spread across her face, but not her head sagging at the question. “Did they have any impact in helping you learn to control your abilities?”

“Who really knows?” Fathom answered on her behalf, interrupting Frostbite as he had been about to explain just who Hourglass’ parents really were. “She’s her own person and she learned to use her powers at our school.”

“Are you kids dating anyone and are they humans? Do they know about your abilities?”

Hourglass laughed. “Yeah… I’ve got a guy. He’s a Neo-Sapien too.”
“Same here,” Fathom replied slyly. She winked into the camera and added, “Hi, Sexy Lexy.”

Frostbite’s eyes widened with shock. “I forgot!” he exclaimed, aiming his beam downward, he escaped the frenzy, hoping to God that he hadn’t kept Katie waiting.

Elmer hung on, hoping that there would be some coverage of what he had done. Instead, news came of a fire at the residence of Jeremiah Williams that left two treated for smoke inhalation: Jeremiah’s son and his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, both students at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, were both taken to Nellie Bly Memorial Hospital.

Hanging onto the edge of his seat, Elmer listened carefully for mention of his name. When they cut away for a human interest story on the voice acting career of Larry Kenny, his fists slammed down onto the arms of his recliner—bursting the puke-green fabric into flames. “No mention of just who risked his life to jump into the flames and save him! No! A couple of brats save an old woman and they make the news but me… Argh!”

Idly, he patted down the flames. All around his shabby home, Elmer’s walls and furnishings showed slight fire damage. He could create flames—create, but not control them. Perhaps if he could have controlled them he could have stopped the fire from burning down his neighbor’s house; that would have landed him on the news.

A failed journalist whose career had been ruined by an up-and-coming attorney, Amy Fischer, Elmer had taken up employment at a small time excavating company in Queens. Still, his ambitions had never died. He couldn’t get a byline… so he believed he had to become them.

The man rose up from the chair, clad only in a maze-toned white T-shirt and his lucky blue boxers, and made his way into the kitchen to see what staples he had to live on until his check came next Friday. As he opened the refrigerator door, the wall of his kitchen burst apart. The momentum of his sink flying through the air decimated his television. Not much a homemaker, he didn’t keep his dishes in the cabinet but in the drain rack. Every plate and every bowl he owned was shattered and sent showering across the meager abode.

“Elmer Tyler,” the electronically-garbled voice of ZERO announced coldly, “you are under arrest.”

“For wh-”

The metal plated hero gave the man no time to question the accusations brought upon him. ZERO erupted across the floor, propelled by jets the ignited the splintered remains of the south wall. Titanium fingers closed around his throat and hefted him into the air as if he were nothing. With just as much effort, ZERO spun and hurled the man across the room—sending him sprawling across the recliner. “The fire next door is suspected arson and who else could have done it but the fire-manipulating Neo-Sapien living next door!?”

“No! I didn’t… I swear!”

Jetting forward again, ZERO’s uppercut sent the man into the air and sailing backwards. Elmer landed in the remains of his television and howled out as fragments of glass pierced his flesh. He could feel it in his arms, legs, back… everywhere. Moreover he could feel his jaw broken from the punch the madman had delivered.

Elmer threw his arm forward and used his powers to fight back. Flames sprung up around ZERO and formed a ring, keeping the violent vigilante back. “Pathetic,” ZERO grumbled. From each shoulder shot a pair of satellites. The foursome looked like shuttlecocks that hovered in the air and shot beams of lime green light to each other.

Elmer tried to create a more intense flame and was startled to find his powers suppressed. Suspicious of the devices ZERO shot around the room he glanced at each of them in turn and tried to figure out how best to disable them.

He never got the chance.

“People like you need to learn that your powers do not make you a god among men!” Each point ZERO emphasized with another punch or a kick. “You are not above humanity! You are not above the law! These powers do not make you better—they make you worse! They turn you into killers and rapists… they give you feelings of superiority. They enable you to do anything and they make you act upon those base feelings!”
ZERO grabbed the man by the throat, lifting him once more and pushing him through the north wall of his home. The flames had begun to spread to the other walls now. The house was burning down around them. “Your kind are terrorists in every sense of the word, Elmer Tyler. You are a plague upon humanity and I…” ZERO’s words were lost on the man, not longer counted amongst the living now. “…I am the vaccine.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Suspects.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 66

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:21 am

Chapter LXVI: Disco Inferno
“So… it doesn’t strike you as odd at all?” Drew asked as he walked with Benjamin Altair down the hall towards their fifth period. It had been suggested to them both by Doctor Styles that they both focused the remainder of their high school education on earth sciences. As the woman urged all of her charges to learn everything they could about the nature of their powers, she had recommended the class to most of the New Vindicators due to the factor that nature played on their powers. For Ben, meteorology played a substantial role in his powers. Most of the student body’s Neo-Sapien abilities were tied to such studies: Magnus could benefit greatly from metallurgy, whereas geology was a factor in Maria’s abilities—as if had once been for Lex. Like Ben, Marcos’ abilities were based on meteorological effects. The Coriolis Effect was the direction and rotation of high-powered wind, brought on by the rotation of the earth; Marcos’ power was to spin and generate wind, and magnetism seemed to slow his rotation.

“I mean, c’mon Ben! Austin Peter’s house went up in flames Saturday night, Aaron Metcalf’s burned down last night and, well, you heard the announcement at lunch. Zach Kelly died in a fire this morning.”

“So?”

“So… that makes four ERHS students whose homes have mysteriously caught fire.”

“It happens,” Ben said.

“But it’s only happening to people who are on the football team.”
Ben’s eyes widened with horror at the realization of what this could mean. “Lex is on the football team and… and we live with him! What if we’re next?”

Deimos pushed past the pair, shoving Ben into the checkered-tile wall that alternated the school colors so hypnotically. “Yeah but there’s a huge difference,” he said as he spun around, flipping them both off as he did. “Lex never dated Katie.”

Drew looked away. He was hoping that Ben would have come to his own conclusions by now. Most of the others at the school—both the New Vindicators Academy of America and at Eleanor Roosevelt High School—had noticed the connection. “Chris Tribe, second semester, Sophomore year,” the young man had said, introducing himself to Ben at Chienne Bedford’s eighteenth birthday party back in November. He had been the one to first tell Ben of how Katie Merrick operated; she had a propensity for dating a guy for one semester, dumping him right at the term’s end. Chris had gone on to introduce her other formers, identifying them by when they had dated her. “This is Alan Dietrich and Bob Cohenour- they had her last year. Um, Zach Kelly had her just before I did. Freshman year she was with Austin Peters and Aaron Metcalf. That's Dan Williams—he had her in junior high. Alan Sours was the first though but he's not here tonight though.”

Alan Sours had been the first victim. Then Daniel William’s home had burnt down. His neighbor had exposed his Neo-Sapien abilities to save Daniel and his girlfriend from the inferno. His name had made news when his death was reported soon after. Police had suspected him, due to the nature of his abilities, but ZERO’s unmerciful apprehension had left him dead before he could be investigated. Given that three more homes had burnt down, his name was now cleared.

Austin Peters, Aaron Metcalf and Zachary Kelly had come next; the list of victims mirrored Katie’s own list of ex-boyfriends—the arsonist was even targeting them in the order she had dated them. “That’s preposterous!” Ben proclaimed as Deimos abandoned their conversation, the damage already done. “This has nothing to do with Katie!”

“You know…” Drew said, dropping his voice to a whisper. “Some people are starting to say it was you who did it.”

“Me!?”

“Shhh! Keep your voice down! Yes, Ben… it’s like—okay… nobody could be comfortable knowing their significant other has slept with half the student body. I mean, okay… Katie’s been with nine guys in four years. That’s like a baseball team right there. It’s enough to make anyone flip out.”

“I did not start those fires!”

Drew stopped, bending down to pick up a small notebook lost on the ground. “I’m not saying you did; I’m not fingering anyone as the pyro. I’m staying way out of this one. Call me jaded, but I’m a little sick of this cloak and dagger crap. I mean, okay… first there’s all this crap with the Affiliation. Mirth and Girth are in on it and Lawanda and J.T. betrayed us to them… Who’s to say we can trust anyone? We don’t even know if we can trust our own teachers!”

“Are you sure we should be talking about that here?”

“All I’m saying is, I’m sick of this Scooby-Doo crap. Who’s in the Affiliation? Who’s not in the Affiliation? Who’s really in the ZERO armor? For that matter who’s Portal and why do we trust the guy so willingly? Who’s burning down all these houses? Don’tcha wanna know how we keep starting fires? It’s my desire… God, I hate the Electric Six.”

It was now Ben’s turn to hush Drew. “Dude… you should have seen the look that David Meinstein kid just gave you. I think he might have overheard you talking about ZERO and the fires and… well… what if he thinks you’re starting the fires?”

“He was probably only giving you the stink-eye. I mean, Ryan Mueller told me about your foray into the world of competitive gaming. How’s it feel to be talked down to by the guy at the bottom of the social food chain? I mean… he’s rich and still unpopular!”

Ben shrugged. “He’s a big dork. He’s got this serious man-crush on Obi-Wan Kenobi. I mean… his Star Wars obsession is a little weird.”

Drew stopped and Ben stopped just a few steps ahead of him. “What’s wrong?” he asked, turning back to Drew, unsure why the young man suddenly stopped.

All activity came to a screeching halt as Drew slapped Ben. “Blasphemer!” hissed Drew.

“You’re such a tool, Drew!” barked Ben. “I mean, back in Japan you were saying all these horrible things about Katie and trying to convince me she was going to break up with me… now you’re trying to convince me she’s starting all these fires!” If anyone in the halls of the science department hadn’t frozen at the sight of Drew’s light slap, they had at Ben’s words. “I think you’re jealous…”

Drew laughed. “Yeah… I’m jealous of you…”

“Yeah, you are! You don’t have-” Ben had been about to say, “powers of your own.” He realized such a statement would out him to everyone around him. He had to choose his words carefully if he wanted to avoid this fallout. “-You can’t do anything by yourself! You need someone like me or Magnus or Lex there to help you. Even Adonis is better than you! You’re nothing on your own and you’re jealous of that… But also—come on!—when was the last time we saw you with a girl, Drew? Saffron Harris at homecoming?”

“Look here, Benny-Boy: I wasn’t the one fuming that Saya was all over me. You wouldn’t stop glaring at me. You wanna talk about jealousy… fine! Let’s talk about you! The second someone else is getting just a little bit more attention than you are you start mumbling under your breath and shoot them dirty looks. You talk trash about them behind their back for simply being better than you and why? Because you know you can’t stand up to anybody else. It’s not that you don’t have a spine—you don’t—you just know that if things escalate into anything remotely resembling confrontation. You can’t do jack!”

“You’re always going on about Star Wars… I don’t get how you can talk with your lips always on George Lucas’ butt!”

“You’re a pathological liar! You’ll say anything to make people think you’re anything but the sniveling little nothing that you are!”

“You smell funny!”

“I have a perspiration problem!” Drew barked.

“Fight!” Chris Tribe barked at the pair. “C’mon, Ben! Deck him!”

“I already told you,” Ben said, smirking at Drew, “I could never strike a lady.”

Drew was far from being physically imposing. He was far from the level of combative experience that Lex had. He had never taken a punch. He had never thrown one. At least… not without someone else’s powers helping him in that department. When his abilities had first awakened, he had copied someone’s light form. He had experienced Rumble’s strength once, in moving his bags into the school. He had used Lex’s abilities against Tide and Ben’s against the Kurenai Kage in Japan.

In the back of his head he repeated it like a mantra: “Don’t use the powers. Don’t use the powers.” He wasn’t sure whose abilities he meant- but he could feel them in the back of his head… calling out to him. As he pulled back to throw a punch and Ben moved to do the same, he instinctively realized he could latch onto Hourglass’ abilities and warp around Ben’s fist. He could shift to Lex and become a living black hole. With Tripper’s powers he could have the youth on his back in no time. Atlanta’s powers would send him through the wall while Maria’s powers would send the wall at him. He was determined not to use those abilities; he didn’t care if anyone knew that he was a Neo-Sapien, but this was a fair fight and he knew Ben’s fear of being found out… of being exposed. Ben wouldn’t use his powers to save his life here, and it wouldn’t be fair to use someone else’s against him.

With baited breath, Magnus Loder watched as his two young companions swung at each other. Stopping such a brawl never occurred to him—truth, the last week he had been dealing with too much. Chimera was really Silvia Li in her husband’s body. He—She—It was a part of the Affiliation, and knew almost as little as the New Vindicators did. Chimera claimed to have had no clue who was beyond everything, but was sure that it couldn’t have been Michuru.

Magnus wasn’t so sure.

No, Magnus had not considered stopping the pair- his thoughts lost in the dealings of the Affiliation… but someone else had thought of stopping the pair. The sensation of the hair on his arms standing up snapped Magnus out of his stupor. Everyone else seemed affected by the phenomena and were shocked to find the source of it between Drew and Ben.

One hand had caught Ben’s fist and the other had halted Drew’s attack. Ben’s eyes widened with recognition of the man but Drew had no indication of who this was. Magnus at least recognized him from the files the academy kept on all their former students. “Blitzkrieg,” he whispered. Blitzkrieg was one of two who served the Affiliation’s leader directly. As such, he was privy to the sacred information that was the leader’s identity.

“Blitzkrieg!” Ben boomed. “What is he doing here!?”

Blitzkrieg grinned. “We shouldn’t be at each other’s throats. You two need to learn to play nice.”

“Says a guy who’s responsible for killing four!” Magnus thundered from the crowd.

Blitzkrieg’s eyes scanned the student body, looking for the one he sought. “My name is Blitzkrieg and I’m a Neo-Sapien. I’m the worst kind too—the sort you hear about on the-” He froze as his eyes fell on Cassandra Goodman, standing beside David Meinstein. At the sensation of his eyes on her, Cassandra tossed her hair and batted her eyes. She was used to having such an effect on men. For Adonis this sort of manipulation of the opposite sex was his Neo-Sapien ability; for Cassandra, it was only natural. “…On the news,” he said, finally finishing his sentence. “I promise not to hurt any of you if you only cooperate. Choose not to and… accidents happen.”

The crowd began to part as Blitzkrieg’s help arrived. His super-speed had placed him far ahead of his companion.

At nearly eight feet in height, the Brobdinagian figure was an imposing one. His titanic shape was covered in thick, wrinkled flesh. Eyes scanned down from over the two molars protruding from his mouth—a pair of tusks that made him only more fearsome. He laid eyes on Chienne Bedford then and shook his head. “I hate pretties,” he snorted, stomping past her angrily.

There was no mistaking him from the files either—even Drew recognized the titanic Tusk—but for one in the crowd of high school students recognition opened a flood gate of memories and a well of warmth over-flowed through out her body. Jetstream shook her head, unable to accept that Max Fitzpatrick had gone over the Affiliation. Lucas had been trying to warn her; there was no doubting that now.

“We’ve come to recruit,” Blitzkrieg proclaimed. “Someone tell me where I can find Jeffrey Smith and we’ll be gone.”

“The retard!?” Chris Tribe barked. “What do you want with him?” He glanced up at Tusk and dared to say it: “Trying to meet a quota of funny-looking freaky-deakies?”

Tusk moved to advance but Blitzkrieg was before him in a thought. “You can kill him later,” Bltizkrieg promised. “For now, we need Jeffrey.”

“What’s so important about him?” Drew thundered.

“You—you honestly don’t know?” Blitzkrieg laughed as he turned to face Drew, running his hands through his hair. “Neo-Sapiens get their powers from one or more parents, right? Well… Jeff is the son of Carl Smith—the Vindicator known as Blacksmith—and that man’s powers are almost unlimited.

“The Blacksmith’s power is to alchemize anything he can touch. The hulking man can transform almost anything into anything else; he’s only limited by the laws of equivalent exchange. He can’t create something from nothing—the raw compounds must be present.”

“So?”

“So? Our agent at this school tipped us off to the special situation Jeffrey was in.” Magnus’ eyes narrowed, knowing who Blitzkrieg meant. Chimera had been positioned here, posing as the principal—as Miss Reice. “Jeffrey is allowed to come to this school—to stay close to his father in case his Neo-Sapien powers ever manifested. Jeffrey is unique in that… his mind doesn’t work the way a normal man’s does. Carl knows what his limits are because he knows what’s impossible. To someone like Jeffrey though, those basic laws of nature could be denied. With a touch, Jeffrey could turn anything into anything.”

And suddenly Ben pieced it together: there was someone else with a grudge against Katie’s ex-boyfriends. Maybe the order in which the fires occurred was a coincidence. Maybe it wasn’t that Katie was targeting them in the order she had dated them; maybe Jeff was teaching them a lesson for picking on him.

“Now then…” intoned Blitzkrieg, “for every five minutes that go by that Jeffrey has not been brought to us I promise you: Tusk will kill one of you.” Tusk turned his eyes on Chris Tribe and the young man gulped at the realization that he had singled himself out as the first to die. “Anyone thinks of being a hero and Tusk gets to kill five. So… I’d strongly suggest someone tells me where Jeffrey Smith is… NOW!”
To Be Continued... wrote:Revelations.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by smashed247 » Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:17 am

:shock: :D :shock:

I'm with Drew on this one. I'm fed up with all this cloak and dagger crap.

The reason is not because I don't enjoy it, far from it, it is just that in one post I read about this guy and think 'Ahh he seems like a nice chap.' only to read that he's not nice at all and has been planning to betray and screw over the people, who a minute ago he was being nice and sociable with. It's all quite bemusing, But hey it makes for a indescribably awesome and enjoyable, if sometimes infuriating, story.

Keep it up Michuru81 you are such an awesome storyteller/writer :D

I was wondering what Blacksmith's power was, thanks fo clearing it up

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Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:10 am

smashed247 wrote:I'm with Drew on this one. I'm fed up with all this cloak and dagger crap.

The reason is not because I don't enjoy it, far from it, it is just that in one post I read about this guy and think 'Ahh he seems like a nice chap.' only to read that he's not nice at all and has been planning to betray and screw over the people, who a minute ago he was being nice and sociable with. It's all quite bemusing, But hey it makes for a indescribably awesome and enjoyable, if sometimes infuriating, story.
By the end of issue #11, you'll be even more fed up. New Vindicators #11 ended with the startling revelation of just who the Affiliation's leader is. I had done a lot of foreshadowing leading up to it and put it out on the table for my players to take a stab at. Only one player (Fathom) had gotten it right, and they had only guessed who they guessed as a joke. Still, all the clues really are there. Most of the players have been reading this too and have commented at how obvious everything is now- in hindsight.

However, this storyline is rife with allignment re-allignment. Characters you might think are good are actually bad and a few who appear bad turn out to be the good guys in the end. New Vindicators #12 clears up everything- all the cards are layed on the table for that one.

What's coming in New Vindicators #12?

:!: What REALLY happened five years ago in the Himalayas
:!: The return of a New Vindicator
:!: The death of a New Vindicator- a PC (meaning Anomaly, Copycat, Deimos, Fathom, Frostbite, Lodestone or Portal won't survive to the end)
:!: ZERO's true identity
:!: The truth about Drew's powers
:!: What Neo-Sapiens really are and where they get their powers...
:!: Who Deimos' sword is intended to kill
:!: Someone's a Nephilim- and you won't expect who.
smashed247 wrote:I was wondering what Blacksmith's power was, thanks fo clearing it up
Blacksmith's Neo-Sapien powers essentially turn him into Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. I may have to post him over on the build thread. If anyone has any requests, I'm willing to post 'em over there... so, request away. Please. I keep getting the urge to post character who haven't been mentioned- let alone appeared yet.
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Post by smashed247 » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:14 am

Michuru81 wrote: :!: The death of a New Vindicator- a PC (meaning Anomaly, Copycat, Deimos, Fathom, Frostbite, Lodestone or Portal won't survive to the end)
Anomaly is the most obvious candidate, given that he's got the whole martyr complex and all, plus he's the only genuinely nice guy and they always get killed off.

It could also be Copycat, as we're told that he becomes an NPC towards the end of the current arc and so will become more disposable.

Lodestone, I don't think will die as he has too many possible plot hooks.

Deimos won't die before he has a big, earthshaking reunion with dear old dad, which probably won't be any time soon.

Frostbite I can't think of any reason for him to die or not to die and Fathom, well I didn't even realise she was a PC.

The same goes for Portal, and he/she/it doesn't seem to be getting much post-time at all, but then we don't know who is in the suit. I think I know who it is though.

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Post by Manintights » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:38 am

My guess for who's going to die would be Deimos. Killing off coppycat would seem to obvious after reducing him to an NPC. I think the whole broken blade when used against his brother sword screams for a climatic death of a hero.

Don't have an idea who is in the portal suit, maybe smashed cann tell me his thoughts on the matter via PM.

Greetz,

MIT
"As my father taught, 'Training will raise your shield to the blow, but courage fills the gaps the shield leaves open.'"

Play by post games:

New Vindicators: [Gae Bolg]

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Post by Michuru81 » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:32 pm

smashed247 wrote:The same goes for Portal, and he/she/it doesn't seem to be getting much post-time at all, but then we don't know who is in the suit. I think I know who it is though.
To Portal's credit, the big metal man was in every game session- if not in the narrative. I've taken a few, minor liberties with what happened. Most of those are with Portal.

Portal's secret identity was kept from the PCs, though the players knew who he really was. As such, I felt that in the narrative... nobody should know who Portal is. However, Portal's presence at certain points clearly points to his identity... and recently in the story, Frostbite gave off two pretty big clues as to just who is in the 001.

For instance, at the beginning of New Vindicators #6, someone is shown to be in Japan at the same time. Portal shows up to help them fight. If those elements had remained, Portal's identity would be a no-brainer at this point. For story purposes, Portal has been removed from most of the action- simply because his presence is inconvenient. Portal's identity is exposed in New Vindicators #11, when the one inside the armor has to fight without the armor. Most recently, in New Vindicators #20, Portal's identity was revealed to one of the PCs in-character.

The secret identity thing has been a problem. It would be boring for the player to have to sit and watch as the plot revolves around the others- as such a secondary plotline not shown here unravels around Portal. This means that every so often, our sessions get split. It becomes, "Okay... let's leave Deimos and Lodestone and go over to Portal now..." then bring them together for fights and the like. Since revealing the identity, it's like a merger of games. Hopefully, this will make everything flow so much nicer.

It should be noted though that numerous in-jokes have cropped up... because of Portal. Lodestone and Fathom's players constantly joke that Portal has no regard for life- but will avoid property damage at all costs. Mostly because of Portal's malicious treatment of the 'gators in New Vindicators #5 and him tearing his way through ninja flunkies in New Vindicators #6- all the while complaining about people breaking through walls and doors.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 67

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:39 pm

Chapter LXVII: Boulevard of Broken Dreams
“Ben!”

Ben turned at the whispered sound of his name. At Blitzkrieg and Tusk’s arrival, he and Drew had backed up and merged with the crowd that had previously gathered around their altercation. There was Katie Merrick and Ryan Goodman, urging him to come with them. “Katie? What’s up?” He said it so casually, as if the sight of her had put the notion of the student body being held hostage far from his mind.

“Ryan has a plan—we’re getting out!”

“He said he’d kill five people-”

“We’re not playing hero here, Ben—we’re just getting out.” Ryan narrowed his eyes at his former friend. The two hadn’t been so close since Ben had chosen a small pizzeria for their fourth date. It happened that Ryan worked there and the sight of them together caused him to drop a tray of plates he was busing back to the kitchen and lose his job. “What happens if they don’t get Jeff or… or they take too long getting here? What happens if five minutes pass and they pick Katie?”

Ben’s instincts flared. He had to protect her. He was a hero—he would be her hero. Ryan’s hand was in Katie’s—their fingers were intertwined as he had been leading her out. It had been she who had stopped to pull Ben into their escape plan. Ryan had no intention of sparing Ben from the eminent danger. He had long harbored a crush on the girl—he had long been her best friend and confidant just as Adonis had been Chienne’s. After each breakup, he was her shoulder to cry on. He was her rainy day man; he was the one she turned to when her skies began to grey. He loved her… and all of that meant nothing now that she was with Ben.
Still, Ben had sensed Ryan held these feelings for Katie since before the pair had started dating. He hadn’t cared though; when the girl had awkwardly asked him out he had eagerly accepted with no thought of how Ryan would react.

It had not been a conclusion she had spontaneously arrived at. She had been considering putting all her chips on something different for a while; she had begun to consider asking out her best-friend… she had considered asking out Ryan. It was a revelation she had given him a few weeks ago, just before band practice. She had laughed about it, as if he would find the very notion of them together as humorous as she now did.
It went without saying that Ryan had no problems leaving Ben with Blitzkrieg and Tusk while he played the hero and saved Katie… and it broke his heart as she let go of his hand to clutch at Ben’s tightly and with great familiarity. “Okay,” he said disgustedly, “we need to get to the band room…”

As they snuck off, Drew slithered his way to Magnus Loder’s side. “Psst! Lodey!” he said as he neared. Magnus never regarded him—he only stared intently at the pair. They had said what would happen if anyone played the part of the hero; Magnus assumed that bit must have been intended for them. Blitzkrieg knew some of the New Vindicators were positioned here at this school; he was talking directly to them then—warning them against what would happen should they have tried to put their training to the test. “Lodey… I—I think they’re right. A while back, I was trying to find my way to class and I ended up the band room and… well, Mirth and Girth were picking on David Meinstein and Jeff and that chick that’s always with him came around the corner and… and I was able to teleport and my hands burst into flames.”

Magnus paid Drew no mind; he was intent on the two Affiliation members before him. Blitzkrieg knew who Kelvin had been trying to warn them off. Blitzkrieg knew the Affiliation’s true leader. Blitzkrieg knew who was pulling the strings…

He alone knew who had to be stopped.

“Well, if Jeff really is the one starting the fires, it makes sense! I mean… he could be who I piggybacked the fire-powers from! Like, okay, I didn’t get it at first but… I don’t think I just made the fire so much as I converted it. I think I might have drawn some of the electricity from the building… You know, like we’ve been learning about: ionization and all. If Jeff’s dad can turn something into something else…?”

“It’s plausible,” grumbled Magnus. Why wouldn’t Blitzkrieg come alone? If things went the wrong way for him- he could escape easier alone than with someone like Tusk? Everything Magnus had ever read about tactics he summoned up. There was no reason for Blitzkrieg to have brought the big man along unless he needed the muscle. And if he needed the muscle…
Magnus watched as a screw—a tiny, insignificant screw—slowly turned in the light fixtures above them. He appeared to be the only one who noticed the use of his powers. Good; the Affiliation hadn’t yet noticed that he had begun to move.

Projected with the force of a bullet, the screw shattered through the air and pierced flesh and bone and drove itself deep into Tusk’s knee. With a scream, the titan dropped to the earth. Given his size, Magnus knew he would be difficult to help escape: Blitzkrieg couldn’t hope to get him out; even if he could spare having his tremendous speed cut he couldn’t support Tusk’s weight. He also believed that if the support of his knees could be destroyed Tusk would have trouble supporting even his own weight. “What happened?” demanded Blitzkrieg as Tusk howled in pain. “Who’s the hero?”

“It’s an imperfect world,” offered Magnus coldly. He tried to play it coolly but he couldn’t resist smirking at the man. “Screws fall out all the time.”

“Well, well, well… so long as we’re quoting the works of John Hughes, I suppose it goes without saying what happens when you mess with bull?”

Magnus sent another screw into Tusk’s knee and setting off another thundering cry from the behemoth. “I’m offering a trade,” Magnus growled. “I’m burying screws deep into the bone. Take too long here and I’ll destroy his knee cap. I hear knee replacement is a painful surgery. Not sure who’s going to be willing to perform it for a Neo-Sapien terrorist though.”

“What do you want?” Blitzkrieg snarled.

“Your leader,” Magnus said. “Who is it?”

Blitzkrieg smirked at the youth’s ingenuity and for his confidence. “Hmm… they picked the wrong one for the prefects, I’d say.” The speedster seemed genuinely surprised when the area shook slightly—something had triggered an explosion elsewhere in the school. In a split-second, Blitzkrieg assessed the situation. Injured as he was, Tusk would not make it out on his own. Should he help the large man, Blitzkrieg knew he too would be caught. Tusk had to be abandoned. Still would he abandon him to flee or to seek out Jeffrey Smith? He had no means of knowing where he was and though a thorough search wouldn’t take one of his velocity long, the random factor of that explosion had him hesitate to venture off alone into the unknown.

On top of it all, Magnus Loder could turn almost any part of their environment into a weapon—he could attack with the speed of thought and from any direction. He wasn’t as strong as Lex or Atlanta but Magnus may very well have been the most powerful of the New Vindicators. “By now, you must be going over all the variables,” Magnus said, his voice thick with arrogance. “Would it be rude of me to tell Tusk that he’s going to be abandoned?”

“What?” bellowed the big man.

“Face facts, Tusk,” Magnus growled. He had no need for secret identities now; the threat of Tusk had been dealt with and the explosion whipped the students into a panic. There was no audience now. There were none to decipher that two factions of Neo-Sapiens were at war and their newest battleground was Eleanor Roosevelt High School. “Your size makes you a liability to him if he’s going to help you out. The only way you’ll get out of here is on your own two legs.”

Blitzkrieg hesitated another moment. Magnus was confident—too confident; what did he still have up his sleeve? “I imagine this is where you make another attempt to recruit me to your side?”

“What?” asked Blitzkrieg, only echoing Tusk’s words. “Another? You were scouted?”

Now it was Magnus’ turn to be surprised. As much as Blitzkrieg wanted to push the issue and learn who had broken their set conduct in an attempt to recruit Magnus, he took the initiative and fled from their fight. There was a single chance of finding Jeffrey Smith: the explosion may have been the work of his Neo-Sapien abilities manifesting.

The blue trail left behind by Blitzkrieg blurred through the halls, moving towards the source… and finding it at the band room. Blitzkrieg flashed into the room and was surprised to find not Jeffrey… but the true arsonist…

“What are you doing, Ryan!?” boomed Katie. She had reacted to the blast, throwing herself between Ben and Ryan the moment the youth’s intentions were made clear. From his backpack Ryan produced another of the homemade explosives. The plastic casing separated the two chemical mixtures. Once the device broke open and the two solutions combined the blast was strong enough to shatter concrete and the flames that would erupt from it were hot enough to melt steel. The initial blast had flung Ben back and sank him deep in the ocean of unconsciousness.

Ryan was more than just a band geek: he was one of the JROTC’s finest and a whiz in chemistry. His father was a chemist; the army had put the man through college. His background in military weapons and multiple degrees in advanced chemistry made him the perfect candidate for Noah Meinstein’s division at Patriot Robotics and for Ryan it was more than just a foot in the door after he followed in his father’s footsteps: it was access to everything he needed to create his own home-brewed firebombs. “What does it look like!?” Ryan cried, his tears cutting a path through his soot-covered face. “I’m trying to kill him so we can be together!”

“Ryan… you—you’re the one who’s been—Zach is dead, Ryan…”

“They all would have been if things had worked out!”

Ryan hurled the small incendiary for Ben and Katie dove. A wordless scream erupted from Ryan’s face at the sight of her moving to take the attack. Everything he had done, he had done for her. She had revealed that somewhere, somewhen, she had considered a future with Ryan. If Ben Altair hadn’t entered the picture, they could have been happy. He would have helped her change. He would have done more. He was willing to do anything for her… including erase the past she was obviously so ashamed of.

And he was so close to it too. Neo-Sapiens had attacked the school and threatened students’ lives; if Ben Altair was found dead nobody would look to Ryan Mueller as a suspect. But now… as he watched Katie moved to shield Ben, Ryan watched everything he had worked for go up in flames.

Katie’s body absorbed the impact of the flames, pulling them in and channeling them. Electricity cascaded over her back as she hovered over Ben’s still form. The flames danced everywhere but for a small clearing the pair fell in the epicenter of. It was the real secret Katie Merrick was ashamed of—more so than her wild-child past. Katie Merrick was a Neo-Sapien, in control of powers she had inherited from her father. Coach Merrick taught at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, and it was a common understanding in their household that if his status as a Neo-Sapien ever came out, he would be dismissed. The Merrick’s didn’t want any to know that they could absorb energy and convert it through ionization. For Katie and her father fire became electricity and vice-versa.

“Ka—Katie…” Ryan backed away, unsure what to do now that his goddess of love had become a goddess of vengeance. Katie spun towards him, eyes flashing with the flames her powers had devoured. Lightning cracked around her as she bled off the excess energy. She knew her abilities; her father had taught her how to control them, so as to better hide them. She had to quickly release any energy built-up and stored inside her.

“You tried to kill Ben… You killed Zach…”

“Katie!” cried Ryan. “Katie, you have to… you…”

As Ryan prayed for a miracle… his savior arrived. The ceiling shattered inward as ZERO descended into the room and scanned the surroundings. The sensors inside the armor registered both Katie and Ben as Neo-Sapiens… but only one was the obvious threat here. To ZERO, Ben Altair had merely been at the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Katherine Mae Merrick,” came the cold and computerized voice from deep within ZERO. “The motive fits… and now so do the powers. You’re under arrest for the murder of Zachary Kelly… and so much more you piece of nothing!”

Before Katie could form a retort, ZERO propelled forward and crashed shoulder-first into Katie’s chest. As Katie was flung back, the flames began to advance. Her absorption powers were all that kept the heat off of Ben. Moved away from him, she could do nothing but watch as the inferno advanced on his unconscious form.

“Frick,” Blitzkrieg said softly as he watched ZERO grab Katie’s ankle and swing her up. Katie screamed as she was sent flying through the air—her fall was broken by ZERO’s propulsion system and a strong uppercut. Katie staggered, barely able to stand as ZERO grabbed for one of the boards scattered across the band room floor by the armored being’s entrance. The splintered two-by-four collided with Katie’s head and sent her spiraling deep into an unconscious stupor. “Double frick!” grumbled Blitzkrieg. Ryan had used the confusion to escape and now Blitzkrieg alone bore silent witness to ZERO’s unique brand of justice. “Frick on a stick…” With a thought he took a step and laid Ben Altair on the grass outside the school. Another step and he had juxtaposed himself with Katie.

His chivalrous deed seemed to surprise ZERO and gave Blitzkrieg the chance to retaliate. “The funny thing about anything built at Patriot Robotics is…” Blitzkrieg blurred out of and back into sight. “…It usually sucks! Noah’s a smart guy, but he neglects those small structural problems. As a person breathes, the body consumes oxygen and creates—say it all together class—carbon dioxide! Generally, he employs closed-circuit rebreathers in his designs for armor, military vehicles and the lot but… without the right valves, the suit would just be filling up with nitrogen and carbon dioxide with each breath the pilot inside took.” Blitzkrieg took ZERO’s hand and handed the metal warrior those very valves. “You might want to forget about fighting me… unless of course you’re comfortable with breathing poison, I mean.”

ZERO struggled to move and Blitzkrieg merely grinned. “Oh, did I forget to mention that I might have done a little something to the hydraulic pumps utilized to enhance your strength. Surely you’re strong enough to move in that armor without those. I mean, without the strength to operate the suit you’d probably have to rely on the propulsion system and… well, who knows what I’ve done to that.”

The armored figure took its chances and activated the suit’s flight abilities, rocketing out of the building grudgingly—leaving behind the prey of a murderous Neo-Sapien. Forrest N. Bedford, founder and leader of the Church of Genetic Purity, was adamant in his claim that he simply wasn’t ZERO, nor did he know who was. Still, Blitzkrieg had read the file on Bedford—he was a military man who had climbed high in the ranks before a modest early retirement. He was an upstanding soldier in another army as well; he had climbed the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan faster than he had the ladder in the United States Army. He was a dangerous man: a bigot who knew how to fight. Blitzkrieg saw through the lies the man told. ZERO may not have rode under the banner the CGP waved, but he certainly upheld their values.

Blitzkrieg didn’t debate whether or not to risk moving Katie; he didn’t know the extent of her absorption and wasn’t about to push it to its limit—not in this inferno. Scooping her into his arms, he sped outside to where he had deposited Ben. In the moments since the initial explosion Ryan had set off, all of the student body had scattered. He had seen Chienne Bedford, Forrest’s daughter, in the crowd in the halls. Thinking it over, he concluded that she could have had enough time in the confusion to get word to her father. He didn’t see her in the crowd now gathered on the grounds… though his eyes did find Magnus Loder.

“What did you do to her?” Magnus thundered at the sight of Katie, broken and beaten in Blitzkrieg’s arms.

Blitzkrieg’s jaw dropped as he realized how badly things looked. He turned back to the building and realized that ZERO had propelled out through the other side; perhaps the armored Bedford had gotten away unnoticed.

The speedster’s eyes scanned the crowd for another face; there were only two people more important than life itself to Blitzkrieg: one was an educator at the New Vindicators Academy of America and the other was a student at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. He sought for that familiar face—pressing his luck by staying there another second longer. His attempts to scan the crowd were futile and his heart sank at the realization he would be denied such a fleeting moment.

As Blitzkrieg moved to slowly rest Katie’s body down… Magnus moved to charge him. In the twinkling of an eye, the man was gone before he could land his foot against the grass.

Blitzkrieg was gone… and Magnus’ hopes of finding out who was pulling their strings had vanished with him.
To Be Continued... wrote:Agonizing memories.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 68

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:14 am

NEW VINDICATORS #8: All Jacked Up


Chapter LXVIII: Hurt
Blood from his lip trickled down into his eye, stinging and biting and making him feel as though the optic nerves were aflame. By the feeling, he counted at least three ribs either bruised or broken. It was an unfamiliar sensation to the young tough and one he genuinely hoped he wasn’t in for again soon. His finger hurt worse: the woman had taken toothpicks and pried them under each nail. She had taken the nail off of the left thumb in such a manner, but the howling screams he fired at her made her hesitant to continue the process.

He had fought to free himself of them—nine toothpicks were still jutting out from each phalange. Two had broken just at the nail’s tip; splintered pieces of wood were now embedded into the cuticle. Every so often those scratched at his bare flesh, causing him to jump at the sensation. Each time it happened he just assumed she had come to continue her hellish work.

Despite all that had happened… his back hurt the most. The alchemical symbol she had carved into his back stung the worst; she had cut him deeply and even now he bled freely. Every so often, his attempts to wiggle free of his bindings would brush him against the hanging meat and turn him to see the rust-red flakes that had come from what of his essence had dried on his back. The cold of the meat locker seemed to intensify the pain, however… sending a shiver up his spine and stabbing pain to his very core.

His eyes rolled down and he watched as his breath escaped upward. He wanted to escape. For hours he had been held here: bound and gagged and hanging by his ankles from a meat hook. His captor had told him it was better than having the hook in him and in that… in that he actually agreed. He had managed to chew through his gag, allowing him to alternate screaming for help and begging for his freedom between gurgling breaths.

Brittle, frozen tears broke as Deimos squinted to see his captor’s entrance. His eyes had adjusted to the absolute darkness the window-less freezer had created. The sudden illumination blinded him to all but her silhouette. Each footfall reverberated in the steel cage—pounding in his head through the wall of blood that had been built by his up-side-down positioning. “It’s Sunday,” she said sweetly, her hands reaching for his face. His vision adjusted enough to recognize the alchemic symbols branded into her palms. He had come to know those very well. “It’s been four days and still nothing… You said people would come for you, Jeremy.” Those gnarled, arthritic hands pinched his cheeks together and surprising strength pulled him forward to look her in the eyes. “You said you had friends.”

Deimos could only whimper softly.

“Are you yet ready to admit that they will not come for you… that they do not care!?”

Deimos began to cry. “You’re not real,” he whispered. “You’re dead…”

“What makes you think I’m dead, Jeremy?”

“I don’t wanna say it…”

“What makes you think I’m dead, Jeremy?” There was more authority in her voice this time and that tone had silenced Deimos, save but for choking, gurgling breaths he managed. “What makes you think-”

“BECAUSE I KILLED YOU!” Deimos snarled. “You—you can’t be real because I killed you… I killed you…”

Josette Carlson, the younger sister of Evangeline Carlson, was the aunt of the young man who preferred to be known as Deimos. He had never known her as Josette Carlson though and she had never known him as Deimos; she had married Doctor John O’Reilly before the boy had been born. To her, he would always be Jeremy Carlson: the boy she never gave up on; the boy she had such hope for; the boy she loved with all her heart and the boy she never ceased praying for.

Never once—up until the day she put her key in the ignition and stepped out into eternity—did she stop loving her nephew with all she had and more.

The door opened and Shade crawled towards the light—determined to find help and determined to survive the woman’s insane vengeance. Deep down, Deimos had begun to feel something for her. He wouldn’t use the term ‘love’—he didn’t believe in such things but he certainly liked her and he didn’t know what he’d do without her. If he couldn’t survive this ordeal he was thankful that she could at least get away. This had nothing to do with her; it was just a trivial, family matter.

The thought of everything he had helplessly watched Josette do to Shade evoked something in Deimos he had almost forgotten about. His true strength surged within him—not his fighting prowess or his powers, but his pure and simple rebellious spirit. “I killed you once,” he snarled to her, startling her with his rekindled clout, “and I swear to God, I’m going to do it again.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Two weeks earlier...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 69

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:27 am

Chapter LXIX: Monkey Man
  • TWO WEEKS BEFORE…
Deimos woke slowly and tried to flex his fingers. His right arm was numb—his blood pressure had been stopped by Shade’s position in his bed next to him. Granted, the dorm he shared had three other beds but Deimos wouldn’t have had it any other way. Once upon a time, those beds had been filled too: J.T. Kirk had slept in the bunk over Deimos until that day so many months ago when he had revealed his true nature and gone off to be with those he was most loyal to; he had left to join the Affiliation.

In the bunk across from Deimos had slept Malachi Brown. Deimos had been the one to receive Kai’s last words, communicated to him across Kai’s cell phone plan as he died. Deimos had been the first to find his body. Such an event barely scared the young man. He hadn’t shed a single tear for the youth’s passing.

Christopher Perkins, one of the juniors at the Academy, had been one of the many students summoned home after a fourth life was snuffed out from the student body. The super-strong sixteen-year-old’s departure marked Deimos as the sole heir of the room and since the last had departed months ago, it had become Shade’s place of residence as well.

When he had met Shade there was some suspicion that Deimos might have had a hand in the murder of Lucas Howell. He had an alibi but to give him a further alibi he had been put in a room that kept him under constant surveillance. Strangely the faculty had had no gripe with him sleeping with the strange girl then—in fact none of the powers that be had even mentioned her; it was as if they didn’t know she existed. She certainly seemed able to slip in and out of the school without detection—none of the students ever spoke of her either.

Still, when he moved back to his old room and claim it as the sole, surviving occupant he had brought her with him. “I’m gunna need that arm back,” he said, using his free hand to trace her spine. She shivered at the familiar touch of his fingers walking up her naked back and rolled over to greet him this new day. “Good morning,” he said with a wide grin. It was hard to tell if that smile was sincere affection or amusement. Either way, she took it, playfully kissing his chin.

To her surprise, Deimos rose up and moved to get dressed. It was unlike him. First thing in the morning, he usually demanded her ‘rent’—the payment he accepted for letting her stay with him here.

Despite living with her for all these months Deimos had no inkling of who she was or what she was actually doing here. Shortly before his trip to Japan she left for San Francisco—claiming to have a lead on her elusive father—and she returned just days after he did claiming to have discovered the existence of three half-brothers. All of her father’s other siblings lived in New York City, she said. Deimos thought it was a lie—he assumed she simply yearned to be with him again.

She hadn’t spoken of her search and Deimos hadn’t asked about its status; but from her continued presence in his life he assumed her efforts had yielded nothing.

“It’s Saturday,” she said. “Plus, there’s like a week and a half until Valentine’s Day.” She pushed the blankets off her, pulling out all the stops to convince Deimos to stay with her. “Are you sure you can’t sleep in?”

“Got a mission,” he grumbled, hoping on one foot as he struggled to pull on his sock. His uniform hung in the closet but he wouldn’t be wearing it. Instead Deimos produced a pair of jeans that were worn thin and riddled with gaping holes, a wife-beater stained maze-yellow from sweat and sporting small spatters of blood like badges of honor, and a leather trench coat with the sleeves torn from it. His combat boots he left untied; on some level he yearned for the days when he was young enough to get away with wearing Velcro straps on his shoes. It wasn’t that Deimos couldn’t tie his shoes—he could—it was just too much of a hassle to tie them as he put them on and untied them as he took them off. “Apparently, there’re a lot of kids with NS powers that don’t know we exist. Some are in a bit of trouble and some are just kind of there. The flaming flamer said he’s pairing off seniors to go recruiting.”

“Sounds… fun.”

“I could think of funner things.” He flashed her a grin to let her know what he was thinking and she returned it with her own suggestive smile. “But… I gotta go.” With one last look at her, Deimos grudgingly left the room and made his way down the halls of the men’s dorms. He took the stairs two at a time before reaching the common room; it was the annex between the boys and girl’s dorms, with the staff’s apartments coiling around the Lighthouse that rose up above the entrance to the lower levels. Once he was at the elevator he passed Drew Jenkins, suited up and singing off key as his head bobbed along to the tune in his Zune.

“-at Bennigans! Rhyme renegade, sure to penetrate—first and second defense—I won’t hesitate. Gotta job to do but Darth’s the guy that delegates. Got somethin’ against Skywalker, someone he really hates. But I don’t give a-”

“Drew!” Magnus thundered, attempting to make it past the beat pounding in Drew’s eardrums to wrangle his attention.

“-I’m after Solo. For all I care he could be hiding at Yoda’s dojo. Gotta make the money, credit’s no good, when the Jawas run the shop in your neighborhood.” Deimos crossed the room, tugging the cords out of the youth’s ears and fixing him with a stern look. “Yo, Deimos… my hommie.”

Deimos rolled his eyes as he walked away, letting Magnus pull their companion to his feet and lead him to the main platform.

The dorms of the Lighthouse and the actual school building itself were connected via the Lighthouse that peeked up over the shores of Roosevelt Island. Still, the Lighthouse was no ordinary lighthouse but a massive elevator, connecting the Academy to the lower levels. It was beneath the island that the actual complex existed. It was beneath the island that the New Vindicators trained in the use and control of their Neo-Sapien talents.

In the month since Michuru’s departure from the school the manner in which they had trained had changed. For nearly three months he had occupied their weekends with training exercises designed to heighten the meager self-defense lessons they had acquired in their tenure at the school. Magnus was far from sad to see such exercises done away with—he had complained over each and every one. Once, Michuru had divided the senior class up—boys against girls—for a round of capture the flag. The young Lodestone had thought it his time to shine: he imagined himself dispensing tactical knowledge and formulating a surefire attack plan. It had all been for nothing so long as Rumble held the flag though. The only member of their team who could have stood up to her colossal strength was Lex—then known as Amalgam and now as Anomaly. Still, the girls had a contingency plan for dealing with Lex Sway and her name was Jacquelyn Webber: Lex’s then-girlfriend. Affectionately called Jacque the Tripper, due to her command over an odd force she called the Trip Field, Jacquelyn used a sudden gravitational tug to slam her foes into the ground. Combined with Fathom and Hourglass’ abilities the girls had all but won that round.

The last exercise their teachers sponsored before their ill-fated trip to Japan involved them randomly dropped into brackets and flung into a fighting tournament which Rumble had beaten Lodestone to win.

“This isn’t right!” Magnus had barked after the last session, privately meeting with Mister Bradshaw and Miss Jordan after the exercise. “How do you expect to foster good working relations and teamwork by constantly pitting us against each other!? And Rumble… why is it she’s so oblivious to what’s going on around her half the time, but she’s so intent once we get into a fight. She’s dangerous! She’s a loose cannon! She’s-”

“Suffering from hyperfocus,” Mister Bradshaw had offered.

“What?”

“Atlanta suffers from an intense form of mental concentration on a narrow subject. While increasingly oblivious to most goings on around her, Atlanta is beyond objective reality. Atlanta functions on a subjective mental plane—she’s frequently daydreaming. While this mental ability could be a manifestation of a psychological digression, her own father, Doctor Stephen O. White, believes her to have a slight form of autism. It is believed that hyerpfocus is simply a natural expression of the personality or event akin to meditation. It is also possible that such a state is a byproduct of Atlanta’s powers; being in a perpetual state of fight-or-flight response may release additional hormones that create an imbalance leaving her in the zone.”

Magnus blinked, attempting to understand just a fraction of what the educator had said. “Her father noticed it first,” Mister Bradshaw said. “Most of the teachers here have seen it too… Doctor Pickford didn’t get a full session with Atlanta to correctly diagnose her, but she requested a nouthetic counselor and… well, this woman therapist, Doctor Rowell, agrees: Atlanta suffers from hyperfocus. Once she enters a combat situation, her brain locks in on what needs to be done and nothing else matters.”

Magnus didn’t like Atlanta White; he considered her a danger to their team’s stated purpose. What happened when she raged out of control and hurt someone or worse: what happened when everything the New Vindicators were working towards came crashing down around them because her emotions hit a fever pitch? He could just see it: Atlanta standing trial for killing a civilian in the line of duty… all because she was too focused on stopping the bad guy.

The platform came to a stop on the lower level and the trio of New Vindicators stepped off. Maria rose up from the table she had been sitting on, crossing over to greet Magnus Loder with a kiss on the cheek and a squeeze of his hand. For weeks they had been dating. He had been so distant—concerned as he was about his meeting with Missus Reice a month prior. It hadn’t been long after that encounter and all the revelations that Maria had rekindled that flirtatious spirit he had seen in Tokyo. It felt strange though: he had broken things off with Chienne to be with Maria—recognizing the Spanish girl as someone he could truly be honest with—and yet, he was keeping this knowledge of Chimera and the Affiliation to himself.

“Is everyone here?” Miss DiMera asked, looking out over the collected group. “Wait—we’re missing Ben.”

“I saw him leave this morning,” Adonis said sadly. “He’s probably at the hospital again. If he’s not asleep or at school, he’s there visiting Katie.” It had been weeks since the explosion that had destroyed the gymnasium at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Ben Altair had woken up, able to tell everyone that Ryan Mueller had been the arsonist. Of course, Ryan was long gone. His parents claimed not to know where he went but there was doubt amongst all who knew: Ryan’s father had connections in the military and at Patriot Robotics. He could have hidden his son anywhere…

Ryan was gone… and Katie was in a coma. Her vitals were low but she was alive. The beating she had received from ZERO had left her adrift in the ocean of unconsciousness; doctors debated if she would ever wake up. Ben surprised everyone with his loyalty though. Most had assumed he would cut his losses and move on… but if he could be with her, he was there.

Professor Philip Alston, the Vindicator once known as Professor Incendiary, seemed to understand the youth’s situation and didn’t mind him not being present for their mission. “Right then… well, Mister Lang will be transporting each of you across the country to recruit young boys and girls to our school. We’ll be dividing you up into pairs. Remember that some of these children had only recently manifested their Neo-Sapien abilities and they’re frightened. They’re terrified. Some may have their mother or father to lead them in how to best control and hide their abilities and some may not. Some may actually be surprised to have learned that they are Neo-Sapiens.

“Some are a danger to others because of their powers. You are not to approach them as an enemy though—they are not a hurdle to be overcome. They are people. They are people just like you were—are. They are people who don’t know what to do or where to turn. You are going to offer them help, advice and answers. If they will accept it, you are to offer them a place of safety here at this campus.

“Deimos and Rumble: enjoy Hoboken! Your target is a seventeen-year-old male by the name of Owen Reagan. We’re not sure what his abilities are save that in their manifestation his girlfriend, Sonya DuPree, was killed. Police are combing the area looking for him. The Church of Genetic Purity is after him too. As backup I’m also sending Forecast and Copycat. I had Fog and Frostbite assigned this one too but… Cloud? You’ll just have to tagalong with Drew and Gale. This will be a hard one… but… this is what you’ve been training for. Good luck and stay safe.

“Fathom and Hourglass: your team will be heading to Brooklyn to meet with Kayla King, a 10-year-old girl who’s just manifested her power to turn whatever she touches to gold.

“Jetstream and Circe: I want the two of you to head for Kentucky. Your team should have the easiest run as… you’re going to recruit Jetstream’s younger siblings: Katherine-Joan and Christine-Sue Manther. Like Velocity, Caliber and Jetstream before them, the twins have developed unstoppable flight.

“Loess and Coriolis: you’ll be heading for Seattle. Seventeen-year-old Mackenzie Lawrence has unchecked manipulation over gravity. She’ll be difficult to find as her foster parents threw her out when her powers manifested. She’s believed to be living on the streets.

“Lodestone and Adonis: you’re off to St. Louis to help Everett McGee. Mister McGee is a fifteen-year-old orphan who can generate earthquakes.”
Lodestone’s eyes bulged at the suggestion that he work with Adonis. “Wait- wouldn’t it be better for everyone if Coriolis took Adonis after this girl and Loess came with me to pick up earth boy? I mean… unless Everett plays for the other team, Adonis is going to be useless. Meanwhile, Maria ACTUALLY controls the earth. Seems like it would make more sense…”

Professor Alston grinned. “Mister McGee also suffers from epilepsy,” he said. “He can’t control his abilities and… it’s likely that Miss Espada wouldn’t be able to counteract the tremors. While there is no information that your target is a homosexual, Adonis’ abilities stem further. He’s an excellent communicator and has this unnatural way with people. Mister McGee’s condition may make him hesitant to leave. If anyone can convince him, it’s Adonis. I’d suggest letting him do all the talking.”

As Lodestone began to sulk, Anomaly’s head swiveled to the arrival of Tripper. “Sorry,” she said, excusing her tardiness. “Saffron called and… it’s impossible to get her to shut up.”

“No, it’s not,” Lex said. “You simply close your phone.” The young girl ignored his presence and sat down in one of the unoccupied chairs the War Room offered. Fathom shot daggers at the young woman, realizing that only two others were left to be paired off.

“Jacquelyn,” Professor Alston intoned, “you and Alexander will be heading for the bayou. There’s a girl down there named Aurora Leigh. You need to be careful as she can’t control her power. Her abilities are different and totally unlike anything you’ve ever encountered: her touch overrides your consciousness with her own. In effect, if you make flesh-to-flesh contact with the girl, she’ll imprint her psyche on yours.”

Adonis blinked in surprise. “Is—wait, so—so anyone she touches… thinks like her?”

“They become her,” Professor Alston corrected. “You’ve heard of Bookworm? His power is classified as mental duplication. Well, this girl has a reverse form of it.”

“Then we just avoid physical contact,” said Anomaly with a shrug.

“It gets worse. As the girl’s mother is a human we must assume that Aurora’s father was the donor of her power template… meaning he was the Neo-Sapien she received her powers from. Three months ago, Aurora got her driving permit and Mister Leigh took her out driving. There was an accident and… her dad didn’t survive the crash. Rescue workers arrived on the scene and determined the accident couldn’t have been avoided. It wasn’t Aurora’s fault. Her mother doesn’t seem to think so though; she started blaming Aurora for what happened, depersonalizing the girl.”

“Depersonalize?” Loess asked. “What’s that?”

“It’s a dissociative disorder,” offered Rumble, “where the sufferer feels divorced from reality. Life becomes less and less real…”

“Her powers manifested in self-defense,” the elderly chemist offered. “As a result, she’s completely convinced herself that this cannot be happening. She’s convinced herself that she’s not really a Neo-Sapien and as a result suffers from Solipsism Syndrome.”

“It’s a mental condition in which you’re one-hundred percent convinced that you are dreaming,” the students turned to meet the new speaker and were surprised to find themselves facing James Howell, the resident of Alcatraz more commonly known as Silverback. Months ago, during a tour of the facilities, they had met the man behind bars.

Now he stood before them as a free man.

James Howell was a rare breed of genius cursed by his Neo-Sapien talents. His abilities made a monkey out of him: his body had permanently transfigured itself into that of a gorilla. Marked thus, it had been impossible for him to receive the research grants he sought; every medical board immediately recognized him as a Neo-Sapien and though they would say it was for other reasons, he knew their motives. Still, he believed in his research; he believed he had the cure for cancer, the end of hunger and the solution to so many problems sealed away in his head. He had begun robbing banks—ensuring that he never injured a soul in his deeds—and began to privately collect the funds he would need in his own illicit ways. “As such,” he continued, as if his presence out of his prison cell were less mind-bogging than it was, “she has no qualms with using her powers flippantly. Likewise, she has the Church of Genetic Purity scouring the bayou for her. She’s not just one hoyden—do not make the gaffe of assuming her so. Every time she lays hands on someone, they become her. In her fragile mental state, she’s killed—albeit in someone else’s body.”

“Wait a second,” Lodestone thundered. “What are you doing here?”

Doctor Howell ignored Lodestone and approached Anomaly. “Master Sway? Your correspondence was much esteemed these last few months.” Sure enough a bundle of read and re-read letters was pinned under his massive arm. “I deem you naught less than a factual friend.” Anomaly seemed genuinely surprised when the gorilla’s massive arms opened and wrapped around him.

“I’d look out, Lex…” laughed Deimos. “He’s been in a prison for a while.”

“Ah, Mister Deimos… it is good even to see you.”

“Backatcha, monkey man.”

“I still don’t get what he’s doing here,” said Lodestone. “Won’t the Guardians come crashing through our walls to get him?” He looked up as if expecting to see the ceiling sundered apart at any moment. “Are—are we expecting Crusader or something?”

Professor Alston shook his head. “Mister Howell has been paroled. Back over the New Year, someone caused a massive breakout in his attempt to murder prisoners. Quite a few inmates began to riot, once out of their cells. The Guardians were about to be overpowered when… Mister Howell began to incapacitate the other inmates—locking them back in their cells before returning to his own, of his own accord. The Guardians attested that he had numerous opportunities to escape but instead devoted himself to doing what was right.”

“Their testimony set me free,” Silverback mused. “Still, out in the real world, I wasn’t definite where I could turn. There are not many options open to a gorilla with a Brobdinagian IQ. Fortunately, I remembered Lex’s letters and sought correspondence with the administration here. They felt I would make for an adequate addition to the medical staff present and a really spiffy science teacher.”

Mister Lang cleared his throat, reminding the students that they had missions to attend to. “It’s good to see you,” Lex said, slapping the big man on the back. “We’ll talk when I get back.”

“Godspeed, New Vindicators,” Doctor Howell intoned with a nod as he watched Mister Lang distort dimensions, shifting them each across the world. “Good luck.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Quake
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

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